Apple has unveiled a new toolkit that is designed to make it easier and faster for developers to bring their PC games to macOS. The tech giant unveiled the Game Porting Toolkit this week at its annual Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC).
Apple says the toolkit “eliminates months of upfront work” and enables developers to see how well their existing game could run on Mac in just a few days, Apple says. The toolkit also simplifies the process of converting the game’s shaders and graphics code to take advantage of Apple silicon performance, significantly reducing the total development time. With this tool, developers can launch an unmodified version of a Windows game on a Mac and see how well it runs before fully porting a game.
“With Macs more popular than ever before, there’s never been a better time to bring your games to millions of new players,” said Aiswariya Sreenivassan, an engineering project manager for GPUs and graphics at Apple, in a WWDC session. “Porting your Windows game to the Mac is now faster than ever. This year, the new Game Porting Toolkit provides an emulation environment to run your existing, unmodified Windows game, and you can use it to quickly understand the graphics feature usage and performance potential of your game when running on a Mac.”
Notably, the emulator can also run Microsoft’s DirectX12, which enables developers to add graphics effects to PC games, and hasn’t been natively available for Macs. During the session, Apple demoed the developers of horror game, The Medium, using the emulator to run a DirectX12 Window build of their game on a Mac.
In the past, it’s been difficult and time consuming for developers to port Windows games to Mac because doing so involves a lot of difficult steps. Apple’s new toolkit helps developers better understand how to optimize their games on macOS. The idea behind the tool is to significantly cut down the time and effort it takes when porting games from Windows to Mac.
The launch of the new toolkit is garnering excitement from developers and the broader gaming community. GitHub senior developer Christina Warren noted in a tweet that the toolkit is “essentially Proton (Valve’s Wine thing for Linux/SteamOS and DX12) but for macOS. This is massive.”
Although the new toolkit is designed for developers, some Reddit users have already used to it bring games like Cyberpunk 2077 and Hogwarts Legacy to Mac. It’s worth mentioning that it’s possible to run into bugs when running games this way.
In addition to launching the new toolkit, Apple also introduced a new “Game Mode” in macOS Sonoma. The company says Game Mode delivers an optimized gaming experience with smoother and more consistent frame rates, by ensuring games get the highest priority on the CPU and GPU.
“Game Mode also makes gaming on Mac even more immersive — dramatically lowering audio latency with AirPods, and significantly reducing input latency with popular game controllers like those for Xbox and PlayStation by doubling the Bluetooth sampling rate,” the company wrote in a blog post. “Game Mode works with any game, including all of the recent and upcoming Mac games.”