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TF2 on a Mac?
March 3, 2010 1:58 PM   Subscribe

Hang on: Steam is coming to Macs. Christ.

Steam - Valve's hugely successful PC-centric gaming distribution system - will probably be coming to the Mac platform, thanks to a series of teaser images. What will it mean for PC and Mac gaming? Could it be the kickstart gaming on a Mac's needed for so many years?
posted by hnnrs (114 comments total) 12 users marked this as a favorite

 
Yes. I mean, no. Phew.
posted by rxrfrx at 2:02 PM on March 3, 2010


This will allow Mac users to purchase and download tons of games that won't play on their computers!
posted by Babblesort at 2:03 PM on March 3, 2010 [15 favorites]


Yeah yeah Wine. dual boot. I know. I keed with the loving.
posted by Babblesort at 2:04 PM on March 3, 2010 [1 favorite]


thanks to a series of teaser images

BEHOLD THE POWER OF TEASER IMAGES

Incidentally, I'm hiring artists to create a series of teaser images featuring me (a) winning the World Series, (b) getting a billion dollars every time I say the word "nugget", and (c) being made King of Cartoons in a resurrected Pee-Wee's Playhouse. E-mail's in my profile; pay is dependent on power of teaser images and subsequent nugget-to-billion ratio.
posted by Shepherd at 2:06 PM on March 3, 2010 [9 favorites]


Apparently they need to get a 56k Modem and a land line to connect to it though...

Wine and Boot Camp / Parallels have nothing to do with it btw. This (if it's real) is about "PC" games for the Mac. That would of course, be huge.
posted by GeckoDundee at 2:07 PM on March 3, 2010


As T-Rex would say...

Frig.
posted by The Winsome Parker Lewis at 2:08 PM on March 3, 2010


Steam may come to the Mac, but it's unclear how many games currently available on the distribution platform will be ported to the Mac. For a lot of those games, the projected market just isn't there to validate a port and the resultant QA and marketing activity required. Apple doesn't exactly have a hard-on for supporting the core PC games audience. Casual and mobile, sure.
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 2:09 PM on March 3, 2010


DO YOU NOT REALIZE IT IS ALMOST FINALS SEASON YOU FUCKERS

Aw man. So much for Mac reducing my temptation to game instead of working on my thesis.
posted by Schlimmbesserung at 2:10 PM on March 3, 2010 [4 favorites]


This would be nice.
posted by brundlefly at 2:10 PM on March 3, 2010


Incidentally, I'm hiring artists to create a series of teaser images featuring me (a) winning the World Series, (b) getting a billion dollars every time I say the word "nugget", and (c) being made King of Cartoons in a resurrected Pee-Wee's Playhouse.

which, if you were the only barrier to these things coming true, would be a decent indicator of your intent.
posted by shmegegge at 2:11 PM on March 3, 2010


Wow I hope not. I enjoy half-arsed ports of five-year-old games being sold at full price.

It will be really nice to have all Valve's games available on a mac, but I'm not certain that Steam alone will be enough incentive to get other publishers to start porting.
posted by vanar sena at 2:12 PM on March 3, 2010


Steam may come to the Mac, but it's unclear how many games currently available on the distribution platform will be ported to the Mac.

yeah, and that's a problem. I'd be hopeful that having a platform like steam available will expand the market, but who the fuck knows.
posted by shmegegge at 2:12 PM on March 3, 2010


You mean STEAMPUNK, right? RIGHT?
posted by Ratio at 2:12 PM on March 3, 2010


Could it be the kickstart gaming on a Mac's needed for so many years?

Not as long as the hardware remains vastly overpriced for its performance.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 2:13 PM on March 3, 2010 [3 favorites]


Steam may come to the Mac, but it's unclear how many games currently available on the distribution platform will be ported to the Mac.

ou will be able to download literally dozen of games!
posted by Artw at 2:15 PM on March 3, 2010 [2 favorites]


Listen, I just want to play TF2 on something other than Xbox Live (or as I like to call it, "Pay To Get Verbally Abused").

If this makes that happen, they'll get my money. They'll get it hard.
posted by pts at 2:17 PM on March 3, 2010 [1 favorite]


Apple doesn't exactly have a hard-on for supporting the core PC games audience.

I dunno, Apple seems to be moving away from anemic integrated graphics and towards a decent graphics baseline in all of its systems, albeit mostly in order to offload functions onto the GPU via Core Image and OpenCL. The iMac, MacBook Pro, and Mac Pro lines all offer pretty good GPUs these days, and the 9400M in the current MacBooks and Mac Minis can run games from a generation or two ago easily. Sure, older MacBooks aren't going to be so hot for modern games, but the same is true of older low-end Windows laptops too. And of course it's not like those millions of Windows netbooks are going to be running Dragon Age or Bioshock 2.
posted by jedicus at 2:18 PM on March 3, 2010


Those teaser images are fantastic, really, particularly the 'Hello' ad and the '1984' parody. They do a great job of delivering the message and being playful about it.

