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Valve's Steam gaming system may be headed to the Mac - Page 2

post #41 of 55
Nice that steam will come to Mac but now they need the games to follow
post #42 of 55
Marvin, you have some good points, even if the better part of your games list is Ciderized (which I've always had kind of a problem with on the premise that it usurps the place of actual Mac development).

OK, so if Valve debuted Steam on OS X, what then? I might be biased toward "real" games, but I don't think a so-so-sized collection of casual games at launch would be enough to really sell it. Would Valve actually go to the trouble to do a really top-notch native Mac version of the Source engine? (This again brings up the issue of whether the Mac platform, as much as it has grown, is worth that much work in the face of uncertain success. It's not like all Mac users even want games, judging from the range of opinions I've seen.) Knowing Valve's dedication to quality, I would hope yes, but you never know until it happens. Would Valve's family of Source-based games (and perhaps mods? Would they need porting work to be done too? Knock on wood...) be enough to reach the tipping point for other developers to follow suit? Would Valve be willing to "go it alone" with little or no support from Apple, compared to the rock-star treatment Microsoft seems to give the game devs in their camp?

It just seems like a lot of amazing, against-the odds successes would have to take place for all of this to be worth it. \
post #43 of 55
Quote:
Originally Posted by Shunnabunich View Post

OK, I realize I sounded very much like a troll in my previous post, but none of the opposing arguments so far have convinced me otherwise. Rewriting the Steam client for OS X isn't a trivial task (although I'm sure it's nothing like trying to port a game), and they'd be doing it for a handful of existing casual games, essentially providing a place to keep them in a list (which I already do with a stack on my Dock) and keep track of how many hours you've spent on each (which, admittedly, stacks don't do).

I've played Ciderized games, and they're such pale, quivering shadows of their former Windows selves that I'm tempted to say they simply don't count at all. Plus, we can't delude ourselves into thinking that any DirectX-based games would be given any more effort than a quick Cider wrap and boot out the door. It's all that's been happening in Mac gaming since the Intel transition, with the exception of developers like Blizzard and Id who were already developing games cross-platform from the ground up.

OpenGL is a graphics library, which only addresses one portion of what DirectX addresses and from the anecdotal evidence I've seen around the web, DirectX is apparently easier, or more pleasant or something, to program for than OpenGL. The fact that a newer iteration of OGL is being adopted now doesn't change that. The amount of effort needed to rewrite a DirectX-based game engine to use not only a completely different underlying graphics framework, but a whole other set of OS-specific APIs is most likely monumental. As much as the Mac market has grown relative to its old size, it's still very small, making it doubtful whether it's enough to justify that kind of work.

I don't mind rebooting for more serious games (i.e. the HL2 series) because, having played Mac "ports" of them, the speed, graphical performance and hardware support they have on Windows is unmatchable. If Apple gave two shiuhh, hoots about gaming outside of the iPhone OS, this might not be the case, but they've made it painfully clear for the last decade that they don't.

I'm sorry if this makes me a "Debbie Downer". There are many things about OS X that we can be exceedingly proud of. Games aren't one of them.

DirectX is badly fragmented in that 9.x and 10.0 are largely incomparable with each other. Another problem is DirectX 9.0c is as high as DirectX officially goes on XP to go above that you need Vista (blech) or Windows 7. Never mind that of all the consoles only the Xbox itself is where DirectX (at the 9.0c version) dominates. For the rest of the console market OpenGL in some form or another is king.

Never mind that if what I see at the stores is any guide PC games compared to console games is about where Mac games were compared to PC games in the early 1990s--few if any to be seen and what there are are relatively old. The PC game market in general seems to be in decline or at the very least being pushed off the shelves by the console games.
post #44 of 55
Quote:
Originally Posted by Maximara View Post

Never mind that if what I see at the stores is any guide PC games compared to console games is about where Mac games were compared to PC games in the early 1990s--few if any to be seen and what there are are relatively old. The PC game market in general seems to be in decline or at the very least being pushed off the shelves by the console games.

