Apple Announces Immediate Availability of Game Sprockets Software Development
Kit for Macintosh

Over 4,000 Developers Evaluating Game Sprockets Technology to Simplify and
Enhance Macintosh Title Development; Sprockets Enables Every Mac Game to
Include 3D Graphics and Sound, Internet Capabilities, Speech Recognition, and
Joystick Control

CUPERTINO, California–July 2, 1996–Nine months from its inception, Apple
Computer, Inc. today announced immediate availability of Game Sprockets Version
1.0–a new developer-driven software development kit (SDK) to create advanced
multimedia and Internet-enabled games for MacOS computers. Using Sprockets,
all games that run on Mac OS-based computers can feature real-time 3D graphics,
3D sound, Internet support, speech recognition, and input device/monitor
The Apple Game Sprockets are designed to simplify the creation of
high-performance Apple Macintosh entertainment titles and are available
royalty-free to all interested parties. Over 4,000 developers have downloaded
and provided feedback on the beta version of the SDK. The 1.0 version of Game
Sprockets may be immediately obtained from the Apple Game Developer Web Site at
Game Sprockets–named to reflect the extensible nature of the SDK–are
application programming interfaces (APIs) designed to both solve problems that
every game developer faces, and provide easy access to advanced features like
3D sound and speech recognition that would be too time consuming for most game
companies to develop on their own. Apple Game Sprockets supplement existing
Apple multimedia technologies such as QuickTime, QuickTime VR, QuickTime
Conferencing and QuickDraw 3D. Developers can ‘mix-and-match’ individual
sprockets to best enhance and complement the existing features of their title.
“Our goal is to have the best version of any game title to be the one on
the Macintosh,” said Ben Calica, senior product manager of game technologies
for Apple Computer, Inc. “The Game Sprockets programming team and SDK are
essentially a ‘hit squad’ for game developers–they’re our way of helping
developers build great games for the Mac. Developers have a limited amount of
time before they have to ship games for each Christmas season and I’d rather
give them more time to make a title great, then simply ‘making it work’. We
have already registered over 4,000 developers who are currently evaluating
Sprockets–it promises to be a great time for Macintosh games!”
“SoundSprocket was easy to add to our almost-finished application and the
3D sound creates a richer, more immersive game-playing experience,” said Brian
Fitzgerald, president of Future Point, developers of Warcraft 2 for the
Macintosh for Blizzard Entertainment. “All games on the Power Macintosh should
use SoundSprocket!”
“At MacPlay, we’re very excited about version 1.0 of Sprockets and we have
already integrated several of them into games we’re developing,” said Bill
Dugan, Macintosh High Priest for MacPlay. “We believe Sprockets will greatly
speed up our internal development efforts in creating the best Mac game titles
and we are delighted that Apple has asserted its commitment to the important
games market. We know that this SDK will help us, and all game developers,
leverage the Mac’s technology edge to create incredible games in the years to
“Our products are about the best art we can make married to the best
engineering we can find,” said Todd Rundgren, rock star and president of Waking
Dreams, developers of an upcoming 3D game for Macintosh and Windows. “If the
technology isn’t good enough we build it ourselves–fortunately, I think we
can avoid most of that this time. The QD3D solution is not only good enough,
it’s smart enough, and gosh darnit we’re gonna use it.”
“Bungie is very excited about the Game Sprockets API set and we are
currently evaluating all the Sprockets technology for future titles,” said Eric
Klein, director of new business development for Bungie Software Products
Company–developers of the award-winning Marathon game series. “At the
Computer Game Developers Conference, Bungie demonstrated Marathon 2 running
with QuickDraw 3D RAVE and an ATI 3D graphics board–the performance was
awe-inspiring! Sprockets are definitely going to be hot for Mac game
“We are very pleased that Apple understands that games are a special class
of application–one with unique needs and issues,” said Tom Utiger, project
manager for Wirehead Systems. “Game Sprockets relieve the game developer from
having to write custom routines to do common, game-oriented tasks. We are
especially happy with Apple’s commitment to cross-platform development as shown
by their development of 3D RAVE for the Macintosh and Windows 95 and the
forthcoming NetSprocket for Windows 95. Wirehead is currently using RAVE and
NetSprocket in a cross-platform game we are developing and it enabled us to
proceed and code much faster than would otherwise have been possible. Of
course, the real reason we like the Game Sprockets is because they are most
righteous and non-bogus!”

The current Game Sprockets SDK includes:
— NetSprocket – Internet connectivity and multi-player gaming API
— SoundSprocket – 3D sound and Sound Manager API
— SpeechSprocket – speech recognition API
— InputSprocket – digital joystick control and input device API
— DrawSprocket – multiple buffering/display control API
— QuickDraw 3D RAVE – fast, multi-platform 3D graphics API

For Details on each Sprocket API, please see attachment.

