Trending: This time the Humble Store has Outlast for free
I don’t know how they do it, but The Humble Store is giving away yet another game for free.
Last week, it was Psychonauts, a good albeit slightly old adventure game. Today they are outdoing themselves by giving away Outlast, one of the top horror games available for Mac. And this is the Deluxe Edition we’re talking about, which also includes the base game and the Whistleblower DLC.
All you need to do is head over to the Humble Store and claim your free copy.
As always, time is running out. You have one day and seven hours to grab it before the offer expires…
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Psychonauts is completely free on the Humble Store right now
September 15, 2017 – “You’d have to be psycho to pass up on Psychonauts for free.”
Yes, that line comes from Destructoid, but it encapsulates the message too perfectly to pass on it: Psychonauts is a great platformer and the Humble Store is giving it away for free.
With an impressive 87 Metascore, there’s no doubt Psychonauts is a great game. It may be starting to show its age, but Psychonauts is without a doubt one of Double Fine’s best games to date and a killer platformer.
And now that you can grab it for free, you have absolutely no reason not to do it. But you only have 30 hours left, so you better hurry!
Normally $9.99, Psychonauts has enough merits to deserve a playthrough, even by today’s standards. And as a bonus, this game is perfect for those of you with older Macs and limited system requirements.
Dev puts its horror game, Darkwood, on The Pirate Bay
August 31, 2017 – This is so unusual, it deserves to be mentioned.
Pirating is usually one of game developers’ worst enemies. It makes sense, especially for Indies, as they need every sale to survive and keep on going.
Well, that isn’t the case for Acid Wizard Studio, the team behind survival horror game Darkwood.
After reading a comment from a gamer who had to ask for a refund, they decided to put the game on The Pirate Bay:
Steam lets you refund a game if you haven’t played it for more than 2 hours. When we read from someone he needed the refund because he didn’t want his parents to be stressed out when seeing the bill at the end of the month… well, it made us feel quite bad.
And there you have it, the latest version of Darkwood is now available on The Pirate Bay, DRM-free and completely safe.
The developer still hopes you will purchase the game if you liked it and want to support them of course.
Fighting Key resellers?
Besides gaining good karma and some publicity, the studio also hopes to fight key resellers. I noticed everyone hates key resellers (especially those that sell stolen keys), and I get it, but I’m surprised to see they hate them even more than piracy! 🙂
Tacoma, from Gone Home's developer, is now available on Mac
August 2, 2017 – Tacoma has been out for less than a day and the verdict is already in. According to pretty much all reviewers, Tacoma is a very good adventure game.
How good? Right up there with Gone Home, the studio’s 2013 indie cult hit. And that’s quite a statement, because Gone Home was an exquisite game, one of the top adventure games for Mac if you ask me. But enough about Gone Home.
Tacoma is finally available and we were lucky enough to get a Mac version on the same day as the Windows release (I hear the Linux version is coming tomorrow if that’s your platform of choice).
Set in a deserted space station, Tacoma tells the story of what happened there and where everyone went. Just like Gone Home, Tacoma is clearly a narrative-focused game, but you can expect an engaging and fascinating story.
Some called it Gone Home in Space, because you also play as a woman trying to find the people who used to be there, but Tacoma is much more than that.
I like how The Guardian puts it in their review:
Where Gone Home is set in a spooky house in 90s Oregon and intentionally plays on horror tropes, Tacoma takes the traditional science-fiction setting of a space station – the titular Tacoma.
Whereas the charm of Gone Home, for many, was the familiarity of the 90s setting, the plot of Tacoma in 2088 revolves around an imaginable near future of space travel and advanced AI.
You can find Tacoma on Steam.
Survival game, The Long Dark, is officially coming to Mac tomorrow
July 31, 2017 – The Long Dark is finally exiting Early Access tomorrow, August 1st, and you should definitely check it out.
