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Old Nov 30, 2012, 11:03 PM   #1
s.horsfield
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The State of Mac Gaming - Feral, Aspyr and Others

The State of Mac Gaming

This is more of an experience post, of me just wanting to share thoughts in relation to Mac gaming and native ports.

Over the years I've bought a bunch of games and if I I'll always buy games from Mac publishers (Feral or Asypr usually) if I can

Feral in my experience usually has had excellent ports. Usually running at near PC performance, which seems to be no small feat. I'd happily pay double, triple even, because I love the work they do SO MUCH. They also seem to have a habit of porting my favourite games, which is another great thing. I read this forum on a regular basis and have had many of my annoying questions answered by Eddeduck (Feral employee) and have a better understanding of how it all works thanks to them. Mafia ii was the only port they've done i've ever had issues with but as far as i'm aware that wasn't really their fault

In terms of Aspyr I have far less knowledge about and i've only bought a few of their titles, but i've never read ANYTHING positive about the work they do. Comparing some of their titles to Wine ports (which is sadly believable in my experience). Duke Nukem ran terribly, RAGE had texture issues, Black Ops I hear has issues. COD 4 I bought for $11 a few weeks ago and it runs flawlessly so props to them for that. However that could be down to the age of the game, but I don't know

I'm curious to know what the expected margins are for a graphically intensive AAA title from a Mac porting house

Rockstar ports have been fine, apparently being Wine versions but for those games it really doesn't matter due to their age. EA is apparently the same but I don't know. I do wish more Mac games took advantage of proper full screen mode in Lion.

From what i've been reading it seems Apple may be to blame for having not always PC level performance. (http://bit.ly/ao44Ui). From what i've seen the latest fully supported version of Open Gl is 2.1 which came out in 2006, 3.0 (2008?) is 95% supported, 3.1 a quarter, 3.2 70%, 3.3 10%, 4 and above (mean't to rival Direct X 11 in performance) isn't supported at all. Which seems crazy! What is Apple doing? I could understand them being a version behind for stability but being years behind doesn't really make much sense.

Overall i'm very thankful to Feral and Aspyr for doing the great work they do on OS X!

Thanks!

Last edited by s.horsfield; Nov 30, 2012 at 11:52 PM. Reason: Added a sentence
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Old Dec 1, 2012, 05:14 AM   #2
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Feral's work is second to none, indeed - their versions are always top-performing.

Another positive example is Virtual Programming; they also do an excellent job that should be rewarded by Mac customers.
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Old Dec 1, 2012, 09:34 AM   #3
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Aspyr has been a mixed bag, but both Borderlands 2 and Duke Nukem is running close to perfect for me.
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Old Dec 1, 2012, 02:34 PM   #4
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I really like what all of these companies are doing for Mac gaming in general. For all of us who do not want to use Bootcamp or build a gaming PC. There really are a lot of us Mac gamers who just want to game on our native OSX and these companies are trying their best to work with OSX and Apple hardware to get it right.
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Old Dec 1, 2012, 02:51 PM   #5
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Gotta give some props to Valve too, I play counter strike on OSX almost every day even though I have Windows installed for other games.

I am glad these companies are porting to OSX though I think it'd great that these games are reaching more and more people, I just wish apple actually took gaming seriously.
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Old Dec 1, 2012, 03:08 PM   #6
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Personally, I have no experience with any of these major game studios - for the simple reason that I never got into the kinds of games they make, and I prefer writing my own anyhow. XD
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Old Dec 1, 2012, 03:09 PM   #7
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Although I wish success to porting houses, I will never be buying a Mac game ever again. Windows is so much better for gaming: the hardware and software simply isn't there on the Mac side.
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Old Dec 1, 2012, 07:02 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by Wardenski View Post
Although I wish success to porting houses, I will never be buying a Mac game ever again. Windows is so much better for gaming: the hardware and software simply isn't there on the Mac side.
Hence the catch-22 A lot of Developers want to see better sales numbers on OSX before they will recognize OSX as a major gaming platform. They simply cannot see putting any resources into any OSX development due to a smaller user base and lower sales. But because of the limited hardware and driver support on OSX, a lot of consumers (players) do not want to buy OSX native games. This can be for many reasons.... Sometimes higher prices for the same game, later release dates than PC, less optimization or bad performance on OSX or even hardware woes such as steering wheel support which is something I have dealt with for many years being a sim racer on OSX.

I think the Mac App Store has done some good by bringing some attention to OSX for gaming. But the flip-side of that is that a lot of the games created for the Mac App Store are not close to AAA titles and more casual in nature. Also, sites like Steam and the Mac Game Store have apps that let you purchase and play games in seconds. This does help also.

I am a believer in buying OSX native games. I also developed my own racing game for OSX because I love the OS. I want OSX to be a great gaming platform. Though I truly believe we are a long way off!