I think the assumption is that Valve has ported/created Mac versions of Steam and the Source engine (i.e. all Valve games). That's neat, I guess.
posted by graventy at 2:19 PM on March 3, 2010


Apple doesn't exactly have a hard-on for supporting the core PC games audience. Casual and mobile, sure.

Man, have you ever tried to play Katamari Damacy on an iPhone? That's totally hardcore, or at least difficult and frustrating.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 2:22 PM on March 3, 2010 [4 favorites]


That's neat, I guess.

It would be a triumph. HUGE SUCCESS.

(Sadly my mate who complains about the $10 extra he'd have to pay for a mac version of Plants Versus Zombies because he can't get it from Steam may still be left moaning about that every damn time the game comes up in conversation.)
posted by Artw at 2:23 PM on March 3, 2010 [2 favorites]


Thank goodness. The ONLY reason I ever installed windows was to play Steam games. There are plenty of developers that make Mac versions, and publish through Steam. I'm not likely to boot to windows to play Plants vs Zombies or Peggle. Steam for mac? Watch out productivity.

Also, the level of LOLMACS in this thread is nostalgic to me. I haven't heard such mac trash talking since a high school LAN party.
posted by fontophilic at 2:24 PM on March 3, 2010 [6 favorites]


Crap. I was all excited about finally getting a boiler powered Mac.

I don't know if Steam coming to Mac is enough to pull me away from console gaming. I really like not having to jump through hoops to get a game to work, and that was why I stopped playing on the PC, it'll be interesting to see how this plays out on machines with specific hardware; will the constant patching be needed, etc.
posted by quin at 2:26 PM on March 3, 2010


Yeah yeah, "Mac gaming" is an oxymoron, we know already.

Here's the thing, though: While the digital distribution marketplace is fairly well-populated on the PC side (Steam, Direct2Drive, that unfortunate thing Microsoft uses, etc.), there's absolutely nothing like it for Macs.

Yes, this is probably because there are fewer Mac games, but the number of those have been growing recently. Plenty of small-to-medium/indie developers already support Macs -- 2D Boy (World of Goo), Telltale (Sam & Max/Monkey Island), Introversion (Darwinia), PopCap (PEGGLE.) and so on. These are some of the same developers which have already been distributing their games via Steam on the PC side for years. There are also the bigger fish like EA, Blizzard, and now Valve themselves.

The games are already there, so are the players, but the Steam piece of the puzzle has been missing. I'm glad I won't have to switch to Boot Camp to get my TF2 fix anymore, but I'm happier that soon I'll be able to take advantage of the other thing Steam brings to the table like the IM client (I have a few friends who stubbornly refuse to use something more sensible) and the ability to redownload/install any game I've purchased in the past.
posted by The Lurkers Support Me in Email at 2:28 PM on March 3, 2010 [2 favorites]


[NOT WINDOWSIST]
posted by The Lurkers Support Me in Email at 2:29 PM on March 3, 2010


For the price of VMware Fusion, Steam came to Macs a few years back.
posted by GuyZero at 2:32 PM on March 3, 2010


As a long-time Mac user, I have no idea whether I should be excited about this or not. I should probably google to find out what kind of games I'm missing out on.
posted by immlass at 2:35 PM on March 3, 2010


I really don't care if Steam comes to the Mac (I have a mini, but it's pre-nVidia graphics, and I just upgraded my PC for game-playing). Just the thought of Alyx Vance re-enacting the 1984 commercial...

...I'll be in my bunk.
posted by Halloween Jack at 2:39 PM on March 3, 2010


I've been waiting a long time to finally taste some of that delicious cake. I hope it's not a lie.
posted by cazoo at 2:41 PM on March 3, 2010 [3 favorites]


>: Yeah yeah, "Mac gaming" is an oxymoron, we know already.

If they get Steam (and therefore a lot of the 'killer apps' people get Steam for) then that won't be the case anymore.

On the ARG front, I discovered the new radios in Portal yesterday, picked one of them up, and was greeted by... an SSTV signal. OMG. How many people would recognize that burble right away as slow-scan TV?

Of course, it only takes one ham on the forum to give it away.
posted by dunkadunc at 2:42 PM on March 3, 2010


The cake is delicious and frosted just the right amount and just around this corner!
posted by Babblesort at 2:42 PM on March 3, 2010


Also, anyone know what that second "Added valuable asset retrieval" update for Portal was about?
posted by dunkadunc at 2:45 PM on March 3, 2010


wow.

excellent news, if true!
posted by Busithoth at 2:46 PM on March 3, 2010


While the digital distribution marketplace is fairly well-populated on the PC side (Steam, Direct2Drive, that unfortunate thing Microsoft uses, etc.), there's absolutely nothing like it for Macs.