Quote:
Originally Posted by RichL View Post

Correction: The PC retail market is in terminal decline. Online services (such as Steam), casual games, indie games and subscription-based games are showing strong growth. There's also a lot of markets outside of the US where PC games are still king - especially eastern Europe and Asia.

Anyway, there's another point I forgot to bring up in my last post. Back when Apple's App Store launched for the iPhone and iPod Touch, there were relatively few software titles available for it. Now that the App Store is an absolute behemoth with hundreds of thousands of apps, other platforms are coming onto the scene and left scratching their heads wondering why their app stores aren't taking off like Apple's did.

The problem is, Apple's past success changed everyone's expectations for the present. People are no longer patient enough to wait for each and every App Store wannabe to get up to speed, when Apple's is already strong and healthy.

Steam on Windows started out with only Valve's games, and that was fine because, for a brand-new distribution platform, you could start off with a lot worse. However, Steam now has...well, I'm not sure how many, but zillions of games on Windows, and there's no possible way they'd be able to offer more than a few on the Mac when they launch there. (Incidentally, this is also a problem that faces the iPad, although perhaps less so, since there's so little difference between it and the iPhone, making the barrier to transition a lot lower.)

The question there, I guess, is whether enough Mac users are starved enough for the kind of gaming ecosystem that Steam provides to overlook the difference and make Valve's venture worthwhile. Pretty much every one of those users already has the option of using Steam on Windows on the very same machines just by rebooting, so they'd really have to be cheesed off by the inherent delay.
post #45 of 55
Quote:
Originally Posted by Maximara View Post

Never mind that if what I see at the stores is any guide PC games compared to console games is about where Mac games were compared to PC games in the early 1990s--few if any to be seen and what there are are relatively old. The PC game market in general seems to be in decline or at the very least being pushed off the shelves by the console games.

That's my point, American retail isn't a good guide to the state of the PC games industry. The majority of gamers prefer to get their games through digital distribution methods these days. It's more convenient. And generally where the PC games industry leads, the console games industry follows.

If you want to check out the true state of the PC games industry, check out Steam's store. 58 games or add-ons released in the past month, including big-hitters such as Mass Effect 2, Napoleon: Total War and Star Trek Online.
post #46 of 55
Quote:
Originally Posted by RichL View Post

If you want to check out the true state of the PC games industry, check out Steam's store. 58 games or add-ons released in the past month, including big-hitters such as Mass Effect 2, Napoleon: Total War and Star Trek Online.

I do all my gaming on PC and it if anything it seems to be picking up.

I think what was killing gaming on PC was not consoles but piracy. And by moving PC games out of physical stores and in to online DRM stores they can reduce that.
post #47 of 55
I have a question. Is there any legitimate reason why game developers still use DirectX over OpenGL? If they went OpenGL then in theory at least development time would be reduced because OpenGL is supposed to work the same on all platforms as opposed to DirectX which only runs on Windows.

Cider suffers a performance hit by having to convert DirectX into OpenGL so without the conversion and just using OpenGL from the word go there should be no real reason why ports would take so long.

Bearing in mind I'm just thinking aloud here and I'm not a programmer so if anyone has a clue can you enlighten us?

Thanks.
post #48 of 55
Quote:
Originally Posted by Shunnabunich View Post

Marvin, you have some good points, even if the better part of your games list is Ciderized

Call of Duty 4, Prey, The Force Unleashed and Bioshock are native - Bioshock is based on a custom Unreal engine. I'd say those are the better games. EA tends to take the easy route but EA doesn't put much innovation into games these days anyway, they mainly live off tired old franchises.

There's also the World of Warcraft franchise that Activision Blizzard can put on Steam with expansion packs.

The Mac doesn't have a lot of titles I agree but it does have a few that generate loads of profit and it's hard to get hold of them. Steam would at least let Mac users get access to the good games that do exist and start the ball rolling.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Shunnabunich View Post

Would Valve actually go to the trouble to do a really top-notch native Mac version of the Source engine? (This again brings up the issue of whether the Mac platform, as much as it has grown, is worth that much work in the face of uncertain success. It's not like all Mac users even want games, judging from the range of opinions I've seen.)

