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Game developers eye the Mac after Steam's jump to Apple

post #1 of 65
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The announcement that the Steam gaming service and Valve's line of games -- including Half-Life 2 and Left 4 Dead 2 -- are being ported to the Mac has convinced major developers like DICE and Gas Powered Games to consider the jump as well.

Gas Powered Games just released its latest title, "Supreme Commander 2," for Steam, and founder Chris Taylor told The Escapist that as a result of Steam's move to the Mac, his development studio hopes to release future games for Mac OS X.

"We, as a developer, will include a Mac platform option in all of our proposals moving forward," Taylor reportedly said. "We're in 100 percent support of it, absolutely."

He noted that because Macs use Intel processors and rely on ATI and Nvidia for graphics, Apple machines are "very easy" to port PC games to. He also said the tremendous growth of the Mac platform in the last year has made it an attractive opportunity. In the last quarter alone, Apple sold a record 3.36 million Macs.

"It shows that the OS X platform is really picking up speed," he told author Greg Tito. "That's super exciting, we need that in the world. We need that kind of balance in our market."

In addition to Gas Powered Games, developer DICE -- maker of the recently released "Battlefield: Bad Company 2" -- is considering bringing its blockbuster title to the Mac. The developer last supported Apple hardware in 2007, when it released "Battlefield 2142."

Karl-Magnus Troedsson, lead developer with DICE, wrote on his Twitter account this week that "Bad Company 2" could find its way to the Mac at some point. "We're currently investigating the possibility of making BFBC2 available on Mac," he wrote.

On Monday, developer Valve revealed that it was bringing its Steam game downloading service to the Mac in April. In addition, its popular titles powered by the Source engine, including Team Fortress 2 and Half-Life 2, will be available for OS X. Future Valve games will also ship simultaneously on the Mac.

Steam users who own games for the PC will be able to download and play the same games available on the Mac for free, and the new "Steam Play" feature will allow gamers on both Windows and Mac OS X to play online, with or against each other, cross-platform.

Jason Holtman, director of business development at Valve, said partners who sell games through the Steam service are "very excited" about embracing the Mac, implying that even more top-tier titles could be ported. The company has made its tools, in the form of Steamworks for the Mac, available to its partners to make the transition easier.

"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," Holtman said. "We expect most developers and publishers to take advantage of Steam Play."
post #2 of 65
Wow. It looks like maybe the Mac OS is reaching some sort of critical mass.

Can a good selection of other software categories be far behind? About time!
post #3 of 65
If only the forthcoming Thief 4 was being built with the Source Engine, I would be in Mac gaming heaven and would die a happy man.
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post #4 of 65
Quote:
Originally Posted by knightlie View Post

If only the forthcoming Thief 4 was being built with the Source Engine, I would be in Mac gaming heaven and would die a happy man.

Hey there. A Thief fan? Hover around the official forum much?

I doubt that T4 will be using the Source engine, but then again it hasn't been disclosed what engine EM is using for that project. It will be interesting to see what they do with that. I'll put in a word with René next chance I get.

On topic: It's about damned time.
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post #5 of 65
Quote:
Originally Posted by knightlie View Post

If only the forthcoming Thief 4 was being built with the Source Engine, I would be in Mac gaming heaven and would die a happy man.

This can only be seen as a good thing.

Its one of the only real areas where Windows has a huge advantage over OS X.

Once that gap diminishes maybe we will see more advanced graphics put into the MBPs. The ultimate lan party gaming machine
post #6 of 65
Quote:
Originally Posted by -AG- View Post


Once that gap diminishes maybe we will see more advanced graphics put into the MBPs. The ultimate lan party gaming machine

Do the Mac desktop machines have decent graphics cards?
post #7 of 65
Cool thats another game developer on the Mac, only how many more to go?
post #8 of 65
Quote:
Originally Posted by iGenius View Post

Wow. It looks like maybe the Mac OS is reaching some sort of critical mass.

Yeah, it's about time!

Quote:
Originally Posted by iGenius View Post

Can a good selection of other software categories be far behind? About time!

What's missing?

There's always been great Mac software available.

In the Windows underworld, with the huge numbers of users a developer can release a piece of crap, sell to a tiny percentage of the market and still do well. It can be deceptive, certainly self-deceptive, to the developer.

Of course, there aren't the huge number of titles available for the Mac, but in the MacUniverse, if someone writes shitty software, word spreads quickly and it will die... MS Office being the exception.

There's also a large shareware/freeware selection of Mac software that is largely overlooked. There are some wonderful, beautifully designed, powerful and extremely useful titles out there. (I'll spare us all a list ) I think some users fear the legitimacy or worth of software from small developers.

