Apple WWDC 2015 Discussion Thread

Mac Technical Support
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We will support Metal for these video cards:
Intel HD 4000 and later
NVidia GeForce 600 and later
AMD Radeon R9 M290 and later
AMD Radeon HD7000 and later
AMD Fire Pro D300 and later
So would a AMD Radeon HD 6970M 2gig card be supported ?
06/19/2015 03:40 PMPosted by Corbendallas
So would a AMD Radeon HD 6970M 2gig card be supported ?

No. What he posted is what apple supports by Metal and what I was bringing up earlier. that could change if apple adds more cards to their metal drivers. However what is above matches what was found in DP1 in terms of what metal supports.

Nvidia – GeForce gtx 4xx and newer
Intel – HD4000 and newer (ivy bridge and newer)
AMD – HD7000 and newer

From Netkas bisecting the metal drivers in DP1
(Fire Pros are still 7000 series based so are included by the HD7000 drivers. R9 M290 falls under "or newer", AMD is just good at confusing users with the name change. No mac actually uses geforce 400 or 500 series, so it's odd apple driver mentions them. apple went from 300 series to 600 series.)

This means that it's very likely OpenGL is not going away any time soon, for any game since that excludes a lot of mac hardware, despite the hardware still able to upgrade to 10.11 just fine (and still should for latest fixes/drivers, and other performance enhancements, even if metal is off the table. It'll still let devs use the opengl 4 profile for those users)

At present only Intel HD graphics even support using metal for core graphics. Nvidia and AMD hardware are using OpenGL for the OS X GUI, so metal is far from a polished/finished state. The device list could very well be incomplete and hopefully is more refined in later DPs. Let us hope right?

For those on 10.11 developer preview, netkas developed an app that let you test if your card supports metal as well, available here
http://netkas.org/?p=1405
I wouldn't hold my breath for Maxwell support in Metal, considering Apple don't/didn't ship any products using Maxwell chips.
At this time, they tend to go back and forth though. I wouldn't doubt for a second we'll see a nvidia 900 in something soon enough.

Also depends on whether or not nvidia will add it to driver anyways, just in case. Nvidia isn't just going to wait until apple decides. they are going to go "we're ready when you are". i Mean after all nvidia drivers have FULL maxwell support and have for a while, even though no macs use it. Nvidia doesn't have to do that, but they do anyways because maybe they know something we don't, or maybe they just want to be ready for anything.
EDIT, nvidia did add Maxwell Metal support. ;)
ok so im confused my card would or would not support it ?
06/26/2015 11:54 AMPosted by Corbendallas
ok so im confused my card would or would not support it ?

6970 < 7000

Could that change, if apple decides to add more cards to metal drivers, sure. But at present, no you will not get metal.
Metal will be really good I think.. I don't see it as a competing technology. All it is is a plugin to make games work specifically for mac (finally).

OpenGL just isn't working out for whatever reason. I see it as a "disconnect" between Apple and developers and Apple's less than willingness to support gaming in the past. However, looking at how Metal works.. looks like it will be far superior anyways.
06/19/2015 12:31 AMPosted by S4d1k
Intel HD 4000 and later


Does that include Intel Iris?
07/21/2015 02:13 PMPosted by Maarius
OpenGL just isn't working out for whatever reason. I see it as a "disconnect" between Apple and developers and Apple's less than willingness to support gaming in the past. However, looking at how Metal works.. looks like it will be far superior anyways.

opengl wasn't working because apple wasn't letting it. leaving it constantly and grossly out of date on purpose.

I see metal working for some of the big name companies that support it but i also see metal alienating the smaller developers who used opengl because it was cross platform,and metal isn't. A lot of developers who make freeware or shareware are already talking about bowing out of mac support going forward. Dolphin, a highly popular emulator has already said they will not support metal, they'd sooner drop mac support completely than do that. Supporting opengl lets it work on mac os x and linux and windows. metal, just os x. directx 12, just windows, etc.

Opengl/Vulkan should have been the future if apple really wanted to convince developers to develop for mac, instead they are just alienating more of them.

On the plus,i really hope apple can keep metal up to date. but i bet you'll see features vanish from mac apps. we'll probably have better performance in wow with metal but even more features that are disabled on the mac wouldn't shock me at all. Opengl at least tried to make an effort to match direct3d features. will metal? Time will tell.
07/21/2015 08:11 PMPosted by Omegal
Opengl/Vulkan should have been the future if apple really wanted to convince developers to develop for mac, instead they are just alienating more of them.

This isn't fair. Vulkan isn't done yet, so Apple isn't including it on their OS. That doesn't mean they won't do it in the future.

The features that Metal lacks are related to how game developers control the GPU, not to "visual effects". These lower level APIs allow for (almost) full control of the GPUs. Things like when to render, when to flush buffers, when to copy memory, etc. You can tune these operations based on information you have on our game. So, for instance, if you know you are about to require lots of geometry processing you might defer texture copy since you won't need it for a while and that would simply slow down your more important operation. It is some of these fine grain controls that Metal lacks.

