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"OS X" Mentions In Steam Files Give Hope For Mac Version

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News Posted: Fri, Feb 26 2010 11:26 AM
Steam recently unveiled an "all new version" for PC users--all 25 million or so of them. And even though 25 million have access to a near-limitless amount of on-demand games, one growing sector has been completely shut out. Yes, we're talking about Mac users.

Apple's OS X has been unsupported by Valve's Steam app forever; there has yet to be a Mac port of it, leaving Mac-based gamers with the reality of having to go to an actual store to buy their games. It looks like Steam's "new beta" might not be the only things that the software engineers have been focused on, as new code and screenshots are showing the potential for an Apple-friendly version of Steam.



A user over at the Steam forums was digging through some of the Steam files recently, and they stumbled upon a string of files with "osx" in the file name. It's hard to think of anything else embedded in Steam files that "osx" would relate to, and frankly, Valve has overlooked the Mac market for far too long. Now that Macs rely on potent Intel processors, they aren't the "second rate" gaming machines that they used to be. And while the market share is low compared to that of the PC, Mac users generally want to spend money on software and accessories.

Is Steam for Mac just around the corner? One can hope.


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3vi1 replied on Fri, Feb 26 2010 4:11 PM

Uhmmm... I'd say it's much more likely that those are files for an "OSX-style" skin. There's no reason OSX specific graphic files would need to be created - nor would they be included in the Windows app.

I remember when dreamers went through the same wishful thinking over a year ago when they thought they had found filenames that indicated a Linux client was coming.

Of course, there is *one* thing that give hope to future ports:  I noticed that the latest beta is using the WebKit engine to display HTML - whereas older versions had just embedded the IE control.  That removes a Window-specific dependency.

Still... I try not to get my hopes up with Valve.  After all, the Source engine was a DirectX-only descendant of the beautifully cross-platform Quake engine.  Hopefully all the work they had to do getting their games ported to the PS3 convinced them to not embed Windows-centric tech so deep in their future engines.

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rapid1 replied on Sat, Feb 27 2010 3:07 AM

I see the advantages in greater playability across many computers for using a Windows source. On the other side it seems to be counter intuitive though. I mean if you can build an API which will work as well or better on everything why use a specific?

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3vi1 replied on Sat, Feb 27 2010 9:16 AM

Most PC game manufacturers choose to concentrate on Windows because Windows windows is used by 99%+ of their target audience. Computer gamers don't usually use any other platform because... most games are only made for Windows.

When solely targeting Windows and not making any cross-platform considerations, DirectX makes a lot of sense for developers - it's a unified solution, whereas people using OpenGL for graphics need to think about completely separate input and audio APIs. Of course, you can use something like SDL to get a similar level of unification and keep cross-platform porting, but you'll get better performance and more granular control just by writing to DirectX (which is what SDL would use as the back-end for a lot of functions on Windows anyway).

Some company with alternative OS interests should really look at making the open toolset more competitive with DX in ease of use.

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Inspector replied on Sat, Feb 27 2010 8:19 PM

i agree with 3vi1's first post, there is no need for different icons for OS X and for them to include them in windows package, But maybe they wanted to hint at it... who knows :D

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