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View Full Version : So, any advice for new Mac gamer?


dogus1
Apr 1, 2004, 12:40 AM
Thanks for the response to my thread from yesterday! But, I was left still confused...

First, one unanswered question was the GPU situation? Do I have to do anything to make sure my ATI drivers are up-to-date, as I did in PC land, or are these updates handled automatically with Apple updates?

Second, one poster commented that the 15'' AL PB (whcih I have) is a fine gaming machine, but so far, I have only experienced failure! The UT2004 demo ran very poorly with options turned reasonably low, and even an older build like Jedi Academy demo ran poorly on very modest 16-bit graphics, with detail set to medium. I have 512 RAM, which I would think adequate for gaming purposes. I would serioulsy consider upgrading if there I was given reason to believe that it would seriously assist my gaming prospects!

Thrid, can something be wrong with my comptuer? The confidence others have shown make me wonder my otherwise kickass, brand new machine isn't up to the task! It can't even keep up with the $1000 PC I built in November 2002!

Any advise -- I see BF1942 is coming ,and I'd hope this PB could handle a 2-year old game!

Darwin
Apr 1, 2004, 05:02 AM
For the drivers Apple usually takes care of that so you will get those in OS updates

As for the games sometimes it needs more tweaking on Mac then you would need to on a PC, i would experiment on the settings because sometimes for example I find that Higher rez is better, higher bit colour etc.

In the games world the Macs tend to get beaten by the PCs. This isn't always the Macs fault because you get some games that are released with bugs and not fully optimized. You have a nice machine there but keep a hold of the PC because for now the PC world is beating us in this battle.

Hopefully not for too long :(

Palad1
Apr 1, 2004, 06:40 AM
Thanks for the response to my thread from yesterday! But, I was left still confused...

Second, one poster commented that the 15'' AL PB (whcih I have) is a fine gaming machine, but so far, I have only experienced failure! The UT2004 demo ran very poorly with options turned reasonably low, and even an older build like Jedi Academy demo ran poorly on very modest 16-bit graphics, with detail set to medium. I have 512 RAM, which I would think adequate for gaming purposes. I would serioulsy consider upgrading if there I was given reason to believe that it would seriously assist my gaming prospects!


Please keep in mind that running a game in a resolution different from your PB's native resolution will just kill the perfs.

So whereas on a PC you were assured to get higher FPS in q3 by selecting 640x480 over 1024x768, on a Mac you will just add more stress on the GPU by using a non-native resolution.

++
PaLaD1

dogus1
Apr 1, 2004, 10:46 AM
Well, then what is a native resolution, and what is it for my PB? Is it simply the resolution I have the OS set to? I guess I can't comprehend how raising the resolution to 1280 x 854 could possibly raise (or, more accurately, not deplete) my framerate. That is an insanely high resolution for even a good computer when playing games like new FPSs.

Darwin
Apr 1, 2004, 11:04 AM
Well, then what is a native resolution, and what is it for my PB? Is it simply the resolution I have the OS set to? I guess I can't comprehend how raising the resolution to 1280 x 854 could possibly raise (or, more accurately, not deplete) my framerate. That is an insanely high resolution for even a good computer when playing games like new FPSs.

The native resolution is what the OS uses, but maybe you can test out the different sizes. It may be hard to understand, I too wonder sometimes but I have noticed that putting up the rez can improve the performance. I've heard it has something to do with the graphics card being under pressure to squash the screen to a lower rez. Still I guess you need to experiment with different resolutions but try raising the rez and see if it helps.

wrldwzrd89
Apr 1, 2004, 11:25 AM
The native resolution is what the OS uses, but maybe you can test out the different sizes. It may be hard to understand, I too wonder sometimes but I have noticed that putting up the rez can improve the performance. I've heard it has something to do with the graphics card being under pressure to squash the screen to a lower rez. Still I guess you need to experiment with different resolutions but try raising the rez and see if it helps.
The native resolution (for LCDs, like the one in the PowerBook) is typically the highest resolution your OS will let you set it to; it is also the default resolution. The reason your performance drops as much as it does is because LCDs, unlike CRTs, can't scale to other resolutions by themselves. They need help from the OS to create an equivalent lower-resolution image, which is then sent to the graphics card for display at the LCD's native resolution. If you're at the native resolution, the scaling step is eliminated, reducing the load on the CPU and the graphics card.

crazzyeddie
Apr 1, 2004, 12:51 PM
Second, one poster commented that the 15'' AL PB (whcih I have) is a fine gaming machine, but so far, I have only experienced failure! The UT2004 demo ran very poorly with options turned reasonably low, and even an older build like Jedi Academy demo ran poorly on very modest 16-bit graphics, with detail set to medium.

