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First look: Valve's Steam, Team Fortress 2 and Portal for Mac

post #1 of 77
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Valve's highly anticipated release Mac OS X release of Steam, its cloud-based game store and service, is set to be released as a public beta this week. AppleInsider offers a first look at the software with hands-on impressions and screenshots, including the first available titles: Portal and Team Fortress 2.

Steam comes to Mac OS X

A longstanding criticism of Apple's Mac OS X has been the limited availability of games for the platform. While some major franchises have seen ports to the Mac, they often come months -- and sometimes years -- after their PC counterparts.

Boot Camp has allowed Mac users to install Windows in order to run their favorite titles, but the cost of buying the operating system at retail along with the hassle of rebooting to switch to another OS has made the option less than ideal. And there are emulators, such as Crossover, Parallels and VMWare Fusion, but they offer mixed results with game performance and reliability. What Mac gamers have longed for is major support from a first-rate publisher to bring games natively to the Mac.

Enter Valve, who just a few months ago announced that not only would many of its popular titles be coming to the Mac, but it was also bringing Steam, its digital game distribution platform which has more than 25 million users and offers access to 1,100 games on the PC. The release of Steam for Mac could potentially pave the way for other publishers to release their content for the Mac, with a popular and established platform readily available for all Intel Mac users. In fact, Valve has said it has already received interest from other publishers who want to bring their titles to Steam on the Mac.

Valve has also promised that it will treat the Mac as a "first-tier" platform, meaning major new titles developed for the PC will release day-and-date with the Mac. In other words, no more waiting months and perhaps years for the latest major titles.



And in what is perhaps the biggest benefit to the Mac gaming community, Valve has done something unprecedented: All Valve-made titles that gamers already own on the PC can also be played on the Mac for free. That means gamers won't have to buy new licenses for a title to play it on the Mac. In a way, this would be like if a publisher were to offer users who buy a game on Xbox 360 a free copy of the title for the Playstation 3, a competing platform. Valve could have easily charged full price for Mac titles and followed the status quo, but this move will allow PC users to more easily make the switch to Mac without having to re-invest in their favorite games.

The games

About those games: Valve is renowned for making some of the biggest titles in PC history, with the Half-Life series its biggest accomplishment. The company is also behind some of the best-reviewed games of all time, including Portal, Team Fortress 2 and Left 4 Dead. And with Valve treating the Mac as a first-tier platform, new titles are on the way.



One of the most anticipated games of 2010 is Portal 2, which will ship simultaneously for the Mac this holiday season. Other popular titles like Left 4 Dead 2, released last fall for the PC, are said to be coming to the Mac, but are not yet available on Steam.

Steam for Mac also allows Mac users to play against PC gamers. That means online fragging in Team Fortress 2 isn't restricted to one operating system: Mac and PC users can play with or against each other with no discernible differences.



In March, John Cook, director of Steam development at Valve, told AppleInsider that that Valve worked closely with Apple as the developer became more acquainted with the Mac platform. He called Apple a "great partner" in the process of bringing Steam to Mac.

Valve's games are built on the Source engine, which has been modified to support OpenGL on the Mac. Valve has worked with Apple and GPU suppliers for Macs to make sure its titles take full advantage of the hardware capabilities on Macs, including giving feedback on opportunities to extend OpenGL to better support not only Source games, but also third-party games that are expected to come to the Mac.

Steam for Mac: the beta

The beta release of Steam for Mac will look familiar to anyone who has used Steam on the PC. The main window is divided into four categories: Store, Library, News and Community. Users can easily view their Friends list to see what games others are playing, what achievements they have unlocked, or quickly join them in an online game.



Still, this does not feel like a PC application ported to the Mac. This is a true, native Mac application. For example, the software also features Growl support, with notifications displayed on the screen while in a game. Steam also has its own notification system for when downloads have been completed; these display in the same manner as Growl.

The Steam Store is currently nonexistent with no titles available for the Mac, though Valve expects that to change in the future, with its own games being ported along with third-party titles. A note in the storefront placeholder currently says the Mac game store is "coming soon," once the Steam beta ends.

