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MacBytes
Jan 26, 2006, 05:31 PM
http://www.macbytes.com/images/bytessig.gif (http://www.macbytes.com)

Category: Games
Link: Mac game companies talk universal binaries, move to Intel only (http://www.macbytes.com/link.php?sid=20060126183110)
Description:: While many of the applications used by most owners of Intel Macs -- Microsoft Office, the iLife suite, Safari and so forth -- either now ship as Universal Binaries or run acceptably with Rosetta, games have proven to be a sticky situation.

Posted on MacBytes.com (http://www.macbytes.com)
Approved by arn

Benjamindaines
Jan 26, 2006, 05:44 PM
This really annoys me because the G5 is a very powerful computer and can play games superbly, all the game makers need to do is check a box on their mac ports and boom you have a Universal Binary. This is just sheer laziness, I also believe that so many people are going to be p'oed about this that the game makers will be FORCED to keep Universal Binaries.

Wes Jordan
Jan 26, 2006, 05:49 PM
The day after I return The Sims 2 for my MacBook Pro they announce the update will be free:mad:.

jhu
Jan 26, 2006, 05:59 PM
This really annoys me because the G5 is a very powerful computer and can play games superbly, all the game makers need to do is check a box on their mac ports and boom you have a Universal Binary. This is just sheer laziness, I also believe that so many people are going to be p'oed about this that the game makers will be FORCED to keep Universal Binaries.

maybe for simple apps it's just a click of a box, but most games also have processor and video card specific optimizations.

Benjamindaines
Jan 26, 2006, 06:00 PM
maybe for simple apps it's just a click of a box, but most games also have processor and video card specific optimizations.
Yes I realise that but think about it, once the source code is ported to mac you just put it in xcode and let it make the universal binarys for you.

Capt Underpants
Jan 26, 2006, 06:04 PM
Yes I realise that but think about it, once the source code is ported to mac you just put it in xcode and let it make the universal binarys for you.

It seems like if it were that easy, everyone would do it. There must be something else (maybe specific to games?) that causes it to be more diffucult.

jhu
Jan 26, 2006, 06:07 PM
Yes I realise that but think about it, once the source code is ported to mac you just put it in xcode and let it make the universal binarys for you.

if the program is written entirely in a high-level language, then yes maybe it could just be click on a box. however, other issues such as endianness and assembly language routines would require more programmer attention that a simple check-box cannot help with.

bousozoku
Jan 26, 2006, 06:08 PM
It seems like if it were that easy, everyone would do it. There must be something else (maybe specific to games?) that causes it to be more diffucult.

They don't want to make it run well on PPC because the byte swapping, etc. takes away performance. It would take extra work and they'd rather automatically have the processor take up the slop instead of taking care of performance problems in the bad code.

ChrisA
Jan 26, 2006, 06:16 PM
All the game makers need to do is check a box on their mac.

This assumes that all games are developed using Apple's xcode.

If you don't use xcode there is no such box to check.

chibianh
Jan 26, 2006, 06:30 PM
As long as World of Warcraft plays well, i'm all good. And guess what? Blizzard has a universal binary version to be released really soon for free! Their little booth at MWSF had it running on an Intel iMac supebly. :D

Eidorian
Jan 26, 2006, 06:34 PM
The day after I return The Sims 2 for my MacBook Pro they announce the update will be free:mad:.That's why I waited for an annoucement like this. I also kept myself from buying a Rev. C iMac G5. Smart, huh?

ZildjianKX
Jan 26, 2006, 06:34 PM
I was afraid that this was going to happen... we're going to have a lot of G5 Powermacs with high end videocards that won't be able to play new games since developers aren't going to want to port it to PPC.

I'm not sure how much this will really hurt the developers since a lot of gamers use iMacs, but the older iMacs probably won't be able to run the newer games anyways.

