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Spore, Call of Duty 4 Confirmed for OSX

Zonk posted more than 6 years ago | from the we'll-make-gamers-out-of-you-yet dept.

Apple 125

1up is reporting that, along with the big announcements from yesterday's MacWorld event, the welcome news trickles down that OSX will be getting some more games. The much-delayed Spore has been confirmed for the platform, as has the hit FPS title Call of Duty 4. "In Spore's case, the magic of cross-platform portability is achieved through the use of a special software layer supplied by Toronto-based TransGaming Technologies. This software is capable of interpreting hardware calls to Windows DirectX into Mac-capable instructions. Through use of this technology, Electronic Arts (and others) seem hopeful about bringing even more games to mac in the coming months."

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125 comments

it just might be possible. . . (0, Offtopic)

Satanboy (253169) | more than 6 years ago | (#22070394)

So, if transgaming is making this possible, will linux ports be far away?

Re:it just might be possible. . . (0, Troll)

doti (966971) | more than 6 years ago | (#22070542)

Yes, they will.

Apple only allowed Transgaming to create the Mac port on the condition that there will be no Linux port.

Re:it just might be possible. . . (2, Interesting)

TheRaven64 (641858) | more than 6 years ago | (#22070744)

Uh, what? Why does Apple have to allow this? Transgaming markets Cedega, formerly WineX, a fork of WINE. Apple don't 'allow' them to do anything, they ported their codebase from using X11+OpenGL to use Quartz+OpenGL.

Re:it just might be possible. . . (1)

calebt3 (1098475) | more than 6 years ago | (#22070702)

With OS X's Unix status, Linux ports are certainly feasible.

Re:it just might be possible. . . (2, Insightful)

jandrese (485) | more than 6 years ago | (#22071006)

Possibly, but I doubt the Mac port is using X11 for the display, so a port to Linux probably wouldn't be as easy as you think.

Re:it just might be possible. . . (1)

LDoggg_ (659725) | more than 6 years ago | (#22073858)

Wouldn't the OSX port be using openGL?

I think changing renderers, input, sound, and network play away from directX would be the big chunk of work.
I'd bet doing an OSX port would a huge step towards making a Linux port.

Re:it just might be possible. . . (1)

LDoggg_ (659725) | more than 6 years ago | (#22073970)

Nevermind, its just another hackjob contract by transgaming.

Spore and COD4 would have done much better by paying icculus instead for real ports.

Re:it just might be possible. . . (1)

immcintosh (1089551) | more than 6 years ago | (#22074144)

X11 has almost nothing to do with managing the display for video games in Linux, just like Windows API has almost nothing to do with managing the display for video games in Windows. Aside from an extremely limited amount of basic window setup code (we're talking an amount of code on the order of hundreds of lines--almost nothing in projects of this scale), all video functions are handled by DirectX or OpenGL. Not to mention the fact that there are plenty of open libraries (SDL for example) that remove the need for even that little amount of platform specific code. I'm only a hobbyist game developer, but that's my experience with it all.

Re:it just might be possible. . . (1)

Hatta (162192) | more than 6 years ago | (#22071670)

Apparently CoD4 [blogspot.com] works pretty well already. I tried searching for spore and wine, but I just got a bunch of hits about yeast.

Re:it just might be possible. . . (1)

l_bratch (865693) | more than 6 years ago | (#22072504)

You won't find much information about running Spore with Wine because Spore isn't out yet!

Hm (4, Funny)

legoman666 (1098377) | more than 6 years ago | (#22070454)

Maybe they'll port Spore and Duke Nukem Forever to the Phantom while they're at it.

Re:Hm (2, Insightful)

TheSeer2 (949925) | more than 6 years ago | (#22073132)

Why do people keep thinking Spore is 'vaporware'? That has absolutely no basis in reality! Oh noes! Spore has never had a release date! IT MUST BE VAPORWARE!

So that explains it! (3, Funny)

brkello (642429) | more than 6 years ago | (#22070466)

I was wondering why Spore was so delayed. I can now blame it on Mac porting. Now all they need is a smug commercial with the Mac guy showing off his abilities to delay games on Windows! (I am just joking, don't hurt me)

Re:So that explains it! (2, Informative)

truthsearch (249536) | more than 6 years ago | (#22070606)

I was wondering why Spore was so delayed. I can now blame it on Mac porting.

I can understand not reading the article. But how about reading the summary? "In Spore's case, the magic of cross-platform portability is achieved through the use of a special software layer supplied by Toronto-based TransGaming Technologies." Spore wasn't coded at all for the Mac, so porting can hardly be blamed for the delay. They could have released it on Windows first and Mac later, like most games.

Re:So that explains it! (2, Insightful)

C0rinthian (770164) | more than 6 years ago | (#22071468)

The Mac 'version' (and I use the term loosely) of Spore is going to be like the Mac 'version' of Eve online. Crap.

I really don't like what Transgaming has done to hurt non-Windows gaming. Why would a developer make platform independant games when they can keep coding for Windows and use Transgaming to churn out buggy, half-assed ports? Thats all we have to look forward to now, with the rare exception of a Blizzard title.

Re:So that explains it! (1)

idontgno (624372) | more than 6 years ago | (#22072398)

...buggy, half-assed ports? Thats all we have to look forward to now, with the rare exception of a Blizzard title.

