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Graphics Games Apple

Steam Prompts OS X Graphics Update 313

Posted by Soulskill
from the like-opening-a-valve dept.
Stoobalou writes "Mac gamers got a massive boost when online gaming hub Steam started supporting the platform a few months ago. The arrival of the online service, which allowed Mac-toting gamers to play some of the same games as their PC brethren, in some cases cross-platform, created a great deal of debate between the two camps, with the PC crowd pillorying Mac fans for the relatively poor performance of their expensive hardware. Now it seems that Apple has gotten the message, as they have provided a graphics update for OS X Snow Leopard which will make progress toward closing the gap between the two platforms."
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Steam Prompts OS X Graphics Update

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  • by Spazntwich (208070) on Friday August 20, 2010 @02:11PM (#33316688)

    But I think this is clearly AT&T's fault.

  • Until there is the following:

    More high-end hardware choices (specifically video cards) for Macs

    and

    Mac Drivers written in a way that enable better gaming performance.

    One or the other will improve things...but the problem won't truly be fixed until both happen.

  • Valve... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by epiphani (254981) <epiphani@dal. n e t> on Friday August 20, 2010 @02:16PM (#33316734)

    Valve, if you're listening...

    Please, please, please do steam and your games on linux. You've already made them POSIX and OpenGL, you're 85% of the way there.

    I will buy every damn game you release on linux. I never want to run windows again, and if I can get portal and TF2 on linux, I won't.

    • Re:Valve... (Score:5, Insightful)

      by not already in use (972294) on Friday August 20, 2010 @02:36PM (#33316940)

      You've already made them POSIX and OpenGL, you're 85% of the way there.

      More like 10%.

      This is the problem with Linux: What company in their right mind would port to the platform that is both hardest to develop for and has the smallest user base? xorg, driver issues, distro inconsistencies all make porting games to linux an absolute nightmare. A lot of fundamental changes need to be made to desktop linux before it will really be taken seriously by anyone but Id. John Carmack even came out and said that Rage wouldn't be commercially supported on Linux, and that they'd provide an executable and let people fend for themselves as far as actually getting it to run.

      • by epiphani (254981)

        That's solved fairly easily: supported distros. Even roll your own distro - the valve gaming distro. Every other piece of software on linux has supported distros, or at least dependency requirements that have to be met. That's why the package management tools exist.

        Hell Valve - hire me. I'll do it for you.

        • Re:Valve... (Score:5, Insightful)

          by BitZtream (692029) on Friday August 20, 2010 @03:00PM (#33317268)

          Yes, adding another distro is a great idea ... if you want to run games from Value you have to use their distro. If you want to run EA games you have to use their distro.

          Contrary to the common but ignorant belief that more Linux distro's is a good thing, they aren't. Linux's main problem to commercial adaptation is the number of distros and the problems dealing with inconsistancies between them (did you even read the post you're responding too?) ... adding more distros doesn't help the problem when the problem is already 'too many distros'.

          And for what? A few thousand sales at the very most? When instead they can dedicate that same person to Windows and get 100,000 sales from their work?

          Don't expect Value to start asking for your resume, you've already show you have absolutely no idea why they haven't done it already.

          DLL Hell on Linux is actually far worse than DLL hell on Windows, package management tools or not, its not a problem they can solve, again, contrary to popular belief. If you think package management tools can solve the problem then you clearly don't understand the problem.

        • Re:Valve... (Score:4, Interesting)

          by mmaniaci (1200061) on Friday August 20, 2010 @03:17PM (#33317490)
          Good idea, and they could even do it for just ONE distro (Ubuntu, obviously). They would get most of the viable Linux user base, and those that don't run Ubuntu could use the FOSS community to learn how to get Steam to work. The one thing about the Linux userbase thats different than Windows and OSX crowds is that they don't usually expect everything to work out of the box. A little hacking is actually quite fun, and theres always a tutorial somewhere online for whatever you want to do. This would not be difficult for Steam to pull off and they would be the first of their kind to cover The Big 3 (Win, OSX, Linux).

          One more quick thought: Canonical would probably jump on the dev team for this port in a heartbeat. I'm sure they would see the benefit of Steam games on their OS.
      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by Anonymous Coward

        Then Valve should jump in with a major distro and only guarantee support for that one. Any distro would be insane to turn them away. I imagine Ubuntu would be a good fit.

      • This is the problem with Linux: What company in their right mind would port to the platform that is both hardest to develop for and has the smallest user base?

        I'm not sure, but Sony has managed to convince companies to do it in the console market.

        Then again, Sony was first during the previous generation...

