Steam, Source Engine Get First-Rate Love On Mac OS X
Written by Michael Larabel in Gaming on 8 March 2010 at 04:48 PM EST. 85 Comments
Gaming
Valve, the makers of the popular Half-Life and Counter-Strike franchises (along with numerous other titles) and the company behind the Steam software delivery system, have announced today that they are now bringing their games (including Steam) over to Mac OS X. Not only are they bringing these games over, but they intend to provide first-rate support for Apple's operating system.

As is mentioned in today's press release, "We are treating the Mac as a tier-1 platform so all of our future games will release simultaneously on Windows, Mac, and the Xbox 360. Updates for the Mac will be available simultaneously with the Windows updates. Furthermore, Mac and Windows players will be part of the same multiplayer universe, sharing servers, lobbies, and so forth. We fully support a heterogeneous mix of servers and clients." That was stated by John Cook, Director of Steam Development at Valve.

Among the games coming to Mac OS X are Left 4 Dead 2, Team Fortress 2, Counter-Strike, Portal, and the Half-Life series. These first titles will be available through Steam on Mac OS X beginning next month. Steam is running on Mac OS X thanks to Valve now using WebKit for its web rendering engine. More interestingly, however, is that Valve is now publicly offering its Source engine with an OpenGL renderer. OpenGL support was offered years ago with the original Half-Life game, but since then with the Source engine they have exclusively been using their advanced Microsoft DirectX renderer, which is far from being friendly with Mac OS X and Linux platforms.

What's also great about this announcement is that if you already purchased a game through Steam on Windows, you can play it under Mac OS X too at no additional cost. Valve Corp has not yet publicly commented on any plans for Linux support, but with the step over to Mac OS X with OpenGL is a huge move and going back to 2007 Valve has been looking for software engineers to port its titles to Linux.

Could 2010 be the year for Linux gaming?
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Michael Larabel is the principal author of Phoronix.com and founded the web-site in 2004 with a focus on enriching the Linux hardware experience and being the largest web-site devoted to Linux hardware reviews, particularly for products relevant to Linux gamers and enthusiasts but also commonly reviewing servers/workstations and embedded Linux devices. Michael has written more than 10,000 articles covering the state of Linux hardware support, Linux performance, graphics hardware drivers, and other topics. Michael is also the lead developer of the Phoronix Test Suite, Phoromatic, and OpenBenchmarking.org automated testing software. He can be followed via Twitter or contacted via MichaelLarabel.com.

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