Which, as any WoW player can attest, are buggy and half-assed without benefit of being ports. Regardless of platform.

I kid, I kid... just another crackhead complaining about the poor quality control of our addictive psychoactive of choice.

Or... (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22070484)

Or they could, you know, use some cross-platform APIs like OpenGL and SDL and stop mucking around with half-assed solutions like Transgaming's.

Is that so hard?

Re:Or... (2)

FunkyELF (609131) | more than 6 years ago | (#22070534)

I completely agree.
However, OSX users will only be a small portion of their audience, so if they can get something working with minimal effort I see their reasoning.
But, with that reasoning that is all OSX users will ever be (a small portion of their audience).

Re:Or... (1)

p0tat03 (985078) | more than 6 years ago | (#22071404)

I don't see anything wrong with Transgaming's approach for existing codebases - why rewrite everything just to get it onto a new platform? IMHO though, it is a bad idea to rely on it as a crutch for future development. Developers need to start looking at cross-platform engines that support OSX natively for new projects, instead of charging ahead with Windows-only engines, relying on Transgaming, Cedega, etc, as a silver bullet.

Re:Or... (1)

LDoggg_ (659725) | more than 6 years ago | (#22074080)

Spore's codebase is still in progress.
Spending money to use wine instead of doing a real port is stupid

Yawn (1)

FunkyELF (609131) | more than 6 years ago | (#22070494)

This software is capable of interpreting hardware calls to Windows DirectX into Mac-capable instructions.

So is this like using Wine to run Windows Games on Linux?

Wake me up when a game company actually compiles something for a non windows platform besides a dedicated server.

Re:Yawn (2, Interesting)

slcdb (317433) | more than 6 years ago | (#22070594)

So is this like using Wine to run Windows Games on Linux?
Yes, that's exactly what it is. The emulation layer is called Cider which is literally a fork from Wine (apparently from the days before Wine was GPL'd).

TransGaming has another emulation layer called Cedega which is for emulating Windows Games on Linux.

Re:Yawn (1)

Kalriath (849904) | more than 6 years ago | (#22070756)

Game companies compile things other than dedicated servers all the time (or at the very least, farm out the modifications to another company) like iD does all the time, with their quintessential Linux ports, which because they use GL, are probably just recompiles.

Hopefully not a sign of things to come (4, Interesting)

slcdb (317433) | more than 6 years ago | (#22070538)

This "technology" provided by TransGaming is called "Cider". It's already been used to "port" some games to OS X. One such EA Game that I've already purchased was Battlefield 2142. And let me tell you, Cider leaves much to be desired. The poor performance imparted by this emulation layer causes it to play like it's on an old Pentium III machine, despite the fact that it's running on a quad-core Mac Pro. To top it off, the graphics quality, even when turned up all the way, is far lower than it should be. It seems as if the Cider emulation layer can't translate all of the DirectX APIs, so it only does some of the more basic ones, leaving advanced graphics effects out.

This is not what I would like to see as the future of gaming on OS X. I want to see *real* ports of games, not some bullshit emulation layer that makes the game think it is running on Windblows.

Re:Hopefully not a sign of things to come (1)

benmatth (1160859) | more than 6 years ago | (#22070652)

How's your graphics card? Up until just recently Mac Pros came (baseline, standard or what have you) with a 7300 GT. It doesn't really matter how good your CPU is when your GPU is a steaming pile of shit.

Re:Hopefully not a sign of things to come (1)

Pope (17780) | more than 6 years ago | (#22070670)

What's funny is that there is some free downloadable Mac gaming program that uses Cider, and by opening up the .app package and adjusting a .plist or two, you can install other Windows games into the package and run them. I got an old Windows install of Deus Ex running fairly well, save games and all. Only problem is that it tends to hang when quitting, but that may have been an errant line in the .plist somewhere :) Oh, well, not like I have time to play with it these days anyway.

Wait.. WHAT?! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22073660)

and by opening up the .app package and adjusting a .plist or two,
I thought Macs ran out of the box, at least that's what Mac users always say in the Linux articles..

Re:Hopefully not a sign of things to come (2, Interesting)

Kimos (859729) | more than 6 years ago | (#22070688)

Cider leaves much to be desired. The poor performance imparted by this emulation layer causes it to play like it's on an old Pentium III machine, despite the fact that it's running on a quad-core Mac Pro. To top it off, the graphics quality, even when turned up all the way, is far lower than it should be. It seems as if the Cider emulation layer can't translate all of the DirectX APIs, so it only does some of the more basic ones, leaving advanced graphics effects out.
Does anyone have some links/literature to substantiate this? I was scared this would be the case. I know that Wine Is Not supposed to be a Windows Emulator, but in my experience the performance is still awful. Even something like Picasa [google.com] running under Wine on Linux brings my system crawling to a halt.

All these OS X "ports" are really just bundling the cost of a streamlined Windows emulation layer in with your Windows version of the game. It, in fact, discourages developers from learning the OS X toolkits because for games because they can just write one Windows version and slap Cider on it and sell it for OS X too.

Re:Hopefully not a sign of things to come (1)

Crash Culligan (227354) | more than 6 years ago | (#22071702)

Sadly, it sounds reasonable on every level.

