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TransGaming Partners With EA To Bring Mac Titles


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#1 IMG News

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Posted 11 June 2007 - 03:09 PM

Follow the announcement this morning that Electronic Arts would be bringing six game titles to the Mac, TransGaming announced that Cider, the company's portability engine that eliminates the need for porting, will be used to bring EA's titles to the Mac.

Here's more from the press release:

Electronic Arts Inc. has announced plans to bring top-tier games to MAC OS X this summer powered by TransGaming’s Cider engine, including: Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, Madden NFL 08, Tiger Woods PGA TOUR 08, Need for Speed Carbon, Command & Conquer 3 Tiberium Wars and Battlefield 2142. TransGaming Inc., a Canadian-based leader in software portability, has opened up new playing fields for Mac users.

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

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

Helping quench Mac gamers’ thirst is Cider, the revolutionary new technology, developed by TransGaming that enables the releases. Eliminating the need to rewrite a video game for the Mac, Cider acts as an interpreter between the game’s original code and the Intel Mac, imparting a great user experience on the Mac.
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#2 MysteryQuest

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Posted 11 June 2007 - 03:40 PM

It does not only decrease porting time, but it does also decrease performance. This because the 3D engine is not natively supported in the OS. Further limitations are that the games won't be able to use Multithreaded OpenGL and 64-bit when available in Leopard. A complete port of a game could be more than 2x as fast on Leopard when we see it. So I don't think we should be too happy with this all. If these performance limits truly exist than I hope Mac users will ask for native games. Performance is not my only concern, the engine could also bring security issues and more danger to the Mac. I'm certainly not one of the initial adopters of such games.

#3 Smoke_Tetsu

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Posted 11 June 2007 - 04:01 PM

I think that's a pessimistic view to take especially the security part. Most porting houses already had their own in house directx to opengl libraries for example. Plus have you heard anyone having any problems with security issues in crossover? This would be even less so here since it's targetted more to that one specific program you are running. And who said they aren't going to support 64-bit or multicore if the game supports it. They seem to be wanting to support all the features the game originally has like for example the shaders with nvidia's help with the cg stuff. Next it's based on wine which compatibility issues aside hasn't shown to degrade perfomance much. Now I'm not saying that it'll be as good as a fully native port but it might not be doom and gloom either.
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Alex Delarg, A Clockwork Orange said:

It's funny how the colors of the real world only seem really real when you viddy them on the screen.

the Battle Cat said:

Slower and faster? I'm sorry to hear such good news?

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#4 Janichsan

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Posted 11 June 2007 - 04:07 PM

You might be surprised: the performance hit by Cider is rather small. The games ciderised until now run almost as fast as under Windows. You might be right, though, that Cider does not support Multithreaded OpenGL or 64bit - yet. Cider is under constant development, and it's likely that these technologies are supported sooner or later.

I don't really see which "security issues" you expect? Cider is no fully fledged Windows and hence not vulnerable to viruses, spyware or other malware.

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#5 Smoke_Tetsu

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Posted 11 June 2007 - 04:12 PM

View PostJanichsan, on June 11th 2007, 04:07 PM, said:

I don't really see which "security issues" you expect? Cider is no fully fledged Windows and hence not vulnerable to viruses, spyware or other malware.

You wouldn't even be able to launch programs through the game to find out and even if you could they probably wouldn't work or have negligible impact from the cut down environment they have to work with.
--Tetsuo

Alex Delarg, A Clockwork Orange said:

It's funny how the colors of the real world only seem really real when you viddy them on the screen.

the Battle Cat said:

Slower and faster? I'm sorry to hear such good news?

Late 2012 27 inch iMac, Core i7 Quad 3.4GHz, 16GB RAM, Nvidia GeForce GTX 680MX 2GB, 3TB HDD - Mavericks

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#6 Brad Oliver

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Posted 11 June 2007 - 04:25 PM

View PostJanichsan, on June 11th 2007, 03:07 PM, said:

You might be surprised: the performance hit by Cider is rather small. The games ciderised until now run almost as fast as under Windows.

