GAMES: What effect will Intel procs have on gaming for the Mac?

tigemac

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Original poster
Sep 27, 2005
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I've been thinking a lot about this subject lately. The only reason I still have a Windows PC is for gaming. I have long wished that Steve Jobs would make gaming more of a priority on the Mac platform. Considering their target market with the iPod (13-30ish?) you would think that with a concerted effort to bring more games to the Mac it would give kids today even more reason to buy.

While I do not fit into that age category (I am a 36 year old gamer), I still have to maintain both a PC for gaming and a Mac for everything else. I really wish I could convert completely over to a Mac and that it would meet my gaming needs. With the faster GPUs being included in the PowerMacs (like the 7800 GT) it seems like they have the hardware necessary.

I guess I am really interested to know if moving to Intel processors is going to further improve the chances we will see more games on the Mac platform? Notice I say "more". I realize there is a handpicked smattering of the most popular games available on the Mac, but they tend to come out much later than their PC counterparts (excepting Blizzard titles). Additionally, there are some PC titles that are very good that never make the journey to the Mac platform.

Anyway, has anyone heard anything about this from a developer standpoint? Will the Intel processors make any difference? Will Steve Jobs ever see the light? Even a small attempt to focus on gaming would greatly enhance the desirability of the Mac platform for a large percentage of the target demographic. It's the #1 reason why many in that age category avoid the Mac.

Thanks.
 

topgunn

macrumors 65816
Nov 5, 2004
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I don't think you can fault Steve Jobs too much for lack of games for the Mac. The decision to go with a different architecture is far more important than how many game will it be able to play. Now that Apple will be using the same architecture as Windows based PC's, porting games to Mac OS X will be many, many, many times easier. Games should be released at the same time for both platforms, at least for software companies that consist of more than two kids in a garage. Worst case scenario, you can use your Mac to boot into Windows to run the latest games.
 

yellow

Moderator emeritus
Oct 21, 2003
15,925
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Portland, OR
The processor doesn't make a difference.

The problem is DirectX. Unless a real port of DirectX makes it to OS X, then you'll be in the same boat for Mac games.

Alternatively, if the x86 MacTel actually allowed dual-booting/DarWINE type, then you can play all your PC games on your Mac.
 

hvfsl

macrumors 68000
Jul 9, 2001
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London, UK
yellow said:
The processor doesn't make a difference.

The problem is DirectX. Unless a real port of DirectX makes it to OS X, then you'll be in the same boat for Mac games.

Alternatively, if the x86 MacTel actually allowed dual-booting/DarWINE type, then you can play all your PC games on your Mac.
Well the cpu will make a difference in terms of gaming performance at least. Games are slow on the Mac because they are designed for X86 chips and then just ported over to PPC. Many developers have commented that the X360 performs like a 1.7Ghz P4 if you don't spend the time/resources to optimise it properly. Unfortunatly Mac devs don't have the resources to spend on optimising the code as much as it needs, but now PCs and Macs use the same cpu, they won't need to in future.
 

Randall

macrumors 6502a
Dec 12, 2005
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Norwood, MA
hvfsl said:
Well the cpu will make a difference in terms of gaming performance at least. Games are slow on the Mac because they are designed for X86 chips and then just ported over to PPC. Many developers have commented that the X360 performs like a 1.7Ghz P4 if you don't spend the time/resources to optimise it properly. Unfortunatly Mac devs don't have the resources to spend on optimising the code as much as it needs, but now PCs and Macs use the same cpu, they won't need to in future.
Exactly, when they port the code now, they will be able to take advantage of the x86 optimizations that are already in place from the PC version (assuming that they optimized it for PC to begin with). Not just that, but now we'll start to see more and more games programmed to take advantage of multiple threads that can be used with the dual core processors. Get ready for some impressive gaming in the upcoming years. DirectX has always been the main obsticle, and it's now the only obsticle in the way from writing games that can run on both platforms easily.
 

yellow

Moderator emeritus
Oct 21, 2003
15,925
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Portland, OR
I don't think it'll have the effect you think it will.

Games are designed for an OS, a CPU, a GPU, not just for a processor.

Most of the ports are dealing with OpenGL/OpenAL, and other Mac-centric APIs, not with the processors. The move to x86 won't magically make crappy ports faster.
 

jdechko

macrumors 601
Jul 1, 2004
4,059
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yellow said:
The problem is DirectX. Unless a real port of DirectX makes it to OS X, then you'll be in the same boat for Mac games.
Exactly. Most software companies write software with/for DirectX because it's easier on them. (similar to using ActiveX and MS proprietary web "standards" which cause incompatibilites). The games are highly optimized with DX, and run better on windows machines, which is good for the software developers because that's the largest market segment. If a Mac port of DirectX were developed (or if companies used OpenGL), it would make ports a lot easier and a lot better.

One good thing about DirectX, though, is that it is easy to establish minimum requirements for sound cards and video cards. It makes it a bit easier on the customer when purchasing a game.

yellow said:
Most of the ports are dealing with OpenGL/OpenAL, and other Mac-centric APIs, not with the processors. The move to x86 won't magically make crappy ports faster.
Again, exactly. :)
 

technocoy

macrumors 6502a
Sep 4, 2002
765
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Raleigh, NC
I think thats why the best we should hope for is the ability to run two OSs since it doesn't seem that the mac will be getting studio attention anytime soon.

We'll see.

The next several months are going to be VERY interesting.
 

greatdevourer

macrumors 68000
Aug 5, 2005
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tigemac said:
I have long wished that Steve Jobs would make gaming more of a priority on the Mac platform.

