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Aspyr on the State of Mac Gaming

Aspyr Mac We are screwed

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#1 Janichsan

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Posted 03 November 2016 - 04:43 AM

I just found an article on the Aspyr blog about the current state of Mac gaming.

Shortest possible summary: things look bleak – at least at the moment. They are somewhat optimistic about the future, but seeing that only the top of the line recently announced 15" rMBP got a half-way suitable GPU for gaming, I can't really share that optimism.

"We do what we must, because we can."
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#2 the Battle Cat

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Posted 03 November 2016 - 10:56 AM

Sorry, can't hear you over the sound of all the new games I can play on max settings with my new hot rod Lincoln gaming PC.
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#3 macdude22

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Posted 03 November 2016 - 11:16 AM

View Postthe Battle Cat, on 03 November 2016 - 10:56 AM, said:

Sorry, can't hear you over the sound of all the new games I can play on max settings with my new hot rod Lincoln gaming PC.

Also he's old, so basically he can't hear you regardless.

If apple would just make one of these.

http://www.newegg.co...3-139-_-Product

I would be so happy.
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#4 Thain Esh Kelch

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Posted 03 November 2016 - 12:43 PM

We need to get that excellent Metal thread updated as per Sierre.
"They're everywhere!" -And now, time for some Legend of Zelda.

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#5 Spike

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Posted 03 November 2016 - 01:35 PM

View PostJanichsan, on 03 November 2016 - 04:43 AM, said:

I just found an article on the Aspyr blog about the current state of Mac gaming.

Thanks for sharing the interesting article. I disagree with a lot of it, but interesting still.

#6 devSin

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Posted 03 November 2016 - 02:04 PM

I disagree that "many Windows PCs were ready for this jump". Any current-gen title that gets released on PC these days is immediately swarmed by thousands of people who whine about the game being poorly optimized because they can't get 1080p/60 on their hardware.

But we're certainly in a transition period, where OpenGL is EoL and Metal isn't quite ready yet. I guess it remains to be seen where Apple moves in terms of future Mac hardware.

#7 Janichsan

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Posted 04 November 2016 - 01:51 AM

View PostdevSin, on 03 November 2016 - 02:04 PM, said:

I disagree that "many Windows PCs were ready for this jump". Any current-gen title that gets released on PC these days is immediately swarmed by thousands of people who whine about the game being poorly optimized because they can't get 1080p/60 on their hardware.
When that happens on a high-end PC with specs far above the minimum requirements (and that happened quite a few times in the last time) this "whining" is more than justified.

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#8 Sneaky Snake

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Posted 04 November 2016 - 01:33 PM

View Postmacdude22, on 03 November 2016 - 11:16 AM, said:

Also he's old, so basically he can't hear you regardless.

If apple would just make one of these.

http://www.newegg.co...3-139-_-Product

I would be so happy.

Even just an updated mini with a quad core CPU and a TB 3 port so I could hookup an external GPU.
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#9 ikir

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Posted 04 November 2016 - 03:33 PM

Wait for 3D benchmark, I think most users underestimate performance of these little beasts.
Also waiting for Akitio Node!
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#10 Ichigo27

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Posted 04 November 2016 - 04:30 PM

I could never wrapped my head around the concept of metal requiring a 2012 mac, I'm on a 2011 model and I can play stuff like amnesia or black and white 2 and probably bioshock because of 6700 series radeon that's in it even though it's only half a gig of vram. Doesn't help that recent entry level imacs don't even have low end or mid range AMD GPUs and the same applies to these newer overpriced macbooks. And slower PCI E connectivity EVEN with thunderbolt 3??? The higher end models wont even succeed more than 16 gigs of ram.

But still, in a world where windows 10 sounds unbearable to use and the issues I have with my old mid range windows xp rig I feel better using lion or mavericks.

Sure on occasions theirs a sale on the apple store for games that work on my imac and the last game that I bought from aspyr was neverwinter nights 2, I don't like how people go with this mentality that everyone is required to use windows 10 and they can't even use another operating system like unbuntu or SteamOS to play games. I guess it keeps going back to microsoft putting crapload of money and resources into Direct3D and most developers look down upon other graphics API's like Vulkan or OpenGL.

On the other hand theirs indies, and if I have a chance, I will buy a indie game on sale or even play itch.io freeware games even though a forklift man is choppy and buggy. I guess if a person really wants to and there skilled enough at game design and programming, they can make games with unity.
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#11 DirtyHarry50

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Posted 04 November 2016 - 10:05 PM

View Postthe Battle Cat, on 03 November 2016 - 10:56 AM, said:

Sorry, can't hear you over the sound of all the new games I can play on max settings with my new hot rod Lincoln gaming PC.