Are there benchmarks on this somewhere or is this a gut feeling?
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#7 devSin

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Posted 11 June 2007 - 04:39 PM

View PostBrad Oliver, on June 11th 2007, 03:25 PM, said:

Are there benchmarks on this somewhere or is this a gut feeling?
Nope. It's the word on the street, so you know it's reliable!

#8 Tacohead

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Posted 11 June 2007 - 05:48 PM

I was a beta tester for Mac Uru Live and it ran fine for me. I don't know how it compares to the Windows version but I was satisfied with its performance.

If I didn't read IMG and other news sites I probably wouldn't even know Uru was using Cider or what Cider was. Uru Mac starts up like any Mac game I've played. Just double-click on the icon and go.  :)

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#9 teflon

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Posted 11 June 2007 - 07:27 PM

View PostMysteryQuest, on June 11th 2007, 10:40 PM, said:

It does not only decrease porting time, but it does also decrease performance. This because the 3D engine is not natively supported in the OS. Further limitations are that the games won't be able to use Multithreaded OpenGL and 64-bit when available in Leopard. A complete port of a game could be more than 2x as fast on Leopard when we see it.

ok, the only way wed get a 2x performance increase on leopard is if you wrote the entire engine completely from scratch to take advantage of every bit of power the system has... not to mention that 64-bit v 32-bit is not double the power in the slightest. especially not with games. Theres been 64-bit versions of some games on the PC side for a long time now, and i think wed have heard more about them if they offered 2x the performance.

EDIT:
secondly, the 3D engine isnt natively supported, correct, but that can also be an advantage. You see, TransGaming are working with NVidia to bypass OGL and make calls to the GPU directly... not only does that mean it could be almost as fast as on windows (im exaggerating here), but we could be seeing DX10 graphics without having the support for those functions in Apple's implementation of OGL (OGL being behind the times in the first place).
see brad oliver's post below

finally, MT OGL has been shown to mainly be useful when the GPU isnt under strain... so low settings... Of course, proper optimisation for it would give an increase, but not massively so if youre GPU limited.
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#10 Brad Oliver

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Posted 11 June 2007 - 07:45 PM

View Postteflon, on June 11th 2007, 06:27 PM, said:

secondly, the 3D engine isnt natively supported, correct, but that can also be an advantage. You see, TransGaming are working with NVidia to bypass OGL and make calls to the GPU directly... not only does that mean it could be almost as fast as on windows (im exaggerating here), but we could be seeing DX10 graphics without having the support for those functions in Apple's implementation of OGL (OGL being behind the times in the first place).

Do you have a source for that? The only thing I heard is that TG and Nvidia are teaming up to support DX9's Effects API through Cg, which is a very different thing. For example, at Aspyr we've had the DX9 Effects API reverse-engineered since our Civ4 port. We can take a binary HLSL .fx file and dynamically recompile that at run-time on the Mac. The high-end shader path in Civ4 uses this, and just about the entirety of Empire at War does as well. It's not magic, just hard work.
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#11 bobbob

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Posted 11 June 2007 - 09:02 PM

View PostMysteryQuest, on June 11th 2007, 02:40 PM, said:

Further limitations are that the games won't be able to use Multithreaded OpenGL and 64-bit when available in Leopard.
Why not?

#12 Tesseract

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Posted 12 June 2007 - 02:17 AM

View PostTacohead, on June 12th 2007, 09:48 AM, said:

I was a beta tester for Mac Uru Live and it ran fine for me. I don't know how it compares to the Windows version but I was satisfied with its performance.
I get the distinct feeling that the Mac version is noticeably slower than the Windows version in some places. It's hard to tell, because it is currently hard-limited to 30 fps to match up with the state updates over the network, and related to that, lag is a big factor in the frame rate. But in the Great Zero courtyard, for instance, my Mac Pro with X1900 get very noticeable slowdowns. I can't rule out this being an intrinsic inefficiency in the engine, but I've never heard Windows users mention it. There are other places though, like Minkata, where everyone gets poor performance.

One of these days I'll get a drive that I can install Boot Camp on and I'll do a comparison on the same hardware.

