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Valve announces Steam for Mac, will allow Mac-PC online play

post #1 of 37
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Valve officially revealed Monday that its Steam online gaming service, along with the Source engine that powers titles such as Half-Life 2 and Left 4 Dead 2, is coming to the Mac in April.

Valve's library of games will be making the jump from Windows Machines, including Team Fortress 2, Counter-Strike, Portal, and the Half-Life series.

"As we transition from entertainment as a product to entertainment as a service, customers and developers need open, high-quality Internet clients," said Gabe Newell, president of Valve. "The Mac is a great platform for entertainment services."

Jason Holtman, director of business development at Valve, said the partners who sell games through the Steam online service, are "very excited" about embracing the Mac platform. The statement would imply that developers other than Valve intend to make their titles compatible with the Mac.

"Steamworks for the Mac supports all of the Steamworks APIs, and we have added a new feature, called Steam Play, which allows customers who purchase the product for the Mac or Windows to play on the other platform free of charge," Holtman said. "For example, Steam Play, in combination with the Steam Cloud, allows a gamer playing on their work PC to go home and pick up playing the same game at the same point on their home Mac. We expect most developers and publishers to take advantage of Steam Play."

In addition, Valve confirmed that the forthcoming Portal 2 game will be the company's first simultaneous release for both Mac and Windows.

"Checking in code produces a PC build and Mac build at the same time, automatically, so the two platforms are perfectly in lock-step," said Josh Weier, project lead for Portal 2. "We're always playing a native version on the Mac right alongside the PC. This makes it very easy for us and for anyone using Source to do game development for the Mac."

"We looked at a variety of methods to get our games onto the Mac and in the end decided to go with native versions rather than emulation," said John Cook, director of Steam development. "The inclusion of WebKit into Steam, and of OpenGL into Source gives us a lot of flexibility in how we move these technologies forward. We are treating the Mac as a tier-1 platform so all of our future games will release simultaneously on Windows, Mac, and the Xbox 360.

"Updates for the Mac will be available simultaneously with the Windows updates. Furthermore, Mac and Windows players will be part of the same multiplayer universe, sharing servers, lobbies, and so forth. We fully support a heterogeneous mix of servers and clients. The first Mac Steam client will be the new generation currently in beta testing on Windows."
post #2 of 37
Great! Now we can play all those 2-year old steam games that actually run on our brand new Macbook Pros and iMacs with Core2Duos.
post #3 of 37
I hope news games like Empire Total War etc come out eventually too!
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post #4 of 37
you have to admit, macbooks have piss-poor 3-d gaming performance.

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post #5 of 37
This will be great...no more boot camp for CS. I'm not sure if this means I'll have to buy the games again though...hope not!
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post #6 of 37
Quote:
Originally Posted by freddych View Post

you have to admit, macbooks have piss-poor 3-d gaming performance.

You have to admit, that most people don't buy notebooks for hardcore gaming, and the GPUs in the MB/MBP is pretty middle-of-the-road for whats on the market right now. If you try to play Crysis on any laptop, you deserve what you get.

I'm starting to get sick of every goddamn thread I read on this site and MacRumors having the topic devolve into a discussion about the supposed 'outdated' hardware in the macbooks. It's getting old. Anyone have any suggestions on forums where people actually talk about the topic at hand instead of having to deal with Wintendo fanboys whining about stupid crap?
post #7 of 37
Quote:
Originally Posted by azazel- View Post

Yes, because everyone knows i5 and i7 processors and bleeding-edge GPUs are absolutely mandatory for most games today.

Moron.

well, getting 400fps in the HalfLife 2 test is pretty sweet on a new iMac i5. Sure beats the 40fps on the 2 year old machine.
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post #8 of 37
The Source engine scales pretty well. Playing Valve's games at a decent frame-rate should be possible on the late 2007 Macbook and upwards.
post #9 of 37
There are a number of older games that are sold cheap. Old Lucasarts games for instance. I'd love to play Tie-Fighter again and it's supposed to be coming out.

Would these be PC only?
post #10 of 37
I wish this had come a long time ago, but better late than never. I needed to replace my powerbook and it looks like I can get a replacement without having to put windows on it. I have had to rely on my massive pc tower to play any games, but now I will only have to fire it up occasionally.

