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METAL IN OS X, BABY!


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#1 Cougar

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Posted 08 June 2015 - 11:23 AM

Announced literally two seconds ago.

CAN YOU TELL I'M EXCITED??

#2 Jan

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Posted 08 June 2015 - 11:34 AM

Woohoo! Bring 'em on!

2K, Aspyr, Blizzard, Campo Santo, Epic, Feral and Unity are on board. Hopefully this will boost the pretty bad performance of Unity games on OpenGL.
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#3 MichalM.Mac

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Posted 08 June 2015 - 11:43 AM

Should I be exited about Metal or worried about lack of OpenGL 4.X/Vulcan mention?

#4 macdude22

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Posted 08 June 2015 - 12:01 PM

Excited, because at a minimum it should offer Feral and Aspyr the under the hood power to create better performing ports. Worried because I don't think it helps companies that are going it themselves/using cider/wine.
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#5 Jan

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Posted 08 June 2015 - 12:10 PM

A ton of games use either Unity or Unreal. If Metal support is built-in and devs just need to check the "Export to OS X" box and benefit from stuff like multi gpu usage -- awesome!
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#6 ltcommander.data

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Posted 08 June 2015 - 01:01 PM

I'm very curious how Metal on Mac looks like and what GPUs it supports. I thought the reason why Metal was so effective on iOS was because it was written specifically for PowerVR tiled deferred GPUs so it can't be brought over directly to Mac where all GPUs are immediate mode. Can Apple doing a low-level cross-vendor graphics API really be better than DX12 or Vulkan or will it simply be different and proprietary?

DX12 supports most DX11 GPUs with nVidia Fermi, AMD GCN or Intel Haswell and up while Vulkan is a little more lax to incorporate mobile requiring only OpenGL ES 3.1 GPUs and up so some DX10 GPUs might work if new drivers were still developed for them. It'll be interesting to see where Apple draws the line. Apple isn't typically backward looking, but given it's a proprietary API having a larger install-base by supporting older GPUs could make it a bigger draw for developers.

#7 Janichsan

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Posted 08 June 2015 - 02:37 PM

I'm somewhat ambiguous about that. On the one hand, pretty much every improvement of the current situation is welcome. On the other hand, it remains to be seen whether Metal will really be that improvement.

I mean, sure, there will most likely be better performance, but how does Metal fare regarding features in comparison to DX12 and Vulcan? If Metal does not offer Hyper Anormal Mapping and Universal Ultraviolet Illumination (or whatever features are currently a hot topic – you might notice I'm not really informed), but most upcoming games make heavily use of these features, it won't do much good.

Secondly, how stable and bugfree is Metal? Apple's track record on this matter isn't really stellar: their OpenCL implementation is apparently a bug-ridden mess (even though OpenCL is their invention!), and Swift is not only anything but, but as it seems also full of problems.

Thirdly, I wonder if a proprietary new API will not cancel out the benefits of using the same APIs as Linux/SteamOS and thus ultimately leading to less support for OS X by other developers than the usual suspects.

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#8 Cougar

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Posted 08 June 2015 - 04:21 PM

Okay, now that the reality distortion field has been lowered, I'd love to know more about the details---as people have mentioned above, it could not mean much.

It would be cool if someone at Aspyr and Feral could chime in and say how it all works, since Metal for iOS was built for a specific GPU. Maybe I'd be out of luck with my 970, which aren't in any official macs. How is the feature set compared to dx12?

I wasn't really expecting Vulkan in 10.11 anyway, since the spec isn't final yet...hopefully Apple will still add it because of its cross-platform nature.

#9 DirtyHarry50

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Posted 09 June 2015 - 12:24 PM

View PostJan, on 08 June 2015 - 11:34 AM, said:

Woohoo! Bring 'em on!

2K, Aspyr, Blizzard, Campo Santo, Epic, Feral and Unity are on board. Hopefully this will boost the pretty bad performance of Unity games on OpenGL.

I'm going to watch the keynote later but I am happy to see this news. I do wonder if it will have much other effect from a gaming perspective. I guess we'll see. I hope so. That would be great.

View PostJanichsan, on 08 June 2015 - 02:37 PM, said:

Thirdly, I wonder if a proprietary new API will not cancel out the benefits of using the same APIs as Linux/SteamOS and thus ultimately leading to less support for OS X by other developers than the usual suspects.

I wonder about this as well. This might be good news for the relatively short term but I've been under the impression that Vulkan is better news beyond this.
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#10 Jan

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Posted 09 June 2015 - 01:51 PM

Maybe Apple will support both Metal and Vulkan as soon as its finalized. Why not? Not every game on iOS uses Metal, only a select few high profile titles like Vain Glory and Geometry Wars fully utilize the fairly new API. If a game is built from the scratch with Metal in mind (theoretically this could be every single Unity and Unreal game in the future) it might do wonders for Mac gaming. Let's face it: We're already a platform in console mode. Mac architecture is pretty unified these days with Intel chips and AMD graphics. It's pretty easy for devs to target only a few Mac configurations and optimize the app for them. There isn't a single Mac with upgradeable graphics. At least not internally. Thunderbolt 2/3 plus an Echo Express or similar external chassis could be a viable option for GPU upgrades. I work in the Creative Pro field and we use external video or sound cards on a daily basis without any problems. If Apple is able to convince more engine developers to support Metal alongside DirectX and Vulkan and keeps supporting "unofficial" graphics cards (like the GTX 970 in my Mac Pro) this might be awesome. Wouldn't it be nice to work on a small and sleek MacBook (Pro) by day and just plug-in a dual GPU set in an external case when you return home and wanna play a game, which of course fully utilizes the power of your gfx cards thanks to Metal? A pipe dream, I know, but it's possible. The technology is there and it's already being used for other purposes than gaming.
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#11 Janichsan

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Posted 10 June 2015 - 01:10 PM

By the way, has anyone watched the corresponding part of the Keynote? Epic's presentation of Metal with their upcoming Fortnite completely failed to impress me. They could have said as much as they wanted how capable Metal is, the graphics style of Fortnite made it in my opinion completely unsuitable to demonstrate that.

