Blizzard Mac vs Windows

Sambo110

macrumors 68000
Original poster
Mar 12, 2007
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Australia
Just curious, has anyone played any Blizzard games, on the same Mac, in OS X and Windows? If so, what was the performance difference like? I won't play Blizzard games in Windows, so much easier in OS X, but I'm just curious about how well they actually run.
 

Youngchild

macrumors member
Mar 24, 2008
30
0
Red Sox Nation
They run relatively the same in OS X when compared to Windows insomuch that I play all my Blizzard games in OS X now.

I don't have any side-by-side numbers, but it was close enough to the Windows performance for me.
 

racketeer71

macrumors regular
Jan 15, 2010
170
0
I play WarCraft 3 on my 3+ year old 17" MBP in 1680x1050 and medium detail - and it is smooth.

I'll try increasing detail next time I launch it, the machine doesn't seem to struggle with the current settings at all.
 

Sdashiki

macrumors 68040
Aug 11, 2005
3,512
8
Behind the lens
I play WarCraft 3 on my 3+ year old 17" MBP in 1680x1050 and medium detail - and it is smooth.

I'll try increasing detail next time I launch it, the machine doesn't seem to struggle with the current settings at all.
WC3 is way older than that...the highest settings shouldnt make any apple computer from the last 5 years choke at all.
 

Block

macrumors 6502a
Jun 28, 2007
843
1
In general, while the Windows version of Blizzard games tends to be slightly faster, the difference between the two releases is virtually nonexistent when you compare it to any other developer that releases games on both platforms.
 

zaphon

macrumors 6502
Oct 9, 2003
272
130
In general, while the Windows version of Blizzard games tends to be slightly faster, the difference between the two releases is virtually nonexistent when you compare it to any other developer that releases games on both platforms.
I agree with this. I play World of Warcraft on my Mac Pro (Early 2008 with an ATI 4870 connected to a 30" Apple Cinema Display) and have both Windows Vista Ultimate Edition and Mac OS X installed. While it does get higher frame rates in Windows, it still gets over 100 FPS in Mac OS X, hence "who cares?" I only goto Windows once in a blue moon, otherwise I stay under Mac OS X.
 

jamojamo

macrumors 6502
Feb 12, 2010
385
0
I didn't notice any difference in gameplay or speed when I played WoW on both an iMac (2008'ish Model) and an HP similarly spec'd machine.

Have since broken the addiction to WoW ;)
 

PowerGamerX

macrumors 6502a
Aug 9, 2009
672
1
I've played WoW side by side on my 13" and a friends with the same specs and in some cases the Windows version will outperform the Mac and other times the Mac outperforms the Windows version, yet, they both stayed within 5 frames a second of each other. Don't worry about it. For Blizzard games, go ahead and get the Mac version.
 

aki

macrumors 6502a
Mar 2, 2004
687
0
Japan
just to confirm what everyone is saying -

yeah blizzard is known/respected for doing real osx versions and not quick cider ports or similar

so you are getting real native osx performance with a bliz game

there is still a performance gap because of stuff like apple video card drivers usually being behind windows drivers and suchlike

however its never a major thing

in summary blizzard titles are one of the titles where you really can buy the mac version and know its a real mac game and will have real mac support

unlike a lot of the cider stuff we have been saying lately sigh
 

CylonGlitch

macrumors 68030
Jul 7, 2009
2,925
109
SoCal
Sounds good. I knew they ran well, just not how well. Wish more developers would do what Blizzard does.
Sadly it just takes a commitment and it really isn't all that difficult. They just need to plan out the engine from the beginning and how to make it OS independent. From there, the higher level calls will all be the same. Blizzard took the time to do it right from the beginning.
 

User3977

macrumors member
Feb 12, 2010
51
0
i am running wow on a brand new mb with 4gb ram and it screams. im not sure what it is but it works so much better than on my wifes toshiba pc
 

cluthz

macrumors 68040
Jun 15, 2004
3,118
3
Norway
World of Warcraft is definitely faster in Bootcamp (win xp) than in OS X (10.6.2).

I do play in OS X because it's very playable on my Macbook Pro anyways
 

Huntn

macrumors demi-god
May 5, 2008
17,054
16,542
The Misty Mountains
Sadly it just takes a commitment and it really isn't all that difficult. They just need to plan out the engine from the beginning and how to make it OS independent. From there, the higher level calls will all be the same. Blizzard took the time to do it right from the beginning.
At-a-Boys to Blizzard!
 

CylonGlitch

macrumors 68030
Jul 7, 2009
2,925
109
SoCal
World of Warcraft is definitely faster in Bootcamp (win xp) than in OS X (10.6.2).

