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Steam for Mac
May 12, 2010 12:51 PM   Subscribe

Steam, the hugely popular online videogame distribution network, is now available for the Mac. MeFi favorite Portal is also free via the service (both Mac and PC) until the 24th. (previously)
posted by mkultra (246 comments total) 30 users marked this as a favorite

 
Great, I can finally play Portal!

I feel like I'm the only person who's never played it.
posted by reductiondesign at 12:52 PM on May 12, 2010 [10 favorites]


As someone who might be buying a nice shiny new Macbook soon, this is awesome news.
posted by dunkadunc at 12:53 PM on May 12, 2010


NYOINK.
posted by Ambrosia Voyeur at 12:54 PM on May 12, 2010


Hey productivity! Come on in, have a seat. Ok. This is never easy. Boy, I hate this part of the job. Look, I'll come right out and say it: It's not working out. I don't think there's really a place for you here anymore. So hey, get the fuck out now.
posted by Mister_A at 12:54 PM on May 12, 2010 [42 favorites]


reductiondesign, nope, not the only one. Yay I finally get cake!
posted by lekvar at 12:55 PM on May 12, 2010


Allow me to be the first one to wail that TF2 should have come out first.

But I'm still looking forward to playing through Portal again and seeing how that Open GL Source runs.
posted by mccarty.tim at 12:55 PM on May 12, 2010 [1 favorite]


reductiondesign, nope, not the only one. Yay I finally get cake!
posted by lekvar at 3:55 PM on May 12 [+] [!]

About that cake....
posted by Verdant at 12:56 PM on May 12, 2010 [12 favorites]


Don't be sad, Linux folks. There's a Steam client for Linux, which I think is only internal to Valve ATM.
posted by mccarty.tim at 12:56 PM on May 12, 2010 [1 favorite]


I think the cake you get is metaphoric.
posted by mccarty.tim at 12:57 PM on May 12, 2010


No, it's real! Real I tells ya!
posted by Mister_A at 12:57 PM on May 12, 2010


This is exciting news. I don't know what it means for me, exactly. I bought Portal for Windows on DVD-ROM when it came out, and registered it on Steam. Does this mean I can now download the game in its entirety, for free, on my Mac? 'Cause that sounds pretty cool.
posted by The Winsome Parker Lewis at 12:58 PM on May 12, 2010


Anyone notice how "And Yet It Moves" seems awfully similar to the HL2 mod "Flipside"?
posted by dunkadunc at 12:58 PM on May 12, 2010


Finally, the Apple platform has caught up to 2003.
posted by kafziel at 12:58 PM on May 12, 2010 [2 favorites]


About that cake....

Woah, spoiler alert!
posted by reductiondesign at 12:58 PM on May 12, 2010 [1 favorite]


So.....if I've purchased the Orange Box through Steam for my PC, do I have to buy it again to play it on my Mac? Honestly wondering here before I install Steam.
posted by spikeleemajortomdickandharryconnickjrmints at 12:58 PM on May 12, 2010


I am not a programmer, but why hasn't anyone come up with a truly cross-platform gaming platform? Sort of like Java, that you have a platform-specific Java runtime on your machine, but the Java app that you develop is itself cross-platform? That's always puzzled me, why wouldn't game devs want this? Develop the game once, and greatly expand your audience?

When I heard Steam was going to be available for Mac, I thought, "Neat! Maybe they'll do Steam for Linux now, and I can finally ditch Windows for most of my gaming!" But after seeing the very limited selection of Mac games on steampowered.com, it looks like Steam really is just a content delivery system (like direct2drive is), and not really a "platform" at all. Pity.
posted by xedrik at 12:59 PM on May 12, 2010


Yep, TWPL. That's how Steam Play works. It also works for Civ 4, World of Goo, and it will work for all of the other Source engine games once they make it over.

You activate a game via Steam, either by buying it in a store or online, and you get it on both platforms.
posted by mccarty.tim at 1:00 PM on May 12, 2010 [1 favorite]


Does this mean I can now download the game in its entirety, for free, on my Mac?

Yes.

So.....if I've purchased the Orange Box through Steam for my PC, do I have to buy it again to play it on my Mac?

No.

See here.
posted by clorox at 1:01 PM on May 12, 2010 [1 favorite]


Well, relax guys. If you want to get work done, just make your primary OS Ubuntu. So long as you don't install Steam via Wine or wait a few months, you'll be fine.
posted by mccarty.tim at 1:02 PM on May 12, 2010 [1 favorite]


Yay!
posted by brundlefly at 1:03 PM on May 12, 2010


I am not a programmer, but why hasn't anyone come up with a truly cross-platform gaming platform? Sort of like Java, that you have a platform-specific Java runtime on your machine, but the Java app that you develop is itself cross-platform? That's always puzzled me, why wouldn't game devs want this? Develop the game once, and greatly expand your audience?

The basic answer is that graphics run through an interpreter like a virtual machine are too slow for serious game development. They need to happen as close to the hardware level as possible. Virtual machines by their nature are several steps removed from the hardware level.
posted by Babblesort at 1:03 PM on May 12, 2010 [1 favorite]


Xedrik, there's a development engine called Unity that lets developers export their games to a ton of different platforms. As in Mac, PC, browsers (with a plugin), iPhone/iPad/iPod, Wii, Xbox 360, and more. It's not exactly like Java, in that it needs different binaries for different platforms and there's no VM, AFAICT, but it's much less work for the developers to port something.
posted by mccarty.tim at 1:04 PM on May 12, 2010


How well is Portal going to work on iMacs that have a 1-button mouse?
posted by spikeleemajortomdickandharryconnickjrmints at 1:05 PM on May 12, 2010


HOW CAN YOU M.A.C. USERS PLAY GAMES WITHOUT A RIGHT-CLICKING MOUSE? HURF DURF
posted by entropicamericana at 1:05 PM on May 12, 2010 [19 favorites]


Thanks, clorox, that's fucking awesome.
posted by spikeleemajortomdickandharryconnickjrmints at 1:05 PM on May 12, 2010


There are all sorts of cross platform game engines. Valve's Source engine just hasn't been one of them. Gabe Newell is notoriously PC centric, and Valve has had a "less than perfect" history as far as porting goes prior to this.
posted by ecurtz at 1:06 PM on May 12, 2010


Oh man I would be so happy if they do the Total War series
posted by ghharr at 1:06 PM on May 12, 2010 [2 favorites]


Even Valve is getting in on the HURR ONE BUTTON MICE! meme. Click on to About Steam, and see the system requirements for Mac.
posted by mccarty.tim at 1:07 PM on May 12, 2010


Steam should have a way to comment/post on MeFi and play Portal at the same time. I wanted to get in on the Gaga thread before it burnt to the ground.

I would have said something like, "Hurr even I don't like this thread guize!"
posted by mccarty.tim at 1:08 PM on May 12, 2010


Hm, I can download my previously-purchased-for-PC Torchlight perfectly fine, but Civ IV remains 'not available on your platform' when I view it in my library. Well, that's probably for the best, actually.
posted by threetoed at 1:10 PM on May 12, 2010


WOAH! YOU CAN COMMAND-TAB OUT WITHOUT IT FLIPPING THE FUCK OUT!
posted by mccarty.tim at 1:12 PM on May 12, 2010 [6 favorites]


I think you have to buy a 3rd party game through steam to get them.
posted by mccarty.tim at 1:13 PM on May 12, 2010


Even Valve is getting in on the HURR ONE BUTTON MICE! meme. Click on to About Steam, and see the system requirements for Mac.

To be fair, there are some lingering, aging Power Macs and Mac Pros out there which predate the current incarnation of touch-surface mice (the magic and mighty mice) which are still beefy enough to play many games - the previous default apple mouse was a one button mouse - and the touch-mice can be a bit hinky when you're doing rapid right and left clicking - so it's not a totally unreasonable thing to recommend. (since a USB mouse costs about dick.50 these days)
posted by device55 at 1:14 PM on May 12, 2010


New friends! Yay!
posted by Weighted Companion Cube at 1:15 PM on May 12, 2010 [11 favorites]


Just installed Steam on my Mac, and got an update message:
"To update to this new version, click the File menu in Steam, then select "Check for Steam client updates..."