The Unreal engine was ported to the iphone and that platform is very attractive for games developers. If it wasn't, Capcom wouldn't be porting Street Fighter 4 to it before the DS and PSP. Games ported to the iphone mean they run on the Mac too - you just change the control scheme.

Portal on the iphone would be awesome as this video shows:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kWjNiH1hLww

That game starts with a message about using the 3D iphone engine Unity but people have noted Teleport (a VNC client) is shown on the phone but either way, the iphone can handle these graphics and the gameplay looks very good.

When you have an install base around the same as the 360 and PS3 together where people use games a lot, it gives more leverage than the Mac platform but as I say, by targeting the ipods/iphones, you automatically get to target the Mac platform.

Half-Life 2 running on the iphone would generate so much publicity. The graphics would probably look similar to this:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9L-YLsZ2I1I

Quote:
Originally Posted by Shunnabunich View Post

Would Valve be willing to "go it alone" with little or no support from Apple

Apple would support them as they do other game devs. In Keynotes now, there are regular appearances from game developers.

Plus the incentive is there. Portal alone would easily sell for $10 and if you hit just 5% of the install base (if Bejewelled can do it so can Portal), that's $20 million of revenue from an old franchise and it sure wouldn't cost $20 million to port it over. They've only sold about 10 million copies of HL2 plus another few million of the Orange Box.
post #49 of 55
Y'know, I haven't really noticed many, if any, titles for iPhone OS spilling back to the Mac for some reason...which is weird, because as you say, the platforms are similar enough that Mac releases of many iPhone games (depending on how touch-centric they are) should be a breeze. I'd much rather play Half-Life 2 on Mac OS X than my iPhone, though. It just wouldn't compare.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Marvin View Post

Apple would support them as they do other game devs. In Keynotes now, there are regular appearances from game developers.

Yeah, I've seen the keynotes. Only problem is, that's about all I've seen. Apple's enthusiasm for Mac gaming seems to end at the edge of the stage. iPhone OS is a different story, of course, and that's where we're seeing all the game demos in keynotes now.
post #50 of 55

its true
post #51 of 55
I'm addicted to left4dead. I don't know why. Something about blasting hordes of zombies just relaxes me.

A 9300M should play steam games fine.
post #52 of 55
Quote:
Originally Posted by Shunnabunich View Post

Y'know, I haven't really noticed many, if any, titles for iPhone OS spilling back to the Mac for some reason...

I know of one but there aren't many:

http://www.apple.com/downloads/macos...ousisland.html

The iphone version came on May 28th 2009, Mac version was September 2009.

One thing that's interesting is Sims 3 on the Mac uses Cider but presumably it's native on the iphone unless they've got Cider working for mobile devices too.

Quote:
Originally Posted by chronster

I'm addicted to left4dead. I don't know why.

I'm not sure why Apple don't actively support game ports. They have $40b and there must be at most 100 great games to have on the desktop so why not spend at most $1m per title?

Just pick the best ones. It would be such a small investment for Apple and yet give a massive boost to their brand.
post #53 of 55
Quote:
Originally Posted by Marvin View Post

One thing that's interesting is Sims 3 on the Mac uses Cider but presumably it's native on the iphone unless they've got Cider working for mobile devices too.

The Sims 3 on the iPhone is a 100% completely different game.

It's like what they did with The Sims 2 on the PSP but that game sucked. The Sims 3 on the iPhone isn't half bad but needs more things to do.
post #54 of 55
Games apparently coming Half Life 2, Portal, Team Fortress 2. Others as well.

If not, Valve themselves are sending out very Mac-like teaser images ...

http://www.macrumors.com/2010/03/03/...lease-for-mac/

"In anticipation of an upcoming announcement from Valve."

We should know soon.
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post #55 of 55
Quote:
Originally Posted by Shunnabunich View Post


Would Valve actually go to the trouble to do a really top-notch native Mac version of the Source engine?

In a word - yes.
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