Well me and my digital download of Dragon Age don't know if that's quite true.

In any case this is welcome news as hopefully there will be more first-person-shooters for me to be completely incompetent at in the near-to-mid future.
posted by furiousthought at 2:47 PM on March 3, 2010


For those who missed it, the Portal patch/ARG was just posted here yesterday.
posted by The Winsome Parker Lewis at 2:49 PM on March 3, 2010


Good afternoon General! We're going to spend a little while getting you to grips with the basics of moving your troops around the battlefield, entrenchment, and deployment of squad heavy weapons! Now select your three Rangers using the left button to draw a square around them! That's it, nicely done General! Now with your squad selected, click on the grassy knoll to the north! It's highlighted for you in strobing yellow! Your troops are away! Now that they've arrive at the grassy knoll, you want to entrench them to provide them with extra protection from the enemy, and then deploy the squad's SAW heavy machine gun! Now right click the Ranger squad and select 'Entrench Here'! Come on General, time's a-wastin'! Just hit the right mouse button and select 'Entrench Here' from the context menu! It's getting mighty cold out here General and your Rangers have no protection from the elements or from enemy fire! Just hit the right mouse button, that's all I ask! I know I'm technically your subordinate but I know these controls better than anyone and I'm telling you you need to right-click! You know something, General? You are fucking useless! How'd you get here? Is your daddy responsible? I resign as your NCO! Fight for your own god-damned Tiberium or whatever the fuck!
posted by turgid dahlia at 2:50 PM on March 3, 2010 [19 favorites]


This has nothing to do with this thread, but I just downloaded Final Fantasy on my iPhone and I've been giggling about it all day. I'm so easily amused. $8.99 same as in town.
posted by greekphilosophy at 2:51 PM on March 3, 2010


Also, the level of LOLMACS in this thread is nostalgic to me. I haven't heard such mac trash talking since a high school LAN party.

Ironically I used to take my Macbook Pro to LAN parties anyway because an 8600M GT is "good enough" for me in most games, I could just boot into Windows for the night anyway and I only needed to bring one bag. Great if I wanted to take the train to a LAN instead of driving.

Nobody noticed or cared except for that douchebag. That one douchebag that has to spend his night railing on it. I like slim, I like good looking, I like Unix. So sue me. I use a Mac laptop. I don't piss all over you for using a PC (I'm booted into god damn Windows at the time) and all I want is the same courtesy.

So I kicked his ass at Call of Duty 4 and taunted him with "it must be the Mac".

I'm personally looking forward to Steam simply because it'll mean:

a) Publishers can hook up to a decent digital distribution platform on the Mac
b) It looks like Valve have an OpenGL/Mac port of Source

There are more publishers on the OS X than you'd think. Almost all EA games, all Blizzard games, Aspyr has a list of AAA games as long as your arm and don't forget id doing native games.
posted by Talez at 2:53 PM on March 3, 2010 [11 favorites]


I've been waiting a long time to finally taste some of that delicious cake. I hope it's not a lie.

BAD NEWS, EVERYONE!
posted by Pope Guilty at 2:55 PM on March 3, 2010 [3 favorites]


this could be cool... except what about all the pc games I've already downloaded on steam (through boot camp), because there are (almost) no games for mac? I can't exactly get rid of my windows install.

Dear Blizzard, for the love of god release Diablo III so there will at least be one decent game for mac.
posted by wundermint at 2:56 PM on March 3, 2010


I was just wishing this morning that I had a Mac, and that it supported Steam.

I'm actually not joking.
posted by Nattie at 2:57 PM on March 3, 2010 [1 favorite]


I'm into this.

I already bought Windows for my Mac, and I run steam and have a few games on it and blah, blah, blah - but I'd jump up and down gibbering like a goon if I didn't have to use Windows to get to that cake anymore.

*crosses fingers*
posted by Pecinpah at 2:58 PM on March 3, 2010


>: b) It looks like Valve have an OpenGL/Mac port of Source

and linux is just a hop away
posted by dunkadunc at 3:04 PM on March 3, 2010


Man, I finally get over the violent projectile vomiting and painful rash that occurs every time someone says " th* c*ke is a l*e" or "it w*s a t******" and suddenly there's all this new Valve and Portal news and it all comes back.

This is not to say that I don't look forward to the further adventures of GlaDOS in the HL universe or that I'm not excited about the prospect of Steam on the Mac. Both of those things are freaking rad.

I'm just tired of the vomiting.
posted by eyeballkid at 3:07 PM on March 3, 2010


except what about all the pc games I've already downloaded on steam
That's one of the great things about steam. Once you've bought a game, it's in your list of games. The next column tells you whether it's installed or not. If it isn't, you can download and install it. I've moved from XP32 to XP64 to Win7 and had to download and install all my games all over (including having to install for the RC of Win7 and then the release proper). It's a pain and uses up download quota, but it should mean that any game I've paid for will follow me to whatever OS or platform I move to provided that it supports Steam.

