It’s a good read, with some interesting nuggets of information about how Blizzard works internally.
In my previous entry, I linked to a new post on Timothy Farrar’s blog where links to a few SIGGRAPH ’08 papers. One of them was written by Dominic Filion and Rob McNaughton of Blizzard Entertainment about certain details of the StarCraft II engine.
This paper is interesting beyond the technical content because Blizzard has not been a frequent source of papers in the computer graphics industry, despite their dominant position. With their involvement in the OpenGL Working Group, is this a sign Blizzard intends to be more active in industry groups and academia? Certainly something to keep track of.
It was a rather “epic” saga to get a ticket, but I managed to grab one at the last minute. Should be pretty fun (hopefully) to talk to some of the Blizzard developers on the show floor, particularly to gather their thoughts on OpenGL 3 (Blizzard is a member of the OpenGL Working Group).
The following is quoted from Gamasutra’s Paris GDC interview with Rob Pardo:
Finally, Jamil asked an extremely relevant question, given the state of the web game market – is it possible to get an ‘AAA game experience’ through the web interface?
Pardo was blunt: “I dunno, not until Microsoft, Intel, and Apple get their shit together. There’s such a dichotomy with hardware these days. With Microsoft, I think they have a bit of lip service with PC gaming. They have their own game system now, so I don’t think it’s really in their best interest to support [PC].”
However, he noted: “There’s been some Apple resurgence, so maybe Dell and Apple will get together and make a consumer box that has a decent graphics card in it, who knows? I do think it’s going to happen, but I wouldn’t be surprised if it doesn’t happen with Microsoft.”
Without commenting at all about Apple‘s stance on this, it is obvious to me that if Apple continues to increase their market share as current public data indicates, there’s going to be a shift of mentality in game studios still interested in developing for the PC platform. They’re going to seriously start looking at those millions of Mac customers who may have an available budget for the games they make. Of course, part of those customers are already buying those games thanks to Boot Camp, but there is an economic and psychological argument to be made that Mac versions of those games would get you an even larger share of that growing market.
It’s also interesting to note that Apple’s market is closer to that of consoles, in the sense that hardware diversity is much lower and there is greater integration between the OS, the software that runs on that OS and the hardware on which those two run, while retaining some of the advantages of the PC, such as less control from the hardware manufacturer (which Pardo cites as a problem for WoW content patches), the ubiquity of a pointing device and keyboard, more storage space, more mature development tools and the ability to develop and test on the same hardware.
MPQDraft 1.1 is now available. This release basically adds proper support for Mach-O PowerPC and Intel programs. The download link is available from the sidebar, or you can update via Sparkle.
MPQDraft 1.0 is now available, after a ridiculous 6 years of development. This is my second oldest project, second only to MPQKit (and its predecessor, MPQ2K Mac Edition). The highlights are as follows:
- Support for patching PowerPC CFM programs on both PowerPC and Intel Macs. Mach-O and Intel support are forthcoming.
- MPQ Loader 0.5 only supports Starcraft. Warcraft III support will be added only if there is demand.
The download is available from the sidebar and on the MPQDraft project page.
MPQDraft has an interesting history which I will be revisiting in an upcoming post. This will bring us all the way back to the days of Classic Mac OS.
In addition, I am planning on releasing in partnership with Campaign Creations updated versions for their classic campaigns using this new version of MPQDraft. Hopefully, people will check out the richness of the Starcraft modding community before stepping into the next chapter that Starcraft 2 will begin.
Update 2008-12-02: For people who want to browse and extract specific files from MPQ archives, I recommend checking out MPQFS, available from the main page’s sidebar.
It feels strange to release a 1.0, but I feel it’s time for this program to get out the door as a 1.0. There are still a few things that could be better, but overall it’s doing what it’s supposed to do.
MPQ Extractor is a small program that will extract the content of MPQ (MoPaQ) archives. Multiple archives can be opened and processed at the same time, and the extraction process can be cancelled at any moment. If the program is launched by double-clicking an archive or a selection of archives, it will automatically quit once it has extracted that set of archives (and any archive added in-between).
Here’s a screenshot of how the main window looks:
Requires Mac OS X 10.4 or later. Universal Binary, of course.
Update 2009-03-18: Changed the source code paragraph to point to Launchpad.
This doesn’t have a project page yet, but I thought I’d post it anyways.
libblp is a small software library designed to read and output BLizzard Picture (BLP) texture files. This format was first introduced in Warcraft 3 and has been updated to version 2 in World of Warcraft.
libblp currently only supports BLPv1, but I am working on BLPv2 and should hopefully be done with that in a few months at most.
I should also point out that libblp is fully cross-platform and compiles on both Mac OS X and Linux. I’ve tested on little endian and big endian architectures as well.