Personally, I hope the trend is toward software PARITY. How many releases of supposedly cross-platform Mac software are a shadow of the Windows counterparts, or simply way late. LATE especially for games. We Mac users might get a popular Windows title a year or 2 after the Windows release.
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post #9 of 65
I don't care what platform it's on, just finish HL2: E3 Valve.
post #10 of 65
Do you think they'll slow down the game speed by about 70% for the Mac verison of Left4Dead? Maybe it will then be playable? (Maybe).

The game is a twitchy mess. It was tolerable on the Xbox with a real controller. PC, forget it. What a joke.
post #11 of 65
Quote:
Originally Posted by iGenius View Post

Wow. It looks like maybe the Mac OS is reaching some sort of critical mass.

Can a good selection of other software categories be far behind? About time!

What software categories? Aside from games and a few very specific vertical markets, I think there is more selection of quality software on the Mac then on Windows.
post #12 of 65
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mr. K View Post

Hey there. A Thief fan? Hover around the official forum much?

I've been and lurked a few times since I heard about T4, and I lurk at TTLG forums in the editing/mod section. I'm just keeping up with news right now.

Quote:
I doubt that T4 will be using the Source engine, but then again it hasn't been disclosed what engine EM is using for that project. It will be interesting to see what they do with that. I'll put in a word with René next chance I get.

I suspect they'll go with the Unreal Engine, if only because they don't have the resources to create a new one from scratch. Personally I think an updated Dark Engine would be great if they hadn't lost the damn source code. I'm playing T2 now and it still holds it's own against modern games for atmosphere and playability, even after a decade. Best game ever.

Back on topic: One of the advantages of the Source Engine is its modest hardware requirements - perfect for graphically-challenged Macs.
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post #13 of 65
Mac 1985, Windows 1995, Mac 2015!!


Of course the last time game developers got excited about the Mac as a gaming platform was with the dual processor PowerMac G5's.

There was ads in all the Mac magazines for 3D games coming to the Mac, I got myself a nice rig and it was able to run two 3D games at once in windows on my 30" (with some frame rate loss as it only could use one video card.)

Then of course IBM couldn't make cool G5's anymore and well we got hobbled Intel processors.

My current MBP has a single 800Mhz bus for two cores, my PMG5 dual processor had 1GHz per processor!! Bandwidth to burn INDEED!! RAID 0 a pair of Raptors and there was virtually no lag to disk, apps would launch with one bounce.

The reason there are so many more Leopard users than Snow Leopard users is because Apple sold A LOT of G5 machines. People are loath to give up those babies, especially since they resale for little now because Apple won't support them anymore in the new OS releases.


Heavy duty games need a lot of performance on the device, that isn't the road Apple and device makers are going down anymore. They are opting for lower performance to create light, cool, thin and portable devices, shifting any heavy processor needs to the "cloud" or desktop machines like the Mac Pro via the internet.

The iPad is proof, it's only got a 1Ghz, most likely integrated graphics. It won't even run Flash or if it can, creates too much heat.

I very highly suspect the new iMac's coming will support a very thin design like the iPad, even a dual touchscreen UI/cursor UI and use the less powerful A4 processors like what the iPad has.

Apple has spent a lot of money for the A4, needs a OS X hardware lock again and most likely will put the A4 into more Mac's and create slimmer, cooler devices in the process. Not good candidates for serious 3D games. Nvidia might be in trouble.

So for serious gaming on Intel processors, that leaves the Mac Pro and perhaps the MBP only and it's looking like Apple will be pushing the A4 in more and more of their products.

In fact that little Intel leak of i5 or i7's in MacBook Pro's might have been a clever move designed to get a response from Apple, perhaps they didn't put in a call for those processors and Intel was getting worried.

Serious gaming has firmly gone to consoles, the PS3 is the ultra machine, the detail is incredible, the processor is very hot and powerful as it needs to be.
post #14 of 65
Can we get a Mac Apps Store please?

It would be nice so I don't have to worry about license keys anymore...
post #15 of 65
Quote:
Originally Posted by Woohoo! View Post

I very highly suspect the new iMac's coming will support a very thin design like the iPad, even a dual touchscreen UI/cursor UI and use the less powerful A4 processors like what the iPad has.

Apple are not going to drop Intel chips. Don't forget, any replacement is going to have to emulate x86 processors a la Rosetta, and as good as the A4 is, it's not going to do that.
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post #16 of 65
Quote:
Originally Posted by macadam212 View Post

Cool thats another game developer on the Mac, only how many more to go?

