Is Mac Gaming capabilities THAT bad? I don't think so...

Discussion in 'Games' started by Soulstorm, Apr 1, 2005.

  1. Soulstorm macrumors 68000


    Feb 1, 2005
    Since almost everyone is looking at the bad aspects of mac gaming, I will try to look at the good points for a change...

    Lets look at the facts. What is the problem?
    1)Not every game is released for mac. Mac lacks great titles such as half life...
    2)Every game that is released for the mac, lacks the performance than an equivalent PC offers.

    My opinion about these facts:
    1)Sure, that is true. But when you buy a mac, you must accept the fact that games will not play an important role in your "digital life". You agree (silently) that you buy a mac to do your job, and that you are a casual gamer. No one buys a Mac to play games. Also, the majority of successful titles are released for the Mac platform, even with delays.

    2)Yes, and no. It is true that Mac OS X lacks the drivers it needs to run games as fast as windows counterparts. But:
    Differences between platforms are not that great. We lose a 5% per game (excluding doom 3, which I will analyze later). Also, fps numbers and overall performance would have substantialy been improved if every company who ports games from PC's to Macs sat down and REALLY did their best.

    Also, some miss one great point: Do you know that a port in a certain platform will almost never be identical in performance as the original platform the game was released for? We see this into PS2 titles who were ported from PC's, in titles who were ported from PS2 and XBox to PC's... Or perhaps you thought that IF a port from a game originally released for the OS X would run with the same performance in windows? No, it would be slower.

    I have seen games designed in Mac from the ground up, and they perform much better than one would expect, considering their graphics.

    As for Doom 3... First of all I must say that the port is ROCK SOLID! Really, I haven't seen any game released (for both mac and pc's) that is so stable, and has no bugs at all at the initial release version! Really, Aspyr has done a great job.

    As for doom 3 performance. Come on guys, just because we cannot run the game at medium with decent performance with a 1.25 GHz computer doesn't mean that this is a problem!! Tell me, how many of you have seen a PC of 1.25 GHz with an ATI Radeon 9600 running doom 3? I haven't seen any, because they can't. But guess what? A mac can run it, and it is playable, and it doesn't crash at all! Speaking of crashing...

    Games in mac hardly never crash. And unexpected program behaviours such as those who exist in PC's are eliminated (due to the stability of the OS).

    So, is gaming for mac really that bad? I know I've been using macs 9 years now, and to be honest I have felt many times the urge to buy a PC just for games (I am 19 years old, so you see that gaming was kind of important to me) but then I realized that it would be useless, since all games I have bought so far, run on my dual G4 (I will exclude my dual g5 from the article-this machine is normal to play everything with decent performance)! And most of them are playable in my DV 400 MHZ including Return to castle wolfenstein (although I have to turn many options down-But quake 3 is really playable in the iMac DV)! Have you ever seen anything like that happening in pc's?

    I know I haven't.

    No, I am not saying that Mac gaming is perfect. But it is certainly better than we all think...
  2. budpam macrumors member


    Jul 18, 2002
    I agree.

    On my single processor 1.8 GHz G5 I am pretty competitive in the online games I play(RTCW, RTCW-ET, UT2003, MOA-Spearhead), and I know I am playing against PC Gamers as well as other Macs. I think the importance of squeezing every single frame per second out of your game is overstated, and that's why PC's are considered so much better for gaming. If you have good reflexes and alot of skill, I believe you can be competetive with PC gamers.
  3. HiRez macrumors 603


    Jan 6, 2004
    Western US
    You forgot 3) Games for the Mac are often many months to years (yes, years) later than their PC equivalent, and are usually charged at a steep price premium in this situation. It's not uncommon for a Mac game to be selling for $50+ (full retail) while the PC version of the same exact game is a few isles away in the same store for $19. Yeah, I know a great game should still be worth its price, but it makes me feel like crap when I see that anyway.

