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PC Games Go To Boot Camp 90

Posted by Zonk
from the suck-in-that-gut-civilization dept.
1up has taken several of the more popular recent PC titles to Apple Boot Camp, and report back on how they handle the MacBook Pro hardware. From the article: "With all settings on medium, F.E.A.R. is absolutely playable. Again, none of the silky-smooth 60 fps that hardware freaks clamor for, but it looks good and plays well even with tons of characters onscreen. Annoyingly, F.E.A.R. offers a really pitiful selection of resolutions, all of which are constrained to the old-fashioned 4:3 aspect ratio -- meaning that play on the MacBook's widescreen is stretched, and kind of ugly. That's not a hardware issue so much as limited programming, and presumably anyone with a widescreen PC is in the same pickle."
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PC Games Go To Boot Camp

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  • Shouldn't that be handle? Just curious . . .
  • And I was hoping for Video Game Characters going to bootcamp with hilarious and sexual results.

    Alas.
  • Hmm (Score:2, Insightful)

    by NIK282000 (737852)
    Nice article but I dont know why any one would want to game on a laptop. With the screen and keyboard so close together thats a back problem waitign together. I would like to see how the mac desktops size up adainst say a dell or HP desktop.
    • I'm old school, I didn't get a degree in math, I got .0174 radians.

      1 degree = 0.0174532925 radians [google.com]

      Are we using Round-towards even, truncate, or floor?
    • Re:Hmm (Score:2, Interesting)

      by allenw (33234)
      That's an easy one: travel.

      It's greating being able to pop open a laptop in the airport, on the plane, etc, and have a nice relaxing game of whatever. Especially when you are stuck in some hick town with no social scene at all. If I have to take my laptop anyway, I might as well get some use out of it other than doing a presentation or whatever.

      [My biggest complaint are the games that require the CD/DVD to be present when they don't actually pull anything off of the media or require it for the audio

    • Re:Hmm (Score:3, Informative)

      Nice article but I dont know why any one would want to game on a laptop.

      LAN party. You know, a dozen guys and gals go to someone's house. We usually have about three desktops and about nine laptops for a typical night. Who wants to lug a desktop and a monitor over to a friend's house? Just buy a USB keyboard (maybe a gaming keyboard), plug into your laptop and go.

      • Plus, sometimes you just wanna get out of the house. Go down to the Internet coffeeshop and game there, or to the LAN-gaming place but use your own computer that has all your custom macros on it--most LAN-gaming places won't let you put that stuff on their computer.

        And there are also those folks who can't afford or don't have access to high-speed Internet in their area, so taking it on the road is the only way they can do it via high-speed at all.
  • I find it sickening that modern games do not support what should be standard screen resolutions.

    All console games these days have widescreen support. It is not hard to do.

    In this HDTV age, why don't games support the standard HDTV resolutions, too? 720x480, 720x576, 1280x720, 1920x1080 - it's not hard is it? How hard is it to populate an array with some other options?

    • by Onan (25162) on Monday April 10, 2006 @03:28PM (#15100531)

      Well, even beyond that, why would you possibly use a hard-coded list of specific resolutions, however long?

      As soon as you support more than one resolution, you (or your libraries) already need to handle scaling and talking about your polygons in portion-of-display units rather than number-of-pixels units. That work is already done, so why limit yourself to any number of specific resolutions, rather than just scaling to whatever pixel count and aspect ratio the display happens to have?

      Do you really think that you can predict now the specs of every display that any person is ever going to use to run your game at any time in the future? This is nearly as absurd as people who chain their website design to absolute numbers of pixels.

      • Some do; most id Software engine games (like Doom 3, Half-Life 2) let you manually set any resolution and aspect ratio you wish. The only catch is you have to do it from the console (or in the config files directly). The menus still have a limited number of pre-set resolutions.
      • A friend and I were talking about this very issue recently. While I tend to agree that PC games should be entirely flexible in terms of resolution (since there are far too many display options and aspect ratios available), I realized that there was one factor which could be important to a game developer: Preserving the cinematic intent of the game. For example, if a game is supposed to surprise you by attacking from behind, it can't really have a third-person viewpoint available. The same could be true i
        • by n8_f (85799)
          I realized that there was one factor which could be important to a game developer: Preserving the cinematic intent of the game.

