Why is MacSoft better than Aspyr

Discussion in 'Games' started by mcmillan, Aug 27, 2005.

  1. mcmillan macrumors 6502

    Jul 4, 2004
    After playing three different games for Mac, The Sims 2 (ported to Mac by Aspyr), SimCity 4 Rush Hour EP (Aspyr), and Rise of Nations Gold (MacSoft), I got to a conclusion: MacSoft ports the games from Windows to OS X better than Aspyr does.

    I had the opportunity to play these 3 games in a PC a few years ago. It was a Pentium 4, 3.0Ghz, 512 Mb RAM, 64 Mb VRAM. My Mac Mini uses a G4 1.25 Ghz, 1024 Mb RAM, and 32 Mb VRAM. (Note that he PC has more VRAM, but the Mac has more RAM)

    In the Sims 2 for PC, the FPS (frames per second) where acceptable, I had a smooth gameplay, and good graphics. Same as SimCity 4 Rush Hour EP, good graphics, and great FPS rate.

    On my Mac, the Sims 2 FPS are always very low, and I can't keep the textures on high because the FPS go down. In SimCity 4 I turned off waves, and clouds, lowered city detail, number of sims and cars, but still the you-drive-it feature was unplayable because of the FPS.

    Up to this point you would say that the PC that I used had a better performance than my Mac Mini. That's exactly what I thought until I installed a MacSoft game, Rise of Nations.

    On the PC, the gameplay was very good, but in stress moments, the FPS could get very low. For example, in the middle of a war the FPS usually decrease, and when I dropped an atomic bomb, the whole animation which lasted around 5 seconds was done in 3 or 4 frames.
    But on my Mac, the FPS were surprisingly high. Even in the moment of most stress for the system, in the middle of a war, when lots of sounds and visual animations were happening, I could drop an atomic bomb and see the whole animation in 10 FPS, compared with the less than 1 that I got on the PC. In regular gameplay, with just farming, and getting wood, the FPS didn't go under 40.

    This event was a big surprise for me, it seems that MacSoft ports the games better than Aspyr. With Aspyr's games the performance was always worse than in PC, but with Rise of Nations, the performance was better than in PC. I don't know if the atomic bomb could have been and exception, but is there a way to suck at porting games? because it seems to me that Aspyr is doing an awful job.

    What are your ideas about this?
    What is Aspyr doing wrong?
    What is MacSoft doing better than Aspyr?
  2. greatdevourer macrumors 68000

    Aug 5, 2005
    It's not always like that. For instance, Unreal Tournament (MacSoft) get's a lower FPS on the Mac than the PC, whereas Doom3 (can't remember) gets higher on a Mac. The reason for this is the graphics engine. Porting something origionally written in Direct X (eg, Unreal Tournament) to OpenGL (as you would expect) means a severe drop in performance. However, if it's written in OpenGL (like Doom3, and, I guess, Rise Of Nations), then it will blaze along much faster than an equivilent PC, due to the fact that X has OpenGL built in and has much better support for it. The same goes for Linux ports
  3. socamx macrumors 6502

    Oct 7, 2004
    Thing is though...you are only talking about 3 games, 2 from Aspyr, 1 from Macsoft. Just because Aspyr has 2 bad and Macsoft has 1 good, doesn't mean the rest of the games are like that.

    UT2004 (and UT2003 I guess this goes for too) is a very good port but very lacking in a lot of places, partly due to Apple's fault and their drivers, part due to how it was ported from the PC side. There are quite a few rendering differences and overall quality of the look that are lacking on the Mac compared to a PC, as well as performance issues. UT2004 has a lot of room for improvement still in the tweak department and getting everything working. UT2004, UT2003, Max Payne, Unreal, and UT. All of those I've had experience with from Macsoft and I can't complain about their quality much.

    Now Doom 3 from Aspyr, besides the fact the game is completely horrible, the port was extreme solid. The graphics look downright amazing with no glitches that I could see of or lacking on the Mac. Performance was amazing, I really though I was going to be stuck with 800x600 with medium settings and the eyecandy all turned off just to play through the game. I had absolutely no trouble playing 1024x768 with high settings getting acceptable FPS in most areas (ran on the G5 in my sig). Overall...I'm very impressed with this game's port quality. Call of Duty, Return to Castle Wolfenstein, Deus Ex, THPS4...I've owned and played all of these, some of them dated now but regardless I thinkn they were all very well done ports by Aspyr.

    Now if you wanna talk about a bad port from Macsoft, lets talk a bit about Halo. Halo's Mac port is ugly, FPS are horrid (even on a well equipped system) and it just feels rushed. However...this is due to the fact that the PC port is just as bad, so if the game starts off bad on the PC it's not gonna have a good Mac life. BloodRayne from Aspyr is a good example of this as well, another absolutely horrible port, but just because the PC port was horrible as well.

