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. koyoot macrumors 601

    koyoot

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    #151
    Marksatt, I have a question for you. Have you got any idea, why Blizzard for first time in years is not developing Mac version of Overwatch? Im asking of course for technical point of view.
     
  2. jeanlain macrumors 65816

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    #152
    How many developers have been asking Apple to update openGL when it was only at version 2.1, then 3.2 and now 4.1? Apple have always been years late in terms of openGL features. Now with Metal, there're also years late in terms of features. It looks like history is repeating itself. We'll see at the next WWDC.
     
  3. Janichsan macrumors 65816

    Janichsan

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    #153
    But when is Metal supposed to reach any major waypoint in its journey? So far, it's nowhere to being a viable alternative to the other contemporary APIs. How long is it supposed to take to be anywhere near to being competitive to DX12 and Vulkan? A year? Five years? Ten? Apple has proven in the past to move with a glacial pace in this regard and I don't see them stepping up their game now.

    Vulkan on the other hand is already fully equivalent in its feature set to the latest iterations of OpenGL.

    Well, the thing is that we not just talking about some theoretical specifications: there already are drivers from Nvidia, AMD and Intel that (are supposed) to fully support Vulkan 1.0.
     
  4. wubsylol macrumors regular

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    #154
    I can't see Metal on OS X ever being feature equivalent with Vulkan/DirectX12 because I suspect Apple would rather maintain equivalency between OS X Metal and iOS Metal. The current crop of iPhone GPUs are feature equivalent to DX10/OpenGL 3.2. I think only the iPad Pro is any better at OpenGL 3.3.
     
  5. Adam552 macrumors 6502

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    #155
    It's a lot of effort to port games over to Mac, thing is, most of us who want to game on our Macs already use Bootcamp to do so.

    It would be nice to be able to have some games running with Metal support though, but I don't see it happening unfortunately. Unless someone finds a really easy way to port it over.
     
  6. marksatt macrumors regular

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    #156
    I honestly can't say.
     
  7. koyoot macrumors 601

    koyoot

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    #157
    Because you don't know, or... you are behind some type of NDA? ;)
     
  8. marksatt macrumors regular

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    #158
    Updating Apple's old OpenGL codebase was increasingly difficult which is partly why Apple's GL updates trailed the release of the specification so badly. Apple might have had to take a few steps back but it should now be much easier for them to go forward - they no longer have a massive code layer between the developer & the GPU vendor to keep updating. While the OpenGL specification was defined by the Khronos board & implementation was split between Apple & the vendor the Metal specification is entirely Apple's & the implementation is effectively entirely up to the vendors.

    Metal on Mac is something of a compromise right now & obviously I'd always prefer an all singing, all dancing API that does everything, but wrt UE4 for the foreseeable future trading Geometry/Tessellation for Compute is definitely the right way to go. As I said if Apple want Metal to succeed they can't afford to treat it the same way as they did OpenGL and they know that.
    --- Post Merged, Feb 18, 2016 ---
    I don't work at Blizzard so I just honestly don't know the why's & wherefore's of their decision.
     
  9. jeanlain macrumors 65816

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  10. marksatt macrumors regular

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    #160
    Metal will replace Mac OpenGL in UE4 sooner rather than later because it is absolutely viable for us. Its taken a while to get to this stage but that's part of the process when working with a new API of such complexity. More features at launch would have been nice - but (with the exception of Geometry shaders) all the essentials (for us) were present.

    For the Feral's & Aspyr's of this world Apple will need to add features for it to be viable - they have far less room to manoeuvre around omitted features than we do.

    See my previous; Metal isn't OpenGL - the initial Mac Metal implementation would have been a huge undertaking for Apple/vendors but updating it should be *much* easier than it was with OpenGL.

    Mac Metal & iOS Metal are likely to retain a mostly common core of features, but features & formats that only work on one platform or another are already present. For example layered rendering only works on Mac & various texture formats only work on iOS (because they don't make sense on current Mac GPUs). Keeping things unified where possible is just good engineering and I've had my say about which features they should add but only Apple know what their ultimate intentions for Metal are. Time will tell...

    More importantly the Vulkan specification is functionally equivalent to D3D - which remains the 800lb gorilla of graphics APIs. That makes it very enticing for a lot of developers *but* a specification is not the same thing as working drivers from each vendor for all the GPUs developers need to support.