File menu? Nonono.
posted by Dipsomaniac at 1:17 PM on May 12, 2010


The Unity3D engine mccarty.tim mentioned uses Mono for scripting. It compiles your Javascript, Boo, or C# scripts into an intermediate form which is then "just in time" compiled at runtime on the target machine. So not exactly a VM, but pretty similar in practice.
posted by ecurtz at 1:18 PM on May 12, 2010


Also there is no Source game that can be completed without the ability to left-click while holding down the right mouse button. Which is a feat touch-surface mice are incapable of.
posted by kafziel at 1:19 PM on May 12, 2010


I remember reading about the possibility of this happening awhile ago, and I'm as confused now as I was then. Does this mean that all these hundreds of PC-only games are now playable on Mac?
posted by roll truck roll at 1:20 PM on May 12, 2010


When I heard Steam was going to be available for Mac, I thought, "Neat! Maybe they'll do Steam for Linux now, and I can finally ditch Windows for most of my gaming!" But after seeing the very limited selection of Mac games on steampowered.com, it looks like Steam really is just a content delivery system (like direct2drive is), and not really a "platform" at all. Pity.

Actually, I think you're incorrect here.

According to Phoronix, both Steam and the Source engine are coming to Linux/Mac.

This means HL2/TF2 and many more...
posted by OwenMarshall at 1:22 PM on May 12, 2010 [2 favorites]


I am not a programmer, but why hasn't anyone come up with a truly cross-platform gaming platform? Sort of like Java, that you have a platform-specific Java runtime on your machine, but the Java app that you develop is itself cross-platform?

The first answer is that platform-independent programs tend to be painfully slow. The second is that Valve has ported Source to Mac, has announced that all of their games will be made available for Mac. It will also be easy to port Source games across.


Does this mean that all these hundreds of PC-only games are now playable on Mac?

No, Steam is a content delivery platform. It can now sell games for Macs, however, and Valve's games will all be made available on the Mac.
posted by Pope Guilty at 1:24 PM on May 12, 2010


WOW YEAH IT'S TOO BAD NO TWO-BUTTON MOUSE CAN EVER BE PLUGGED IN TO A MAC EVER

Jeez, people. Do you know anyone who games who uses a Magic/Mighty Mouse? Or their trackpad? 99% of my friends (including me) game on Macs booted into Windows and we all have our trusty Logitech or Microsoft two-button external mice. This isn't "Hey, all these people who've only ever used Macs and OSX and Mighty Mice can now game." This is "Hey, all you people who were keeping around 2 OSs or 2 computers to game now can cut back to one."
posted by olinerd at 1:25 PM on May 12, 2010 [8 favorites]


The fact that it launches, downloads a 33MB update for itself then promptly crashes doesn't make me feel great about the chances of the ported games running smoothly.
posted by him at 1:25 PM on May 12, 2010


I wonder if the sequel to Portal is going to come out soon? That might be another reason they're letting you play Portal for free.
posted by Mitrovarr at 1:25 PM on May 12, 2010


Servers are crazy busy, which makes me sad; I'm even sadder that I decided to support the goddamn develpers and buy Torchlight directly instead of via Steam. Ditto Half-Life 2. Poop!
posted by Shepherd at 1:27 PM on May 12, 2010


Downloading now. 5gigs holy shit.
posted by chococat at 1:28 PM on May 12, 2010


Half Life 2 is a Valve game that needed to be activated through Steam. You'll get it when it's ported.
posted by mccarty.tim at 1:29 PM on May 12, 2010


I think that Valve has figured out that Apple is the future of PC gaming.

Almost every Windows PC that the average consumer buys off the shelf has a horrible Intel integrated graphics chip. So you end up in a situation where most of the users who have the hardware to run your game are the people who build their own computers. These are more technical users, and being technical users they are more likely to understand how to obtain pirated software.

Meanwhile, most of the Macs that have come out over the past few years have dedicated Nvidia or ATI GPUs. And the Mac userbase seems to be much more accustomed to paying for software, most notably through an Appstore/Steam interface.

So while Microsoft is cannibalizing its PC gaming audience for Xbox (see the joke that is Games for Windows Live as well as DirectX 10 not being available on XP), Macs are slowly and quietly becoming the ideal gaming platform.

Somewhere, Lucifer is shopping for a parka.
posted by Uncle Ira at 1:29 PM on May 12, 2010 [9 favorites]


Anyone else finding portal crazy slow when you stand near a portal? That's kinda... sad.
posted by mccarty.tim at 1:30 PM on May 12, 2010


Also, the radios make new noises when you kill them. Sounds like Combine chatter. OMG more embedded portal 2 secrets?
posted by mccarty.tim at 1:33 PM on May 12, 2010


After an extremely rough few months, I have had an opportunity to get Penumbra Overture for a good price, and now I have an opportunity to get Portal for free. I've been wanting to play these games for years, I just haven't had a fast enough system. This is great, now I finally have a fast enough system and both of these games are in my price range... oh, Penumbra doesn't run with my graphics card. Checking the support page, one of the developers says it will never run with my graphics card. Oh, okay. I'll just download Steam then and enjoy Portal for free. Steam won't run with my operating system. I can't upgrade my operating system without spending more money than I have. Oh, okay.

I have no idea where all this bad Karma came from, but if I believed in a personal god, I would say that he is taunting me.
posted by 517 at 1:35 PM on May 12, 2010


For anyone else wondering about Civ IV, might be worth keeping an eye on this thread. It's possible that Steam Support will eventually post a helpful response there (I know, lol).
posted by threetoed at 1:36 PM on May 12, 2010


Nevermind, I had my settings too high. Turned it down to low res textures (boo), and it works just fine.
posted by mccarty.tim at 1:37 PM on May 12, 2010


Also, the radios make new noises when you kill them. Sounds like Combine chatter. OMG more embedded portal 2 secrets?

http://www.portalwiki.net/
posted by killdevil at 1:38 PM on May 12, 2010 [1 favorite]


I am not a programmer, but why hasn't anyone come up with a truly cross-platform gaming platform?
World of Warcraft, and all the other modern Blizzard games are cross platform.
posted by Threeway Handshake at 1:39 PM on May 12, 2010


In related news, Steve Jobs announced today that all games played on OSX must be written in Objective C or JavaScript.
posted by ryoshu at 1:40 PM on May 12, 2010 [8 favorites]


Goodbye Crossover Games!
posted by malaprohibita at 1:40 PM on May 12, 2010 [1 favorite]


Will I be able to play HL Source? Cause I've had the oddest craving for HL1.

I wish I could just play the last half again because I'm sick to death of the first half).
posted by sourwookie at 1:42 PM on May 12, 2010


Meanwhile, most of the Macs that have come out over the past few years have dedicated Nvidia or ATI GPUs.

Actually, most PCs nowadays that aren't bargain basement don't have onboard video but GeForce/Radeon cards in the system. They're not always fast, but unless you're out to play Bioshock 2 in 1920x1080, they'll do.
posted by dw at 1:44 PM on May 12, 2010 [1 favorite]


I wish I could just play the last half again because I'm sick to death of the first half

This! Steam, please remember if I beat a game, and let me jump ahead if I had. Or heck, let me jump ahead out of the box. I paid you, it's my game, lemme do what I want.
posted by mccarty.tim at 1:45 PM on May 12, 2010


It must be getting hammered bad. I keep getting blank pages in both Safari and Firefox.
posted by Thorzdad at 1:45 PM on May 12, 2010


I'm curious about the OSX version of Civ4 that is supposedly available on Steam. (The store says it is, but it doesn't show up in my games list as downloadable yet.) Aspyr ported the game and the first expansion (Warlords) to OSX years ago, but they never bothered to (or weren't paid to) port Beyond The Sword. I wonder how the Steam version of the mac port relates to all this.
posted by The Lurkers Support Me in Email at 1:46 PM on May 12, 2010


I wish I could just play the last half again because I'm sick to death of the first half
It is also supposed to sync your saved games, so load up the old ones onto the Windows version.
posted by Threeway Handshake at 1:47 PM on May 12, 2010


When was the last update from Black Mesa?
posted by Artw at 1:47 PM on May 12, 2010


Oh hey, Aspyr DID port BtS. I guess the Mac version we get on Steam will be their ports, then. Never mind.
posted by The Lurkers Support Me in Email at 1:48 PM on May 12, 2010 [1 favorite]


>It must be getting hammered bad. I keep getting blank pages in both Safari and Firefox.
posted by Thorzdad at 4:45 PM on May 12 [+] [!]


eponysterical
posted by mccarty.tim at 1:49 PM on May 12, 2010


Where were the Unity advocates in that thread the other day? "How dare you ask me to install a three meg browser plugin!"

