OS Neutral Why don't PC games come to Mac, and why when they do it takes forever?

Discussion in 'Mac and PC Games' started by Dekema2, Dec 2, 2014.

  1. Trahearne, Dec 22, 2014
    Last edited: Dec 22, 2014

    Trahearne macrumors 6502

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    #51
    Game engines nowadays are cross-platform aware, so unless developers wanna build their own wheels, the barrier is lowered. Having said that, today's OpenGL is a hot mess. It is not about the feature set at all, but the disparity between implementations and the API design itself. So I would rather hope to see Metal for OS X instead (but Apple would have to make it work with Intel, AMD and Nvidia GPUs...), or one may hope OpenGL NG will come sooner than later... Let's wait and see if Apple will have any response in WWDC next year to DirectX 12 arriving late 2015.

    O.T.: PS4 provides a DX11-equivalent wrapper GNMX, but the real canon is the low-level API GNM. Xbox currently provides a superset of DirectX 11 with some extra APIs granting low-level accesses, and will migrate to the low-level API coming with DirectX 12. By the way, IIRC PSGL is just something like GNMX, as a mean of fast porting to PS. Serious developers always go GCM.
     
  2. SlCKB0Y macrumors 68040

    SlCKB0Y

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    #52
    1. The first Intel Mac with Rosetta was released in January 2006. Rosetta became unsupported with the release on Lion in July 2011. Five and a half years of support for legacy applications.

    2. Classic was supported for nearly 5 years.

    That is hardly ditching Rosetta and Classic as soon as they could.
     
  3. roadbloc macrumors G3

    roadbloc

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    #53
    Compared to the rest of the industry, it is. Apple are the worst for backwards compatibility. And as I said, its effected the amount of games playable on OS X. I can play my disc version of Quake 3 on my PC, but on OS X its a totally different story and I'd have to seek out an Intel and Yosemite compatible source port.
     
  4. edddeduck macrumors 68020

    edddeduck

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    #54
    Consoles which makes up most of the games industry you could easily claim is worse than Apple as games are only supported on the hardware you bought it on. Linux is about the same in my experience depending on the software distro, drivers etc.

    It's a trade off, you can spend your engineering time implementing and designing new API that learn from and do things in the best way for current hardware/software needs or you can spend it keeping legacy modes working while shoehorning in new technology in-between the old stuff. The more legacy support the less you can improve the core OS as you need to add in backward compatibility at every stage.

    Granted Apple don't have the backwards compatibility of Windows but it also isn't effected by the issues that Windows has because of that very compatibility. Given Apple have moved from OS 9 to OS X and from PPC to Intel it's not surprising that they have lower levels of backward compatibility support compared to Windows. Microsoft haven't transitioned their code base or their hardware since they first wrote the OS.

    I do feel your pain, as a developer we have patched games to avoid issues with new OS's many many times although looking back since OS X shipped the bugs that cause older games to no longer run are pretty rare. The big issues where moving from OS9 to OS X and then from PPC to Intel. In the Intel era support has been a lot more stable between versions, the odd driver bugs aside.
     
  5. saturnotaku macrumors 68000

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    Mar 4, 2013
    #55
    Windows computers have always had stability of architecture. They never underwent a shift like Apple did when it went to Intel from PPC.

    At the same time, you are still somewhat correct in that older games tend to have more difficulty running on newer versions of OS X than older ones, but the same can be said for a lot of Windows games as well. Fortunately, there are resources to get around this. GOG is the best one, as they've done all the work of getting titles updated for modern operating systems.

    Your example, Quake 3, has a patch called ioquake3 that allows the game to work on recent OS X versions. See my post here to get it running and with proper widescreen support to boot.
     
  6. SlCKB0Y, Jan 5, 2015
    Last edited: Jan 5, 2015

    SlCKB0Y macrumors 68040

    SlCKB0Y

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    #56
    Maintaining backwards compatibility at any cost (as Microsoft has done) has some pretty big downsides to it with regards to the overall health of the OS.