    On the framerates, I think you underestimate the difference. I'd say average framerates are 15%-35% slower in most cases, at average resolutions and with effects actually on (I don't think it's useful to say "You can just get your Mac framerates up by turning all the effects down", that's part of the game).

    Finally, I disagree somewhat that games are more crashproof on the Mac, as I've had quite a few stability issues with them compared to your average Mac app. OS X itself it quite stable, but I've had my share of problems with RTCW, NOLF2, WoW, MoH, and others. Just last night my cursor disappeared in WoW, so I logged off and quit the app. Not only was the WoW cursor gone, but now so was my Mac cursor. I slept the machine and woke it up and tried every trick I know to get the cursor back, no dice. So I had to reboot OS X to restore the stinkin' cursor! And it's not that I have a corrupt machine, I play games on multiple Macs, all kept in what I like to think is top condition.

    I appreciate your assertion that Mac gaming isn't as bad as many say it is (it's not). Not having the lamer games ported doesn't bother me at all, and many games are being released either closer to the PC version or sometimes simultaneously (Blizzard). But it's got a long way to go be be truly equal as well. Hopefully Apple's new "improve OpenGL" initiative will address some concerns.
  4. JeDiBoYTJ macrumors 6502a


    Jun 22, 2004
    Ft. Lauderdale, FL
    I agree. Mac Gaming is not as bad as people make it out to be. I would like to see someone run Doom 3 on a 1.5ghz CELERON or Pentium M laptop. ;)
  5. gallivant macrumors member

    Dec 14, 2004
    First off, yes, the Mac gaming selection is horrible. It has a couple of decent ports, but that's all.

    As for Doom performance: Only the very top end of the Mac line can handle Doom 3 even acceptably. I can buy a $1500 Dell that'll handle it at higher resolution, quality, and speed than a $3000 Power Mac. Don't jump at me and tlel me how much Dells suck; I'm a Mac user for a reason. But gaming ain't it.
  6. Eevee macrumors 6502a


    Aug 10, 2004
    New Haven, CT
    You go Soulstorm!

    I was playing Halo mulitplayer one time and someone had to quit to reboot his PC because it was as he stated "acting up!" Later on, the same thing happen to another guy! I have never had this problem before on my PB.

    And being a smart @$$ at the moment, I wrote "Maybe you both should get a mac."

    Afterwards, I had a nice Slayer matchup with the PC people! :cool:

    Guess PCs are not that stable compare to Macs, even in games.
  7. Soulstorm thread starter macrumors 68000


    Feb 1, 2005
    I don't think Apple is planning on making it equal... I think it plans on making it similar, but not equal. Let's not forget that every time apple is making something new, they take care of making something completely different than the others.

    What I mean is... That apple would say in this situation "We do not sell consoles. What we sell is top-notch operating system, packaged with a hardware specifically designed to perform better with this OS. If you want to play games, try a PC"

    And they will be right. To my perception, Apple, from the very beggining of its existence, always tries to fill the gaps that other companies cannon fill.

    People wanted portable music: Apple creates iPod.
    People need a stable OS: Apple creates OS X.
    People need fast and reliable machines: Apple creates g5.

    But people do not need games. They do not need them, because they have them, at a more affordable price than a Mac's!

    So Apple is upgrading OpenGL just because many people want to see them doing it. If it was entirely up to them, they wouldn't update graphics drivers until the new functions of the OS demanded that.
  8. 7on macrumors 601


    Nov 9, 2003
    Dress Rosa
    Not to mention Apple's drivers specifically are written to enhance 2 dimensional programs. If there is something they could do to speed up 3D, but at a loss to 2D performance, Apple won't do it. Apple's thousands of loyal graphic designers that stuck by Apple in the 90s probably appreciate it too.

