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Valve Confirms Mac Versions of Steam, Valve Games 541

An anonymous reader writes with this excerpt from Gamasutra: "Valve will release a version of its Steam digital distribution service for Mac next month, along with Mac-native versions of its own games, the company confirmed today after days of hints — and owners of Valve games will have access to both platform versions. The Source engine, which Valve uses to develop all its internal titles and also licenses to third-party developers, will incorporate OpenGL in addition to DirectX, to allow Mac support for all Source developers. ... 'We are treating the Mac as a tier-1 platform, so all of our future games will release simultaneously on Windows, Mac, and the Xbox 360,' said Cook. 'Updates for the Mac will be available simultaneously with the Windows updates.'"
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Valve Confirms Mac Versions of Steam, Valve Games

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  • by ivan256 ( 17499 ) on Monday March 08, 2010 @05:11PM (#31405356)

    Part of the announcement was that, yes, you will be able to play online with PC users.

  • Re:well no (Score:4, Informative)

    by Phrogman ( 80473 ) on Monday March 08, 2010 @05:14PM (#31405398) Homepage

    From the article:
    "Checking in code produces a PC build and Mac build at the same time, automatically, so the two platforms are perfectly in lock-step," said Portal 2 lead developer Josh Weier. "We're always playing a native version on the Mac right alongside the PC. This makes it very easy for us and for anyone using Source to do game development for the Mac."

    The article also mentions that Portal2 will be a day 1 release for the Mac alongside the PC.

  • by Chris Lawrence ( 1733598 ) on Monday March 08, 2010 @05:15PM (#31405404) Homepage

    Yes, it's native, and they are optimizing for OpenCL and other Mac-specific stuff. No cider or other such crap. Now, if only they can release something other than third-person shooters which I both dislike and suck at. :)

  • by 0100010001010011 ( 652467 ) on Monday March 08, 2010 @05:24PM (#31405564)

    OS X is UNIX, Linux is Unix "like".

    And "A Little Difference" is huge, probably as large of a difference between them and the NT kernel. Not only that, OS X doesn't even use the FreeBSD kernel, they use the Darwin one.

  • by tepples ( 727027 ) <> on Monday March 08, 2010 @05:32PM (#31405660) Homepage Journal

    And what does this mean for us Linux users? OSX and Linux are both Unix variants

    Mac OS X native apps use a different toolkit from the vast majority of apps for Linux and the free BSDs. This toolkit is called Cocoa (formerly OpenStep). GNUstep is a Free clone of parts of Cocoa, intended for source compatibility [], not binary compatibility like Wine.

  • by tepples ( 727027 ) <> on Monday March 08, 2010 @05:35PM (#31405700) Homepage Journal
    Unlike Ubisoft's system, Steam has an offline mode. Steam requires access to the DRM server when you install the game, not every time you play.
  • by shutdown -p now ( 807394 ) on Monday March 08, 2010 @05:50PM (#31405934) Journal

    Unlike Ubisoft's system, Steam has an offline mode. Steam requires access to the DRM server when you install the game, not every time you play.

    If you get in a situation where there's unexpected lack of connectivity (i.e. you weren't online when you clicked on "Work Offline"), there is in fact a good chance that offline mode won't work. Also, even when it does, it only works for a certain period of time (depending on how lucky you are, anywhere from days to months), after which it will stop working and demand an Internet connection.

    Just because you personally have never run into it, doesn't mean that the problem isn't there. Just google for "Steam offline mode not working" and see for yourself. I've had the unfortune to experience this myself.

  • Re:wow... (Score:5, Informative)

    by Reason58 ( 775044 ) on Monday March 08, 2010 @05:53PM (#31406004)
    Just to let people know, Blizzard also allows for unlimited downloading of the Windows and OS X version of any game you have ever purchased. Even if you bought the game in a store you can still register the CD key online at and it will be available to download in the future.
  • Re:Woohoo! (Score:3, Informative)

    by dougisfunny ( 1200171 ) on Monday March 08, 2010 @05:54PM (#31406012)

    Every mac currently sold has at least an Nvidia 9400. My macbook pro I bought in... 2006 has an nvida 8400. My mac pro has a gtx285. Which lineup are you referring to?

  • Re:wow... (Score:5, Informative)

    by Ephemeriis ( 315124 ) on Monday March 08, 2010 @05:57PM (#31406066)


    Steam is one of the biggest DRM lock-in distribution systems ever invented.

    That doesn't make it good or bad, but are you sure you know what you're talking about here?

