Apple has a new toolkit that could make it easier for developers to port PC games to Macs

the medium on mac

While Mac laptops and desktops are very popular in terms of sales, the depth of games made natively for the MacOS platform is far less than what can be found for Windows PC owners. That may be about to change, thanks to a new development tool that was released this week by Apple during WWDC 2023.

The new tool doesn't have a fancy name like Metal, which is what Apple has named its graphics coding language. It's simply called the Game Porting Toolkit, and it's available for download right now.

Here's what Apple had to say about this new tookit in its overall press release for the new MacOS Sonoma update:

To make it easier to port games from other platforms to Mac, Metal introduces a new game porting toolkit, eliminating months of upfront work and enabling developers to see how well their existing game could run on Mac in just a few days. It also dramatically simplifies the process of converting the game’s shaders and graphics code to take full advantage of Apple silicon performance, significantly reducing the total development time.

Apple showed off how the new tookit will work in one of its WWDC sessions. It used a recent Windows game release, The Medium from developer Bloober Team, running in the toolkit:

Here the developer sees that the gaming is running well with all of its graphics features enabled, and it's working as expected. They’ll notice that features like transparency, reflection, geometry shaders, tessellation, and their unique and moody global illumination approach to lighting have all been translated into Metal 3 and look crisp and pixel-perfect.

Apple actually used the Wine-based open source code from another team's development tool, CrossOver from CodeWeavers, to create the emulator for the Game Porting Toolkit. In its own blog post, CodeWeavers said it did not work with Apple on bringing its code to the toolkit but did state that "we are very pleased that Apple is recognizing that Wine is a fantastic solution for running Windows games on macOS."

Apple also released the Game Porting Tool under an open source license on GitHub. Both the toolkit and its open source license could mean we could get lots of Mac ports of classic and current Windows games running natively on Mac desktops and notebooks very soon.

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