|Apple has at long last licensed OpenGL from Silicon Graphics, Inc. (SGI), saying it will appear in the next iteration of OS 8 (probably OS 8.6 scheduled for release next Fall) as well as the first release of OS X ( not to be confused with OS X Server which was released yesterday). OpenGL is a 3D graphics API and library that offers what many consider to be the fastest 3D rendering on the planet. Unlike 3Dfx, another leader in the 3D rendering market, OpenGL is used in much more than just games.
Most of the major 3D development apps are now based around OpenGL and this means that some of them may make their way over to the Mac.
Steve Jobs also talked about games and their importance to Apple:
"We recommitted Apple to games nine months ago."
During that time, Mr. Jobs and John Carmack of id Software seem to have struck up a bond as Mr. Carmack has been trying to get Apple to support OpenGL for much of the last year. Mr. Carmack joined Mr. Jobs on stage at the keynote speech to announce that Quake Arena was being developed simultaneously on the Mac as well as the PC. Said Mr. Carmack:
"There's no reason why the Macintosh can't be a perfect gaming platform."
Strong words indeed from the man who said in his .plan file (8/27) that he loves OpenGL more than he dislikes the MacOS. Mr. Carmack is one of the most important and influential game developers in the world and however it happened, it is great to see him support the Mac so strongly.
In another gaming note, Mr. Jobs took the opportunity to show off a new software product from Connectix called The Virtual Game Station. This new product emulates the Sony Playstation allowing games to be played directly on your Mac. For Mr. Jobs to devote some of his keynote time to showing an unauthorized, but legitiment emulation tool designed solely for the purpose of allowing Mac users to play games from a console platform speaks worlds of the fact that he gets it when it comes to the importance of games.
The Mac Observer Spin: And get it he does! Apple is attacking the game market with a vengeance which is vitally important to being able to continue the onslaught into the consumer world begun with the iMac. Kids play games and many kids help determine, if not dictate, their parents buying decisions when it comes to games.
The addition of OpenGL at the OS level in the MacOS is a fantastic development that will go far towards reasserting the Mac as a 3D development platform as well as helping to assert it as a viable gaming platform. This is some of the most important news yet to come out of MacWorld Expo!
Apple - id Software - SGI