          If that were the case, then they would leave the resolution set to what it is (preferably native, but that is the user's choice) and just use a 4:3 chunk in the middle. Instead, they change resolution to their 4:3, non-native one and leave the screen looking like crap. If they cared about the quality of the experience, they've just ruined it far more than allowing a widescreen v

      • Having been involved in game design projects before, yes I do think it's possible. Let's put it this way: there are 3 major screen ratios in the world, 4:3 (TV, CRT), 16:9 (the new widescreen standard) and 16:10 (some computers-only bastardisation to keep LCD costs lower or something)

        In most games you just render off to the side a little more. You space out your HUD. Since the viewport in 3D games is set out by 2 or 3 procedural functions, this is very very very trivial coding.

        Why use a fixed list of resolu
    • I find it sickening that modern games do not support what should be standard screen resolutions.

      It will probably upset Mac gamers even more than most. Since such a large percentage of Macs are widescreen, I don't think I've ever seen a Mac game that did not support them. Also, many Mac users love to bitch about the Windows platform, in general :)

      • Since such a large percentage of Macs are widescreen, I don't think I've ever seen a Mac game that did not support them.

        There are plenty of OS X native games that don't support widescreen. The last one that I personally played was Tropico 2: Pirate Cove to give some idea of how recent a game can be, yet plagued with this issue out of the box.

        • The last one that I personally played was Tropico 2: Pirate Cove to give some idea of how recent a game can be, yet plagued with this issue out of the box.

          Gee, and it's made by Microsoft too, what a surprise. I stopped buying MacSoft's crappy games long ago. They are always unstable and poorly done.

    • > All console games these days have widescreen support. It is not hard to do.

      Technically, no, but artistically, it is, in order to do it right.

      It's about providing a UI that looks good any at resolution.

      It's much easier to make a UI look good at 4:3, then to do "double" the work to support 16:9 or some other "oddball" configuration.

      Yeah it sucks, but as a programmer I can appreciate the amount of work an artist has to do.

      Cheers
      • They could at least support the resolution, and just stick it in the middle of the screen. I think most widescreen gamers would be happy just to not have the 4:3 image streched to 16:9 or 16:10. The problem is not so much that it's not widescreen, just that its all distorted.
  • ... But why should the widescreen folk have a better view than the 4:3 folk? Imagine playing a game online, and you have a 4:3 screen. It's great, it looks good. But then someone else you are playing against has a 16:9 widescreen and he sees not only what you are able to see, but more (on the sides). So his 'character' has a better peripheral vision because he has a widescreen monitor?

    Having the widescreen stretch the view out seems like less of a programming issue and more of a gamer-fairness issue.
    • by Krach42 (227798)
      ... But why should the widescreen folk have a better view than the 4:3 folk? Imagine playing a game online, and you have a 4:3 screen. It's great, it looks good. But then someone else you are playing against has a 16:9 widescreen and he sees not only what you are able to see, but more (on the sides). So his 'character' has a better peripheral vision because he has a widescreen monitor?

      Blame the industry for lack of foresight, meanwhile, me and my widescreens will enjoy the extra peripheral viewspace.

      To note
      • Problem with extended peripheral vision ? How about surround sound? The gap is already there. Someone wearing headphones or using standard 2(.1) channel sound is at a disadvantage against someone using 5.1+ who can literally hear their opponents' footsteps behind them.
        • True. In my LAN gaming group, we used to play with open speakers for all to hear. It was common habit that if you were searching for someone, you would jump, and listen for their speakers to make any noise.

          This worked well to your advantage until people started bringing surround sound systems and could target you based on the 3D positioning information afforded them. Sure you know that they heard you jumping, but now they know which direction you're in, and you don't.