Relic would be nice.
post #17 of 65
"after Steam's jump to Apple"

cmon, they didn't jump to Apple. They expanded to Apple. I see what's happening here. You guys are going to start to try and make it sound like Valve is moving to Apple and dropping the "ever dying" PC community.

Perhaps I just read it wrong, but generally when someone jumps somewhere, they are no longer in the place they once were.
post #18 of 65
Quote:
Originally Posted by chronster View Post

"after Steam's jump to Apple"

cmon, they didn't jump to Apple. They expanded to Apple. I see what's happening here. You guys are going to start to try and make it sound like Valve is moving to Apple and dropping the "ever dying" PC community.

Perhaps I just read it wrong, but generally when someone jumps somewhere, they are no longer in the place they once were.

http://money.cnn.com/2010/03/02/news...anies.fortune/



steam has joined apple at the hip

gaming in the clouds will be open to all platforms

life just got sweeter


9
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post #19 of 65
Quote:
Originally Posted by ilogic View Post

Can we get a Mac Apps Store please?

It would be nice so I don't have to worry about license keys anymore...

??
we have one already dude
7 yrs ago
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post #20 of 65
Quote:
Originally Posted by jeffharris View Post

Yeah, it's about time!




What's missing?

There's always been great Mac software available.

In the Windows underworld, with the huge numbers of users a developer can release a piece of crap, sell to a tiny percentage of the market and still do well. It can be deceptive, certainly self-deceptive, to the developer.

Of course, there aren't the huge number of titles available for the Mac, but in the MacUniverse, if someone writes shitty software, word spreads quickly and it will die... MS Office being the exception.

There's also a large shareware/freeware selection of Mac software that is largely overlooked. There are some wonderful, beautifully designed, powerful and extremely useful titles out there. (I'll spare us all a list ) I think some users fear the legitimacy or worth of software from small developers.

Personally, I hope the trend is toward software PARITY. How many releases of supposedly cross-platform Mac software are a shadow of the Windows counterparts, or simply way late. LATE especially for games. We Mac users might get a popular Windows title a year or 2 after the Windows release.

This annoucement is significant. Valve is one of the leading ISVs for Windows and traditionally diehard loyalist to MS. Most of them are ex-MSFT so this is huge. And the timing is no small matter. This is just in time for Holiday 2010 titles in development to make the decision to "port" to the Mac and have a same time release as Windows with the buy on both platforms for one price plan from Steam.
post #21 of 65
Quote:
Originally Posted by Osirisani View Post

This annoucement is significant. Valve is one of the leading ISVs for Windows and traditionally diehard loyalist to MS. Most of them are ex-MSFT so this is huge. And the timing is no small matter. This is just in time for Holiday 2010 titles in development to make the decision to "port" to the Mac and have a same time release as Windows with the buy on both platforms for one price plan from Steam.

NOT PORT
but BRAND NEW re writes for APPLES intel/snowy platfrom's
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post #22 of 65
Quote:
Originally Posted by ilogic View Post

Can we get a Mac Apps Store please?

It would be nice so I don't have to worry about license keys anymore...

no way, apple isn't poised to support gaming well. Steam is way more exciting to get game developers on board. Also, an apple program/app store would be a recipe for censorship.

Apple needs to open up its devices to allow outside developers to sell their own iphone, ipad, apple tv, ipod touch, and possible if it opens a mac software store.

Outside companies need to be able to sell programs without censorship. which in apples case can also go towards program competing with their business lines. Apple could theoretically decide to withhold distribution for software which competes with them in an area. ie netflix, google voice, etc. hard to say. but until all areas allow for outside app/program installation. ie on iphone, i wouldn't put tons of belief that Apple would stop their current behavior.
----------------------

All of this is great news for Mac owners, i love this. can't wait for Battlefield Bad Company 2. pretty neat stuff.
post #23 of 65
Quote:
Originally Posted by iGenius View Post

Wow. It looks like maybe the Mac OS is reaching some sort of critical mass.

Can a good selection of other software categories be far behind? About time!

I just hope Apple doesn't go and change the OS anytime soon. It just seems like something Apple would do in an "oh, well" fashion.
post #24 of 65
I'm sorry if this is a stupid question, but I'm feeling too lazy right now to go looking it up myself.

Are video games really a significant computer market segment?

I mean, I'm just thinking about it from my personal perspective here. People who play video games are certainly very vocal, and no doubt make themselves seem like a larger market segment than they are. But it just seems apparent to me that that segment must be truly dwarfed by the business, workstation and "home telecommunications" (for lack of a better term; I mean the surf-the-web-Skype-email-IM typical home user) markets.

