EA's new Mac games will demand Intel-based systems

Posted:
in Mac Software edited January 2014
Many are lauding Electronic Arts' decision to actively support Mac OS X games as a significant boost to Apple's software lineup. Some legacy Mac users, however, will be left in the dark.



Presenting as part of the opening keynote address at Apple's annual developers conference on Monday, EA co-founder Bing Gordon announced his firm would soon begin releasing Mac games simultaneously alongside their Windows equivalents. But in the short time allotted to the executive, some of the underlying details and requirements of those games were not widely publicized.



For instance, each of the new Mac games announced thus far will be converted using TransGaming's Cider engine, which -- unlike direct reprogramming efforts -- wraps a layer around the game's original code. The interpreter translates all of the normally Windows-only system calls made by a game (including DirectX and Win32) to Mac calls with a minimal overhead.



Doing so not only cuts down on development time, the company says, but also guarantees equal support as multiplayer games, patches, and other features will always be shared between Mac and Windows versions. All of these have been chronic difficulties for games in the past, as developers had to convert code both to a new OS and a new processor architecture at the same time.



This may come at a high price for some users, however. TransGaming's technology normally only works with Intel-based Macs, leaving owners of older PowerPC systems without the ability to play any of the titles even if faster computers (such as late-model PowerMac G5s) would theoretically have the performance to run the games in a PowerPC-native form.



No plans are in the works to change Cider's dependence on Intel code, a representative from the company told AppleInsider.



The move bars all Macs made before 2006 from playing titles and also illustrates one of the side-effects of the transition to Intel processors. Apple itself has pledged to develop universal binaries compatible with both new and old systems but has never guaranteed similar protection from third-parties, which can use Xcode and other tools to write programs that run only on the Intel platform.
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 40
    SpamSandwichSpamSandwich Posts: 31,497member
    I hate EA games anyway. Stupid sports junk.
  • Reply 2 of 40
    caliminiuscaliminius Posts: 944member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post


    Many are lauding Electronic Arts' decision to actively support Mac OS X games as a significant boost to Apple's software lineup. Some legacy Mac users, however, will be left in the dark.



    Presenting as part of the opening keynote address at Apple's annual developers conference on Monday, EA co-founder Bing Gordon announced his firm would soon begin releasing Mac games simultaneously alongside their Windows equivalents. But in the short time allotted to the executive, some of the underlying details and requirements of those games were not widely publicized.



    For instance, each of the new Mac games announced thus far will be converted using TransGaming's Cider engine, which -- unlike direct reprogramming efforts -- wraps a layer around the game's original code. The interpreter translates all of the normally Windows-only system calls made by a game (including DirectX and Win32) to Mac calls with a minimal overhead.



    Doing so not only cuts down on development time, the company says, but also guarantees equal support as multiplayer games, patches, and other features will always be shared between Mac and Windows versions. All of these have been chronic difficulties for games in the past, as developers had to convert code both to a new OS and a new processor architecture at the same time.



    This may come at a high price for some users, however. TransGaming's technology normally only works with Intel-based Macs, leaving owners of older PowerPC systems without the ability to play any of the titles even if faster computers (such as late-model PowerMac G5s) would theoretically have the performance to run the games in a PowerPC-native form.



    No plans are in the works to change Cider's dependence on Intel code, a representative from the company told AppleInsider.



    The move bars all Macs made before 2006 from playing titles and also illustrates one of the side-effects of the transition to Intel processors. Apple itself has pledged to develop universal binaries compatible with both new and old systems but has never guaranteed similar protection from third-parties, which can use Xcode and other tools to write programs that run only on the Intel platform.



    Maybe it's just cynical of me, but I don't really consider wrapping a Windows game in Cider the same as "actively supporting" the Mac gaming community (such as it is). It's basically an emulator, Rosetta for games, with the obligatory performance hit that an emulator imparts. Blizzard actively supports Mac gaming and I will happily buy the true Mac-native Starcraft 2 when it arrives. Cider is a step up from using Bootcamp and XP/Vista, but not all that big of a step up.
  • Reply 3 of 40
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by caliminius View Post


    Maybe it's just cynical of me, but I don't really consider wrapping a Windows game in Cider the same as "actively supporting" the Mac gaming community (such as it is). It's basically an emulator, Rosetta for games, with the obligatory performance hit that an emulator imparts. Blizzard actively supports Mac gaming and I will happily buy the true Mac-native Starcraft 2 when it arrives. Cider is a step up from using Bootcamp and XP/Vista, but not all that big of a step up.



