OS X Mac Gaming is Awesome!

Discussion in 'Mac and PC Games' started by Dirtyharry50, Jan 16, 2014.

  1. Dirtyharry50 macrumors 68000


    May 17, 2012
    Too often, even here of all places I keep seeing people put down Mac gaming often citing a lack of games to play as a major problem. Someone who just got a Mac posted this comment on the GOG.com forums today:

    "As for Macs, I just got one and it's pretty nice, well not for gaming due to the lack of games..."

    Because I have become a zealot I guess, I could not let this go unanswered of course. This was my reply which I wanted to share with you guys. In some cases I will be preaching to the choir I think but maybe for anyone new poking around here this will be seen as some encouraging good news.

    As for the entire issue of game performance in OS X versus Windows on a particular Mac, that is another topic being addressed in other threads here so please let's keep it that way. It is subjective (what is acceptable) and it varies quite a lot with variables such as system hardware configuration and from one game to another. With this out of the way, here was my little speech:

    I just checked Steam and as of this writing there are 1,115 Mac games there.

    Here's a bunch on GOG. I didn't count them all: http://www.gog.com/games/##system_osx=106,107

    The Mac App Store has tons of games including some well known ones not on Steam such as Tropico 4, Total War series games, Bioshock series (latest is on Steam), and just too many others to list here. Oh yeah, both Baldur's Gate and Baldur's Gate 2 Enhanced versions are on the App Store also.

    Blizzard on Battlenet offers WoW, SC II and Diablo III

    Turbine Entertainment offers LoTRO and DDO on their site.

    The Elder Scrolls Online will be releasing on day 1 for Macs.

    Some highly anticipated kickstarter projects will also be releasing for Macs such as Torment, etc.

    Let me just check my own library here...

    249 OS X native Mac games
    14 OS X games setup with Cider (by the game developers)
    97 OS X games setup with Wine by me (and GOG) including too much awesomeness to list here.
    36 OS X games setup with Boxer by me (and GOG) all awesome classic titles
    396 games in total that are currently in my backlog to play on my Mac. There are even more than I just listed here from checking my database but those are in the maybe/someday bin.

    And that does not include another 100 I plan to play in a Windows XP virtual machine with Parallels and 40 left for Bootcamp (backlog) before I ditch that since good new stuff for Mac keeps releasing at a pace faster than I can keep up with.

    Now, it is true that some AAA releases I might want to play do not release for Macs. Playstation 2, 3 and 4 is the answer here and for me I am working on my library of PS2 games currently. Great new releases I cannot get for Mac, I will often be able to get for a PS4 eventually if I ever catch up around here.

    So between the Mac and a console I honestly see zero compromise in not having Windows. The only reason I keep it around on my Mac at all for now is just to play legacy stuff I owned before I got the Mac and when I am caught up with that - goodbye Windows. There's just no need.

    Just sticking to computers though and forget the console, I've got almost 400 games to play and it isn't like they are not good, well received and well known games either. Steam has over a thousand Mac titles and there is more they don't have on the App Store and Origin and Blizzard, etc. So I guess the question might be how many games do you really need?

    No platform has it all. Windows for example does not get Xbox, Playstation or Nintendo exclusives. The consoles do not get all games on PC. Mac is a smaller platform. It does get less releases than Windows certainly but it does get way more than anyone could keep up with who has a life outside of gaming that is for sure.

    So it isn't really accurate to put down the Mac platform as sucking for games or being limited because honestly it doesn't suck at all and all platforms have some limitations. The beauty of a Mac for those who prefer them but do want access to Windows games is you can use Windows too if you want. I do not prefer that myself but the option is there for those who want it and choice is always good.

    I'm not trying to convert the world here but I do like to let people know Mac gaming is not some barren wasteland of iOS ports on the App Store. We get a lot of great stuff which I won't list out here but you can see for yourself by checking the places I've mentioned above. By the way, some of those iOS ports only on Mac are pretty fun. :D
  2. Pakaku macrumors 68000


    Aug 29, 2009
    The fact is that the OS X availability is still small compared to Windows games. It's not a platform issue, it's an issue with devs not wanting to bother with OS X, although this is slowly becoming less and less of a problem.