I guess I have two questions. First, what fraction of the total computer software market is video games (and I guess you could break that down into what fraction of software sold to individuals, as opposed to businesses, is games). And second, is there evidence to suggest that video games drives computer sales on a significant scale? In other words, is there evidence to expect that this Steam thing will result in more Mac sales for Apple, for example?

I'm sincerely asking, because I truly just don't know. My perspective on the market as a whole is really narrow. I know a vast number of people, through professional contacts, who spent a great deal of time using Macs, and not one of them has ever expressed an interest in buying video game software. Some have Xboxes or whatever they're called these days, but that's a totally separate market, right?

Honest question. If anybody has info on this, or handy links to share, I'd very much appreciate it.
post #25 of 65
Quote:
Originally Posted by brucep View Post

NOT PORT
but BRAND NEW re writes for APPLES intel/snowy platfrom's

Actually, that's still a port since it was originally not on the Mac platform, regardless of it being native code or not. What this ISN'T is virtualization or emulation.
post #26 of 65
HAHA. The Mac is picking up steam! Get it?
post #27 of 65
Quote:
Originally Posted by pmz View Post

Do you think they'll slow down the game speed by about 70% for the Mac verison of Left4Dead? Maybe it will then be playable? (Maybe).

The game is a twitchy mess. It was tolerable on the Xbox with a real controller. PC, forget it. What a joke.

Wow, I thought the opposite. I have Orange Box and L4D for the 360 as well as the PC, and I thought the 360 versions were horrible.
post #28 of 65
Quote:
Originally Posted by mitchelljd View Post

Apple needs to open up its devices to allow outside developers to sell their own iphone, ipad, apple tv, ipod touch, and possible if it opens a mac software store.

Outside companies need to be able to sell programs without censorship. which in apples case can also go towards program competing with their business lines. Apple could theoretically decide to withhold distribution for software which competes with them in an area. ie netflix, google voice, etc. hard to say. but until all areas allow for outside app/program installation. ie on iphone, i wouldn't put tons of belief that Apple would stop their current behavior.
----------------------

In theory/principle, I would love to agree with you. However, in practice, not so much. If there is no one to impose standards (or for lack of a better term 'censorship') then any such venture as a software store for the Mac, would devolve into the sort of haphazard mess that one gets when they look at the average Linux software repository. It's a double-edged sword, in that I love the idea of having the freedom to do whatever I want, yet dredging through the mire of thousands of unmonitored, unchecked bullshit apps that all do the same thing gets tedious *fast*.
post #29 of 65
Quote:
Originally Posted by azazel- View Post

If there is no one to impose standards (or for lack of a better term 'censorship') then any such venture as a software store for the Mac, would devolve into the sort of haphazard mess that one gets when they look at the average Linux software repository.

I forget who said it first, but it's surely true: The problem with being "open" is that just any old crap can fall in.
post #30 of 65
Quote:
Originally Posted by knightlie View Post

If only the forthcoming Thief 4 was being built with the Source Engine, I would be in Mac gaming heaven and would die a happy man.

I think the last one was based on the Unreal engine. Maybe again. Another reason to hope for Epic to get to the mac.
post #31 of 65
Quote:
Originally Posted by bartfat View Post

HAHA. The Mac is picking up steam! Get it?

Wah - wah - wah - wah...
post #32 of 65
Quote:
Originally Posted by pmz View Post

Do you think they'll slow down the game speed by about 70% for the Mac verison of Left4Dead? Maybe it will then be playable? (Maybe).

The game is a twitchy mess. It was tolerable on the Xbox with a real controller. PC, forget it. What a joke.

Keyboard options: advanced: Enable developer console
Start game
`
sv_cheats 1
host_timescale 0.3


Voila. Game has slowed down by 70%. Effect is retained across level loads and game saves.
post #33 of 65
Quote:
Originally Posted by iGenius View Post

Do the Mac desktop machines have decent graphics cards?

Middle of the road for the most part. To get a good one you have to spend some money. An iMac with one of the better ATI cards will put you back about $2000.00.
post #34 of 65
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tomfoolery View Post

I forget who said it first, but it's surely true: The problem with being "open" is that just any old crap can fall in.

The thing with Linux in particular, though, is that it has no unifying force behind it, resulting in fragmentation, at every possible level of the OS, between "competing" solutions. There's no ground fertile enough for software that doesn't suck to take root. Anyone with a copy of OS X can develop for OS X, and yet we see a LOT less crap there. The iPhone OS has tons of crap because there's still a gold rush going on there, and recently we've seen Apple finally step in to clean some of it up.