    Since Cider is based on Wine, and 'Wine Is Not an Emulator' (http://www.winehq.org/site/myths), it shouldn't be considered as 'Rosetta for Games'.



    - and I think this is a pretty significant endorsement of Wine Technology

    (even if Wine & Transgaming have actually gone their separate ways)



    - and it should encourage more people to look at Wine or Codeweavers as well.
  • Reply 4 of 40
    guinessguiness Posts: 31member
    I don't think it's a big deal if the games don't support PPC. I would assume most hardcore gamers likely have new Macs anyway. Just because Apple has pledged to support legacy systems doesn't mean we can expect third party developers to.



    If a user only has a PPC Mac then they can continue playing the games on whatever system their currently using Windows/PS3/Wii/etc
  • Reply 5 of 40
    wallywally Posts: 211member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by guiness View Post


    I don't think it's a big deal if the games don't support PPC.



    I agree. I'm sorry for G5, G4 & G3 users, but would they really want to play NFS, BF2142 and C&C3 on such systems? I would imagine even a "native" port running dog slow. Intel Mac systems are the way of the future. The way of the future. The way of the future. The way of the future. The way of the future. The way of the future. The way of the future.



    *covers mouth with hand*
  • Reply 6 of 40
    maimezvousmaimezvous Posts: 802member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by samurai1999 View Post


    Since Cider is based on Wine, and 'Wine Is Not an Emulator' (http://www.winehq.org/site/myths), it shouldn't be considered as 'Rosetta for Games'.



    - and I think this is a pretty significant endorsement of Wine Technology

    (even if Wine & Transgaming have actually gone their separate ways)



    - and it should encourage more people to look at Wine or Codeweavers as well.



    I thought you were making a joke at first.



    But yes, they specifically say that it won't be a large performance hit.
  • Reply 7 of 40
    mrpiddlymrpiddly Posts: 406member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by SpamSandwich View Post


    I hate EA games anyway. Stupid sports junk.



    Not battlefield 1942 and 2, 2142 sucks ass. Both of them are great games made even better by the many bugs EA forgot to take out. In bf1942 putting mines on a tank will cause it to sink into the ground up to the mines. This is fun if your the last player on your team and they germans cant kill you becuase your undeground in a tank. I love those game.
  • Reply 8 of 40
    floamfloam Posts: 11member
    For the love of everything holy, please do not cite the project's acronym as proof. There is always a smartass that decides to pipe in with the title. It is most certainly an emulator. GNU's Not Unix, but in practice, it is.



    Cider is a disgusting mess. Calling games "ported" using it Mac games is a joke. Inside of the application bundle you will find a regular old windows exe file. It just a cute standalone version of Cedega. What's worse is that games using it that use DirectX need to have all of the Direct3D translated to OpenGL at runtime. This slows things down, introduces bugs, and worst of all, kills most features that are above DirectX 8-level. This is a very bad trend for us.



    Wine has a fake Windows partition, fake Windows DLLs, remaps memory, and does all sorts of trickery. If not an emulator, it is at least a pretendulator. In fact, as far as things go other than speed, games using Rosetta are nicer. They are real OS X applications using real libraries and can integrate with things. You'll never see a cocoa widget, or even so much as a populated menu bar in a Cider game. (Which is why they need to aim their "technology" at games, since they tend to be fairly in their own world).



    The story here isn't that EA is leaving out PowerPC users, the story is that they really are giving the entire Mac community a sorry excuse for a game.
  • Reply 9 of 40
    MarvinMarvin Posts: 14,230moderator
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by caliminius View Post


    Maybe it's just cynical of me, but I don't really consider wrapping a Windows game in Cider the same as "actively supporting" the Mac gaming community (such as it is).



    You're right but it's either this or nothing so there's little choice.



    Quote:
    Originally Posted by guiness


    I would assume most hardcore gamers likely have new Macs anyway.



    I reckon they'll have PCs and this news isn't likely to sway them over.
  • Reply 10 of 40
    chagichagi Posts: 284member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by floam View Post


    For the love of everything holy, please do not cite the project's acronym as proof. There is always a smartass that decides to pipe in with the title. It is most certainly an emulator. GNU's Not Unix, but in practice, it is.