That's why this is big news.
posted by GeckoDundee at 3:11 PM on March 3, 2010 [1 favorite]


But the cake IS a lie!
posted by Artw at 3:12 PM on March 3, 2010


If they had this 10 years ago... I probably would have been a desktop gamer with really bad RSI. As it stands, instead, I play console games and live happily with fully functional limbs.
posted by yeloson at 3:16 PM on March 3, 2010


I would be mildly surprised if Valve insists that users who already own Windows versions of games rebuy them for the Macplatform. Not overly surprised, but I certainly wouldn't expect it.
posted by Pope Guilty at 3:18 PM on March 3, 2010


It's a pain and uses up download quota, but it should mean that any game I've paid for will follow me to whatever OS or platform I move to provided that it supports Steam.

Hm, I know that you can download your purchased games at any time, but I guess I assumed that you'd have to buy it again for mac (them wanting to make money and all). If that's not the case, then sweet deal!
posted by wundermint at 3:20 PM on March 3, 2010


I would be mildly surprised if Valve insists that users who already own Windows versions of games rebuy them for the Macplatform. Not overly surprised, but I certainly wouldn't expect it.

I wouldn't. Many games are ported over by third party companies that receive no royalties for the Windows versions. I wouldn't expect them to be receptive to being forced to give their hard work away for nothing.
posted by Talez at 3:21 PM on March 3, 2010


*blooooortgurgggggggg*

Fuck. Sorry about your shoes Artw.
posted by eyeballkid at 3:21 PM on March 3, 2010


Clever ads. I hadn't really noticed that Apple had built up a whole stock of iconic advertisements that are ripe for simultaneous parody.
posted by painquale at 3:32 PM on March 3, 2010


Play your games on any PC
Once you have a Steam account, you can sign in from any PC to access your games. Your games are associated with your account, not your computer.


I know that I'm quoting a blurb from a web site rather than a legally binding contract, but that last sentence expresses what I always thought to be the appeal of Steam. I agree to a workable DRM / Copy Protection system and in exchange I get what I pay for, i.e. a licence for a game (not a copy of a DVD or the right to a one off install or whatever).

It is win-win all round. Instead of a bullshit CPS that makes me want to find a no-CD crack, I get a system that adds functionality. Valve's attitude to this is a great example of how to deal with piracy in a way that rewards customers instead of punishing them. To renege on that "social contract" just because they can would be out of character and counter-productive. I'd stop buying games through Steam if they did that, not because I own a Mac, but because they would have broken trust.
posted by GeckoDundee at 3:37 PM on March 3, 2010


Shocked how restrained everyone's speculation is. Mark my prediction down as "The announcement will include ports of all the current Valve Source-based titles, and probably some others games to boot."

While the the "hello" ad is Steam-specific, the others are based entirely around Half-Life 2, Team Fortress 2, and Left 4 Dead without any reference to Steam. Valve either A) wants us to shout from the rooftops, "Half-Life 2 is coming to Macs!" or B) is very stupid. I'll go with A.

And it's a huge win for both Valve and gamers: when I moved last February I put my PC in a box and haven’t bought or played a Steam game since, even though I used to be a loyal customer (and have a little brother who's been begging me to buy L4D 2 and play it with him since Christmas).

It's crazy how many people are of the mind-set that Mac users are casual gamers only. Apple itself may only embrace casual gaming on its casual devices, but look at the demographics: Apple computers have a 40% and growing market share on college campuses (and much higher at elite liberal arts institutions). Those college students used to be hardcore PC gamers! I've been wondering for a while if PC gaming was just going to go the way of the dodo (with consoles picking up the slack)—but if Valve can bring PC gaming to Macs, I'm all-in.

(Maybe this is why HL3 is going to take so long...)
posted by rafter at 3:39 PM on March 3, 2010


To renege on that "social contract" just because they can would be out of character and counter-productive. I'd stop buying games through Steam if they did that, not because I own a Mac, but because they would have broken trust.

Redownloading a game you bought for Windows onto another Windows box downloads the same code. A Mac port would be entirely different.
posted by kmz at 3:41 PM on March 3, 2010 [1 favorite]


Talez, I hear you, but they wouldn't be giving them away for nothing (unless the only people to download them were PC to Mac migrants who had previously bought the game through Steam). Bringing Mac users into the fold would increase the market.

I do wonder though if third parties would be given the option of not having their games available on MacSteam. I guess it would come down to the terms of the contract the original distributors had with Valve.
posted by GeckoDundee at 3:43 PM on March 3, 2010


"Mac"? More like "bad".
posted by colinshark at 3:43 PM on March 3, 2010


I do wonder though if third parties would be given the option of not having their games available on MacSteam.