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#12 macdude22

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Posted 10 June 2015 - 02:24 PM

View PostJanichsan, on 10 June 2015 - 01:10 PM, said:

By the way, has anyone watched the corresponding part of the Keynote? Epic's presentation of Metal with their upcoming Fortnite completely failed to impress me. They could have said as much as they wanted how capable Metal is, the graphics style of Fortnite made it in my opinion completely unsuitable to demonstrate that.

I guess if it was running on like a MacBook it would be relatively impressive. They didn't really say what hardware the demo was running on so it was difficult to gauge how impressed I should have been. The graphics themselves looked like TF2 graphics we've had for years. Which I don't mind, just nobody is clamoring to claim TF2 is "pushing the envelope of graphics."
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#13 Cougar

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Posted 10 June 2015 - 04:41 PM

View PostJanichsan, on 10 June 2015 - 01:10 PM, said:

By the way, has anyone watched the corresponding part of the Keynote? Epic's presentation of Metal with their upcoming Fortnite completely failed to impress me. They could have said as much as they wanted how capable Metal is, the graphics style of Fortnite made it in my opinion completely unsuitable to demonstrate that.

It's just not a very graphically impressive game to begin with. They should have cut the train wreck that was the music portion of the keynote by 75% and had two Metal demos, one by Feral (Arkham Knight or Shadows of Mordor would've been great) and one by Adobe, to stress the productivity improvements (because let's face it, that's where Metal will make most of its impact).

But developers seem to be impressed by it. Rocket has a nice discussion of its implications in their episode this week, and one of the co-hosts has a nice writeup here. They also have very effusive words to say about Aspyr engineers. :)

#14 macdude22

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Posted 10 June 2015 - 06:55 PM

View PostCougar, on 10 June 2015 - 04:41 PM, said:



It's just not a very graphically impressive game to begin with. They should have cut the train wreck that was the music portion of the keynote by 75% and had two Metal demos, one by Feral (Arkham Knight or Shadows of Mordor would've been great) and one by Adobe, to stress the productivity improvements (because let's face it, that's where Metal will make most of its impact

I have it on good authority from my apple rep that the second half of the keynote was supposed to decidedly be something else that wasn't ready. *cough Apple TV home kit cough*
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#15 Cougar

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Posted 10 June 2015 - 08:37 PM

View Postmacdude22, on 10 June 2015 - 06:55 PM, said:

I have it on good authority from my apple rep that the second half of the keynote was supposed to decidedly be something else that wasn't ready. *cough Apple TV home kit cough*

Interesting, if true. (Why would an Apple rep know that? Sounds more like a guess after the NYT said there'd be no AppleTV.) So maybe the original plan was to have a separate event at the end of the month, and release iOS 8.4 and Apple Music the same day.

But I wonder why they just didn't end it, then. The keynote would still have been long enough, and there was nothing in there that they needed to say to developers.

#16 macdude22

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Posted 11 June 2015 - 06:19 AM

View PostCougar, on 10 June 2015 - 08:37 PM, said:

Interesting, if true. (Why would an Apple rep know that? Sounds more like a guess after the NYT said there'd be no AppleTV.) So maybe the original plan was to have a separate event at the end of the month, and release iOS 8.4 and Apple Music the same day.

But I wonder why they just didn't end it, then. The keynote would still have been long enough, and there was nothing in there that they needed to say to developers.

Probably because he's been trying to sell us Apple TVs for years to replace the presentation systems in our conference rooms. If I can just tell them one more cool thing surely I'll make the sale.

WE BOOKED THIS ROOM FOR 2 HOURS AND BY DAMN WE ARE GOING TO FILL THAT TIME.
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#17 Janichsan

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Posted 11 June 2015 - 01:07 PM

Official word from Apple which Macs support Metal is "All Macs since 2012".

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#18 DirtyHarry50

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Posted 12 June 2015 - 01:22 AM

View Postmacdude22, on 11 June 2015 - 06:19 AM, said:


WE BOOKED THIS ROOM FOR 2 HOURS AND BY DAMN WE ARE GOING TO FILL THAT TIME.

Metal iOS games on AppleTVs setup for all attendees. Best presentation ever!

View PostJanichsan, on 11 June 2015 - 01:07 PM, said:

Official word from Apple which Macs support Metal is "All Macs since 2012".

Just one more reason to be glad my 2011 iMac melted down and was replaced with a late-2013 iMac. :D
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#19 Thain Esh Kelch

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Posted 12 June 2015 - 02:08 AM

Darn, my 2011 iMac is not among the ones supported. :( Oh well, it is still holding up fine for gaming anyway.
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#20 Sneaky Snake

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Posted 15 October 2015 - 12:00 PM

Blizzard has revealed via a forum post that they will utilize Metal for several of their games on OS X. World of Warcraft will be the first game to get the Metal treatment with a planned release before the end of 2015. Starcraft 2 and Heroes of the Storm are scheduled to follow in the next 6 months.

Looking good for metal implementation in OS X.
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