The UT2004 demo has a very bad audio bug problem which makes it run horribly slow on any single processor machine. If you turn the audio completely off, you will see what I'm talking about... you will probably at least double your frames. Dual processor machines didnt suffer from the bug because the audio is handled by the second processor. However, the retail version of UT2004 has this bug fixed, so it is playable. I remember thinking the same thing you did, since i was running UT2004 on lowest everything and still getting less than 30fps... now I know why :D

Also, Jedi Knight 2 (retail) never ran particularly well on my Powerbook, but the updates to it made it playable. I know that Jedi Academy uses the same basic modified Quake3 engine for graphics, so it doesn't surprise me to hear what youre saying. However, Remember that a Demo version of a game is usually a 1.0 version at best... and the companies that make the Mac versions of the games usually release updaters at later times to get more speed out of those retail games.. but the demos are ignored since they make no money off of them.

Lastly, don't bother running games in 16-bit color. In almost every case, this slows down. The same generally applies to 16-bit textures, as the graphics cards made recently are all built to use 32-bit color and 32-bit textures. The major things that will slow your computer down to a crawl are FSAA and AF. Make SURE those are off, as the 9600M in your Powerbook won't play nice with them. FSAA may be usable in some games, but the Mac in general has no FSAA or AF support thats worth using. (This will soon hopefully change due to driver updates from ATI that will allow users of Radeon 8500 cards and up to force FSAA and AF, much like the PC ATI drivers let you do.)

blogo
Apr 2, 2004, 06:51 AM
Did you get a mac just to play games?

Dont Hurt Me
Apr 2, 2004, 07:24 AM
My best Advice is if you really want to game and you really want to do it on a Mac is you better get a G5. G4 is a poke, G4 is restricted,G4 cant feed the new video cards. thats about it. G4 and gaming will leave you wanting more.

wrldwzrd89
Apr 2, 2004, 07:38 AM
My best Advice is if you really want to game and you really want to do it on a Mac is you better get a G5. G4 is a poke, G4 is restricted,G4 cant feed the new video cards. thats about it. G4 and gaming will leave you wanting more.
Well, DHM, dogus1 has a 15" PowerBook G4, and there aren't any G5 PowerBooks available. Are you suggesting that dogus1 get a desktop G5? I'm not so sure that dogus1 would be willing to replace that Powerbook with a PowerMac.

Dont Hurt Me
Apr 2, 2004, 07:41 AM
thats one solution to the problem.

hugemullens
Apr 2, 2004, 07:41 AM
Aleinware Area 51. If your a gamer the macintosh is not the platform for you. :(

wrldwzrd89
Apr 2, 2004, 07:48 AM
Aleinware Area 51. If your a gamer the macintosh is not the platform for you. :(
You're absolutely right - if you want to play serious games on the computer, a PC will serve you better than a Mac ever will. Mac gaming has several things going against it right now: lack of ports to the platform, low-quality ports, hardware issues, and fear of supporting such a small market. It's sad, but that's the way the PC game market is these days.

3-22
Apr 2, 2004, 08:19 AM
Thanks for the response to my thread from yesterday! But, I was left still confused...

First, one unanswered question was the GPU situation? Do I have to do anything to make sure my ATI drivers are up-to-date, as I did in PC land, or are these updates handled automatically with Apple updates?

Second, one poster commented that the 15'' AL PB (whcih I have) is a fine gaming machine, but so far, I have only experienced failure! The UT2004 demo ran very poorly with options turned reasonably low, and even an older build like Jedi Academy demo ran poorly on very modest 16-bit graphics, with detail set to medium. I have 512 RAM, which I would think adequate for gaming purposes. I would serioulsy consider upgrading if there I was given reason to believe that it would seriously assist my gaming prospects!

Thrid, can something be wrong with my comptuer? The confidence others have shown make me wonder my otherwise kickass, brand new machine isn't up to the task! It can't even keep up with the $1000 PC I built in November 2002!

Any advise -- I see BF1942 is coming ,and I'd hope this PB could handle a 2-year old game!