I don't think you can hold a gun to a developer's head and force them to make a Mac port. Or force them to let another company make a Mac port. A port of a game from any platform to another is basically a completely new piece of software.
posted by kmz at 3:46 PM on March 3, 2010


TF2 on xbox live is actually pretty decent, compared to the cesspool that is Modern Warfare.
posted by empath at 3:46 PM on March 3, 2010


Shit. I'm gonna need a bigger hard drive. On the other hand, less yelling down the stairs:

A_potato is playing Garry's Mod.
Another_potato You kids get going on your homework!
A_potato Awwww!
posted by gamera at 3:47 PM on March 3, 2010


Also, I'm not sure how this will be useful. What are there two games available for Mac? Three?
posted by empath at 3:48 PM on March 3, 2010


This just proves that Macs are just toys and not serious computers.
posted by mazola at 3:51 PM on March 3, 2010 [5 favorites]


Actually, if you go to an Apple Store (the last one I was at was the one in Indianapolis around Christmas of 2008), there's a couple of large shelves full of Apple games. I recall them mostly being casual-style games, but there's a surprising number of top-tier games getting ported.

And of course Blizzard as a matter of policy releases all their games for both platforms.
posted by Pope Guilty at 3:52 PM on March 3, 2010


Redownloading a game you bought for Windows onto another Windows box downloads the same code. A Mac port would be entirely different.

Again, I see the reasoning, but "Your games are associated with your account, not your computer" is pretty clear to me and it's what induced me to switch to Steam for buying games. If the deal is "Your games are associated with your account, not your computer, unless there's a large amount of code to be re-written", I don't know that I'd be too happy. I'm not even sure that the games I own are the same code on Win7 64 as they were on XP32.

Obviously someone has to write the Mac code and they have to be paid. Third party developers have to get something out of the deal too. I imagine the legal and marketing implications were as much work as the technical aspects though and I expect Steam to keep to the spirit that attracted me in the first place.

As to forcing people to make ports, it would be more a case of forcing them to stick to the terms of their agreement for distribution through Steam. Again, I expect Valve have thought this through and I would hope they do the right thing by all involved. We'll see.
posted by GeckoDundee at 3:55 PM on March 3, 2010 [1 favorite]


I'm so excited I'm assuming the party escort submission position!

Coincidentally, my BootCamp installation completely destroyed itself a few hours ago. Maybe I'll take this opportunity to give up on booting into Windows for the occasional game.
posted by ecurtz at 4:03 PM on March 3, 2010


Civ V
Civ V

Civ V
Civ V
CIV V

posted by robocop is bleeding at 4:04 PM on March 3, 2010 [7 favorites]


If they get Steam (and therefore a lot of the 'killer apps' people get Steam for) then that won't be the case anymore.

Awww, don't take their one-button mouse myth away!
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 4:14 PM on March 3, 2010 [3 favorites]


As to forcing people to make ports, it would be more a case of forcing them to stick to the terms of their agreement for distribution through Steam.

but...somehow I doubt that when game developers sign up to distribute their games through steam, there is some agreement that includes "by the way, you're required to port your games to any platform we decide steam goes on".

from the valve ads, it looks like specific games have already been or are being ported. Then I would imagine it would be up to the other game developers if they're going to provide a port or not, their choices being "do I want to create a mac port and increase my audience" or "nah, maybe later". anyway that's my gut reaction to how it seems to work. time will tell.
posted by wundermint at 4:17 PM on March 3, 2010


Talez, I hear you, but they wouldn't be giving them away for nothing (unless the only people to download them were PC to Mac migrants who had previously bought the game through Steam). Bringing Mac users into the fold would increase the market.

They would be giving it away if Mac users got free ports of their Windows games that use different publishers on the Mac.
posted by Talez at 4:22 PM on March 3, 2010


They'd be giving it away to those users, yes. Sorry. I wasn't clear about that.
posted by GeckoDundee at 4:28 PM on March 3, 2010


The only way I could conceivably see a "free love" style ecosystem would be if Windows publishers paid a royalty to Mac developers/publishers for the port. Perhaps a small surcharge for a "universal" license or a smaller fee for PC only or Mac only games.

Ports certainly don't involve the same effort but they still are a hell of a job to get done.
posted by Talez at 4:34 PM on March 3, 2010


Back in the day, I'd go to Electronics Boutique and pity the small Mac shelf of games, while marvelling at the walls of PC offerings, none of which I could afford.

Nowadays if I go into a Gamestop and find the single lonely PC rack, while the rest of the store is dedicated to consoles and their accessories.

Computer gamers unite!
posted by Busithoth at 4:47 PM on March 3, 2010 [1 favorite]


Mac critics: I am right-clicking the hell out of you arseholes right now.