    I own a number of Steam games.

    I also own Overlord for the PC, and not the Steam version.

    Which means I know very well what I'm talking about.

    Yes, Steam is just another DRM platform... But I can download & install my Steam games on as many different computers as I want to. The only restriction is that I have to enter my username & password to play... Which means I can't be playing on two different computers simultaneously. Steam even lets me burn backup discs so I don't have to download everything again.

    Overlord, on the other hand, only allowed a very small number of installations. After I had installed it three times it refused to work. I call technical support and they explained that it was a copy protection mechanism and there was absolutely no reason why I could possibly have needed to re-install the game that many times. Granted, it's a little unusual to re-install a game four total times in a matter of weeks... But that's what happens when you're building a brand new computer, messing around with an OS install, breaking drivers, and things like that.

    Ultimately their suggestion was that I should go buy a new copy of the game. I'm sure I could have argued further and gotten through to some supervisor or something like that... I probably could have convinced someone to unlock my game... But I was just too angry to bother. I haven't tried to re-install the game since then.

  • Re:PS3 not tier one? (Score:1, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday March 08, 2010 @05:57PM (#31406070)

    ". Admittedly I'm a PS3 fan but Microsofts buying off of Publishers is getting really annoying."

    Don't be silly. Sony has plenty of PS3 exclusives too, Little Big Planet, Metal Gears Solid 4 and now Heavy Rain.. stop blaming Microsoft for being competitive.

  • Re:Mac.... (Score:3, Informative)

    by Reason58 ( 775044 ) on Monday March 08, 2010 @06:04PM (#31406204)

    PPC's died 6 years ago, welcome to the 21st century!

    Just so you know, the 21st century began more than six years ago.

  • Re:wow... (Score:3, Informative)

    by Lord Ender ( 156273 ) on Monday March 08, 2010 @06:07PM (#31406264) Homepage

    You simply don't have much experience with Steam, then. Search the Steam forums if you don't believe me. Steam server outages can leave your client in a state that makes all your Steam games unplayable, even in offline mode. This just happened again last week.

    Offline mode works, but only sometimes.

  • by agrif ( 960591 ) on Monday March 08, 2010 @06:09PM (#31406292) Homepage

    Erm... Cocoa is for the UI layer, like toolbars, buttons etc., when did you ever see a standard toolbar in a game? Almost every game uses custom UI, so if steam games are using OpenGL(which is the only accelerated graphics API on the Mac), it should be easy to port it to Linux/BSD.

    It should be easier to port to Linux (et al.) than it was before they made a Mac version, but not easy exactly.

    As noted before, basically every user-facing program on OS X uses a ton of Cocoa calls. Cocoa is used for more than just the UI layer: it provides a generous standard library of data types, os calls, and other useful things. Think of cocoa as an Objective C / OS X friendly libc. Objective C itself does not easily translate from the Mac to other systems, as well. Last I checked, GNUstep didn't have a working Objective C 2.0 runtime yet.

  • by aristotle-dude ( 626586 ) on Monday March 08, 2010 @06:11PM (#31406326)

    Eh, but userland is more or less the same. There are differences for IO drivers, and you can use Quartz Compositor instead of X, but the two are very similar.

    Reread what you just wrote. X is primitive whereas Quartz is a compositor. You need to add a compositor on top of X to match functionality but games generally use OpenGL which is abstracted from the underlying drawing framework.

  • Re:Woohoo! (Score:5, Informative)

    by jo_ham ( 604554 ) <joham999@ g m a> on Monday March 08, 2010 @06:12PM (#31406352)

    This is not true. "Most of the rest" have dedicated GPUs - that has at least been the major trend with Macs. They may not be cutting edge, but they are not integrated IntelGMA - except for the Mac Mini and the Macbook which have an NVidia 9400M, but with shared memory, not an intel GMA. I believe one earlier iteration of the Mini had an intel gpu.

    The MPB and iMac all have dedicated GPUs. The MBPs even have two!

    It is true there needs to be more choice and some higher spec cards available (the best you can get on the iMac line is a Radeon 4850 with 512Mb, which is not bad but not cutting edge either).

  • Re:Who says... (Score:3, Informative)

    by mrrudge ( 1120279 ) on Monday March 08, 2010 @06:13PM (#31406366) Homepage
    World of Warcraft ...
  • Re:wow... (Score:2, Informative)

    by Forthac4 ( 836529 ) <> on Monday March 08, 2010 @06:14PM (#31406386)

    As of march 2nd, the update notes for the steam client claim "Really fixed offline mode not always working". This would seem to indicate that valve is in no way trying to prevent people from playing in offline mode and technical issues will arise. Steam is of all the DRM models one of the least restrictive and in my opinion, other then having no DRM at all, preferred even over a simple disk check.