Valve games really are some of the best games out there and the fact that I won't have to re-buy them is absolutely fantastic (since I already own them all). Even better is that HL2 runs on even the most moderate system so I bet those nvidia 9400s in the macbooks will be able to handle most of those games at reduced settings.
post #11 of 37
AWESOME! This is a great step forward for mac gaming.
Now all three, in my opinion, best game companies produces games for the mac.
The other two great ones are id Software and Blizzard Entertainment.
post #12 of 37
Quote:
Originally Posted by Cbswe View Post

AWESOME! This is a great step forward for mac gaming.
Now all three, in my opinion, best game companies produces games for the mac.
The other two great ones are id Software and Blizzard Entertainment.

Add Epic to that list and we're all good. Unreal engine is used in a lot of good shooters.
post #13 of 37
Quote:
Originally Posted by azazel- View Post

Yes, because everyone knows i5 and i7 processors and bleeding-edge GPUs are absolutely mandatory for most games today.

Moron.

Moron? Ease up killer. Fast processors and GPUs certainly help...
post #14 of 37
omg! if they have audiosurf and they have itunes integration which works with the DRM then i'm going to be as happy as ever!!
post #15 of 37
this is great news - well done valve and apple!

(i've always wondered if apple would see to spend some of their billions to acquire valve... it made sense from a distribution perspective before - and now from a content perspective too.)
post #16 of 37
Quote:
Originally Posted by saarek View Post

I hope news games like Empire Total War etc come out eventually too!

I pre-ordered Empire after becoming a Rome addict. BIGGEST. MISTAKE. EVER. CA shafted all of its fanbase with this broken game, and things only got worse when they dropped ETW support and announced that 60% of the ETW promised features that never came to be would be on Napoleon: for $50 more.

I don't really know what to think of Steam (the thing has given me some head aches), but as long as this means more NATIVE Mac games, horaay!

Hopefully this means one day I won't need a Windows partition to play games anymore...

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post #17 of 37
Yes, because hardly anyone plays Counter Strike Source any more or any of the online FPS games that evolved from Half Life.

The servers are empty...

...NOT!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Superbass View Post

Great! Now we can play all those 2-year old steam games that actually run on our brand new Macbook Pros and iMacs with Core2Duos.
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post #18 of 37
But aren't necessary and put you on a treadmill of upgrades that make the cost of Macs pale into insignificance.

Quote:
Originally Posted by cdyates View Post

Moron? Ease up killer. Fast processors and GPUs certainly help...
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post #19 of 37
What did I say the other day? I said I had a feeling Valve was not going to use a WINE like abstraction layer.... they say.. and I quote: "We looked at a variety of methods to get our games onto the Mac and in the end decided to go with native versions rather than emulation" and "We're always playing a native version on the Mac right alongside the PC. This makes it very easy for us and for anyone using Source to do game development for the Mac." They also say they ported the engine to OpenGL.... my far fetched idea wasn't so far fetched after all.
post #20 of 37
Quote:
Originally Posted by hill60 View Post

But aren't necessary and put you on a treadmill of upgrades that make the cost of Macs pale into insignificance.

Not even close. The "upgrade costs are more than the apple premium" argument is specious. You could buy multiple video card upgrades in the 3 years or so you use the box and still be well under the cost of an iMac that was similarly equipped to start with and cannot be upgraded in any meaningful way to keep up.
post #21 of 37
Real gaming support, finally! Good thing I'm graduating, cause I'll never get homework done again.

C
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post #22 of 37
Quote:
Originally Posted by azazel- View Post

You have to admit, that most people don't buy notebooks for hardcore gaming, and the GPUs in the MB/MBP is pretty middle-of-the-road for whats on the market right now. If you try to play Crysis on any laptop, you deserve what you get.

I'm starting to get sick of every goddamn thread I read on this site and MacRumors having the topic devolve into a discussion about the supposed 'outdated' hardware in the macbooks. It's getting old. Anyone have any suggestions on forums where people actually talk about the topic at hand instead of having to deal with Wintendo fanboys whining about stupid crap?

I think you've completely blown this out of proportion lol. The guy's comment wasn't about the hardware, but about how long it took to get the games to osx. He thinks it's gonna be like playing old boring games, but as hill60 pointed out, these games are still very much alive and kicking. (at least, that's what I got out of it.)
post #23 of 37
Quote:
Originally Posted by cdyates View Post

Add Epic to that list and we're all good. Unreal engine is used in a lot of good shooters.

I remember hearing a lot about unreal 3 on the Mac a year or two ago, since then everything seems to have gone dead. (There was also talk of Gears of War, but that seems to be the same story)

I am still hoping it will be like BioShock where after months of doubt, you suddenly get a shipping notice. (BioShock used a modified unreal 2.5.)

