Set in the same science fiction universe as Quake II and Quake 4, with a back-story serving as a prequel to Quake II, Quake Wars is the second multiplayer-focused game in the Quake series, following Quake III Arena.
The title features similar gameplay to Wolfenstein: Enemy Territory, but with the addition of controllable vehicles and aircraft, asymmetric teams, much larger maps and the option of computer-controlled bots. All the while, multiplayer action combines with twitchy indoor encounters and strategic squad based operations.
Quake Wars was originally developed by Splash Damage for Windows using a modified version of id Software's Doom 3 engine and MegaTexture rendering technology. The Windows version of the game was met with rave reviews following its September release, and id Software last month followed up with a full version for Linux.
The Mac OS X version of Quake Wars remains the only planned distribution of the game not yet released, though the title is currently in the Alpha stage of development and undergoing optimization by Mac game publisher Aspyr Media, AppleInsider has learned.
The recent release of a Quake Wars 1.2 updater patch for the Windows version has hindered development of the game for the Mac somewhat, however, forcing Aspyr to match their current code to the new Windows version in the early stages of development. The 1.2 update delivers full VoIP communications support, user interface improvements and tweaks to improve the balance of the game.Â*
Since the Mac version remains under active development, AppleInsider won't yet comment on performance of its Alpha preview copy, as it is expected to improve substantially over the next two months. Aspyr does have extensive experience porting id Software's titles to the Mac platform, namely Quake 4 and Doom 3. Those titles perform well, but did not match their Windows counterparts in terms of performance.
Now that Apple hardware has Intel inside, many of the problems that plagued previous ports could be a thing of the past. The architectural differences between Mac and Windows PCs that stifled performance are gone, allowing developers like Aspyr to shorten development time and focus on optimization, rather than the complex task of porting an entire codebase.
(For more information on previous ports, the problems and solutions, see BarefeatsÂ article on Doom 3.)
Quake Wars is a graphically rich and varied game, which is more than enough to tax most systems. Aspyr has not yet released the minimum system requirements for the game, but it's suggested that owners of Intel Macs with a dedicated video card should have no issues running the title smoothy.
At present, the Alpha version of Quake Wars disables online play, leaving duels against bots as the only game play option. AppleInsider plans to keep readers updated with news on how the game shapes up for the Mac as development progresses, with more in-depth coverage once Aspyr has optimized the code thoroughly to match the Windows PC version.