Metal Developer Tools on Windows Offer New Gaming Opportunities

Game developers are now able to more easily develop games for Apple devices using Windows machines, thanks to a new set of Metal developer tools released by Apple (via Reddit).

Apple quietly released a set of Metal Developer Tools for Windows 10 at WWDC this year, which enables Metal Shading Language (MSL) compilation on Windows into Metal Library Objects targeting Apple platforms. This means that game production teams may now use PCs to compile games developed on Windows for macOS and other Apple operating systems.

Many game development studios have established game or graphics asset production pipelines that use the Microsoft Windows infrastructure. One of the key final steps in the asset creation process is compiling the graphics and compute shaders for inclusion in the game.

Since Apple is transitioning the Mac to custom silicon, developers that bring their games to Metal will be able to run them on iOS, iPadOS, tvOS, and macOS. Apple's API automatically translates all inputs to whatever the available input method may be, such as touch, controller, or keyboard and mouse. Developers targeting the Apple platform can now develop for iPad, iPhone, Mac, and Apple TV simultaneously. This may make the Apple platform more attractive to game developers as they will have access to a far larger market share than on macOS or iOS alone.

Although it is not possible to develop games for Apple devices on Windows entirely, since a Mac is still needed to sign software and for testing, the availability of gaming-oriented Apple developer tools for Windows marks a significant step in gaming on Apple devices.

As Apple moves the Mac to custom silicon, where it will no longer support Boot Camp, it is interesting that Apple is releasing developer tools specifically for gaming with regards to Windows. Seeing that these new developer tools allow Windows games to be compiled into Metal for Apple platforms, rather than being completely rebuilt, it should now be easier for developers to port native PC games and AAA titles to the Mac.

Update: Max Tech also has a good video covering the topic:

Top Rated Comments

(View all)
Avatar
3 weeks ago
Why not adopt industry standard Vulkan ('https://www.khronos.org/vulkan/') instead of making developers learn another API?
Score: 30 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
3 weeks ago
Apple game console incoming? All that controller / keyboard support. Apple silicon with GPUs surely competing / surpassing the current generation consoles. Seems kind of inevitable that the Apple TV becomes a serious gaming platform.
Score: 24 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
3 weeks ago


Why not adopt industry standard Vulkan ('https://www.khronos.org/vulkan/') instead of making developers learn another API?

Metal provides a 10 times increase in draw calls compared to OpenGL ES 3,1 while Vulkan provides a 3.5 times increase in draw calls compared to OpenGL ES 3,1 ('http://www.androidauthority.com/opengl-vs-vulkan-performance-706408/').

Essentially Metal is faster.
Score: 16 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
3 weeks ago


Why not adopt industry standard Vulkan ('https://www.khronos.org/vulkan/') instead of making developers learn another API?

why not adopt C# instead of swift? why move to sillicon? why be anything other than a PC? plus lazy game developers don't need to learn another anything. most use unity or unreal which spits out metal games automagically. most will never make or touch custom shaders
Score: 15 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
3 weeks ago
If you've developed anything with low level graphics API, you'll know compiling shaders is just tiny piece of whole story. Without full Metal support for Windows or Linux these tools will be useless.
Score: 14 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
3 weeks ago


Metal provides a 10 times increase in draw calls compared to OpenGL ES 3,1 while Vulkan provides a 3.5 times increase in draw calls compared to OpenGL ES 3,1 ('http://www.androidauthority.com/opengl-vs-vulkan-performance-706408/').

Essentially Metal is faster.

You know OpenGL is a standard and it is up to each developer/manufacturer to implement it? That's why a lot of games that have native macOS clients perform much worse on macOS than in Boot Camp. Sometimes Windows (Boot Camp) client is even up to twice as fast (FPS).

What I'm getting at - if Apple is comparing Metal to its own OpenGL implementation then of course it's going to be A LOT faster. You know why? Because Apple's implementation of OpenGL was lackluster since its conception. That's why this comparison is the way it is - Vulkan is compared to OpenGL on Android. It's not apples to apples comparison.

In essence Vulkan, Metal and DirectX 12 should perform equally as good because they function very similarly. Vulkan has richer feature set than Metal at the moment but Metal is catching up quickly. However in reality Metal performance leaves much to be desired. There's no way to compare those two APIs fairly because there's no Vulkan for macOS (MoltenVK is just a wrapper around Metal). However there are games with native clients on macOS that use Metal renderer (World of Warcraft, Starcraft 2) and in Boot Camp they still perform much better on DirectX (11 and 12).

I like Apple but let's be honest for a minute. Their graphics performance was lackluster for decades now and it's not going to change overnight. They no longer compare themselves to PCs like in 90's and early 00's. They compare their devices to previous generations of their devices.
Score: 11 Votes (Like | Disagree)

Top Stories

Apple-Acquired Dark Sky Officially Shuts Down Android App

Saturday August 1, 2020 3:43 pm PDT by
Apple in March purchased weather app Dark Sky, and at that time, Dark Sky's developers said that the app's Android version would be discontinued on July 1, 2020. However, instead of shuttering the app on that date, the app's developers announced that the discontinuation would be delayed for another month. Now that it's August, Android users are no longer able to access the app, and...

