Observer, a new cyberpunk horror game starring Rutger Hauer, was officially released on Mac on Tuesday. Developed by Bloober Team, creators of acclaimed psychedelic horror title Layers of Fear, and published by Aspyr Media, the game sees players take on the role of Dan Lazarski, an elite neural detective known as an Observer.

Lazarski works for a secretive police unit that hacks into and invades the minds of suspects, in a future where anything a person thinks, feels, or remembers can be used against them in a court of law.

Observer610

When you receive a mysterious message from your estranged son, a high-level engineer for the almighty Chiron Corporation, you journey to the seedy Class C slums of Krakow to investigate. But as you hack into the unstable minds of criminals and victims to look for clues, you are forced to relive their darkest fears. How far will you go to discover the truth?

Drugs, paranoia, VR, and neural implants abound in this heavily P. K. Dick-inspired horror dystopian title, which has received highly positive reviews from the gaming community on Steam, where Observer is available exclusively for the pre-Halloween price of $25.49 (normal price $30).


The system requirements for Observer are as follows: 10.12.6 (Sierra) and 10.13 (High Sierra); Intel Core i5 (4 cores) running at 3.3GHz, 8GB of RAM, 20GB of hard disk space, and an ATI R9 M290 or NVIDIA Geforce GT 680 video card with 2GB of VRAM. Note: Intel video cards are NOT SUPPORTED.

Top Rated Comments

marksatt Avatar
60 months ago
To the uninitiated: I am the primary Mac/Metal graphics programmer at Epic Games, developers of the Unreal Engine on which the game runs. I have not personally run this game so I don't know how well it runs specifically.

The spec requirements are only just barely lower on Windows. An i3 and a Geforce 660.
Correct. CPU wise the specs. are lower on Windows but the GPU performance floor is actually similar, the 660 is a desktop part that is in the same performance ballpark as the 680M & M290.

If these GPU requirements are accurate, this is more limiting on Mac than most people are thinking.

The Radeon Pro 560 does not match a 290m or gtx 680 in benchmarks, so 21.5" iMac is out.

The pro 570 in the 27" iMac is just barely under, and you need a pro 575 to meet the requirements.

</snip>

So your options are limited to the highest end 27" iMacs, a Mac Pro, or an iMac pro. The iMac pro being the only one to comfortably exceed the requirements to play at high settings/frame rates.
All the 2014, 2015 & 2017 27" iMacs will meet or exceed the specifications. The M295X, M395X, 570, 575, 580 all exceed the required specifications significantly.

I'd expect a 2013 Mac Pro D300 or D500 to meet the minimum and the D700 to exceed it noticeably.

The 2012 & 2013 27" BTO iMacs are capable (680M & 780M).

I'd also not write off the Radeon Pro 460 & 560 - they should be in the ballpark of the M290, which is slower than the M290X that is commonly listed in benchmarks but I don't have a lot of hands-on experience with them (unlike the above). The 455 & 555 are probably a little slow.

The iMac Pro is overkill - it should be the fastest by far, but the 2017 27" iMacs will also be plenty fast.

That's a decent range of supported models given the significant increase in hardware demands between the 360/PS3 and the current PS4/Pro/XBONE generation of games and Apple's relatively slow adoption of faster GPUs in consumer models.

A single d700 GPU in the 2013 Mac Pro is also slightly under performance, but If it uses both GPU's well, even the dual d500 should handle it..
It is infeasible to use both GPUs for rendering on macOS in a way that is applicable to high-performance game-engines. All resource synchronisation between the GPUs has to transit through system-memory which is just too slow and requires inordinate amounts of code as Metal doesn't handle this for you. Even then on Windows with multi-GPU setups UE4 does not scale linearly with GPUs.

Plus a quad core 3.3 GHz i5 proc? How many people have that? I just checked, and the only Macs that have that are the current iMac & Mac Pros. That's a VERY small audience! I'd be really mad if they pull it and say that there isn't enough interest in it.
Most of the Mac models I've listed above shipped with a faster Core i5 or even Core i7 which will perform better than the minimum listed.

I got email yesterday alerting me to this title being released for Mac. Cool, but no Intel video support at all? That's the thing that really holds back the Mac as a viable gaming platform. EVEN when you finally get a publisher writing a native OS X edition of a game (which is rare enough!), they tend to limit it to very few Macs that can even run it.

I can play this on my 2013 "trash can" Mac Pro workstation, but let's face it. That's NOT the system most Mac owners have. A brand new 2017 Macbook Pro 13" still only has Intel Iris video so it can't run this title. Nobody with ANY version of a Macbook Air can run it. A 21.5" 2017 iMac can't run it either (Iris video again).
The Intel GPUs aren't fast enough for modern AAA games so there's not much developers can do about that - the same problem exists on Windows. As other commenters have pointed out, it is up to Apple to ship more Mac models with faster, modern discrete GPU designs. In the interim external GPUs should allow older Macs with Thunderbolt but slower GPUs (and fast enough CPUs) to play as well.
Score: 3 Votes (Like | Disagree)
marksatt Avatar
59 months ago
@marksatt

Hi again!
I was discussing with this dude who made some claims about Metal on x86 saying it wasn't in nearly as good a state as Metal on ARM (i.e. Apple's iOS devices). Do you think there's any substance to what he's writing? I sure know about OpenGL being neglected by Apple for long, but what about the rest?