You can't see it but a little menu keeps popping up asking if I want to open you in a new tab.
posted by Rory Marinich at 4:51 PM on March 3, 2010 [9 favorites]


Now that Macs are Intel based, many games are being unofficially ported to OS X by dedicated communities like the one at The Porting Team, for free. I don't know all of the technical details, but it seems that these kinds of ports are moving beyond the standalone Cider wrapped applications (which make up many of the official ports, like those done by Transgaming) to external WINE engines referenced by the wrapped application.

Using this kind of software, you can already play many "Windows only" games on OS X; including most Valve games (Portal, L4D and HL2 all work quite well). Some games work perfectly, many have small texture or performance issues, and some have HUGE issues that make the game pretty much unplayable (sometimes fixable by tweaking settings, sometimes not). Also, for games like the Left For Dead series or Modern Warfare 2, the lack of Steam functionality means it's very hard to play online using the OS X versions.

If game developers don't port their games to OS X, someone else will, especially as the resources to easily do so develop and spread. In one scenario developers make money and have a solid product on the market, in the other they make no money and there is an inferior/unstable product on the market (that's assuming the developers can make better ports than the current community of amateurs).

There are a lot of externalities that I haven't mentioned or even thought of, I'm sure, and I don't know what the cost of porting and running QA tests on a typical game these days, but judging from the number of unofficial ports it seems like it's getting cheaper and easier to do. The release of Steam for Mac is huge news, and I would be pretty surprised if most new games released for PC are not cross platform.
posted by soy bean at 4:57 PM on March 3, 2010 [1 favorite]


Mac critics: I am right-clicking the hell out of you arseholes right now.

You can't see it but a little menu keeps popping up asking if I want to open you in a new tab.


I just middle click on it with my Logitech G9x and Safari opens in a new tab for me.
posted by Talez at 5:54 PM on March 3, 2010


Product A Possibly Available For Use Soon With Product B! FILM AT 11!!!!11
posted by DU at 6:14 PM on March 3, 2010


Selffffff Liiiiinkkkkkkk: I wrote this up today as a feature in case you're looking for another perspective. Personally, I'm excited but don't see a hell of a lot happening unless Valve has way more up their sleeves than we think.
posted by BlackLeotardFront at 6:45 PM on March 3, 2010


I think the most important thing to point out is that the people at Valve have proven pretty well that they're not a bunch of idiots. Steam on a Mac, whatever it's going to entail exactly, is going to be pretty awesome.

These were the guys who brought us Left 4 Dead, you know.
posted by dunkadunc at 6:57 PM on March 3, 2010


will probably be coming to the Mac platform

Confirmed earlier today by Inside Mac Games:
IMG has learned that Steam for the Mac has been in the works for well over a year and was first shown to Apple at last year's WWDC event back in June 2009. Since then the company has been porting its client along with several games to the Mac. It is expected that a full announcement will be made at next week's Game Developer's Conference, which is scheduled to run from March 9th to the 13th.
I'd be more enthusiastic if I hadn't already purchased the Orange Box for Windows or if Valve hadn't held up licensing a HL2 Mac port for an outrageous up-front payment. Then again, Apple has never particularly supported "hardcore" gaming on the Mac, and with the distracting success of casual games on the iPhone/iTouch, the future still looks rather grim.
posted by Doktor Zed at 7:51 PM on March 3, 2010


I came to this thread to find out what delicious new thing called Steam was to be available at Macs. I now leave disappointed.
posted by jimmythefish at 8:12 PM on March 3, 2010


Steam on iPad, though ... that would be something.
posted by luriete at 9:24 PM on March 3, 2010


I was disappointed to buy the Orange Box for the PS3, only to find out its games do not connect to servers that work with PC gamers. Is this console-to-PC incompatibility the norm for Valve and other game companies?
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 10:24 PM on March 3, 2010


Yep, that's pretty standard. You can't play PS3 to 360 either.
posted by the biscuit man at 10:27 PM on March 3, 2010


As an iMac owner who spends a lot of time booting XP for TF2 and L4D2, this is amazing news.
posted by themadjuggler at 10:31 PM on March 3, 2010


Yep, that's pretty standard. You can't play PS3 to 360 either.

Lame.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 11:17 PM on March 3, 2010


As a developer, macs do have the attraction of leaning a little towards the benefits of consoles. Machines are roughly the same, and with known specs. One hassle with Windows is the crap that each person can put inside their Windows machine, and how that crap behaves.

But OsX could use a little more API support for game developers too.

But I would really like to see Steam of OsX. Maybe one can use it to sell non-games too?
posted by lundman at 11:19 PM on March 3, 2010


Hmm... Source is Direct X based isn't it? Does this mean they've potted Direct X, or ported Source to OpenGL?
posted by Artw at 11:36 PM on March 3, 2010


>: Hmm... Source is Direct X based isn't it? Does this mean they've potted Direct X, or ported Source to OpenGL?