Macs are great, but for gaming they are a little lacking. If you're a serious gamer it's probably more cost effective to keep a PC around just for that purpose. Buying a G5 for gaming seems like a waste of money, unless you have lots of it. The G4 with it's bandwidth and other limitation will never be a killer gaming system compared to a lower cost PC. This isn't entirely the hardware's fault, a lot of the these games come from PC and the developer spends months/years optimizing that engine for that platform. A mac conversion may not get as much fine tuning and will be poorly optimized for the mac's hardware. I play games rarely, and if I do lately it's more on my PS2. (but that's me)

If you do game on your G4 you may want to look up some articles on optimizng for speed. Turning off un-needed services, virus scanners, etc. to free up the CPU. I'd imagine you still be limited by a laptop video card though.

As far as someones recommendation on it being a "fine gaming system", I'd take that with a big grain of salt. To each there own, and they may have a completly different level of expection then you. To my wife, the G5 is a fine gaming system cause she can play solitaire (yeah, I know), and my son is happy with his G3/266 cause he can play Sesame Street with no problm.

benpatient
Apr 2, 2004, 10:18 AM
i have nothing to add really...just wanted to say that you're SOL if you were hoping your mac would be a "fine" gaming system...

it's good for other stuff...

not so much for games that have been released since the 90s....

crazzyeddie
Apr 2, 2004, 02:08 PM
i have nothing to add really...just wanted to say that you're SOL if you were hoping your mac would be a "fine" gaming system...

it's good for other stuff...

not so much for games that have been released since the 90s....

I completely disagree with that. Macs are fine for people who game semi-regularly. If you're that much of a game addict who has 4+ hours a day to devote entirely to games, then yeah, you might want to get a PC... and also get a life. Macs have quite a few games... all of which are the best PC games, none of the trash that you commonly see on the PC side. Just look at the Mac gaming lineup, its all of the best selling PC games.

Frohickey
Apr 2, 2004, 02:42 PM
Ditto on the poor performance of ported games. Usually, its because of time constraints in the porting. Sure, the engineers over at Westlake Interactive do a good job, but they have time pressures coming from their clients. Plus, its not like all game source code is well documented as received from the client.

I like Pangea software titles and Ambrosia software titles. Brian Greenstone and Andrew Welch do not make any bones that they like the Mac first, and code on the Mac first. :D

We used to have another company like that, but alas, they were assimilated by the Dark Side... ever heard of Bungie? :mad:

Darwin
Apr 2, 2004, 03:30 PM
We used to have another company like that, but alas, they were assimilated by the Dark Side... ever heard of Bungie?

Ah yes and they came out with that game, Halo, I remember that game, I heard that it worked quite well on a G3 during its Alpha or something until it was taken over by M$ and then it just got messed up.

Don't know if thats true or not, won't be surprised if it was :(

benpatient
Apr 2, 2004, 05:38 PM
on a G3?

you heard funny.

crazyeddie, i'm sorry you disagree with me...i play about, on average 3-4 hours of games a WEEK.

your statement that the best-selling games all get ported to Macs is A. not true and B. if it were, would actually be a negative comment.

aside from Blizzard, who has always been mac-friendly, and iD who has always been oGL friendly, and the Unreal team, which likes to make their engine run on EVERY OS just to show that they can...who actually regularly goes Mac with their games?

They are almost all ports, and almost always shoddy or slow or both.

The only positive gaming experiences I've ever had on a mac were Q3 and StarCraft.

Both of those played exactly like their PC counterparts...and performance was about the same, as well.

as to your statement about "best selling" games getting ported, i would like to suggest that this isn't necessarily a good thing. A LOT of best-selling games are actually fairly crappy games, and a lot of the best games are never best-sellers.

Name a modern game that benefits from Apple's hardware/software, and is thus demonstrably BETTER than it's PC equivalent....there isn't one.

some of the best PC games never get on "best seller" lists...and certainly don't come out on Mac...ever hear of the Wheel of Time game based on robert jordan's series? That game ruled...it was even based on the unreal engine...but it didn't have enough of a following to make it to the Mac.


It's easy to support an argument that the only reason to play games on a Mac is if you don't have a PC. I can do it with two words:

Half Life.

or two more: Counter Strike.

show me a better game short of mario 3, and I'll let you borrow my PC to prove you wrong.

please understand that i AM a gamer, and not a terribly serious one, but I know quite a lot about comptuer hardware and software in general, and a pretty good bit about most games out there, and I'm typing this on a dual 1.8 G5, so i'm well aware of the advantages of Apple computers...but gaming is NOT a strong suit. It is, in a word, embarrassing.