While Valve has said all of its games will support SteamPlay, allowing gamers to access their titles on either the Mac or PC with just one purchase, other developers who sell their titles through Steam may not opt to offer this feature. To help Mac gamers know which titles will offer this feature, a SteamPlay symbol for Mac and Windows will be featured when shopping in the Store.

Like Steam on the PC, running the client on the Mac makes sure all of your games are up to date. Patches and updates for titles are instantly downloaded when Steam is launched, ensuring that all users have the latest version of a title.

In addition, users can also access the Steam in-game overlay, by pressing Shift+Tab. The in-game Steam Community offers notifications for users when their friends sign on, and allows them to initiate text or voice chat with others on their Friends list.



Portal and Team Fortress 2

Just two titles are currently available on Steam for Mac, but luckily they are two of the most popular and best-reviewed titles available for the PC. Both Portal and Team Fortress 2 were originally released as part of Valve's bundle package, dubbed "The Orange Box," in 2007. Though they are more than two-and-a-half years old, the games are still graphic-intensive first-person titles that are still frequently played to this day.

On a 2008 MacBook Pro with a 2.53GHz Intel Core 2 Duo, 4GB of RAM and a 512MB GeForce 8600M GT, both Source-based titles run well at a recommended 1152x720 pixel 16:10 widescreen resolution. With most textures and details on high and 2x antialiasing, both titles maintained steady framerates with only the occasional stutter, even on an older notebook.

Portal is a mind-melting puzzle title, in which the player uses a gun to open blue and orange portals that connect to one another. The portals have both a physical and visual connection between them, and users must strategically place these portals to overcome a series of obstacles, divided into a series of levels. The game also has an initially sparse story that gradually expands over the length of the game with a few twists and turns along the way. Though the game is short and can be completed in just a few hours, it's a rewarding and innovative title that earned many "Game of the Year" accolades soon after its initial release.



The game runs well on the Mac, with a smooth framerate and responsive controls that are identical to the gaming experience on the PC with a similar machine.





Team Fortress 2 is a team- and class-based first-person shooter with a unique, cartoonish style of graphics and unique character personalities that has been mimicked repeatedly since the title was first released in 2007. In the years since the title became available, Valve has courted a devoted community of gamers through constant updates to the game, including new maps, modes, weapons and various unlockables that demand repeated plays of the competitive online game. Various game types include traditional online modes such as capture the flag, king of the hill, team deathmatch and more.



Team Fortress 2 is a bit more taxing on a computer than Portal, as it has multiple characters onscreen and is also a competitive online title. Though the framerate was not as consistent as Portal, it was still perfectly fine for playback and lag was minimal. Again, the experience is nearly identical to what you'd have playing on a PC.





Mac users will want to make sure they have a system with dedicated graphics support. As Windows PC gamers have known for years, integrated graphics simply do not cut it when it comes to demanding 3D games, so those running an older Mac with integrated Intel graphics will likely experience choppy gameplay even at lower resolutions.

Achievements for both titles that have been earned on the PC will automatically show up when playing the game on the Mac, and vice versa. However, for games that do not have the Steam Cloud game save service available, you'll have to play through that title again. For example, with Portal, we were forced to start from the first levels, which serve more as a tutorial for the more difficult puzzles to come.

Of course, for both games you'll want to get a gaming-friendly wired mouse, for right clicks and a scroll wheel.

While the first two titles run well, Steam for Mac is still in beta, and as such there are a few minor glitches. For example, when playing through Portal, one level would not load without the game being restarted. In between each level, the player enters an elevator, and the game would not load the next level, leaving the player trapped in the elevator. And in Team Fortress 2, occasionally a slain player would remain standing rigid and in place, even after they were fragged. On our system, we also could not select anything in the Steam overlay, accessed by pressing Shift+Tab. However, these are minor issues with a release that remains in beta.