Cider: Because handwaving away complaints of crappy performance through emulation is easier than forcing your developers to learn Objective-C and Core Framework API calls.

Re:Hopefully not a sign of things to come (1)

Peganthyrus (713645) | more than 6 years ago | (#22074506)

Cider: because you're already way over budget and schedule on this game, and don't have time to rewrite half the damn thing in another language for a totally different API.

Re:Hopefully not a sign of things to come (1)

aliquis (678370) | more than 6 years ago | (#22074064)

They don't bother with it anyway because:
1) Apple doesn't listed to what they want.
2) Apple spec their machines like.. uhm.. shit, with lots of integrated graphics, mid-end graphics and with low VRAM (I have the latest gen MBP with only 128MB vram due to this, which is so fucking retarded I don't even know where to start, especially considering how much use core image could use of it.)
3) Mac fanatics only complain how omg you should play on consoles, noone buy mac for games, yada yada.
4) You can dual-boot with Windows and the game performance will be better there anyway.

Re:Hopefully not a sign of things to come (1)

drtsystems (775462) | more than 6 years ago | (#22070792)

I was hoping this wouldn't be the case. I wonder if I could just pirate a copy of the Windows version and use the CD key form the mac port of Call of Duty 4. I was about to buy COD4 for my MacBook Pro but if theres a Mac port around the corner I might wait. I don't want to be stuck with horrible performance though when I can always boot into Windows using bootcamp.

Re:Hopefully not a sign of things to come (1)

aliquis (678370) | more than 6 years ago | (#22074110)

Since the game probably ARE the Windows version with Cider added I would guess the same keys work. Or you could in theory "port" it yourself from a Windows version with Cider, thought you wanted to do it the other way around.

Re:Hopefully not a sign of things to come (1)

MBCook (132727) | more than 6 years ago | (#22070814)

Ditto. I saw this the other day and thought I saw a note that said this was not using Cider. If that was the case I'm ready to buy the game instantly. It looks fun, and I like quite a few of the games that Wright has done.

Cider just about kills it for me. I'm not surprised. This is why they licensed that technology. But I don't expect it to work. For as long as all this has taken they could have easily made a OpenGL renderer. I expect performance to be terrible.

I guess I'll just play it through BootCamp. But that's a hassle, so I won't play it much, and I won't buy it until it's $20 and has been out a while because I don't want to spend $60 to get a game I have to reboot and put up with the hassles to play. Windows annoys me at this point. My Windows environment isn't tuned to my liking because I only use it for games and I haven't taken the time to do that. I don't have enough drive space dedicated to Windows, so I have to store my games that have lots of file (as I'm sure Spore will) on an external drive that I need to keep attached to my laptop to play. That means I can't play it on a plane or trip. And of course, I'm sure it will require the disk in the drive... which is just one more problem.

Way to go EA. I'd buy it on a console (like my 360) but I'm guessing it will be slightly crippled. And even if it isn't, I'm guessing the control scheme won't work terribly well compared to a mouse.

It's not like EA has a reason to think Mac stuff won't sell. They've only sold 30 billion copies of The Sims 2 to Mac users in the last few years, not including all those expansion packs.

I'll take the game 6 months or a year late and half-native, please.

Re:Hopefully not a sign of things to come (5, Interesting)

jdgreen7 (524066) | more than 6 years ago | (#22072622)

As an employee of TransGaming, I take offense to that generalization. I've spent the better part of a year reporting and working around platform limitations for the various drivers that we have to work with. Many of the stability issues that we've had reported to us are present on the PC version of the games as well, and others are due to crashes inside the drivers over which we have no control. The biggest issue, however, is the speed at which OpenGL evolves as compared to DirectX.

With DirectX, Microsoft can go to ATI and NVIDIA and say, "Hey, what do you guys want to do, and we'll make a spec for it." With OpenGL, it's designed by committee which usually leads to a much more well thought out specification, but it takes quite a bit longer to get equivalent hardware features exposed to developers. Plus, individual vendors can pick and choose what they want to support. Since OpenGL is less used by developers, its driver teams are smaller, and there are typically more driver bugs to work out than on Windows.

So, game X comes along and decides that it's going to use this newish method to render shadows. It picks a texture format that is well supported by most hardware on DirectX, then bases much of the engine on that assumption. As an example, many games use 32-bit floating point single channel render targets (D3DFMT_R32F). This is not new anymore for DirectX, and most hardware can handle it just fine. However, that same hardware under OpenGL cannot do so (with the exception of drivers that support the GL_FLOAT_R32_NV format, which is only certain NVIDIA cards, and not at all on Mac OS). So, in order to port the game, if we want to use the same concept of rendering to 32-bit float buffers, we end up having to use GL_RGB32F_ARB and ignoring the 2 extra channels. This now triples the amount of video card RAM that we need to use in order to pull off the exact same technique. If OpenGL simply exposed this functionality from the get-go, we wouldn't be forced to take over so much more RAM. This extra VRAM usage starts adding up, and eventually, we've blown past what the card can handle, and we have to start trimming graphics features from the game in order to get it to run at all.