I do play in OS X because it's very playable on my Macbook Pro anyways
What people don't realize is that on the PC full screen is very different then full screen on the Mac. On the PC, when running in full screen the entire OS windowing system is disabled and cached; thus the application has more direct access to the system because it doesn't need to go through the whole windowing checking routine (making sure things are clipped and constrained to the window). This is why alt-tabbing out takes a while. On the Mac full screen is nothing more then just a window stretched to the full screen.

Blizzard, on the PC side, has put in a setting that when set to Windowed mode, to stretch to full screen. This would be the correct Mac-PC comparison mode because they are both doing the same thing, running in a window stretched to full screen. When you do this, they run almost the same speed.

Yes, in normal PC full screen mode, it is faster. But in Windowed mode, they are about the same.
 

CylonGlitch

macrumors 68030
Jul 7, 2009
2,925
109
SoCal
At-a-Boys to Blizzard!
Actually, every Mac owner should BUY a copy of Warcraft 3, World of Warcraft and Diablo 2 just to support Blizzard; they are one of the few developers who really support the Mac platform.

Diablo 3 and StarCraft 2 for Mac, gotta buy them as well. Even if you don't play them, support Blizzard.
 

thejadedmonkey

macrumors 604
May 28, 2005
7,984
532
Pennsylvania
The only blizzard game that I've seen that taxes my MBP is WoW. And if I lower the graphics a bit then it'll run just as smooth as on my PC. The real issue is that macs create a LOT more heat than the comparable PC while playing Blizzard games, and generally don't get good battery life either.
 

racketeer71

macrumors regular
Jan 15, 2010
170
0
Actually, every Mac owner should BUY a copy of Warcraft 3, World of Warcraft and Diablo 2 just to support Blizzard; they are one of the few developers who really support the Mac platform.

Diablo 3 and StarCraft 2 for Mac, gotta buy them as well. Even if you don't play them, support Blizzard.
I bought Warcraft 3 last weekend. The "problem" though, is that I bought it from the "PC Game" rack, since Blizzard includes both games on the same disc.

I wonder if Blizzard knows the distribution between Mac and PC gamers, when they sell both versions in the same box.
 

Sambo110

macrumors 68000
Original poster
Mar 12, 2007
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Australia
I bought Warcraft 3 last weekend. The "problem" though, is that I bought it from the "PC Game" rack, since Blizzard includes both games on the same disc.

I wonder if Blizzard knows the distribution between Mac and PC gamers, when they sell both versions in the same box.
I'm sure they would, as they would collect anonymous data, at least they do with WoW. Apparently WoW was about 10% Mac users, with it constantly growing. That was about September last year I think. So probably 10-20% are Mac users.
 

CylonGlitch

macrumors 68030
Jul 7, 2009
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109
SoCal
I wonder if Blizzard knows the distribution between Mac and PC gamers, when they sell both versions in the same box.
Yes, they know. Even better, if you have one of the older PC ONLY versions (I had this for Diablo II) you can go to their website, enter you Key and they will give you a universal key and allow you to download the Mac version.
:D
 

alent1234

macrumors 603
Jun 19, 2009
5,654
122
Sadly it just takes a commitment and it really isn't all that difficult. They just need to plan out the engine from the beginning and how to make it OS independent. From there, the higher level calls will all be the same. Blizzard took the time to do it right from the beginning.
not that easy

OS X uses open GL while Windows is DirectX for graphics. Open GL started as a professional API on workstations. DirectX was created from the ground up for gaming. It was flaky the first few versions but for the last 10 years or so has been extremely stable. and Microsoft works with Nvidia and ATI to add features into the API to make it easier to develop.

Open GL is in limbo and only on version 2. DirectX used to get a major version upgrade every year and is now on a 3 year OS release cycle. Starting with Windows 95 MS tried to limit access to the hardware, and with DirectX it's a programmable way for the developer to access the hardware directly
 

Heinekev

macrumors member
Feb 19, 2007
94
0
not that easy

OS X uses open GL while Windows is DirectX for graphics. Open GL started as a professional API on workstations. DirectX was created from the ground up for gaming. It was flaky the first few versions but for the last 10 years or so has been extremely stable. and Microsoft works with Nvidia and ATI to add features into the API to make it easier to develop.

Open GL is in limbo and only on version 2. DirectX used to get a major version upgrade every year and is now on a 3 year OS release cycle. Starting with Windows 95 MS tried to limit access to the hardware, and with DirectX it's a programmable way for the developer to access the hardware directly
Also, DirectX provides access to audio and input. OpenGL is exclusively a graphics library.

