OS X Deus Ex: Mankind Divided on Metal!

Discussion in 'Mac and PC Games' started by imacken, Sep 21, 2016.

  1. JordanNZ macrumors 6502a

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    #176
    Most Indi games are using unreal or unity. So you get Metal for free in that situation :)
     
  2. imacken thread starter macrumors 65816

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    #177
    Where does that figure come from?
     
  3. Ferazel macrumors regular

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    Aug 4, 2010
    #178
    http://store.steampowered.com/hwsurvey
    http://hwstats.unity3d.com/pc/os.html

    Also, anecdotally with some games that I have worked on that were cross-platform. In general, OS X is worth it if your engine takes care of it for you (ala Unreal/Unity) or if you have a library that does a majority of the conversion for you (which Feral/Apsyr most likely have). Not worth it if you need to invest in the technology as a unique developer. Linux is only viable due to the good publicity, and they tend to donate a lot of money during crowd-funding.
     
  4. Eric5h5 macrumors 68020

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    #179
    I don't know about that. For example, The Witness. Mac version from scratch, no Linux version.

    --Eric
     
  5. Ferazel macrumors regular

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    #180
    Yeah, there are always exceptions. However, now that Apple has adopted a platform-specific rendering API the cost of adoption is higher (learning curve and whatnot). On top of that, Apple stripped a majority of their hardware configs that can render modern 3D effectively. This also reduces your effective target marketshare for a lot of software.

    The Witness released on Mac a year after the PC version, so you can mitigate some of the costs by not having a simultaneous release. However, there are not only development costs, but also support costs post release that eat into the profits. Let me tell you, Linux and Mac users are very demanding customers and each platform has their own problems. At some point it just doesn't make sense to do the port because it will never make back its money.

    It's disappointing that Apple has pushed the Mac into such a tough spot, as we've discussed many times on this forum. Maybe with Apple "refocusing on pros" it will get better. I'm not holding my breath. In the same meeting that Apple had with the press about the state of the Mac Pro, they said "but look at how many XCode installations we had" when someone should have said, "Yup, the only reason to own a Mac is to have an iOS dev kit."
     
  6. jeanlain macrumors 65816

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    #181
    If Apple were really serious about "pros", they should be part of the Vuklan group and help deploy this technology on macOS.
     
  7. imacken thread starter macrumors 65816

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    #182
    Maybe 3% of hardware base, but the relationship is not as simple as that.
    Take a simple, hypothetical situation:
    Platform A has 90% of hardware base, and Platform B 10%.
    Platform A has 90 games available and Platform B only 10. Assuming an even split, the 10 games on Platform B would sell the same as they do on A.
    Given a much smaller choice of titles, Mac games will have much greater sales per unit ratio than Windows, assuming the same level of consumption of games for both sets of users.
     
  8. Irishman macrumors 68030

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    #183
    How exactly would fully supporting Vulkan show that Apple is serious about pros?
     
  9. Ferazel, Apr 15, 2017
    Last edited: Apr 15, 2017

    Ferazel macrumors regular

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    #184
    As a software developer I don't care about that. I care about the number of units that I sold on platform B and the engineering, QA, and support costs of supporting that platform in relation to platform A. The downside is that the data doesn't support that Mac/Linux users buy more units in relation to their marketshare to offset these costs. If you're a million unit seller like Blizzard it might make sense or if you're a specialized porting house like Feral it could work too. The problem is as a independent software developer, it doesn't make a lot of sense port a custom engine to macOS. Even with the direct export options in Unreal/Unity, it may not make sense to do it just for the QA/Support cost reasons.

    When I worked on mobile games, iOS generated 30-40% of our revenue but only 10% of our support emails. This makes the platform a high profit margin platform. If macOS/Linux had smaller QA/Support costs, it could be worth it. In my experience, they are relatively MORE demanding on support/QA resources than the primary platform (unit sale percentage). There are numerous reason but in our case the engine exports these auxiliary platforms were not as bug-free as their primary platform. Also there was either a huge config fragmentation problem (Linux) or there were OS version driver bugs and overheating hardware (macOS). This makes the bugs harder to track down. The customers were also a lot more vocal of their platform issues on forums than the average Windows user. In my experience, I'd estimate they provided 3% of the sales but 10% of the Support/QA/Dev time.

    I can definitely see why most Windows developers ignore Linux/macOS. Windows is a higher profit margin platform.
     
  10. jeanlain macrumors 65816

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    #185
    It would show they are willing to help cross-platform development of graphically-intensive apps, which benefits pros on the long run. Forbidding anything that isn't Metal only benefits their bottom line.

    We'll see how it goes when openGL becomes unusable on the Mac and the macOS-supported API is not cross-platform.
     
  11. Eric5h5 macrumors 68020

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    #186
    There's MoltenVK, though I have no idea how well it works or how viable it is.