          Of course, all that stopped once we s
      • Is it an advantage? Sure, of course it is. Is it an UNFAIR advantage? I would say hardly. I spend good money on high end gaming hardware (video card, monitor, sound and internet connection), I pay (and dearly) for the little advantage I do get, but because the other players may not be able to afford the same level of hardware, I don't see how that makes things unfair. If I was to race a Ferrari with my Honda, does the Ferrari driver have an unfair advantage? Of course not, he paid for the advantage that he
    • The graphics shouldn't stretch. Quake3 doesn't have widescreen support, per se. When I play Quake3 on my Dell FPW2005 or on my Powerbook, it puts black bars at the sides. it doesn't stretch and distort the view.

      It's a matter of properly programming the video code to compensate for strange resolutions. ...spike
    • by 99BottlesOfBeerInMyF (813746) on Monday April 10, 2006 @03:21PM (#15100459)

      So his 'character' has a better peripheral vision because he has a widescreen monitor?

      Imagine a gamer with a great video card and monitor. With the better resolution and size he can make out objects that are further away. Shouldn't all games be restricted to 640x480 and at a certain size on the screen, otherwise some characters can see further and in better detail than others. Some people might have two monitors allowing them to reference a map, IM with other players, or view cheats at the same time as the game. Games need to detect and turn off multiple monitors. Also, some gamers use joysticks and trackball setups that allow them to click buttons faster. Games should only support standard keyboards and mice; lest some characters have better reaction times than others.

      You could argue this for all sorts of hardware, but it does not really matter. People who spend more on the best hardware and connection will gain some slight advantage. That's life. In any case failing to deal with widescreen monitors and distorting the picture is pathetic. I thought all games checked for this and at worst put some black bars on the right and left, like the ones at the top and bottom for widescreen movies on a standard TV.

      • You're right. Those who can't keep up and get the latest equipment won't be able to play the latest games. But widescreen monitors just aren't the majority of monitors being bought. The gaming industry knows this, so they aren't forcing a move to widescreen just yet. The progressive companies are putting bars on the sides, I'll even bet that some games have widescreen availiblity (for computer). But for the most part, the majority of monitors purchased are 4:3 resolutions.
        • But widescreen monitors just aren't the majority of monitors being bought.

          You're right and at the same time, not quite right. You see this article is for/by people running Macs and most Macs have widescreen displays. Aside from ibooks, I'm not even sure Apple sells any non-widescreen systems. So current Mac users (the most likely users of bootcamp) Are used to everything, including games dealing with widescreen. I've never run a game under OS X that did not handle widescreen, that I recall. It seems lik

          • You're right- this article is for mac users with widescreens. And until the manufacturers decide to come down off their widescreen=$$$$ perch, I don't think many Windows users will be converting. And as long as Windows has their stranglehold on the PC market, you probably won't see a vast majority of game companies changing for the mac users. It'd be nice to see, especially if that mean monitor prices go down. But I doubt it will happen for the majority of new games coming out for quite some time.
      • It's more than a slight difference. If gamer A has 1920x1440 resolution with anti-aliasing and gamer B has 800x600 with no AA, A will have a massive advantage. This is one reason why some gamers are able to shoot accurately from ridiculous distances.
    • Having the widescreen stretch the view out seems like less of a programming issue and more of a gamer-fairness issue.

      If it's about fairness, then everyone should be given free top-of-the-line PCs and high-speed internet connections. That, or you force everyone down to the lowest common denominator framerate, resolution and bandwidth. Because frames per second is an advantage in first-person shooters and people have varying qualities of hardware and network connections, they're unfair to begin with.

      Worryin
    • They used the same excuse with Starcraft and why it was limited to a terrible resolution.

      One simple solution that solves the whole thing. Server side settings.