The Steam client itself is free, and the games are too, for those who may already own them for PC. That alone makes it a must-have for any Mac gamer. But the Steam service will become truly invaluable in the coming months, when blockbuster titles like Half-Life 2: Episode 2 and online stalwarts like Counter-Strike: Source are joined by new titles like Portal 2 and Left for Dead 2. Then it will be safe to say that gaming on the Mac has finally arrived. The Steam for Mac beta is scheduled to open to the public on May 12.

For more, see AppleInsider's additional coverage:

Valve, Apple worked closely to bring Steam natively to Mac
Game developers eye the Mac after Steam's jump to Apple
Valve sets public Mac Steam release for May 12, 2010
Valve announces Steam for Mac, games will allow Mac-PC online play
post #2 of 77
Only 2 years after their initial release. I guess it is a start.
post #3 of 77
I would love to know how Portal and TF2 run on a i7 iMac. I'm still debating wether to buy one yet or wait \
post #4 of 77
Should check out Cocoia Blog's redesign of the Steam software to make it look more native.
post #5 of 77
As a former heavy gamer in my youth, I'd pick up a few games to play casually every once in a while. If you're into games and are a Mac user then you should have a pretty good year with the new Steam games coming out and Starcraft 2.
post #6 of 77
Looks to be arriving a bit late in the game. Every other dev is moving to mobile platforms.

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post #7 of 77
Thanks Valve!
post #8 of 77
I've always played a few games on my Mac, mostly "casual" stuff, but any addition to the Mac gaming quiver is a good thing.

Those screen shots look pretty good.
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post #9 of 77
Hopefully once this is released someone will run direct comparisons of graphics quality on max settings between the Windows DirectX version and the OS X OpenGL version. I'd expect OS X to be slower in fps, but hopefully no graphics quality was sacrificed.
post #10 of 77
I JUST want to play HL2 on my 27" iMac in OSX.
post #11 of 77
While I am thankful Valve has done this, I don't think the Mac is still a viable platform. As fat as I know, there isn't a common API like Direct X that can hook into the deeper layers of OS X. There isn't a huge Mac market if you break down the numbers. Apple doesn't allow overclocking, frequent video driver updates nor do they allow graphic cards to be swapped in and out.

Also, other big game developers may not want to natively code for such a small overall market. The money seems to be shifting towards Apple's mobile devices. We'll see and I hope all developers see OS X as a viable platform for tier 1 game development.
post #12 of 77
Quote:
Valve has worked with Apple and GPU suppliers for Macs to make sure its titles take full advantage of the hardware capabilities on Macs, including giving feedback on opportunities to extend OpenGL to better support not only Source games, but also third-party games that are expected to come to the Mac.

This is a big win.

Quote:
Valve has also promised that it will treat the Mac as a "first-tier" platform, meaning major new titles developed for the PC will release day-and-date with the Mac. In other words, no more waiting months and perhaps years for the latest major titles.

Quote:
All Valve-made titles that gamers already own on the PC can also be played on the Mac for free. That means gamers won't have to buy new licenses for a title to play it on the Mac.

This is going above and beyond just doing a little bit of work to port over a title. These guys are really going all out to give us mac users some love and respect.

I had quit gaming on a Pc several years ago and have only recently got back into console gaming. With all the work that they are doing I am going to have to buy into this, simply to reward them for such outstanding effort. *sigh* I just hope I don't end up talking myself into a new 27" to play the games on.
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post #13 of 77
Quote:
Originally Posted by SpamSandwich View Post

Looks to be arriving a bit late in the game. Every other dev is moving to mobile platforms.

Huh? Maybe for Apple (did gaming even really get anywhere for a Mac?) but PC gaming is doing quite fine thank you. Hardly an exodus going on there.
post #14 of 77
Quote:
Valve has also promised that it will treat the Mac as a "first-tier" platform, meaning major new titles developed for the PC will release day-and-date with the Mac. In other words, no more waiting months and perhaps years for the latest major titles.

Finally!

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Although I no longer own Apple products like I did before, I'll continue to post my opinions.