Again, this is simply my opinion and everyone has their own, especially when it comes to Macs for gaming I just hope that companies like Feral, Aspyr and others keep up the good work and keep making the Mac platform a more viable gaming platform with every release.
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Old Dec 1, 2012, 07:37 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by JaguarGod View Post
Hence the catch-22 A lot of Developers want to see better sales numbers on OSX before they will recognize OSX as a major gaming platform. They simply cannot see putting any resources into any OSX development due to a smaller user base and lower sales. But because of the limited hardware and driver support on OSX, a lot of consumers (players) do not want to buy OSX native games. This can be for many reasons.... Sometimes higher prices for the same game, later release dates than PC, less optimization or bad performance on OSX or even hardware woes such as steering wheel support which is something I have dealt with for many years being a sim racer on OSX.
Exactamundo dude. I don't see this situation changing anytime soon hence why I believe gaming in OSX is a lost cause.
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Old Dec 1, 2012, 09:11 PM   #10
s.horsfield
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I also want Mac gaming to improve. It's a hell of a lot better than it was and although not all ports run perfectly I'm still glad their out there. Valve deserves props too, they have done a great job porting there games to OS X. Although I do wish Apple would push the envelope with Open GL and other technologies a bit more. What they seem to be doing now is abysmal. The devs taking a chance with OS X I want to thank so much for what there doing. Valve, Aspyr, EA, Rockstar, Feral and all the others I can't think of off the top of my head. Thanks!
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Old Dec 1, 2012, 10:23 PM   #11
JaguarGod
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Originally Posted by Wardenski View Post
Exactamundo dude. I don't see this situation changing anytime soon hence why I believe gaming in OSX is a lost cause.
All I can ask in your case is to not give up. I understand your frustration along with many other Mac users and game players. I am a bit older, almost 40, and have been using Macs since the early 90's and I have seen the Mac gaming scene go from OK in the early days, to absolutely abysmal. But now I see a bit of a change. Yes, OSX is still way behind, but I really think it is starting to turn upward. I think we are 'slowly but surely' creeping along to creating a Mac friendly gaming world.
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Old Dec 2, 2012, 05:36 AM   #12
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From what i've been reading it seems Apple may be to blame for having not always PC level performance. (http://bit.ly/ao44Ui). From what i've seen the latest fully supported version of Open Gl is 2.1 which came out in 2006, 3.0 (2008?) is 95% supported, 3.1 a quarter, 3.2 70%, 3.3 10%, 4 and above (mean't to rival Direct X 11 in performance) isn't supported at all. Which seems crazy! What is Apple doing? I could understand them being a version behind for stability but being years behind doesn't really make much sense.
You are mistaken.
GL on OSX is (currently) at 3.2 core profile, with 4.1 support not too far away.

Also, the spec version has nothing to do with how fast an implementation performs.
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Old Dec 2, 2012, 06:16 AM   #13
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You are mistaken.
GL on OSX is (currently) at 3.2 core profile, with 4.1 support not too far away.

Also, the spec version has nothing to do with how fast an implementation performs.
That is only true for programs that "opt into" the new OpenGL stack. Doing this makes them incompatible with older OS X versions, though.
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Old Dec 2, 2012, 06:43 AM   #14
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That is only true for programs that "opt into" the new OpenGL stack. Doing this makes them incompatible with older OS X versions, though.
Of course it does. That's how it's designed.
If you want to use 3.2 core profile, you have to write for 3.2 core profile. This is true on any platform.
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Old Dec 2, 2012, 08:35 AM   #15
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Originally Posted by JaguarGod View Post
All I can ask in your case is to not give up. I understand your frustration along with many other Mac users and game players. I am a bit older, almost 40, and have been using Macs since the early 90's and I have seen the Mac gaming scene go from OK in the early days, to absolutely abysmal. But now I see a bit of a change. Yes, OSX is still way behind, but I really think it is starting to turn upward. I think we are 'slowly but surely' creeping along to creating a Mac friendly gaming world.
I really don't care if the Mac gaming scene gets worse, its not worthy of my money despite the best efforts of people on here to persuade me otherwise.

Direct X is king and I do not see that changing soon but perhaps Steam for Linux is a sign.
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Old Dec 2, 2012, 11:18 AM   #16
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I really don't care if the Mac gaming scene gets worse, its not worthy of my money despite the best efforts of people on here to persuade me otherwise.

Direct X is king and I do not see that changing soon but perhaps Steam for Linux is a sign.
Well, I am not trying to persuade you to spend your money on Mac native games. I am simply saying not to rule it out for the future. That is all.

And yes, DirectX is a big reason for the discrepancy in gaming. Every developer I have dealt with that programs on the Windows side loves DirectX tech. The results that can be achieved with a seasoned programmer are outstanding. OSX is lacking in this department and needs some new blood somehow.
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Old Dec 2, 2012, 01:49 PM   #17
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I am a casual gamer, so I have been enjoying a lot of the games in the Mac App Store. I have absolutely no desire to run Windows on my Mac, so I don't care about games released for that platform.