    Also, I'd say that Linux is far worse for binary compatibility, both between distros and between different versions of the same distro.
     
  7. edddeduck macrumors 68020

    edddeduck

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    #57
    Having had some experience with this lately Linux and Windows are opposite ends of the spectrum and Apple are kinda in the middle.

    Linux has the advantage of libraries all being separately maintained and updated, this is great to have bugs fixed and updated quickly however it makes for some interesting support issues with people who have installed custom or different libraries and drivers. Microsoft target compatibility however this has knock on effects with stability and how new features are implemented so you can have different issues in a different area even if compatibility is good.

    I think in summary their is no perfect way each has their up and down sides. It's a thorny problem and I won't pretend I have the answer!

    Edwin
     
  8. TrylNarrer macrumors newbie

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    Dec 19, 2014
    #58

    I call BS on that. Apple makes computers that are so reliable that if you REALLY need to use old software, you certainly don't need Classic mode or Rosetta. I have two G4 machines that still work perfectly well, as fast as they ever were. One can even boot OS9, so even at a slower clock speed, it runs Classic software faster than the machine that's theoretically twice as fast.

    I've tried, but have never been able to keep a Windows box alive long enough to keep the same legacy software viable.
     
  9. roadbloc macrumors G3

    roadbloc

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    #59
    As I said, Source Ports are available for some of the most popular titles. They are few and far between on a larger scale. And how long will it be before its incompatible?

    I never said Apple machines stop working or whatever. I have 2 G4 machines too, both going strong, however its no thanks to Apple since its usefulness has been extended by 3rd party developers who are dedicated to the PowerPC platform.

    My point is, buy a new Mac with Yosemite and you cannot run PowerPC apps. Or Classic apps. Whereas on Windows 8 you can run XP and 9x era apps with no issue, meaning a much wider range of software and games being available. Compatibility is a huge issue for me when it comes do picking my games and the platform I play them on. Because 10 years down the line, I still want these games to work. As it stands, this is not the case on a Mac and is a perfectly valid reason as to why OS X today has a lack of games in comparison to Windows.

    In short, try installing iTunes 4 on Yosemite. Then try installing it on Windows 8. Only one of the two OSs will actually be able to do it.
     
  10. quackers82 macrumors 6502

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    Mar 13, 2014
    #60
    I think Mac gaming is getting better everyday.

    I use to be a hardcore PC gamer 10 years ago, and now I'm more of a casual gamer, and i only have Macs now, and I'm surprised at home many games do support Mac on Steam. The 2 i want to play that don't support Mac i play via Parallels Desktop. (Age of Empires 2 and The Ship). The people who released The Ship on Steam wanted to port it to Mac as a lot on the team prefer the Mac platform but their licence terms forbid them :( :mad:

    I've always loved playing older games, so the fact that their are Mac versions available but the lack of Rosetta now stops them from playing is highly annoying. Infact i would say its my biggest gripe with Apple. I have managed work arounds i use WINE for Sim City 3000, and The Sims 2 was recently re-released for Intel Mac so i bought that. GOG have Sim City 2000 for Mac (inside a DOS emulator) and Grim Fandango is being re-released this month and comes on on Mac and Windows :D

    I cannot find the page now but i did read an interview with several developers of Steam on the subject or Mac and Linux and they said it was worth their while developing for Mac and Linux despite the smaller market share they still made more money than it cost to bring it to that platform.
     
  11. xSinghx Suspended

    xSinghx

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    Oct 2, 2012
    #61
    This is a bit off topic but it touches on a curiosity I've had with the ps4/xbox one.

    I haven't owned a console since the mid 90's so I have no idea of the details surround this generation but I'm wondering why with the modern consoles they don't do more to be backwards compatible.

    It would seem to be an easy way to maintain brand loyalty and given each new generation typically has several times the power of the last one, one would think emulation would not be such a difficult task for them to do.
     