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post #15 of 77
Quote:
Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post

there are emulators, such as Crossover, Parallels and VMWare Fusion

Minor point but 'compatibility layers' or similar would be more accurate as Crossover is based on Wine (the name stands for Wine is not an emulator) and Parallels/VMWare don't emulate a CPU architecture - they are virtualization programs.

Quote:
Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post

Just two titles are currently available on Steam for Mac, but luckily they are two of the most popular and best-reviewed titles available for the PC. Both Portal and Team Fortress 2 were originally released as part of Valve's bundle package, dubbed "The Orange Box," in 2007. Though they are more than two-and-a-half years old, the games are still graphic-intensive first-person titles that are still frequently played to this day.

I'm a bit concerned at the lack of titles available for testing and seeing that even the available titles have major bugs. This software comes out in 3 days. I hope they have the Half-Life series ready in time. If the store opens with just two games in it, that's going to be pretty lame. No Portal 2 until Christmas either. Hopefully they've spoken to other publishers to get a collection of games ready to buy.

Here are gameplay videos of the available games:

Portal:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=56WxK7Pu0eM
TF2:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wfud32TG1ic

Another review is here too:
http://www.electronista.com/articles...t.with.quirks/

Quote:
Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post

Mac users will want to make sure they have a system with dedicated graphics support. As Windows PC gamers have known for years, integrated graphics simply do not cut it when it comes to demanding 3D games, so those running an older Mac with integrated Intel graphics will likely experience choppy gameplay even at lower resolutions.

The 9400M and 320M are integrated too though and both will play most Steam games just fine. It's just Intel's graphics to avoid.

Quote:
Originally Posted by ghostface147

I don't think the Mac is still a viable platform. As fat as I know, there isn't a common API like Direct X that can hook into the deeper layers of OS X. There isn't a huge Mac market if you break down the numbers. Apple doesn't allow overclocking, frequent video driver updates nor do they allow graphic cards to be swapped in and out.

OS X uses OpenGL instead of DirectX for the graphics API. Also, overclocking in terms of the CPU doesn't help games much but the Mac can certainly be overclocked.

As for Mac market share, you'd have to consider the fact that 50% of all PCs ship with an Intel graphics solution.:

http://software.intel.com/en-us/arti...ated-graphics/

ATI + NVidia come to 40%. PCs consist of 100 million machines per year and Macs are 10 million per year so the viable market is really 40 million PC vs 10 million Mac as every Mac today ships with an NVidia or ATI GPU. If game publishers can increase revenue by 20% just by targeting Mac users, that's worth going for if the support and development costs don't outweigh it. I reckon we'll still see some Cider games on Steam, which is a concern but if it means simultaneous releases and matching prices, there's little harm done.
post #16 of 77
Quote:
Originally Posted by ghostface147 View Post

While I am thankful Valve has done this, I don't think the Mac is still a viable platform. As fat as I know, there isn't a common API like Direct X that can hook into the deeper layers of OS X. There isn't a huge Mac market if you break down the numbers. Apple doesn't allow overclocking, frequent video driver updates nor do they allow graphic cards to be swapped in and out.

Also, other big game developers may not want to natively code for such a small overall market. The money seems to be shifting towards Apple's mobile devices. We'll see and I hope all developers see OS X as a viable platform for tier 1 game development.

The flip side of that is that if the effort was made and applied to Apple's far fewer varieties of gpu's manufactured by just a few vendors then drivers (kext) development should be much easier than on the windows side. And that should also apply to game development as well as developers have far fewer gpu's to test against.

I do agree that mobile gaming will become a huge segment, but certain games just need to be played with physical buttons and displayed on a big screen. While it may be possible now or in the near future to port and play games like C.O.D. Modern Warfare 2 on an ipad, I don't see that as being as popular. Perhaps a gamer might have both, but not just the mobile version. IMHO.
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post #17 of 77
So why the change of heart at Valve? Is the Mac marketshare good enough for them now? Maybe they saw the writing on the wall with the iPhone OS and decided to do Mac gaming first then port to the consumer devices. Anyways, this is good news and the games look just as nice as the Windows versions if not better.
post #18 of 77
I'm just going to leave this here.
Mac OS X Discussion Thread on Steam User Forums

There's some information there, particularly about non Valve games that will be available, that wasn't in the AI article. The whole thread is over 5,000 posts but the first has been updated and is a pretty good summary of the whole thread.
post #19 of 77
Can't wait!