These major engines should really be designed as platform independent from the very beginning. I hope that id Tech 5, and now source, will prove that this can be done and is worthwhile.
post #24 of 37
Steam on Mac and Valve flagship titles native on Mac is bloody excellent.

Remember also that Steam does a MASSIVE amount of "casual games" sales. They will certainly want to get a slice of casual gaming on a Mac.

Steam has a big problem whenever there are network issues, for example firewalls and service provider accidental (or not) blocking.

But other than that it is, on a global scale, a premier online PC game purchase service.

Valve is basically doing the App Store for Mac Games, before anyone else gets a firm foothold in that aspect.

Valve also definitely has many iPhone OS and "iPad OS" games in development, it is just a matter of time until they enter this arena.

As for GPU power, basically anything 9400M, Intel Core 2 Duo 2ghz and above can handle Source games fine. Sure, it will be like 1280x800 res at low settings, but enough if you just want to fire up TF2 or CS and pwn some n00bs in between looking through your iPhoto and browsing sites in Safari/Firefox and Facebooking on Tweetdeck.
post #25 of 37
online gaming means we all can play nice now ???

i can't wait to get my sniper rifle and head shot all you wintell guys

maybe COD 5 or 6 or whatever AND halo will come to the mac full bore un ported re written !!
and what's cryis ??


any way a great steamy day for mac fans world wide
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post #26 of 37
Quote:
Originally Posted by mrpiddly View Post

I remember hearing a lot about unreal 3 on the Mac a year or two ago, since then everything seems to have gone dead. (There was also talk of Gears of War, but that seems to be the same story)

The port is basically done, but the word is that Ryan Gordon ran into a major problem with OSX's implementation of OpenGL. Can't go any farther until Apple fixes the problem.
post #27 of 37
Quote:
Originally Posted by cdyates View Post

Not even close. The "upgrade costs are more than the apple premium" argument is specious. You could buy multiple video card upgrades in the 3 years or so you use the box and still be well under the cost of an iMac that was similarly equipped to start with and cannot be upgraded in any meaningful way to keep up.

But is the constant upgrade cycle good for anyone but the hardware makers?

Look at consoles - they have hardware that is now over four years old, yet new games released for them often are very close if not identical to their PC brethren. Why is that? Well, some would argue consoles are a fixed target which makes optimization actually feasible. While not as homogenous as a console, Mac's have far less variety than PC's so it will be interesting to see if having the latest and greatest GPU is really that much of a barrier to a great gaming experience or not. With Steam coming to the Mac and the pledge for them to bring over many of their games, the first meaningful comparisons will finally be able to be done.
post #28 of 37
Does Battlefield 2 use the Steam engine? Does this in any way effect those wanting to play Battlefield on Macs without Bootcamp ?
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post #29 of 37
Quote:
Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post

Valve's library of games will be making the jump from Windows Machines, including Team Fortress 2, Counter-Strike, Portal, and the Half-Life series.

We are treating the Mac as a tier-1 platform so all of our future games will release simultaneously on Windows, Mac, and the Xbox 360.

This is great news and interesting that it had nothing to do with the iPhone/iPad. I thought perhaps an iPhone version of Portal or something might have driven the decision.

Simultaneous or at least close releases are necessary for a platform to be successful in this area.

The Mac platform is bad for profits in games because the marketshare is low and versions that do come out for the platform are late and more expensive, which leads to piracy. Unofficial ports of Windows games have the same effect where the developers aren't making money from Mac gamers.

Steam is a great solution as it means prices for both Mac and PC versions can be matched and it's easier for Mac users to see what Windows users are playing and report feedback about the most wanted ports. No doubt Modern Warfare 2 will be on that list. In fact, Modern Warfare 1 came out for the Mac as did Bioshock 1 but not Bioshock 2 nor MW2. MW2 actually registers itself through Steam even when you buy the disc so Steam for the Mac may allow MW2 to come over.

I'm looking forward to being able to buy Half-Life 2 Episode 3 and Portal 2 for the Mac platform and not have to reboot. It depends on how well my controller works on the Mac side though as there are only unofficial drivers for it.

It's a long overdue move IMO but I guess it had a lot to do with how many people were actually able to play the games. Until Apple jumped to the 9400M, the majority of the lineup couldn't play them and the rest were less likely to be in the target audience. Hopefully with Apple working with the developers and GPU suppliers that this means strong GPUs from now on and this will easily push more developers into making content.