    I don't think this is so much the developers fault as it is how the game is actually made. Doom 3 is an OpenGL game for example and it's engine is designed to be extremely flexible, so thus the Mac port was very good. If a game uses a lot of proprietary technologies or is just sloppily made on the PC, of course the road to a Mac will be bad. Another thing you need to take into consideration, your PC and Mini aren't very close spec wise, and PC's can tend to have a lot of driver issues that will make games perform poorly or some games just may not agree with certain graphic's cards. So in the case of the Mini running the game better, it's probably an issue on your PC's side, because facing facts...PC's should all be running games faster just because of the fact the games were made for them.

    They both do a lot of great ports, Aspyr does do more however (as to why I dunno, bigger company, more money..not sure), they both have good and bad ports....I think it just has to do with how well made on the PC it was, and how open the underlying system in the game is willing to adapt to other hardware/os's. Some games do good...others bad, not necessarily the porters fault.
  4. socamx macrumors 6502

    Oct 7, 2004
    Doom 3 doesn't get higher on the Mac, I think at min it's at least a 10 fps difference from PC to Mac on 'comparable' (apples and oranges remember...) hardware. Also, Apple's OpenGL's state leaves a lot to be desired. If you want true OpenGL support, you need a Linux box.
  5. mrgreen4242 macrumors 601


    Feb 10, 2004
    Halo's PC port was rubbish too. Before I switched (for the second time), I had a 2.8ghz P4, Radeon 9600pro w/128mb vram, 768mb RAM, and a fast 8mb cache HDD. Not an amazing super system, but a really good gaming rig for the time. Halo ran like and looked like apsolute crap on the PC too. No anti-aliasing, no aniscoptic (sp?) filtering, crappy resolution, locked framerate.

    It was a complete rubbish engine, if you ask me, and didn't scale well off the Xbox.
  6. applekid macrumors 68020

    Jul 3, 2003
    It has more to do with your Mac's performance than just the difference between porting houses.

    RoN isn't running a heavy 3D engine. The Sims 2 and SimCity 4 are running very heavy 3D engines. Just look at the differences in system requirements (not so much SC4).

    Your Mac Mini has a measly Radeon 9200. Totally crap. Your PC probably had something much better than a Radeon 9200 to be able to deal with Sims 2 and SC4 smoothly. And a 1.25 GHz G4 is no comparison to a Pentium 4 running at 3 GHz. The differences in VRAM and RAM have little to do with performance. You want a comparable machine with your old PC, you'd need a G5 or at least a better graphics card.

    Well put:

    There's sooooooo many factors with porting: Different hardware architectures, DirectX to OpenGL, X86 assembly to C/C++/PPC assembly, different hardware and driver support, quality of the original code, and all sorts of porting overhead, that you can't say a bad port is really a bad port because of the porter alone. There's still plenty of blame for Apple and the original coders. So, sure, blame a bad port on the porters, but let's not forget they couldn't have done it alone :D

    And I have no doubt RoN was a DirectX game. Its original publisher is Microsoft.

    I will say Halo wasn't such a bad port from the X-Box version as far as features go. Higher resolutions (those graphics are scaled up from that crappy TV resolution), better textures, full support of vertex and pixel shaders. Feature wise, Halo is great. Just look at the game side by side with the X-Box version. A high powered graphics card running Halo is beautiful. But, compared to the X-Box's performance, yeah, Halo Mac/PC is crap. But, I like it because it leaves it for future machines to take full advantage of the eye candy.
  7. Soulstorm macrumors 68000


    Feb 1, 2005
    I totally disagree with the topic starter of this thread.

    First of all, you can't actually compare 2 companies that have developed DIFFERENT games. The only way to see which company is better is to have them port the same game. And you simply can't do that. I have seen ports from macsoft that are rubbish, and other ports that are good. I observer the same thing happening for Aspyr.

    Aspyr has done a lot of great ports, like Doom 3, and Command & Conquer. Also, Call of duty runs exceptionally even on my iMac G4! Star wars Battlefront is a good port also!

    Oh, and for those who think that Doom 3 is not a good port... Have you ever seen Doom 3 work on a PC with 1GHz processor and GeForce 4MX? Well, it runs on my iMac G4! That means that the port is solid and could not be better.

    Macsoft also has some great ports on their side too. Halo was a good port (after being updated to version 1.5)

    The conclusion is, you can't rely on your judgement because you haven't played many games yet. You rely on conclusions that come from 3 games. That's just not right. You don't know the difficulties of porting each game, since you don't know the code used by the original developers of each game. What you should know is that every game is different, and that some games are hard to keep their FPS at high levels when porting to the Mac platform, during to necessary code changes...
  8. mcmillan thread starter macrumors 6502

    Jul 4, 2004
    Alright, thanks everyone for the replies, a learned a lot from this thread! :p

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