Cider has both been a great boon to Mac gaming — it makes it cheap and quick to port Windows-only titles to the Mac without having to make them internally cross-platform — and also a great detriment: its Windows translation layer imposes a performance penalty and prevents true native feel, and crucially, many such games are using Cider's slow Direct3D-to-OpenGL translator, which is not only slower than real Direct3D (thus why such games will always run better under Windows in Boot Camp on the same hardware), and limits you to the Direct3D 9 featureset, but it is also translating to a graphics API Apple basically don't care about now (OpenGL).
The good news is that more and more games are using commodity engines, and those engines usually have proper native macOS support, and ideally Metal support. Nonetheless, Cider ports are very much a thing that must still be contended with.
For a recent high-profile case of Cider causing trouble, Square Enix went the cheap route when they ported their MMORPG, Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn, to the Mac, and used Cider. The result was infamously bad and they had to pull it from the shelves. They did of course fix it up and re-release it, but even then, the resulting port is slower than and graphically inferior to simply running the game under Windows, because it's stuck with fake Direct3D 9. On Windows you get to choose between Direct3D 9 and Direct3D 11.
This means that, even though 1/3rd of my steam library has mac versions, half of these games don't actually run well.
(Disclaimer: since switching to mac, I typically game only on PS4 nowadays, which I guess probably doesn't have better hardware, but at least has well optimised games and lots of awesome exclusives)
Interesting fact: my in-game ping is usually 1 or 0, because its in the same data centre as the dedicated servers, heh. Removes another possible bit of latency, which is nice!
I thought Cider's performance and feature set had fallen dramatically behind Wine years ago, in part because some parts of their stack do rendering in software instead of hardware (the D3D to OpenGL translation is not the slow step in the process).
I haven't tried the new version but I'm okay with getting these versions that are degraded instead of not having a game. Which makes me wonder how they're doing this nearly flawlessly on consoles. There has to be some performance hit due to making the game work with the various translation layers but in reality I hardly notice them. Would be nice if they could get it that performant with Mac.
As for how it's able to work on consoles, presumably the console versions are proper ports that actually use the native APIs. The game was designed with the PlayStation 3 specifically in mind, after all.
Development time is better spent on internationalization than getting a working Mac build.
And I say this being a Mac user myself. Games actually run really well on my MacbookPro. But from a business standpoint, I wouldn't develop for Mac.
There's a reason lots of people dual-boot into Bootcamp. I would love to play more games on my Mac, as opposed to under Windows or on my console, but the selection is terrible. Even when the engine the developers have used compiles for Mac, developers often don't do a port. That extends to indie games, too; still no Downwell for Mac, for example, despite the fact that it was made with GameMaker, which supports macOS as a target. Wadjet Eye, which produces a lot of technologically basic point and click adventure games, are very inconsistent about their releases; some games are releases on macOS, but most aren't.
Mac is also treated as a black sheep by the Steam app, to the extent that it's its own distinct item  in the genre list, next to "Action", "Adventure" and so on, and if you're a Mac Steam will still happily bury you in Windows games, despite the fact that they aren't playable.
Apple may be blamed on the AAA game situation, but for everything else (and most games aren't AAA), it's squarely on publishers, developers, and Steam.
There is also a factor that you can't really blame on anyone: OS market share. Even if more Mac (and Linux) users would buy games, the time worked on porting and support would likely still result in a net loss.
Also the fact that there are not that many games on macOS helps as well. I wouldn't buy Civilization, but I bought it, because there was a moment I wanted to play something and Civilization was one of the few recognizable titles I've found in AppStore.
It also doesn't help that Apple's commitment to video games on the Mac has been inconsistent at best. They insist on developing their own perpetually out-of-date OpenGL front end rather than leaving this to Nvidia and AMD - I don't know how well those two would do as the user-space maintainers of OpenGl on MacOS, but it couldn't be much worse than Apple. Considering this, maybe its a good thing Apple isn't providing a Vulkan front-end?
Wow I really should consider myself fortunate that all the games I like are on Mac. I'd hate to have to get a separate gaming PC.
I won't play a game unless it'll somehow run on linux. I guess this means I've been playing a lot of unity / wine games :)
Why would one take a cross platform game engine and make the rest of the game logic Windows-only?