      The server can determine the max resolution, the resolution types and pretty much every other setting anyone is linking up with. As long as you program that in to the interface for online gaming there should be no limits on how great you can make things look.
    • Having a Cable modem when everyone else was on dialup was unfair.
      Having a laser mouse vs the old style mouses is unfair.
      Having a computer that can run the game at 60fps vs a pos machine that runs it at 12fps is unfair.
      Having a 21" monitor playing against a kid with a 15" is unfair. (Mostly because the 21" guy can see better with his eyes whil ethe 15" is having to look at less detail and may not see the other person move).

      So computer gaming is all unfair like this... Otherwise I suggest a console. Or maybe
    • The wide screen people will in fact not see anything that the 4:3 people will see. They might see more detail if their resolution is higher, but the portion of the scene that is visible to them is the same as that visible to the players using a 4:3 screen. Read up on rasterization [wikipedia.org] here to find out more.
      Basically the field of view angle determines how much you see, not the size of your screen.
    • LCDs, for the most part, do not have great internal algorithms for scaling from arbitrary resolutions to actual pixels. Particularly with laptops, where screen adjustment is done through software rather than buttons on the screen, different resolutions are displayed letterboxed or cropped. On a 1024x768 screen, one can play a game at 1024x576 using the middle 576 rows of the screen while leaving the top 106 rows and bottom 106 rows black. My 1280x1024 Sony LCD monitor displays all resolutions as actual p
    • Yeah, and some people have faster internet connections than me, but they should lag the same way I do. It's only fair, after all. Hell, some people have specialized peripherals (e.g. gaming mouse, extra keypatds, joystick, etc.); they should just be ignored by the computer, because it's unfair to those who don't have them!

      Setting aside the hardware envy, game creators do need to take into account that not all screens are created equal anymore. Even without extending field of view to give an "unfair" adva
  • is a new idea, but I don't get the hubbub. Once Apple switched to Intel, they began churning out typical x86 PC's. Yeah, they look cooler, but why would anyone expect that they would bench/perform differently from a generic white box with the same specs? This seems to be much ado about nothing. It's great that the Apple computers have the secret DRM chip that allows for OS X x8 to be installed, the dual boot option may make this a great option for for some folks. But to bench them and remark with wonder about the results compared to any of a bijillion other Intel hardware based Windows PC's seems odd.
  • Oblivion on iMac (Score:2, Informative)

    by odhinnsrunes (698134)
    I installed Boot Camp last week, and other than some issues with some older games running too fast or not correctly measuring the speed of the processor, it worked great. I ran out and bought Oblivion, and it installed and runs great. I found the same issues as those in the article, but they are easaily resolved with some very minor tweaking. I don't really consider myself a gamer, but I was inpressed with the distance cueing limits, etc. and the frame rate was good. I was able to play four several hour
  • A friend of mine tried City of Heroes/Villains on his MacBook [websnark.com] and was highly impressed by its performance.
  • widescreen gaming (Score:5, Informative)

    by gEvil (beta) (945888) on Monday April 10, 2006 @03:13PM (#15100394)
    Handy link to the Widescreen Gaming Forum [widescreen...gforum.com] website. It includes a listing of games that work with widescreen monitors, including hacks, patches, and workarounds to get games that don't natively support them to work.
    • And voila, from your link: How to get FEAR to support widescreen [widescreen...gforum.com].
    • I find it hard to believe that OSX video drivers have no system to display apps without stretching.

      In the Control Panel of both Nvidia and ATI drivers, there is a setting that will allow a 1024*768 game to run with the other pixels blocked out. The other 256*256 pixels become a border around the actual game. That way, everything looks OK and not all stretched out.

      This is very useful considering most LCDs are 1280*1024 and most games are designed to play at *real* resolutions; i.e. 1280*960.
  • by frankie (91710) on Monday April 10, 2006 @03:16PM (#15100412) Journal
    If you pump up the clock [google.com] with ATITool, frame rates jump 30-50% (at the cost of your Mac being unseemly noisy and warm).

