Valve games for Mac

2010-03-08

in Geek stuff

One significant downside of being a Mac user is gaming. The saddest part of the Apple store is definitely the thin shelf of largely-old, largely-mediocre, heavily kid-focused games. As such, it is a welcome development that Valve is bringing the Portal and Half-Life series to Macs.

As good as Halo and Warcraft III are, it will be nice to have some more variety. This may also be a signal that increasing market penetration is leading to game companies getting more serious about Apple.

(Oh, and I am aware that I could install a Microsoft OS on a partition. I just don’t think it is worth the expense and bother.)

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{ 27 comments… read them below or add one }

Tristan March 8, 2010 at 7:18 pm

I find VMware excellent for Microsoft computing on a mac. However, when speed becomes an issue, it’s silly to use an emulator.

Milan March 8, 2010 at 7:45 pm

I doubt my computer could run games like Half Life 2 or Bioshock in an emulator.

. March 8, 2010 at 9:02 pm
. March 8, 2010 at 11:06 pm
BuddyRich March 9, 2010 at 6:48 am

Ive had pretty good luck with Wine and one of its commercial derivatives, Crossover Games on OSX. Its claim to fame was being able to play HL2, Counterstrike, etc. /w Steam support a good year or 2 before this commercial port was announced.

Mind you HL2 itself is an old game.

EA has also been releasing dual binaries for many of their games (Spore comes to mind) for the last 2 years as well, though they use nothing more than a Cedega wrapper (ie. another commercial derivative of Wine)

Its not a full emulation of the OS so I find performance is quite good considering you don’t have to dual boot. The one thing is I think these are all Intel binaries only.

On the flip side, though not nearly as dire, games are shying away from the PC as well. Everyone wants to make console games, they are the games that make the gaming company the most money. Often times now, the PC port is an afterthought.

Not that I play many games any more, I had a copy of HL2 bought on release day sit in shrink wrap for nearly 2 years before I finally installed it!

Milan March 9, 2010 at 8:16 am

I played Spore and found it OK, though found aspects of it tedious. I am surprised it was running in emulation. Even at high resolution with full visual effects, it ran well on my iMac.

I enjoyed HL2 quite a lot, and thought Bioshock looked interesting when I saw my brother playing it.

Tristan March 9, 2010 at 1:35 pm

This song is wonderful!

Milan March 9, 2010 at 1:44 pm

The whole game is quite amusing:

“An abandoned slideshow presentation in a meeting room shows GLaDOS was developed by Aperture Science Laboratories Inc. as a method of de-icing fuel lines in direct competition with a similar project by Black Mesa Research facility. GLaDOS is described as not only being a fuel line de-icer, but having a fully-functional Disk Operating System and being “arguably alive.” GLaDOS is, however, much more than a fuel line de-icer. The AI is installed as the Enrichment Center’s central control computer. GLaDOS’s core is mounted in a large, sealed chamber alongside control consoles and an incinerator. The core hangs from the ceiling surrounded by video screens that show random and relevant images. The core swings continuously, dislodging one of the modules in the final level. There are no clear speakers or units which create GLaDOS’ voice, though it is present throughout the facility. During the final battle, GLaDOS reveals it is the source of the facility’s abandoned state; GLaDOS flooded the Enrichment Center with a fatal neurotoxin, presumably killing several scientists, just before its Morality Module was installed. Since the Module had been installed, it can be assumed that the release happened as the Module was being installed, forcing the scientists to abandon the facility.”

GLaDOS >> Origin

emily March 9, 2010 at 3:22 pm

Virtual machines like Parallels and Fusion can’t support graphic intensive games. It’s better to save your hundred bucks for the program and get better results using the built in Bootcamp utility in Mac OS.

It isn’t *so* expensive, if you can get a cheap version of a Microsoft OS.

emily March 9, 2010 at 3:24 pm

Also virtual machines soak up tonnes of RAM.

Milan March 9, 2010 at 3:24 pm

Given my 64-bit processor, I would need to get Windows 7 or *shudder* Vista, right?

Matt March 9, 2010 at 3:42 pm

A 32bit copy of XP will run perfectly fine on a 64bit processor. They also make (made?) a 64bit version of XP.

Having said that, there’s really no reason, other than maybe cost, to run XP now that the mostly excellent Windows 7 is out. Vista is to be avoided at all costs. Windows 7 comes in both 32 and 64 bit versions, 64 bit being recommended because of its ability to address more than 4GB of ram, as well as being able to use your nice 64bit processor to its full potential.

I don’t recall which version of OS X you’re running, but 10.5 didn’t take advantage of 64bit processors either, although it runs perfectly fine on them (I’m running it myself).

Matt March 9, 2010 at 3:46 pm

Actually, I guess I should amend my comment about OS X 10.5: it had limited 64 bit capabilities. OS X 10.6 is much more natively 64 bit.

BuddyRich March 9, 2010 at 3:46 pm

XP runs fine, all x86-64 CPUs are backwards compatible (other 64bit CPUs like the Itanium are rare and never used by Mac).

However, Win7 is quite good. Find a cheap copy. XP is dead and stuck at DirectX 9, not worth the money. (yes there are hacks to install DX10 but it’s still a 10 year old OS at it’s core).

