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The State of Mac Gaming in 2017 (Ars Article)


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#21 Spike

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Posted 16 July 2017 - 07:40 PM

View Postjeannot, on 16 July 2017 - 04:04 PM, said:

How do you figure it would have allowed Overwatch on the Mac? This game uses D3D. Porting to Vulkan would be harder than porting it to Metal, if anything. OpenGL wouldn't be easier.

What? Because blizzard said it was because of the state of Mac graphics. What? Practically all games use D3D. What? No, porting to the open standard such as later versions of OpenGL or Vulkan is easier and cheaper then metal.


jeannot said:

Open standards also evolve at very slow pace and are not tailored to any OS, hence why MS develops D3D.
I believe that very few games will use vulkan over D3D, just like with OpenGL. It's not the APIs that explain the state of Mac gaming (at least once Macs have a working one), it's market share. It'll alway be, and always have been.
Vulkan is fine, thank you. You can have your dim opinion of Vulkan, whatever. It is the API that does explain the state of Mac gaming. The API and marketshare are two main factors that developers use to choose if they are going to support the Mac platform.


jeannot said:

OpenGL is on the way out and is stagnating. So developers will have to shift to new and more modern APIs
Yes, OpenGL got replaced with its next generation Vulkan. Unfortunately, Apple has abandoned this open standard.

#22 DirtyHarry50

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Posted 16 July 2017 - 09:07 PM

I would not expect either Microsoft nor Apple to embrace standards outside of their own proprietary ones which they can exercise full control over and which often have other benefits I won't bother getting into here.

Would you expect Microsoft to drop Direct X in favor of any open standard? Why would you expect Apple to drop Metal?

Apple's first priority here was a high performance graphics API for the largest segment of their business running on iOS and secondarily it made perfect sense to capitalize on that work and bring it over to macOS for plenty of valid reasons.

Personally, I see the ultimate result of Metal as being a great and very important step forward for everyone playing games on Apple anything. I see Vulkan as irrelevant at the end of the day. Direct X isn't going anywhere and neither is Metal now. That says to me that Vulkan isn't either but not in a good way.
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#23 Spike

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Posted 16 July 2017 - 09:48 PM

View PostDirtyHarry50, on 16 July 2017 - 09:07 PM, said:

I would not expect either Microsoft nor Apple to embrace standards outside of their own proprietary ones which they can exercise full control over and which often have other benefits I won't bother getting into here.
Apple embraced the open standard of OpenGL for decades. Apple are also a member of the Khronos group that does this standard. All other OS's have Vulkan and will continue to do so.


DirtyHarry50 said:

Would you expect Microsoft to drop Direct X in favor of any open standard? Why would you expect Apple to drop Metal?

No as I have already said, because Microsoft has 90% marketshare and so dont have the need to support the open standard. I dont expect Apple to drop Metal, I am only saying it would be better if they supported Vulkan like everyone else.
If Linux suddenly said they are no longer supporting OpenGL/Vulkan and announced a new proprietary API that only works on Linux systems, what do you think developers supporting Linux games will do then when they have such small marketshare? Linux gaming has been increasing growth a lot lately, even thou there marketshare is significantly smaller then Mac.


DirtyHarry50 said:

Direct X isn't going anywhere and neither is Metal now. That says to me that Vulkan isn't either but not in a good way.

Vulkan isnt going anywhere also and will continue to be supported by everyone else.

#24 Sneaky Snake

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Posted 16 July 2017 - 09:54 PM

Spike, I understand your points about Vulkan. I truly wish that Apple would support it at least a long side Metal (if not in replacement for Metal) but that doesn't change the current reality of graphics API's. I am 100% on board with you about wanting companies to support open standards.

That being said: Metal was available a full year or so before Vulkan, even longer I think if you include Metal on iOS. macOS is just a small portion of the desktop PC market, but iOS is a titan in the mobile market - especially for mobile games. It made a ton of sense for Apple to go with Metal over waiting for Vulkan. Also there are almost zero Vulkan games on the market. Doom, the weird robot puzzle game, and a DotA 2 port (which performs worse than the DX version) are the only ones that I can think of. I am fairly positive that there are more AAA games using Metal then there are using Vulkan. iOS and macOS both supporting and pushing Metal will continue the pressure for developers to support it, and it seems like developers haven't had a huge issue supporting it. Blizzard, for example, has already porting nearly all of their games to Metal.