My pappy said, "Son, you're gonna drive me to drinkin' if you don't stop gaming on that hot rod Lincoln!"
“The time you enjoy wasting is not wasted time.” — Bertrand Russell

#12 ipickert55

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Posted 04 November 2016 - 11:19 PM

I love the tag on this post.
Maybe it really is all cocks in the end.

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#13 Frost

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Posted 05 November 2016 - 12:46 AM

View PostJanichsan, on 03 November 2016 - 04:43 AM, said:

I just found an article on the Aspyr blog about the current state of Mac gaming.

Shortest possible summary: things look bleak – at least at the moment. They are somewhat optimistic about the future, but seeing that only the top of the line recently announced 15" rMBP got a half-way suitable GPU for gaming, I can't really share that optimism.

Halfway? That's pretty generous. I'm trying to wrap my head around why they put the Radeon 4xx Pro in it when a mobile NVIDIA Pascal GPU would cost the same amount and bulldoze those Radeons. I mean the 1060 is plenty cool enough to work with the MBP's cooling system and yet powerful enough to properly run games on the retina display. GPU and laptop retina displays have finally converged. And... they don't use that.

Who is making these decisions and why do they still have a job?
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#14 Camper-Hunter

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Posted 05 November 2016 - 03:28 AM

Frost, they still have a job because I guess AMD chips are dirt cheap, hence fatter margin and profit on each MacBook "Pro" sold.

#15 marksatt

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Posted 05 November 2016 - 12:48 PM

View PostFrost, on 05 November 2016 - 12:46 AM, said:

Halfway? That's pretty generous. I'm trying to wrap my head around why they put the Radeon 4xx Pro in it when a mobile NVIDIA Pascal GPU would cost the same amount and bulldoze those Radeons. I mean the 1060 is plenty cool enough to work with the MBP's cooling system and yet powerful enough to properly run games on the retina display. GPU and laptop retina displays have finally converged. And... they don't use that.

Who is making these decisions and why do they still have a job?

Apple look like they're splitting the difference between what clearly they know most of the customers want (light/thin) and what their fewer pro users need (power) and that's a decision from the top. Most PC laptops used the 960M which is just faster than the 455 (1.3 TFlops vs. 1.2 TFlops) so Apple aren't way out of line with the rest of the laptop market here. Alternatives like the Razer Blade have to make tradeoffs to support a faster GPU (usually slower CPU & much reduced battery life or simply being much bigger).

Putting aside whether you agree with Apple to prioritise svelteness over power and taking the MBP design as it is, Nvidia currently don't have a 35W TDP GPU with 1 TFlops of peak performance to match AMD's Radeon Pro 450, much less the 1.8 Flops peak of the 460. Nvidia's current best <=35W GPU appears to still be the Maxwell based 940MX which is a 23W GPU with 0.8 TFlops of peak single-precision performance. The laptop variants of 1060 seem to be 65-85W parts but Nvidia haven't published the actual TDP. However, extrapolating from the Maxwell lineup and desktop lineup would suggest that this is intended to be a replacement for the 960M which was a 65W part. Ergo it wouldn't fit in the new MBP design. Can't blame Apple's H/W engineers for that.

On desktop the AMD RX 460 has higher peak performance than Nvidia's 1050 Ti for the same 75W TDP, so AMD aren't obviously deficient at this end of the performance spectrum. Therefore I'm not sure you'd get better performance from a heavily down-clocked and thermally challenged Nvidia part than the new Radeon Pro's in this form factor.

Of course, as a games developer I'd always like more power but I think really the lack of updates to the Mac Pro & Mac Mini are better reasons to criticise Apple and the state of Mac hardware. These MBPs are actually pretty good compared to those they replace.

#16 marksatt

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Posted 05 November 2016 - 01:08 PM

View PostIchigo27, on 04 November 2016 - 04:30 PM, said:

I could never wrapped my head around the concept of metal requiring a 2012 mac, I'm on a 2011 model and I can play stuff like amnesia or black and white 2 and probably bioshock because of 6700 series radeon that's in it even though it's only half a gig of vram.

The 2011 AMD GPUs are the last of the old TeraScale architecture and they aren't support by D3D12 or Vulkan either.

All the Macs from 2012 or later share GPU driver stacks i.e. all the AMD GPUs are GCN, all of the Nvidia GPUs are Kepler and all the Intel GPUs are derived from the HD4000's core. Glossing over some details that means each vendor need only write one Metal driver with some GPU specific tweaks, making it a natural cutoff point for software support. Earlier models would mean writing more, new driver stacks for old Macs Apple hadn't been shipping for three or more years - clearly that wasn't thought worthwhile.