    --Eric
     
  12. old-mac-man macrumors regular

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    #187
    And Frontier Development were entitled to do so, but they choose to take the KickStarter funds from macOS users.
     
  13. imacken thread starter macrumors 65816

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    #188
    Maybe you should.
    I don't doubt what you are saying, but you are missing my point. If Platform A has ten times the market share of B, and has ten times the number of games available, then the unit sales will be the same on both platforms for the games available on B.
     
  14. Irishman macrumors 68030

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    #189

    So, when Apple used to support OpenGL, the cross-platform graphics API from which Vulkan arose, did that mean they supported pros more?
     
  15. Ferazel macrumors regular

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    #190
    You have to give Frontier some credit, they tried. They put forth the resources to build OpenGL rendering and support macOS for a custom engine. They released it and worked around all of Apple's OpenGL bugs. Then Apple pulled the rug out from under them by no longer supporting the rendering API that they invested a lot of time and money in. Then when they wanted to take advantage of compute shaders for 97% of their users, but could do that on macOS (no OpenGL 4.3) they decided it wasn't worth it. You should be mad at Apple. Frontier could again spend a lot of money rewriting their rendering engine in Metal, but it probably doesn't make financial sense. Sure it sucks as a consumer that the platform you bought into is not as well supported, but you need to be rational and understand it from the developer's perspective. They didn't sign a lifelong contract with their customers that they would continue to make expensive/risky business decisions to support the platform forever.

    Yeah, I think I understand what you are trying to say, but the problem is that the data that I experienced didn't support that hypothesis. Mac users sold 2-3% of the PC game I worked on and the game was featured on the Mac App store multiple times. If macOS was a closed ecosystem like Windows Phone, you might get more publicity and sell a relative larger chunk and gain some success. However, the desktop market is not the mobile market. Both Linux and macOS users often have dual-boot capabilities and many users just boot into Windows rather than try to mess with ports with worse performance and buggy experiences on the same hardware. If Apple removes boot camp, it will alienate a customer base that is far larger than the ones that care enough about macOS gaming/software. Apple makes more money on their hardware than their OS/software for their computers, which creates a problem for macOS native software.

    My recommendation to Apple is to make their platform the better choice. Make their computers better on macOS than Windows 10. Apple should be making their OS better and faster than their competition. Having custom APIs like Metal is fine, but it needs to work FASTER/BETTER than Windows. Not 10% less performance on the same hardware, have crippling bugs that don't get fixed until 6 months after release, and cause their hardware to overheat. I feel that they used to care about that (fondly remembering some G4 vs Windows shoot outs). They used to invest in custom software outside of FCP and Logic. The only reason macOS is currently a needed choice is because Apple locks deployment to iOS through XCode. Apple needs an objectively better experience for computing in order for macOS to succeed. They rode their "more secure than Windows" for awhile, but that's not enough (also there was a huge influx of security threats on macOS last year). It's not faster either. It's just different, and different just doesn't cut it. It needs to be better.
     
  16. marksatt macrumors regular

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    Epic UK
    #191
    Frontier promised and delivered a Mac version of "Elite: Dangerous", albeit a little later than they had hoped, so the Kickstarter backers got exactly what was promised at the time. The intent was to bring future independent expansions to the Mac, though that wasn't explicitly promised as part of the Kickstarter, so my former colleagues did investigate only to find it wasn't practical for Horizons. Rewriting the Mac version now to use Metal would probably work, but Frontier would have to believe in the business case and it doesn't seem like they do. That's very disappointing as a player but I can understand it and I don't see what else they could have reasonably done in the circumstances as non-Mac specialists (apart from get the facts right in the PR post I guess).
     
  17. jeanlain macrumors 65816

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    #192
    Sure, and you could have included OpenCL. But in effect, their support was ******. Supporting the current version (not one that was released years earlier) and with good drivers would have helped pros more than porting Metal to the Mac. Apple's choices force developers to write Mac-specific code, which not everyone will do. I don't think Autodesk has some Metal app, for instance.
     
  18. wubsylol macrumors regular

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    #193
    Who are you talking about when you say "pros"? Considering it still has legacy OpenGL3 support, how exactly is Autodesk Maya (for example) going to benefit from a newer version of OpenGL on OSX?

    Premier has had Metal support (along side OpenCL and CUDA) for quite a while now, but sits alone in this camp (and for good reason).
     
  19. jeanlain macrumors 65816

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    #194
    There are pro apps that use recent version of OpenGL, and many would run better if Apple released better drivers. In comparison, how many pro apps benefited from Metal? Even the Adobe apps run better with OpenCL, which Apple is also abandoning. FCP X doesn't even use Metal AFAIK.
     