Jovian9
Jan 26, 2006, 06:36 PM
Photoshop and games cause me to hesitate on purchasing an intel Mac anytime soon. My wife and I use Photoshop a lot (more and more lately) and I have a lot of games that I doubt will ever get a universal code:
Age of Empires II
Jedi Academy
Jedi Outcast
Lego Star Wars
Star Wars Battlefront
Star Wars Galactic Battlegrounds
Civ III
Sim City 4
Warcraft III
Sims 2
Sims (with all expansions)

That's a lot of money on games that likely won't play worth a crap or possibly not at all. Even though these games are getting old, I'd still like to be able to play them in the future. I consider myself a retro-gamer.....I buy games and play them.....and then every few years play my favorites again. I do not want to give up these games or buy a PPC system just to play them a year or two down the road.

thechris69
Jan 26, 2006, 07:09 PM
i still think steve jobs should push mac more into games, they have all the processors and computers, now all they need to do is come out with some better games, and spend more time developing instead of raising a processor by 200 mhz

jhu
Jan 26, 2006, 08:06 PM
i still think steve jobs should push mac more into games, they have all the processors and computers, now all they need to do is come out with some better games, and spend more time developing instead of raising a processor by 200 mhz

yes, and then they should call it the xmac or macbox or macstation. then they should open their own fast food chain and call it macdonalds or something

Capt Underpants
Jan 26, 2006, 08:09 PM
yes, and then they should call it the xmac or macbox or macstation. then they should open their own fast food chain and call it macdonalds or something

He never said anything about making a console... just that Apple should promote the developement of macintosh compatible games.

DrNeroCF
Jan 26, 2006, 08:13 PM
yes, and then they should call it the xmac or macbox or macstation. then they should open their own fast food chain and call it macdonalds or something

Would the macBook perchance be on the menu at macDonalds? :D

MacBandit
Jan 26, 2006, 09:57 PM
This really annoys me because the G5 is a very powerful computer and can play games superbly, all the game makers need to do is check a box on their mac ports and boom you have a Universal Binary. This is just sheer laziness, I also believe that so many people are going to be p'oed about this that the game makers will be FORCED to keep Universal Binaries.

Did you even read the article? It doesn't say they are going to be making Intel Mac only games in fact when asked they said it would be 3 years or more before they stopped producing Universal Binaries. In computer gaming terms that's a very long time. By that time most G5 machines even top of the line PowerMacs will not be able to run the latest greatest graphic intensive games at a reasonable frame rate.

SiliconAddict
Jan 26, 2006, 11:28 PM
That's why I waited for an annoucement like this. I also kept myself from buying a Rev. C iMac G5. Smart, huh?

My software purchase strategy for my MacBook will be simple: No shipping UB's or announcements of free UB updates no purchase from me. Hence the reason I won't purchase Office (Microsoft said they are working on it. I don't think they said if it will be free or not.) or anything Adobe.

Eidorian
Jan 26, 2006, 11:36 PM
My software purchase strategy for my MacBook will be simple: No shipping UB's or announcements of free UB updates no purchase from me. Hence the reason I won't purchase Office (Microsoft said they are working on it. I don't think they said if it will be free or not.) or anything Adobe.Yeah, I'm sticking with only buying some Sharware what I REALLY like. I've found that all of them are already universal so I have no problem with them.

Otherwise, I've kept from buying new hardware and expensive PowerPC software. I have a massive education discount on Adobe/Macromedia and Microsoft software. I bought Office 2004 for $9 but I rarely use it now and I think I'll just get NeoOffice/J to hold me over until I get a new iBook, whatever it turns out to be, and get iWork 06/07.

If the MacBook Pro loses $100-200 more and with my $200 off from my education discount, I'll consider it.

Otherwise, I'm happy with my current software and iMac G5.

nagromme
Jan 27, 2006, 12:15 AM
This really annoys me because the G5 is a very powerful computer and can play games superbly, all the game makers need to do is check a box on their mac ports and boom you have a Universal Binary. This is just sheer laziness, I also believe that so many people are going to be p'oed about this that the game makers will be FORCED to keep Universal Binaries.
I was afraid that this was going to happen... we're going to have a lot of G5 Powermacs with high end videocards that won't be able to play new games since developers aren't going to want to port it to PPC.
While badmouthing Mac game companies without knowing the facts is popular :p the article is NOT talking about Intel-only games today. it's talking about the future--years down the road in most cases.

bousozoku
Jan 27, 2006, 12:53 AM
A related article we've got here talks about how Aspyr wants to drop PowerPC support as soon as the end of 2006, while the others are less enthusiastic to put a stake in it.