But yes, Portal 2 is in the works right now, which gave Valve yet another opportunity to do something awesome like this.
posted by First Post at 1:49 PM on May 12, 2010


I have exams starting in five days.

This isn't helping.

42% downloaded - hey, the quicker I get it over with, the quicker I can get back to revising!
posted by djgh at 1:52 PM on May 12, 2010


Ah! And good news for me (Torchlight fan) from the Torchlight forums:

Our current plan is to supply all unlock keys from players who purchased from Runic ( and Perfect World is planning to do the same ) to Steam so that those customers get the Mac version via Steam as well, if they want. WE DON'T HAVE A DATE FOR THIS YET - we'd like the smoke to settle just a bit from the launch first so that we have a chance to react if there is anything that needs to be adjusted for the Mac release, and the Valve folks are going to be pretty busy for a few days as well, I imagine. I will let you know as soon as this is scheduled.

I can be patient.
posted by Shepherd at 1:53 PM on May 12, 2010



I wish I could just play the last half again because I'm sick to death of the first half
It is also supposed to sync your saved games, so load up the old ones onto the Windows version.


I wish, but those files are nearly a decade old on PCs I don't own anymore.

And...no Mac version yet.
posted by sourwookie at 1:54 PM on May 12, 2010


Now is as good a time as any to pimp MeFight Club, the absolute best place to go if you want to hang out/game with like-minded MeFi gamers.

Also, I have four copies of TF2 that I'd be happy to gift to our Mac gamer friends. Just drop me a MeMail if you want one. Looks like the game isn't available just yet but it'll hopefully arrive in a week or two.
posted by Diskeater at 1:54 PM on May 12, 2010 [6 favorites]


5 gig? Jesus...

And then when I try to start the install the servers are too busy. Please come back later. I'm going to forget all about this. I'm not going to come back later. Or ever. I just know it.
posted by jontyjago at 1:55 PM on May 12, 2010


I wish my G5 had lived to see the day... I've been scraping on a ghetto hand-me-down PC for the last year and an half. (Still do most of my gaming on console, though).
posted by yeloson at 1:56 PM on May 12, 2010


I think that Valve has figured out that Apple is the future of PC gaming.

That is a huge leap.
posted by adamdschneider at 1:57 PM on May 12, 2010


Yay, no more avoiding Portal spoilers, *scrunches eyes shut* delicious cake shall be mine!

Except the website is down :(
posted by BrotherCaine at 1:58 PM on May 12, 2010


WOW GUYS WHO WOULD HAVE THOUGHT A SMALL-ISH GAME COMPANY'S SERVERS COULDN'T HANDLE EVERY MAC USER DOWNLOADING 5 GIGS FROM THEM AT THE SAME TIME HAMBURGER LET'S ALL COMPLAIN ABOUT IT.
posted by Threeway Handshake at 2:00 PM on May 12, 2010 [4 favorites]


Hey, some of us are still running Tiger, you know. My lawn, etc.
posted by uncleozzy at 2:00 PM on May 12, 2010 [1 favorite]


Excuse me, I need to change my pants.
posted by sciurus at 2:01 PM on May 12, 2010 [1 favorite]


For those of you complaining about the file size, please understand that a huge portion of that (probably 4 gigs) is the Source engine itself, which is held in a common location. Once you have one Source engine game, you only have to download the content for the rest of the Source games. (The exceptions are the Left 4 Dead games, which inexplicably require their own copies of Source.) So when it comes time to download TF2 and the HL2 games, or CS:S or DoD:S, you'll only have to download the game-specific assets because the engine will already live on your computer.

So yeah, it's sticker shock now, but as more Source games become available, it becomes a better and better deal because the files for each game are a gig or two instead of five or six.
posted by Pope Guilty at 2:12 PM on May 12, 2010 [2 favorites]


I've downloaded it, and FWIW I've noticed that you can download any game you've already bought that will work on the Mac -- I bought Braid a while back (and actually remember playing it in Windows in Boot Camp) and it's popping up as available for download. So it doesn't just apply for Portal being free for the next couple of weeks.
posted by malthas at 2:14 PM on May 12, 2010


I’m just waiting for the first complaints about the interface not being mac-y enough.
posted by Artw at 2:15 PM on May 12, 2010


I’m just waiting for the first complaints about the interface not being mac-y enough.

Too late!
posted by Pope Guilty at 2:16 PM on May 12, 2010


Yay, no more avoiding Portal spoilers, *scrunches eyes shut* delicious cake shall be mine!

You might want to sit down for this.
posted by Pope Guilty at 2:16 PM on May 12, 2010 [6 favorites]


mccarty.tim: "Also, the radios make new noises when you kill them. Sounds like Combine chatter. OMG more embedded portal 2 secrets?"

Yes, welcome to a few weeks ago.
posted by boo_radley at 2:25 PM on May 12, 2010


Browsing around the various related forums, it seems that the offer is not "Play Portal for free until the 24th, when you have to buy it," but "Buy Portal for $0. This offer is good until the 24th."

And for anyone who's been missing out on the Half-Life 2 awesomeness, I have a copy of Half-Life 2 and Half-Life 2 Episode 1 that I can give away. Just send me a MeMail.
posted by clorox at 2:40 PM on May 12, 2010


I’m just waiting for the first complaints about the interface not being mac-y enough.

The multi-gigabyte data files are stored in ~/Documents/. They belong in /Users/Shared, dammit. And every time they release a minor TF2 patch, Time Machine have to back up the whole dang .gcf file again. Waaaaah.
posted by The Lurkers Support Me in Email at 2:40 PM on May 12, 2010 [2 favorites]


Meanwhile, most of the Macs that have come out over the past few years have dedicated Nvidia or ATI GPUs.

Portal minimum requirements

Windows
1.7 GHz Processor, 512MB RAM, DirectX® 8.1 level Graphics Card (Requires support for SSE), Windows® Vista/XP/2000, Mouse, Keyboard, Internet Connection
Mac
OS X version Leopard 10.5.8, Snow Leopard 10.6.3, 1GB RAM, NVIDIA GeForce 8 or higher, or ATI X1600 or higher, Mouse, Keyboard, Internet Connection
My work Mac Pro 1,1 (Aug 2006) with Nvidia GeForce 7300 GT won't play Portal, but my Jan 2006 iMac Core Duo at home will play it when booted in Windows. 2008 Mac Pros should be compatible.

few = 2?
posted by morganw at 2:58 PM on May 12, 2010


The funny thing is I'm reading this on Bootcamp.
posted by biochemist at 2:58 PM on May 12, 2010




Yeesh. This is exactly why God invented Torrents.
posted by kaibutsu at 3:07 PM on May 12, 2010


As long as this means that there is a concurrent release for Civ V on the Mac, I am all for it.
posted by briank at 3:10 PM on May 12, 2010 [1 favorite]


I hope Portal's doesn't disappoint me performance-wise the way Dragon Age for Mac did. Man, that was a letdown.
posted by ignignokt at 3:20 PM on May 12, 2010


morganw: Portal minimum requirements

Interesting. Looks like your work Mac Pro is perfectly capable of playing Portal if you boot it in Windows instead of OS X.
posted by kafziel at 3:20 PM on May 12, 2010


I am not a programmer, but why hasn't anyone come up with a truly cross-platform gaming platform?