I'm not trying to convince you that Metal > Vulkan; or that Vulkan is dead. I am simply saying that Metal support for Mac is much better than OpenGL (since Apple's OpenGL support has been abysmal, and Metal is a much higher performance API than OpenGL) and I will commend Apple for at least making the effort in graphics, even if it isn't the exact effort that many of us would have liked to see.
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#25 Spike

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Posted 16 July 2017 - 10:47 PM

Yes Sneaky were on the same page on a lot of stuff. In case your interested, I'll provide my thoughts about what you said:
- I dont see the relevance that the final Vulkan spec was a year after metal. Apple has had so so many techs that became obsolete and are gone. I think the priority needs to be whats in customers best interest and not that Apple has put a lot of engineering into it.
- Yes, iOS is a titan on mobile gaming and Apple thus can do what they want on that platform and developers will develop for it. Yes, its advantageous to support the same graphics API on iOS and Mac. But, Apple could add support for Vulkan on iOS too. Mobile gaming is however not something I care about at all.
- There are a lot more Vulkan games then metal ones, even though Vulkan is a year later. Here is a list of 18 announced games for desktop on Wikipedia(I am not including mobile games).
- Also there are 10 announced game engines that support Vulkan, more then what support metal, even though Vulkan was a year later.
- I see lots of issues with developers supporting metal. Blizzard, for example, has only ported WoW right? Last I saw starcraft and HotS which are same engine are still in metal beta, as there are metal issues. Diablo III has no metal and it is said cannot until it goes 64 bit, hearthstone no metal. No other developer has backported a release to metal. Vast vast majority of new games are still OpenGL, though I expect the future trend of more metal and less OpenGL and some abandonment.
- Yes, metal performance is much better then OpenGL. Although I dont care about the highest performance and mostly interested in developer support, I would like to find a comparison of metal vs vulkan vs directx 12. The only comparisons I have seen have been with metal and directx 11.

Edit: I'll take back that no other developer has backported, sorta. War Thunder is in metal beta. It is a constantly updated MMO so its sorta.

#26 jeannot

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Posted 17 July 2017 - 12:22 AM

View PostSpike, on 16 July 2017 - 07:40 PM, said:

What? Because blizzard said it was because of the state of Mac graphics. What? Practically all games use D3D. What? No, porting to the open standard such as later versions of OpenGL or Vulkan is easier and cheaper then metal.

Blizzard said nothing about Vulkan (or Metal). Being a open standard does not de facto facilitate porting. Vulkan is very hard to use. This is what a developer has to say about it:

Brandon Jones said:

GL -> Vulkan is like complaining that your Prius is too slow, so someone gives you all the pieces of a Ferrari.

Meanwhile, at least one major developer has been praising Metal's ease of use.

#27 Janichsan

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Posted 17 July 2017 - 04:22 AM

View PostSpike, on 16 July 2017 - 10:47 PM, said:

…hearthstone no metal.
Since Hearthstone runs on Unity, that's probably down to pure laziness on Blizzard's side.

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#28 Sneaky Snake

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Posted 17 July 2017 - 07:35 AM

I doubt Hearthstone will ever get a Metal port. The game runs totally fine as it is currently on even the most potato computer.
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#29 Matt Diamond

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Posted 17 July 2017 - 08:29 PM

The state of Mac gaming? Well, the editor-in-chief of Inside Mac Games just posted in his own forums for the first time in years. His topic? PUBG, a Windows-only game. That about sums it up for me. :-)

(Seriously though, my response to the article is to shrug and then go play a Mac game. I'm more hobbled by my old machine than by Apple's missteps, and Apple seems to be making a sustained effort to turn it around. I'll wait and see, and if I eventually give up and buy a console the world won't end.)
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#30 Camper-Hunter

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Posted 17 July 2017 - 11:55 PM

Also many users in this very forum have switched to a PC or console for games. I wonder if there aren't now more Windows and console gamers than macOS gamers here!

