The Native Mac Gaming Dilemma

Discussion in 'Mac and PC Games' started by Huntn, Feb 3, 2010.

  1. Huntn Suspended

    Huntn

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    #1
    I just looked at PC Gamer's Top 100 Games of all time list in the Feb 2010 issue. If you are into AAA gaming, you are limiting yourself if you insist on native Mac games only. Not only that, you take a performance hit in the process, besides waiting years (in some cases) for the Mac version to be released, as I think of Rome:Total War. I'm not saying this to be mean. It's just a fact of life.

    While some Mac gamers are mad at Apple for Bootcamp because they think it had a detrimental effect on native Mac games, in actuality, due to the video gaming business as it exists today, it's been the serious Mac gamer's savior. With Bootcamp/Windows, with one computer, you can have both your beloved MacOS (I love it), play the games you would normally miss if you insisted on native Mac ports, and play the good Mac ports when they come along. It's win, win, win. And it can be argued that Bootcamp helped Mac market share rise above 10%. The one Mac game I've seriously played in the last 5 years: World of Warcraft and I thank Blizzard for allowing me to do that with decent performance. Mac gamers did get the number 1 all time game...(although it is good, I would dispute Dues Ex as the No.1 all time game.) I'd call Half Life and Half Life 2 the number 1 and 2 games of all time, but that's just me. :)

    Here are PC Gamer's top ten games of all time:
    10. Fallout 3
    9. Thief II
    8. Planescape: Torment
    7. Fallout (Mac version)
    6. Oblivion
    5. Rome:Total War (Mac version in progress)
    4. Half Life
    3. Team Fortress 2
    2. Half Life 2
    1. Deus Ex (Mac version)

    Here is a sprinkling of Mac games that made the top 100 (if I remember them correctly as Mac ports): No One Lives Forever (68), Carmageddon (65), Eve Online (57), Alien vs Predator (49), Unreal Tournament (34), Homeworld (30), Balder's Gate (25), Starcraft (23), Quake III (22), World of Warcraft (14).
     
  2. cluthz macrumors 68040

    cluthz

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    #2
    :)
    I loved Deus Ex, but I don't think it could be run on OSX.
    I think I have the CD somewhere, but no machine to play it on.

    To be honest I've owned most of the mac games on that list there :D
    Not that I play them anymore, except an occasional WoW session.
     
  3. kingtj macrumors 68020

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    #3
    Honestly ....

    I'm a little bit surprised more of the Playstation 3 titles haven't been ported to native OS X versions? I'm not saying it'd be "easy" to port them or anything, but the PS3 isn't using "Direct-X" extensions like the vast majority of Windows game titles seem to be doing. (And I was always told that the fact that the Mac uses OpenGL vs. most Windows games going the Direct-X route was the main reason more of them don't get ported over to Mac.)

    If you look at the track record, in fact, this seems to hold true. Games like Unreal Tournament, Quake, Doom III, Wolfenstein 3D and even Descent and Solider of Fortune (long ago) all received Mac versions in fairly short order. They even ported the free "America's Army" game to the Mac for a while. All of these had OpenGL in common, as do all the titles made by Blizzard that run on both platforms.

    It seems to me like a number of PS3 releases would translate well to OS X versions, and would generate enough sales to make the projects worth doing. (You have to consider, the initial investment was already made to get artists to draw up all the graphics, actors to record all the voice dialogs, and royalties paid to whoever had to be paid to use their likenesses or musical works in the games. So redoing it for OS X in the next round amounts to getting more profit out of that initial cash outlay.)
     
  4. txa1265 macrumors 6502a

    txa1265

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  5. Huntn thread starter Suspended

    Huntn

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    #5
    Interesting thought. I think I remember Aspyr at some point, had written conversion software that converted DX calls to OpenGL. How easy that made the "porting" or what kind of overhead such ports had are unknown to me.
     
  6. gregorsamsa macrumors 6502a

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    #6
    Overall I agree, not least about why Macs remain an excellent choice to get the best of both worlds. However, I'm not too sure there's any "Mac gaming dilemma", as title suggests. I mean, anyone who Boot Camps gaming on their Mac really shouldn't think they're hammering another nail in Mac gaming's coffin. IMO, it's already past resuscitation in any meaningful sense, so why deny yourself PC games?

    Don't get me wrong, I still buy Mac native games. I support the likes of Feral & their philosophy of bringing (however slowly) more PC classics to Mac, but most stuff won't ever come to Mac, period. Besides, for the non-KB oriented stuff, many Mac owners have consoles.

