Red Orchestra: Ostfront 41-45 has shipped! It's Windows only (sorry, mod fans),
but the Linux server is available. Get it through Steam's HLDS Update Tool: http://steampowered.com/index.php?area=getsteamnow
Universal Mac patches for Spidey2 and Shrek2: http://insidemacgames.com/news/story.php?ArticleID=12960
ArmyOps 2.6.0 Linux server (Mac and Linux clients coming soon): http://icculus.org/news/news.php?id=2577
Second Life Linux client alpha test: http://icculus.org/news/news.php?id=2571
Postal 2 patch...Universal binaries, working mirrors, AW crashes fixed, and
other goodness: http://icculus.org/news/news.php?id=2569
Universal Binaries and the Epic Mega Pack for UT2004/mac: http://icculus.org/news/news.php?id=2565
So I guess I should talk about this Apple Boot Camp thing.
For a basic summary of the Boot Camp experience, Tuncer's Blog
much spot on. It makes booting Windows dirt simple.
As far as I can tell, the most important bit in Boot Camp isn't actually in
Boot Camp itself. It's in the firmware update that Apple requires you to
install. It adds the legacy BIOS compatibility to the EFI that has
been hampering efforts to boot Windows on the Intel Macs, until recently.
Remember all those forum people that got smacked down for saying "why don't
you just insert a WinXP disc and hold down 'C' while booting the Mac?" The
response was always this sarcastic, "Oooooh, we never thought to try THAT,
moron." It didn't work, because there wasn't a legacy BIOS interface for
booting these sort of discs, which the EFI spec allows for, but Apple
didn't supply. Mac OS X and its install disc don't need it.
The firmware update adds this.
So now you can pop in a Windows disc, or a Linux disc, or (yes, even) a BeOS
disc, hold down 'C' and power up...and it will boot with varying degrees of
This is interesting but also a little unfortunate, because it puts us right
back to complacency about updating OSes and hardware to use EFI...this
offends my techie soul, but somehow I'll still manage to sleep at night.
The other benefits are an officially-sanctioned WinXP driver pack from Apple
and the only thing that was really honestly and truly sweet innovation in
this whole endeavor: a program that resizes your Mac partition without
It's a really compelling package from Apple. Half Life 2 runs great on the
iMac, as does just about anything else you've been missing as a Mac user.
Sharing this information with various Windows-using friends, they are
universally responding that this absolutely, without hesitation or doubt,
settles it: their next computer is going to be a MacBook Pro.
To be clear, there isn't any great love of Windows out there, people, there's
just wants and needs that Windows happens to satisfy at the moment. I think
it's fair to say that most people that are dual-booting to Windows because of
that One Application They Can't Live Without will start finding themselves
using Mac OS X more and more, as they find acceptable alternatives and get
sick of closing everything to reboot...not to mention fighting off spyware
on the Windows Half when the Mac Half just works.
Except, of course, with video games.
When you're in the casual space, people aren't going to reboot. Solitaire and
Bejeweled and Zuma all need to work in a window next to your email, your IM,
your term paper you've been putting off finishing, your 17 web browser tabs,
etc. For these apps, nothing changes. And frankly, I wouldn't be terribly
shocked to find these titles have a massive profit margin over other Mac
games anyhow, making it a compelling market in any case. Dual booting isn't
really interesting to this bunch (and frankly, they'll find themselves
happier with some Virtual PC/VMWare/Parallels solution for the Windows things
The Big Name titles, however, are a different story. Those that want to
play Counter-Strike will boot their system into what some call "Wintendo
mode", in the same way that they might walk away from their PC to sit
in front of a GameCube...in those cases, they don't care that they have to
abandon their Mac desktop for an hour or two.
I think that this is a reasonable scenario for Big Name, Triple-A Mac
titles, probably over the next year or three:
Some percentage of original publishers will say "oh, they can just boot
Windows." Take it from the Linux guy: these people weren't doing a Mac port
anyhow and they just got a free pass to avoid it...but there will be a few
well-publicized incidents where someone at EA or whatever will get nailed in
an interview when unexpectedly asked about Mac plans.
