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The State of Mac Gaming: aka, what is Steam?
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mindwaves
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Feb 22, 2018, 02:31 AM
 
The Mac has almost always never received good games. This was kind of changing when the original iMac and the subsequent revisions came out with their ATi 3D rage graphics and Apple announcing new games at MacWorld. However, the last 10 or so years, Macs have had the worse graphics card ever. We've gone back to integrated graphics (Intel also), and the mighty Mac Pro basically has un-upgradable graphics and itself hasn't been updated for 3+ years. I've never been a huge gamer, but I do enjoy the times of Age of Empires 1 & 2 (2 especially). There is a new game called Age of Empires Definitive Edition and it is sadly Windows only.

There is a platform called Steam, and quite frankly, I am not sure what it is. There is a Steam for MacOS. Can I buy and download any number of games there and play it? How is it different from regular Mac games?

edit: There are so many games on Steam, especially related to Age of Empires. They are all Windows only. I severely doubt that my MacBook Pro 13" can handle it even with Boot Camp. I think buying a cheap Windows desktop is the way to go here. I don't need demanding graphics, far from it actually.
( Last edited by mindwaves; Feb 22, 2018 at 02:41 AM. )
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Feb 22, 2018, 03:49 AM
 
Steam is a store, like the App Store. A lot of the games there are Windows only, but not all.

Macs and gaming has been limited by a couple of things. The top iMac has had a pretty decent GPU since a long time (the first aluminium iMac in 2007, I think), but that is the only model that has. The 13" MBP, in particular, had terrible graphics all the way until now. The 2016 model finally changed that, and while it is still integrated, it is now quite decent on the touchbar model.

Personally though, I built a PC and connected it to the same display as the Mac. It was the easiest thing to do.
The new Mac Pro has up to 30 MB of cache inside the processor itself. That's more than the HD in my first Mac. Somehow I'm still running out of space.
     
andi*pandi
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Feb 22, 2018, 11:33 AM
 
I have been annoyed by trying to play older games on Steam that would run standalone on older macs, but due to the Steam app itself requiring newer specs, they don't work.
     
Laminar
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Feb 22, 2018, 02:33 PM
 
Originally Posted by mindwaves View Post
There is a platform called Steam, and quite frankly, I am not sure what it is. There is a Steam for MacOS. Can I buy and download any number of games there and play it? How is it different from regular Mac games?
Steam lets you sort by game genre and system type, so you can see only games available for Mac. As stated, it's a store that offers all sorts of games for sale, including small indie games and the big-name titles from major developers.

Like P, I just built a PC about seven years ago that I use for all of my gaming. In the last seven years, I've bought 8GB of RAM (to bring it up to 16GB total), and a new graphics card. It doesn't play the brand new games at max settings, but it will play any game.

Originally Posted by andi*pandi View Post
I have been annoyed by trying to play older games on Steam that would run standalone on older macs, but due to the Steam app itself requiring newer specs, they don't work.
Have you checked out gog.com?
     
mindwaves  (op)
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Feb 22, 2018, 04:49 PM
 
Thanks. How will a 2016 MacBook Pro 13" non-touchbar model fare running Bootcamp when the spec requirements for Age of Empires Definitive Edition is this:

Processor: 1.8 Ghz+ Dual Core or greater i3, i5, or i7, or AMD equivalent
Graphics: Intel HD 4000 or Greater (16 or more Execution Units), AMD or nVidia GPU scoring 500 or more on Passmark G3D Mark

There are so other AoE add-ons that would possibly require slightly higher requirement also. Should I just buy a $500 PC?
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Waragainstsleep
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Feb 22, 2018, 07:17 PM
 
Pretty sure without looking that the 2012/3 Retina MBPs had HD4000 graphics so you ought to be fine. You may as well try it, you can always re-use the game and Windows licence on the PC if you choose to buy it after.
I have plenty of more important things to do, if only I could bring myself to do them....
     
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Feb 23, 2018, 07:23 AM
 
Originally Posted by mindwaves View Post
Thanks. How will a 2016 MacBook Pro 13" non-touchbar model fare running Bootcamp when the spec requirements for Age of Empires Definitive Edition is this:

Processor: 1.8 Ghz+ Dual Core or greater i3, i5, or i7, or AMD equivalent
Graphics: Intel HD 4000 or Greater (16 or more Execution Units), AMD or nVidia GPU scoring 500 or more on Passmark G3D Mark
You are fine, the non-TB model is faster than that. I would recommend the Touchbar model if you are unsure, however - with more cooling and a higher TDP, it is much less likely to throttle when there is lots on screen.
The new Mac Pro has up to 30 MB of cache inside the processor itself. That's more than the HD in my first Mac. Somehow I'm still running out of space.
     