    My theory has been basically if the game is only one file that you drag to the harddrive, then it is a really good port.
  9. Mord macrumors G4


    Aug 24, 2003
    a few have found that the mac radeon cards are far more similar to there fire gl counterparts, a fire gl x3 flashes to a mac x800 XT fine but a radeon has issues, fire gl's have a trade off to improve rendering in both 3D and 2D but it sacrafices games, look at some articals about flashing a radeon to a fire gl and you will see how it works.

    also dude why do you have a 9200 in your MDD? thats a PCI card unless you have a 9000 not a 9200 or you have a flashed 9200 AGP which are rare ass and needed by cube owners.
  10. cubist macrumors 68020

    Jul 4, 2002
    Muncie, Indiana
    Soulstorm, I was wondering about that too. I suppose the 2.5 is a dual also.
  11. BrianKonarsMac macrumors 65816

    Apr 28, 2004
    i don't care what anyone says, until a mac is capable of replacing a pc as a serious gaming machine, macs suck for gaming. sure they can play games (which is good cause i wouldn't own a mac if it couldn't run wow) but we can't use many of the special graphic effects, etc. which a pc user can. sure the mac can RUN the game, but i'd like to see some comparable performance, not 50% of the PC's speed with ALL SETTINGS OFF!...

    my favorite is "well turning it from low settings to maxed doesn't effect my performance" well duh...cuz your computer can't handle the max settings so they don't take effect.
  12. Soulstorm thread starter macrumors 68000


    Feb 1, 2005
    Actually, this computer is most used by my father (he produces music...). And he has bought an extra card for his mac. Last time I opened the machine (3-4 months ago, to test benchmarks for UT2004 just by curiosity) I think I saw 9200. I will check it out again.

    And yes, of course the G5 2.5 is dual processor!

    Seriously... I think your post suffers from a bit of hyperbole... When you are talking about 50% decrease in performance you must be talking about WOW or halo(which are 2 examples of how crappy a programming can be) and not anything else, right?

    And macs CAN show all special effects, as pc's can if the card supports it. You see, in PC's if you turn on all special options while your card does not fully support all of them, the game will crash. While in Mac, special options will be disabled if the card is too slow. This is not my idea of "pc's that can handle ALL special effects". Just because you can turn them on in pc's, doesn't mean they will perform nice.
  13. Mav451 macrumors 68000


    Jul 1, 2003

    I am appalled at the amount of FUD in that post. Why don't you try posting that in a legitimate hardware forum like ArsTech or [H] and see what they think of your view?
  14. Bigheadache macrumors 6502

    Mar 1, 2004
    LOL read this paragraph again

    You say Macs can support all special effects (first line)
    Then you say special options will be disabled if the card is too slow.

    Back on topic, I'd say that there are some really well written games on the Mac. But then the majority of games, for various reasons, are just crappy ports which perform appallingly and arrive on market late.

    BTw I think there is alot of FUD in this thread, refer Soulstorm on OpenGL and 7on's posts. So you are saying pro users won't get any benefits from OpenGL improvements? Focus on 2D quality? LOL I don't use any high end apps myself, but off the top of my head here are some 'pro' Mac apps where 'pro' users might like OpenGL 3D improvements:
    Maya, Shake, Motion, Adobe After Effects
  15. Soulstorm thread starter macrumors 68000


    Feb 1, 2005
    Sorry, but what does "FUD" mean??

    And for god's shake, I didn't say that pro users do not benefit from opengl 3d improvements. Sure they do. Nor did I say that apple focuses on 2d graphics. 7on said that and I don't agree with him.
  16. andrewfee macrumors 6502

    Aug 29, 2004
    The selection of games on Macs isn't as bad as some people would have you believe, but the performance really is poor in comparison.

    I have an old Athlon 1400MHz System with a 64mb GeForce 4MX in it, and I get better framerates in WoW on it than I did with my 20" iMac G5 w/1gb RAM, or my brand new 17" Powerbook.

    I'm hoping that the 2gb RAM I've got on the way for the Powerbook will improve things, and I'm hearing Tiger significantly improves game performance. If it doesn't go up by at least 10 fps, then I'll be cancelling my WoW account.

