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OS X - Apps and Games Discussion of applications and games available for Mac OS X.

Why companies need to make Mac Games and why they won't.


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sluzniak

 
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I just thought I'd start an interesting discussion. Every Mac user has had the battle cry " We want more mac games" which has been met with either the "switch to a PC" cry or mostly dead silence, with some exceptions. Now everyone here pretty much assumes that the reason is the lack of Mac user base. Which I used to agree on. Untill now, and here is why. For anyone familiar, even remotely, with writing games knows that programers are ultimatly constricted to the hardware they have to work with. Coders for Home consoles like Xbox, playstation and nintendo, have very set limits as to what they can work with, so they have to write very good code for these games.

On the PC however, programers are constataly given faster and faster CPUs, Video cards and memory. SO they can write games as detailed and, unfortunatly, as sloppy as they want. They can use the sub par programers to make the code and if it doesn't run as good on a system, they just up the recommened system specs and be done with it.

If these companys made thier games for Mac, you know they would have to keep the same graphic quality, but tweak the games more and more. Why? Because its much harder to upgrade a mac than a PC. Most people have iMac with fixed video cards so they can't just swap it out with the latest and greatest ATI Or NVIDIA chip that cost about 600.00 to upgrade. So alot of companies just don't bother with it.

Not to mention Im sure that these game makers have plenty of deals with hardware manufactures to take advantage of the latest features, and get a nice kickback as well.

Well thats my rant for now. Anyone have any opinions about this? Just wanted to get the conspiracy theory out there..
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dtownley1

 
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hmm, some very goods point you raised there.

I've always been a console gamer, so the lack of mac games has never bothered me that much. But I think you're absolutely right. If you're building a game to a set series of specs, it will be optimised for those specs, but as you said, if computer game developers decide to throw in more features, effects, levels etc., then the computer user must conform to the new specs created for that game. I think it's for that reason that I've always preferred console gaming.

Also, since consoles are dedicated gaming machines, you know it's going to perform well, and you know what it can and can't do. Also, having the game itself on a disc or cartridge I feel is a clear advantage over a file or multiple files on a HD - everything is then self contained, all the files are where they need to be and so on.
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andy.nico

 
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Mac's were never really made to be gaming machines though were they.
Its just not an issue for many Mac users that use them for their more creative uses.
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Jem

 
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I do find this interesting too, I've never been much of a PC Gamer - not enough free time! But one of the first things I got for my iMac (2.0GHz coreduo) was Quake 4, just to see what this machine could do.

My honest opinion is that I'm very impressed with its capabilities... sure a PC and dedicated graphics etc may manage more FPS than the iMac but it's still more than competent at the task, especially with the multiprocessor patch.

The argument that PCs can be upgraded and programmers write sloppy code is good and I'm sure very true - in my day (!) they used to write games in assembler to get the last ounce of power out of the box, these days C seems to be a common weapon of choice. Without getting into a complex conversation about optimiser efficiency I think it's fairly safe to say CPU cycles are wasted programming in higher level languages.

But then the argument that people write more games for a PC (which can be upgraded) than a Mac which can't kinda falls over when you get to consoles which also can't be upgraded. So as dtownley says, you know what it can and can't do, and this applies to both Macs and consoles.

I'm sorry to say I don't see the clear advantage in a disc or cartridge - when I installed Quake I ended up with one visible application in my Applications folder, the others are hidden from me and will be uninstalled when I uninstall the application, so I don't care in any way how many files may be involved just so long as it's transparent to me.

Personally I do think it's the market size problem, why port when you've already got 90%+ of the market by just creating a PC version. I do hope this will change, I see no reason why my iMac can't play all but the most demanding games in it's current form.

I can't remember what it's called but I did see a program that was a kind of common API for Windows and Mac OS X that developers could use to write applications for both platforms at the same time, maybe that will catch on...
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sluzniak

 
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Well, while it is sort of true that most mac users aren't gamers, the times are a changing. I felt this started with the G5 imacs, and when apple started using a halfway decenet video card (ATI x600 and the X1600) that can support more modern games like Quake 4. Also now that apple has launched into another succucessful if not entertaining advertising* campaign, there are going to be more and more home users coming to mac. I think apple has been doing an excellent job in a long term switch campaign. Get people intrested in apple with the ipod, bring people into an apple store, let them see the OS there, buy a mac mini, switch to intel, and introduce boot camp to lure more PC geeks, and now the new advertising*. And its true what Jem said, Macs are more akin to consoles then anything. I hope that more and more developers will start looking at mac as a more marketable platform, and to get more users to buy thier product.

* Yes the ads have made more people ****** off, and there are countless spoofs out there and many people just plain don't like them. I find them sort of amusing.
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Alexis

 
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The problem is that the graphics cards are poor. My 20" IMac has a Radeon X1600 128mb. You can buy a 256mb version for 60, so you're talking about a 1000 machine with a 50 graphics card in it, which is virtually non-upgradeable.

The market share of Macs with decent processors and graphics cards is tiny, so no wonder nobody makes games for them.
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dtownley1

 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jem
I'm sorry to say I don't see the clear advantage in a disc or cartridge - when I installed Quake I ended up with one visible application in my Applications folder, the others are hidden from me and will be uninstalled when I uninstall the application, so I don't care in any way how many files may be involved just so long as it's transparent to me.
true that a lot of games do run on just an application, but what I was getting at is the simplicity and convenience of discs and cartridges. No installers, it's not stored on the hard-drive. I'd rather have a 1gig game running on a console than sitting on my hard drive. Also, there's no need to worry about specs, setup or anything like that. And I've never been a fan of using a keyboard for games. 3rd party controllers I've used have been extremely dodgy at best, and even then there's additional installations and/or setup to worry about.

I think I just prefer console games since I grew up with a NES and have continued to play console games since then.

I still do enjoy some computer games, mostly older titles though, Age of Empires (although I'm hardly any good) and solitaire.
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zannabianca

 
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I share most of the concerns raised here. In paricular, I am always very wary of installing games on my MacBook... I use my laptop for work, and it one of the monsters from Quake 4 decides to leave the game and enter my computer's filesystem... that's scary! So, I always look for guarantees that the game CAN be uninstalled and CANNOT do any damage....

On another topic: EA announced a few games ported to Mac natively, coming out July 07. Madden 08 is one of them. Haven't been able to try it myself yet, but I welcomed this news. It looked like finally EA decided to support the Mac platform in the end.... a very good sign.

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smurfy

 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by zannabianca View Post
I share most of the concerns raised here. In paricular, I am always very wary of installing games on my MacBook... I use my laptop for work, and it one of the monsters from Quake 4 decides to leave the game and enter my computer's filesystem... that's scary! So, I always look for guarantees that the game CAN be uninstalled and CANNOT do any damage....

On another topic: EA announced a few games ported to Mac natively, coming out July 07. Madden 08 is one of them. Haven't been able to try it myself yet, but I welcomed this news. It looked like finally EA decided to support the Mac platform in the end.... a very good sign.
i too find it fun to reply to threads that are 9 months old.
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