    Cider is a disgusting mess. Calling games "ported" using it Mac games is a joke. Inside of the application bundle you will find a regular old windows exe file. It just a cute standalone version of Cedega. What's worse is that games using it that use DirectX need to have all of the Direct3D translated to OpenGL at runtime. This slows things down, introduces bugs, and worst of all, kills most features that are above DirectX 8-level. This is a very bad trend for us.



    Wine has a fake Windows partition, fake Windows DLLs, remaps memory, and does all sorts of trickery. If not an emulator, it is at least a pretendulator. In fact, as far as things go other than speed, games using Rosetta are nicer. They are real OS X applications using real libraries and can integrate with things. You'll never see a cocoa widget, or even so much as a populated menu bar in a Cider game. (Which is why they need to aim their "technology" at games, since they tend to be fairly in their own world).



    The story here isn't that EA is leaving out PowerPC users, the story is that they really are giving the entire Mac community a sorry excuse for a game.



    I'm curious, have you actually played a Cider-powered game yet? Or any of these forthcoming titles? You might want to wait for some reviews of these new games before you pass judgement.



    Let me put a different spin on this for you - the ability to (relatively) rapidly port PC games to the Mac using Cider is arguably a better business model than having to rework much of the code with a full port. The Macworld article on this news provides a good explanation, this is essentially about relatively easy incremental revenue for Electronic Arts. Time to market is reduced, costs are reduced, and Mac gamers benefit from being able to play these games much sooner.



    http://www.macworld.com/news/2007/06...ames/index.php



    I am looking at building/buying a new computer in the next 2-3 months, and this announcement just made me more likely to buy a Mac. Endorsement by EA means that other publishers are highly likely to follow with similar business models.



    Full disclosure - my personal portfolio contains Transgaming shares. I have done a great deal of research on the company as part of my due diligence.
  • Reply 11 of 40
    floamfloam Posts: 11member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Chagi View Post


    I'm curious, have you actually played a Cider-powered game yet? Or any of these forthcoming titles? You might want to wait for some reviews of these new games before you pass judgement.



    Let me put a different spin on this for you - the ability to (relatively) rapidly port PC games to the Mac using Cider is arguably a better business model than having to rework much of the code with a full port. The Macworld article on this news provides a good explanation, this is essentially about relatively easy incremental revenue for Electronic Arts. Time to market is reduced, costs are reduced, and Mac gamers benefit from being able to play these games much sooner.



    http://www.macworld.com/news/2007/06...ames/index.php



    I am looking at building/buying a new computer in the next 2-3 months, and this announcement just made me more likely to buy a Mac. Endorsement by EA means that other publishers are highly likely to follow with similar business models.



    Full disclosure - my personal portfolio contains Transgaming shares. I have done a great deal of research on the company as part of my due diligence.



    Please stop using their buzzwords. Yes, I've played games emulated with Cider. Cider is nothing new. It's just Cedega. It's been around for years.



    Transgaming pulled similar gags on Linux users years ago when they released a copy of "The Sims" for Linux that bombed. They are for the most part unliked in that community due to the negative impact they've had on Linux gaming. If people can play your game "Well enough" in Cedega, there is no incentive to offer a full port. Gavriel has simply extended this to Mac world but instead of making the emulator available to purchase to everyone, he's licensing it out to game makers on a per-game basis for better profit. The technology is identical. If you don't believe me that not all DirectX features are able to be translated to OpenGL, just take a look at the Cedega source code. Most of it is open source, as required by the license. (They took most of this technology from the opensource Wine, and while they promised to give features back after they became profitable, they reneged.)



    You are correct though, they seem to have a decent profit model, at least for the short term. But as more and more games stop having DirectX 8 fallback modes and people get tired of the buggy titles, I think they're going to get the same way they were in 2003 again.



    I'm sure if you're invested in them you're well aware of their ethical issues. Personally, I'd have a hard time feeling good about giving them any of my money.
  • Reply 12 of 40
    chagichagi Posts: 284member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by floam View Post


    Please stop using their buzzwords. Yes, I've played games emulated with Cider. Cider is nothing new. It's just Cedega. It's been around for years.



