More gaming options come to Apple’s Mac platform

“It’s hard for Mac users to be into computer games,” Arik Hesseldahl reports for BusinessWeek. “Whenever there’s been a popular title that runs on Microsoft’s Windows operating system, Mac users have always had to wait—and wait and wait— until someone decided there might be enough demand, given the smaller market, to make a profit on an adapted version for Apple’s Macintosh platform.”

At Apple’s Worldwide Developers Conference in San Francisco this week, “EA and Id Software, the company behind the Quake gaming franchise, both made new, but vastly different commitments to the Mac market this week,” Hesseldahl reports.

“Id said it is developing a new gaming engine called Id Tech 5 that works on the Mac. Think of a game engine as the engine of a car. The better it is under the hood, the more fun the car can be to drive. Id’s engine looked pretty impressive based on the video presented at the developer’s conference. In the Windows world, Id can be used to build extremely detailed virtual worlds with stunning graphical features, and now those developers writing for that platform can do so for the Mac, too. From there, it follows that more games developed on that engine—which Id plans to license—could support the Mac natively. This is very good news for Mac games,” Hesseldahl reports.

Hesseldahl reports, “EA announced it would release a handful of its more popular games on the Mac… not building Mac-native versions of these games. Instead, it’s working with a Canadian software company called Transgaming, which makes a product called Cider. What Cider does is interesting. Basically it takes advantage of the fact that a Mac and a PC are essentially the same inside. They have the same type of processor, use the same graphics chips, and so on. Cider allows games developed first for Windows to run on a Mac by in essence acting as an interpreter between them. Instead of forcing developers to spend months rebuilding a PC game, Cider simplifies the process of Mac-ifying a Windows game.”

Hesseldahl covers other aspects of Mac gaming, including Apple’s Boot Camp, Parallels Desktop, Aspyr Media, and more in the full article here.

44 Comments

  1. I’m not too fond of the Cider approach. This will give companies an easy way to get PC games onto the Mac, but any software using Cider will have the look and feel of a PC app. Yuck.

    Reality Check, your attempts at taunting are funny. I remember when PC users used to say “Macs are only for games. PCs are for real work.” PC users are always looking for some excuse as to why the PC is somehow better than the Mac (hint: it isn’t). The “reality” of it is that the Mac is a much better platform, and your excuses are the equivalent of a red Corvette – you’re using it to cover up for an obvious shortcoming somewhere.

  2. It only takes a couple of solid and lengthy games to be satisfying for a long time. My old high school friends and I live in three different states. We started playing Diablo II in about 2001 and played it through a few times with different characters. We used Roger Wilco (now defunct) for VOIP while we played. We’ve played Neverwinter Nights and it’s companions for the last couple of years, about once per month. Now we use iChat in the background, or our unlimited weekend cell minutes.

    That reminds me, has anyone successfully used iChat to speak with, or video conference with, people using Windows? What service works for that? We can’t get it to run at all. Are there other programs that do the same thing that are simple (we’re not techies) and cross platform?

  3. AOL will work with iChat for the audio. There are some screwet setting you need to use on the PC however and the video sucks based on the poor availability of good quality cameras for the PC.

  4. Gtalk is compatable with iChat as it uses Jabber but I found it was very buggy even for mac to mac, eventually gave up on it and moved to Skype.

    Really hope the new iChat will be Skype compatable as I only know 1 other person with a .mac account

  5. @ aka Christian

    I have been successful at setting up chat sessions with parents in law in TX who wanted to see their grandson in L.A. using the latest version of Skype for the mac, and PC on their end. Video is not as clear as iChat, but it is definitely useable. Hope that helps.

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