    It's also worth pointing out that you'll never be able to build a Mac like you can a regular tower, without going the Hackintosh route. You're either stuck with what Apple gives you, or you turn to building a tower with Windows (or OS X if you're feeling up for it) running and choose the graphics card and other parts that you need.
  3. leman macrumors G3

    Oct 14, 2008
    No its not awesome. I have no doubt that OS X can be a competitive gaming platform (well maybe not for AAA titles, but for most ones) - but barely any game is designed with Mac experience in mind. What games do you know that support retina display and other OS-X specific features?
  4. petvas macrumors 601


    Jul 20, 2006
    Mannheim, Germany
    I agree that gaming on the Mac isn't as good as on Windows, but there are at least some good titles with Retina support, like Xcom and Civilization.
  5. roadbloc macrumors G3


    Aug 24, 2009
    Regretfully, I disagree OP. Mac gaming could be miles better. Lack of titles, lack native support and lack of DirectX all contribute to a rather lackluster experience in my opinion.
  6. Dirtyharry50 thread starter macrumors 68000


    May 17, 2012
    According to Valve (I got this from within the Steam client):

    "We have over 2,000 games from Action to Indie and everything in-between."

    Let's just round that up to 3,000 games for Windows and then remember that there is over 1,000 for Mac. Yes, Mac has less but considering the installed base of Mac hardware versus PC hardware that's pretty impressive actually that Macs have at least a third as many titles on Steam. I'm just pointing this out to keep a little perspective here in a positive way. We have much more than just a minuscule selection compared to PC gamers. We actually have quite a lot to choose from with more coming out all the time.

    If you want access to all Windows games, then yes you should be running Windows. There's nothing to discuss. That's a personal preference. That's fine but Mac gaming is still awesome. Mac gamers have lots of good games to play too and that is what I'm trying to point out above. There seems to be a common misconception that there's not much good to play on Macs and the implication that selection is severely limited and that simply is not true today.

    As for hardware, modern Macs are very capable of playing games but just like the PC's of typical Windows gamers (see the Steam hardware survey for proof) they are not high end gaming machines. The fact is, most gamers do not game on high end gaming rigs. That kind of apples and oranges comparison is used all the time to put down Mac as a platform but the argument falls apart when you look at the Steam hardware survey and see what the average machine being used by PC gamers really is. There is a reason games come with scalable settings from low to ultra and resolutions from low to high. It is because not everyone owns high end hardware, not nearly in fact. That said, I really wanted to keep this focused on the fact that a good selection of games for Macs actually exists today rather than get into discussions about hardware. As far as hardware goes, if you require the high end there is nothing to go back and forth about - just build it and install your favorite version of Windows. But this is about Mac gaming which as I will say again is awesome. :D
  7. leman macrumors G3

    Oct 14, 2008
    Neither Xcom nor Civilization support retina. With retina support, I do not mean drawing at full resolution (that is trivial and requires two additional lines of code in a properly designed game). I mean drawing the game at an appropriate resolution (which still gives you good performance) and then drawing the UI at the retina resolution so that it looks nice.
  8. Dirtyharry50 thread starter macrumors 68000


    May 17, 2012
    Retina is still new and PC users mostly do not have such screens yet. Give it time. I'm sure support will become the norm in time as will GPUs capable of providing adequate performance to drive that many pixels at once.
  9. petvas macrumors 601


    Jul 20, 2006
    Mannheim, Germany
  10. leman macrumors G3

    Oct 14, 2008
  11. petvas macrumors 601


    Jul 20, 2006
    Mannheim, Germany
    I have it too and it looked great on my rMBP
  12. Wardenski macrumors 6502

    Jan 22, 2012
    Mac Gaming is getting better but the crux of the matter is for me, is that OSX is an inferior gaming environment at the moment. For me, performance matters.

    I bought Dishonored, Far Cry 3 and Skyrim in the Steam sale and it is not currently possible to play these without installing Windows.

    I am well aware of WINE and emulators but as far as I am concerned that is not a premium gaming experience.

    As I said in another thread, "Mac gaming" is not the issue. Gaming in OSX is.
  13. imacken macrumors 65816

    Feb 28, 2010
    Well, don't know about retina, but I play all my Mac OS X games @2560x1440. Good enough for me!