Laminar
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Feb 23, 2018, 09:40 AM
 
Originally Posted by mindwaves View Post
Thanks. How will a 2016 MacBook Pro 13" non-touchbar model fare running Bootcamp when the spec requirements for Age of Empires Definitive Edition is this:

Processor: 1.8 Ghz+ Dual Core or greater i3, i5, or i7, or AMD equivalent
Graphics: Intel HD 4000 or Greater (16 or more Execution Units), AMD or nVidia GPU scoring 500 or more on Passmark G3D Mark

There are so other AoE add-ons that would possibly require slightly higher requirement also. Should I just buy a $500 PC?
Load up Boot Camp, then use this website: https://www.systemrequirementslab.co...ires-iii/10370

It will download a little applet, analyze your system, and tell you if it's good enough.
     
andi*pandi
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Feb 26, 2018, 05:47 PM
 
Thought this was interesting enough to pull from the megathread. Carry on.
     
reader50
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Feb 26, 2018, 07:04 PM
 
Steam has plenty of Mac games. Including big ones from the past. It's notably deficient on recent big-title games.

Valve's own entire back catalog is Mac-compatible, and a couple times a year comes on sale for next to nothing. (the Valve Complete Pack)

I've accumulated so many Mac Steam games on sales / humble bundles, that I can't install them all at once. I'm not sure even a 10TB boot drive would have enough space. Now if only I'd get around to playing them ...
     
mindwaves  (op)
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Feb 26, 2018, 10:14 PM
 
What is Steam OS and Steam machine and what relation does it have to gaming?

Also for bootcamp, I want to install Windows 7. How do I get this (legally of course) if I have no CD drive?
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reader50
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Feb 26, 2018, 10:30 PM
 
SteamOS is a linux version they've configured for console-like gaming. Steam Machine is a basic PC they've configured for gaming, and preinstalled SteamOS on. A pre-rolled console PC that runs linux-compatible games from the Steam store. It can also stream games hosted on a Win or Mac box. You can install Windows on them after the fact. I doubt they're Hackintosh-friendly.
     
Waragainstsleep
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Feb 26, 2018, 10:48 PM
 
Originally Posted by mindwaves View Post
What is Steam OS and Steam machine and what relation does it have to gaming?

Also for bootcamp, I want to install Windows 7. How do I get this (legally of course) if I have no CD drive?
I don't think they sell 7 any more. Certainly not as a download. If you can buy a licence somewhere you can download the installer from MS.
I have plenty of more important things to do, if only I could bring myself to do them....
     
mindwaves  (op)
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Feb 27, 2018, 09:02 AM
 
Ok, so I can download Windows 10 from Microsoft's website and use Bootcamp from that?
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Waragainstsleep
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Feb 27, 2018, 10:06 AM
 
Yes.
I have plenty of more important things to do, if only I could bring myself to do them....
     
Laminar
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Feb 27, 2018, 10:20 AM
 
AoE Definitive Edition requires Windows 10 (64-bit), so that's the way to go!

For the first time in a few years I fired up Steam's in-home streaming. Gaming PC is in the basement, living room is directly above it. XBox 360 controller was still paired to the gaming PC directly but worked fine through the floor. The iMac video and audio is hooked to the TV via HDMI. No noticeable lag or delay, and only occasional graphic glitches. Worked great for a couple hours of Borderlands.

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sek929
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Feb 27, 2018, 02:44 PM
 
Originally Posted by mindwaves View Post
Ok, so I can download Windows 10 from Microsoft's website and use Bootcamp from that?
Make a Win formatted thumb drive and download the correct bootcamp drivers for Win 10. After my bootcamp install I couldn’t connect to the internet to download the drivers because my Ethernet card wasn’t recognized.

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reader50
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Feb 27, 2018, 05:53 PM
 
Originally Posted by mindwaves View Post
Ok, so I can download Windows 10 from Microsoft's website and use Bootcamp from that?
Microsoft does have download images, and they'll install. But Windows will ask for a license code when it boots up. I'm not sure how it handles not having a code - does it go to nagware mode, with a daily reminder?
     
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Feb 27, 2018, 06:03 PM
 
Originally Posted by reader50 View Post
Steam has plenty of Mac games. Including big ones from the past. It's notably deficient on recent big-title games.
If a game has a Mac version and is on Steam at all, the Mac version is on Steam. Games from certain publishers (mainly EA) aren’t on Steam at all, so you have to install their separate stores (Origin for EA). Steam is far from empty.

