x86, PPC and..

Discussion in 'Games' started by RobHague, Jul 12, 2005.

  1. RobHague macrumors 6502

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    Jul 8, 2005
    #1
    Forgive my ignorance here possibly, but I have been giving something a lot of thought over the past few days and I haven’t though of a reasonable answer.

    If Apple transition over to Intel, with OSX running on x86 the software for Windows (Games) will still be needed to be ‘ported’ over to work in OSX… now PPC isn’t going anywhere so that would mean a games developer to support the Mac and PC would now have to do three versions of the game, one for Windows, one for OSX and one for PPC…

    I have heard about software being released that works on both Intel and PPC MACS but surely this will push software/games developers away from the Mac not towards it. They can either port to x86 only and lose most of the current user base, port to PPC only and neglect the “new” systems or just forget it and stick with PC which they know will be worth the investment.

    I don’t know what Apple intend to do with PPC, I for one would rather buy an Apple with a Gx PPC cpu of sorts rather than an x86 variant of an Intel. I have always seen Apple as a ‘true’ alternative to PC’s, not just a pretty OS but also different hardware – a different approach. Seems to me they will lose this when MacIntels become the dominant system.

    I pray that apple will keep selling PPC systems too! My personal preference is that id much rather upgrade 1-2years down the line to a G6-7 than some Intel based system. How can you justify the prices, the build quality will still be there im sure but what you have essentially is a PC in a MAC case. I can see hardcore PC users buying Mac’s so they can duel boot and have OSX and XP… and that means even less reason to develop for MAC OSX.. I can also see the x86 system being cracked at some point allowing it to run on non-apple hardware.. which will be bad news.

    Dual booting with XP has no appeal to me at all, im getting a Mac to get away from Windows not so I can use it again. The switch to Intel to me personally is just making me worry about future support for MAC OSX. Are new games and software developers really going to adopt Mac OSX knowing its changing to X86… will they want to develop their software for both x86 and PPC?? Think of the extra cost to target a smaller (and now scattered) amount of users compared to just making one for the PC that is compatible with ALL PC’s.

    :( Guess its too late in the game to hope Apple will rethink this choice. I hope they survive it, as a brand and as a company.
     
  2. strider42 macrumors 65816

    strider42

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    Feb 1, 2002
    #2
    Apple has a system in place where you write a program once, compile it once, and it produces binaries that will run on OS X on PPC or on intel. its pretty seamless to developers, and you ship one product that works on all systems.

    Don't get hung up on the processor. If intel can make faster cheaper processors, lets use them. OS X isn't changing.

    OS X getting cracked to run on intel may happen, but even if it did, its not going to be widespread. Its just going to be too difficult (and still illegal, so there wouldn't be clone makers or anything like that), and even then, OS X won't have the proper support for most hardware and it may run poorly on non apple machines if at all.

    It won't be that big a deal really.
     
  3. rainman::|:| macrumors 603

    rainman::|:|

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    Feb 2, 2002
    Location:
    iowa
    #3
    What do you mean PPC isn't going anywhere? It'll be a totally unsupported platform in just a few years. Many developers will refuse to support it once x86 Macs are shipping. No one wants another Classic on our hands, they'll be quick to make the transition.
     
  4. strider42 macrumors 65816

    strider42

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    Feb 1, 2002
    #4
    That's the whole point of universal binaries, it takes little extra effort to support both. developers will not drop support for PPC apps immediately. its gonna take some time. you don't screw the installed user base like that. plus its not like the whole product line is going to x86 at once. its going to take a bit of time to trickle through. they'll make the transition quickly, but the support for PPC will still be there as per apple's design.
     
  5. GFLPraxis macrumors 604

    GFLPraxis

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    Mar 17, 2004
    #5
    More likely games developers will stop supporting PPC almost immediately. As soon as most of the lineup is x86.

    Everyone else will keep supporting PPC for years, so the Macs won't be obsolete, but the instant x86 Macs with sufficient GFX cards come out...wham.

    Unlike other apps, games have to be completely recoded to use SSE instead of AltiVec.

    So I think games will almost immediately stop supporting PowerPC (no fat binaries).
     
  6. GFLPraxis macrumors 604

    GFLPraxis

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    Mar 17, 2004
    #6
    That's true for ALMOST all apps.

    99% of apps can just be recompiled with tweaking of a couple lines of code. However, the exception is games that REQUIRE a G4 processor or higher. The reason they require a G4 is because they are specificly written to use the AltiVec on the G4 and G5, and Intel processors don't have AltiVec. As a result, games will have to be completely rewritten to run on Intel. So to make a "universal binary" for a game the developers actually have to write two seperate versions of the game and put them together.

    So for games I am predicting PowerPC will be dropped. For every other app, universal binaries.
     
  7. clykins90 macrumors regular

    clykins90

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    Feb 9, 2005
    #7
    With everybody talking about dual booting mac os and windows, wouldn't it be pretty easy for microsoft to just NOT let people put windows on the macs?
     