  • Re:No games on Mac? (Score:3, Informative)

    by Reason58 ( 775044 ) on Monday March 08, 2010 @06:17PM (#31406448)
    Most of those games came out years after their PC equivalent. Even in the case of Dragon Age (which was delayed by months), it is just the PC game wrapped in an emulator. And it does not support DLC.
  • Re:Woohoo! (Score:4, Informative)

    by Rewind ( 138843 ) on Monday March 08, 2010 @06:26PM (#31406626)
    These games don't require mega power graphic cards, just decent ones. And most any semi-modern Mac has one of those. I have a 2007 MacBook Pro and it has a 8600GT in it, not integrated Intel. Paired with it is a 2.6Ghz T7800 Core2Duo. It can run all of the games they have announced (well no idea on Portal 2 I guess) just fine. And that is a 3 year old Mac. I think the lowest end you can get anymore still isn't Intel, its a nVidia 9400 and several also just use that as a lower power integrated and have a discrete as well.
  • Re:OpenGL (Score:3, Informative)

    by shutdown -p now ( 807394 ) on Monday March 08, 2010 @06:32PM (#31406760) Journal

    Off the top of my head, reading/writing files including savings settings/game saves

    What's wrong with fopen & friends, and POSIX memory-mapped files? What would be gained by using Cocoa APIs here?

    USB device management

    Why would a game need to manage USB devices? If you mean input devices, then it shouldn't care if they're USB or not at all - that's for OS to deal with

    Though you do have a point that the only cross-platform input API right now is SDL, and, IIRC, it is fairly primitive with respect to functions it supports (force feedback and the likes).

    thread management


    Core Audio?

    Most game engines today just license some existing cross-platform audio framework that already wraps and abstracts away OS differences. So, presumably, such framework would only have to be ported once.

    Since we're speaking of Source games specifically, HL2 uses Miles Sound System, which is in fact available [] on Linux (or, really, any system where OpenAL is).

  • Re:well no (Score:5, Informative)

    by idiot900 ( 166952 ) * on Monday March 08, 2010 @06:55PM (#31407118)

    (i.e.: 64-bit support is required for Snow Leopard.)

    I realize I'm nitpicking, but 64-bit support is not required for Snow Leopard. It runs just fine on my 2006-era 32-bit Core Duo MacBook.

  • Re:well no (Score:3, Informative)

    by Kemanorel ( 127835 ) on Monday March 08, 2010 @07:01PM (#31407196)

    I could be wrong (i.e. I haven't checked too closely), but I am pretty sure there is Intel-only software that runs on 10.4. I will have to dig a bit and see if I can find an example, but I'm fairly sure many of the recent game releases (such as WoW and Plants vs. Zombies) can run on 10.4, but still require an intel Mac. My Mini came with an Intel proc, but is currently running 10.4...

    {checks [] for PvZ info}

    Yup. 10.4.11 and Intel proc combo required. It could be done. No PowerPC support required.

  • Re:Woohoo! (Score:3, Informative)

    by KylePflug ( 898555 ) on Monday March 08, 2010 @07:28PM (#31407524)

    Yeah, but they'll do just fine for most Source-engine games out now (except maybe Left 4 Dead 2, fancy TF2 settings). Hell, last time I booted up Parallels on my (min-spec) 2008 MacBook I could play most Source games in emulation.

  • Re:Woohoo! (Score:5, Informative)

    by Petrushka ( 815171 ) on Monday March 08, 2010 @07:32PM (#31407572)

    I suspect a fairly substantial library of games will become available, probably fairly swiftly. Someone's already compiled a list [] of Steam games that already have Mac ports. There's ... quite a lot.

    Probably a lot of people have already seen the lovely series of pictures that Valve released last week to hint at this announcement in advance, but in case you haven't, here's a compilation, in the correct sequence (and note the iPhone motif at the bottom of each image):
    image 1 [] (1980s Mac classic theme)
    image 2 [] (Gordon Freeman with shiny Mac hazard suit)
    image 3 [] (turrets)
    image 4 [] (Team Fortress 2 -- "take a bite out of the ... sandwich")
    image 5 [] (Left 4 Dead -- "I hate different")
    image 6 [] (HL2 + 1984 Mac commercial)

Logic is the chastity belt of the mind!