TransGaming Talks Cider

TransGaming Technologies, which has been part of the Mac game porting business and currently enables Windows gaming on Linux with Cedega, last week introduced Cider, technology that the company said will enable publishers to quickly bring games to the Mac without the arduous code conversion process previously required. When contacted by The Mac Observer, founder and CTO Gavriel State said: "We prefer to think of it as making it as easy on the end user as if they were playing any other Mac game that theyive purchased in the past."

The companyis Aug. 3 announcement said that a "number of the top tier video game publishers" have plans to bring some of their upcoming games to the Mac with Cider. While Mr. State said that he was not ready to talk specifics yet, he did say that it is "a whois who list of the top publishers in the industry." He also noted that the focus right now is on new games, "so that the publishers can take advantage of all the marketing that theyire already doing on other platforms at the time a new title launches." He left the door open, however, to porting older titles.

With such current Mac publishers as Aspyr and MacSoft typically spending months to bring games to the Mac, Mr. State said: "We imagine that they are re-evaluating their business models. Our technology does revolutionize how games are brought to the Mac, which we believe will result in a paradigm shift in the Mac game publishing landscape." He added that TransGaming has no plans to license Cider to other companies, but "we are always open to discussion."

While technologies such as Cedega and WINE (WINE Is Not an Emulator) are aimed at end users, Cider is meant for publishers and developers. TransGamingis hope is that consumers who buy "Cider-ized" Mac games will see no difference between them and titles that have been ported over the traditional way.

"We are delivering a transparent Mac game play experience to the end consumer," Mr. State said. "Cider-enabled titles are just as native as any other Mac game on an Intel-based Mac. There is no virtualization or similar step involved -- Cider loads the game directly into memory and executes the code, which means it is running directly in Mac OS X. The game simply relies on Cideris implementation of the Win32 and DirectX APIs (Application Programming Interfaces), instead of those found in Windows."

He added: "Titles using Cider will have a Mac OS logo on the box, and weire aiming squarely at Blizzard-style hybrid releases. Each publishing deal is individual of course, so some titles may have Mac specific boxes as is currently the case."

Cider shares the same core technology as Cedega, which has its roots in WINE but branched from that technology in 2002. "As a result," Mr. State explained, "the Cedega code base is quite different from WINE at this point. One additional difference between Cider and both Cedega and WINE is that the latter two are built around the X11 windowing system while Cider has a much more direct interface to the Mac UI."

In the end, Mr. State noted, "what we would ultimately like to see is the vast majority of PC titles being launched as Windows/Mac or, better yet, Windows/Linux/Mac hybrids. We believe that users should be able to buy their games in whatever store they want, and play them on whatever platform they want."