  12. bmac89 macrumors 6502a

    bmac89

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    Aug 3, 2014
    #62
    You can use Wine / Wineskin wrapper to play Age of Empires 2 on mac.

    http://paulthetall.com/age-of-empires-2-mac/

    I have tried it myself and it works.
     
  13. saturnotaku macrumors 68000

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    #63
    The 360 achieved backward compatibility through emulation. As such, not all original Xbox games worked, and many of those that did suffered from glitches. In the case of the PS3, the initial run of those consoles had PS2 hardware inside them. It was then removed in favor of emulation, then eliminated entirely in subsequent hardware revisions.

    Given the radically different architectures of the Xbox, Xbox 360, and Xbox One; and PS2, PS3, and PS4, hardware backward compatibility can't be feasible from a cost and engineering perspective. Further, given how the Xbox One and PS4 often have trouble running games that were designed specifically for them, emulation won't be a viable option either.

    For me personally, backward compatibility with Xbox and 360 games would have me buying an Xbox One tomorrow. There have been rumors of MS working on the latter, but the company flat out said original Xbox compatibility was not going to happen.
     
  14. edddeduck macrumors 68020

    edddeduck

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    Mar 26, 2004
    #64
    Here are a few reasons why they don't:

    1. It's the opposite of easy, it's actually very hard to so reliably and well.
    2. It would need constant maintenance to tweak for the thousands of games of the older generation.
    3. The hardware is vastly different so the porting effort is pretty massive.
    4. The uptick/benefits through increased sales of the console didn't pan out for the last console. Turned out nobody really used it that much as you don't buy a new console to play old games. I kinda agree with this finding as I bought a PS3 with hardware compatibility and used it only a very small amount.
    5. Having to support older consoles in new hardware increases the cost.
    6. If people want to keep playing their older games they usually just keep their older console!
     
  15. antonis macrumors 68000

    antonis

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    #65
    Let's not forget the mother of all reasons: Milking profit like there's no tomorrow.

    When sony released ps3, it was possible to play ps2 games officially, IIRC, leading to lots of people buying the new console. Soon after release, though, they disabled this feature because PS2 sales were still alive and kicking.

    (then people got really angry, and hacking of ps3 firmware happened).
     
  16. BornAgainMac, Jan 16, 2015
    Last edited: Jan 16, 2015

    BornAgainMac macrumors 603

    BornAgainMac

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    #66
    I think that answer is obsolete now. When people show market numbers, it is everything. Is there is a lot of people playing Call of Duty in the office!? Home users with Macs is at least the same size as PC users.

    Also another argument is that most PCs are super cheap PCs with integrated graphics.
     
  17. Huntn macrumors G5

    Huntn

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    #67
    Could that be said of most Macs? To get dedicated graphics you have to go with the upper eschelion of iMac or MBR. Actually I think the capabilities of integrated graphics are getting better though. It seems to me that the gaming market is oriented to 1)console, 2)PC, with the Mac as an after thought. Don't get me wrong, I love my Mac for most computer related tasks. But putting Windows on my Mac was the best gaming decision I've ever made.
     
  18. xSinghx Suspended

    xSinghx

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    #68
    I see. I guess I'm thinking of it from the perspective of the launch since the question always seems to be, "what games can I play on my new ps4/xbox?" Backwards compatibility would seem to answer that question pretty well and give a marketing advantage while people wait for newer games to roll out.
     
  19. saturnotaku macrumors 68000

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    #69
    Unfortunately, the market didn't see it that way. Bear in mind, the PS3 launched with full hardware backward compatibility at $500-$600. I think that caused a lot of people to either hold on to their PS2s or jump ship to the Xbox 360.
     
  20. Dekema2, Jan 17, 2015
    Last edited: Jan 18, 2015

    Dekema2 thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Dekema2

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    #70
    Why don't PC games come to Mac, and why when they do it takes forever?

