MI6 talks to Glenda Adams, Director of PC &
Mac Development at Aspyr Media about their work porting
the PC version of "NightFire" to the Mac...
Aspyr "NightFire" Interview
23rd June 2004
Aspyr Media recently completed converting the PC version of "James
Bond 007: NightFire" to the Apple Mac, which was released
this week for Mac OS/X. MI6 talks to Glenda Adams, Director of
PC & Mac Development at Aspyr Media...
It has been 2 years since the release of NightFire on consoles
and the PC, why do you think the decision was made to port the game
to the Mac? How big is the Mac audience for games?
We decided to port Nightfire to the Mac back when it was first announced
for the PC. The development was delayed for a while on the Mac because
of some technical problems we had to work with Apple to get resolved,
but we're glad to be shipping it out to Mac gamers now!
Have any changes been made to the gameplay or has the project
been a direct port of Gearbox's version?
It is pretty much a direct port of the Gearbox version. We've
optimized it specifically for OS X so it runs the best possible,
but we didn't change any of the gameplay or level design.
Will we see any improvements or deteriorations graphically
from the PC version of the game?
It looks very similar to the PC version, we were able to
convert all of the effects from Direct3D on the PC to OpenGL
on the Mac.
What's the process of porting a game from PC to Mac?
Does it involve a complete rewrite of code and if so, how
difficult is it to get a complete replica of the original?
We start with the original PC code, and rewrite portions
of the code to talk to the Mac OS instead of Windows. Usually
there are areas we don't have to change much, like AI or
physics. But the graphics layer has to be almost completely
rewritten, or emulated on the Mac.
For Nightfire, the developer we worked with, Transgaming Technologies,
has a lot of technology they've worked on for Linux (and now the
Mac) that allows them to translate Windows and DirectX calls to
another operating system more easily. Whenever possible we try
not to change the original game code, but simply intercept the
OS specific calls and route them to the right places. That way
we don't accidentally introduce new bugs.
Will the multiplayer mode be identical to that of the PC? Can
we expect any official servers to play on?
Will the same cinematic sequences created by Streamline
Studios and the original music score appear in the Mac version?
Yes, we have all the same great music and cinematic sequences
from the PC version.
Some players complained that the PC version ran slow
even on high-end PC's. Can we expect any such issues on
We spent a lot of time optimizing the Mac version, but it
is definitely a CPU heavy game. One of the reasons our development
took almost a year was writing Mac specific code to try
to speed things up. I think we were successful, although
we did increase the system requirements to a more realistic
level than the PC (the Mac requires a 1GHz CPU).
The multiplayer mode plays the same as the PC, although you can
only play between Mac players. There were some networking libraries
we couldn't bring to the Mac version in time so we had to limit
to Mac only net play. I'm not sure if we plan to set up any official
servers or not yet.
Poor anti-cheat protection and a bug in the PC multiplayer
meant players could easily cheat online and crash multiplayer
servers. Were you aware of these problems and has anything
been done to prevent the same happening on the Mac?
We tried to make the Mac multiplayer and single player as
stable as possible, but we weren't able to add anti-cheat
code to the game. The good side of being Mac to Mac only
net play is that there are far fewer cheat mods on Mac games
in general, so hopefully game play will be a bit smoother.
Can we expect patches from Aspyr if any problems do arise
after the game has been released?
Yes, we certainly will support the game with patches if necessary.
Some bugs that might exist in the PC are difficult to fix, so
we may not be able to address those, but Mac specific bugs are
definitely things we don't want to see.
Given more time with the game, is there anything you would
have liked to improve or change?
It would have been nice to look into adding some more multiplayer
features and to fix some of the PC bugs in the game. But as long
as the development took we really had to focus on just getting
a game as good as the PC version out on the Mac.
What direction do you see the development of games
for the Mac heading in the future? Given the chance, would
you like to port or create an original Bond game?
We would love to be able to work on an original Bond game,
and Aspyr is certainly looking to trying some original games
down the road. We think we bring a lot of experience with
taking licensed content like Bond and making sure the brand
is treated well in the Mac version. I think we could do
something similar with an original game, but we haven't
really pursued that
What was it like to work on James Bond title in comparison
to other games?
It was a very interesting title to work on- it's fun to have such
a good license, with characters you recognize and signature moves/lines/weapons.
Technically it was a challenging project, because of the high
system requirements. But we're glad to have it out so Mac Bond
fans can enjoy playing it!
For Mac OS/X
Coverage on MI6
Thanks to Aspyr, Glenda Adams and Amity Lesko.
Images courtesy Aspyr Media.