I also like quick, fun games. I can't be bothered with long, complex type games that require lots of attention or high end graphics cards.

So, for me, that's already quite a lot of fun games on the Mac App Store. I think there are also some on Steam, but I've moved away from that. I just like to get mine from the Mac App Store.

Thanks to all the developers and porters who bring games to the Mac. For games like me, there's a great selection available already.

Edit: And for the developers who don't think the Mac is worth developing for, you've lost money that you could have gotten from me. Mac users tend to have money to buy games with, so by not developing for us you are losing out on the financially high end of the gaming market.
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Old Dec 2, 2012, 03:18 PM   #18
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Thought I'd also point out Turbine (LotRO) and also Guild Wars 2. Whilst they might not match the frame rates/graphics of the windows version, along with the other games mentioned, I am on the verge of deleting my bootcamp partition.
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Old Dec 2, 2012, 04:03 PM   #19
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Also I think you might have to (cough) praise Blizzard for dual releasing all it's games on PC and mac, cf Warcraft, Starcraft, Diablo etc.
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Old Dec 3, 2012, 09:49 AM   #20
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Originally Posted by mrsimonwins View Post
I read this forum on a regular basis and have had many of my annoying questions answered by Eddeduck (Feral employee) and have a better understanding of how it all works thanks to them.
Glad my comments help

I remember when I was the one asking the questions and getting no answers so when I swapped sides from gamer to game maker I thought I would help answer the "why does this happen" questions.

Quote:
Originally Posted by mrsimonwins View Post
Mafia ii was the only port they've done i've ever had issues with but as far as i'm aware that wasn't really their fault
It's not completely down to us, but we are not proud of the performance drop offs, we hope with the 10.8.3 patches and some spare time (it's super busy here with F1 2012 and Batman Arkham City right now) we can get a patch out in the new year for Mafia 2.

Edwin
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Old Dec 3, 2012, 02:38 PM   #21
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It's not completely down to us, but we are not proud of the performance drop offs, we hope with the 10.8.3 patches and some spare time (it's super busy here with F1 2012 and Batman Arkham City right now) we can get a patch out in the new year for Mafia 2.

Edwin
Is 10.8.3 supposed to bring substantial graphics improvements?
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Old Dec 3, 2012, 03:59 PM   #22
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Gaming is possible on OS X but far from ideal. Lack of up to date OpenGL drivers on OS X, porting houses and lack of interest from the majority of large game developers make it expensive and performance lacking in comparison to gaming on Windows.

I suppose Apple using laptop hardware to make their desktops doesn't help matters either. Shame.
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Old Dec 3, 2012, 04:08 PM   #23
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To me, the biggest middle finger Apple's flipped our way was the unceremonious removal of the Rosetta support from OS X Lion and onward. That move really shook this buyer's confidence in buying software. Now everytime I hear a rumor about Apple changing chipsets or even announcing a new OS, I don't get excited, I wonder how much of the stuff I bought is no longer going to work.

FWIW, my copy of Starcraft that I bought in 1998 still works great in Windows 95, 98, ME, 2000, XP, Vista, and 7. Haven't tried 8 yet.
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Old Dec 3, 2012, 04:52 PM   #24
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To me, the biggest middle finger Apple's flipped our way was the unceremonious removal of the Rosetta support from OS X Lion and onward. That move really shook this buyer's confidence in buying software. Now everytime I hear a rumor about Apple changing chipsets or even announcing a new OS, I don't get excited, I wonder how much of the stuff I bought is no longer going to work.

FWIW, my copy of Starcraft that I bought in 1998 still works great in Windows 95, 98, ME, 2000, XP, Vista, and 7. Haven't tried 8 yet.
Valid points, esp re Windows offering much longer compatibility for older software. These factors have likewise given me some cause for concern about sticking with Mac for gaming in future.

I easily imagine Apple abandoning support for even more OS X software in the years ahead, many of today's games included, if it hastens their progress toward greater iOS integration.
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Old Dec 3, 2012, 05:42 PM   #25
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Valid points, esp re Windows offering much longer compatibility for older software. These factors have likewise given me some cause for concern about sticking with Mac for gaming in future.

I easily imagine Apple abandoning support for even more OS X software in the years ahead, many of today's games included, if it hastens their progress toward greater iOS integration.
There were two points when major changes left a lot of games behind - the OS 9 to OS X transition and removal of PowerPC (Rosetta) emulation. Other than that it was just the odd title here and there with each 10.x release.

To be fair these days I have a lot of my old OS 9 and early OS X games back again via things like DOSbox and WINE and companies like GOG see the demand for these to be re-released for modern systems. You also have the Feral Legends range bringing some of best titles from the last 5 or so years that got missed.

Lately we seem to be getting more and more recent triple A titles as well so all in all after a lull around the Intel transition OS X gaming seems more promising to me.

At the end of the day you can have a lot of fun gaming on most modern Macs in OS X - enough to keep all but the real hardcore gamer satisfied really.
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