My experience is that most small studio or "indie" games will run on all three platforms, about half of really big games have Mac releases and some much smaller portion also support Linux, and of course anything that runs under Dosbox works on all three. ~90% of the Linux games are indie or dosbox. MacOS is a much more viable platform for a gamer, also aided by being generally much less fussy/buggy for all things multimedia-dependent like games, though hindered by generally mediocre graphics cards. However you might be surprised what runs acceptably on a 2014-vintage Intel Iris graphics chip. I was.
If you compare 3% of Mac users, to 16% whose primary language is Simplified Chinese, 13% whose primary language is Russian, and so on, there might be better areas to expand your game into than onto the Mac.
When you're a commercial entity with finite resources, you have to evaluate what is likely to net a greater rate of return, a niche OS, or a much less niche language. With unlimited resources you can do both, but few companies can allocate money things that won't pay for themselves.
Apple's hubris is starting to catch up with them. They're trying to pull devs in with Metal but are instead pushing them away by making it harder or impossible to use APIs that devs actually want. To add insult to injury, the games market on Mac is small anyway, even relative to its market share. Windows has been absolutely dominant in this space for so long that I can't believe that Apple would try to get developers working on their platform by making it harder, not easier, to develop for.
If anything, their hubris has paid off. It's hard to see how mediocre gaming support has significantly hurt Apple until now. Mac gaming isn't exactly great, but it's far and away better than it was 10 years ago when I got my first Mac, and there's good reason to believe it will continue to get better. That's good for Apple and Mac users.
There's this persistent meme about Apple that their contrariness and spurning of received wisdom and practices in the rest of the industry will imminently bite them in the ass and hammer the company. It just persistently fails to actually happen.
* Apple would be one of the few remaining platforms using OpenGL, this is why Mantle and Vulkan exist because they're not the only ones looking beyond OpenGL, so they'd still be a bit of a ghetto.
* Battery life on Mac laptops would be worse, Macs would run a bit hotter and desktop performance on lower end Macs would be a bit slower still.
* Finally any commercial difference in terms of game availability or Apple's bottom line would be a rounding error on a rounding error. This is a strategic move.
Be careful what you believe in.
And it appears that gaming in general is coalescing around Unreal and Unity, and both have strong native Mac support.
Metal support I think is less of a problem than Apple's own hardware - the anemic GPUs in consumer Macs prevent most AAA titles from being playable, even if the middleware is completely abstracted out. Apple's focus on hi-dpi displays makes this even worse.
Apple doesn't seem to have a coherent strategy around this. If you look at the Mac App Store right now, the games being most heavily advertised all have very marginal performance even on higher-end Macs, and likely straight up won't run on most of their (new!) laptops. It seems absurd that Apple is so heavily marketing games that will barely run on a typical Mac.
There are a couple of games with Vulkan renderers that don't support Metal that I can see this being an issue in (Doom being a good example), but id is still a AAA studio that could have someone write a Metal backend if Mac made sense to them (same way they have DX12 and gnm backends for ps4 and xbox one).
Another thing is people often assume the only cost involved in porting a game to a new platform is graphics API, which is strange, but makes sense if your exposure to graphics programming is NeHe tutorials or something. All modern engines use thin wrappers over the system graphics API and low level code that directly calls OpenGL, DX, Vulkan, Metal, etc is a very small percentage of total code. Rants about graphics API being the main bottleneck to game portability annoy me a little bit also because they ignore portability challenges that are not graphics related, and even graphics portability challenges that are not directly related to API. It's naive to think if everyone just supported Vulkan all games could be instantly compiled to every platform or even that low level graphics API calls are the hardest thing to port. I agree that metal makes things a little harder by introducing a new shading language, but cross compiling to other shader languages from hlsl or glsl is standard and mostly a solved problem by now. If you're a small developer that doesn't or can't write a thin low level graphics wrapper for your game there are good opensource libraries that will do this for you (bgfx, oryol).
That said, it's nice that we're experiencing a renaissance in indie game development, which seems to rely more on cross-platform frameworks like Unity. It's possible to have a full life of gaming if you're into puzzlers/strategy games like Factorio, Rimworld, and the Fireaxis library (Civ, XCOM).