I am a programmer- The platform is XNA. Possibly also Unity. Basically, times are better than ever for game developers.
posted by colinshark at 3:22 PM on May 12, 2010


I'm making a note here: huge success.
posted by l33tpolicywonk at 3:33 PM on May 12, 2010 [6 favorites]


The platform is XNA

XNA is for Windows and XBOX360. It is proprietary .NET and is not really cross-platform in the way that a number of other OpenGL/C++ frameworks are.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 3:42 PM on May 12, 2010


So, think my MacBook Pro 3,1 will be able to competently pwn noobs in TF2? Portal runs smoothly when I turn the settings down more than I'd like.
posted by mccarty.tim at 3:42 PM on May 12, 2010


Man, what we really need is Steve Jobs to piss on this cake by saying that Steam will drain our batteries and be way too closed for the completely open OSX environment.
posted by mccarty.tim at 3:43 PM on May 12, 2010


XNA isn't cross platform (unless you consider XBox360 a different platform from Windows). But there are a lot of options out there for game engines that are.
posted by ecurtz at 3:45 PM on May 12, 2010


http://store.steampowered.com/freeportal/:
Failed to load web page (unknown error).-324
Thanks, Valve!
posted by autopilot at 3:52 PM on May 12, 2010


Try refreshing, autopilot, it works for me.
posted by Pope Guilty at 3:57 PM on May 12, 2010


I've been wondering since the announce if and when the big publishers will follow Valve in this. It's true that some game engines are already supporting Macs (Unreal Engine 3, for example), but still, I have no idea what's the cost of turning the back-catalog mac-friendly.
For this process to work there's also to convert a bunch of middleware that is currently windows-only (Euphoria and Speedtree comes to mind). And how about the countless DRMs solutions that are used to protect the games?

Also, using some of the features Steam for mac is offering means you don't have to rely on GFW or write your own implementations for some common problems (like multiplayer, match-making, cloud-syncing, etc), but that also means you have to make a game that it's gonna be played just through Steam (even if it's sold in stores or alternative systems like D2D or Impulse).
If you browse through Steam, you can see it's a very small subset of games that are offering the whole Steam experience. Most of the big names are still using traditional DRMs, some are sailing on the GFW ship and some others are still using their closed and often stupidly complex systems (think Rockstar). Steamworks, the cloud system and anything else that Valve tried to launch in the last couple of years pretty much failed to establish itself as a standard.

I still see this as a good move, and something that it's gonna be useful for indie developers and the whole casual industry (many of them are already working for both platforms).
But I still think the chance of seeing many AAA Titles (old and new) crossing over is pretty slim.
posted by darkripper at 4:04 PM on May 12, 2010


I feel like I'm the only person who's never played it.

Nope, I haven't either. Now I finally get to see just how good it is.
posted by homunculus at 4:18 PM on May 12, 2010


Excellent. I played this, what, two years ago on the PC partition of my iMac. Now I don't have to boot into that, nice. I just hope Valve would hurry up on that sequel. And, some advice to them that they won't read and it's too late anyway: for the sequel get us outside. Get us a world to play around in, even sandbox-style would be nice. My only gripe with Portal is the repetitiveness of all the levels.

(And I don't wanna brag (ok, I do) but I live in Japan and downloading this game took about 4 minutes. No joke. When I finally found the download status screen the bar, the game was about 80 percent done and my download speed was 9 Mb/s. My torrents will hit 1, 1.5 or even 2 Mb/s, but through Steam it's absurdly fast.)
posted by zardoz at 4:24 PM on May 12, 2010


"The Steam servers are currently too busy to handle your request". Hopefully they'll be no-busy at some point before Portal stops being free again.
posted by octothorpe at 4:24 PM on May 12, 2010


What sort of DRM does Steam use? Does installing Steam involve installing a component into your OS kernel that will affect your machine's performance even when you're not playing games?
posted by acb at 4:25 PM on May 12, 2010


Does installing Steam involve installing a component into your OS kernel that will affect your machine's performance even when you're not playing games?

When installing Steam, I didn't get any request to authenticate with my OS X credentials, which would be required to install an OS-level component.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 4:44 PM on May 12, 2010


I love Valve games so much, I'd let Gabe strap a bomb to my kidney to keep me from pirating.

And I also use Ubuntu. Figure me out.
posted by mccarty.tim at 4:46 PM on May 12, 2010


No. Nothing of the sort, acb. Steam's got about the least-invasive, most customer-friendly take on DRM you can have. I still loathe it on principle, but I understand that they wouldn't have anything like the kind of deep game library from such a wide array of publishers they have if they didn't have some kind of copy protection.

5 gig? Jesus...

Heh. 5 Gb? One of my good Mefight Club friends gifted me the Rockstar Complete Pack a week or two ago -- that's up over the 40Gb mark, I think.

I wouldn't be surprised if there's a significant number of Steam users who have downloaded a terabyte or more from the service.


I've always been someone who thought it was an end-of-civilization thing for people to claim that they 'loved' companies or products, but hell, I love Valve.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 4:47 PM on May 12, 2010 [2 favorites]


I like to think of Valve as a club of gifted programmers, artists and writers who just so happen to get paid by the adoring public. So it's okay to love them.
posted by mccarty.tim at 5:01 PM on May 12, 2010


All of my old Steam games (that I haven't played in years) are still there. Nice!

Time to give in and finally buy Civ 4. Goodbye free time.
posted by i_have_a_computer at 5:15 PM on May 12, 2010


Goodbye Crossover Games!

Purely by coincidence, today Codeweavers announced Crossover version 9.0.0, which includes 8,300 internal Wine changes (and, erm, support for the new Steam GUI).
posted by Doktor Zed at 5:17 PM on May 12, 2010


Fun fact I learned today: Apparently Invader Zim is partially responsible for the existence of Portal.
posted by hellojed at 5:21 PM on May 12, 2010


There doesn't seem to be any mac system requirements listed for Torchlight. Anyone know if it would run alright on an '07 MBP? I'm getting tired of waiting for Diablo III, and the game looks similar....
posted by Thoughtcrime at 5:26 PM on May 12, 2010


What's the particular appeal of buying Civ 4 through Steam? Civ games aren't the best-suited for multiplayer... (my understanding is that MP Civ 4 is basically "let's build big stacks of catapults")

I hope Portal's doesn't disappoint me performance-wise the way Dragon Age for Mac did. Man, that was a letdown.

Dragon Age's performance is... okay I guess. I just wish they'd support it, you know, once or twice.
posted by furiousthought at 5:27 PM on May 12, 2010


What sort of DRM does Steam use? Does installing Steam involve installing a component into your OS kernel that will affect your machine's performance even when you're not playing games?
Steam doesn't have any form of DRM. That's up to the games that you download & install through Steam to take care of. So, it depends on what games you purchase.

On Vista and above, it does install an operating system service with admin privileges, but that's just so Steam can work around some wonkiness related to filesystem permissions for saved game data and stuff, nothing related to DRM ickyness.
posted by The Lurkers Support Me in Email at 5:39 PM on May 12, 2010


While this is certainly good news for Mac users and cross-platform gaming I really doubt it is because Valve thinks that Macs are the future of gaming. They probably don't think it won't be either. What I mean is, with the amount of market share Macs have it's just good business sense to ensure your products work on the largest number of computers as possible. The upcoming Linux support is probably a nice side-effect of porting to Macs. Since Macs are Unix-based already it is probably much less effort to port Steam and Source to Linux from Macs than it was to port Steam and Source from Windows to Macs. If Macs don't become 'the future of gaming' this would still have been a good decision for Valve.
posted by Green With You at 5:44 PM on May 12, 2010


What's the particular appeal of buying Civ 4 through Steam? Civ games aren't the best-suited for multiplayer... (my understanding is that MP Civ 4 is basically "let's build big stacks of catapults")

Steam isn't a client for multiplayer games. Steam is a distribution platform for games with built in chat and stats features. Games are downloaded and updated automatically over any computer your Steam account is running on, meaning that I have Civ installed at home and at work (and after tonight, if the glitch is fixed, on my Mac.).