    Transgaming pulled similar gags on Linux users years ago when they released a copy of "The Sims" for Linux that bombed. They are for the most part unliked in that community due to the negative impact they've had on Linux gaming. If people can play your game "Well enough" in Cedega, there is no incentive to offer a full port. Gavriel has simply extended this to Mac world but instead of making the emulator available to everyone, he's licensing it out to game makers for better profit. The technology is identical. If you don't believe me that not all DirectX features are able to be translated to OpenGL, just take a look at the Cedega source code. Most of it is open source, as required by the license. (They took most of this technology from the opensource Wine, and while they promised to give features back after they became profitable, they reneged.)



    I'm sure if you're invested in them you're well aware of their ethical issues. Personally, I'd have a hard time feeling good about giving them any of my money.



    Which Mac game have you specifically played that utilizes Cider? There are only three released games currently.



    I'm sorry, but I won't be terribly sympathetic to your views on "ethics" regarding business. Companies exist to generate value for their shareholders. Yes, one could technically approach this from a different perspective, and code a general purpose gaming "wrapper" for the Mac - another company is supposedly currently working on exactly that type of product. Transgaming has instead approached this from the perspective of working with developers/publishers, through a revenue sharing agreement.



    Put yourself in the shoes of EA for the moment. Prior to roughly one year ago they had two choices - devote significant internal resources to porting their games to the Mac (taking on the risk that the title would flop), or license their games to a third-party porting company such as Aspyr or MacSoft (shifting that risk to another company). They can now instead work with another third-party (Transgaming) for very little upfront cost, and (apparently) easily port any of their games to the Mac. They could also hypothetically add Mac functionality to future PC titles (i.e. single retail box/disc with both platforms supported).



    It is also worth mentioning that Transgaming derives significant recurring revenue from their "Cedega" subscriptions (relative to the company's size), so apparently not everyone shares your negative reviews regarding that product.
  • Reply 13 of 40
    floamfloam Posts: 11member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Chagi View Post


    Which Mac game have you specifically played that utilizes Cider? There are only three released games currently.



    I'm sorry, but I won't be terribly sympathetic to your views on "ethics" regarding business. Companies exist to generate value for their shareholders. Yes, one could technically approach this from a different perspective, and code a general purpose gaming "wrapper" for the Mac - another company is supposedly currently working on exactly that type of product. Transgaming has instead approached this from the perspective of working with developers/publishers, through a revenue sharing agreement.



    Put yourself in the shoes of EA for the moment. Prior to roughly one year ago they had two choices - devote significant internal resources to porting their games to the Mac (taking on the risk that the title would flop), or license their games to a third-party porting company such as Aspyr or MacSoft (shifting that risk to another company). They can now instead work with another third-party (Transgaming) for very little upfront cost, and (apparently) easily port any of their games to the Mac. They could also hypothetically add Mac functionality to future PC titles (i.e. single retail box/disc with both platforms supported).



    It is also worth mentioning that Transgaming derives significant recurring revenue from their "Cedega" subscriptions (relative to the company's size), so apparently not everyone shares your negative reviews regarding that product.



    Yes, I've played all of them. Two of them are so old that they play fairly well (one of them happening to be OpenGL), and Heroes of Might and Magic V was, as predicted, a disaster.



    I guess I don't understand how businesses work. When a company lies to a customer, or renegs on a commitment they've made publicly, most would agree that it's generally on the "negative" side of their happyometer.



    Cedega is great for running older games on Linux. I don't know what more to tell you here. It's faults are widely known, and verifiable by anyone with a computer science background (or Google).



    I guess this is a nice stop-gap solution if they made this commitment to Apple very recently and had a small timeframe, but shipping an inferior product is usually not a good thing.
  • Reply 14 of 40
    chagichagi Posts: 284member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by floam View Post


    Yes, I've played all of them. Two of them are so old that they play fairly well (one of them happening to be OpenGL), and Heroes of Might and Magic V was, as predicted, a disaster.



    I guess I don't understand how businesses work. When a company lies to a customer, or renegs on a commitment they've made publicly, most would agree that it's generally on the "negative" side of their happyometer.



    Cedega is great for running older games on Linux. I don't know what more to tell you here. It's faults are widely known, and verifiable by anyone with a computer science background (or Google).



    I guess this is a nice stop-gap solution if they made this commitment to Apple very recently and had a small timeframe, but shipping an inferior product is usually not a good thing.