    Yesterday I bought COD: BO for the Mac. Previously I had it for the Wii, and it sucked badly because of a poor CPU (Broadway) and graphics. It lacked things like Valkyrie rockets, flamethrower, Chopper Gunner, Gunship, DLC and the camera spike amount countless little things, even things like the hole for the RC-XD in Nuketown. But it had a great playerbase with thousands upon thousands of players, and that really made it exciting nonetheless.

    But Aspyr apparently release BO for Mac in 2012, 2 years late. Apparently back then it didn't even have a big playerbase, and, worse, couldn't and still can't communicate with its PC counterpart. I checked to see how many servers were up and there were many, about 60, but then there were only about 70 players. I'm guessing this is the case on games like MW3 as well. Great graphics but oddly small playerbase. You also can't run modded or separate servers other than dedicated ones.
     
  21. rampancy macrumors regular

    rampancy

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    #71
    ...and the pursuit of backwards compatibility is what nearly led to Apple's downfall in the mid-90's. Copland was intended to be Apple's next-generation OS (and was very promising at first) but was essentially bogged down by Apple heavily emphasizing backwards compatibility with the legacy System 7 APIs. Only when Apple was willing to compromise on backwards compatibility with Rhapsody (later OS X), was the Mac able to move to a modern software foundation (and onward to iOS, the iPhone, and the iPad). Hardware-wise, it was Apple that first decided to ditch 3.5" floppies and legacy ports in favor of USB with the first iMac, and arguably, we're all the better for it.

    Obviously Apple has made some poor, or at least questionable decisions with respects to backwards compatibility (like their poor support of some Macs with the transition to the 64-bit-only kernel in 10.8), but the line inevitably has to be drawn somewhere. Unless you think Apple really would be better off selling PPC 1.25 Ghz G4 Macs running Mac OS 9.2 equipped with SCSI and ADB/Serial ports in 2015.
     
  22. nlr macrumors 6502

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    #72
    Yes the mac market is quite big but honestly how many are actually gaming?
     
  23. roadbloc macrumors G3

    roadbloc

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    #73
    And yet Classic Apps worked just fine in OS X 10.0-10.4. And Rosetta was perfect in 10.6. For some reason, both of these were removed despite OS X most likely functioning just fine if it still used them. The only difference to the user is that you'd just have more apps available to run.

    No. That is ridiculous and not even close to my point. My point is, a brand new £1000+ Mac should (in my mind at least) be able to run the apps that were used on a PPC 1.25 GHz G4 Mac with Mac OS 9.2. Because with a much cheaper PC on Windows 8.x, you can run Windows 9x Apps with no issues.

    I understand that the chipset change (both times) made it more complex and that maybe nowadays asking for Classic OS compatibility may be a bit pointless. But like it or not, it is a valid reason why Mac OS has less games available and why Windows is often the preferred platform for games.
     
  24. saturnotaku macrumors 68000

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    #74
    Just spitballing, but could the fact that Lion was 64-bit only have had something to do with it? Maybe Rosetta wasn't fully functional in such an environment or it would have been too costly to port, if that's what was needed.
     
  25. edddeduck macrumors 68020

    edddeduck

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    #75
    It wasn't for "some reason", the reason they kept working was due to a large number of engineers testing and maintaining code. It also requires all API updates to the main OS needed to be compatible with the emulation layer for the older applications.

    With the move to 64 and newer APIs would mean constant updating of this technology to keep working with newer APIs. In some/many cases this would very likely mean new features would need to be curtailed, delayed or re-engineered to support these older systems.

    As someone guessed stripping 32bit support and going 64bit will likely have been a major reason. It's a bit like why when we patch a game we sometimes drop an older OS, the time and effort needed to maintain the older version with the latest patches (and the fact you cannot use any of the new OS features) means that your engineering time is taken up mostly on older OS issues and not on updating the game or making new games.

    What I am saying is things like this are a bit like a Swan on a lake. Although it looks so serene on the water, under the water it's paddling like crazy. At one point all that effort might be better used on newer features that benefit more users than features that benefit only a smaller number of users.

    I am not saying that is a good thing for backward compatibility but you need to be pragmatic about these things.
     

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