Plus the entire CivIV collection was $10 last week. Full game, all expansions, which is how I got it.

So, uh, those two reasons.
posted by eyeballkid at 5:55 PM on May 12, 2010


Also, I purchased Torchlight today, after occasionally launching the demo for the last few months and never committing to a purchase. I'm pretty excited about the whole steam cloud game and the idea that my saved game will follow me around from my work PC to my home Mac. (Provided they've got that particular feature working cross platform.)
posted by eyeballkid at 5:58 PM on May 12, 2010


Whoops. Meant this: Steam isn't a just client for multiplayer games.
posted by eyeballkid at 6:01 PM on May 12, 2010


Ah. Ten bucks for all of Civ 4. I speak that language! Too late for me though.

Torchlight looks pretty good. I've been playing Din's Curse lately which is a lot rougher-looking but quite fun actually.
posted by furiousthought at 6:05 PM on May 12, 2010


Yay, now I have something other than Quake Live to play on my imac.
posted by cazoo at 6:12 PM on May 12, 2010


I'm getting tired of waiting for Diablo III, and the game looks similar....

Imagine that Diablo got a Saturday morning cartoon in the late 80s/early 90s. Now imagine that this cartoon in turn received its own game. Torchlight is that game.
posted by adamdschneider at 6:33 PM on May 12, 2010 [4 favorites]


Is anyone else just getting a black screen after they click on the "get portal now" button? It's not an error, just... blackness.
posted by NoraReed at 6:37 PM on May 12, 2010


So Torchlight is nethack with a 3D interface with a cartoon interface? oh my layers of abstraction...
posted by Artw at 6:40 PM on May 12, 2010


Steam doesn't have any form of DRM. That's up to the games that you download & install through Steam to take care of. So, it depends on what games you purchase.

Steam is DRM. You can't run or play any game bought through it without having the client running in the background, connected to the Steam network. There is an offline mode, but that requires that you have successfully connected to Steam at least once, and they keep breaking and fixing it every other week.
posted by ymgve at 6:58 PM on May 12, 2010


I should mention for those new to Valve's offerings: their QA department is legendarily... inconsistent. On the other hand, they patch stuff literally continuously. So problems can be a bit frustrating, but are rarely frustrating for long.

Steam is DRM.

That's overstating at bit, though I don't disagree with you. Steam is a revolution; it's reshaping the face of computer gaming, revitalizing the indie development community, keeping old, much-loved games available and playable, a friends-connection tool for gamers that actually works, and a whole lot more.

It's also, conceptually, digital rights managed to the core. It's the least-restrictive DRM system I think I've seen in the industry, but, yeah, DRM sucks.

It's a tradeoff I kept myself from making for a long time, but now, I literally can't imagine going back to the bad old days. I'll buy an old game on Steam to have it 'forever' on any computer I want to play it on rather than trying to find a torrent of something ancient and then patch it up and get it working right on a modern computer. And, if it's got multiplayer, I've got hundreds of Steam friends who might want to play it with me.

We're just having a Mefight Club revival of Rocket Arena 3 (the arguably greatest mod for Quake 3 -- my favorite at least) which is going on 10 years old now, and I'm loving it.

Other companies are getting on the digital distribution bandwagon, of course, but none are very close to catching up all the good stuff (if you can swallow the digital rights management pill) with Steam.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 7:08 PM on May 12, 2010 [1 favorite]


Man. Torchlight saves aren't cross platform compatible, so no Steam cloud.

*reboots into Windows*
posted by eyeballkid at 7:19 PM on May 12, 2010


Steam is DRM without the thongs that make DRM suck, to the point where you'll be wondering what all the fuss about DRM was about in the first place.
posted by Artw at 7:19 PM on May 12, 2010 [1 favorite]


You'll wonder what the fuss was about until you actually encounter the of the limits of the system. Don't like the changes introduced in a patch? Sucks to be you, all patches are mandatory. Got your account hacked and the hacker cheated in a game? You'll be permanently tagged as a cheater. Chargeback or other credit card related mishaps? Your account(s) will be permanently closed and disabled and you lose all your games.
posted by ymgve at 7:42 PM on May 12, 2010 [1 favorite]


Some older games run just fine without Steam active- mostly games which are old enough to not be easy to modify to make them run with Steam or simply not worth bothering. The older iD games- Commander Keen, Wolfenstein, and Doom, and maybe Quake 1 and 2- are examples.

The only DRM in Steam is that you have to have it running to play your game. That's it. When you're not using your games, you close Steam and put the DRM away.
posted by Pope Guilty at 7:49 PM on May 12, 2010


Minorly off-topic, but I just realized I have a free gift copy of Half Life 2 and another of Half Life 2 Episode 1 to give away. Memail me and they're yours. No Mac versions yet I'm afraid, but hey, free PC games!
posted by killdevil at 9:53 PM on May 12, 2010


For those, like me, who don't want their Steam Content data stored in their documents folder (since my backup system grabs ~/Documents for me, and I don't need to backup their game data or saves, since that is what Steam is for), you can just move the folder and symlink to it without an issue.

mv ~/Documents/Steam\ Content /Users/Shared/
ln -s /Users/Shared/Steam\ Content ~/Documents/Steam\ Content

Should do the trick. Also, it adds the app as a login item (I'm guessing to check into their buddy list service). I would like it if they did an "everyone on this machine is this steam id" option, that would install it globally, but also respect a "each user has their steam id" in case someone actually shared their machine with someone else who had their own steam accounts (which in that case, it also appears it would download duplicate copies of games as well).
posted by mrzarquon at 9:56 PM on May 12, 2010 [1 favorite]


(I guess to be pedantic, games / executables / map data should be stored in /Library/Application Support/Valve/Steam Content, and they could have put *my* game information, and steam specific ID information in ~/Library/Application Support/Valve that could be stored in my .plist, but the steam system may encrypt the entire thing with my user id, so a global application directory wont work for them)
posted by mrzarquon at 10:07 PM on May 12, 2010


Is anyone else just getting a black screen after they click on the "get portal now" button? It's not an error, just... blackness.

Yes. I got that, too, but then I checked the Library "tab" and the download shows up there.
posted by effwerd at 10:35 PM on May 12, 2010


"click the big red "download" button right there to the left."

Excuse me, the big red SUPERCOLLIDING SUPER-"download" button.
posted by doubleozaphod at 11:10 PM on May 12, 2010


Downloaded Portal to my Mac. It appears to be extremely dull, and so far I'm baffled by all the hype for it.
posted by salmacis at 2:26 AM on May 13, 2010


Yeah, I thought I wouldn't like Portal, but a few hours later I'm on level 14 and considering staying home from work.
posted by emelenjr at 4:15 AM on May 13, 2010


Yay, Portal runs on my laptop! I had to drop the resolution to get decent frame rates but it looks pretty good.
posted by octothorpe at 5:13 AM on May 13, 2010


Download of Portal complete! Just in time for work!

I wouldn't be surprised if Steam's network is slammed not just by Mac gamers but by tens of thousands of Windows gamers discovering that they can get Portal for free now, too.
posted by ardgedee at 5:19 AM on May 13, 2010


> For those, like me, who don't want their Steam Content data stored in their documents folder (since my backup system grabs ~/Documents for me, and I don't need to backup their game data or saves, since that is what Steam is for)

Alternately, if you don't mind where Steam sits but simply don't want it backed up, go into System Preferences -> Time Machine -> Options, and exclude ~/Documents/Steam.
posted by ardgedee at 5:51 AM on May 13, 2010


OK, Portal ran great even with 12 other apps open on a recent-model MBP with 4 GB RAM!
posted by ignignokt at 6:51 AM on May 13, 2010


I'd hate to be the guy who decided to purchase Portal the day before it went free.
posted by grubi at 7:13 AM on May 13, 2010 [1 favorite]


Portal for free ? Noooooooooooo, I just bought it last month!!!
posted by Pendragon at 7:43 AM on May 13, 2010


> Alternately, if you don't mind where Steam sits but simply don't want it backed up, go into System Preferences -> Time Machine -> Options, and exclude ~/Documents/Steam.