One nitpick though, crossover is *not* an emulator. It's the commercialized version of WINE (as in Wine Is Not an Emulator) and is a reimplementation of the windows API!
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MBP (15, 2.33, 3GB,10.6/win/lin on 250GB)
MP (3,1 oct 2.8, 10GB. 10.6 on 4x1TB RAID10, Win/Lin on 1x2TB, 2407WFP on 1x5770 + 2xSamsung 910t on 1xGT120)
also a lot of other systems :-p
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post #20 of 77
SteamPlay refers to the ability to buy the game once and have both PC and Mac versions, *not* cross-platform multiplayer.

I seriously doubt HL2 will be out wednesday, as it hasn't been a part of the beta. Both this article and a french one state that Steam will be coming out in a "open beta," so I seriously doubt we will get any source games beyond what has been tested in the closed beta.
post #21 of 77
There's really no reason to use Windows once all the major gaming dev comes to Mac.
post #22 of 77
As a former Windows PC owner/user, I can say with certainty, there are a few reasons to run MS Windows. Damn Few. And becoming fewer every passing day.
post #23 of 77
Quote:
Originally Posted by capoeira4u View Post

There's really no reason to use Windows once all the major gaming dev comes to Mac.

Maybe if Apple fixes their OpenGL drivers...as it stands I will probably be playing most of my Starcraft 2 in Windows, I get 60% of the performance in OS X.
post #24 of 77
Arh........ Mac needs some better Graphics Chips then.......
post #25 of 77
Quote:
Originally Posted by reliason View Post

As a former Windows PC owner/user, I can say with certainty, there are a few reasons to run MS Windows. Damn Few. And becoming fewer every passing day.


Windows is Doomed!
post #26 of 77
Public beta this month?
Wasn't the official word from Valve that the official release was this Wednesday? Now all we're getting is two games?
First they delay the official release from April to mid-May, now the official release is just a public beta and who know when we'll get the full thing. I wish Valve would stop jerking us around like this.
post #27 of 77
Quote:
Originally Posted by ShaolinDave View Post

I wish Valve would stop jerking us around like this.

Before you start feeling too persecuted, remember Valve Time. They jerk everybody around. So they really are treating Mac and Windows users equally. It may not be what we wanted, but it is what we (unknowingly) asked for.
post #28 of 77
Full implementation of OpenGL 4 please Apple.

You've now had more than enough time, Apple.

You think it pertinent to criticise Adobe for poor Mac support when talking about Flash, but for you to treat your own Apple customers to third-rate graphics goes beyond the pale.

Each Mac should have the very latest generation GPU fitted at launch (not cards that are a couple of generations behind Generic PC counterparts- Top of the range iMac's and MacPro's should be GPU upgradeable and we need better, timely drivers.

SLI/Crossover? I don't need it for the games I play, but many, many younger Mac users would love this tech available in a Mac.
post #29 of 77
Quote:
Originally Posted by ghostface147 View Post

While I am thankful Valve has done this, I don't think the Mac is still a viable platform. As fat as I know, there isn't a common API like Direct X that can hook into the deeper layers of OS X. There isn't a huge Mac market if you break down the numbers. Apple doesn't allow overclocking, frequent video driver updates nor do they allow graphic cards to be swapped in and out.

You can't easily overclock or update game consoles with better hardware either, and those platforms seem to be doing pretty well overall.

The Steam Hardware Survey shows that the median hardware is not today's high end but technology that's a few years old now.

The most popular screen resolution is 1280x1024.