Apple May Launch This Year's 'iPhone 12' Lineup in Two Stages, With 6.1-inch Models Debuting First

Monday August 3, 2020 3:14 am PDT by
Apple last week confirmed that its "‌iPhone‌ 12" launch will be delayed this year due to the ongoing global health crisis and restrictions on travel. Apple last year started selling iPhones in late September, but this year, Apple projects supply will be "available a few weeks later," suggesting a release sometime in October. We're expecting a total of four OLED iPhones in 5.4, 6.1, and...

Top Stories: Try the 5.4-Inch iPhone 12 Display Size, Blockbuster Earnings, Tim Cook at Antitrust Hearing

Saturday August 1, 2020 6:00 am PDT by
Another busy week of Apple news and rumors has wrapped up, with a lot of focus on Tim Cook's appearance at a Congressional antitrust hearing and a blockbuster earnings report. Subscribe to the MacRumors YouTube channel for more videos. We continued to hear rumors about the upcoming iPhone 12 lineup, including a rare admission from Apple that the lineup will launch "a few weeks later" than...

Just How Small Will the 5.4-Inch iPhone 12 Screen Be? Try It Out for Yourself

Tuesday July 28, 2020 12:57 pm PDT by
As rumors of the iPhone 12 have continued to build over the past few months, the one model that has the most excitement around it is the smallest 5.4" model. The iPhone 12 is believed to be coming in 5.4", 6.7", and 6.1" sizes. Dummy models have shown how much smaller the 5.4" is compared to the rest of the iPhone lineup. The upcoming 5.4" iPhone falls in-between the size of the original...

Unreleased iPod Touch with Mac Pro Glossy Black Finish Shared Online

Sunday August 2, 2020 11:32 am PDT by
Twitter user @DongleBookPro has today posted images of what seems to be a first-generation iPod Touch prototype with a 2013 Mac Pro-style glossy black finish. The Twitter user claims that the iPod Touch prototype pictured has "the same coating as the 2013 Mac Pro." Had the finish been selected for the final product, it also would have been similar to the metallic glossy black finish that...

Apple Confirms This Year's iPhone 12 Models Will Be a Little Bit Late

Thursday July 30, 2020 2:34 pm PDT by
During today's earnings call covering the third fiscal quarter of 2020 (second calendar quarter) Apple CFO Luca Maestri confirmed that Apple is expecting to release this year's iPhones later than usual. Maestri said that Apple last year started selling iPhones in late September, but this year, Apple projects supply will be "available a few weeks later." Multiple rumors have suggested that ...

Battery Likely for Upcoming Apple Watch Series 6 Filed in Certification Listings

Saturday August 1, 2020 5:46 am PDT by
A battery likely for the upcoming Apple Watch Series 6 has been filed at the Korea Testing and Research Institute and discovered by a Twitter user @yabhishekhd. Certification for a 1.17Wh battery with a capacity of 303.8mAh was issued on June 23 by the KTR, a Korean regulatory body that approves and tests new hardware ahead of public sale. The battery seems to be destined for a future...

Apple Watch Series 6 to Feature Blood Oxygen Monitoring Sensor

Friday July 31, 2020 1:56 am PDT by
The Apple Watch Series 6 will add blood oxygen monitoring to its features list when it's launched later this year, according to a new report from DigiTimes. Apple Watch 6 will feature biosensors that can monitor sleeping conditions, detect blood oxygen and measure pulse rates, heartbeats and atrial fibrillation, and will also incorporate MEMS-based accelerometer and gyroscope, all allowing the ...

Apple Marks Return of NHL With New 'Hockey Tape' Ad Shot on iPhone 11 Pro

Saturday August 1, 2020 2:33 am PDT by
Apple today marked the return of NHL hockey with a new "Shot on iPhone" ad on its YouTube channel in Canada. Titled "Hockey Tape," the 30-second video features Vegas Golden Knights players Marc-André Fleury and Mark Stone having some on-ice fun with the iPhone 11 Pro, which they attach to the boards, a hockey stick, and a skate with hockey tape. "See the game like never before with Ultra ...

Emails Reveal Why Steve Jobs and Phil Schiller Blocked In-App Purchase of Kindle Books

Friday July 31, 2020 6:25 am PDT by
Internal Apple emails, made public by the House Judiciary Committee's antitrust inquiry, have revealed information about why Apple blocked in-app purchases of Kindle books on iOS devices, reports The Verge. Two sets of emails between Steve Jobs, Phil Schiller, Eddy Cue, and various other senior Apple executives, disclose the exact thinking behind how Apple approached Kindle on iOS. The...