True, but moving Steam Content out of your ~/ is also helpful if your computer is running filevault, as you really don't want all that game data sitting ontop of your encrypted sparsebundle that is your home folder.
posted by mrzarquon at 7:53 AM on May 13, 2010


Downloaded Portal to my Mac. It appears to be extremely dull, and so far I'm baffled by all the hype for it.

I'd like to hear more about this- what don't you like?
posted by Pope Guilty at 8:02 AM on May 13, 2010


It's more a case of, what is there to like about it? Plant the block on the button. Woo. A clever twist (the portals) doesn't stop it being fundamentally unexciting. If I want to play a puzzle game I play plenty of Freecell.
posted by salmacis at 8:23 AM on May 13, 2010


Salmacis: at risk of being a spoiler, once you get through the 18 test chambers, the game's just getting started. You're essentially in an extended tutorial right now. Which is still a lot of fun if you enjoy puzzles.

But in any case, it's not really an FPS, it's a puzzle game at its core.
posted by chundo at 8:25 AM on May 13, 2010


Yeah, the game really gets going once the testing ends and the cake begins.
posted by Pope Guilty at 8:28 AM on May 13, 2010


Then I'm almost through the testing. Enjoying it so far.
I was a bit annoyed by Steam taking over my computer whenever I rebooted until I found the pref to turn that off. So it's all good now.
posted by chococat at 8:30 AM on May 13, 2010


I'll keep at it then.. I'm still struggling to see what's so fun about it, but I'll give it a fair shot.
posted by salmacis at 8:37 AM on May 13, 2010


If you don't like puzzles involving moving things through portable holes, you probably will not like Portal.
posted by Artw at 8:39 AM on May 13, 2010


If you don't like puzzles involving moving things through portable holes, you probably will not like Portal.

Also puzzles involving flinging yourself through the air at unreasonably high speeds (with portable holes).
posted by Pope Guilty at 8:44 AM on May 13, 2010


There's the odd moving object passing through a portable hole puzzle as well... basically if you don't like portable holes, and puzzles, don't bother.
posted by Artw at 8:48 AM on May 13, 2010


Oh, and cake. There's cake at the end. You'll like it if you like cake.
posted by Artw at 8:48 AM on May 13, 2010


I'm tempted to play through just to find out what all this talk about cake is..

NO SPOILERS!
posted by salmacis at 8:50 AM on May 13, 2010


I almost didn't try Portal because I hate both FPS and games that gamers enjoy. But then it turns out that I enjoy both portable holes and puzzles, and so really enjoyed Portal.
posted by uncleozzy at 8:53 AM on May 13, 2010


I'm pretty ambivalent about portable holes and puzzles. A childhood spent watching Wile E Coyote repeatedly end up on the wrong side of portable hole puzzles may've traumatized me.

But damn do I like cake.
posted by ardgedee at 8:57 AM on May 13, 2010


I only like cake if it's cold. Like refrigerator-cold. Will this cake be cold? I won't eat it if it's room-temperature.
posted by uncleozzy at 9:05 AM on May 13, 2010


Oh, this is the cake game. There's a spoiler about the cake at the very end of Dragon Age, so watch out if you're playing that too.
posted by homunculus at 9:05 AM on May 13, 2010


Thanks, guys. Now the phrase "portable holes" is stuck in my head.

Portal is great, but I've been playing that in Bootcamp for a while. However, I am new to Torchlight and am enjoying the heck out of it.
posted by brundlefly at 9:17 AM on May 13, 2010


At least it's not a potable hole. I don't even know how that would work.
posted by Pope Guilty at 9:26 AM on May 13, 2010


In short:

Like physics? Portal is for you.

Like industrial decay, sci-fi, and out-of-control artificial intelligence? Portal is for you.

Like fl-l-l-l-inging yourself into space? Portal is for you.

Like a video game with a kick-ass female lead character? Portal is for you.

Like short (5-10 hours total playing time) games? Portal is for you.

Like games that require a little bit of thinking and strategy and puzzle solving, but not too tremendously much? Portal is for you.

Like having a Jonathan Coulton song played for completing the game? Portal is for you.

Like shooting, maiming, or gutting orcs, terrorists, German soldiers, or pissed off aliens? Portal is not for you.

Like hanging out with hormone-drenched 15 year old kids on gaming networks whose main knowledge of women comes from FHM and manga? Portal is not for you.

Like cake? Portal is for you. But see, the cake... you'll have to find out for yourself.
posted by dw at 9:34 AM on May 13, 2010 [3 favorites]


Like shooting, maiming, or gutting orcs, terrorists, German soldiers, or pissed off aliens? Portal is not for you.

Now wait a second...
posted by Artw at 9:38 AM on May 13, 2010


NO SPOILERS!

There are indeed no spoilers in the cake. Who would want that? They'd be all crunchy and carbon-fiber-ey.

But there are fished shaped candies. And sediment shaped sediment. And rhubarb. On fire.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 9:45 AM on May 13, 2010 [2 favorites]


What if you like shooting and maiming orcs and aliens and like physics and Jonathan Coulton?! *vanishes in a puff of contradiction*
posted by kmz at 9:45 AM on May 13, 2010


Thanks, guys. Now the phrase "portable holes" is stuck in my head.

This should help.

Not sure if that's the right URL, but no way am I going there from work to check.
posted by inigo2 at 10:09 AM on May 13, 2010


In my experience, Portal starts off very easy (the first half-dozen levels are a tutorial) then quickly ramps up in difficulty. In my opinion it strikes a nice balance between twitch and figuring out how to solve the problem. The second half was a bit frustrating in that it added the complication of figuring out exactly where you can put portals. And along the way they do a great job of dribbling out more and more disturbing detail.
posted by KirkJobSluder at 10:20 AM on May 13, 2010




Yeah, I think Portal has the ideal difficulty curve for a game, and just enough twitch to be engaging without turning off less skilled gamers.

And it's a puzzle game with a FPS interface. It's not a FPS by any stretch of the imagination.
posted by mccarty.tim at 11:35 AM on May 13, 2010


Speaking of interface.. when I load up Portal and click "New Game," a window pops up with a bunch of buttons that have no text on them. So I don't know what I'm selecting to do. Anybody else having this problem? Running 10.5.8 on an MBP.
posted by phaedon at 12:20 PM on May 13, 2010


Ars puts the number of Steam for Mac releases on opening day at 43.

Which strikes me as a great thing for Macintosh gaming, getting games has been a tricky process of figuring out:
1) Has it been ported?
2) Who publishes the Mac port?
3) Who distributes it?
4) In what medium?
5) Is it still in print?

So you have something like Darwinia, with two different publishers for Windows and OS X, only one of which is currently stocked on Amazon.
posted by KirkJobSluder at 12:55 PM on May 13, 2010


I love Valve games so much, I'd let Gabe strap a bomb to my kidney to keep me from pirating.

OK....

all patches are mandatory. Got your account hacked and the hacker cheated in a game? You'll be permanently tagged as a cheater.

Still want that kidney-bomb?

Trusting computers with saving people's lives is scary enough, but putting lethal force in computers' hands without careful auditing of the code and sensing capable of detecting a human in the no-zone around a gigantic welding arm or AI with Asimov's laws is asking for trouble.

We don't need to wait for Skynet; robots have already killed people. So have cars rolling down hills 'cause someone forgot to set the e-brake, but autonomous UAVs are spare-time buildable. The first step for battlefield UAV automation will probably just be loiter/linger or flying to a distant target, but target selection coul d follow.

Consider PRML hard drives: "creating" a signal out of what looks to a human like pure noise. When advanced image processing is used for a UAV's camera, who's to say whether a bunch of pixels is a bad guy or not? iPhoto thinks architectural features are faces.

This is also an argument against DRM; putting non-human, strict judgement in charge of our cultural legacy means we might lose the Zapruder film or Infinite Jest because someone lost the key.
posted by morganw at 2:23 PM on May 13, 2010 [1 favorite]


What sort of DRM does Steam use? Does installing Steam involve installing a component into your OS kernel that will affect your machine's performance even when you're not playing games?

