Bioshock for Mac

October 7 marks a key point in next-gen Mac gaming, as it marks the date that Unreal Engine 3.0 finally sees a release on the Mac. Feral Interactive have announced they will be releasing a native port of 'Bioshock'. I'm rather confused about the state of Unreal Engine 3 for Mac. I know well the port was well underway in 2005 when I contacted the developer, and at the time it was planned for PowerPC G4 and upwards. The desire was to make it Intel-only, but back then it wasn't quite feasible. Asides the obvious issues, also, at the time, bugs in gcc4's code generation were a big problem. Eventually Unreal Tournament 3 was announced for Mac in December 2007 by Macsoft, and Gears of War was also officially stated to 'be coming'. Neither game have seen the light of day as of yet, although Ryan Gordon posted screenshots of the Mac version a year ago. Unfortunately, this is what the native Mac gaming situation is right now; broken promises and many-years-late ports. I'd like to say that at this point the engine wouldn't be relevant or the most amazing graphics engine on the block, but I'd be lying. Even now, three years after Gears of War was released on Xbox, no developer has ported a game with graphics of that calibre to the Mac. Even so, I'm very excited to see Bioshock come to the Mac, and can't wait to play it. Here's Feral's press release:


Thursday, September 24, 2009

On October 7th, prepare to descend to the depths of the undersea city of Rapture when Feral Interactive releases the critically acclaimed BioShock® for Mac. Developed by 2K Boston and 2K Australia, and originally published by 2K Games, BioShock introduces gamers to an exciting world filled with fascinating characters, intelligent enemies and complex moral choices that define the foundation of the game’s world. With its rich story, meticulous attention to visual detail, tense action and infinite replay value, BioShock delivers the perfect blend of storytelling and first-person action.

Barely surviving a plane crash, the player lands in icy uncharted waters and discovers the undersea city of Rapture, a failed utopia whose citizens had embraced genetic engineering before descending into pure anarchy. Power and greed have run amok and the city has succumbed to civil war. To survive, gamers must turn everything they find into a weapon, use their powers of observation to piece together what happened and make the difficult decisions necessary in order to escape a paradise gone badly wrong.

Fans have embraced BioShock’s mysterious world filled with powerful technology and creative gameplay. BioShock is also renowned for its rich visual detail depicting a gorgeous Art Deco world set deep beneath the sea.

“The look and feel of BioShock is breathtaking,” said Feral Interactive’s David Stephen.“Combined with the remarkable depth and sophistication of the storyline, as well as the pure adrenaline rush of playing, BioShock will set new benchmarks for Mac gaming.”

BioShock will retail in North America for US $49.95,£34.99 (inc. VAT) in the UK and€39.95 (inc. VAT) throughout Europe. It is currently available to pre-order from Feral's online store (

More details are now available at:

Minimum system requirements for BioShock include a 1.8 GHz Intel Mac, 1.5 GB RAM, 128 MB graphics card, DVD drive, 8 GB of hard disk space and Mac OS X v10.5.8 or later. The game does not support Intel GMA integrated video chipsets, but does run on the latest generation of MacBooks and Mac Minis.

EDITORS: Screenshots, logos and other essential graphics and multimedia tools for BioShock can be found online in the Feral Press Area ( Please use your assigned login recently provided to you. If you do not have a login, please contact Brad Gibson, Feral Marketing/PR Manager, at

About Feral Interactive

Feral interactive is a leading publisher of games for Macintosh platform founded in 1996 and based in London, England. It is responsible for such Macintosh hits as Black&White, Colin McRae Rally Mac, Lego Star Wars II and Tomb Raider Anniversary.

All trademarks and copyrights contained herein are the property of their respective holders.


Brad Gibson at

+1 918 691 3420

Palm Pre Launches in Ireland October 16

The launch date and pricing has finally been announced for O2's exclusive on the Palm Pre. It's pretty clear that the pricing was chosen to compete with iPhone, with the device starting at €99 on the lowest plan, and free on the highest plan. Virtually all the plans are the same as the iPhone plans featurewise. You're looking at €419 if you're wanting to pick one up off-contract, although you're still SIM-locked to O2 (although, to be fair, since the device is so open and hackable I wouldn't expect that to last long). It's also pretty damning that Android was announced in November '07 and there's still not an Android phone available officially in Ireland. It just looks like the carriers here don't want anything to do with it :-)

RSS State of the Union, 2009

A day ago I posted a quick survey to Twitter about the state of RSS on iPhone. Over a hundred people responded with pretty much the same answers:

There is currently no 'good' RSS application on iPhone. There's a clear demand for a really sweet looking, fast, and easy to use news reader that syncs with Google Reader. Those who said they don't use an RSS reader on iPhone said it was for want of an acceptable, native client.

