The first beta version of the LightWave 3D suite to work natively on Intel Macs has been released.

In a message to Mac-based LightWave users, Jay Roth, president of NewTek's 3D division, notes that the version 9.2 Universal Binary beta offers more than just a performance upgrade -- it also works more like a Mac applicationn should.

"Drag and drop works," he says. "LightWave is migrating from its tab-based interface to the more traditional menu-based interface. Viewport performance is even faster than a PC, thanks to our new Open GL implementation.

"Overall, rendering will be much faster than running the older version under Rosetta. To make LightWave more laptop friendly, we have minimized our activity on CPU idle, which should help a bit with battery life, in addition to the MacBook touchpad, we have also added Mighty Mouse support.

"We have some beautiful anti-aliased fonts and transparent windows for your viewing pleasure. And that’s just the highlights. Universal Access, Automator, AppleScript and AppleEvents are there, too, though they are being fleshed out a bit more, and will be more obvious in subsequent releases of the OB."

Roth describes the beta as "essentially feature-complete, though there are some known issues" - and asks users to "please test the living daylights out of it, and help us to ship this product. We need a vacation!"

Users can sign up to the beta programme on the NewTek Web site.