Some will port anyhow. The Dooms and Unreals and Warcrafts and such.
The Mac-only publishers will die out, and this has nothing to do with Intel
chips or Windows. There, I said it. I used to think that Aspyr was just
crushing out the competition, but then Brad Oliver said something
eye-opening: Astute observers will note there are no Mac ports planned for our
current PC and console titles aside from Stubbs.
And here's Glenda: I think we're seeing the reality of the Mac gaming market in 2006.
We plan to release about 8-10 Mac games, similar to last year. The market
just isn't growing, shelf space is at a premium (if you have a local apple
store, how much space did games used to take up that are now taken over by
iPod accessories?), and increasingly complex games cost more and more to
bring to the Mac.
I don't see a big change, unless Apple radically sells more Macs (double or
triple the unit volume), starts advertising gaming as something 'cool' to
do on the Mac, ala iLife, iTunes, etc., or we find some way to convince the
millions of Mac owners out there who just aren't interested in buying games
to try a game or two.
I see PC games come along that I'd just love to bring to the Mac, but we
look at potential sales, costs, and time, and 90% of them just have to be
passed over. Only the really big hits sell well enough.
I don't happen to think that Boot Camp, or Intel Macs, or anything else that
might amaze the world will make the Mac a market leader, and that's the
only way that games will show up by default. The path of least resistance is
Windows, and there are no magic bullets to make this change. Will Boot Camp
make a few people switch to Macs? Yes, I think so. Will it change the market
drastically? No, I think not.
So here are some things that I think would help the situation, in no order.
- We need to stop mourning the shelf space and move online. Aren't Mac users
supposed to be smarter and more likely to have broadband? It's time to
recognize that brick-and-mortar stores are an outdated and inefficient
problem; instead of fighting to get in there, we should just dump them
entirely. Games need to be downloadable, and for those that want a physical
CD, either for gift-giving or just the Touch Factor, we can try something
like Amazon as a distribution partner. For the former, my nomination is...
- iTunes. It needs a Games section, the same way it has a Movies section and a
Music section. They are perfectly
positioned to be a games publisher of
everything from casual titles for 3.99 to UT2012 for 24.99. They could be
the Steam of the Mac. If they did this, I wouldn't be surprised to see some
really talented people become millionaires over the course of a few weeks.
Could you imagine what this would have done for Lugaru? All you would need
is a few polaroids of an 18 year-old David Rosen's new mansion, and people
would be falling over themselves to compete for the iTunes front page.
The end user pays less than they would at Best Buy, the developers make a
higher royalty, Apple gets a cut and gets more eyeballs spending more time
browsing the iTMS. That last shelf in the Apple retail stores can finally
be filled with gaudy-ass pink iPod cases. Everyone
wins in this scenario.
- In line with that, we need original Mac titles. Someone's going to have to
take one for the team here and make some killer games without a Windows
port. They don't have to be Quake 4, but they will have to be impressive.
We need more Brian Greenstones, basically.
- In addition to more Brian Greenstones, we need more Carlos Camachos, too.
iDevGames seems to me to be a great indicator of who the most important Mac
game developers will be.
- Indies, indies, indies! We can't discount the fact that all the really big
names might flip the PC the bird and flee to XBox720 and PS9 or whatever
someday, which levels the playing field enormously. The last man standing
in case? GarageGames. Or rather, people that are doing crazy-cool things
on a shoestring budget. Find these people and make them Mac Lovers NOW
- When a publisher says he has no plans for a Mac port of their game, you
should make your feelings known to that publisher: specifically, that you
love their work and would buy a Mac version if it exists. Bitching on
forums doesn't help, though: find the guy's personal email address and
write him a polite note. This won't actually help, though, at least not in
any immediate and tangible way. But I'm constantly amazed at how a constant
trickle can eventually forge a canyon, and you should never doubt that
eventually any developer or publisher can see a value in something if people
keep up the mantra: "We are here, we came here to buy, we came here to play."
Just because it's gradual doesn't mean it doesn't happen.