Well, they were able to get the engine running on the PS3, which doesn't have Direct3D- suggesting that either they've got an OpenGL renderer or some workaround that probably binds the Direct3d calls to OpenGL. I'm not a programmer but that's my guess.

If Valve just wanted to just get Steam itself running on a Mac (GCF decrypting and updating, Friends, etc.) that in itself would be relatively trivial- they just wouldn't have anything to offer over it.
The bigger problem, and what Valve seems to have overcome here, is porting the Source engine over to the Mac. Because the same engine (more or less) is used on all of Valve's big games1 (the games most people get Steam for in the first place) once they've ported the renderer they've pretty much ported all their games- I wouldn't think the game-specific code would take many changes to switch platforms.

If Valve shares their Mac-specific code, outside Source developers could use it to port their games as well without having to reinvent the wheel each time- and voila, most Source games could be available over Steam for Mac.

1 Hell, Portal used to identify itself as Half-Life 2 in the taskbar. You can still use the console to spawn HL2 NPCs.
posted by dunkadunc at 12:04 AM on March 4, 2010


Also, anyone know what that second "Added valuable asset retrieval" update for Portal was about?

The ending has changed. (Not by much though).
posted by GeckoDundee at 12:29 AM on March 4, 2010


Now is not a bad time to bring up MeFight Club, where a bunch of MeFites who like gaming (and a few cool people who aren't MeFites but played with us, liked it and stayed) hang out. I think almost all of us are on Steam, a bloody big bunch play TF2 and a slightly smaller bunch play L4D2. And a few other games.

When the Mac Steam thing finally gets done, if you're a happy new convert to it, come on over and join us. We'd be glad to have you.

The only reason I installed Windows 7 on my Mac Mini was games. I suspect a lot of the games available on Steam won't be able to run in OS X, but will be pleasantly surprised if they figure a way for all of them to do so, and I for one will be happy to go back to the Mac as my primary OS.

Or to welcome our newly bilingual overlords, whichever you prefer.
posted by WalterMitty at 12:31 AM on March 4, 2010 [2 favorites]


Transgaming has been offering Portal and the Steam workplace for over a year, albeit with considerably bugginess. It's been my impression that the process of porting for most games these days involves slapping on and debugging licensed Direct X libraries.
posted by KirkJobSluder at 4:11 AM on March 4, 2010


Blazecock Pileon: I was disappointed to buy the Orange Box for the PS3, only to find out its games do not connect to servers that work with PC gamers. Is this console-to-PC incompatibility the norm for Valve and other game companies?

It's for the best. The dreamcast version of Quake 3 tried that a while back. It turns out that high resolution + mice / keyboards are quite a bit more effective than low resolution + gamepads. It was something of a slaughter.

I hope Macs are on the same servers with PCs, but I wouldn't bet on it. To do that, they'd have to synchronize patch deployment on both platforms, which would be fairly difficult.
posted by Mitrovarr at 7:18 AM on March 4, 2010


They did it more recently with the abomination that walks under the name of Shadowrun and it was the same story.

Mitrovarr, Blizzard manages it with WoW, so it's clearly entirely possible. They're very similar companies- both have the same "it comes out when we're ready to release it and not before" mentality.
posted by Pope Guilty at 7:24 AM on March 4, 2010


The main reason you don't see cross-platform multiplayer these days is because Sony and Microsoft just won't allow it. Online 360 play has to take place over XBox Live, online PS3 has to take place over PSN, and online PC play takes place over whatever ad-hoc system the developers create (as has been the case since time immemorial). You think Microsoft or Sony are going to hold hands and play nice with any old dev team that comes along, or even with each other? Hell no.

Since the PC and Mac versions of the Source engine would both be under Valve's control, I don't see why they wouldn't be able to play together. Heck, the dedicated servers run on Linux already, so they're no strangers to multi-platform stuff. Not the case with the console versions, where patches have to go through long and expensive QA cycles. The 360 port of TF2 doesn't have any of the class updates yet, because Microsoft won't let Valve release them for free. The PS3 port was handled by another company entirely (EA) and as far as I know is still at v1.0.