    And there's the rub - Nvidia & Intel's drivers pass a conformance test (despite Vulkan being based on Mantle, AMD's do not) which is not the same thing as all of those specified features working exactly as described in a real game on real gamers' H/W. Just as Metal wasn't a panacea for Mac gaming in the wake of WWDC, neither is Vulkan. So far Vulkan is just promising in theory - not working in practice.
    --- Post Merged, Feb 18, 2016 ---
    Well, with UE4 there is official Mac Metal support in the engine for licensees to use & we're using Metal for Mac in Fortnite...
     
  11. Adam552 macrumors 6502

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    #161
    That's great to hear a huge game engine is including Metal support. It's good to see and hopefully can expand the Mac gaming market a bit and encourage others to include Metal support too.
     
  12. Grade macrumors regular

    Grade

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    #162
    Marksatt, maybe you can't answer this due any kind of NDA stuff and perferctly understand.

    Are noticing improvements on the Metal comparing to OpenGL?
     
  13. wubsylol, Feb 18, 2016
    Last edited: Feb 19, 2016

    wubsylol macrumors regular

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    #163
    Don't know where I said that it was OpenGL. I'm ref but it's a lot easier to refer to hardware feature equivalency by referring to APIs than functions.

    That's really a different issue from what I was getting at, but I still stand by my comment that Metal is being held back by iOS and will not be feature equivalent with DX12 (or Vulkan) until mobile (handheld) GPUs catch up.
     
  14. Janichsan macrumors 65816

    Janichsan

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    #164
    …which – with all due respect – is a significantly larger problem than Epic being happy with Metal, since that's where the majority of noteworthy Mac games come from.
     
  15. marksatt, Feb 19, 2016
    Last edited: Feb 19, 2016

    marksatt macrumors regular

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    #165
    You asked whether Metal was viable & whether it had made progress - for UE4 both can be answered in the affirmative.

    I completely agree though, it is important if not essential for Metal's success and longevity that sufficient features are added to ensure that all the other companies can bring their games to Mac using Metal too.
     
  16. koyoot macrumors 601

    koyoot

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    #166
    So Mark. If you are adding Metal to UE4, that means that any dev that will use UE4 will be able to port its game to OS X without any problem?
     
  17. marksatt macrumors regular

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    #167
    I was responding in more general terms to both Janichsan's & your own sentiments, in that you both doubt Metal will advance.

    To respond directly: Apple aren't above implementing pragmatic feature differentiation where required - Mac Metal's memory model is quite a bit more complicated than the initial iOS version because it needs to be. Mac & iOS Metal share a common feature-set & in version 1.0 (iOS)/1.1 (Mac) its broadly the same - but they've certainly set it up so that they can differentiate where necessary as they go.

    As an aside:
    It is more important to me that if Apple add features they do so to achieve *functional* equivalence, rather than a box-ticking exercise in *specification* equivalence. I'm much more interested in them adding the features that (1) their Mac GPUs support and that (2) games actually do (or will soon) use. There's a grab-bag of features that DX12/Vulkan posses that don't fit one or both criteria.
    --- Post Merged, Feb 19, 2016 ---
    Licensees will be able to use Mac Metal in UE4 from version 4.11 onward - its what I've been working toward since WWDC, but I would never say it will work without any problem. No matter where I've been or which game we've been working on - each & every single one has found new graphics bugs, even on the battle-hardened platforms.
     
  18. jeanlain macrumors 65816

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    #168
    Some interesting comments here: https://forums.developer.apple.com/thread/38469 (you may need an Apple ID to view the comments).
    So one thinks that Metal is at the sweet spots in terms of performance/difficulty of use, Vulkan being incredibly complex.
    Another thinks Apple must support Vulkan, or the platform will be abandoned by serious graphics developers.
     
  19. Janichsan macrumors 65816

    Janichsan

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    #169
    I never doubted Metal will advance at all – I doubt it will advance in a timely and meaningful manner.
     
  20. marksatt macrumors regular

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    #170
    Sorry - didn't mean to mischaracterise your statement. From my perspective not advancing meaningfully is the same as not advancing but I didn't clarify that.

    Its reasonable to be disappointed that Mac Metal wasn't functionally equivalent to D3D11 straightaway, though by-and-large I understand Apple's approach. OTOH believing that Metal is destined to fail based on only two major releases is premature.

    If you are right then yes, it will fail & Apple will have to think again but I wouldn't take Apple's development of OpenGL as necessarily indicative of how Metal will play out. OpenGL as an API & Apple's implementation were ready for replacement and Apple weren't alone in having painfully poor support: AMD's closed-source Linux GL driver is also notoriously bad.
     

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