technical reason for lack of gaming support?

Posted:
in Current Mac Hardware edited January 2014
when I switched over to macintosh I was kind of surprised to read many post about, if you like gaming then get a pc...

I was wondering why the macintosh is not good for games,



I mean I know many games exist but the consensus seems to be that pc's are better for motion graphics.



I guess what surprises me is the mac is superior in editing video. which you would think means a superior graphic engine.



so whats the scoop, what is the technical reasons...will it change when they go intel or is the problem an inherit part of being a unix based os.



thanks for the info in advance. Scott
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 23
    DirectX and optimized graphics drivers.
  • Reply 2 of 23
    Who are you going to design games for... 90+% of the market or 5% of the market?
  • Reply 3 of 23
    Quote:

    Originally posted by fahlman

    DirectX and optimized graphics drivers.



    ok...maybe be a little kess technical , lol How does this relate to the mac, are you saying the mac is not good for games because a lack of effort or is it a technicla hurdle that can't be over come....sorry for the questions, I just really want to understand this.



    I discuss the macs attributes alot with pc people and this is always a subject that comes up.
  • Reply 4 of 23
    lupalupa Posts: 202member
    Quote:

    Originally posted by mercury7

    ok...maybe be a little kess technical , lol How does this relate to the mac, are you saying the mac is not good for games because a lack of effort or is it a technicla hurdle that can't be over come....sorry for the questions, I just really want to understand this.



    I discuss the macs attributes alot with pc people and this is always a subject that comes up.




    From my understanding of things mac (which is pretty limited), I would say his comment is refering to drivers for graphics cards which are generally optimized for PCs, while there is less of said optimization on the drivers used by macs. The thing is, macs (and the backing software) have not been developed for gaming so much as PCs. This disparity between Macs and PCs does not have so much to do with a technical hurdle as it does a lack of effort. The lack of effort springs, of course, from the market shares Tidelwav mentioned.



    Anybody feel free to correct me.
  • Reply 5 of 23
    Lack of effort is a big part of it.



    There's also the issue of DirectX, which is Microsoft-made, and is therefore only available on PCs. OpenGL is available on all platforms, but I don't believe it is quite as popular for its own reasons.



    Also, according to ATI/nVidia, the aftermarket for graphic card upgrades on Macs are so small (read: unprofitable or not profitable enough) that they usually don't even manufacture Mac-specific hardware unless Apple specifically asks them to. It's a small market because most of Apple's systems can't be upgraded.



    So basically the market just isn't very conducive to a thriving gaming community. Apple needs to eliminate their proprietary hardware needs so that ATI and nVidia can more easily develop "universal" cards. It would also be very beneficial if they engineered their mainstream systems to allow graphic upgrades.



    The move to Intel could be a start, but there is more to do beyond that. That's still years off.
  • Reply 6 of 23
    Microsoft DirectX Technology Overview

    Published: March 18th, 2002



    Microsoft DirectX is an advanced suite of multimedia application programming interfaces (APIs) built into Microsoft Windows; operating systems. DirectX provides a standard development platform for Windows-based PCs by enabling software developers to access specialized hardware features without having to write hardware-specific code. This technology was first introduced in 1995 and is a recognized standard for multimedia application development on the Windows platform.



    What DirectX Does and How

    Simply put, DirectX is a Windows technology that enables higher performance in graphics and sound when you?re playing games or watching video on your PC.

    At the core of DirectX are its application programming interfaces, or APIs. The APIs act as a kind of bridge for the hardware and the software to "talk" to each other. The DirectX APIs give multimedia applications access to the advanced features of high-performance hardware such as three-dimensional (3-D) graphics acceleration chips and sound cards. They control low-level functions, including two-dimensional (2-D) graphics acceleration; support for input devices such as joysticks, keyboards, and mice; and control of sound mixing and sound output. Because of DirectX, what you experience with your computer is better 3-D graphics and immersive music and audio effects.

    Windows 98, Windows 98 SE, Windows Millennium Edition (Windows Me), Windows 2000, Windows Server 2003, and Windows XP support DirectX 9.0c. For more information, please refer to the Frequently Asked Questions.



    Mac OS X lacks DirectX.
  • Reply 7 of 23
    thanks Guys, this explains it all....sounds like apple has

    some catching up to do in this area, it seems though that video editing would be suffering too...and from everything I have read it is not....Perhaps just better written software is giving them the edge here. I personally just got into video editing so I have not even experienced it on a pc. I am not a big gamer but I can definitely see that if apple has designs on capturing larger markets they will have to come up with there own version of directx that smokes the competition, perhaps that new sony chip will be incorporated in some way with the intels...Ive heard its capable of running osx all by it self.
  • Reply 8 of 23
    placeboplacebo Posts: 5,767member
    Mac graphics hardware is consistently a generation behind; the processors are slow at integer calculationos (what PC games need); OpenGL on the Mac sucks.
  • Reply 9 of 23
    tkntkn Posts: 224member
    I can only hope with Intel hardware that off the shelf cards will then be usable. This at least would bring theoretical parity of hardware. Apple basically makes one game initiative after another and never lets it get anywhere and never really promotes it.
  • Reply 10 of 23
    Save your time and $, buy an xbox 360 + a high def tv you will spend less money and have next to 0 problems and have almost all the games you like to play!!! win pc's are no fun imho just to much tweaking and not enough play time!!!
  • Reply 11 of 23
    pbpb Posts: 4,233member
    Quote:

    Originally posted by mercury7

    I was wondering why the macintosh is not good for games,





    Here is a resume.