I guess I am really interested to know if moving to Intel processors is going to further improve the chances we will see more games on the Mac platform? Notice I say "more". I realize there is a handpicked smattering of the most popular games available on the Mac, but they tend to come out much later than their PC counterparts (excepting Blizzard titles). Additionally, there are some PC titles that are very good that never make the journey to the Mac platform.

Anyway, has anyone heard anything about this from a developer standpoint? Will the Intel processors make any difference? Will Steve Jobs ever see the light? Even a small attempt to focus on gaming would greatly enhance the desirability of the Mac platform for a large percentage of the target demographic. It's the #1 reason why many in that age category avoid the Mac.

Thanks.
For a start, Apple are not in control of what games make it to OSX. The game developers themselves are. It's not as though SJ himself goes along to the various CEOs and puts a gun to their head shouting "Code, dammit, code!" :p

However, many more games will make it to OSx86, because they have a lot less to do in the way of porting - it's pretty much just a recompile for OpenGL games. Something we may see is a proper port of WINE that uses Aqua (and has sound :p Darwine atm doesn't) that can run all your Windows games outa the box anyway
 

greatdevourer

macrumors 68000
Aug 5, 2005
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yellow said:
Whoa.. no. Converting from DirectX to OpenGL is more than "just a recompile". :eek:
Whoever said anything about DirectX? I said OpenGL games :confused:




*thinks for a few moments*



You do realise that OpenGL isn't an Apple product?

EDIT: Reading your previous posts proves this. Well, there's a reason why it's called OpenGL. If it was an Apple created technology, then it wouldn't be very open. Iirc, it was actually created by SGi (it was definatly them that created the first good implementation of it). Yes, Apple are on the OpenGL board, but thats about it. Many Windows games are written in OpenGL (such as Doom3), and it's pretty much replaced SDL in the Linux gaming world (SDL is easier to use, though)
 

yellow

Moderator emeritus
Oct 21, 2003
15,925
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Portland, OR
I am well aware that OpenGL is not an Apple product. I don't know why you think I do. Apparently you misunderstood my posts as much as I missunderstood your post. You did indeed say "it's pretty much just a recompile for OpenGL games".
But thanks for the pointless lesson anyway.

EDIT:

yellow said:
and other Mac-centric APIs
I assume you're basing it on that quote.. I did not mean to imply that OpenGL and OpenAL were Apple only, which is what you seem to have taken away from it.
 

GFLPraxis

macrumors 604
Mar 17, 2004
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The one possibility for gaming is that if Apple uses standard video cards, or people write hacked Windows drivers for them, we can run WineX (adds the Windows and DirectX API to Linux or BSD, should work on OS X when we are on Intel processors) and run Windows games on the Mac :D
 

yellow

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Oct 21, 2003
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Don M. said:
There's always dual-boot in the post-PowerPC Mac future.
Not necessarily..

(One of) Apple's VP(s) said that they wouldn't discourage it, but that's not the same as it being functional.
 

Abulia

macrumors 68000
Jun 22, 2004
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yellow said:
Not necessarily..

(One of) Apple's VP(s) said that they wouldn't discourage it, but that's not the same as it being functional.
Economy of scale: enough people want it that it'll happen. Just look at Intel OSX being hacked to run on non-Apple hardware right now.
 

Dr. Dastardly

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Jun 26, 2004
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Wasn't there already proof that you could dual boot on the developer machines. True its not the end products we will be seeing later but if you pair that up with Apple directly saying that they will not stop you...

And besides Microsoft would be all over this if it was possible. Just because its a Mac doesn't mean Microsoft doesn't want to make money off it. Microsoft is a software company, they don't care what hardware you run on it as long as you bought it.
 

yellow

Moderator emeritus
Oct 21, 2003
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Dr. Dastardly said:
And besides Microsoft would be all over this if it was possible. Just because its a Mac doesn't mean Microsoft doesn't want to make money off it. Microsoft is a software company, they don't care what hardware you run on it as long as you bought it.
That's not really the issue. The issue is drivers. Will there be Apple-specific hardware that requires Apple to write drivers for Windows? No one knows for sure yet. I have high hopes they will all be dual-bootable. That would be a VERY GOOD THING™. But until I actually SEE it in action, I'm not going to get my hopes up too high.
 

combatcolin

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Oct 24, 2004
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Dr. Dastardly said:
Wasn't there already proof that you could dual boot on the developer machines. True its not the end products we will be seeing later but if you pair that up with Apple directly saying that they will not stop you...

And besides Microsoft would be all over this if it was possible. Just because its a Mac doesn't mean Microsoft doesn't want to make money off it. Microsoft is a software company, they don't care what hardware you run on it as long as you bought it.
A similar argument can be made for Apple.

Buy a new PM for all your work, thinks an Apple executive, and then you can still run your old Windows stuff as well.

Of course they will never sell it like that but those in the know will see the advantage.
 

brett_x

macrumors member
Apr 25, 2005
32
32
yellow said:
That's not really the issue. The issue is drivers. Will there be Apple-specific hardware that requires Apple to write drivers for Windows? No one knows for sure yet. .
True, but they are just drivers. Think about how many thousands of other devices have drivers written for them for Windows already. It should be easy to keep up with writing drivers for the relatively limited number of Apple configurations that they release each year. And, with the X86 architecture, the likelyhood that the chipsets already have drivers written for Windows is higher.
Of course, this is speculation. You have the right to disagree. :D
 

yellow

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Oct 21, 2003
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But will Apple write them? Since the onus will be on them to write the drivers. They probably will, as Don. M said, if enough people want it.