Intel has something like 50% of the GPU market so with Apple 100% ATI/NVidia then instead of a 10:1 audience for games, it becomes more like 5:1, which isn't nearly so off-putting for developers. 20% sales increase by targeting Mac users is enough to take notice, whereas 10% or less not so much.
post #30 of 37
Quote:
Originally Posted by Zab The Fab View Post

Does Battlefield 2 use the Steam engine? Does this in any way effect those wanting to play Battlefield on Macs without Bootcamp ?

It is distributed using the steam software, but it doesn't use the source engine. Any news about this game running on the mac would come from the makers of the game, not Vale :/
post #31 of 37
Quote:
Originally Posted by Zab The Fab View Post

Does Battlefield 2 use the Steam engine? Does this in any way effect those wanting to play Battlefield on Macs without Bootcamp ?

Steam isn't an engine, its combination communication tool and store. Think of it as gameranger mixed with the app store. EA and DICE have chosen to offer their games for sale through the steam store, but they do not use the Source engine. Battlefield 1942 through 2142 use the refractor engine. the Bad company series and 1943 use an engine called frostbite. Whether they show up on the Mac through steam is EA and DICE's call not Valve's. They did they they are looking to bad company 2 though.
post #32 of 37
Quote:
Originally Posted by brucep View Post

online gaming means we all can play nice now ???

i can't wait to get my sniper rifle and head shot all you wintell guys

maybe COD 5 or 6 or whatever AND halo will come to the mac full bore un ported re written !!
and what's cryis ??

any way a great steamy day for mac fans world wide

Imma pwn all you n00bs on mah MacBook.
post #33 of 37
Quote:
Originally Posted by nvidia2008 View Post

Imma pwn all you n00bs on mah MacBook.

duck !!
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post #34 of 37
What's the cost of a pair of ATI Radeon HD 5870's, maybe opt for an ATI Radeon HD 5970 instead with twin GPU's, a pair of Nvidia GeForce GTX 285's or the dual GPU version Nvidia GeForce GTX 295?

That's just one part of a high end, bleeding edge gaming rig or do you want a cheapskate, half-a$$ed effort?

What's the cost so far?

Games developed for the bleeding edge don't sell well, the biggest customer base has older hardware, something that most current Macs will easily handle.

Quote:
Originally Posted by cdyates View Post

Not even close. The "upgrade costs are more than the apple premium" argument is specious. You could buy multiple video card upgrades in the 3 years or so you use the box and still be well under the cost of an iMac that was similarly equipped to start with and cannot be upgraded in any meaningful way to keep up.
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post #35 of 37
Nah, I'll just go after them with a knife, there's nothing like the whining of n00bs who been pwn'd up close and personal.

Quote:
Originally Posted by brucep View Post

online gaming means we all can play nice now ???

i can't wait to get my sniper rifle and head shot all you wintell guys

maybe COD 5 or 6 or whatever AND halo will come to the mac full bore un ported re written !!
and what's cryis ??


any way a great steamy day for mac fans world wide
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post #36 of 37
Quote:
Originally Posted by hill60 View Post

What's the cost of a pair of ATI Radeon HD 5870's, maybe opt for an ATI Radeon HD 5970 instead with twin GPU's, a pair of Nvidia GeForce GTX 285's or the dual GPU version Nvidia GeForce GTX 295?

That's just one part of a high end, bleeding edge gaming rig or do you want a cheapskate, half-a$$ed effort?

What's the cost so far?

Games developed for the bleeding edge don't sell well, the biggest customer base has older hardware, something that most current Macs will easily handle.

Dual gpu solutions aren't necessary and generate diminishing returns. Just check a site like tom's hardware to find the price/performance sweet spot for graphics cards. The bang for the buck spot is usually around 150.00. A year or so later, a lot better card is in that spot, and you can bump it up if there is a new game that would benefit from it. It's not hard and its not expensive. Do that four times and you've still only spent 600.00. You're still well under the price of that iMac you had to pay 2000.00 for just to get the ATI 4850 with a gimpy 512 meg of ram. You can always get a good gaming rig in the sweet spot for price/performance for <1000.00.

Games developed for the bleeding edge don't sell well? I'm not sure what you consider the bleeding edge, but are you saying that Modern Warfare 2, Crysis when it came out, Left 4 Dead 2, Bioshock, Far Cry 2, Half-Life 2 when it came out, haven't sold well?
post #37 of 37
Quote:
Originally Posted by hill60 View Post

Nah, I'll just go after them with a knife, there's nothing like the whining of n00bs who been pwn'd up close and personal.

i am lostplay in the battle fields of cyber space

rock on dude

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