Hopefully, they'll stop being so greedy and consider that we all want good games. I believe if they stop delivering PPC executables, they'll narrow their market substantially and lose any public favour.

atari
Jan 27, 2006, 02:00 AM
A related article we've got here talks about how Aspyr wants to drop PowerPC support as soon as the end of 2006, while the others are less enthusiastic to put a stake in it.

Hopefully, they'll stop being so greedy and consider that we all want good games. I believe if they stop delivering PPC executables, they'll narrow their market substantially and lose any public favour.

Contrary to the spirit around here, I donīt believe the surviving Mac game porting houses are run by idiots.
Once the Intel based machines outnumber the PPC based ones(and the gameworthy ones will pretty soon I think),you will naturally see fewer and fewer ports of demanding titles for PPC Macs.
This does make sense in terms of business and is also an inescapable cycle in the gaming market in general.(ie Hardware becomes obsolete)
That being said,I still like my PowerMac G5 very much,but my new Intel IMac is no slouch either.....

bousozoku
Jan 27, 2006, 02:28 AM
Contrary to the spirit around here, I donīt believe the surviving Mac game porting houses are run by idiots.
Once the Intel based machines outnumber the PPC based ones(and the gameworthy ones will pretty soon I think),you will naturally see fewer and fewer ports of demanding titles for PPC Macs.
This does make sense in terms of business and is also an inescapable cycle in the gaming market in general.(ie Hardware becomes obsolete)
That being said,I still like my PowerMac G5 very much,but my new Intel IMac is no slouch either.....

I don't think that they're run by idiots, either, but Aspyr seems particularly greedy. I'm not saying that they should continue developer ad infinitum but cutting it off at the end of 2006 seems a bit rough, as well as, early.

atari
Jan 27, 2006, 02:51 AM
I don't think that they're run by idiots, either, but Aspyr seems particularly greedy. I'm not saying that they should continue developer ad infinitum but cutting it off at the end of 2006 seems a bit rough, as well as, early.

I suppose it will depend on each and every titleīs hardware requirements.
:confused:

MacsRgr8
Jan 27, 2006, 03:27 AM
I don't think that they're run by idiots, either, but Aspyr seems particularly greedy. I'm not saying that they should continue developer ad infinitum but cutting it off at the end of 2006 seems a bit rough, as well as, early.

It will probably also depend on when, and how long the Power Macs will be Intel only.
The G5 still is a very fast processor also compaired to the Intel Core Duo. It will be sometime until Apple ditches the PowerPC in the Power Mac, and Aspyr can't afford leaving all those Power Mac G5 users out.....
Especially given the fact that those higher framerates and better looking techniques are only available to the better grfx cards which are only available in Power Macs.

dornoforpyros
Jan 27, 2006, 09:17 AM
all the game makers need to do is check a box on their mac ports and boom you have a Universal Binary.

uhh I realize this is what uncle Steve claimed, but I really doubt it's a simple as clicking one box for every OS X application. Yeah, some might just transition over that easy, but to lump every application like that is over simplifying

bugfaceuk
Jan 27, 2006, 09:38 AM
This really annoys me because the G5 is a very powerful computer and can play games superbly, all the game makers need to do is check a box on their mac ports and boom you have a Universal Binary. This is just sheer laziness, I also believe that so many people are going to be p'oed about this that the game makers will be FORCED to keep Universal Binaries.

It just NOT that easy. Porting from Intel to the G5 often requires performing byte order translations on large and heavily optimized binary files (that is, just flipping bytes around won't help, you'll then hit performance issues).

So, porting intel to intel is fine, porting g5 back to the original intel is fine (you probably have the original code), but why would you go through any hassle at all to release something for an obsolete machine in a market that has never been games centric? OK, OK, I know that's over-stating it.

But so is "You only have to click on a button".

jsw
Jan 27, 2006, 09:40 AM
Photoshop and games cause me to hesitate on purchasing an intel Mac anytime soon. My wife and I use Photoshop a lot (more and more lately) and I have a lot of games that I doubt will ever get a universal code:
...
Warcraft III
...

I can't vouch for the others - haven't tried yet - but WCIII runs just fine under Rosetta on my 17" Intel iMac - it ran fine for small games with 512MB and seems fine overall now that I've bumped it to 1.5GB.