    Just for the record, I run Skyrim @2560x1440 perfectly OK in a wrapper, and played through (the excellent) Dishonored at the same res in Parallels and it was very smooth.
    The success of wrappers and VMs seems to be very dependent on the hardware being used.
    As has been discussed before, it is down to personal preference how Bootcamp, OS X, wrappers and VMs like Parallels are prioritised for you.
  14. macaddict77 macrumors newbie

    Sep 9, 2008
    I remember in June 2012 as the rMBP was introduced, Phil Schiller (or maybe Tim Cook) announced that Diablo 3 was the first game with retina display support. I haven't checked but I assume that by now Blizzard's other games like WoW and SC2 have also been updated.
  15. VI™ macrumors 6502a

    Aug 27, 2010
    Shepherdsturd, WV
    But by the time Apple has a computer that can do that, the latest Nvidia or ATI card you can buy and stick in a PC tower will be able to run games at full resolution and full high settings.

    Not to mention a lot of games are not ran natively in OS X and suffer from performance issues vs. running in Windows. You can get better performance just by booting in to Windows on most games vs trying to run them on OS X. Apple runs games and has some good titles out there, but if you want to do PC gaming and do so affordably, then building a wintel box is the way to go.
  16. Plutonius macrumors 604


    Feb 22, 2003
    New Hampshire, USA
    OSX will never get DirectX. Microsoft will never agree to license it.
  17. txa1265 macrumors 6502a


    Aug 15, 2002
    Corning, NY
    As someone who uses - and games on - Mac & PC, I look at it this way (and this is the advice I give):
    - If you are buying a computer with the dominant use being current-generation gaming, buy a PC. Period.
    - If you need a general purpose computer and would like to do some amount of gaming ... buy a Mac (or PC depending on programs you might need)
  18. Wardenski macrumors 6502

    Jan 22, 2012
    With all the bells and whistles?

    If so, thats pretty good but I couln't do that on my old Mac Pro.
  19. leman macrumors G3

    Oct 14, 2008
    Again, you people don't seem to read my posts accurately ;) By 'support retina display' I mean to have a mixed-resolution drawing support - where the UI is drawn at the full retina resolution and the game graphics is drawn at lower resolution. This way, you can have good performance (no need to render to a ultra high-res buffer) but the user interface still has that 'retina' quality to it.

    If I may carry my rant even further (I sure love ranting :p): ideally, games should abandon the resolution settings, instead replacing it by a 'quality/performance' slider. Furthermore, the game should draw to an offscreen buffer of a potentially different size than the display and then upscale the contents to fit the display. This already happens behind the scenes - no reason not to do this explicitly. This would give the user very fine grained control about the performance while maintaining the same or better image quality. Actually, OS X has supported a different-resolution backbuffer since Panther and they explicitly advise the developers to use something like this. This Apple dev page explains the idea very well and is easily understandable for non-programmers: https://developer.apple.com/library...tml#//apple_ref/doc/uid/TP40001987-CH216-SW28 (its under 'Controlling the Back Buffer Size', the link does not want to work properly).
  20. garnerx macrumors 6502


    Nov 9, 2012
    The Steam survey isn't really representative of 'gamers'. It's everyone who's ever installed Steam on any old machine, possibly out of curiosity.

    I think Mac is very far from awesome when it comes to games. Games can take ages to be ported across, they're sometimes riddled with Windows-style menus and references, they're not always updated in a timely manner, and sometimes they simply never appear on the platform. I like World of Tanks and Battlefield 4 at the moment, when are the Mac versions of those coming out?

    Plus, you can run the same game on the same hardware and the difference between the OSX and Windows versions can be like night and day. It's not about whether or not you find the performance to be acceptable - it's a fact that everything from Left 4 Dead 2 to Bioshock Infinite will run much better on your iMac under Windows than they do under OSX. Better framerates at higher resolutions, and more high-end options. You're spoiling your gaming experience by sticking to the Mac versions.
  21. VI™ macrumors 6502a

    Aug 27, 2010
    Shepherdsturd, WV
    Probably not cranked to high. Definitely not cranked to high. There's no way that it would be able to run max everything.
  22. Dirtyharry50 thread starter macrumors 68000


    May 17, 2012
    Again, as I mentioned in the OP this was not intended to become a discussion about performance, hardware, PCs, etc.

    This is simply saying that judged on its own merits Mac gaming is awesome and I still maintain it is. I was responding to someone who thought there wasn't much to choose from. Later he came back and posted a reply letting me know he had no idea there was so much to choose from. Mission accomplished.