That was just a single example, but there are many cases like this in the world of OpenGL. Things are starting to converge, but until it becomes the leading graphics interface, there will always be discrepancies like this. Game developers want to use the latest and greatest technologies to write new and pretty games. In order to do this currently, they are forced to use DirectX to get the most benefits from the hardware they want to target.

So, the alternative, as you mentioned, is for game developers to write their own rendering engine based on OpenGL. This is all fine and dandy, but you are quite often left writing multiple different paths for accomplishing the exact same thing. While this is true of DirectX to some extent, the disparity is much greater on OpenGL. One vendor will implement support for a whole range of features, while another will only implement the basics. But that same vendor will have the whole featureset working just fine in their DirectX drivers. Not to mention the great libraries that Microsoft throws in with DirectX to handle everything a game might want (think, texture loading from just about any format, all the math functions you could ever think of, scriptable Effects architecture, Mesh routines, audio, video playing, input, etc.). DirectX (and XNA by extension) has a very large array of features that game developers make wide use of.

So, while in a perfect world, all games could be written using a standard library of features that are cross-platform from the beginning, we are still pretty far from that dream. SDL, ClanLib, and other libraries have all tried and succeeded to some degree, but none of them have the breadth of documentation, sample code, and support that DirectX has. Until that day comes, Cider and Cedega a pretty good fit for filling the void of Mac and Linux gaming. Each game released provides a better engine that the one previously, so as a technology, it will only get better with time. Is it perfect? Absolutely not, but then again, what is?

Re:Hopefully not a sign of things to come (3, Insightful)

slcdb (317433) | more than 6 years ago | (#22075428)

As an employee of TransGaming, I take offense to that generalization
Okay, so calling it things like a "bullshit emulation layer" may come off as a bit harsh. But please understand that this harshness is born out of customer frustration with the lack of quality and performance we experience in OS X, versus the exact same game in Windows. Instead of taking offense, take it for what it is: a sign that people might stop buying games using your product unless you can significantly improve its quality in the near term.

As for everything else you wrote, you pretty much just validated what I said. These games aren't true ports to the OS X platform. True ports would dispense entirely with the Windows APIs and work entirely with the native interfaces provided by OS X. I believe that EA's (and other companies') customers would be happier with the product if it was a true port. I understand that this makes the job much more difficult, which sucks for you, and may even mean that many games would simply never see a MacOS version, which sucks for everyone.

But what really sucks even worse is when you are a customer, and you have the expectation that Battlefield 2142 for the Mac is going to be just as nice as Battlefield 2142 for Windows, but after you pay your money (and forfeit your right to a refund by installing and using the software) you find out that it's not at all the experience you had been expecting.

Re:Hopefully not a sign of things to come (1)

balthan (130165) | more than 6 years ago | (#22075770)

B-b-but OpenGL is better than DirectX! I read it on Slashdot!

Re:Hopefully not a sign of things to come (2, Insightful)

rat_herder (527991) | more than 6 years ago | (#22076508)

While I read your comment nodding my head, I disagree there is nothing developers can do about it. Simply giving up and letting M$ own your development tools & make your lives "easier" will ultimately lead to a monoculture graphics development. IE, developers will be left with even less choice when DirectX finally crushes the life out of OpenGL. M$ doesn't need to invest money after this happens. It has guaranteed revenue from the developer tools themselves, then from licences & Windows itself, because DirectX requires Windows to run.

Then what happens? As has happened so many times before, M$ locks up a market segment and walks away, looking for another market to consume. 2 things seems likely in this scenario. M$ suddenly increases licencing costs to access new versions of DirectX. Giving massive financial advantage to its own game developers. Inovation stops. M$ no longer has any incentive to do anything with DirectX.

Is MS office really the very best package our collective IT industry can come up with? why has no other office appeared to challenge it on features and speed?

M$ have a plan. They are constantly working to put the industry into a corner (again).

Developing for OpenGL as a priority will change this situation.

Yawn (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22070550)

Years ago, Doom was announced for the Mac. Mac faithful write breathless posts on the Net proclaiming that the tide is turning and game developers were obviously finally 'waking up' and about to start supporting their niche platform.

Years ago, Duke Nukem was announced for the Mac. Mac faithful write breathless posts on the Net proclaiming that the tide is turning and game developers were obviously finally 'waking up' and about to start supporting their niche platform.

And so on, and so on, and so on...

So pathetic.

Re:Yawn (3, Interesting)

p0tat03 (985078) | more than 6 years ago | (#22071464)

The difference is that during Duke and Doom's time, the Mac platform was losing market share at a rapid pace to Windows - so while profitable for a short while, it eventually became uneconomic to port. Compare with today with OSX's exploding market share - Macs are already a significant minority in the market, particularly with laptops. I do think the tide is turning, but it will be a slow process, and "light" games like the Sims will get ported long before "hardcore" titles like Crysis.

The only doubt in my mind is what this means for DirectX. As an indie game dev I can say without a doubt that the DirectX API is simple and easy to work with, and the level of tool support for HLSL is far better than what we have for GLSL. OpenGL is lagging behind DX, but in this new market where porting is of increasing importance, will we see developers abandoning DirectX in favor of OpenGL?

