Which is better for Game design and programming? iMac or PC?

Discussion in 'iMac' started by otakuguru42, Jun 3, 2011.

  1. otakuguru42 macrumors newbie

    Jun 3, 2011
    Hey guys, I'm an incoming freshmen this year and I need a good computer for college with good programming capabilities. I honestly know very little about computers unfortunately so I was hoping you guys could give me the pros and cons of both. Maybe this will give you an idea of what I'm looking for, I want to be able to make things like flash animations, AMVs, logos and graphics, etc. The whole cigar so to speak.
  2. tmagman macrumors 6502

    Nov 7, 2010
    Calgary AB
    another person had the same question elsewhere so i will post my same response-

    I have just completed my first year of Computer Science and I did not use a PC (or the bootcamp partition on my mbp) once. You'll be learning a lot of things in a linux environment, so using a mac on the unix architecture is mirroring this. There are so many of the languages that are built into unix that you dont have to download more software or anything for like a windows side. We focused on python and java in first year here and watching my friends program in a windows environment was almost laughable. It required more programs and annoying code to run from a command line. Python interpreter is built into os x, as well as java, no java SDK or anything required, the console/terminal in mac is the same as a linux one and much more readable and easy to remember commands (just my opinion albeit) than the windows command line.

    For the actual programming, eclipse is by far the best thing for java (its almost like cheating), and all the others can be written in any text editor (I prefer Gedit or emacs).

    I went full blown with my macbook pro, however I did want the power for non-programming things as well, but any of the 15" mbp's will suit you just fine. As I tell everyone going into computer science- pay for the upgrade to the high-res anti-glare display- you'll be shooting yourself in fluorescent lit lecture halls and such if you have the glossy (by far the best upgrade I did)

    hope that helps!
  3. GeekGuys macrumors regular

    Mar 13, 2009
    Tmagman has hit on the vital part of the question. It is not iMac or PC but Mac OSX, Windows or Linux.

    For game design I would suggest Windows as there are more tools and more games for Windows currently......unless you are designing games for Mac.

    For programming I would agree. It has been 20 years since my degree but even then, I coded on a variety of machines and OS's and the closer to the target language the better.

    What I would add is the point about gaming above. If you are looking code in a commercial setting for a job then you would be better with Unix based OS. If you are going to be coding for games and utilities then it may be better to get used to working with Windows now. You'll be doing it a lot!
  4. tmagman macrumors 6502

    Nov 7, 2010
    Calgary AB
    Thanks GeekGuys for the addition, I have done almost no game design so I couldn't respond to game development

    If you're still leaning to the mac then just boot camp windows (which works fantastic I might add) for those other things. Sometimes if you're somehow connected to the computer science faculty you can sometimes access the Microsoft Developer Network (MSDN) for free and download almost any program and OS that microsoft makes for 'development'. Translate --> you can get a copy of Windows 7 for free to boot camp (and its legit as long as you're somehow connected to the CS department at school), so you've got your bases covered.

    Whatever you pick otakuguru42 , good luck!
  5. Hueyfreeman macrumors regular

    May 26, 2011
    When it comes to computer video games you follow the money. That said you always want to focus on the largest population, as of now windows has the user base for games. When it comes to games you will not make up the money in comparrison to windows. For games focus on windows for now. Thats all I really care about lol. Good luck I and if you can please share how it goes for you. The other posters where correct about about os ten being a better programming enviroment. I was mad that do to me being a gamer I was forced to use windows and linux.
  6. Domino8282 macrumors 6502a


    Apr 22, 2010
    Southeast USA
    Since nobody has made this argument yet, I will:

    On what machine can you develop software in any environment you want: OS X, Windows, or Linux?

    With the exception of a Hackintosh, an iMac gives you the most flexibility. It's pretty easy to triple-boot Windows 7, Ubuntu and OS X on a Mac.

    By the way, if you decide to go that route, save yourself a headache: I tried using the rEFIt method of triple-booting, and had major issues. Ended up setting up a simple Boot Camp dual boot of Win 7 and OS X and then using the Ubuntu Windows installer which puts the Ubuntu partition inside of the Windows file system. When you choose your Win 7 partition from Boot Camp, you get a boot menu to choose between Ubuntu and Win 7, easy peesey. :D
  7. chuckcalo macrumors regular

    Jan 27, 2009
  8. VPrime macrumors 68000


    Dec 19, 2008
    London Ontario
    We are doing our development on macs... But that is because we are doing ios games ;).

    The benifit of Using OSx in school is they often teach you the linux or unix way of doing things. So of you go buy a PC you may have to install linux.

    As far as game development is concerned, well that depends on the target platform, the tools you will be using and if you will be creatng your own engne or not.

    If you arengoing to be writing windows games using Direct X, then you might want to go with a windows computer ( or just install windows on your mac). If you will be writing a game in Open GL then really it makes no difference as Open GL is cross platform.
  9. interrobang macrumors 6502

    May 25, 2011
    You haven't even said what your major is. None of what you describe is "game design and programming."

    What will you be studying, and what software will they be using in classes/labs?
  10. wpotere Guest

    Oct 7, 2010
    This depends on the school. My school taught JAVA on windows using netbeans or eclipse as an IDE. My advice to the OP is to contact the school and find out what the primary environment is going to be at the school. This will cut the costs down on software purchases for the future. Heck, he may find that he doesn't even like programming!

    As for games, it depends on what system you want to develop for. Since you are just starting, I would recommend that you not set your sites that high yet and focus on learning the basics. I started with JAVA, but I am now an ASP.net and C# programmer and I really enjoy it and like the windows environment.
  11. Ubuntu macrumors 68000


    Jul 3, 2005
    The mac is pretty good for programming, imo there's not really any benefit either way to having Windows or Mac OS X as the key IDEs are supported on both platforms. However if you ever decide to give iOS a try (as I am doing so) then the option is always there with the mac, so do give that a thought.
  12. coolspot18 macrumors 65816

    Aug 16, 2010
    An iMac is a good choice as it will allow you to develop iOS, OSX and Windows games through boot camp.

    However, if your program focuses on PC programming, there is no need for an iMac/Macbook and you can stick with a PC which is much cheaper.
  13. VPrime macrumors 68000


    Dec 19, 2008
    London Ontario
    Java is cross platform. Both netbeans and Eclipse are for mac. So really wouldn't matter with java it is pretty much the same on both platforms

    If they are learning c# or some other windows language then windows may be a good idea. But you could always just use Mono and do it in OSX as well... If you are willing.

    That being said, you are right. It is best to use what the teacher is using, especially when starting off.
  14. jvmxtra macrumors 65816


    Sep 21, 2010
    I am really considering imac 27 and running parallel to run some windows stuff as I hate running parallel on mbp.

    Does anyone have experience doing parallel on imac to get to win 7? Is it fast enough?
  15. caughtintheweb macrumors regular

    May 17, 2011
    Depends on what stuff you run. I use windows only for matlab as matlab in mac has some issues. You will not notice the difference if you top your RAM with an additional 8 GB.

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