I personally tested The Long Dark a few months ago on my Retina iMac and found it to be a promising and beautiful game. Beautiful because it takes place in a very impressive Canadian wilderness, and promising because you could sense the game could be so much fun if there was more to actually do.
You can’t really blame developer Hinterland there, as the game was clearly work-in-progress, but things have definitely changed, and seeing everything the full game will feature, I can honestly recommend this game to anyone now.
I’m particularly excited about Wintermute, which is:
The name of our first season of “story mode” — five episodes that cover the story of bush pilot Will Mackenzie, and Dr. Astrid Greenwood, as they explore the Northern Canadian wilderness in the aftermath of a geomagnetic disaster that has plunged their world into “the long dark”.
You can learn more about the game on Steam.
StarCraft: Remastered is coming to Mac this summer
July 4, 2017 – You can go ahead and mark August 14, 2017, on your calendar. That’s the day when Blizzard will release the remastered version of the venerable StarCraft, the fast-paced RTS that stole hours of my teenage years and was a source of much frustration (I never got any good in spite of said hours playing it).
Teased a few months ago, StarCraft: Remastered is a “full graphical upgrade” of the 1998 original and its expansion. The remastered version will feature high-definition support up to 4K resolution, higher fidelity music and sound, new matchmaking and leaderboards, cloud saves, and more.
Plus, as is often possible with remasters, you will be able to go from the remastered visuals to the original visuals “with the click of a button.”
If you’re a true fan and can’t wait to get your hands on it, Blizzard is accepting pre-orders and is offering a few incentives too. According to a press release:
All players who pre-purchase before August 14 will receive three unique building skins for use in StarCraft: Remastered—the Char Hive, the Korhal Command Center, and the Aiur Nexus. Additionally, those who purchase StarCraft: Remastered will receive digital bonuses in StarCraftII, including the Alexei Stukov co-op commander and three unique portraits that celebrate StarCraft: Remastered.
StarCraft: Remastered will be available for Mac and Windows PC on August 14, 2017, for $14.99, a “reasonable” price if you ask me. You can pre-order the game at Blizzard’s official website.
Micro Machines World Series is coming to Mac this Friday!
June 28, 2017 – And there you have it, the Mac platform is about to get another racing game. Although this time the realism of F1 2016 and Grid Autosport is put aside to make room for some plain old fun.
From the game’s Steam description:
The legend is back! Micro Machines World Series combines the thrilling madness of racing micro vehicles with epic team battle strategies, set against the extraordinary interactive backdrops of the everyday home! Grab your NERF blaster, try to avoid the jam, and take on the world!
The game will be released on Windows, Linux, and Mac this Friday, June 30. You’ll be able to grab the game on Steam.
A deeper look into Metal 2
June 28, 2017 – Andrew Cunningham from ArsTechnica just published a very interesting article covering some of the most technical features of the new macOS High Sierra. It discusses several things and it goes into some quite technical details, but if you simply want to know more about what Metal 2, Apple’s graphics API, has in stores, this is a great read.
First of all, to put things into perspective compared to other platforms:
While both macOS and iOS still nominally support open, third-party APIs like OpenGL and OpenCL, it’s clear that the company sees Metal as the way forward for graphics and GPU compute on its platforms. Apple’s OpenGL support in macOS and iOS hasn’t changed at all in years, and there are absolutely no signs that Apple plans to support Vulkan (when asked, Apple wouldn’t comment except to further praise Metal’s capabilities).
Regarding the actual improvements for most users:
Metal 2 is a technology for developers, so a lot of its improvements will be of interest primarily to developers. For instance, there’s now a GPU performance counter in Xcode’s collection of Instruments, and Apple says the frame debugger can be anywhere from 10 to 100 times faster depending on what you’re looking at.
But the API will enable some improvements for end users, too. People with newer GPUs should expect to benefit from some performance improvements, not just in games but in macOS itself; Apple says the entire WindowServer is now using Metal, which should improve the fluidity and consistency of transitions and animations within macOS.