Re:Yawn (1)

C0rinthian (770164) | more than 6 years ago | (#22071562)

OpenGL is lagging behind DX, but in this new market where porting is of increasing importance, will we see developers abandoning DirectX in favor of OpenGL?
Since they are now taking their DirectX code, wrapping it in Cider, and calling it a 'port', I'd say no. If anything, it will swing the other way, helping MS even more. Thanks Transgaming.

Re:Yawn (1)

GaryPatterson (852699) | more than 6 years ago | (#22071752)

It looks like Direct3D is used in Windows, the X-Box and the X-Box 360. OpenGL is used in Windows, Linux, OS X, the PS3 (OpenGL ES) and the Wii (some variant apparently).

For a game to have maximum portability, you're going to have to write both OpenGL and Direct3D code, although you get all the desktops and most current-gen consoles with OpenGL code alone.

Re:Yawn (1)

UnknownSoldier (67820) | more than 6 years ago | (#22072034)

> OpenGL is used in Windows, Linux, OS X, the PS3 (OpenGL ES) and the Wii (some variant apparently).

No, the Wii does not use some variant of OpenGL. The GX library is OpenGL "inspired", but it is not an OpenGL variant.

I know -- I've ported & expanded an OpenGL implementation for the Wii (from the Gamecube.)

Re:Yawn (1)

GaryPatterson (852699) | more than 6 years ago | (#22073196)

Thanks for that. I couldn't locate anything concrete on Google, but I was tired when I posted so probably missed something.

Sweet! (1)

brentyl2 (877919) | more than 6 years ago | (#22070624)

Now they just need to confirm it for Windows! (And actually, you know, complete and ship the game...)

Boot Camp (0)

hawks5999 (588198) | more than 6 years ago | (#22070724)

Doesn't Boot Camp and/or Virtualization make porting kind of pointless?

Re:Boot Camp (1)

wickedsteve (729684) | more than 6 years ago | (#22070796)

Virtualization works fine for basic stuff but games don't perform well in it. And boot camp is nice but avoiding a reboot is not exactly pointless in my opinion.

Harumph (1)

goldcd (587052) | more than 6 years ago | (#22070920)

You have a point - although I'm sure an exception can be made for games. Not as if you're going to be wanting to check your email or run other apps as you frag away.

Re:Harumph (1)

mdwh2 (535323) | more than 6 years ago | (#22075700)

Not as if you're going to be wanting to check your email or run other apps as you frag away.

If we're talking quick games where I might frag away for a bit, I don't want to close everything down and reboot for a quick bit of game playing. With long games I play for hours, I quite often pop back to check email or a website.

More generally, what is this "check your email"? My email application runs in the background and tells me when I have email. My IM program is there is someone wants to talk to me. I don't expect these functions to go down just because I want to play a game.

I don't know, the idea of going back to 1990 where you only ran one application at a time and rebooted between every game seems quite mad to me.

Re:Boot Camp (4, Informative)

Kimos (859729) | more than 6 years ago | (#22070856)

No.

Virtualization limits speed. Last I checked, virtualization didn't give you access to the GPU. The guest OS recognizes a driver provided by the environment with limited capabilities. It's fine for web browsing and cross platform testing, but in now way would let you do any kind of gaming. The corollary to this is that TransGaming/Cider is actually virtualization as well. But in this case, it's specialized to the graphical calls and is designed to be fast and efficient for this one task, though never as efficient as something compiled to run natively.

As for Boot Camp, if I wanted to buy a computer and buy a copy of Windows to run on it, I wouldn't have bought a Mac...

Re:Boot Camp (1, Insightful)

elrous0 (869638) | more than 6 years ago | (#22071064)

if I wanted to buy a computer and buy a copy of Windows to run on it, I wouldn't have bought a Mac...

If you wanted to play games you wouldn't have bought a Mac.

Re:Boot Camp (1)

Kimos (859729) | more than 6 years ago | (#22071168)

If you wanted to play games you wouldn't have bought a Mac.
Since when are computers highly specialized machines that are only designed to do a subset of computing tasks? I knew I wasn't buying a gaming machine, I do my gaming on consoles, but in the case of highly rated or anticipated games (such as Portal and Spore) I don't think it's unreasonable to hope that the makers would support more than just the single most popular OS.

Re:Boot Camp (0)

7Prime (871679) | more than 6 years ago | (#22071410)

Since when are computers highly specialized machines that are only designed to do a subset of computing tasks?


As a Mac user who uses his computer for 100% sound and video design, I'd say, "yes, the mac is a specialized computer used for doing design work." I don't play games on my Mac, I have a Wii and 360 for that. The Mac is not a gaming machine, and I'd actually like it to stay that way. By a console or cheap PC if you want games. I don't want my work environment crudded up by services for meant for gamers.

I know this is unpopular, but in the various media fields, the Mac is the best thing since sliced bread. I'm with Steve Jobs in being reluctant to turn the Mac into a gaming machine, because I want it to remain a media/design workhorse the way it is now. I'm forced to run Vista and XP at work, and I've seen how much non-design based concentration really gets in the way. MOST Mac users are producers/designers/artists of some sort.

Re:Boot Camp (0)

Kimos (859729) | more than 6 years ago | (#22071520)

I completely disagree. My Mac does everything I could ever ask a computer to do, aside from any serious gaming, and much more. Plus it allows me to get it done quickly and elegantly.

