Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Need for Speed Carbon

As a Christmas treat, I bought myself Need for Speed Carbon (Mac OS X version). It turns out they used TransGaming Cider, a derivative of the WINE project, to port the game. I don't have a Windows version of the game to compare, but it looks like they stored a fully-installed Windows version of the game under "Need for Speed Carbon.app/Contents/Resources/Need For Speed Carbon.app/Contents/Resources/transgaming/c_drive". The second "Need For Speed Carbon.app" is the actual game executable. The top-level one is just an annoying game serial number checking wrapper.

Here is a list of open source programs it contains, possibly as a dependency of WINE.
  • FreeType 2.3.4
  • SDL (Simple DirectMedia Layer) 1.2.10
  • libjpeg 6b
  • libpng 1.2.13
  • libsquish (2006).
  • TransGaming Cider build 472, based on wine.
The game uses DirectX 9, and this appears also what Cider supports up to.

According to TransGaming Cider product page, a large number of high profile games are ported to Mac this way, especially Spore. A consequence of that approach is these games will never be universal binaries. WINE essentially takes unmodified Windows x86 .exe and substitutes only the essential Windows functionalities to allow the game to run. However, x86 binaries require an Intel processor. They won't run on PowerPC.

I'm not sure what to make out of this. Game companies don't write games to be portable, and Cider really is just a band-aid solution. I could have bought the Windows version of the game instead.
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