#31 the Battle Cat

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Posted 18 July 2017 - 10:17 AM

I'm half and half Mac and PC.  My platform of choice is my beloved mid 2010 Mac Pro but damn, my PC is a fiery Armageddon beast with bats from Hell funneling out of it thanks to Tetsoua and Frost.
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#32 Spike

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Posted 18 July 2017 - 02:46 PM

View PostCamper-Hunter, on 17 July 2017 - 11:55 PM, said:

Also many users in this very forum have switched to a PC or console for games. I wonder if there aren't now more Windows and console gamers than macOS gamers here!

Yea, and I will have to do more. Currently 95% Mac and 5% Win. Only Win game now is Command Modern Air/Naval as others I have been able to get using wineskin. I really hate having to reboot into Winblows and lose all my Mac stuff.

#33 nick68k

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Posted 18 July 2017 - 04:48 PM

View PostCamper-Hunter, on 17 July 2017 - 11:55 PM, said:

Also many users in this very forum have switched to a PC or console for games. I wonder if there aren't now more Windows and console gamers than macOS gamers here!

Still 100% Mac here, and have been since I bought my first piece of Apple kit back in '91.

I realise of course that this precludes me from many awesome gaming experiences....but, that's ok. I'm not a 'serious' gamer by any stretch of the imagination (never have been!), and it'll take me a decade or more to work through my Steam/GoG library at my current rate of progress, so it's all good (man).

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#34 Camper-Hunter

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Posted 19 July 2017 - 12:02 AM

I would still have a Mac if Apple hadn't forced me to switch by not producing desktop towers anymore. I will not put my numerous hard drives and SSDs, and the optical drive (only used a couple times a year now, but still) in cumbersome external enclosures with the cables hell it would become, especially since this computer is in the living room so the WAF is critical :w00t: . The lack of powerful discrete graphics cards, needed for modern games in 1440p, also helped the decision as well.

#35 Cougar

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Posted 19 July 2017 - 02:32 PM

Since I killed my hackintosh I've moved AAA gaming to my PC, but I still play indies and older stuff on my MBP.

One of the reasons why I would wish Aspyr and Feral would port more older games for the Mac.

#36 Tetsuya

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Posted 20 July 2017 - 12:35 AM

View PostSpike, on 16 July 2017 - 07:40 PM, said:

What? Because blizzard said it was because of the state of Mac graphics.

Which has nothing to do with API and everything to do with the fact that Apple barely ships any computers with a GPU.  

When only 10% of your target market could even play the game (and not even at great settings for about half of that 10% of machines that even can)... there's no point.  

You were ... inventing/reading into Blizzard's statement about the state of Mac Graphics as "man it must be that Metal thing screwing it all up!" - when Blizzard has already shown it can implement Metal just fine.  

Quote

No, porting to the open standard such as later versions of OpenGL or Vulkan is easier and cheaper then metal.


The development community doesn't agree with you, with almost every developer under the sun saying it is a nightmare to develop properly for Vulkan.

#37 jeannot

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Posted 20 July 2017 - 01:06 AM

View PostTetsuya, on 20 July 2017 - 12:35 AM, said:

Which has nothing to do with API and everything to do with the fact that Apple barely ships any computers with a GPU.  
I'm note sure since recent Macs can play Overwatch fine in Boot camp.

#38 Boland

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Posted 20 July 2017 - 03:47 AM

View PostSpike, on 16 July 2017 - 10:47 PM, said:

- There are a lot more Vulkan games then metal ones, even though Vulkan is a year later. Here is a list of 18 announced games for desktop on Wikipedia(I am not including mobile games.

Ummm. No there aren't. You're including games that are TBA (star citizen... really?!) as well as quake and quake 3 arena.

Have a look at this list.

https://forums.macru...-games.2045606/

I count far more metal games that you can play today.

#39 DirtyHarry50

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Posted 21 July 2017 - 01:48 AM

Vulkan is for Linux users and maybe Steam boxes. Are those still a thing? lol

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#40 jeannot

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Posted 21 July 2017 - 05:53 AM

On the desktop, I expect Vulkan to be restricted to Linux-friendly games, basically. Doom is a rare exception.