    We clearly have differing opinions on this topic (mine is more similar to that of EA's CCO), and I don't see much reason to discuss this further. All we can really do for the moment is wait for these titles to launch, read reviews at that point in time, and (most importantly) see how consumers respond with their wallets.
  • Reply 15 of 40
    floamfloam Posts: 11member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Chagi View Post


    We clearly have differing opinions on this topic (mine is more similar to that of EA's CCO), and I don't see much reason to discuss this further. All we can really do for the moment is wait for these titles to launch, read reviews at that point in time, and (most importantly) see how consumers respond with their wallets.



    What is Gordon's opinion? I never saw anything at the keynote about Cider nor any public quotes.



    Anyways, I'll be sure to try to follow-up on this in July, but I'll probably have forgotten all about it. Please do remember this discussion though when the same thing that happened with Heroes of Might and Magic occurs with Battlefield 2142. Most of my opinions come as a developer and potential customer, not a businessperson.
  • Reply 16 of 40
    webmailwebmail Posts: 639member
    Yes because it's so cruel to cut people off with 2 year old computers from playing CUTING edge games. lol Who cares, upgrade your computer if playing new games are that important. LOL several of these games will run you more than a new computer.
  • Reply 17 of 40
    chagichagi Posts: 284member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by floam View Post


    What is Gordon's opinion? I never saw anything at the keynote about Cider nor any public quotes.



    Anyways, I'll be sure to try to follow-up on this in July, but I'll probably have forgotten all about it. Please do remember this discussion though when the same thing that happened with Heroes of Might and Magic occurs with Battlefield 2142. Most of my opinions come as a developer and potential customer, not a businessperson.



    EA and Transgaming have formally announced that these forthcoming games will utilize Cider technology (you can easily Google this info yourself). Cider was not specifically mentioned/hyped during the keynote, but one would suspect that EA would do their due diligence in advance of announcing titles that are being launched roughly one month from now, and are Cider-powered.
  • Reply 18 of 40
    floamfloam Posts: 11member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Chagi View Post


    EA and Transgaming have formally announced that these forthcoming games will utilize Cider technology (you can easily Google this info yourself). Cider was not specifically mentioned/hyped during the keynote, but one would suspect that EA would do their due diligence in advance of announcing titles that are being launched roughly one month from now, and are Cider-powered.



    Oh, I'm sorry. I misunderstood you. I thought there was a stance on Cider by EA's CCO you were referencing.
  • Reply 19 of 40
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by floam View Post


    Wine has a fake Windows partition, fake Windows DLLs, remaps memory, and does all sorts of trickery.



    If it's done transparently, nobody will care.



    Quote:

    What's worse is that games using it that use DirectX need to have all of the Direct3D translated to OpenGL at runtime.



    Every Direct3D game that is ported to the Mac uses some sort of OGL wrapper, so that's nothing new.



    Quote:

    You'll never see a cocoa widget, or even so much as a populated menu bar in a Cider game. (Which is why they need to aim their "technology" at games, since they tend to be fairly in their own world).



    Nearly no games use native widgets or menus anyway.



    Quote:

    This slows things down, introduces bugs, and worst of all, kills most features that are above DirectX 8-level. This is a very bad trend for us.



    Legitimate concern. But at least it will be something supported directly by the developer and not the Linux situation where a third party is hacking it to make it work.
  • Reply 20 of 40
    chagichagi Posts: 284member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by floam View Post


    Oh, I'm sorry. I misunderstood you. I thought there was a stance on Cider by EA's CCO you were referencing.



    You are really missing something with your logic. Electronic Arts is utilizing Cider for these games, and EA's CCO announced the launch of these games during the WWDC keynote speech. EA's CCO is in this instance a representative of the company, and a highly ranked one at that, being co-founder and CCO of EA.



    The fact that Electronic Arts is choosing to leverage Transgaming's technology is an endorsement of that technology. If they did not believe that Cider was an effective solution, they would not risk the branding and financial well-being of the company on launching these games at this point in time, utilizing this particular technology solution.



    http://home.businesswire.com/portal/...42&newsLang=en



    Quote:



    ?Traditionally Mac users had to wait to play the latest blockbuster games,? says TransGaming CEO Vikas Gupta. ?We're thrilled that TransGaming's Cider engine will dramatically decrease the time it will take to bring EA's hit portfolio of games to a thirsty Mac market.?



    ?Leveraging TransGaming?s Cider technology to bring our hit franchises to Mac users is an exciting first step in delivering the video game experience that Mac users deserve,? said Scott Cronce, EA vice president. ?With the launch of these titles, it truly is the best time to be a Mac gamer.?
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