(Image blatantly taken from the WIRED story)
Awesome. Some reading material:
Valve Software has announced that next month they will be releasing a Mac client for their popular online video game store and community portal, Steam. With this, comes the news that they have also ported their substantial catalog of games, as well as the Source engine running most of them (as well as a fair number of other 3rd-party games)
There's plenty of info in the two links above, but here's a few takeaways:
- All Source-powered Valve games you've already bought will carry over to either platform - no need to re-buy anything! (Valve is also encouraging other developers who sell their games on Steam to do the same)
- Games that use the relatively-new "Steam Cloud" services will be able to sync game settings, save files an the like across platforms.
- Full multiplayer compatibility.
- All future Valve games (starting with Portal 2, which looks great) will be simultaneous releases on Windows, OS X, and Xbox 360. (still no love for the PS3)
This ought to make things rather interesting. Back in early 2005, I got a Mac as an early high school graduation gift. It made a lot of sense - I was going to film school in the fall, and I needed a laptop for college. Obviously, that machine needed to be something that I could run Final Cut Pro on. I had been a gamer all through high school, even attending QuakeCon the previous year. But if I wanted to keep playing Counter-Strike at Syracuse, I would need to lug up my old self-built PC tower.
However, the specs of my new PowerBook were tantalizing. Admittedly, the 1.67Ghz PowerPC G4 wasn't anything to write home about. The weaknesses of the PPC had become so severe that Apple would announce their big Intel switch later that very year. But the hard drive and (upgraded) RAM were respectable, the screen was gorgeous, and the ATI Radeon 9700M graphics card really caught my eye.
It was a generation behind the current cutting edge... but this was a laptop. And it had as much video memory as my desktop GPU! I tested a couple games that did have Mac versions (Quake 3 and the demo for Unreal Tournament 4) and they ran pretty well, for a laptop. Keep in mind, back then very few laptops actually had decent GPU's, unless you were talking about Alienware. But even lower-end Macs always had dedicated graphics cards, simply because they needed the graphical horsepower to run the Aqua GUI smoothly, especially on anemic G4 chips. It was a real shame I couldn't just fire up some Half-Life on this shiny new machine...
Of course, a few years later a fortuitous run-in with Applecare would net me an even shiner new Intel-based MacBook Pro. It had even better hardware than my now-ancient PC tower, so I wasted little time in installing XP on a Boot Camp partition, and being only a reboot away from gaming bliss. Of course, the rebooting does get to be annoying... I'm looking forward to April!
This is also pretty fascinating from a game-industry standpoint. There are now two major long-time PC developers (Blizzard and Valve) dedicated to simultaneous PC/Mac releases. (id Software fell off that wagon with Doom 3 and Quake 4, but looks to be coming back with Rage? We'll see.) And the Source engine - quite popular among both developers and mod teams - can now, presumably, seamlessly target either DirectX or OpenGL.
Interesting. Very interesting.