I got this iMac as part of the Developer Transition Kit exchange program, and, while I'd otherwise have opted for a 20" with some enhancements, I have to say that the only thing lacking on even this base model (my first bottom-of-the-line "base" Mac) is RAM, and even with the base 512MB configuration, the iMac runs WCIII - with all options maxed out - just fine.

Getting the updates from Blizzard (when you start up WCIII/Frozen Throne for the first time) seems very slow (even given the file sizes). But game play is fine.

I would imagine that most of the older games (WCIII is no spring chicken...) will run fine as long as they're OS X native (obviously, Classic apps will not run at all).

Timepass
Jan 27, 2006, 10:04 AM
In the short run the G5 macs are getting screwed by the intel switch for games. It a money game and it cost a lot more money to optismis a ported game for the g5 then for an x86. Yeah a lot of games are never going to go universal binnery but chance are you can run them though Rosteta and be just fine since they should be old enough that the CPU can take up the slack.

Now in the long run the intel switch will help out the mac a lot for gaming since code opimisation will be a lot easier to do. Porting houses are more likely to get screwed since now companies may just start doing them in house. This also means Macs have a chance to get games like half life and things like that. Plus the games will general run faster.

Meemoo
Jan 27, 2006, 10:38 AM
I'd also like to see if transgaming(developer responsible for linux ports) will now release on OS X considering they don't have the same obstacle they faced with the PowerPC platform.

bugfaceuk
Jan 27, 2006, 10:42 AM
I'd also like to see if transgaming(developer responsible for linux ports) will now release on OS X considering they don't have the same obstacle they faced with the PowerPC platform.

Now _that's_ a VERY interesting thought!

greatdevourer
Jan 27, 2006, 11:13 AM
It seems like if it were that easy, everyone would do it. There must be something else (maybe specific to games?) that causes it to be more diffucult. While modern compilers are very smart, there are many assembly functions that do the same thing yet are faster than others (for instance, within compilers, GCC usually goes for the compact yet slower version, whereas M$ Visual goes for the larger yet faster version)

i still think steve jobs should push mac more into games, they have all the processors and computers, now all they need to do is come out with some better games, and spend more time developing instead of raising a processor by 200 mhz Apple don't make the games. It's not as though SJ can exactly force developers to make Mac games

Eidorian
Jan 27, 2006, 11:22 AM
Well at least they're pushing games on OS X.

http://www.apple.com/games/

dual64bit
Jan 27, 2006, 11:41 AM
DirectX.

OpenGL.

jhu
Jan 27, 2006, 01:13 PM
I'd also like to see if transgaming(developer responsible for linux ports) will now release on OS X considering they don't have the same obstacle they faced with the PowerPC platform.

there is still the issue of completely different api between windows, linux, and os x.

shamino
Jan 27, 2006, 04:04 PM
It just NOT that easy. Porting from Intel to the G5 often requires performing byte order translations on large and heavily optimized binary files (that is, just flipping bytes around won't help, you'll then hit performance issues).

So, porting intel to intel is fine, porting g5 back to the original intel is fine (you probably have the original code), but why would you go through any hassle at all to release something for an obsolete machine in a market that has never been games centric? OK, OK, I know that's over-stating it.

But so is "You only have to click on a button".
People keep on making these claims that porting Windows-Intel to Mac-Intel is going to somehow be easier than porting to Mac-PPC.

I just don't buy it. The bulk of the work is porting the Windows API calls over to Mac OS APIs calls, and that is the same no matter what the target architecture is. Byte swapping should only becomes an issue when sharing files (or network connections) with computers of the other architecture. It would be a very strange game indeed that spent most of its time accessing files and network resources.

It's worth noting that Linux ports (when they're done at all) take just as long as the Mac ports. And that is to a platform with the same CPU architecture.

shamino
Jan 27, 2006, 04:10 PM
DirectX.
OpenGL.
And these differences remain regardless of the processor architecture.

Of course, Windows games could be written with OpenGL, despite the fact that Microsoft tries discourage this.

IIRC, many publishers (like Id) chose to develop with OpenGL on Windows even after DirectX was invented. (I don't know how many of them still do, however.)

jhu
Jan 27, 2006, 04:29 PM
IIRC, many publishers (like Id) chose to develop with OpenGL on Windows even after DirectX was invented. (I don't know how many of them still do, however.)

you mean only one major game developer used and is still using opengl for graphics (ie id).

bugfaceuk
Jan 30, 2006, 03:56 AM
you mean only one major game developer used and is still using opengl for graphics (ie id).