Buying a cheap PC is not an option. I have cheap PCs, and even if I loaded Windows onto them, they would not run games. Gaming hardware is expensive. My Mac is my fast computer with the good video card and I don't see why I shouldn't be able to run an occasional game on it when the game isn't released for my Wii or what have you. I by no means want the focus of Mac to change to a gaming desktop, but I'm arguing that an OS as powerful and well put together as OS X is more than able to do all of the above. It's just unfortunate that almost nobody develops for it natively.

Re:Boot Camp (1)

Carbon016 (1129067) | more than 6 years ago | (#22074636)

The iMac is $1199. For that price you could get a good gaming computer with a Core 2 Duo, 2GB of RAM and a 8800GT, and additionally buy a suite with video editing programs to get the software that comes standard with a Mac. Comparing a $1200 computer with a "cheap" PC is not a fair comparison.

Re:Boot Camp (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22072570)

You're right, but I wouldn't buy a Windows machine either. For the price of one of my coworker's gaming rigs that barely keeps up with Crysis, I could get all three of the major game consoles and a handful of games for each of them. He spent over a thousand dollars on his video cards alone.

Re:Boot Camp (1)

adam.dorsey (957024) | more than 6 years ago | (#22071078)

The corollary to this is that TransGaming/Cider is actually virtualization as well.

No. Cider is an implementation of the Win32 API, just like Wine.

From the Cider page [transgaming.com]:

Cider works by directly loading a Windows program into memory on an Intel-Mac and linking it to an optimized version of the Win32 APIs. Games are "wrapped" with the Cider engine and they simply run on the Mac.

Cider is no more virtualization than GTK or Mesa are "virtualization".

Re:Boot Camp (1)

Westacular (118145) | more than 6 years ago | (#22072558)

You skipped the next sentence [transgaming.com]:

TransGaming's Cider implements common multimedia Windows APIs such as Direct3D, DirectInput, DirectSound and many others by mapping them to Mac equivalents.

It's virtualization at the API level, rather than the hardware level. I don't know if that was the grandparent poster's meaning, but I'd say it's a fair use of the term. The Mac's native OpenGL drivers are "virtualized" into DirectX drivers through the injection of an additional layer of abstraction that the original game doesn't realize is there. Just like virtualization software places an additional layer of abstraction between the OS and the real hardware that the OS doesn't realize is there, as a means of making it play nice with others.

You can argue over the definition, but the concept behind Cider is quite analogous to virtualization [wikipedia.org] in the general sense.

Re:Boot Camp (1)

Kimos (859729) | more than 6 years ago | (#22072756)

You can argue over the definition, but the concept behind Cider is quite analogous to virtualization in the general sense.
Exactly. It's not virtualized in the sense of fully virtualizing an OS inside another, but in the sense that DirectX is virtualized over OpenGL. Each time the game makes a call to what it thinks is the DirectX driver, it's actually calling Cider which in turn calls an analogous OpenGL function. You can argue over the semantics of the word, but either way it's turning what used to be one call into several.

Re:Boot Camp (1)

BlueGecko (109058) | more than 6 years ago | (#22071104)

You used to be correct, but that's thankfully changing. Parallels 3.0 [parallels.com] now uses DirectX from WINE and a special driver for Windows to deliver 3D acceleration for Windows applications running on OS X. In my experience, I'd have to describe the result as "somewhat buggy, but overall impressive." You can see some videos [parallels.com] if you're curious how well it actually works. VMware is rumored to be working on similar technology.

Re:Boot Camp (1)

Penguin's Advocate (126803) | more than 6 years ago | (#22071498)

Virtualization limits speed. Last I checked, virtualization didn't give you access to the GPU. The guest OS recognizes a driver provided by the environment with limited capabilities. It's fine for web browsing and cross platform testing, but in now way would let you do any kind of gaming.


You obviously haven't checked recently. Both Parallels Desktop and VMWare Fusion support 3D acceleration, and games (like half-life 2, doom, civ4, WoW (only ones I can attest to, only ones I've played in parallels)) work just fine, at near native speeds.

Re:Boot Camp (1)

Westacular (118145) | more than 6 years ago | (#22072760)

That's only half-true. Or, rather, the grandparent post is only half-untrue.

Neither Parallels nor Fusion support 3D acceleration to the hardware's full level of capability (i.e., DirectX 9 with shaders, which is what most recent games require). They don't give the virtualized system real access to the GPU -- instead, afaik, they're providing their own still-limited drivers within the virtualized OS that feed the calls back through OS X.

The games you list only work because they're old or designed to be compatible with older computers.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Comparison_of_VMware_Fusion_and_Parallels_Desktop [wikipedia.org]

Parallels only supports up to DirectX 8, and the latest beta of Fusion has experimental DirectX 9 support but no support for shaders. Both programs are definitely progressing but there's still a significant tax to be paid in image quality, speed, and compatibility.

Re:Boot Camp (1)

Hatta (162192) | more than 6 years ago | (#22071746)

The guest OS recognizes a driver provided by the environment with limited capabilities. It's fine for web browsing and cross platform testing, but in now way would let you do any kind of gaming.

Hey now, there is one kind [zetafleet.com] of gaming that works great under virtualization.

Re:Boot Camp (1)

nanoakron (234907) | more than 6 years ago | (#22073332)

As for Boot Camp, if I wanted to buy a computer and buy a copy of Windows to run on it, I wouldn't have bought a Mac...