    As for the future of OS X gaming? I see a company like Feral being around for years yet because, for smaller companies, Mac games don't need to sell huge numbers for it to be viable. Not least because they rarely lose much value over time (unlike PC games which depreciate rapidly) & the Mac user base continues growing. This alone should supply an ample number of new gamers who'll always prefer playing natively.

    Bigger challenges may come if console gaming continues to bite into even PC gaming markets, particularly if technology like Xbox's "Natal" allows genres like RTS to be played on consoles optimally. Looks like there could be some interesting developments in that dept soon enough. If PC games sales come under further threat in future, what hope then for OS X games? :rolleyes:

    BTW, re that list, I'm surprised that none of the "AoE" series made it into the top 10. I have the entire franchise on Mac &, IMO, these games are classics. :)
     
  7. Sambo110 macrumors 68000

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    #7
    I'll get the Mac version if I can, even if it's Cider. I don't really care about having to turn a setting or two down to run it better. Plus I have been happy with the performance of most Mac games. And when I eventually get a 27" iMac, it would run the Mac version of games well enough to not worry about the Windows one. Plus I run Boot Camp for Windows only games.
     
  8. Hmac macrumors 68020

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    #8
    Only a few titles that I play, but they are all pretty bad natively on Mac. They run well on Windows XP, however, so Bootcamp makes that work well for me.

    Another annoyance besides poor performance is that updates tend to come late for the Mac, so there's often a period of time where everyone has gone on to update, leaving all the Mac-based users only able to play with themselves (pun intended).
     
  9. aki macrumors 6502a

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    #9
    i think this is actually getting a bigger and bigger issue now

    these days its more and more common for games to be sold which still need more bug fixing and balancing, patching is just assumed now

    also maybe because of piracy or just to make a new source of ongoing revenue DLC and other kinds of extra content are now becoming more and more an important part of a game title

    but both of these can be either very slow to come to osx or often there is no clear information if they will ever come or if so, when
     
  10. txa1265 macrumors 6502a

    txa1265

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    #10
    Worse yet, often times the Mac version *never* gets the updates. Such as NWN2 and thus far Dragon Age ... where all communication from the developers has stopped and there is no more mention of the Mac version in any press stuff.
     
  11. Dagless macrumors Core

    Dagless

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    #11
    I'd take Deus Ex out but yea, 4-2 are some of the best games I've ever played. I don't care about Mac native stuff, I run Bootcamp. I have no qualms about that as I want to get 100% out of my Mac.
     
  12. Huntn thread starter Suspended

    Huntn

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    #12
    I agree, for me and many forum participants there is no dilemma. Simply stated, the dilemma for some Mac gamers is stick to the MacOS and miss most of the good games or jump into Windows (a negative) to play. If you really don't want a PC, the Mac/Bootcamp is the only way to go, although you'll still end up messing with Win-blows. ;)

    I've had both a Mac and a PC for about 8 years now (before that all Apple/Mac). I thought I'd always need a separate PC for gaming, but my MBP is doing such a good job satisfying my gaming needs, I may not buy another PC.

    This plus inconsistent cross platform multiplayer, and missing features has been a constant thorn in the side of native Mac gamers.
     
  13. gregorsamsa macrumors 6502a

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    #13
    Quite agree. That said, graphical limitations on not exactly cheap, lower-end iMacs remain such an issue for some, I also see the logic of getting both a Mac Mini & a gaming PC for a similar price. Particularly if you're a regular gamer who can't stand frequent rebooting between OS X & Windows.

    But those Mac gamers who refuse to run Windows to even play PC games that are unlikely to ever make it to Mac out of some kind of "MS & all that they stand for is anathema to me" reasoning, just seems daft.

    IMO, the only dilemma here is, if you've got Windows running smoothly on your Mac, then why would you buy, for eg., the 3 C&C games for Mac separately when you can get a PC version like "C&C: The First Decade" for less than half the price? :rolleyes: The same example might apply to the "AoE" series & other Mac titles.
     
  14. txa1265 macrumors 6502a

    txa1265

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    #14
    Take out Deus Ex? *THE* best shooter-RPG hybrid ever? Why?
     
  15. Rodus macrumors 6502a

    Rodus

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    #15
    ^^Seconded, wonderful game, even if I do have to play it under Bootcamp due to no OS X version. I used to be a hardcore Mac only gamer but realized I was missing out on far too many great games so switched to bootcamp for gaming. Now I doubt I'll ever go back to OS X gaming, Windows gives better performance for games usually and with Steam I can get the latest and greatest straight away rather then wait for a half arsed cider port that turns up a couple of years after the Windows release.
     