The overall "culture" of each userbase probably plays a part, too. You might even say the Mac community is elitist in a good way, in that it rejects software that doesn't measure up to its standards. The iPhone community has a lot of people (even the majority? Not sure...) coming from Windows, with built-in expectations for the same kind of "anything goes" software market. Linux...well, uh..."by programmers, for programmers".
post #35 of 65
Personally, the game I would most like to see ported to Mac at launch is Star Wars: The Old Republic. I have seriously high hopes for this particular MMO. I haven't found a single MMO in the past 10 years to duplicate my level of enthusiasm as the original EQ, before Planes of Power which turned it into a raiding game.

Someone else was commenting about Apple moving to their own processor line for their Macs. I seriously don't see this happening. The move to Intel in my mind was a great thing. People keep harping on the graphics, but I got a GeForce 8800 GT in my Mac Pro and it's just fine for me. I'm not sure how this is a weakness. Maybe this is referring to the non-upgradeable iMacs?
post #36 of 65
Quote:
Originally Posted by iGenius View Post

Do the Mac desktop machines have decent graphics cards?

There aren't any. They have one SFF, a bunch of AIOS, and a professional workstation.

Quote:
Originally Posted by MacHarborGuy View Post

Actually, that's still a port since it was originally not on the Mac platform, regardless of it being native code or not. What this ISN'T is virtualization or emulation.

Do we know that. Have they actually said its native port and not a version of cider? Doing this many titles concurrently would take a lot lot resources using traditional porting methods.
post #37 of 65
Meh, that's the only reaction I can give to this steam stuff (burnt out on CS:Source but whatever). The rise of consoles has really killed pc gaming, i hope it takes off on mac but I hope there are enough sales to drive Steam on mac and pull in more devs to make more games.

Now if you'll excuse me, it's back to Final Fantasy XIII
post #38 of 65
Quote:
Originally Posted by BenRoethig View Post

There aren't any. They have one SFF, a bunch of AIOS, and a professional workstation.



Do we know that. Have they actually said its native port and not a version of cider? Doing this many titles concurrently would take a lot lot resources using traditional porting methods.

yes we know this. also, the games that they are launching are all valve titles using the source engine so really they only have to port that. other games from other developers will happen when they happen.
post #39 of 65
I also feel the problem with gaming on the Mac is the general lack of possible upgrades. If you have a Mac Pro, you are able to get a different video card if you want, but it's very hard to swap from ATI to nVidia's latest and greatest every refresh cycle. While those enthusiasts are in the minority, they always want the best and Apple can't deliver. Got an iMac? Too bad, you can't upgrade that video card.
post #40 of 65
Quote:
Originally Posted by Shunnabunich View Post

You might even say the Mac community is elitist in a good way, in that it rejects software that doesn't measure up to its standards.

Agreed, mostly. Except I question whether there's such a thing as a "Mac community." Apple sold, what, ten million Macs in the last quarter? (Number totally pulled out my ear. Could be a tenth of that, or ten times more, I really don't know.) How many of those people consider themselves to be part of a "community?" Precious few, I'd dare say.

From where I sit, it looks to me like the overwhelming majority of people who either own Macs themselves, or use them as part of their work life, could give a damn about "community." They're not hobbyists. They don't consider their Macs to be defining characteristics of their lives, any more than people who wear Levi's jeans consider themselves part of the "Levi's community."

What Apple does have going for it is this rigid commitment to standards. You might not always agree with their standards, but you can't dispute that they have them. Apple is not a company that releases just any-old-thing. They don't care about being first to market, or really about universal appeal. Remember the Performa? For a while there, Apple was selling something like forty distinct models of home computer. Every one was slightly different, with the theory that you could pick the one that's just right for you, and we all know about the paradox of choice.

Even now, go to Dell's Web site. I just did, and clicked on "home" (does it matter where I intend to use my computer?) and then "laptops," and I was bombarded by a dizzying array of like twenty different laptops, all with tiny little pictures and tiny little specifications in tiny little print. Am I supposed to believe that every one of those is uniquely awesome? Am I supposed to think that each one is the epitome of engineering and design? Maybe, but what I actually think is that Dell cares more about volume than about quality, and they approach selling computers with the same enthusiasm that McDonald's brings to selling hamburgers.

Apple is a company (and they're not the only one, of course) that stands up and says, "'Good enough' isn't. We can do better." And I like that. Even when it results in products that don't fit my needs (like the current 15" MacBook Pro that no longer has an Express Card slot), I admire their willingness to draw a line in the air and say "You must be at least this awesome to be an Apple product."

Gotta start somewhere, man.
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