Though now with thunderbolt 3 and external gpu's I think some of that excuse is gone away.
I think people overestimate the size of the AAA video game market with high hardware requirements. That's more the domain of a minority of gaming aficionados.
Personally I haven't bought a Steam game that hasn't had the Mac symbol on it for several years, and I used to be a heavy Windows user (still am at work and on my 'get work done' laptop). Generally requires me to get mostly indie games, but that's okay, I have consoles for the rest.
- Pay per hours played
- 200fps with a 20-30ms delay
If you live in the U.S. you can try beta for free https://www.nvidia.com/en-us/geforce/products/geforce-now/ma...
Video of Apple Insider testing the beta https://youtu.be/XbVFemjaeP0
Given that the trashcan Mac Pro was a mess when it came to upgrading, it's clear that Apple just didn't prioritize high end workstation environments. We'll see what the next Mac Pro brings, it might be a nicer platform, but it'll be such a minuscule part of the market, I find it hard to believe many game studios will jump on it.
Otherwise, you're left with the typical Mac which often prioritizes good battery life, mobility, etc. So Macs are best left for casual gaming, but... well, phones are great at that too.
I do notice that cross platform mobile games on iPhones are significantly better performing then Android devices. So it's not that Apple doesn't prioritize gaming, just hard core "workstation style" gaming environments.
Raw power isn't the issue. It's Apple's poor drivers and API support.
Just today, I'm watching team mates suffer with Android freezes. This is far from the first time this has happened. There's just a ton of anecdotal evidence that indicates iOS is superior to Android for gaming.
And it's not like Mac's are having to deal with this "massive ecosystem". I mean, Windows runs on everything. And Macs, like the iPhone and iPad, really are pretty much closed ecosystems too.
So it seems there was some decision in the history of Mac OS development that has somehow screwed it over when it comes to providing drivers and APIs for game development, and, Apple can't rectify it effectively. I just wonder what that was.
Unfortunately I've seen nothing but tumbleweed ever since, which makes me suspect that this is one of those Khronos initiatives that never makes it out of the hangar, much less off the ground.
I lose mods, and I lose genres that really do work a lot better on keyboard and mouse - I've been having an on and off urge to find some kind of Settlers retread lately, for instance, and this really doesn't exist on consoles - but I gain a lot of time not spent swearing at incompatibilities.
Ah the memories!
Like most software professionals, I work a lot of hours, and my time is limited.
So when it comes to leisure-time, I generally want my games to "just work."
I don't want to see a game on the Mac App Store and then spend a bunch of time Googling forums and stuff to see if the port's any good and if it will actually run decently on my Mac hardware, and then do some more experimentation with settings and everything to actually get it to run acceptably.
A little bit of console hacking can be fun; sometimes I enjoy tinkering with old consoles to get better video output or whatever. But that stuff is 100% optional.
Besides, these days, I'm more into indie-style 2D games than 60-hour immersive "epics" that cost $40mil to make but still have the same basic game mechanics as Daikatana. And a lot of those Unity-based 2D-ish games run pretty well on MacOS.
Plus, I don't know. I think I actually like having my Mac be my "dedicated work machine." It's hard enough to get work done with the Internet beckoning; it'd probably be even harder if all my favorite games were just a click away too. Then again, maybe that's just the Stockholm syndrome talking.
I haven't played games on my computer in a long while. What are some of the good indie-style 2D games now?
Almost like it was the work of clever amateurs
instead of actual professionals.
But, I think we've returned to that level of creativity. Computers are powerful enough that neat games can be coded in high-level languages, so we don't need assembly-language savants to make something that runs well. =)
I haven't played games on my computer in a long while.
What are some of the good indie-style 2D games now?
There's Cave Story, ten years old at this point, but a loving and amazing (and cute) tribute to the Metroidvania genre. The original was created by a single person, and there have been some graphically updated versions.
Those are two I've personally put a lot of time into. There are tons more on Steam, PSN, Xbox Live, and Nintendo's eShop...
Stardew Valley and Darkest Dungeon are two I have my eyes on to play next. Honestly when I need a new game I usually just google "best indie games of 2015" or "best indie games of 2016" hahaha.