  20. wubsylol macrumors regular

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    #195
    How would they run better? What specific limitations are they facing?
    Pro apps are not like gaming. The fact that these application - especially the higher end apps like Smoke, Maya, Resolve - exist at all on Mac suggests they're working just fine with the current libraries.
     
  21. jeanlain, Apr 16, 2017
    Last edited: Apr 16, 2017

    jeanlain macrumors 65816

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    #196
    Specific limitations pertain to CPU (driver) code that we know is less than optimal on the Mac, and that can always run faster. Or to functions in OpenCL 1.X that simply aren't supported on the Mac or are unusable. Some openCL devs even gave up with the Mac.
    You ask me to be specific, but I've yet to hear a specific case where Metal benefits pro apps and users.
    Why do you think Apple ported Metal to the Mac? Do you think they thought "Vulkan/OpenGL is not good enough for us. Mac users and devs deserve better" or "We don't want devs to adopt cross-platform APIs because it would help Android". This applies to CUDA as well. Do you think excluding nVidia from Macs is benefitting Apple customers?
    Clearly Apple cares about hurting its ennemies more than it cares about its users when the two may conflict.
    You may say that everything that hurts Google/Samsung benefits Apple users in the long run, but such an argument cannot be less specific, and I don't buy it for a second. You may also say that non-standard SSD connectors probably benefit Apple hence its customers overall. But non-standard SSD connectors just plain suck for customers, in a very concrete way.
     
  22. wubsylol, Apr 16, 2017
    Last edited: Apr 16, 2017

    wubsylol macrumors regular

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    #197
    What are you talking about? Excluding nVidia from Mac? CUDA works just fine on Mac, and nVidia just released Pascal drivers for Mac, along with the Titan XP.

    Your argument of pro apps not supporting Metal en masse means Metal is bad is unfair, because pro apps - like FCPX, Smoke, Maya, Resolve - value rock solid stability over cutting edge performance. I'm not claiming that one API is better.

    Again, can you provide a specific example, rather than just a broad "it's happening" kind of statement? If something currently runs without issue, what purpose would moving to another API serve? That time could be better spent adding functionality.
     
  23. jeanlain, Apr 16, 2017
    Last edited: Apr 16, 2017

    jeanlain macrumors 65816

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    #198
    Sorry I meant nVidia cards, which have been excluded from Macs for the last 3-4 years. That nVidia releases macOS drivers is beside the point. We were discussing Apple's decisions. You can be sure this one isn't motivated by the superiority of AMD or for the good of Apple users.
    Stop right there. I never said that. I said supporting cross platform APIs would help more.
    That mostly argues against the utility of Metal. If you come with a new API, at least use one that is cross-platform.
    I find curious that you think neglecting open standards may not necessarily have an negative impact on pro apps. I could quote some devs (I think from Blender) who said they had given up on Apple's piss-poor OpenCL but it's late here and I'm tired. You can probably find some cases on google.
     
  24. wubsylol macrumors regular

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    #199
    There's two major GPU vendors. One of them has to be excluded. What is your point? Do you have non-anecdotal evidence that nVidia are better than AMD?

    Your whole argument looks like you're just jumping on the anti-Apple train and and criticising every decision for the sake of it.
     
  25. jeanlain, Apr 16, 2017
    Last edited: Apr 16, 2017

    jeanlain macrumors 65816

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    #200
    You're putting words in my mouth again. Where did I say that nVidia cards were better than AMD? I said that Apple excluded nVidia cards from Macs, and that they didn't do it because AMD cards were better.
    Also, that "one of them has to be excluded" is wrong. The Mac lineup has almost always offered a mixture of AMD and nVidia cards, and Apple used to switch vendors at every update. They even frequently offered options for GPUs from the two vendors in the same line of Macs. Once, Apple excluded ATI for a year or so, which everyone noticed and saw as a punishment for ATi's CEO dropping the ball on the new sunflower iMac ahead of the keynote (this is documented). Steve apparently didn't appreciate. Now they're doing something similar to nVidia, for god knows why. Some speculate that it is to disfavour CUDA. I've read that it's a response to nVidia's threat to sue Apple over some patents related to AX chips. What pisses most users here (not just me) is that nVidia cards have been way better in terms of perf/watt, and would have been a better fit in the 2014-2015 laptops and iMacs. Yes, I'm saying nVidia cards have been better lately, but I haven't until now (note also that the all the standalone cards I've purchased were from AMD/ATi).

    You've put words in my mouth twice, and you're trying to defend Apple with weak arguments ("one has to be excluded"). Now you're almost characterising me as a fanboy. If you think that criticising Apple for excluding nVidia cards, for not supporting Vulkan, or for neglecting OpenGL + OpenCL is criticising Apple for the sake of it, then I don't know what to say. Read my posting history and see that I have defended Apple's decisions (and Metal) many times here, when I think they are justified.
     

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