JAKARTA - If you hope to see more Windows games on the Mac, then the dream may come true in the near future. Apple has announced great news for game developers at this week's Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC) annual event.
Apple created a new tool that makes it easier and faster to transfer Windows games to Mac thanks to an environment similar to Proton that can translate and run the latest Windows game with DirectX 12 on macOS.
Apple created a new Game Porting Toolkit similar to what Valve did with Proton and Steam Deck. This tool is supported by the source code of CrossOver, a Wine-based solution to run Windows games on macOS.
The tool will instantly translate Windows games into running on macOS, allowing developers to launch unmodified versions of Windows games on Macs and see how well they perform before fully porting the game.
Although several games such as Resident Evil Village and No Man's Sky have recently been ported to macOS, gaming on Macs has often been a joke among the PC gaming community.
"The new Porting Toolkit game provides an emulation environment to run existing and unmodified Windows games, and you can use them to quickly understand the use of your graphic features and game performance potential while running on Macs," explains Aiswariya Sreenivassan, GPU engineering project manager and graphics at Apple, in a WWDC session earlier this week., as quoted by The Verge.
The Porting Toolkit game even supports DirectX 12 games like The Medium, with Sreenivassan showing the game's path through Apple's translation layer. Like Wine and Proton, which combines a layer of software to translate Windows API calls into Linux, Apple does the same thing here by converting these Windows API calls into its Metal API.
Apple's new Porting Toolkit game translates Intel-based x86 instructions and Windows APIs into Apple Silicon. APIs related to keyboards, mice, controller inputs, audio playback, networks, file systems, and Direct 3D are all translated into appropriate APIs in macOS.
The result is that Windows games run on macOS without having to be ported or modified. Apple stated that currently its use is more for game evaluation before being ported to macOS, but nothing prevents macOS users from installing this Game Porting Toolkit and trying out those games.
The big problem that might arise is how games run in this environment. Most games will not be optimized through this tool and there will likely be performance and bug problems until developers create their own ports.
Reddit users have successfully run Cyberpunk 2077 on MacBook Pro M1, Diablo IV on MacBook Pro M1 Max, and Hogwarts Legacy on MacBook Pro M2 Max. Preliminary results look promising despite some clear performance limitations, but there may also be potential bugs running the game on Mac in this way.
CodeWeapers has also announced its highly anticipated DirectX 12 support for CrossOver Mac (which is a similar Windows compatibility layer whose code source is used by Apple tools) this month. However, they also warned that despite the progress they made, "there is no single magic key" that opens DirectX 12 support at macOS.
"To run only Diablo II Resurreted, we have to fix a lot of bugs involving MoltenVK and SPIRV-Cross," explained Diablo Johnson, Product Manager of CrossOver, in a blog post. "We expect the same thing to happen in another DirectX 12 game: we need to add support specifically to each game title, and every game is likely to involve some bugs."
With Apple's new Game Porting Toolkit, it is hoped that game developers will find it easier and faster to bring Windows games to macOS platforms. This opens up opportunities for Mac users to be able to enjoy more previously limited gaming options. However, it is important to remember that the performance and stability of games in this environment still needs to be considered, and special optimization may be needed to achieve an optimal gaming experience on Macs.
There is no information on when the Porting Toolkit Game will be available to macOS developers and general users, but this move shows Apple's efforts to improve gaming experiences on their platforms.