There is a ton of good reasons for Apple to make a modern graphics API available for x86-64, it’s baffling that the only Mac alternative – OpenGL – has gone basically unmaintained for 7 years as their custom implementation is notoriously slow and buggy.

It is theoretically possible to make Metal effective on x64 but the architecture for both GPU, CPU and their relationship are drastically different from ARM. Right now all we have are fudged benchmarks and very misleading marketing material. Graphics benchmarks should very much be concerned with GPU performance, but Apple cannot fudge enough numbers to make their Metal 2 reach 20% of the performance of Windows hardware, partly because of their API and partly because of the absurd state of their current hardware. So they resort to “optimizing” nonissues. It’s a very different story than their ARM solutions.

Not reaching 20% of the performance of Windows sound like exaggerating quite a bit.
This argument conflates many different issues, but it will sound convincing as their kernels of truth hidden within. Let me reply with how I would unpick each component:

1. OpenGL on Mac & iOS is dead. It is fairly obvious to me when attention within Apple must have switched to Metal as the long term replacement. I believe this is the right decision, despite all the uproar it has caused.

2. Metal’s API and driver architecture are designed to reduce CPU overheads because that was arguably *the* big performance problem with Apple’s OpenGL. There often wasn’t a CPU fast enough to saturate even a mid-range GPU because of the overheads of the GL stack. This issue also affected the ARM CPUs in iOS devices because there just aren’t as many cycles available to waste there - which is really the only difference for Metal between ARM and x86-64. Vulkan and DX12 are designed to reduce CPU overheads so this is an important design goal, not irrelevant as claimed. Lower overheads means you can saturate the GPU where you didn’t before and get better frame rates and/or push lots more draw calls in the same time and make a prettier game.

3. Inevitably Metal is a year more mature on iOS as it arrived there first and Apple control the whole widget. They decide the GPUs features and so forth and write the driver themselves. On macOS there are other companies involved and they are all plugging away at it. Apple gave themselves a big head-start so it would be asking a lot for the GPU vendors to catch-up...

4. Apple are designing Macs with very different performance profiles to gaming PCs. The top of the line GPUs now have north of 10 TeraFlops of theoretical performance. Most shipped Mac GPUs have less than 2 TFlops, only 27” iMac models and the Mac Pro have shipped with faster but even then the fastest is only 5.5 TFlops. It’d be impossible for Apple and AMD to make a Radeon 560 Pro in a 15” MacBook Pro run games as well as a gaming PC laptop with an Nvidia 1080 because the 560 Pro is a 35 Watt part and the 1080 is a >120 Watt part with a commensurate increase in raw TFlops. Such a comparison would result in a huge delta because the PC laptop GPU is so much faster but is too power hungry and hot to fit inside the MacBook Pro. Until Apple ship a new desktop/tower with traditional PCI-E GPUs this will continue.

5. Metal on macOS is typically around 10-20% down on Windows. It can get to parity in some games, it really just depends on the combination of features and whether there are optimization opportunities that can help. All the usual software development caveats. That is a big improvement on where OpenGL was. Hopefully it will get closer still over time.
Score: 2 Votes (Like | Disagree)
kingtj Avatar
60 months ago
I got email yesterday alerting me to this title being released for Mac. Cool, but no Intel video support at all? That's the thing that really holds back the Mac as a viable gaming platform. EVEN when you finally get a publisher writing a native OS X edition of a game (which is rare enough!), they tend to limit it to very few Macs that can even run it.

I can play this on my 2013 "trash can" Mac Pro workstation, but let's face it. That's NOT the system most Mac owners have. A brand new 2017 Macbook Pro 13" still only has Intel Iris video so it can't run this title. Nobody with ANY version of a Macbook Air can run it. A 21.5" 2017 iMac can't run it either (Iris video again).
Score: 2 Votes (Like | Disagree)
SigEp265 Avatar
60 months ago
Looks like blade runner, awesome!
Score: 1 Votes (Like | Disagree)
robeddie Avatar
60 months ago
A 21.5" 2017 iMac can't run it either (Iris video again).
Wrong.

Two of the three 21.5inch 2017 models have dedicated video cards that can run this game.
Score: 1 Votes (Like | Disagree)
justperry Avatar
60 months ago
First saw him on Dutch television in B&W as Floris ('https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Floris_(TV_series)'). He’s come a long way.
You're old.;)
Score: 1 Votes (Like | Disagree)

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