Why not? PCWorld (http://www.pcworld.com/article/id,136649-page,3-c,notebooks/article.html) recommended a MacBook Pro running Boot Camp as the best Windows PC of 2006/7...

Re:Boot Camp (1)

MBCook (132727) | more than 6 years ago | (#22070882)

No. Native is always better. Virtualization works for easier software, but graphics intensive work is really slow because that stuff has to be translated to the native APIs. CPU bound tasks run fine. Quicken will run fine. Maya would run at almost native speed (during final rendering, probably not normal work). Half-Life will drop tons and tons and tons and tons of frames. Don't forget you lose quite a bit of memory to the vitualization environment and guest OS.

At this point Virtualization is pointless for anything more complex than Zuma or other little PopCap type games.

BootCamp works. I use it to play Half-Life 2. But I have to quit everything I'm doing and reboot. That takes time. It takes all sorts of extra hard drive space for the Windows install (just like virtualization).

It works. It's a pain. Don't expect anyone to rely on it. That's like saying "Your bike works for your 50 mile commute to work, doesn't it?"

Here's my great idea. (1)

goldcd (587052) | more than 6 years ago | (#22071160)

First of all I'll say I like Windows - I use windows. I've tried the alternatives and I'm sticking with it.
OK, for those still reading I'll qualify that - I use it, but it does stifle the alternatives (and the same could be said to a lesser extent about OSX).
Secondly, when you run an OS it takes an overhead and that overhead is getting bigger every day. If you look at the original Xbox and compare with a PC with equivalent spec (they're all the same parts) it's an awful lot faster.
With most apps you want an OS to hold stuff together. I don't want to have to close Final Cut and wait a minute to check my email etc. Games are the exception to this - it's full screen and you don't want anything running in the background and you're not going to play for 30 seconds.
My proposal is a very very lightweight linux (or whatever, windows if MS would let it) OS that you could bundle with the game and would sit in it's own partition. User wouldn't even be aware it was there. They'd just know that when they started it on their OS of preference their machine would reboot. Once they quit out of the game, it'd boot them back into their OS of choice.
Now that's the 'I'm not sure if people would like it bit' - but on the flip side when they started their PC, they'd get the 'game OS' option popping up and could be playing faster than if they had to load Vista or OSX and would run faster with the lower overhead.
Reading through what I'm typing, it would seem I'm suggesting that Linux made their own 'console system' that runs on commodity hardware - and I think that's what I mean
Reading back through that again, I realize that I'm off on a tangent of improbability, but it's a nice idea. If you wanted to pull it back into reality, then think where money could be made. I run Steam on my PC and buy games through it. I prefer the whole idea over tracking into town, picking up an overpriced DVD and dealing with patches from each game maker. Lightweight OS that'd just run my screen, sound, network and input devices would be nice. It it updated drivers for my hardware and patched the games that'd be dandy. I'd then cough up for the games that ran on this new system.
Game makers could sell one version of their games to anybody with an x86 system. Users would get better performance from their hardware. OSS people would be chuffed at breaking MS monopoly.
Anyway, just ideas..

Re:Here's my great idea. (1)

NiK0laI (1012851) | more than 6 years ago | (#22072032)

I like this idea. As of the new year I moved to Ubuntu, but still have Windows XP installed for the sole purpose of playing games. When I wanna play a game I have to reboot and load windows up. Its a pain in the ass, but I definitely like using Ubuntu over Windows. This solution would allow me to rid myself of Windows for good.

Disappointing (3, Insightful)

r_jensen11 (598210) | more than 6 years ago | (#22070892)

And here I was, thinking that EA had written these games using OpenGL and OpenAL, thus allowing them to easily port the games over to growing platforms. Then I saw mentions of Transgaming, and all hopes were dashed.

Next, Core Graphics using DirectX APIs? (1)

argent (18001) | more than 6 years ago | (#22071038)

What's next? Apple's already established a cut-out between programmers and OpenGL with Core Graphics and related technologies. Are they going to dump OpenGL next?

Don't say it can't happen... they just shipped the first Mac without Firewire.

Re:Next, Core Graphics using DirectX APIs? (0, Flamebait)

The One and Only (691315) | more than 6 years ago | (#22075606)

Don't say it can't happen... they just shipped the first Mac without Firewire.

I think the first Mac without FireWire was simply the first Mac.

Re:Disappointing (1)

cxreg (44671) | more than 6 years ago | (#22071184)

Spore is confirmed for the Wii, which as far as I'm aware, cannot use DirectX. So there's got to be some porting going on over there.

Re:Disappointing (1)

Wesley Felter (138342) | more than 6 years ago | (#22073618)

The difference is economics. There are so many Wii users that it's worth doing an actual port. Mac gamers get Cider when the developer can't afford to do the job right.

Much delayed? (1)

Conspiracy_Of_Doves (236787) | more than 6 years ago | (#22071024)

Wasn't Spore only delayed once?

Re:Much delayed? (1)

EvilIdler (21087) | more than 6 years ago | (#22073636)

I think they've cleverly avoided announcing a release date.
All dates I've seen have been wishful thinking in previews :)

Seriously (1)

HunterZ (20035) | more than 6 years ago | (#22071304)

I wonder what the performance and graphical quality losses will be, as well as what kinds of quirks may result.