    As for effects; up until the latest patch for WoW (just released last week) many of the options were either disabled, or didn't work correctly. The "full screen glow effect" was adding a lot of aliasing, and made the game look like it was running at a lower than native resolution. Thankfully this now looks like it should with the latest patch, however it cuts my framerate by two-thirds when enabling it. (on both PCs I've used it on, it only drops by about 5-10 fps and they are NOT good systems)

    I'm expecting better performance out of Doom 3 on the Powerbook with its Radeon 9700 Mobility compared to my old PC's Radeon 8500 though.

    Even if I have to run it at 640x480 I won't mind, as long as I can get a good framerate. (I'll probably pick it up with Tiger)
  17. Soulstorm thread starter macrumors 68000


    Feb 1, 2005

    It is well known that WOW is an example of crappy programming for OS X. You should not take this game seriously when it comes to performance
  18. Santaduck macrumors 6502a


    Oct 21, 2003
    for arstechnica types:

    who knows more about where the openGL drivers dwell in OS X vs. in XP? Apparently that's where some of the ceiling inefficiencies are, as an app can't command 'all' of openGL, since OS X reach deeply into everything...

    For some reason I'm getting the impression that coordination between the video card mfgs & Apple isn't as easy as on the Windows side since OS X will handle openGL before sending everything along the the video card drivers. Also, is there a reason we aren't getting special optizations for OpenGL for specific apps from NVIDIA/ATI?

    Soulstorm: for your point1 about titles, you really should mention one increasingly important issue, which is middleware. If that doesn't get ported, the games that depend upon them won't either.
  19. Mord macrumors G4


    Aug 24, 2003
    blizzard has done a good job with WoW, it runs fine on my dual 450MHz cube (radeon 7500) at about 15-20fps all settings low at 1024x768, the only issue was poor 6800 drivers, it's not as good as the pc one but it's still a good job as ports go.
  20. DavidLeblond macrumors 68020


    Jan 6, 2004
    Raleigh, NC
    Fear Uncertainty Doubt. For a good example of FUD turn on the news. It's how they operate. It's also how our (USA) government operates. ;)

    Actually I'm pretty sure Tiger/Core Video/Core Image requires a beefier OpenGL for its new eyecandy. Games running more smoothly using it may just be a bonus.
  21. Soulstorm thread starter macrumors 68000


    Feb 1, 2005
    I live in greece, so this terminology does not apply for me, that's why I didn't know the "FUD's" meaning. For us, it is, "φόβος, αβεβαιότητα, αμφιβολία"... :) :p :D

    As for Tiger... We will see how it handles graphics... It's release may not be too far.
  22. andrewfee macrumors 6502

    Aug 29, 2004
    Well seeing as it's the only game on Macs (aside from Doom 3) that I want to play, it's the only one that matters to me.

    Strange, because I'm getting close to this on my Powerbook, although it does seem to love thrashing away at my hard drive; I'm hoping that when this 2gb RAM arrives it'll help speed things up.
  23. Mord macrumors G4


    Aug 24, 2003
    120GB 7200RPM seagate, + 1.5GB ram. :cool:

    but my gpu dose not support any shaders, so i may get a boost there

    i just did deadmines btw phew, it was hard, i'm a lvl 17 priest
  24. scem0 macrumors 604


    Jul 16, 2002
    back in NYC!
    There really is no competition between Macs and PCs when it comes to gaming, IMO. If you are serious about gaming, and don't want to pay for the top of the line G5, a PC half its price or less will play the game just as well.

    5% difference? I want to know where your source is for that statistic? I highly doubt the validity of such a statement.

    Probably my favorite instance in the game :). Great drops and a good layout to the instance. I suggest doing it a bunch of times between now and level 25.

  25. sakura macrumors newbie


    Mar 29, 2005

Share This Page