Six Colors
Six Colors

by Jason Snell & Dan Moren

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Does Apple’s porting toolkit change the game?

Christina Warren, writing at Inverse, has a good overview of Apple’s impressive Game Porting Toolkit:

It turns out that Apple added DirectX 12 support via something it is calling the Game Porting Toolkit, a tool Apple is offering to developers to see how their existing x86 DirectX 12 games work on Macs powered by Apple silicon. That toolkit largely takes place as a 20,000 line of code patch to Wine, a compatibility layer designed to bring support for Windows games to platforms such as Linux, BSD, and macOS. Wine, which is primarily supported by the company CodeWeavers (which also makes a commercial version called CrossOver), works by converting system calls made to Windows APIs into calls that can be used by other operating systems. It isn’t emulation, but translation (an important semantic difference).

I’ve been meaning to write something about the significance of this game porting toolkit, but Christina has done a great job of summing up not only why it’s technically impressive, but also what the possible ramifications are.

Gaming on the Mac has been a fraught experience for decades, and it’s certainly possible that this toolkit will follow in the footsteps of other failed appeals to the gaming market. But one significant difference is that all of this technology is here, now and already works. You can, as numerous YouTube videos prove, download and run a recent Windows title and have it play surprisingly well. Will this entice developers to the previously untapped Mac market? Unclear, of course, but you can’t say Apple hasn’t made it easy for them.

—Linked by Dan Moren

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