New platform: Mac OS X

We are getting prepared to release a Macintosh game next week.

As mentioned in several previous posts, including New development platform, most of my recent development has been on “another” platform (read: not Windows), and I can now confirm here that we are almost ready to release a solitaire game for Mac OS X.

The title was developed using Xcode, the development environment that ships (“free“) with every Apple computer, written entirely in C++ (Gnu) and using Carbon. Our decision to use Carbon, as opposed to Cocoa, was made when Apple still openly spoke of both frameworks being “first class citizens” on OS X and even recommended Carbon for cross-platform code. We were almost into beta when Apple revealed, in classic bombshell fashion, that Carbon had been demoted and would not be fully supported in 64-bit versions of the operating system, starting with the next release.

That next release (a.k.a, the next big cat) is Leopard, OS X 10.5, which is going to be released this coming Friday. Ironically, that is just a single day after our originally planned release date, so we will be releasing a little bit later to properly test on this latest Apple operating system. (That is my story and I am sticking to it; the slight schedule slippage on this product was only coincidental.)

Although much of the underlying source code is derived from, or (in some cases) identical to, code used under Windows, the game is not a simple port, as nearly the entire user interface was rewritten to conform with the Apple Human Interface Guidelines and to be “Mac native“. Everything we have heard and read suggests that straight ports that do not look like Mac products (especially those which look like Windows applications) are rejected by Apple users. This should definitely not be an issue with our new title.

This long development process has been quite a learning experience, and there are lots of areas in which OS X excels over Windows, and vice versa. I will detail some of these once the game finally goes gold. In the meantime, it should not take too much investigation and deduction for the interested to figure out the name of this latest project.

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