As an aside, for all the complaining we've heard in these forums about OS X lacking SLI/Crossfire support, it turns out that only about 2% of Steam users are using it.

http://store.steampowered.com/hwsurvey/
post #30 of 77
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bloodshotrollin'red View Post

SLI/Crossover? I don't need it for the games I play, but many, many younger Mac users would love this tech available in a Mac.

And I'm assuming you're the type to pay $3,000 for a Mac Pro? Since that would be the only Mac that could potentially come in a SLI configuration...

Other thing is most people don't seem to care for GPU upgrades. Especially for laptop components, since no other manufacturer is offering that anyway. Besides, if you really wanted to upgrade your GPU, then you could, you'd just have to disassemble your Macbook or iMac. But I can see why you'd want something big and boxy but accessible instead just to upgrade to a newer GPU and kill your battery life

Besides, don't top end GPU's cost at least $400? At that price, you could probably afford to buy a new Macbook Pro or iMac when they come out and sell the old one since they retain their value so well

But by now I should've realized your a troll, because OpenGL 4.0 has only been out for a few months, not nearly enough time for Apple to plan for production units to have that sort of capability. Give me a break, that's the least thing that they could be doing wrong
post #31 of 77
Wow. The gameporting team has already done great versions of these in crossover wrappers. I played Portal and the entire Half-Life 2 series through close to 2 years ago on a 2006 Macbook Pro with graphics set to medium.

Most pre-2009 are very playable using Crossover in OSX on modern Apple computers with graphics cards.

I assume Valve is porting in a very similar way to the gameporting team (maybe even using crossover),and will stick to mainly 2- and 3- year old games to make up for the inefficiencies involved.

I thought it was kind of amusing that the gameporting team versions of Bioshock and Call of Duty work way better on OSX than the "official" Mac version... Really these companies are just trying to make a quick and easy buck. They know that gaming sucks so bad on Apple computers that they can throw a 3 year-old bone to us and lots of Mac users will jump all over it...

Anyways, with the 2 generation old, rebranded graphics in the new Macbook Pros, and no DirectX support in OSX, I don't think this will change too much about the mac as a gaming platform, except for people who don't mind playing with all graphics set to "low".
post #32 of 77
Quote:
Originally Posted by Superbass View Post

Wow. The gameporting team has already done great versions of these in crossover wrappers. I played Portal and the entire Half-Life 2 series through close to 2 years ago on a 2006 Macbook Pro with graphics set to medium.

Most pre-2009 are very playable using Crossover in OSX on modern Apple computers with graphics cards.

I assume Valve is porting in a very similar way to the gameporting team (maybe even using crossover),and will stick to mainly 2- and 3- year old games to make up for the inefficiencies involved.

I thought it was kind of amusing that the gameporting team versions of Bioshock and Call of Duty work way better on OSX than the "official" Mac version... Really these companies are just trying to make a quick and easy buck. They know that gaming sucks so bad on Apple computers that they can throw a 3 year-old bone to us and lots of Mac users will jump all over it...

Anyways, with the 2 generation old, rebranded graphics in the new Macbook Pros, and no DirectX support in OSX, I don't think this will change too much about the mac as a gaming platform, except for people who don't mind playing with all graphics set to "low".


This might have been overlooked in the hubbub, but not only is Valve bringing over the established hit games like Portal, Team Fortress 2, and the Half-Life series, but they have also made a public commitment to stay in sync across future Mac and Windows releases, starting with Portal 2 later this year. It was announced at GDC in March.

By the way, there's no Crossover, Cider, WINE, or other middleware involved in the Valve ported titles. These are natively developed apps using the Source codebase and several new subsystems to support OS X, one of which is the OpenGL graphics module that I worked on.
post #33 of 77
Quote:
Originally Posted by rbarris View Post

This might have been overlooked in the hubbub, but not only is Valve bringing over the established hit games like Portal, Team Fortress 2, and the Half-Life series, but they have also made a public commitment to stay in sync across future Mac and Windows releases, starting with Portal 2 later this year. It was announced at GDC in March.

Yeah, EA made a similar announcement a few years back, which led to about 10 different games + 10 expansion packs for world of goo and the sims being released since 2007.