But the biggest new features that made the most noise: VR and eGPU support:
Metal 2 is also the go-to API for supporting VR on macOS, something Apple is pushing in a big way with its newer iMacs and its native support for external Thunderbolt 3 GPU enclosures (with Metal 2, developers will also be able to distinguish between external and internal GPUs, both because Thunderbolt 3 is slower than an internal PCI Express interface and may need to be treated differently by some apps and because apps will need to be able to failover gracefully if an external GPU is removed).
One less fun information though, some will be left behind:
Apple says that every device that supports Metal should support at least some of Metal 2’s new features, but the implication there is that some older GPUs won’t be able to do everything the newer ones can do.
And finally, perhaps another clue pointing to Apple’s master plan to unify iOS and macOS?
Another key feature for Metal 2 is full cross-platform compatibility between macOS, iOS, and tvOS—games and apps made for one of the platforms should have access to all the same API features on all platforms.
A little technical but still full of interesting stuff even for more casual users and gamers. Can’t wait to see what Metal 2 will truly be able to deliver when High Sierra is released.
WWDC 2017: Everything a Mac gamer needs to know
June 14, 2017 – Apple’s 2017 WWDC keynote was packed with game-changing news for Mac gamers. iOS 11 for iPad probably stole the show (I gave up on iPads a long time ago but iOS 11 may change my mind), but MacOS High Sierra promises to be full of amazing features.
These are the most important ones for Mac gaming:
Apple introduces Metal 2
Apple announced the next update for Metal, it’s graphics API. Named Metal 2, it should be 10 times better at draw call throughput than the original and promises a faster frame rate debugger. This should all help Macs run games better.
But the real highlights are that it will allow Macs to finally support VR and eGPUs:
Metal 2 will also work with external graphics, making it possible to have external GPU boxes for Mac OS computers. Metal 2 will also help power virtual reality on Mac. The Unity and Unreal engines are coming to Mac, which studios can use to make VR games. Valve’s SteamVR is also coming to High Sierra.
Macs will finally support VR
Indeed, Apple is making a big VR push and it managed to get all the big names on board: Valve, Unity, and Unreal:
Leading VR companies are joining Apple to drive VR innovation on the Mac with features coming later this year — Valve is optimizing their SteamVR platform for macOS and enabling connection of the HTC Vive headset, while Unity and Epic are bringing their VR development tools to macOS.
For the longest time Macs were laughed at because they weren’t powerful enough to support it. Oculus infamously dropped support for the Mac just before shipping last year, claiming Macs weren’t capable enough.
Now Apple is working hard to change that and their VR push is quite frankly impressive. According to Apple, VR support is made possible thanks to better performance squeezed out of Metal 2, and above all, new Mac hardware. According to a blog post on Vive’s official website:
Through a newly announced external GPU, developers and content creators will be able to use a beta of SteamVR and the new MacOS, High Sierra, to access the creative power of Vive with their MacBooks.
Which brings us to the new hardware.
The iMac Pro
We all knew something big was coming. Recently Apple admitted it made a mistake with the current Mac Pro and that it was working on an overhauled Mac Pro to set things right. They also claimed other products would help fill the gap soon. Enter the new iMac Pro.
The iMac Pro will look a lot like current 27-inch iMacs, but it will have crazy powerful specs for even the most demanding applications. The downside? It will have a crazy price too: $5000 for the base model.
Here are the specs:
- 27-inch 5K display with 500 nits brightness and P3 color
- 8-Core Intel Xeon CPU, configurable up to 18-Core
- 32GB of 2666MHz DDR4 ECC RAM, configurable up to 128GB
- 1TB PCIe SSD, configurable up to 4TB SSD
- AMD Radeon Pro Vega 56 GPU with 8GB of HBM2, configurable to Vega 64, 16GB
- Front 1080p FaceTime HD camera
- Built-in stereo speakers, with 4 microphones, 3.5mm headphone jack
- 10GbE Ethernet
- Four Thunderbolt 3 (USB-C) ports
- Four USB 3.0 ports
- 802.11ac wireless with Bluetooth 4.2
- SDXC card slot with UHS-II
To be fair, PC Gamer went ahead and built a similarly specced Windows machine to see how overpriced the new iMac Pro was. The result? The iMac Pro is not overpriced. In fact, it can be considered reasonably priced as their Windows build was $4686.71. That’s only $313 less than a sleek machine made of premium materials with a great warranty and customer service.