I don't know about that, but it's really not that bad. You just lay face down on this table while they implant the chip. They give you a cookie and punch after, which makes up for the headaches and waking up in the middle of the night screaming.
posted by krinklyfig at 2:39 PM on May 13, 2010


I guess it's nice to have all my old games back from when I was in high school, but I can't play any of them. There they are, taunting me.
posted by tuck_nroll at 3:56 PM on May 13, 2010


The download finished sometime during the night. Thanks (really!), Valve!
posted by autopilot at 4:03 PM on May 13, 2010


I’d be more impressed by Steam DRM horror stories if they didn’t usually come with a sheepish admission that after the user had spent the weekend ranting Steam support got back to them on monday and fixed it all.
posted by Artw at 4:04 PM on May 13, 2010 [1 favorite]


Wow Portal's pretty addictive. I'll have to watch that. It's definitely one of those, "honey are you coming to bed, it's 3 AM?" sort of games.
posted by octothorpe at 5:14 PM on May 13, 2010


Octothorpe, you'll kick it pretty quickly. It's 2 and a half hours long for most gamers. But then there are achievements and bonus maps...
posted by mccarty.tim at 5:56 PM on May 13, 2010


And all manner of batshit crazy "how the hell did he do that?" speedrun videos on YouTube.
posted by Pope Guilty at 6:35 PM on May 13, 2010



The MacBeta mailing list is full of the discussion as to where to place the files. Many people are not happy about the Documents placement, due to Dropbox/Timemachine etc. Some talked about Application Support, others ~/Games
posted by lundman at 8:40 PM on May 13, 2010






Anyone have a clue how I can get the Microsoft mouse pref pane to allow me to enter the portal executable as a valid app? I usually change settings so that I can use the extra buttons on my mouse* for things like jump and crouch. I can select Steam, and I can find the hl2_osx binary file in my Documents folder, but I can't get the stupid Microsoft mouse software to treat it as a valid app so I can assign settings to it.

(*YES IT'S A MAC WITH A 5-BUTTON MOUSE OMFG, HELL I HAVE TWO OF THEM, YES 2 (TWO!) PLUGGED IN TO THE SAME COMPUTER RIGHT NOW NO I AM NOT KIDDING!)
posted by caution live frogs at 6:50 AM on May 14, 2010


Anandtech quick look at OSX Portal performance.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken

Who would have guessed, a port of Source with poor performance...
posted by ecurtz at 7:09 AM on May 14, 2010


On the Windows side, the Source engine has received numerous updates and improvements over the years, so performance should improve over time.
posted by Pope Guilty at 9:51 AM on May 14, 2010


@caution live frogs:

Have you tried ~/Applications/Portal? (In your home folder, not your main /Applications folder) If that doesn't work, try launching Portal via this shortcut instead of double-clicking it in your Steam games list.

I don't have a MS mouse, so I have no idea how that PrefPane detects application launches. Just throwing out ideas.
posted by The Lurkers Support Me in Email at 10:16 AM on May 14, 2010


Heh. PS3 users give Mac users a run for their money when when it comes to being permenantly aggreived over sleights to their platform, both real and imagined.
posted by Artw at 10:20 AM on May 14, 2010


Given Sony's general disdain for their customers, I'd be pretty aggrieved, too.
posted by Pope Guilty at 10:22 AM on May 14, 2010


People defending their chosen game console can get a thousand times worse than people defending their chosen operating system. Kotaku threads are just the tip of the iceberg.
posted by The Lurkers Support Me in Email at 10:31 AM on May 14, 2010


caution live frogs: Anyone have a clue how I can get the Microsoft mouse pref pane to allow me to enter the portal executable as a valid app?

Don't know about Portal, but Torchlight ultimately launches ~/Documents/SteamContent/common/torchlight/TorchlightMac.

caution live frogs: (*YES IT'S A MAC WITH A 5-BUTTON MOUSE OMFG, HELL I HAVE TWO OF THEM, YES 2 (TWO!) PLUGGED IN TO THE SAME COMPUTER RIGHT NOW NO I AM NOT KIDDING!)


My coworker asked me yesterday, without irony, whether Macs supported 2-button mice yet.
posted by mkultra at 11:26 AM on May 14, 2010


I hope you punched him in the solar plexus.
posted by entropicamericana at 11:54 AM on May 14, 2010 [1 favorite]


> Have you tried ~/Applications/Portal? (In your home folder, not your main /Applications folder) If that doesn't work, try launching Portal via this shortcut instead of double-clicking it in your Steam games list.

That is really just a container around a shell script that does this:

#!/bin/bash
# autogenerated file - do not edit

open steam://run/400
#

I guess I can understand this, give the mac folks a mac native way to launch the application, but then bury it in the ~/Applications folder (which is a valid place to put it, but no one does that), instead of /Applications, since it should launch steam and the relative application for that user, if they have the account data available for it.

Sorry if this sounds like beating a dead horse, but I spent the week building out packages and installers (*cough* adobe) for a 1000+ mac school district, since the original application creators couldn't be bothered to learn how.
posted by mrzarquon at 9:58 PM on May 14, 2010


For what it is worth, the actual application running (found via activity monitor) that is Portal is hl2_osx, which lives inside, by default ~/Documents/Steam Content/yoursteamid/portal/hl2_osx

You should be able to add that path to your preferencepane, and get the keymappings to work.

Really valve? if you are putting the game in my home folder, do you also need to add a second uid to it as well, instead of putting the game in Application Support, as each users login would download those games and put them in their own folders.

/end rant
posted by mrzarquon at 10:03 PM on May 14, 2010


Ugly growing pains. The last update broke Torchlight on OS X.
posted by KirkJobSluder at 7:45 PM on May 17, 2010


Torchlight's a nice little RPG, obviously written by people who've played some Nethack. I like having a pet and there's a nice variety of equipment. I wish that the move and fight buttons were not the same though. I keep trying to shoot arrows and accidentally click right next to the target and end up running right next to him instead of shooting him.
posted by octothorpe at 8:22 AM on May 18, 2010 [1 favorite]


I'm confused. Can't I just play Portal on my Mac now? It doesn't work. Why is this so hard. I need a nap.
posted by Ambrosia Voyeur at 9:21 AM on May 18, 2010


Yeah, you should be able to. I just beat Portal on my Mac (and now have "Stay Alive" stuck in my head permanently).
posted by brundlefly at 9:42 AM on May 18, 2010


I already have that song in my head too, but I can't get Steam to work. *shrug* I lack the certification to operate this machine.
posted by Ambrosia Voyeur at 9:54 AM on May 18, 2010


Help forums are reporting that Valve produced a Steam update that fixes the problem with Torchlight. Not bad response time, still a bit embarrassing.
posted by KirkJobSluder at 10:28 AM on May 18, 2010


Say, does anyone know when or if Dragon Age: Awakening is really coming out for Mac?
posted by homunculus at 11:29 AM on May 18, 2010


Anyone? This is after the third delete and reinstall.
posted by Ambrosia Voyeur at 12:28 PM on May 18, 2010


Torchlight's a nice little RPG, obviously written by people who've played some Nethack.
Not only that, it's written by many of the people who created Diablo. (Specifically, two of the founders of Blizzard North, plus the entire Mythos dev team, which in turn consisted partly of ex-Blizzard North staff.)