View PostIchigo27, on 04 November 2016 - 04:30 PM, said:

Doesn't help that recent entry level imacs don't even have low end or mid range AMD GPUs and the same applies to these newer overpriced macbooks. And slower PCI E connectivity EVEN with thunderbolt 3??? The higher end models wont even succeed more than 16 gigs of ram.

I agree the iMacs without the AMD GPUs or with the slower version are a problem - while the higher end models are actually quite good. See above about the new MacBook Pro's - but in essence they aren't as bad as some are saying.

View PostIchigo27, on 04 November 2016 - 04:30 PM, said:

Sure on occasions theirs a sale on the apple store for games that work on my imac and the last game that I bought from aspyr was neverwinter nights 2, I don't like how people go with this mentality that everyone is required to use windows 10 and they can't even use another operating system like unbuntu or SteamOS to play games. I guess it keeps going back to microsoft putting crapload of money and resources into Direct3D and most developers look down upon other graphics API's like Vulkan or OpenGL.

Epic & Sony are two of the Promoter Members of the Kronos board, while many other games companies (Valve, Blizzard, Nintendo, Oculus, etc.) are Contributing Members, so there's actually quite a lot of games industry participation and interest in the success of Vulkan. Microsoft have the benefit that they did the right things to build D3D dominance from the late 90's onward, which gives D3D tremendous market share and development momentum now.

#17 marksatt

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Posted 05 November 2016 - 01:16 PM

View PostJanichsan, on 03 November 2016 - 04:43 AM, said:

I just found an article on the Aspyr blog about the current state of Mac gaming.

Shortest possible summary: things look bleak – at least at the moment. They are somewhat optimistic about the future, but seeing that only the top of the line recently announced 15" rMBP got a half-way suitable GPU for gaming, I can't really share that optimism.

Can't argue with most of what they've written. I am very surprised by their claim that Mac OpenGL only cost them 15% of PC performance - that's a lot better than I've generally found to be the case. Certainly Mac OpenGL was costing us more than that in UE4, so Metal was a heck of performance (& feature) boost for us.

#18 Sneaky Snake

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Posted 05 November 2016 - 01:26 PM

View PostFrost, on 05 November 2016 - 12:46 AM, said:

Halfway? That's pretty generous. I'm trying to wrap my head around why they put the Radeon 4xx Pro in it when a mobile NVIDIA Pascal GPU would cost the same amount and bulldoze those Radeons. I mean the 1060 is plenty cool enough to work with the MBP's cooling system and yet powerful enough to properly run games on the retina display. GPU and laptop retina displays have finally converged. And... they don't use that.

Who is making these decisions and why do they still have a job?

A 1060 would not have been possible in the Macbook Pro that they shipped. The laptop 1060's have a TDP of around 100W versus just 35W for the 460 in the MBP - nearly triple the power consumption. The 460 is a very potent chip for its 35W power draw. Apple seems to have won the deal with AMD for the full, uncut Polaris 11 chip.

Also, since the new Macbook Pro is being charged via USB-C the total power limit for the entire machine is 100W (CPU+RAM+SSD+GPU). A 1060 isn't even close to being low enough TDP to fit in the machine that they shipped. They could have looked into the 1050, but I would guess that this 460 is performing nearly on par with the mobile version of the 1050.

All that said, I wish they would have went with a slightly thicker, higher power draw, machine with a much better GPU like the 1060.
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#19 Thain Esh Kelch

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Posted 05 November 2016 - 04:04 PM

View Postmarksatt, on 05 November 2016 - 01:16 PM, said:

Can't argue with most of what they've written. I am very surprised by their claim that Mac OpenGL only cost them 15% of PC performance - that's a lot better than I've generally found to be the case. Certainly Mac OpenGL was costing us more than that in UE4, so Metal was a heck of performance (& feature) boost for us.
Has Metal already surpassed OpenGL on the Mac?
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#20 marksatt

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Posted 05 November 2016 - 05:31 PM

View PostThain Esh Kelch, on 05 November 2016 - 04:04 PM, said:

Has Metal already surpassed OpenGL on the Mac?

By UE4 4.13 it was well ahead, it has Shader Model 5 features that simply weren't possible with Mac OpenGL and its generally faster too. You can construct scenes where its slower on some hardware but they're usually pathological cases (i.e. lots of shadowed point lights, which use geometry shaders on GL and instanced draw calls on Metal - the Metal implementation ends up processing more geometry).





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