Valve's own entire back catalog is Mac-compatible, and a couple times a year comes on sale for next to nothing. (the Valve Complete Pack)
Valve isn’t really making any new games anymore, though.

I've accumulated so many Mac Steam games on sales / humble bundles, that I can't install them all at once. I'm not sure even a 10TB boot drive would have enough space. Now if only I'd get around to playing them ...
Yup, the sales got really insane there for a while. I have more games than I will ever be able to install - especially since I spend so much time in CK2, EU4, Stellaris, Civ, etc.
The new Mac Pro has up to 30 MB of cache inside the processor itself. That's more than the HD in my first Mac. Somehow I'm still running out of space.
     
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Feb 27, 2018, 06:08 PM
 
Originally Posted by reader50 View Post
Microsoft does have download images, and they'll install. But Windows will ask for a license code when it boots up. I'm not sure how it handles not having a code - does it go to nagware mode, with a daily reminder?
If you don’t activate Windows, It will show a watermark on the screen to nag you, but it won’t pop up any dialog boxes. This might change at any time, but right now this is how it works. Not activating the OS will leave one feature locked out, though: if you don’t activate, you cannot...

*drumroll please*

change the desktop background!

Yup, that’s it. Fully functional otherwise.
The new Mac Pro has up to 30 MB of cache inside the processor itself. That's more than the HD in my first Mac. Somehow I'm still running out of space.
     
Waragainstsleep
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Feb 27, 2018, 10:19 PM
 
The images are published with keys to install them with. The keys expire after a little while and you are expected to input a new one. I think if you don't have a genuine one I think they cut off your updates. Thats a bigger deal on Windows than Mac but as long as you aren't shopping on it I guess its not the end of the world.
I have plenty of more important things to do, if only I could bring myself to do them....
     
mindwaves  (op)
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Feb 27, 2018, 11:52 PM
 
Thanks for the info. I'll only be using it to play the occasional game. Still thinking of buying a cheap Windows PC instead still.

State of Mac gaming is certainly not as good as before. Most good games are still on Windows and/or iOS, thanks to the powerful A-X series chip.
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Feb 28, 2018, 05:15 AM
 
Originally Posted by Waragainstsleep View Post
The images are published with keys to install them with. The keys expire after a little while and you are expected to input a new one. I think if you don't have a genuine one I think they cut off your updates. Thats a bigger deal on Windows than Mac but as long as you aren't shopping on it I guess its not the end of the world.
They used to cut you off from updates, but they don't anymore. Again: They could change this at any time, but for now, you get access.

Originally Posted by mindwaves View Post
State of Mac gaming is certainly not as good as before. Most good games are still on Windows and/or iOS, thanks to the powerful A-X series chip.
Disagree. If you want console ports, it is not as good (and blame Apple for that, for leaving their OpenGL implementation to rot), but the sheer number of good AA and indie games available for the Mac right now is better than it has been in decades.
The new Mac Pro has up to 30 MB of cache inside the processor itself. That's more than the HD in my first Mac. Somehow I'm still running out of space.
     
reader50
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Feb 28, 2018, 12:48 PM
 
The porting situation is about to improve. Thanks to the Vulkan GPU API layer coming to macOS. I guess the Mac market got too large to ignore, even if Apple does.
     
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Mar 1, 2018, 05:33 AM
 
MoltenVK, which that news article refers to, is not new. The only difference is that it is now royalty free in some cases.

What it means is that you can make a single game that runs on everything except Windows, essentially (and Windows too if you have a GPU from AMD or nVidia), but you lose any feature that does not exist on all of these platforms. For a simple game, that is great. For a more complex one, this might be a problem.

It doesn't really affect the porting situations. Porting houses like Aspyr already have something like this.
The new Mac Pro has up to 30 MB of cache inside the processor itself. That's more than the HD in my first Mac. Somehow I'm still running out of space.
     
mindwaves  (op)
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Mar 5, 2018, 04:13 AM
 
Well, installed Windows 10 (took a while to download) and got a Steam membership going and tried to buy the Age of Empires 2 HD mega pack, but ran into issues. I'm not currently in the US and despite me giving a US credit card and address, it refuses to download. Their notice says I have to return back to the US and try again. VPN doesn't seem to work, but I'll try again. I just want to play the game!!!
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Laminar
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Mar 5, 2018, 01:35 PM
 
Originally Posted by mindwaves View Post
Well, installed Windows 10 (took a while to download) and got a Steam membership going and tried to buy the Age of Empires 2 HD mega pack, but ran into issues. I'm not currently in the US and despite me giving a US credit card and address, it refuses to download. Their notice says I have to return back to the US and try again. VPN doesn't seem to work, but I'll try again. I just want to play the game!!!
Oh yeah, I ran into the same problem when I was in Australia trying to download a game. It either wanted to charge the super inflated Australian prices or it wouldn't let me buy it.
     