I wrote a small comparisson between Win7 and SL.

http://www.ottawarambler.ca/2009/11/01/new-oses/

I think you’ll find Win7 copies alot of what makes OSX good and improves upon it.

Milan March 9, 2010 at 3:47 pm

I am running Mac OS X Version 10.5: “Leopard.”

Snow Leopard would make my copy of Photoshop CS unusable, and might break other software I use all the time.

Milan March 9, 2010 at 3:52 pm

Is the ‘Home Premium’ version of Windows 7 adequate?

Personally, I can’t justify spending $224.95 just to be able to play a few extra games – especially now that Valve is releasing their stuff for Mac.

BuddyRich March 9, 2010 at 4:22 pm

Home Premium is all you need.

However if you don’t plan to use the OS much it may not be worth it.

I received free 32bit and 64bit keys for Win7 via my MSDN subscription at work and bought another license when they had 1/2 price upgrade pre-orders.

$200+ is a steep price for games, you may as well buy a dedicated gaming console with that!

Milan March 9, 2010 at 4:56 pm

I don’t have a television and (much to my annoyance) there are no video-in functions on my 24″ iMac.

emily March 9, 2010 at 6:15 pm

Snow Leopard would make my copy of Photoshop CS unusable, and might break other software I use all the time.

I’m running Snow Leopard (OS 10.6) and have had no problems running third party applications. CS4 should have no problems anymore, though older versions (CS2/3) are likely to have issues running on it.

When it initially came out, I wasn’t recommending it because of some bumps after the release – but it has been a long time since I heard any complaints related to it.

Some of the things I appreciate about 10.6 is that the boot up time is halved, backups are quick, and it generally runs faster than 10.5.

Tristan March 9, 2010 at 6:37 pm

I’d suggest XP or 2000 Pro. Windows 7 is supposedly good…but costs money.

Tristan March 9, 2010 at 6:38 pm

Re: Portal

I actually read the entire description of the game on wikipedia today. There is something very compelling in this song, and in this game. It reminds me of when I was watching films like “Akira”.

R.K. March 9, 2010 at 6:43 pm

I think Snow Leopard does not work with the original Photoshop CS.

Milan March 9, 2010 at 10:14 pm

I have Photoshop CS-nothing, and would rather stick with Leopard than see it break.

BuddyRich March 10, 2010 at 6:57 am

This site has good info on compatibility.

http://snowleopard.wikidot.com/

FWIW I use CS3 on SL and it works. Ive never noticed the slowdown mentioned but I haven’t logged hours at a time in it either.

On the other hand, CS1 and 2 look to be more compatible as they use Rosetta (which still ships with SL, though you have to install it) to run on your iMac as they are PPC binaries anyway…

For $35 Cdn, the upgrade is worth it.

. March 16, 2010 at 11:16 am

Mac virtualization face-off: VMware Fusion 3 vs. Parallels Desktop 5 (video)

With Steam officially hitting Mac in just a few weeks many Apple gamers have suddenly lost their need to emulate. But, for those who are hoping to get busy in a little Command & Conquer 4 under Snow Leopard this week — or any of the other myriad of PC-only gaming options — virtualization is the only way to go — short of rebooting into Boot Camp, of course. Parallels is the most commonly used solution, but how does VMware’s Fusion 3 stack up for gaming? Not too well, as it turns out. MacTech sat the two down together on matching Mac hardware and ran them through a number of benchmarks, including 3DMark. The results of that test fall heavily in the favor of Parallels, offering better framerates and far more consistent visuals, which you can see for yourself in a video below. Most of the many, many other tests run favor that option as well, but we won’t spoil all eight pages worth of results just waiting for you on the other end of that source link.

. May 12, 2010 at 3:48 pm

Steam Client for Mac Launches, Linux Client On the Way

CyDharttha writes with news that the Mac version of Steam went live today, along with Mac versions of Portal, Team Fortress 2, and many other games. Valve plans to make more games available every Wednesday. Several publications are also reporting that a Linux version of Steam has been confirmed, and is expected within the next few months. Quoting Phoronix: “Found already within the Steam store are Linux-native games like Unreal Tournament 2004, World of Goo, and titles from id Software such as Enemy Territory: Quake Wars and Doom 3. Now that the Source Engine is officially supported on Linux, some Source-based games will be coming over too. Will we finally see Unreal Tournament 3 surface on Linux too? Only time will tell, but it is something we speculated back in 2008. Postal III is also being released this year atop the Source Engine and it will be offering up a native client. We have confirmed that Valve’s latest and popular titles like Half-Life 2, Counter-Strike: Source, and Team Fortress 2 are among the first of the Steam Linux titles, similar to the Mac OS X support. The released Linux client should be available by the end of summer.”

Milan July 15, 2010 at 2:23 pm

One thing to be aware of is that it is possible to buy PC-only games on your Mac, and Steam never seems to warn you about it.

I saw that they were selling the original Half Life for $2, which seemed like a great deal. I paid and downloaded the file, and was only then told that the game was PC-only.

I may eventually install Windows 7 on my iMac, and the game wasn’t expensive, but it is still annoying to have bought something that is useless for the moment.

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