That said, their Windows machine is upgradable when the iMac Pro won’t. I don’t see myself spending $5000 on a machine that can’t be upgraded and will, therefore, become obsolete sooner than later.
Support for external graphics cards
Luckily, Apple is offering another solution for gamers, VR enthusiasts and other users who may need powerful graphics: External Graphics cards. This is already possible on macOS Sierra, but it’s not official and requires a lot of tinkering.
With macOS High Sierra, Apple will officially support eGPUs that will let you buy a powerful graphics card, put it in a dedicated case, and plug it to a thunderbolt 3 supported Mac (MacBook Pro or iMac) to give it enough power to run the latest games and VR apps.
Apple is already selling its own external graphics enclosure to developers:
The External Graphics Development Kit includes everything you need to start optimizing advanced VR and 3D apps on external graphics processors with macOS High Sierra.
Apple’s External Graphics Development Kit comes with a Sonnet external GPU chassis with Thunderbolt 3 and 350W power supply, an AMD Radeon RX 580 8GB graphics card, a Belkin USB-C to 4-port USB-A hub, and a promo code for $100 towards the purchase of an HTC Vive VR headset.
Sadly, external GPU support likely won’t arrive for consumers until spring 2018.
Latest iMacs have upgradable CPU and RAM
A teardown of the new 4K iMac reveals that the new machine is the most upgrade-friendly iMac Apple has released in years.
But before this gets you as excited as I was when I read the headlines, swapping out the components won’t be easy. At all. The CPU is buried underneath a lot of other components, including a glued-down glass screen. I don’t think Apple made this changes deliberately so we can all start upgrading our new iMacs, but at the end of the day, if you really want to upgrade your iMac’s CPU, it won’t next to impossible anymore.
Apple File System will make your computer faster
Apple went ahead and decided to completely replace the current file system which has been the standard for years. Not many companies would bother with changing a proven standard, but Apple did and the new file system should make your computer faster.
This won’t have a huge impact on games, but a faster computer overall will certainly have indirect positive effects, such as improving load times.
Apple replaces the entire iMac, MacBook and MacBook Pro lineup
While new MacBook Pros got me really mad too (I purchased my 2016 MacBook Pro in November and the new 2017 MacBook Pros are faster and $200 cheaper), it’s great for everyone else. The new iMacs and MacBook Pros have all Kaby Lake processors that should improve performance across the board.
Discrete AMD graphics cards are also coming to every 4K iMac, making them powerful enough for the HTC Vive VR headset. There’s also additional Thunderbolt 3 ports.
The 4K 21-inch iMac and entry 13-inch MacBook Pro got a $200 price cut too.
And that’s about it. A lot to cover, but that makes sense as 2017’s WWDC was one of the most interesting conferences in years.
Oxygen Not Included, the colony simulation from Klei, confirmed for Mac
May 21, 2017 – Klei Entertainment, the developer behind indie gems such as Mark of the Ninja and Don’t Starve, has some news regarding their latest project.
Oxygen Not Included, their next game, will hit Steam Early Access later this month. This means players will be able to pick up a work-in-progress version and help shape the final game by giving feedback to the developer.
The bad news is that this Early Access version will only support Windows-PCs. The good news? Klei has confirmed that Mac and Linux versions are officially coming too, only at a later date.
This is what Klei told GamingonLinux on Twitter:
It’s on our to-do list along with Mac. Not sure exactly when just yet, but we’re working on that for a future update.