I know developing for platforms is bad. But if Microsoft is pushing for DX12, why can't Apple push for Metal? Sometimes I sincerely don't understand all the drama. I play on my iMac (obviously not WoW anymore, but other Blizzard games) and have no issues.
09/19/2015 11:56 AMPosted by Schmezz
This isn't fair. Vulkan isn't done yet, so Apple isn't including it on their OS. That doesn't mean they won't do it in the future

There is no chance apple will ever include vulkan. They can't even update OpenGL not be several YEARS behind.

09/19/2015 11:56 AMPosted by Schmezz
I know developing for platforms is bad. But if Microsoft is pushing for DX12, why can't Apple push for Metal?

Because MS can get away with it. Plain and simple. Developers have to support majority rule. Honestly Dx12 is just as bad.

Proprietary standards hurt game developers all around. If we could have an agreed and GOOD open standard that was free to use, we'd see a LOT more games ported to linux and OS X.

Here is game dev today
OpenGL, your app works on OS X, linux and windows. Minimal porting effort. You can make a decent app that runs ok in all OSes.
For a game to run GREAT though in windows, you have to use direct3d. OpenGL in windows is lackluster at best (although still ahead of OS X sometimes)..

OS X is a very small minority of users. Therefor a developer who is focused on bottom line is likely to just do a single api, directx and not port their game at all., or do a really crap port using wine/cider to poorly translate the direct3d apis to opengl through the skin layer...This results in many games just simply never making it to mac, or linux for that matter.

Companies with more money to throw at games (they will actually sell enough copies for mac or linux to actually be profitable) are willing to do 2 apis. direct3d and opengl and hire some platform porting coders.

Enter metal. Now, if they want to port their game to OS X, they have to support THREE apis. Why? because metal is going to be a faction of a fraction of the mac users. Most will not be on 10.11 and will still require opengl. add in the fact that if they care about linux development, they'll have to support opengl for that too.

What does this mean? metal adoption is going to be slow, at best. That's if they bother at all. Developers will use opengl anyways because it's better for bottom line and easier to port to more than OS X.

All developers will have to weight in not only cost, but time. Blizzard for example has no full time engine coder at all. They have Dan who was promoted out of opengl lead, but still has to find time to do it (for 6 blizzard games mind you) while still doing his other job duties. Why doesn't blizz hire more developers to help? They've been trying for last 2 years. But why work for blizzard when you can make over 10,000 dollars in a single day selling an iOS 9 adblocker on app store that took you less than a day to make? Mac development is one of the least profitable industries right now since it's such a niche with very low bottom line.
None the less, Dan is an amazing guy and he's still making Metal happen anyways! :)

So end of day, metal may seem great in practice but ultimately metal vs an updated opengl is probably going to make mac development harder and less attractive to indie devs. It'll probably increase the ports of IOS games to mac though.
09/20/2015 04:43 PMPosted by Omegal
Mac development is one of the least profitable industries right now since it's such a niche with very low bottom line.


I can confirm this. I spent the better part of 15 years keeping up on all of the latest languages, developer gems and whatnot trying to keep my resumé as relevant as I could. I wanted so badly to make a living off of Mac OS X development. I was very often bounced around between short contract jobs and the like. But in the end I couldn't make ends meet. I just had to give it up.

For the last year and a half or so, I've been pursuing a new career path as a video game reviewer/analyst, and as volatile as this career path is, I've made significantly more headway on it than I ever did as a developer, despite putting a lot more work and making a lot more contacts in the developer circles.

The irony is that I'm already in my early 30's. All of my peers are 5-15 years younger than I am. Opinionated columnists and youtubers are kind of a big deal now in the gaming industry.
Despite all the drama...

WoW is currently running with Metal. We will likely enable it before the end of the year.
We will do the same for SC2 and HotS in the next 6 months.

We will keep OpenGL for people with 10.9/10.10 or a computer older than 2012.
Good to hear. Thank's for the heads up, S4d1k!
Metal wasn't even complete with nvidia/AMD gpus even in the final release. Fully supported in apps, but the desktop (core graphics) still used metal only for intel GPUs.

How does it perform? Any feature loss?

You must be working in your off hours at this point to manage to fit that in with that opening still unfilled :\
No feature will be lost but we will look into enabling more AA modes.
The performance is fine right now, we expect it to be better after a couple SUs.

WoW 7.0 will not support OpenGL 2.1 and will require 10.9.5.
I think I can speak for most of us in saying:

"Hell... It's about time..."
So that means OpenGL 3 and 4 will be used too?
Although those alone won't bring CMAA, since opengl 4 api is still too old in OS X.

CMAA would be nice if metal supports though. and SSAA+CMAA

Bigger question, What about Nvidia HBAO?
http://us.battle.net/wow/en/forum/topic/18300815235

Will there be any beta testing of metal before 7.0? Via a variable activation similar to how you can enable opengl3 engine now with one (granted it's not even remotely usable)
We will let you know when Metal is ready. The drivers need a little more work.

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