  8. strider42 macrumors 65816

    strider42

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    Feb 1, 2002
    #8
    two things: how. If the intel macs use a standard BIOS and architecture, it probably wouldn't look any different to windows. Unless there's some special hardware on there MS doesn't already support, it will be difficult to do.

    second, why would they. if they can sell you a copy of windows for 100's of dollars, they'll take it. They don't care if you run it on a dell, hp, apple, or whatever else, they make their money either way. Though I suppose there might be a fairly high level of pirating since the intel macs won't come with windows. But I'm still not sure Ms would care that much. I don't think they'd see apple users getting dependent on windows as a bad thing.
     
  9. keysersoze macrumors 68000

    keysersoze

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    Jan 6, 2004
    Location:
    NH
    #9
    Can I just put this in perspective a bit?

    There are a hundred PC games for every Mac game written... currently. There are like 10 good Mac games... currently. It's tough to think that things could get WORSE for the Mac gaming community.

    :)

    I'll be an optimist and say that with a surge in market share after the switch to Intel, game writers will want to jump in and win over the new converts. I can't see the makers of Warcraft and COD just giving up on Mac's. I think they will adapt. And moving to Intel will make it easier for PC game writers to adapt to making games for Mac's.
     
  10. GFLPraxis macrumors 604

    GFLPraxis

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    Mar 17, 2004
    #10
    Why would Microsoft do that? They make MORE money if someone buys a Mac and buys Windows to put on it than if someone buys a Dell with Windows pre-installed. They probably love this arrangement.

    Besides, even if Microsoft released a new version of Windows that didn't run on Mac what would stop all of the existing versions of Windows from running?

    As for Apple, they said themselves they wouldn't stop people from doing it but wouldn't support it.
     
  11. GFLPraxis macrumors 604

    GFLPraxis

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    Mar 17, 2004
    #11
    I agree. I think however that it will almost immediately kill the PowerPC games market, as developers will not make universal binaries when it involves coding two versions of the game. So sucks for Mac gamers with PowerMac G5's.

    But I think it will cause a surge in the games market because it will be a lot easier to port games from Windows. Those ported games will however port only for the Intel macs.

    Unfortunately, it will make porting from consoles HARDER. The XBox was x86 and GameCube was PowerPC (however Ninty doesn't release PC games so most ports were XBox games), so the Macs' PowerPC stopped it from getting most games. NOW the XBox 360 and PS3 and Revolution are ALL PowerPC...and Apple is x86. Crap.
     
  12. mrgreen4242 macrumors 601

    mrgreen4242

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    Feb 10, 2004
    #12
    The CPU in the XBox had almost nothing to with the difficulty level of porting a game over to Mac. The XBox uses ONLY a variant of DirectX (something akin to 8.1, if I recall) APIs. The real challenge is to move the game over to OpenGL and the other various sound, input, etc, APIs that OS X has available.
     
  13. GFLPraxis macrumors 604

    GFLPraxis

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    Mar 17, 2004
    #13
    That is the biggest challenge, but just like porting Windows games, there are still issues porting between architectures.

    XBox games would be designed specificly to take advantage of every optimization the x86 processor would allow. As a result, you have to deal with byte-swapping issues and SSE instead of AltiVec, in ADDITION to the big issue of it being designed for DirectX in the first place.
     
  14. topicolo macrumors 68000

    topicolo

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    Jun 4, 2002
    Location:
    Ottawa, ON
    #14
    I think it's very likely that game developers would just drop production of PPC ports of their games entirely as soon as apple has fully switched over to x86.

    The reason is that unlike business/creative/non processor intensive software, most games require the latest generation of computers to even run well so the only computers capable of running the games will be mostly intel based anyway.
     
  15. strider42 macrumors 65816

    strider42

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    Feb 1, 2002
    #15
    But if they are going to port a game to Mac OS, surely they'd be porting it to Windows as well if not first. So I don't see chip architecture as a barrier to game ports. But as someone mentioned, getting everything over to openGL is probably the sticking point, just as it is now.
     
  16. GFLPraxis macrumors 604

    GFLPraxis

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    Mar 17, 2004
    #16
    Well it depends where it's being ported from.

    Porting, say, a Revolution or PS3 game (they use OpenGL) will probably be easier than porting from XBox 360 (PowerPC *and* DirectX).
     
  17. zv470 macrumors 6502

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    Jul 4, 2004
    Location:
    New Zealand
    #17
    I don't see why anyone would port games to Mac once you can boot into Windows and run them natively? So Yea, definately the x86 Mac will be the end of Mac Game Developement... (not Mac Game Developers! ;) ) There isn't exactly a huge market for Mac games today anyway since most games on Mac are ports!

    PC games are the only reason to get a PC, for me, today. But today you need an overclocked monster of a PC to run them. So I own an XBox because the games will run the same on other XBoxs. I hope once people can run games natively on x86 Macs that they won't start a Mac mod culture similar to the PC one... Flurocables, liquid cooling. ugh :eek:
     
  18. GFLPraxis macrumors 604

    GFLPraxis

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    Mar 17, 2004
    #18
    Because you need to spend $300 to boot Windows AND likely do a small bit of hacking the drivers to run it on a Mac, AND it's unsupported by Apple on their own machines.

    I doubt that will kill the Mac games market.
     

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