updated 01:50 am EDT, Wed June 13, 2007
EA games will use Cider
Steve Jobs made a big deal during his WWDC keynote address this week of an announcement that various Electronic Arts games -- including Need for Speed Carbon, Battlefield 2142 and Command and Conquer 3 -- would be making their way to Mac OS X later this year. What wasn't mentioned, however, was that these games will not be native Mac OS X ports. Instead, they will be made to run under Mac OS X with the aid of Cider from TransGaming (like X3: Reunion, Myst Online and other titles). This means they may not run at full native speed, and may exhibit other issues; they also will only run on Intel-based Macs--leaving many long-time Mac users out in the cold.
Cider is a portability engine that allows Windows games to be run on Intel Macs "without any modifcations to the original game source code." The tool loads Windows programs into memory on Intel-based Macs using an optimized version of the Win32 APIs. A statement on the TransGaming site states "Cider powered games use the same copy protection, lobbies, game matching and connectivity as the original Windows game. All this means less effort and lower costs. Cider is targeted to game developers and publishers."
Meanwhile, an ExtremeTech piece offers heavy skepticism regarding whether or not many of the games demonstrated during Jobs' keynote will actually be able to run at acceptable speeds using the graphics cards currently included with Macs. "If you consider that the most powerful graphics accelerator on Apple hardware is the aging AMD X1900 XT--only available on the $2,500-plus Mac Pro--then it's likely that most Mac users will never see the full glory of id's new engine on a Mac. The iMac line offers the anemic 7300GT, one even begins to question how well EA's games will run on Mac hardware. Cider is all well and good, but Command and Conquer 3 or Battlefield 2142 running on the 7300GT is pretty pathetic."