Shadowrun supporting cross-platform play between Windows and Xbox was something of a special case, since it was developed by a Microsoft-internal dev studio (FASA). To play online in Windows required a paid XBox Live subscription, which was one of the reasons the game totally tanked. (Others included requiring Windows Vista at a time when very few gamers had upgraded, releasing at almost the same time as Halo 3, dissolving FASA and killing long-term support, and charging full price for an online-only multiplayer shooter with a handful of maps. The game itself was actually pretty damn good, if you disregarded the utter misuse of the Shadowrun license)
posted by The Lurkers Support Me in Email at 8:30 AM on March 4, 2010 [1 favorite]


Mitrovarr: So far, synchronizing patches for all OS flavors hasn't proven to be a problem for Blizzard (World of Warcraft), CCP Games (EVE Online), or NCSoft (City of Heroes). The latter two use Cider. Game design tends to be written at a high level of abstraction anyway..
posted by KirkJobSluder at 8:55 AM on March 4, 2010


I don't think this is really about Steam going after the Mac platform, although that is the most immediate and tangible result. I think this is the first step in Steam getting a toehold into the largest mobile platform out there.
posted by monju_bosatsu at 9:34 AM on March 4, 2010


Again, a version of Source that works with OpenGL would be useful for that.
posted by Artw at 10:51 AM on March 4, 2010


how important is opengl on macs these days? I'm asking because I don't know. I know that macs can now be bought with nvidia cards, which normally support directx. I also know directx is MS property, so I don't know if it simply doesn't work with OSX or what.
posted by shmegegge at 11:04 AM on March 4, 2010


My understanding is that all Mac graphics are done via OpenGL and they wouldn't want to touch DirectX with a stick. There may be people finding ways around that though.
posted by Artw at 11:13 AM on March 4, 2010


Although the details are a bit sketchy, it appears that Cider translates DirectX calls to Nvidia's CG. At least what Transgaming advertises is that you can wrap a game in a Cider shell with few or no modifications. The big problem has been Microsoft's strict control over DirectX.
posted by KirkJobSluder at 11:30 AM on March 4, 2010


I will pretty much never forgive Shadowrun for destroying the Shadowrun license like that. It's an absolutely perfect setting for an MMORPG, and that's probably never going to happen now that the suits have that game to point at to justify not using it.
posted by Pope Guilty at 12:05 PM on March 4, 2010 [1 favorite]


never forgive Microsoft, that is.
posted by Pope Guilty at 12:08 PM on March 4, 2010


Oh yeah, and by the way: the Half-Life 2 pre-release beta I've got has an OpenGL and a software renderer.
posted by dunkadunc at 3:49 PM on March 4, 2010


OpenGL does not strictly require hardware acceleration. There have been all-software implementations of various flavours of OpenGL for ages.
posted by GuyZero at 3:59 PM on March 4, 2010


According to Macworld today, Valve is bringing HL2, Portal, and a couple of other games over as well.
posted by KirkJobSluder at 8:39 PM on March 5, 2010


The press release Valve sent out today clears up a lot of questions.
posted by The Lurkers Support Me in Email at 10:45 AM on March 8, 2010 [1 favorite]


Portal 2 will be Valve’s first simultaneous release for Mac and Windows. “Checking in code produces a PC build and Mac build at the same time, automatically, so the two platforms are perfectly in lock-step,” said Josh Weier, Portal 2 Project Lead. “We’re always playing a native version on the Mac right alongside the PC. This makes it very easy for us and for anyone using Source to do game development for the Mac.”

Neat. Sounds like Source is pretty robust.
posted by Artw at 10:52 AM on March 8, 2010


Bringing Steam to Mac will give gamers several cross-platform benefits, Newell said.
If players already own the PC versions of Valve games, they’ll get Mac versions at no extra charge through a feature called Steam Play.

By using the Steam Cloud feature that the company introduced in 2008, players can save in-progress games online, then call up those saved games no matter which version they’re playing. If you’re playing Half-Life 2 on your home PC but then head out on the road with your MacBook, you can continue your game-in-progress.
posted by shmegegge at 11:04 AM on March 8, 2010


New thread

(I'm thinking it's sufficiently un-doubley that it will probably stay up.)
posted by Artw at 11:16 AM on March 8, 2010


Artw: Nope! :)
posted by ChrisR at 11:25 AM on March 8, 2010


As for this announcement... Valve, thank you. My orange box license has been gathering dust since I nuked my boot camp partition years ago. This announcement reduces me to a quivering puddle of happy.

Plus, maybe the DOSBox-based older games will make this transition. I wonder if anyone at Valve has talked to the author of Boxer about helping to provide this support?
posted by ChrisR at 11:27 AM on March 8, 2010


Ah, that's a shame. Would have leaned the other way myself.

/shrugs.
posted by Artw at 11:32 AM on March 8, 2010


Portal was a fantastic game but I haven't played it since I retired my old Windows box. Now if I can just remember my Steam account info...
posted by beowulf573 at 12:00 PM on March 8, 2010


I wonder if there's any chance of a Half Life Source port for the Mac?
posted by sourwookie at 12:10 PM on March 8, 2010


Well... theoretically if Source has been ported, and is sufficiently robust that they think nothing of running off builds of games in both platforms whenever they check in, then everything that is developed using Source could be carried over to Mac without any requirement for porting.

What the reality of that with 3rd parties is I would be very interested to know. Certainly if people go around Source and try manipulating graphics directly there's a pretty good chance it's going to break.
posted by Artw at 12:17 PM on March 8, 2010


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