OpenGL just doesn't approach DirectX for modern gaming performance, and Apple Video cards aren't powerful enough to compensate for that deficiency. Mac users who want to play current games are using BootCamp now, and will probably continue to do so rather than make the big sacrifice on graphics. Even low-graphics games like Neverwinter Nights 2 and C&C just play and look so much better on Windows 7 in Bootcamp than the OSX native versions, and Bioshock is night and day when you compare the 2...

Definitely, Steam will be great for (very) casual gamers, but that will most likely lead to a similar situation as what went down with EA - sure, the overall population of people who play games on Mac might be enough to support ports of 40-50% of Valve games, but if most of the people who play the Crysis/Call of Duty/Left for Dead/Dragon Ages of the world stick to BootCamp, then we'll continue to see games like World of Goo, The Sims, plus 3 year old games being the only ones ported...

Portal is a very fun game, but really not graphics intensive, even compared to other games using the Steam engine like half-life, so the announcement of it and it's sequel being released is actually pretty modest. Same with Team Fortress, which doesn't come remotely close to Assasin's Creed, Fallout 3, etc. when you think of long draw distances, dynamic environments, scripted elements, etc...

Anyways, for the less technically demanding games, Steam on Mac will be nice, also for Counterstrike online play, etc., but I'm not expecting anything more than an EA-type situation here...
post #34 of 77
Wondering if this will only be for US people? Is Steam for PC worldwide? Happy that there is some focus on game son the Mac, but would not be surprised yet again if this won't go outside of the US..
post #35 of 77
Quote:
Originally Posted by Superbass View Post

Yeah, EA made a similar announcement a few years back, which led to about 10 different games + 10 expansion packs for world of goo and the sims being released since 2007.

OpenGL just doesn't approach DirectX for modern gaming performance, and Apple Video cards aren't powerful enough to compensate for that deficiency. Mac users who want to play current games are using BootCamp now, and will probably continue to do so rather than make the big sacrifice on graphics. Even low-graphics games like Neverwinter Nights 2 and C&C just play and look so much better on Windows 7 in Bootcamp than the OSX native versions, and Bioshock is night and day when you compare the 2...

Definitely, Steam will be great for (very) casual gamers, but that will most likely lead to a similar situation as what went down with EA - sure, the overall population of people who play games on Mac might be enough to support ports of 40-50% of Valve games, but if most of the people who play the Crysis/Call of Duty/Left for Dead/Dragon Ages of the world stick to BootCamp, then we'll continue to see games like World of Goo, The Sims, plus 3 year old games being the only ones ported...

Portal is a very fun game, but really not graphics intensive, even compared to other games using the Steam engine like half-life, so the announcement of it and it's sequel being released is actually pretty modest. Same with Team Fortress, which doesn't come remotely close to Assasin's Creed, Fallout 3, etc. when you think of long draw distances, dynamic environments, scripted elements, etc...

Anyways, for the less technically demanding games, Steam on Mac will be nice, also for Counterstrike online play, etc., but I'm not expecting anything more than an EA-type situation here...

I think it really depends on how good of a job they've done with OpenGL support in the Source engine. If they've done a good job of it, then the performance difference shouldn't be noticeable even with the mid-level GPUs Apple uses in most of it's machines. If it's a very unoptimized port then we could be looking at performance differences on par with the Mac (cider) port of Battlefield 2142 back in '07; i.e. atrocious. Apple's current crop of mid-range or higher GPUs (GTS 330M, Radeon HD 4670, Radeon HD 4850) are perfectly capable of handling current generation games. Though the 330M is questionable as performance GPU, assuming some good optimization on the developer's part current 3D titles shouldn't be in much if any trouble on the Mac.

