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The MacTech Spotlight: Jeff Vogel, Spiderweb Software

Volume Number: 25
Issue Number: 09
Column Tag: MacTech Spotlight

The MacTech Spotlight: Jeff Vogel, Spiderweb Software

What do you do?

I'm the president of Spiderweb Software. I design and code the games. I also provide direction to the artists, both out and in house. (We have three full-time employees).

How long have you been doing what you do?

I started writing my first game, Exile: Escape From the Pit for the Mac, in the summer of 1994. So I've been doing this a little over 15 years.

What was your first computer:

My first computer was an Apple II+, oh so very long ago. My first real development machine was a PowerMac 6100.

Are you Mac-only, or a multi-platform person?

I write my games for the Mac first, and then I port them to Windows.

Being "Mac first," how do you manage the port to Windows?

We write everything in C++. For porting, I just adapt the code by hand, though I have a lot of little in-house libraries and tricks I use to make the process to very fast. I generally have a port ready for beta testing in 1-2 weeks. It's really fast.

It helps that I use OpenGL and a cross-platform sound library and that, since it's a game, all UI elements (scrollbars, etc) are hardcoded.

What is the advice you'd give to someone trying to get into this line of work today?

It's a tough way to make a living. There is massive competition, and you have to have a lot of luck, an amazing product, or the tenacity of the cockroach to get noticed.

The advice I give the most often is to bear in mind that your product has to be super-good to get someone to pry the credit card out of the wallet. Look at the market. If anyone is giving anything comparable to your planned game away for free, write something else.

What's the coolest tech thing you've done using OS X?

I'm actually not that great a programmer. I can write a solid, stable product, but my real skill lies in design. So I think the most amazing thing I've done is written a whole, full-length, OpenGL game for the Mac from scratch and ended up with something that people would actually pay for. Just creating a decent product of any sort is pretty cool.

Where can we see a sample of your work?

We have large demos of all of our role-playing games at

The next way I'm going to impact IT/OS X/the Mac universe is:

By making sure a year never goes by without a good RPG coming out for the Mac. There have been years where the big Mac RPG release has been by me.

Anything else we should know?

We're Indie, and we're proud of it.

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