Updates to Apple’s Metal software and Game Center bring significant improvements to gaming on the Mac—and iPad!
During the keynote at WWDC 2022, Apple donated two separate segments to the “Games” area. First up was Jeremy Sandmel, Apple’s Senior Director of GPU Software, who shared new information about Apple’s “Metal” GUI. In version 3, this not only includes an API for faster transfer of assets from mass memory to graphics memory, which should reduce load times and pop-ups in Mac games, but also scaling called “MetalFX Upscaling”.
Upscalers have become very popular in games since the introduction of Nvidia DLSS (Deep Learning Super Sampling). These achieve significantly better graphics with relatively little computing power, as the GPU first displays a smaller image at high graphics settings and then enhances it using various methods.
While Nvidia with DLSS and
Intel with XeSS
to be released later this year, is based on AI-aware scaling, Apple is following AMD’s path with MetalFX enhancement
FidelityFX Super Resolution
and it comes, at least according to current information, without AI. Instead, a combination of “spatial stretching” and “temporal anti-aliasing” (TAA) is used to stretch the rendered image with as little loss of quality as possible. One of the first games to use the new technology will be No Man’s Sky, which Sandmel says will be released for Mac later this year.
It remains to be seen how the MetalFX enhancement actually works. In a brief appearance, Capcom’s Masaru Ijuin explained that Resident Evil Village, also due out for Mac later this year, will run in 1080p on Macbook Air and even 4K in Mac Studio.
New features for Game Center
In addition to new technical developments, Craig Federighi, Senior Vice President of Software Engineering, delved into the platform itself and, as in his last presentation, positioned iPad as the ideal gaming device. In addition, there have been updates to Game Center, where you can not only play with friends and family in the future, but also track their activities, such as who unlocked which achievements and when. Also, thanks to “SharePlay” it should be even easier to start an online session with friends in the future.
So overall, there are plenty of sensible innovations that could indicate that Apple is really getting serious about “gaming.” While it may be a while before the company becomes a true competitor for PC and consoles, it’s already making big strides in the right direction.
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