cupboardoflove Oct 23, 2013 @ 12:27am
Mac OS 10.9 Mavericks: Native support for updated OpenGL & OpenCL drivers?
When Mac introduced OpenGL (3.0) and OpenCL (1.0) drivers in Mac OS 10.6 Snow Leopard in 2009, not many applications took advantage of it. When Steam was launched on the Mac in 2010, Valve rewrote most of their games using the native OpenGL and OpenCL drivers that Snow Leopard at that time supported. Obviously, this was key in Valve's more recent support regarding Linux.

At that time, games like Team Fortress 2 and the Left 4 Dead series ran just fine. Not as great as it would on Windows using DirectX, but still serviceable for those in the Mac world.

With the launch of 10.7 Lion in 2011 and 10.8 Mountain Lion in 2012, which saw minimal upgrades for OpenGL and OpenCL, Valve's library started to suffer from significant performance drops and issues. Games were constantly broken. Whereas in the past Valve was quick to fix these issues, it felt as if Valve was starting to withdraw support from the Mac OS. Suffice to say, Counter-strike: Global Offensive and DOTA2 pale in comparison with their Windows counterparts. Slowly after the launch of Lion, I installed Boot Camp and stuck to playing my Valve games on Windows due to the lack of support and updates.

With the launch of Mac OS 10.9 Mavericks today, we see significant updates in regards to OpenGL and OpenCL drivers. The Mac OS now supports OpenGL 4.1 and OpenCL 1.2.

What does that mean?

For those of you running on Intel integrated graphics cards, all of your drivers are supported and up to date as even Intel's latest HD Graphics 5000 (as seen on the 2013 MacBook Air) and the Iris Pro 5200 (as seen on the latest MacBook Pro with Retina display) support OpenGL 4.0 and OpenCL 1.2. For those running newer Macs with dedicated graphics cards, such as the recently updated iMacs and 15" MacBook Pro with Retina Display, we're not there yet as those cards can actually support up to OpenGL 4.3. Either way, it's a substantial imrpovement from Apple in based upon the driver support we saw in 10.7 and 10.8.

So the question at hand becomes, will Valve update their games to support OpenGL 4.1 and OpenCL 1.2 on the Mac? Especially since last I checked, Valve was using at least OpenGL 4.0 in their Linux ports of their games. It can't be that hard to recode their Mac games to take advantage of these new drivers?
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otakuish Oct 23, 2013 @ 12:44am 
Great informative post man thank you!
Janichsan Oct 23, 2013 @ 12:50am 
Originally posted by cupboardoflove:
It can't be that hard to recode their Mac games to take advantage of these new drivers?
Unless Valve wants to fragment their Mac support or drop support for versions of OS X previous to 10.9, I wouldn't wait for it.
Mozart Oct 23, 2013 @ 1:23am 
OS X 10.9 is free, I see no reason not to updgrade to it. Hopefully Vavle will finally stop supporting legacy systems and take advantage of new features of Mavericks.

Also @OP - only 15 inch Macbook Pro retinas have Iris Pro graphics (aka 5200). 13 inch retina MBP only has Iris 5100.
Chaz Oct 23, 2013 @ 2:36pm 
Originally posted by cupboardoflove:
It can't be that hard to recode their Mac games to take advantage of these new drivers?
That's not how it works.

When a new Catalyst comes out, EA, Ubisoft, Activison, Valve etc. don't go back and rewrite the games to take advantage of new AMD driver functions. That would be silly.

I'll forgive the "how hard could it be?" part.



[FaZe]xXXAkmanXXx Oct 24, 2013 @ 4:57am 
So, if i have a intel intergrated graphics card , my games would run overall better?
TheLoneWolf Oct 24, 2013 @ 9:49am 
Originally posted by Akman:
So, if i have a intel intergrated graphics card , my games would run overall better?

That depends on developer support, as the OP stated above. And as Mark said, it's a toss-up. I can see Valve update a few of their more oft-played/recent titles to take advantage of the updates because, well, they're VALVE. Don't hold your breath for anyone else as the time spent rewriting parts of old code would be better spent creating new code under the new standard (new games).
cupboardoflove Oct 24, 2013 @ 11:52am 
Originally posted by Mozart:
Also @OP - only 15 inch Macbook Pro retinas have Iris Pro graphics (aka 5200). 13 inch retina MBP only has Iris 5100.
Thanks for that. I thought both 13" and 15" MBP with Retina displays had the Iris Pro 5200. Either way, the Iris 511 and the Pro 5200 look far superior than Intel's past iterations.

Originally posted by Lone_Wolf:
I can see Valve update a few of their more oft-played/recent titles to take advantage of the updates because, well, they're VALVE. Don't hold your breath for anyone else as the time spent rewriting parts of old code would be better spent creating new code under the new standard (new games).
Based upon how limited Valve's support has been within the past two years of the changes within Lion and Mountain Lion, I honestly don't expect anything to happen. I'm honestly curious while they're still supporting OS X at this point other than independent games that are written in OpenGL and not DirectX.
TheLoneWolf Oct 24, 2013 @ 11:59am 
Originally posted by cupboardoflove:
Based upon how limited Valve's support has been within the past two years of the changes within Lion and Mountain Lion, I honestly don't expect anything to happen. I'm honestly curious while they're still supporting OS X at this point other than independent games that are written in OpenGL and not DirectX.

Sounds like you no longer have faith in any implementation related to OS X and that Linux is the safer investment.
Bravado Oct 25, 2013 @ 1:24am 
I think that Valve should take Apple's approach and basically damn anybody who's still on the 'old version'. Supporting legacy for too long (at all, imo) is just the best way to ruin the experience for everybody.

I'm skeptical that Valve and developers will do anything since they seem to have lost interest in OS X years ago.
KAZUMA Oct 25, 2013 @ 2:44pm 
Originally posted by Bravado:
I think that Valve should take Apple's approach and basically damn anybody who's still on the 'old version'. Supporting legacy for too long (at all, imo) is just the best way to ruin the experience for everybody.

I'm skeptical that Valve and developers will do anything since they seem to have lost interest in OS X years ago.
I'm starting to come under the impression that they did it for sh!ts and giggles.
Last edited by KAZUMA; Oct 25, 2013 @ 2:45pm
Jim Bond Oct 25, 2013 @ 4:52pm 
It be a start if valve took advantage of OpenGL 3 (equivalent to DX 10), especially since it's available in both 10.7 and 10.8.

I really do think we will see some high quality ports heading from valve to OS X, mainly because of there new commitment to linux and in turn OpenGL (the valve linux team does all the mac ports now, just check out their Github page). Also valve employees have sang the praise of OpenGL so much recently, it would not surprise me in the least if Source 2 or what ever the next engine they make will be called, is native to OpenGL. Frankly at this point, I expect that to be the case. Here's a really cool presentation valve put together on porting source to linux:

http://youtu.be/btNVfUygvio

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Date Posted: Oct 23, 2013 @ 12:27am
Posts: 11