    I think we need to stop comparing OS X to Windows here. It isn't Windows. It doesn't offer DirectX. It also isn't Playstation 4 or Xbox One. It isn't Nintendo either. It's Mac OS X and there's a lot of good games one can enjoy on Mac OS X. That's all I was saying.

    If you want to play on the Windows platform instead that's fine. Go ahead. I'm not saying anyone who wants to shouldn't. If you want a high end gaming rig then build it and put Windows on it or make yourself a hackintosh. Fine. I'm not here to tell anybody how to live.

    All I am saying is a Mac running OS X can be pretty cool for gaming. I know I have fun with mine and feel no pain not having a PC. While I respect your own choices completely I think some of you guys just need to remember that what is acceptable and enjoyable in terms of hardware and gaming performance is a subjective thing. Note, I am NOT saying hardware specs are subjective. I am saying whether the difference between 40 FPS and say 80 matters to somebody is subjective. Whether High settings is good enough or Ultra is a must is subjective. Etc. For example, when I am playing something if it looks decent and runs smoothly, I am happy. I don't really care what FPS it is running at in this case and while it would be cool to always play everything in Ultra at 1440p, I am okay with high settings or even lower resolutions as needed to get that smooth looking performance that still looks at least reasonably decent to me. I'm sure I am not the only one who feels this way.

    Most gamers aren't even on forums like this debating hardware, system software, etc., etc. They just buy and play stuff. You know? I know it sounds crazy...


    That's not correct actually. The survey is updated on a regular basis and is dated as such each time. It is a recent snapshot of active Steam accounts. There is over 40,000,000 Steam accounts and it is the leading PC gaming platform and retailer. I think that qualifies as representative with of course some small statistical margin of error.
  23. Dirtyharry50, Jan 17, 2014
    Last edited: Jan 17, 2014

    Dirtyharry50 thread starter macrumors 68000


    May 17, 2012
    I've been trying to communicate but perhaps failing to do a good job of it that this is not about comparing the Mac platform to Windows, PS4, Xbox, Nintendo or any other platform. You could apply the same logic to Windows asking when various PS4 exclusives are coming there. They aren't. So even if you prefer PS4 generally, if you want to play those particular titles enough to spend for it, you need a PC or you can run those with bootcamp on an appropriate Mac model that can handle them.

    It is in fact whether or not someone subjectively finds the performance acceptable. I know you find that idea hard to live with but not everybody is you and their experience is not ruined by less than maximal performance. For a lot of people, the tradeoff in not needing to reboot or have Windows at all is worth it. I understand it is not worth it for you personally. That's fine. But it is a subjective call. I'm fine with it so long as performance meets certain minimum standards that are acceptable to me and if not there is plenty of other stuff to play instead. That choice too is a subjective one of course. If some game I like doesn't work well enough to suit me, yeah that sucks. It happens on Windows too. But with over a thousand games to choose from just on Steam alone, I am pretty sure I can find something else to have fun with and get over it.

    It kind of makes me a little sad to see gamers on a Mac gaming forum so negative about gaming on the Mac but I don't think the outcry I see from some is truly representative of the greater body of Mac gamers. Otherwise, I don't think we'd be seeing a surge in new titles being made for OS X and I don't Feral and Aspyr would still be in business. Somebody must be liking it besides just me.
  24. avemestr macrumors regular

    Aug 14, 2012
    I think most GOG games are wrapped in DOSBox, so you're playing a MS-DOS game in an emulator.*

    On Steam you can buy games like The Witcher, which is wrapped (crappily) in WineSkin.

    So yes, more games are available on Mac, but most of them are DOS/Windows games wrapped in emulators. Only games from Feral are real ports with excellent performance, and they're GREAT - although you often have to wait year(s) after the PC release.

    * I love GOG nevertheless. A casual gamer like me prefer strategy games from years ago.
  25. antonis macrumors 68020


    Jun 10, 2011
    To be fair, though, given that GOG stands for Good Old Games, it'd be very difficult for these games to be ported for Mac, so many years after their original release. What is really bad, though, is that sometimes (just like you wrote) these wrappers are bad. Games that don't run flawlessly with a wrapper should not be sold as "Mac games", cause they are not.

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