Re:Seriously (1)

GaryPatterson (852699) | more than 6 years ago | (#22071612)

The game "Need For Speed: Carbon" was recently released as a Mac/Cider-ised title and looks pretty nice. I've read a few reviews and they don't mention any graphical issues or glitches.

It's hard to say how that'll carry over to Spore though (different uses of Direct3D and all that) but there's reason to hope it'll be fine.

We need a good mac desktop for gameing to be a big (2, Insightful)

Joe The Dragon (967727) | more than 6 years ago | (#22072050)

We need a good mac desktop for gameing to be a big thing on mac osx.

a $2300 system with a 2600xt is not cutting it.

you can add a 8800 gt for $200 more but $2500 for a 2.8GHz Quad-Core Intel Xeon system with 2gb of 800MHz DDR2 FB-DIMM and only a 8800 gt and only a 320GB hd.

looks real bad to next to other gameing system at that price that have a desktop cpu 4gb of ram, raid, XFI sound card, and SLI and there good gameing systems that you can get for $1500 - $2000 with better video cards, faster cpus, more ram, more hdd space, good sounds cards and more.

The mini has a carp video for gameing.

the imacs have a video card is slower at gameing then the older one where.

The rest of the imac hardware is ok it just needs a better video card.

also a $7000 - $1500 desktop with good video card is needed.

Re:We need a good mac desktop for gameing to be a (1)

Ohio Calvinist (895750) | more than 6 years ago | (#22072870)

If you're going to do a fair comparison, consider only the Mac Pro system. The Mac Mini and iMac are obviously geared toward a different market. Just like most PC makers have an ultra-high end model for gaming and 3D processing.

On the Mac Pro, there is nothing stopping you from installing any PCI-X graphics adaptor that has Mac OS X drivers. Apple sells hardware that fits the average user's needs for the hardware. Most people are using Apple computers for creative work that doesn't require just-in-time 3D graphics.

I can promise you, a well written game will run on lessor hardware on a Mac than in Windows. In particular in Vista, because the OS consumes so much memory, x64 sucks, and the OS uses the GPU for basic stuff.

I think the video card thing is a cop-out. If developers wrote more solid code, they could drop the minimum specifications on what kind of hardware is required. Look at consoles, they run, generally speaking on inferior hardware in particular less RAM and slower CPUs, and provide a very solid user experience. The reason is the code is far more optimized for the hardware, which you'll only be able to truly achieve on platform with known, or reasonably expected hardware. Also consider that the operating systems in consoles are very tuned, something that any UNIX variant like OS X will be able to actually accomplish better than Windows. Linux/UNIX kernels can be compiled for the specific hardware being addressed. Mac OS X is developed internal to the hardware developer, and can be optimized to run on the exact hardware it is designed for. I would think the Mac (if it had greater marketshare) would be a game developer's wet-dream because it is the practically only platform today where you have this combination of predictability, OS taylored to the hardware, and robust OpenGL support, and not get effed when Microsoft decides to freeze DirectX on legacy OSes (Windows XP) to force an upgrade. Microsoft even effed their Windows Vista/DX10 certified hardware customers by making 10.1 non-backward compatible.

Re:We need a good mac desktop for gameing to be a (1)

Joe The Dragon (967727) | more than 6 years ago | (#22073760)

What is the point of installing any PCI-e graphics card when the system costs $2300 to start and there is lack video cards with drivers for mac os / ones with EFI roms in them.

The point is there have NO good $600 - $1000 desktop the mini at $600 to $800 is very over priced for it's hardware and gma 950 sucks at games + only coming 1gb of ram and slow laptop hd makes for a very poor gameing system. also they have no $1000 - $2000 desktop as well. The Imacs do not fit in with what a alot of games want in a desktop system and there weak video cards do not help.

"interpreting hardware calls" (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22072090)

Oh yeah...

interpreting hardware calls to Windows DirectX into Mac-capable instructions

Yay, beacuse MAC games weren't slow enough already. If it was OPENGL then this wouldn't even be an issue.

Re:"interpreting hardware calls" (1)

mqduck (232646) | more than 6 years ago | (#22074496)

If it was OPENGL then this wouldn't even be an issue.
Yeah, I don't get the impression that Spore is using any fancy cutting-edge graphics tricks only supported by Direct3D.

feeling so-so about this (1)

Tom (822) | more than 6 years ago | (#22072684)

On the one hand, I am really looking forward to Spore on OS X.

But transgaming? I am not feeling good about that. This isn't a proper port, it will very likely not take advantage of any OS X features, for example. I loved the Loki Linux ports because they did - Civ:CTP on Linux had different profiles and savegames for each user, by storing them in the user's home directory. The windos version didn't.
On OS X, one of the things that's great is how integrated everything is - calender and TODO apps all use the same backend storage so you can access the same data with them all, you aren't tied into a specific program, you can change to another program without losing your data, without even converting or ex-/importing it. There are a number of integrations that Spore could make use of, but if it's not a proper port, then none of that will happen.

EA, if you are listening, please tell us that this is only a stepping stone and that you do plan to properly (sup)port games to OS X in the future.
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