reader50
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Mar 5, 2018, 02:06 PM
 
They're blacklisting the VPN exit addresses, for known VPNs. Try a smaller, less-popular VPN. Many offer a free trial. If Steam hasn't listed that one, it will work.
     
mindwaves  (op)
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Mar 6, 2018, 09:47 PM
 
I will try later or when I go back to the US. It will be fun downloading 12GB of games!

edit: The first thing I did when I installed Windows was to opt out of every single privacy option, install Firefox, and remove Cortana. It is not that Cortana isn't bad (never used before), but because I will only be using Windows for AoE only and nothing else and the fact that Cortana is a HUGE button in the taskbar makes it ever so distracting.
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subego
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Mar 8, 2018, 11:49 AM
 
Originally Posted by mindwaves View Post
the fact that Cortana is a HUGE button in the taskbar makes it ever so distracting.
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mindwaves  (op)
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Mar 9, 2018, 08:22 PM
 
Is Steam also some sort of network to play other gamers including Windows gamers if I have the Mac game? Can I play the game I downloaded on Steam on Gameranger? I used to absolutely rule on GR, but have been absent for a while.
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Mar 9, 2018, 09:14 PM
 
Steam does provide some social features. Finding friends online to join in with, achievements. Not sure about cross platform limitations. Might vary game by game.
I have plenty of more important things to do, if only I could bring myself to do them....
     
mindwaves  (op)
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Apr 8, 2018, 10:59 PM
 
Ok, went back to USA and downloaded AoE 2 HD. Some thoughts:

1) Doesn't look HD to me. It looks the same as it always has.
2) My BT mouse which works fine in macOS gets disconnected after 1 minute in Windows 10 and won't reconnect unless I disconnect it first. No idea why. I even downloaded the Logitech drivers for it and same issue (default Windows drivers also ok). Playing with a trackpad is very horrible
3) AI still stinks. Villages randomly get trapped behind buildings. Computer player units also get trapped between their own buildings and can't move until the enemy destroys the building blocking them in question.
4) New civilizations and unique units are nice, even if not really historically accurate.
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Apr 9, 2018, 06:18 AM
 
2) This sounds like it is a power-saving feature. With newer versions of Windows, MS has become more stringent about enforcing power-saving features that the hardware claims to support. It turns out that a lot of hardware doesn't actually support what it claims to support.

To fix, go to Device Manager, find the Bluetooth radio, doubleclick it, go to the Power Management tab and disable all the powersaving options. If that doesn't do it, do the same for the bluetooth mouse itself, but I think that the problem is almost certainly in the Bluetooth radio itself if you have updated the Logitech drivers.
The new Mac Pro has up to 30 MB of cache inside the processor itself. That's more than the HD in my first Mac. Somehow I'm still running out of space.
     
mindwaves  (op)
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Apr 10, 2018, 04:57 AM
 
Thanks, that did the trick. Windows' power mgmt needs some improvement. This Logitech mouse sips battery power very conservatively. Uses one AA battery and lasts for months. Much better than my former Apple Pro Mouse.
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mindwaves  (op)
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Jun 7, 2018, 04:49 AM
 
I use Windows for the sole purpose of Age of Empires 2, and I really dislike rebooting into Mac/Windows all of the time, so I was thinking of buying Parallels or WMware Fusion. My question is can either of these applications take use the Bootcamp drive with Windows 10 installed automatically without me having to delete the Bootcamp partition and reinstall Windows and Steam using Parallels or Fusion?
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Jun 7, 2018, 06:56 AM
 
They both have migration methods to let you use a Bootcamp installation - at least they did back when I tried one.
The new Mac Pro has up to 30 MB of cache inside the processor itself. That's more than the HD in my first Mac. Somehow I'm still running out of space.
     
Laminar
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Jun 7, 2018, 10:18 AM
 
VirtualBox is free, try that first before buying software.

https://apple.stackexchange.com/ques...ide-virtualbox
     
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Jun 7, 2018, 12:29 PM
 
Is it worth mentioning WINE?
     
mindwaves  (op)
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Jun 8, 2018, 09:14 AM
 
I've never used WINE before, but I've used VirtualBox before to run Internet Explorer 6 to run some weird Java applet that didn't work on Macs, but now that it is no longer needed, I have not used it since. I've downloaded Parallels trial version (free for 2 weeks) and it seems to be working well.
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