The person you quoted has a point, though, in that intelligent cross-platform minded design from the start makes it easier to maintain. Designing for Windows and porting later is a much larger mountain to climb than planning for multiple OS support before writing the first line of code... sometimes it means scaling back on features, other times it means using alternative libraries, but it's a much shorter putt than porting :cool:
 

Zortrium

macrumors 6502
Jun 23, 2003
460
0
Open GL is in limbo and only on version 2. DirectX used to get a major version upgrade every year and is now on a 3 year OS release cycle. Starting with Windows 95 MS tried to limit access to the hardware, and with DirectX it's a programmable way for the developer to access the hardware directly
What? OpenGL 3.0 was released a year and a half ago and there've been 3.1 and 3.2 releases since then. OpenGL may not be as popular as DirectX for games, but it certainly isn't in limbo.
 

CylonGlitch

macrumors 68030
Jul 7, 2009
2,925
109
SoCal
not that easy
As long as you start with a foundation where A) you know what you're doing [not learning as you go] and B) you want to have multi platform support, it isn't all that hard.

(VERY simplified demo)

Say you have a call in DX to draw a graphic at a specific point :
DX_Draw_BMP(int x, int y, int z, (image *) Data);

but in Open GL you have something like this :
GL_Draw_Image(3dFloatPoint Position, (image *) Data);

The problem is that the locations are very different and the location systems, but the raw bitmap data is the same. (again, I know this isn't realistic, there are many more complicated steps involved, but trying to keep is simple for people to follow).

If you code for ONLY DX or OpenGL you could call which ever of these functions you want and it will work. But if you KNOW you want to support BOTH, you can't. Instead you need to do something where you create a wrapper function call :

DrawBitmap(float x, float y, float z, (img *) data);

For the DX version you have to convert the floats to ints, and the OpenGL version you need to create the 3dFloatPoint type so you end up with something like this :

DrawBitmap(x,y,z,data)
{
DX_Draw_BMP((int) x, (int) y, (int) z, data);
}

and then for OpenGL
DrawBitmap(x,y,z,data)
{
3dFloatPoint Pos = new 3dFloatPoint(x,y,z);
GL_Draw_Image(Pos, Data);
}

Each of these, typically will be in separate libraries and then you can link in if you want an OpenGL library or a DX library and the code will work.

(again, I'm trying to keep things simplified)

Sure one library may not be optimized, one may be slower then the other, some function calls will be better in one library then the other but overall they will be equivalent.

Then you ONLY write code using the newly defined DrawBitmap function and you don't need to care if you are operating in DirectX or OpenGL.

Same thing for Mac/PC code, you CAN make things more unified (note the word more). And with games, as you build up the engine, if you plan out a multi-platform development from the beginning, you can end up with the low level engine (the drawing, the memory processing and queuing and the thread processing) that is independent of the operating system and APIs below it.

This is how Blizzard has done their development. They planned from the beginning and built up their engine code so that all the low level components are system independent; then they can have another team focus on the game itself that runs above it.

Believe it or not, WoW pulled the original engine of Warcraft 3 to get started, yes they modified it, but it has the same basic core and I wouldn't be surprised if the low level drawing functions are identical. The game core, the AI, the User Interface, the data manipulation, etc is what is different

There are libraries out there that you can buy that will do much of the abstraction for you. Some of them are very good, they have Windows, Linux and OSX ports, some even goes further to support PS3, Nintendo and more. But when buying something like this, you don't have control over the optimization of the different segments and thus your performance on one system my be much worse then another.

Blizzard, if I recall correctly, developed their own library from the ground up. They started this before WoW, but heavily modified it for WoW. The reality is that this core engine was the long pole. Once they got the main engine up and running (networking, models, UI, AI, etc) the world came together VERY rapidly.

I give them a lot of credit for not pushing things out the door. They were willing to take a performance hit for all systems to give it support for all systems instead of hard coding things to get the best performance on one specific platform.
 

alent1234

macrumors 603
Jun 19, 2009
5,654
122
the only flaw in your argument is that Mac's are weak game computers. the price is comparable only because Apple sells you the best monitor on the market. the graphics hardware is pretty weak compared to what you can get in a Dell/HP or build yourself for the same amount of money. Most companies don't code Mac versions because they demand better graphics hardware. WoW doesn't have very demanding graphics.

and then nvidia and ATI both have custom extensions to Direct3D to optimize performance for their cards. not sure if they have Mac versions of their dev kits

on a 27" iMac at max resolution even the ATI card Apple bundles in will have a hard time running the latest game at something close to full graphics settings

PC is dying as a game platform anyway. Strategy and similar games will always be there but a lot of games are being released on console only. Recently Alan Wake was canceled on the PC and will only have a console release