    (1) Lack of properly optimized graphics drivers. The ones on the PC side are considerably better optimized.



    (2) Much more GPU options on the PC side. This one, like the previous, is directly related to market share.



    (3) DirectX vs. OpenGL. As already said, there is no DirectX for the Macintosh. But there is OpenGL instead. The problem is that the Apple OpenGL implementation still is not optimal (Apple had recently an open job for OpenGL optimizations). Besides, OpenGL has not yet reached the performance level of DirectX.



    (4) The x86 Intel processors have higher clock speeds, and unlike what the MHz myth says, megahertz matters here if the game is coded properly.



    (5) The vast majority of games are written with the x86 architecture in mind and their Macintosh versions are just ports that generally suffer in performance. Perhaps the most tragic recent example of this is Doom 3.



    Quote:



    so whats the scoop, what is the technical reasons...will it change when they go intel or is the problem an inherit part of being a unix based os.





    From the above it is clear that the Intel switch will have little impact, if at all, in the Macintosh games business.
  • Reply 12 of 23
    One does have to wonder how Blizzard continually gets it right though despite all the obstacles... World of Warcraft is practically the #1 MMO in history (in terms of user base) and you have to belive that the cross-compatibility plays a part.
  • Reply 13 of 23
    cj171cj171 Posts: 144member
    add to that, windows vista will somewhat force developers to code with directx as they somehow crippling opengl support



    also, is it me or is the sims 2 highly unoptimized? the required specs are about the same as X2 The Threat, yet X2 runs great on my 1ghz pb, but the sims 2 is unplayable
  • Reply 14 of 23
    If some enterprising person, or group of people, wrote an open source alternative version of OpenGL for windows that took advantage of the GPU on a Windows computer couldn't it be installed with games. Most games I've purhased check for a version of DirectX anyway. Why not just install a non-Microsoft versin of OpenGL. Like Sun offers of Java?
  • Reply 15 of 23
    placeboplacebo Posts: 5,767member
    I've really started to consider buying an Xbox 360 just for gaming. Unless Apple opens Mac OS X, I'm not buying a new computer any time soon.
  • Reply 16 of 23
    lundylundy Posts: 4,466member
    Apple just needs to pony up some funding for companies to code games ground-up for the Mac OS and OpenGL. That's always been the problem - it's a self-fulfilling prophecy when the game companies code optimized for Windows, then try and port it to OS X AFTER it is finished, not in parallel, and then the game quality on the Mac blows moose and nobody on OS X buys it and the game company says, "See, we told you there was no market for the Mac version", and the whole cycle repeats itself.
  • Reply 17 of 23
    once the pc game market dies, which arguably, it might sometime soon because of the lack of originality and because of next-gen consoles, smaller devs will come up with more innovative new games and apple could convince them to develop for mac or at least in parallel with win
  • Reply 18 of 23
    Quote:

    Originally posted by fahlman

    If some enterprising person, or group of people, wrote an open source alternative version of OpenGL for windows that took advantage of the GPU on a Windows computer couldn't it be installed with games. Most games I've purhased check for a version of DirectX anyway. Why not just install a non-Microsoft versin of OpenGL. Like Sun offers of Java?



    The OpenGL spec is freely available (thats one of the reasons why there's the word open in its name) and has implementations on most platforms and is callable from lots of programming languages (even Fortran).



    The problem is that windows games developers choose to use DirectX (Id being a notable exception) and this makes porting to the Mac a more difficult task.
  • Reply 19 of 23
    Quote:

    Originally posted by Placebo

    I've really started to consider buying an Xbox 360 just for gaming. Unless Apple opens Mac OS X, I'm not buying a new computer any time soon.



    Apple IS opening Mac OS X by porting it to X86.



    By using the same instruction set, the possibility of virtualizing Windows becomes possible.



    In human speak? Run any PC game on Mac.



    Yes, there are some unknowns, but you have to admit, PC and Mac being X86, we are knocking on the door.
  • Reply 20 of 23
    A lot of the problems, as far as gaming, should disappear after the x86 switch. That is, pc graphics cards should be able to work on macs without too much work on new drivers. Furthermore, all the endian-ness and memory addressing conflicts between PPC and x86 will no longer exist. The only remaining hurdle is DirectX, which will never be accounted for officially. Of course, if Apple keeps working on it's own kick-ass graphics support as well as tweaking OpenGL, it seems very possible that Apple will have a preferable (and perhaps open source) alternative to DirectX.
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