Apple Computer, Inc., a recognized innovator in the information industry and
leader in multimedia technologies, creates powerful solutions based on
easy-to-use personal computers, servers, peripherals, software, personal
digital assistants and Internet content. Headquartered in Cupertino,
California, Apple develops, manufactures, licenses and markets solutions,
products, technologies and services for business, education, consumer,
entertainment, scientific and engineering and government customers in over 140
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Press Contacts:
Maureen O’Connell
Apple Computer, Inc.


Jonathan Hirshon
Horizon Public Relations for Apple Computer, Inc.

Game developers interested in learning more about Apple Game Sprockets should
email Mark Gavini, Macintosh Games Evangelist, at Product
marketing information may be obtained from Ben Calica, Senior Product Manager,
Customer Information Contact: If you are considering the purchase of an
Apple product and would like to have product information faxed to you, please
call 1-800-462-4396 in the U.S. or 1-800-263-3394 in Canada. If you do not
have a fax machine or would like to locate an Apple authorized reseller near
you, please call 1-800-538-9696. Customers outside the U.S. should contact
their local Apple representatives for information.

Apple’s home page on the World Wide Web:

Apple, the Apple logo, QuickTime, Macintosh, and Power Macintosh are registered
trademarks of Apple Computer, Inc. QuickDraw and Mac OS are trademarks of Apple
Computer, Inc. Sprocket is a trademark of Xplain Corporation. All other brand
names mentioned may be trademarks or registered trademarks of their respective
holders, and are hereby acknowledged.



API Technical Details

NetSprocket–NetSprocket provides standard, customizable user interface dialogs
for configuration, log-in, and hosting a game across the network. A simple set
of calls allow messages to be singlecast, multicast or broadcast to other
machines within the game. A theoretical maximum of two billion users can
simultaneously use NetSprocket across a broadband connection.
NetSprocket also provides transparent access to Internet-oriented gameplay
and multi-player gaming. This API uses Open Transport for TCP/IP, AppleTalk
(with support for LocalTalk, EtherTalk or TokenTalk) and modem communication
access. By utilizing a client/server topology, it is possible for gamers to use
multiple protocols in a single session and with minimal overhead (a total of 28
bytes are used per player for the message header). NetSprocket also supports
the creation of groups for broadcast of data to specific users across the
SoundSprocket–SoundSprocket incorporates a standardized API for accessing
both traditional sound functions as well as accessing new 3D sound technologies
developed by Apple. For 3D sound, the listener and each sound channel are
given specific positions and velocity vectors in a virtual audio space. These
positions are changed during game play, along with the sounds themselves, to
give the impression of spatiality and movement.
The signal processing, taking advantage of the capabilities of the PowerPC,
simulates the Doppler Effect, distance attenuation, environmental reverberation
and spatial positioning. The 3D effect may be effectively presented over
speakers or headphones–it is also fully integrated with the camera position
used in QuickDraw 3D, which enables sound to “follow” the player in 3D space.
InputSprocket–InputSprocket provides a compact API through which games can
communicate with drivers for analog or digital joysticks and other
game-oriented input devices in a plug and play fashion. It also provides user
interface elements that allow player override of the default control options
through specified dialog boxes. Mouse and keyboard support are also enabled,
as are multiple input device support.
DrawSprocket–DrawSprocket allows games to easily enable multiple (double or
triple) buffering on the Macintosh for smooth display of graphic images.
Multiple buffering is achieved by DrawSprocket using the best option available
on the user’s system–true double buffering in hardware, page-flipping,
efficient memory copies or through the traditional CopyBits function call. The
game does not need to be aware of the hardware specifics to use this benefit.
DrawSprocket also enables configuration of display resolution or color depth
without leaving the game environment (no need to access the sound and displays
control panel) and screen sizing/blanking. A sprite engine, available through
QuickTime may also be used in tandem with DrawSprocket.
SpeechSprocket–Based on Apple’s PlainTalk technology, this API allows
developers to easily include high-quality speech recognition in their game
QuickDraw 3D RAVE–Recently announced as the first component of Apple Game
Sprockets, RAVE enables developers to transparently access 3D graphics
accelerators for maximum speed and throughput while also providing exceptional
3D rendering speed in software. RAVE lets game developers leverage their
existing rendering technologies–a key issue for vendors seeking to
differentiate their content. RAVE is shipping now for Power Macintosh and
Microsoft Windows 95 and Windows NT.