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EA games will use Cider, not be OS X native

updated 01:50 am EDT, Wed June 13, 2007

EA games will use Cider

Steve Jobs made a big deal during his WWDC keynote address this week of an announcement that various Electronic Arts games -- including Need for Speed Carbon, Battlefield 2142 and Command and Conquer 3 -- would be making their way to Mac OS X later this year. What wasn't mentioned, however, was that these games will not be native Mac OS X ports. Instead, they will be made to run under Mac OS X with the aid of Cider from TransGaming (like X3: Reunion, Myst Online and other titles). This means they may not run at full native speed, and may exhibit other issues; they also will only run on Intel-based Macs--leaving many long-time Mac users out in the cold.

Cider is a portability engine that allows Windows games to be run on Intel Macs "without any modifcations to the original game source code." The tool loads Windows programs into memory on Intel-based Macs using an optimized version of the Win32 APIs. A statement on the TransGaming site states "Cider powered games use the same copy protection, lobbies, game matching and connectivity as the original Windows game. All this means less effort and lower costs. Cider is targeted to game developers and publishers."

Meanwhile, an ExtremeTech piece offers heavy skepticism regarding whether or not many of the games demonstrated during Jobs' keynote will actually be able to run at acceptable speeds using the graphics cards currently included with Macs. "If you consider that the most powerful graphics accelerator on Apple hardware is the aging AMD X1900 XT--only available on the $2,500-plus Mac Pro--then it's likely that most Mac users will never see the full glory of id's new engine on a Mac. The iMac line offers the anemic 7300GT, one even begins to question how well EA's games will run on Mac hardware. Cider is all well and good, but Command and Conquer 3 or Battlefield 2142 running on the 7300GT is pretty pathetic."

by MacNN Staff





  1. adrian_milliner

    Joined: Dec 1969



    that is pretty heavy scepticism, but anyone who is willing to pay good money for a top-end graphics card that is less than 6 months old, is not going to be worried about having a separate gaming pc. or an xbox360.

  1. petsounds

    Joined: Dec 1969


    read between the lines

    Steve doesn't (often) mention things in his keynote for no reason. Games is the last big stumbling block for potential switchers, and Apple is wanting to address that.

    John Carmack would not have agreed to demo his new engine at a Mac conference unless he had been briefed about the 3D roadmap for forthcoming Mac products. I believe the next refresh of Mac products at or before the launch of Leopard will do away with the lackluster video cards.

  1. danviento

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Let's hope

    that petsounds is right.

  1. DocZ

    Joined: Dec 1969


    it'll just take some time

    There is no fundamental technical reason why engines like Cider would have to cause speed penalties or glitches. The more developers use tools like that, the better they will become. Wrapping around API calls also doesn't mean that anything is emulated in the sense of being slowly interpreted or anything like that.

    The problem is Microsoft, though, as they can prevent developers of portability tools from implementing optimal solutions, either legally or by not pubslishing certain implementation details. Still, in the end there will just be more Mac games. And bear in mind that Vista is a resource hog, too... :-)

  1. Peter Bonte

    Joined: Dec 1969


    graphics cards

    We will have the best and newest hardware in the future when osX runs on all PC's, its the best solution.

    Anyone tested the demo on a PC?

  1. wymer100

    Joined: Dec 1969



    A lot of the PC market has these sorts of graphics cards. It's not like everyone has a 8800GTS card in their computer on the PC side. EA will take the GPU cards into account when they release specs. It's not that you can't play games with slow GPUs. It's just that you may have to turn down some options. It's not like EA just starting working on these titles last week. If they are going to be released next month, then they must be in beta testing. If they were going to be running too slowly on macs, EA would have killed the project.

    As for the aging X1900XT card, it may be last generation, but it's still a good card and will certainly run those games extremely well.

  1. JulesLt

    Joined: Dec 1969


    High end graphics cards

    One word - heat.

    And that's the main reason Apple always stay away from cutting edge GPUs. They only really work in tower config machines, unless you REALLY like fans.

    Seeing as most of the consumer (as opposed to gamer) market is moving over to low end laptops, EA will be losing customers if they don't make their games work well on low-end Windows machines. They will also lose customers if they don't make them look better on high end machines.

  1. eldarkus

    Joined: Dec 1969


    what about

    Core animation? Isnt this supposed to be a huge boost for graphics system wide? And if so, wouldnt it make sense that this technology could speed up games, even with a low end graphics card? Thoughts??

  1. ibugv4

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Hello iGame?

    First and foremost, I'm a 20-something male who despises WoW and anything more complex than Bejeweled. I have far more challenging, interactive and social things to do with my time using the computer.

    That out of the way, I forsee a dedicated "gaming system" line from Apple, akin to Alienware's old status as THE gamer's PC. A larger, game-oriented laptop with lots of speed and storage, and a desktop that's not overly huge with limited expandability (but some will exist, PCI Express graphics card for example instead of the typical integrated graphics card) to fill the need.

    I think more folks want more speed and less space, that often negates the graphics chip. 8MB of VRAM was always enough to crunch an iMovie with back in the day, I don't see what it's not good enough anymore. I mean we're the country where our domestic cars that have legacy like the iMac does are STILL getting the same economy in 2007 as they did in 1957, so I just don't see why we NEED so much video memory. For that matter, I'd also like an OS X American, one that is English-only w/out support for other languages (imagine how small and fast THAT would be).

  1. OtisWild

    Joined: Dec 1969


    What a shocka!!!

    Apple ships c*** GPUs that are overpriced?! CALL THE MEDIA!

    If you didn't already know that Apple's GPU policy over the last decade or so has been underwhelming and nearly insulting, you weren't paying attention.

    Macista's typical retorts: Mac people aren't gamers, Get a console, blah blah blah.

    Very well. But there are millions of gamers out there who would never consider a switch unless and until they could run their favorite games at the resolutions and framerates they expect.

    Frankly, I was converted to consoling by XBox, _Knights of the Old Republic_ and _Halo 2_, and all I really play on Macs these days are games that don't need good GPUs such as OpenTTD.


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