On the topic of Torchlight, what's the deal with the non-cross-platform saved games? I've put a hell of a lot of time into my characters, and now if I want to play on OS X I have to start from scratch? Boooooo.
posted by The Lurkers Support Me in Email at 1:00 PM on May 18, 2010


Oh yeah, also:
I keep trying to shoot arrows and accidentally click right next to the target and end up running right next to him instead of shooting him.
If you hold down shift, it forces you to stand still while shooting. You could also try assigning your default attack to the right mouse button and use that instead.
posted by The Lurkers Support Me in Email at 1:03 PM on May 18, 2010


1.5 million downloads
posted by Artw at 7:21 AM on May 20, 2010






Oh jeez. Now I'm going to have to do go and do another play-through of Half-life 2.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 6:17 PM on May 25, 2010


Dang it! I have work to do tomorrow! You know I can't say no to HL2, Gabe!
posted by mccarty.tim at 6:29 PM on May 25, 2010


Squeeeeee!
posted by brundlefly at 6:31 PM on May 25, 2010


Man, that was soooooooo worth the wait. What a finely-crafted game.
posted by lekvar at 6:45 PM on May 25, 2010




Ah sweet crowbar, it's been so long...
posted by homunculus at 8:38 PM on May 26, 2010 [1 favorite]


That was great, really enjoyed it.
posted by chococat at 10:06 AM on May 28, 2010


In other video game news: Video Gamers Can Control Dreams, Study Suggests
posted by homunculus at 1:25 PM on May 28, 2010


As far as I can tell, the 3 things most likely to seep into dreams from computers are HTML, Tetris, and Excel. Note the repeating motif of blocks, squares and rectangles and repetitive sorting actions.
posted by Artw at 1:27 PM on May 28, 2010 [2 favorites]


I finally beat level 18 of Portal last night after trying for days. I'd totally resorted to watching the solution on Youtube, but even then, I'm just not coordinated enough for those quick midair turns.

Ten hours and going. I'm clearly not as good at this stuff as most of you are.
posted by roll truck roll at 1:27 PM on May 28, 2010


Even though it's not out for Mac yet, does Team Fortress 2 not show up in the game library for anyone else?

I accidentally got Counter Strike Source to start downloading by plugging in the original activation code.. sort of curious what will happen.

...and Half Life 2 plays like a charm.
posted by starman at 2:16 PM on May 28, 2010


I've got a friend whose Mac ran Portal at like 5fps and is reluctant to get HL2 because of that. Can he expect better framerates?
posted by Pope Guilty at 3:19 PM on May 28, 2010


I was hardly getting better than 29fps on Portal (4-5 year old iMac) and was jumping into the 50s in HL2. The HL2 download started at 72% for me (because of Portal?) so it might be worth a shot.
posted by starman at 3:59 PM on May 28, 2010


No TF2 in my Mac games list yet. It's available for purchase on the Mac as part of The Orange Box, but not available to play. ("Mac coming soon") Once it is, it will appear (and I'll be downloading).

I get pretty similar framerates across all Source engine games, so if Portal runs like crap I wouldn't expect much better from Half-Life, even though it does use a slightly older version of the engine with less bling. Has he tried the demo?
posted by The Lurkers Support Me in Email at 6:06 PM on May 28, 2010


In my experience, HL2 runs at almost twice the framerate of Portal, L4D or HL2: EP2- at least on my PC. It's got seriously less bling and lower-def models- I can run it at full 1200x800 with full graphics options, as opposed to Portal, which even at lowest spec still stutters sometimes.
posted by dunkadunc at 1:24 PM on May 29, 2010


So if I really enjoyed Portal, which game should I download next? HL2? Is it in a similar vein? The description on the Steam site sounds like it's a really old game. Still worth playing?
posted by chococat at 10:40 AM on May 30, 2010


It was impressive as a tech demo for a physics engine back in 2004. Otherwise ... no, it's not a very good game. Just aggressively mediocre.
posted by kafziel at 10:43 AM on May 30, 2010


Echoing chococat's question. I've never paid much attention to these first-person games, but Portal is amazing. I'd definitely like to know about any other similarly mindfucky games.
posted by roll truck roll at 12:24 PM on May 30, 2010


I really like that Valve didn't use the Mac releases as an excuse to jack up the price of 5-year-old games.
posted by KirkJobSluder at 3:55 PM on May 30, 2010 [1 favorite]


HL2 is one of the greatest single-player first person shooter experiences ever. It is slightly dated, true, in terms of visual and gameplay both, but it is far from mediocre.

It is really nothing like Portal, though, other than sharing the Source engine. (Internet rumours indicate, for what they're worth, that the worlds of Portal's Aperture Labs and the Half-life 2 universe may mix in Episode 3.)
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 5:02 PM on May 30, 2010


kafziel: "It was impressive as a tech demo for a physics engine back in 2004. Otherwise ... no, it's not a very good game. Just aggressively mediocre."

Whoa, seriously? I know it's all a matter of opinion, but by what standard are you judging it? What is a great game to you? Beacause HL2 pretty much meets the definition for me.

stavrosthewonderchicken: "It is really nothing like Portal, though, other than sharing the Source engine. (Internet rumours indicate, for what they're worth, that the worlds of Portal's Aperture Labs and the Half-life 2 universe may mix in Episode 3.)"

They've already mixed, to a limited extent. Black Mesa is referenced in powerpoint slides projected in empty conference rooms in Portal and apparently (I haven't played it yet) an Aperture research vessel shows up in HL2: Episode 2.
posted by brundlefly at 6:12 PM on May 30, 2010


The conclusion and credits for portal both explicitly mention the events in HL2. At the very least, Portal has the best credits scene for a game.
posted by KirkJobSluder at 6:35 PM on May 30, 2010


I don't play a lot of games, and I haven't played an FPS all the way through since the first Half-Life (the last one I checked out was the demo for Prey), and I'm enjoying HL2 immensely.

Ah sweet crossbow, it's been so long...
posted by homunculus at 6:47 PM on May 30, 2010


So do I have to play the first Half-Life or can I skip right to HL2?
posted by chococat at 7:26 AM on May 31, 2010


chococat: So do I have to play the first Half-Life or can I skip right to HL2?

I played through the Orange Box on the Xbox without having played HL1 and had a grand old time. Wikipedia has a brief plot summary of the first game so you know who the major characters are.
posted by mkultra at 9:10 AM on May 31, 2010


The majority of the events leading up to Half-Life 2 took place in the 20 years after the events of Half-Life, so you won't really miss much by not playing the original. The sense of unease you feel as you play and wonder "what the hell happened here?" was also felt by everyone who did play HL1.

And yes, it's still worth playing. It may be a standard run-and-gun shooter (as opposed to the quirky first-person puzzler Portal), but even today it's still the gold standard by which all standard run-and-gun shooters are judged by.
posted by The Lurkers Support Me in Email at 9:46 AM on May 31, 2010


Get the Orange Box and wait for the Black Mesa team to release Black Mesa, a reworking of HL1 in the Source Engine. You'd really rather play that than play HL1, IMO.
posted by Pope Guilty at 10:59 AM on May 31, 2010




Nobody goes to Ravenholm anymore. It's too crowded.
posted by Pope Guilty at 10:56 AM on June 5, 2010


Ravenholm is one of the best episodes of anything ever.

Also a great place to visit for all your discount circular sawblade needs.
posted by Artw at 11:53 AM on June 5, 2010 [1 favorite]


Get the Orange Box and wait for the Black Mesa team to release Black Mesa, a reworking of HL1 in the Source Engine. You'd really rather play that than play HL1, IMO.

Replaying HL1 is never time badly spent, but I am very excited to see that.
posted by Artw at 11:56 AM on June 5, 2010






That's quite the press release.
posted by Artw at 3:28 PM on June 9, 2010


Damnit. The release date was a lie.
posted by dw at 3:45 PM on June 9, 2010


What? I finished HL2 and... that's it? No sunset stroll on the beach with Alyx while Dog plays tag with the antlions? Where's my happy ending?

Oh, I bet I have to play Episodes 1 & 2 for that. Fine, fine.
posted by homunculus at 9:37 PM on June 9, 2010


TF2 is out! Play it on your Mac before Monday and get white earbuds for your character to wear.
posted by The Lurkers Support Me in Email at 1:59 PM on June 10, 2010




TF2 is out! Play it on your Mac before Monday and get white earbuds for your character to wear.

That's a bit gunhorse.
posted by Artw at 2:07 PM on June 10, 2010


Well, on my 2007 MacBook Pro TF2 under OSX is an unresponsive slideshow with no sound. Looks like I might need to wait for them to make an update or two.
posted by mccarty.tim at 8:16 PM on June 11, 2010


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