The difference here from EA's announcement is that Valve has gone all the way and actually brought Steam to the Mac. This is a huge step in luring other developers to the platform. The question will ultimately be how far other publishers are willing to go with this. Good Job Valve for opening the door...Let's see how many walk through it.
PC Gamer, Musician, Mac Geek. | Jerion.us
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PC Gamer, Musician, Mac Geek. | Jerion.us
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post #36 of 77
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mr. K View Post

I think it really depends on how good of a job they've done with OpenGL support in the Source engine. If they've done a good job of it, then the performance difference shouldn't be noticeable even with the mid-level GPUs Apple uses in most of it's machines. If it's a very unoptimized port then we could be looking at performance differences on par with the Mac (cider) port of Battlefield 2142 back in '07; i.e. atrocious. Apple's current crop of mid-range or higher GPUs (GTS 330M, Radeon HD 4670, Radeon HD 4850) are perfectly capable of handling current generation games. Though the 330M is questionable as performance GPU, assuming some good optimization on the developer's part current 3D titles shouldn't be in much if any trouble on the Mac.

The difference here from EA's announcement is that Valve has gone all the way and actually brought Steam to the Mac. This is a huge step in luring other developers to the platform. The question will ultimately be how far other publishers are willing to go with this. Good Job Valve for opening the door...Let's see how many walk through it.

Again, the 330M is basically a rebranded, 3 year old GPU, and the 4850 is already over 2 years old itself. OpenGL comes nowhere close to Direct3D nowadays. Back when it was OpenGL vs DirectX 6, they were very comparable, but DirectX11 vs OpenGL 3 is really no contest. Graphics intensive games designed with DirectX10 or 11, or even 9 in mind will have to be scaled down considerably to run using OpenGL.

The other issue is that relatively very few Apple products in circulation have the above stated graphics cards. Most use either integrated graphics, or still lower power cards, usually with 128 MB of VRAM or less, which will not acceptably run current games with any sort of graphical complexity. With Apple already a relatively small gaming market, it's crazy to think that manufacturers will spend much time porting games only really playable by a small percentage of a small market... That's why EA has been reduced to porting nothing but Sims and World of Goo type games in the last couple years.

It's very telling that Valve is using Portal and Team Fortress as launch titles, instead of a current game, or even something like Half-Life 2, which is still an older game, but contains lots of scripted elements, really dynamic environments, etc. It's totally cool that we have Portal 2 to look forward to, but I think if Valve were going to go all in, they might have announced/released some more intensive/current games.
post #37 of 77
Pretty nice, even with minor glitches this could make gaming on a mac a possibility. The Source engine is incredibly flexible, and can scale from crappy low end graphics for older machines to incredible detail for those who can support it. Plus mac vs pc gaming is a great thing to hear. Valve has really tried to make Steam:Mac an all around winner, and I hope they get rewarded with customers.
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post #38 of 77
Quote:
Originally Posted by moustache View Post

Wondering if this will only be for US people? Is Steam for PC worldwide? Happy that there is some focus on game son the Mac, but would not be surprised yet again if this won't go outside of the US..

Steam for Windows is available globally. Pricing is available in a variety of local currencies but games are available in dollars for the rest of the world. I don't see why Steam for Mac will be any different.
post #39 of 77
I really think this is terrific news, but the article itself reads rather a lot like an ad:

"Valve has done something unprecedented"

Ehrm - Telltale Games has done exactly this several months ago, when they released their Monkey Island episodes for Mac - also for free for customers owning the Windows-versions? \
post #40 of 77
Quote:
Originally Posted by JeffDM View Post

The Steam Hardware Survey shows that the median hardware is not today's high end but technology that's a few years old now.

The most popular screen resolution is 1280x1024.

http://store.steampowered.com/hwsurvey/


Disagree, besides maybe the Operating system and the amount of ram, it is pretty much high end, most people are either using a 4800 or 5800 series of ATi card, for Nvidia it is either a 8800/9800 and also a 260x video card, they are using decent processors as well.

For the primary display resolution, ah ya 1280x1024 is only around 18.8% and your forgetting the fact that over 18% have it at 1680x1050, over 10% have it at 1920x1080 and additional 5% have it at 1920x1200, I would say nearly as many people are running it at 1920x1080, if you include the 1920x1200, as they are running at 1280x1024
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