      • This is where they should just say "we officially support Ubuntu at this time, and you're free to try it out on other distros."
      • by jedidiah (1196)

        No, the problem with Linux is that as soon as you start to talk about it the Lemming Trolls
        come out of the woodwork to try and scare granny and Joe. Meanwhile, the Indie gamers are
        quite happy to reap the rewards of porting to Linux and are willing to share their positive
        experiences with everyone.

    • 1) Are they POSIX? I think it is more likely they are Cocoa since that is how Apple prefers apps to be.

      2) Can enough copies of Linux handle the GL calls needed? iD has talked about this that more or less only the nVidia closed drivers provide a full, complete, "just like on Windows" OpenGL implementation that modern games need, and it seems OSS types hate those. So if they ported their games, would they work properly, or would they require a bunch of modification to work?

      3) Would Linux people buy them? The

      • 1) Are they POSIX? I think it is more likely they are Cocoa since that is how Apple prefers apps to be.

        just getting away from direct x and compiling on a different platform is a big step.

        2) Can enough copies of Linux handle the GL calls needed? iD has talked about this that more or less only the nVidia closed drivers provide a full, complete, "just like on Windows" OpenGL implementation that modern games need, and it seems OSS types hate those. So if they ported their games, would they work properly, or would they require a bunch of modification to work?

        most people who game are by needs pragmatists and not OSS purists. all (almost all?) games on steam are closed source.

        3) Would Linux people buy them? The Linux crowd is notoriously of the opinion that software should be free both as in open code but also as in not having to pay. Are there enough paying customers to justify the man hours needed to port and support it?

        as to whether there's a market, that's harder to say. would be that there's a fair number of windows installs (several million) that would not be booted into if linux handled gamers needs.

    • I can get about 30 FPS, too.
      • That is pretty bad. A native client would run full speed. Sometimes Wine just doesn't cut it.
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by nine-times (778537)
      I used to play Portal under WINE. I don't know if that's a good enough solution for you.
      • Last I tried TF2 ran great under wine. Only problems were slight graphical glitches in some spots (I think ubercharged players were showing up wrong) and no DX9 support, only DX8. Other than that it ran surprisingly well, only slightly slower than on XP with the same system.
    • If I could play the Valve games, and if WoW supported a hardware cursor in Open GL, I'd ditch Windows 7 in a heartbeat. At this point those are the only things keeping on Windows.
    • by jythie (914043)
      I imagine they are looking into it, but supporting Linux is a huge headache and I imagine they decided against it due to the complexities of not only supporting so many distributions but making things work with a rapidly changing kernel. Binary only releases for Linux have always been difficult for vendors to support.
  • by spun (1352) <loverevolutionary.yahoo@com> on Friday August 20, 2010 @02:19PM (#33316764) Journal

    BRIAN: Did you say -- OSX Leopard?
    OSX LEOPARD: That's right, sir. (he salutes) ... sixteen years behind the bell, and proud of it, thank you sir.
    BRIAN: What happened?
    OSX LEOPARD: I was cured, sir.
    BRIAN: Cured?
    OSX LEOPARD: Yes sir, a bloody miracle, sir. Bless you.
    BRIAN: Who cured you?
    OSX LEOPARD: Jobs did. I was hopping along, when suddenly he comes and cures me. One minute I'm a Leopard with no games, next moment me productivity's gone. Not so much as a by your leave.

  • It's linked to from TFA but Valve's technical article Game Performance Improvements in Latest Mac OS X Update [steampowered.com] gives a lot of insight into the OS X driver situation.

    Personally, I have a MacBook Pro with a NVIDIA 9600 chip. I was kind of disappointed when I got StarCraft II. I had to run on one of the lowest resolutions with medium defaults. Increasing any setting made the game close to unplayable when complex graphics were being displayed (such as the lava level). Then I updated the graphics drivers. I was able to bump to the highest supported resolution and bumped the graphic settings to high defaults without noticeable slowdowns. I had to go to the ultra defaults before I started getting slowdowns and warnings.

    I haven't had a chance to really sit down with it and play for an extended time (damn real life...) but there certainly is a huge improvement. The urge to upgrade is fading...

  • by Animats (122034) on Friday August 20, 2010 @03:32PM (#33317694) Homepage

    Apple fixed occlusion query in OpenGL, which matters when you're looking into a light source. Useful when sun near horizon in game. [steampowered.com] Nice, but no big deal.

  • by cstacy (534252) on Friday August 20, 2010 @05:29PM (#33319146)
    Ever since the last system update from Apple, none of my Macs (laptops or desktops) have been able to run various graphics programs without crashing. It would crash the entire windowserver process, killing the desktop and all running apps!

    This latest update for graphics has fixed that bug.

    I notice that Apple never seems to have acknowledged the bug, despite people screaming in the support forums, and that the System Update doesn't mention that it's obtw fixing a total showstopper that has plagued many users for the last 6 weeks on all platforms - nothing to do with the games cited.

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