  16. davelo macrumors newbie

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    #16
    Some experiences from a part-time gamer, for info and/or comment

    I've only recently moved up from a (later period) PPC Mac with (very) limited recent gaming options, and spent some time considering whether I'd be better off with a Mac Mini, a gaming PC, and a KVM switch, or an iMac and BootCamp, to give me more options again.

    Price wasn't particularly an issue, but as I'm not a power gamer (I have a medical condition that affects my reactions) eliminating twitch games meant there was limit to the CPU/GPU horsepower I'd ever see any benefit from, which seemed to eliminate MacPros or i5/i7 units anyway.

    In either case the idea was the same: use the PC/Bootcamp'd iMac for offline gaming only, and the native Mac for everything else, including downloading updaters, thus eliminating most of the security issues with Windoze.

    Although I understand enough to have spec'd and built a custom PC, I eventually went with the iMac 21.5"/Radeon 4670 (*really* glad I passed on the 27" models!!) with a Fusion VM shadowing an XP Bootcamp partition so I could do maintenance and low-power Windoze without rebooting, and only turn to the Dark Side when absolutely necessary.

    For the games where there is a choice, I've so far chosen Mac, not just to keep companies like Feral in business, but because the lack of reboots and/or online verification is a plus. Everything else is obviously PC.

    The biggest problem I've had is with peripherals.

    For gamepads, on the PC side an X360 USB Controller seems to work with most things, even games a decade old, but the Mac side is more spotty: in Snow Leopard, a PS3 Sixaxis will BT-connect without drivers, and works fine with TR Anniversary, but other games still require something like a Logitech USB pad.

    For keyboard-based games, the Apple BT keyboard and Magic Mouse really don't "feel" up to gaming, whether they actually are or not, and I've tended to plug in the USB pair from the old Mac (but may still need a better mouse)

    Overall, while this solution looks good, works well, and was a reasonable amount of almost gaming-like "fun" to get working, I still wonder if the Mini/custom PC route would have been better, particularly as a change of monitor and gaming card twelve months down the road would have given me 3D. The downside of such solution would be that you'd lose horsepower on the Mac side for occasional activities like video conversion?

    Any thoughts, particularly on if/when/whether/why you would(n't) upgrade Bootcamp to Win7?
     
  17. kingtj macrumors 68020

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    #17
    re: Boot Camp and Win 7

    I upgraded my Boot Camp partition to Windows 7, and am pretty happy with it. On the flip side? If you're only using Windows from inside an emulator like VMWare or Parallels? I think sticking with Windows XP is the smarter choice. (It requires less system memory to run well, and seems to perform closer to what a typical user would expect than trying to emulate all the pretty graphics of Windows 7.)

    Now that Apple updated Boot Camp with official Windows 7 support, I don't see a reason not to run Microsoft's "latest and greatest' OS though, if you're rebooting into one of them natively. It supports more updated versions of Direct-X for your newer games than XP will. (And is anyone seriously recommending Vista as opposed to 7? Ick!)
     
  18. Huntn thread starter Suspended

    Huntn

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    #18
    The Feb 2010 PC World lists the Apple iMac (27"/Core17) as the number one All-In-One computer for gaming giving it a superior rating. It was number 4 on the list and cost $2200. The top rated all-in-one is a Sony Vaio L117FX/B which costs $2000 but is rated as a fair gaming machine.

    The only problem I'd have is before spending $2200 on an iMac I'd probably think about a Mac tower. In that way I'd have more upgradability in drives and video cards.
     
  19. Hmac macrumors 68020

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    #19
    Yes. Fastest all-in-one they've ever tested.

    As for gaming machines, no Mac even made the top 13.

    Having said that, I play (mostly) COD4 on my 1,1 Mac Pro with ATI 4870 driving two 30" ACDs. I play at full 2560x1600 resolution with all the graphics options on and 2xAA and run FPS never less than 100. Man, that game on that 30" ACD at that resolution under XP via bootcamp will make your eye bleed it's so sharp. Playing the OSX version...well, it just sucks.
     
  20. Rodus macrumors 6502a

    Rodus

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    #20
    I already have XP and am not willing to fork out for 7, plus my GPU doesn't support DX11, only 10 which had very little graphical benefit but a big performance hit, so I'm sticking with DX9. XP will be supported until around 2014, games will continue to come out for it etc. I wouldn't get any benefit from upgrading.
     

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