Apple has made a significant stride towards enhancing gaming on macOS by introducing a Game Porting Toolkit during its Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC). This toolkit, reminiscent of Valve’s Proton and the Steam Deck, utilizes source code from CrossOver to enable the translation and execution of the latest DirectX 12 Windows games on macOS.
Mac gaming has long been a subject of jest among the PC gaming community, with only a few exceptions such as Resident Evil Village and No Man’s Sky ports catering to macOS users. However, Apple’s new Game Porting Toolkit aims to change that by allowing developers to seamlessly run unmodified versions of Windows games on Mac, providing insights into performance and compatibility before undergoing full porting.
Powered by the CrossOver solution, which is based on Wine technology, Apple’s tool leverages emulation to ensure Windows games can run on macOS. It converts Windows API calls to Apple’s Metal API, thereby eliminating the need for extensive modifications or porting. Crucial APIs related to graphics, input, audio, networking, and file systems are translated to their macOS counterparts.
While Apple emphasizes that the current focus is on game evaluation rather than full-fledged porting, Mac users can still experiment with the Game Porting Toolkit. However, it is important to note that certain performance issues and bugs may arise since most games are not yet optimized for this environment. Nonetheless, early reports suggest promising results, with users successfully running games like Cyberpunk 2077, Diablo IV, and Hogwarts Legacy on M1 and M2 MacBooks.
Apple’s translation layer holds significant potential, particularly considering the high-performance GPU cores in its M1 and M2 chips. The company’s commitment to simplifying game porting is evident in its Metal Shader Converter, which automatically converts existing GPU shaders to Metal, further streamlining the process.
Developers have long faced challenges when porting Windows games to macOS due to the complex nature of recompiling code, converting shaders, and implementing graphics subsystems, audio, and input. Apple’s Game Porting Toolkit, combined with the Metal Shader Converter, aims to alleviate these complexities and significantly reduce the time and effort required for game porting.
Apple’s renewed focus on gaming extends beyond the toolkit, as macOS Sonoma introduces a dedicated game mode. Additionally, renowned game developer Hideo Kojima appeared during Apple’s WWDC keynote to announce that Death Stranding Director’s Cut will be coming to macOS.
While running Windows games seamlessly on macOS remains a distant dream, Apple’s recent developments in translation technology suggest a potential future reality. By continually refining its translation layer, Apple could pave the way for macOS users to enjoy Windows games with ease, akin to the experience offered by the Steam Deck.
This article is based on information from The Verge.