Bad News for OSX Users

Right, so first, here’s a link for you to read: Apple is going to deprecate OpenGL support.

Now, what does this mean? It means OSX users may be in a tight spot, though probably not immediately. Those of you who are OSX users already know that Apple hasn’t been updating its support past OpenGL 4.1.

Pandemonium runs on OpenGL, though fortunately it does not require any of the advanced features in the later versions. Apple is deprecating support, but OSX should still run the game just fine unless they intentionally drop support at some point.

So, if you’re an OSX user, here’s the state of things: Until Apple completely drops OpenGL support (which is not a given), you will be able to play Pandemonium natively. If/when they do drop it, you won’t unless you deliberately block system updates.

I expect Apple, being monopolistic idiots, are still not dumb enough to deliberately drop support for years to come. As such there is a good chance that this will not affect Pandemonium, though it will definitely put a chill on further development on OSX. After all, why should I bother optimizing it if all my work might be lost?

The primary reason I decided to build the engine in OpenGL was its cross-compatibility. OpenGL can work on any system anywhere because it’s an open standard. Anyone can write an implementation. Windows, OSX, Linux, they all work with OpenGL. Apple is now pushing their new graphics library, Metal, in place of OpenGL in an attempt to gate off content and force users to buy macs in order to play specific games.

As an indie developer, I don’t have the kind of resources to overhaul all of the code for Metal, with the attendant bug fixing and feature changes that go with it. The only reason we currently have an OSX build (and soon, a Linux build) is because there’s not that much coding in porting it when they use the same graphics API. Forcing the usage of Metal removes that advantage.

Again, I don’t think this will affect Pandemonium itself unless Apple does something amazingly shotgun-to-foot stupid (you know, in addition to this current shotgun-to-foot stupid action). But it does bring a few things into focus.

Apple is a big company, and they received billions in tax cuts recently. They can certainly afford to maintain their OS support for OpenGL. This is pure monopolistic money-grabbing. Further, this is an example of a major corporation taking a unilateral action which will make the industry and the science of computing worse. I’m sure there are advantages to Metal, but kicking independents artists in the teeth like this slows down the generation of culture. Scientific applications on OSX will also be affected since OpenGL is very commonly used there (disclosure: I am a BSc in Geology, I’ve used such applications).

And of course, because of the structure of American capitalism and its total lack of anti-trust enforcement, we, the public, have absolutely no input on this. Apple may or may not make lots of money, but we will suffer for it. Our overlords decide and we have no voice.

If you’re an OSX user, hopefully WINE will continue to suffice for your purposes. You may also want to consider dual-booting to Linux as I hope to have a Linux build out for Prototype 5-3.

Update: Fortunately, there is some good news. Despite Apple’s intransigence, Vulkan support is on OSX. So, I may just provide Vulkan support to thumb my nose at Apple, and we’ll have a Pandemonium that will be compatible for future OSX users.