I think it is a "little" (read tiny tiny tiny) better than that in that several major game developers use iD's engines. But you are right, Unreal and Source are both DirectX only I think.

I assume given that Unreal is available on OS-X that's it's not that big a job to convert. More important that DirectX etc is the middleware developers for me (those that provide a common platform for developers so that they can release on PC, XBox, PS2, Gamecube). If they have OS-X versions of their middleware, then the whole "should we release on an intel Mac" question becomes a whole lot easier to answer.

Does anyone know how many of the middleware platforms are ported to OS-X?

Timepass
Jan 30, 2006, 08:53 AM
Oh I think it will be easier to port once apple is fully on intel. A good example to look at is look how many more games are port over to linux that never make it to the mac.

Also gaming hurt some what on apple because of apple habit of crippling there lower end computers with nonupgradible graphic card (an normally a middle of the road one as well). Also it also the fact apple just never really put much effort it seems into it. M$ releized earily on that games where going to be big on computer back when they started develping Dircet X. Mind you the first several verson where complete crap but by verson 8 and 9 it was really getting pretty nice. Also they bought a few of there own game delevoping compains and for the most part only became a finincal backer and just made sure games where made. They stayed out of a lot of there day to day operations. Apple on the other hand just never been as helpful to the gaming community. They never really tried delevpoling something for there system for companyies to use nor have they really tried to delevope there own games.

jhu
Jan 30, 2006, 03:14 PM
I think it is a "little" (read tiny tiny tiny) better than that in that several major game developers use iD's engines. But you are right, Unreal and Source are both DirectX only I think.

I assume given that Unreal is available on OS-X that's it's not that big a job to convert. More important that DirectX etc is the middleware developers for me (those that provide a common platform for developers so that they can release on PC, XBox, PS2, Gamecube). If they have OS-X versions of their middleware, then the whole "should we release on an intel Mac" question becomes a whole lot easier to answer.

Does anyone know how many of the middleware platforms are ported to OS-X?

yes, it's only a tiny bit better. basically any game that get's a non-windows port uses opengl for 3d graphics. so although that's still plenty of games, i think only id engine-based games use opengl exclusively. btw, is halo on mac opengl?

bousozoku
Jan 30, 2006, 03:21 PM
there is still the issue of completely different api between windows, linux, and os x.

The Linux and Mac OS X ports of UT2003/UT2004 use SDL for graphics, which helps to minimise the differences.

There is more trouble with audio and game controllers but when Apple finally finishes their rendition of OpenAL, the audio situation should improve.

jhu
Jan 30, 2006, 05:20 PM
The Linux and Mac OS X ports of UT2003/UT2004 use SDL for graphics, which helps to minimise the differences.

There is more trouble with audio and game controllers but when Apple finally finishes their rendition of OpenAL, the audio situation should improve.

sdl uses opengl for graphics. but sdl is also used for audio and input. i'm pretty sure that they sdl is used for such purposes.

bousozoku
Jan 30, 2006, 06:06 PM
sdl uses opengl for graphics. but sdl is also used for audio and input. i'm pretty sure that they sdl is used for such purposes.

UT2003/UT2004 uses OpenAL for audio. For that matter, this applies to the America's Army, too.

bugfaceuk
Jan 31, 2006, 05:36 AM
sdl uses opengl for graphics. but sdl is also used for audio and input. i'm pretty sure that they sdl is used for such purposes.

Oh I have been out of this market for too long, what is SDL?

MacBandit
Jan 31, 2006, 08:31 AM
Oh I have been out of this market for too long, what is SDL?

SDL is a game specific programing language.

http://www.gameprogrammer.com/sdl.html

jhu
Jan 31, 2006, 10:59 AM
Oh I have been out of this market for too long, what is SDL?

it's a cross-platform (http://www.libsdl.org/index.php) multimedia library written in c but can be accessed by practically any language.

bugfaceuk
Jan 31, 2006, 11:03 AM
it's a cross-platform (http://www.libsdl.org/index.php) multimedia library written in c but can be accessed by practically any language.

It looks very cool, I've had a dig around the home page as well as firing up a couple of examples. Thanks for the pointers y'all