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Uru Mac starts up like any Mac game I've played.
Well, except for the fugly Win95-looking in-game dialog boxes. Although, even Windows users have mentioned their ugliness. :)

#13 Janichsan

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Posted 12 June 2007 - 02:23 AM

View PostBrad Oliver, on June 12th 2007, 12:25 AM, said:

Are there benchmarks on this somewhere or is this a gut feeling?
There actually was a benchmark somewhere with HoMM V (wasn't even the final version) that showed something like 30-40 fps on a Mac and 40-50 on an equivalent PC. I'll try if I can find that site again. In a German mac games forum, someone reported something similar for X3.

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#14 Smoke_Tetsu

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Posted 12 June 2007 - 03:15 AM

View PostTesseract, on June 12th 2007, 02:17 AM, said:

Well, except for the fugly Win95-looking in-game dialog boxes. Although, even Windows users have mentioned their ugliness. :)

I've noticed fugly windows looking in game dialog boxes even in some totally native Mac games (like postal 2 if you must know). Most games have their own in-game UIs so I don't see this as a Cider problem per say.
--Tetsuo

Alex Delarg, A Clockwork Orange said:

It's funny how the colors of the real world only seem really real when you viddy them on the screen.

the Battle Cat said:

Slower and faster? I'm sorry to hear such good news?

Late 2012 27 inch iMac, Core i7 Quad 3.4GHz, 16GB RAM, Nvidia GeForce GTX 680MX 2GB, 3TB HDD - Mavericks

Late 2009 27 inch iMac, Core i5 2.6GHz, 12GB RAM, ATI Radeon 4850HD 512MB, 1TB HDD - Mavericks

Mac Mini, PowerPC G4 1.4Ghz, 1GB RAM, Radeon 9200 32MB, 256GB HDD - Leopard

Dell Inspiron 1200 Notebook: 1.2GHz Celeron, 1.2GB RAM, Intel GMA915, 75GB HDD - Ubuntu

Generic Black Tower PC, Dual Core 64-bit 2.4GHz, 4GB RAM, GeForce 9600 GT 512MB - Windows 7


#15 teflon

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Posted 12 June 2007 - 05:21 AM

View PostBrad Oliver, on June 12th 2007, 02:45 AM, said:

Do you have a source for that? The only thing I heard is that TG and Nvidia are teaming up to support DX9's Effects API through Cg, which is a very different thing. For example, at Aspyr we've had the DX9 Effects API reverse-engineered since our Civ4 port. We can take a binary HLSL .fx file and dynamically recompile that at run-time on the Mac. The high-end shader path in Civ4 uses this, and just about the entirety of Empire at War does as well. It's not magic, just hard work.

i could swear that the macworld article said DX10 before.... damn it...
note my editting.
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#16 Janichsan

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Posted 13 June 2007 - 02:14 AM

View PostJanichsan, on June 12th 2007, 10:23 AM, said:

View PostBrad Oliver, on June 12th 2007, 12:25 AM, said:

Are there benchmarks on this somewhere or is this a gut feeling?
There actually was a benchmark somewhere with HoMM V (wasn't even the final version) that showed something like 30-40 fps on a Mac and 40-50 on an equivalent PC. I'll try if I can find that site again. In a German mac games forum, someone reported something similar for X3.
@ Brad: I couldn't find the site I meant (which had a benchmark with bars and graphs and little elves dancing around), but I found basically the same results here on IMG:

Quote

Yes, I acknowledge that my copy of HOMMV was an early feature complete version, but I would expect that my almost top of the line Mac should get more than 40-42 frames per second while standing idle in a turn based strategy game. ... To test this effect further, when I ran HOMMV for the PC on this same machine with Boot Camp, the average frame rate was approximately 50 fps. ... Time will tell if Cider games run as fast as their PC counterparts (or under boot camp) but given that this is a beta, it ran amazingly well.

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#17 Lemon Lime

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Posted 13 June 2007 - 04:04 PM

We are scheduled to hold an interview with TransGaming next week for the IMG Podcast, discussing their relationship with EA. stay tuned!