The recommendation engines on Steam and the other online services are actually pretty good too. I would never buy a game just because Steam recommended it, but when they recommended something to me, it's usually worth Googling for reviews and videos of it.
It used to be a good strategy, especially after upgrading my MBP 2011 with an SSD and more RAM.
Not so much with my last MBP, a mid 2015 model.
I have heard that the thermic paste used by Apple is of very low quality and degrades over time.
It seems to be the case for me.. this laptop used to be able to run GTAV on windows, now it crawls even when I try a simple compilation.
I have mostly renounced to play on a mac (whether it is on windows or osx) and I mostly play on a switch now.
A large part of the problem sounds like Apple's commitment to Metal, but if it drops and and seeks to work with Steam, then they could stand to make a really great experience on their platforms, and perhaps in the living room, too.
There's a key difference between gaming and other tasks - like graphic design and software development - that I think the article misses. Work demands portability, for being productive both in the office and while traveling away from it. But barring a few edge cases, gaming doesn't demand portability at all. There's no pressing reason you can't keep your gaming machine in one place, your home. That's the entire philosophy behind the console market. What these systems do demand is physically larger hardware and a slew of peripherals (displays, graphics cards, cooling, speakers, controllers).
Apple has been doing extremely well in the notebook market, but it has steadily lost ground in desktop. When the redesigned Mac Pro finally comes out, that might change. But until then, PCs will continue to dominate the desktop. And I do not see the desktop losing its spot as the best form factor for gaming.
Gaming on OSX for me is hit and miss. Many of the games I have recently played have been advanced Wine wrappers and they work out pretty well. One company, Wargaming, has done pretty good with this model but they don't provide true support as the wrapper itself does introduce a lot of variable. Blizzard was a mainstay for my buying but even though I have not tried Overwatch the fact it was not made available for OSX does not bode well. If one of your longest supporters suddenly drops off, what does that say?
Was there some scare introduced with suggestions they may move off Intel? I never put any real faith into it and to be honest it might be the straw for me if it ever did happen.
Still a lot comes down to Apple really doesn't push their desktops and laptops as being used for games. They will put a "performance" claim on their website showing improvement over past models but not much beyond that. I rely on sites like barefeats to see if performance has ticked up enough to warrant a new purchase; as you can see for me my system is fine for what is there.
the saving grace has always been, just use bootcamp. It works, I don't need a new machine, and it can use the latest video drivers from the manufacturers site.
Here's a video of Fallout 4 running on a Macbook Pro :
Running on Intel's GPU. Macs with dedicated GPUs with either NVIDIA or AMD hardware will perform much better.
Overwatch has no trouble running on more recent Macs, if you install Windows through bootcamp. Compared to many other AAA games, it's quite light. Hardware is not the issue here.
The biggest problem running games on Mac OS X is the terrible graphic stack. It's simply underperforming. Whether it's the drivers or something else, I can't say. However, from my personal experience having used Mac OS X, Linux and Windows on the same Mac, Windows tends to perform best, Linux a close second, and MacOS a very distant last.
This stays true even for games that were "natively" ported to MacOS, such as Diablo 3. They still run better on Windows. And as for people who play windows games through Wine.. those games run better on linux than on MacOS. And that tends to be a major problem with running games on lower end macs.. for example, Dark Souls can run fine on a Mac Mini if you play it through Wine under Linux, or natively on Windows. But Wine on MacOS will perform significantly worse. Not enough to make the game unplayable, but it's a much less enjoyable experience.
MacOS is just unfit for the purpose.
I'm not a 'hardcore gamer' per se, and do not chase the treadmill of latest and greatest with the best possible graphics, but I still enjoy playing games from time to time and I ended up nuking MacOS from the mini I use as a media center connected to the TV. The next time I buy a tiny computer to put next to the tv, it will be an Intel NUC.
I'm not! It doesn't run very well on my 2013 MacBook Air at lowest settings.
OpenGL wasn't updated for years. Making any work to port Games to Mac much more difficult.
With Apple working on its own GPU, and Metal 2 they finally have the groundwork to moving Mac Gaming forward. Of course that is if Apple decide to so.
Unfortunately for multiplayer you are limited to playing against other OSX users - so windoze is the superior option again.
but then i see it is from an outside contributor...