    Now you just need some blue neon - and maybe a carbon fiber spoiler on top - to give your iMac that Real Ultimate (gaming) Power! (tm)
  • by falcon5768 (629591) <Falcon5768.comcast@net> on Monday April 10, 2006 @03:21PM (#15100461) Journal
    and even with everything turned up and running a Dynamis Xacrabard (where there tends to be a huge number of monsters at once along with 50-64 player characters) I didnt have one instance of a slow down or a lag which even some of my friends with nice systems couldnt brag about.

    Of course its a older game, but its much more prossesor heavy than you would think based on how SE botched up the coding for PC.

  • Half-Life 2 (Score:4, Informative)

    by aftk2 (556992) on Monday April 10, 2006 @03:35PM (#15100577) Homepage Journal
    Cabel (of the Mac software shop Panic [panic.com]) has put up a quicktime video of Half-Life 2 running on his Intel iMac. In two words, it looks friggin sweet:

    http://cabel.name/ [cabel.name]

    (With apologies to his hosting provider.)
  • by Jeff DeMaagd (2015) on Monday April 10, 2006 @03:50PM (#15100690) Homepage Journal
    After all, you have a triumverate of "evil" going on here. After all, it is an Apple machine with Intel chips running Microsoft software.
  • by Faust7 (314817) on Monday April 10, 2006 @04:14PM (#15100882) Homepage
    All the people crying that Boot Camp means the end of OS X gaming need to remember a certain reality: no software company with any sense will shut down a business unit that remains consistently profitable. So long as native OS X versions of software continue to bring in money for the companies that create them (Aspyr, Adobe, Microsoft, etc.), they'll stick around.

    So the question is, would enough people keep using native OS X apps, thereby maintaining that profitability? I'd say yes, and I'd also say that Boot Camp really won't have much of an overall effect beyond increasing the Mac's market share slightly (and only slightly, because setting up dual-booting is an extra cost in terms of the XP license and the time involved to make it happen); Boot Camp is aimed at people for whom Windows is the exception, not the rule - i.e. people that always use native OS X apps if they're available. I honestly don't see this radically changing anything.
    • I wrote a post on this a couple of days ago. I suspect the increased competition from Windows software combined with Apple's small install base could be quite negative for Mac developers. http://www.newtonsoft.com/blog/archive/2006/04/08/ 38.aspx [newtonsoft.com] No one is going to stop selling what they already have. Most of the cost of software is the development. Not developing new software is pretty much the equivalent of leaving the market.
      • by Anonymous Coward
        Adobe, Microsoft etc. aren't going anywhere. Pro OS X users aren't going to stand for being forced to boot into Windows to do their day-to-day work, and developers would be more likely to lose a large base of paying customers if they were to do so. Mac users are a vocal minority (and some might argue trend-setting), and for Photoshop or Office to drop out would leave a gaping hole for someone else to fill, which would threaten their position as the "standard" application of their field. Look at the damag
    • no software company with any sense will shut down a business unit that remains consistently profitable
      Not true. If they can make MORE profit by doing something else, they will shut it down in a flash. This happens all the time in software and other things. Just because your 50 developers can make a small profit on Product A, doesn't mean you'll keep them going on that - make Product B and it can make a huge profit with the same 50 developers.
  • I don't have a MacBook Pro (so I haven't given this a shot) but people wanting to wide-screen F.E.A.R. should look here [widescreen...gforum.com]. It's a pretty easy hack to get the game running properly on wide-screen displays.

    The Wide-screen gaming forum [widescreen...gforum.com] has tons of simple fixes for quite a few games.
  • These benchmarks of Windows games running on XP on an Intel Mac are all very interesting - I mean who would have thought that a standard Intel laptop with an Apple logo on it would have performance roughly equivalent to a standard Intel laptop without an Apple logo on it?

    But so far no-one seems to have gotten around to benchmarking the Intel Mac running a cross platform game under both Windows and OSX.

    I just don't understand that. Is it possible that OSX would score too highly and the Apple crowd don't want
  • F.E.A.R. runs widescreen just fine on my Dell 20.1" ... never had issues with widescreen support.

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