Most people have settled on Byline as their news reader, and there are a lot that just use Google Reader through Safari.

Quite a few people mentioned that they want a news reader that is more like a good Twitter client (although, you could say the response base was biased).

Roughly $5 seems to be the general consensus regarding what a good RSS reader should cost, with some people saying they would never pay for an RSS reader and even some saying they'd pay over $10. Certainly interesting information for anyone pricing their applications.

Only one person mentioned they'd like feed searching, but the majority did specify that they want caching for offline viewing.

A built-in browser and attachment viewing is also ranking heavily among wanted features.

Interestingly, several people said that they would absolutely hate if the app adds an 'unread' badge on SpringBoard. I understand that myself, as I hate the unread badges, but it's nice to see I'm not alone.

Those whom mentioned a landscape feature said they'd want the ability to disable any landscape modes entirely, so that they can easily read when not standing/sitting up. Not one person said they'd like a landscape mode for reading.

Finally, Instapaper, Twitter and Facebook integration were mentioned several times, as well as in-app e-mailing of articles.

Useful results, and it shows a clear market for a fresh news reader. I can certainly add that to my 'ToDo' list of possible iPhone projects :-) Hopefully this data is useful to other developers and iPhone users.

The Cider Portability Engine

I want to spend a blog post gushing on a technology, in particular, Cider from TransGaming Inc. In the past, games companies porting titles to the Mac had to either rewrite a game to run, or they had to rewrite a game to work with their own DirectX compatibility layers. This process takes a lot of time and money, as you can imagine. Cider changes the game completely. Cider is a wrapping technology that runs the Windows versions of a game in an 'emulated' form, essentially translating all the Windows and DirectX specific stuff to run directly on the Mac. The way it works is essentially simple and very easy for TransGaming to adapt to new titles; it literally encompasses the entire Windows folder structure including the game, and runs the actual Windows binary (.exe) as if it were a Mac application. This provides you with a double-clickable Mac game that, to the end user, seems just as native as any other Mac game. Naturally, there is a performance penalty (which differs depending on the game) but it's often not that much worse than an actual native port of a Mac game. Because a Cider game package is so simple, fans and hackers alike have taken it upon themselves to try and wrap other, existing Windows games in Cider wrappers. Naturally this bends all sorts of licensing issues at the least, and is piracy at the worst, but the potential is there to flag a list of popular games that will work with minimal effort using Cider so that TransGaming themselves may try and court the developers and see if they want a Mac port. Cider itself is ever-evolving, and today boasts much better performance and compatibility than a year ago. It leverages features of OS X like multithreaded OpenGL, and is a self-contained bundle (there's no user-facing directory tree for a game, just the game itself you can drag and drop anywhere you like). Naturally, as Cider itself improves, so do all the games it works with. For many games, making them run is a simple case of tweaking configuration files and replacing the internal Windows game folder with that of your choosing. Other games require more poking and often require no-cd versions of the Windows binary. Other games don't work at all. But those that do include such impressive titles as: • Assassin's Creed • Dawn of War (and expansions) • FarCry • Elder Scrolls: Oblivion • Half Life 2 • Grand Theft Auto 3 (and Vice City, and San Andreas) With the latest version of Cider (included in the Warhammer Online free demo), even Fallout 3 now launches to the main menu (although the actual game part doesn't yet work). I'm optimistic that a future version of Cider will run Fallout 3 perfectly. Naturally, in the official scene, EA, among others, is making massive use of Cider. Some official games that use it are: • The Sims 3 • Spore • Command & Conquer: Red Alert 3 • Warhammer Online • Battlefield 2142 I did some unscientific tests pitting the native OS X (Intel) version of Doom 3 up against a Ciderized Windows version of Doom 3 (that I hacked together for the purposes of this blog post) on a last-gen MacBook Pro. The Cider version performed about 50fps, on average (60fps being the standard maximum refresh cap on Doom 3). It looked identical to the Mac version, and performed just as well at the same resolution. Doom 3 (id tech 4) is one of the most graphically demanding engines that Aspyr (arguably the premier native Mac porting house) has ported to the Mac. That the Windows version of the game, using the Cider portability engine, is able to run just as smooth is certainly a sign. I believe that there's not much future for native Mac gaming, and Cider is the future. Cider games are performant, and can be released on the same day (in same box) as the Windows versions. Contrast that to the native Mac porting scene: • Black and White 2 was released in early 2009 for the Mac, four years after the Windows version • Call of Duty 4 was released a year after its Windows counterpart • Gears of War and Unreal Tournament 3 were promised for (and mostly ported to!) the Mac, still haven't been released • SimCity 4, ported by Aspyr to the Mac in 2003, even as a Universal Binary and Intel-native, _still_ does not run smooth on the latest Macs. Long live native Mac gaming. You won't be missed :-)