My take: I know we have another colony simulation game coming to Mac (Surviving Mars), but this one has me more excited. For one, it has the same type of graphics that worked so well on Don’t Starve. Second, it’s a game from Klei, a studio that only produces great games. Not good games, great games.
XCOM spiritual successor, Phoenix Point, is coming to Mac
May 15, 2017 – Phoenix Point, a tactical turn-based game from the creator of the original XCOM, has reached its crowdfunding goal.
The team at Snapshot Games has raised over $600,000 on Fig (with 23 more days to go) securing the game for Windows, Mac, and Linux.
In Phoenix Point, players take on the role of a secret organization called the Phoenix Point. The game features turn based tactics and world based strategy in a fight against a terrifying, alien menace. This may sound a lot like XCOM, but that makes sense as Julian Gallop, the man who gave birth to the XCOM franchise, is behind the project.
The game will also feature customisable soldiers, mutating aliens, destructible environments, and boss battles. Enough to give XCOM 2 a run for its money. Julian Gollop says it’s the game he’s been wanting to make since 1997’s X-COM: Apocalypse.
The campaign is still open and has two interesting stretch goals if you want to participate. The first one, unlocked if the campaign reaches $650,000, will add drivable vehicles to the game. The second one, unlocked at $850,000, will add a floating fortress that can attack the enemy from the sea.
The game is expected for Linux, Mac and Windows PC in late 2018.
My take: XCOM 2 is an excellent turn-based game and I wouldn’t want to compete against it. But after checking Phoenix Point and seeing what they have created so far, I have the feeling this will be a high-quality game. Enough to surpass XCOM 2? Unlikely, but I hope they prove me wrong.
The Witness is finally available for Mac
May 15, 2017 – After more than a year waiting for it, The Witness is finally available on the Mac App Store.
Not familiar with The Witness? Well, this open world puzzle game comes from Jonathan Blow, the man behind the now indie classic Braid:
The Witness is a single-player game in an open world with dozens of locations to explore and over 500 puzzles. This game respects you as an intelligent player and it treats your time as precious. There’s no filler; each of those puzzles brings its own new idea into the mix. So, this is a game full of ideas.
To play it, you’ll need macOS 10.11.6 or later with 4GB of RAM and 5GB available storage space.
The Mac version of the game should be released on Steam soon (allowing you to get it for free if you already own the Windows version), but in the meantime, you can download it from the Mac App Store.
Why Total War: Warhammer and Deus Ex: Mankind Divided are late
February 2, 2017 – Feral rarely talks about what happens behind the scenes, so when they do, we should all pay attention.
We all knew something was wrong. Total War: Warhammer was announced for Mac and Linux, but was only released on Linux. Something similar later happened with Deus Ex: Mankind Divided. And I won’t even mention F1 2015, the game that was released on Linux but canceled on Mac.
From our interview with Feral, it was clear that Apple’s OpenGL was the problem and that Metal was meant to replace it and save the day. But clearly, things aren’t going that smoothly.
Now Feral has opened up about the issue and confirmed that Metal is not quite ready for primetime. This is the reason Mac games are late:
As you may have heard, Apple is transitioning the API its computers use to render graphics from OpenGL to Metal. Metal is exciting because it holds the promise of making it easier to bring big demanding games to the Mac with awesome graphics and performance. But it’s a big change.
We’re working closely with Apple to resolve the issues we have with Metal. We currently cannot give firm dates for new Mac titles, but trust us: we are as keen to release them as you are to play them! It’s likely you’ll see games for Linux and iOS popping up, but that doesn’t mean we’re putting any less effort into bringing games to Mac.
It may be my stoic side, but I see this message as a good thing. Feral has publicly acknowledged that there are issues, but it is working with Apple to solve them. Let’s hope they sort it out soon enough as Mac gaming is not as exciting when Feral is down.
You can see their full message on their Facebook Page.