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Posts tagged with "developers"

Resident Evil Village, Featuring Metal 3, Debuts on the Mac App Store

Apple spent a considerable amount of time during June’s WWDC talking about Metal 3, the latest iteration of the company’s graphics frameworks for videogames. The suite of technologies offers numerous technologies and tools for developers, including hardware-accelerated graphics, MetalFX Upscaling, which render scenes faster by taking advantage of upscaling and anti-aliasing, fast resource loading that uses asynchronous I/O techniques to speed up the delivery of data to Metal textures, and more. With the release of macOS Ventura, Metal 3 gaming is now available to all Mac users.

Resident Evil Village at WWDC.

Resident Evil Village at WWDC.

At WWDC, Apple announced three games that would be coming to the Mac later in the year that will take advantage of Metal 3:

The first of the games to be released publicly is Resident Evil Village, which is available in the Mac App Store now. I’ve had a chance to test the game in advance of its release for a few days, and from what I’ve seen in my limited time with the game, what Metal 3 enables is impressive.

For those unfamiliar, Resident Evil Village from Capcom was first released in mid-2021 and is available on every major platform. The eighth game in the Resident Evil horror series, Village follows the story of Ethan, whose wife has been assassinated and child abducted. Ethan is abducted, too, but escapes from his captors after their vehicle crashes. In short order, Ethan finds himself in a European village terrorized by zombie-like creatures.

I don’t have a lot to say about the game itself because I’ve only been playing it for a few days and horror games generally aren’t one of my favorite genres. Instead, I spent my time testing the game at various settings to get a sense of what Metal 3 can do, repeating the same section of the game multiple times at different resolutions and with other settings enabled.

I started the game on my M1 Max Mac Studio and Studio Display at 2560 x 1440 with the game’s Prioritize Graphics preset enabled. At those settings, Village generally maintained 60-70 fps with a rare dip into the 50s during one particularly intense scene. Next, I enabled MetalFX Upscaling, which helped hold the frames above 60 and allowed me to increase other settings, like mesh quality, while maintaining 60fps.

At higher resolutions, the frame rates took a hit. For example, 2880 x 1620 dropped the frame rate to around 50 fps. However, once I enabled MetalFX Upscaling, I was right back up to 60 fps. I was even able to maintain a steady 60 fps when I bumped the resolution to 3840 x 2160 and switched the MetalFX Upscaling from the Quality to Performance setting. Bumping up other settings like the shadow and mesh quality didn’t significantly degrade performance either.

I also ran some tests with the game running on my M1 MacBook Air, where I was able to use the same sort of settings tweaks to maintain around 30 fps. The experience wasn’t bad, but Village definitely looked nicer, running on more powerful hardware paired with a Studio Display.

Overall, my first impressions of Metal 3’s enhancements to gaming on the Mac are positive. The results aren’t in the same league as a gaming PC with a dedicated graphics card. For example, I’ve seen benchmarks for Resident Evil Village running with an NVIDIA 3080 card that can run the game at over 120 fps. That’s double what I saw with my Mac Studio, but it’s still better than I’ve experienced in the past with games as recent as Village.

Metal 3 is promising. With just one big-name game taking advantage of it at the moment, it’s too early to judge its impact on Mac gaming, but it’s a step in the right direction. Hopefully, more game publishers will adopt the technology and bring their games to the Mac soon.

Resident Evil Village is available on the Mac App Store for $39.99.


Steve Troughton-Smith on Mac Catalyst’s Shortcomings

Steve Troughton-Smith has spent a lot of time with Mac Catalyst, developing Mac versions of Broadcasts and Pastel, as well as an extensive library of sample code for other developers. As Troughton-Smith explains in a post on his website, Mac Catalyst has come a long way since it first appeared as part of macOS Mojave. However, there remains plenty of room for improvement to allow a wider range of apps to feel at home on the Mac.

Troughton-Smith’s detailed list of problem areas include:

  • Extensive problems with the document-based apps are supported
  • Limitations in the way Preference windows are supported
  • The lack of support for menu bar extras and apps
  • The difficulty of working with Mac-style Table and Collection Views
  • Issues with the extent and way toolbars, window controls, inspector panels, window dragging, scaling primitives, upgrade cycles, and backward compatibility are handled

As I read through Troughton-Smith’s detailed explanation of the issues, I immediately thought of many of the Mac apps I’ve tried in the past couple of years that would benefit if Apple implemented his suggestions.

Based on Troughton-Smith’s extensive list, you might expect that he’s pessimistic about Mac Catalyst’s future, which isn’t the case:

Mac Catalyst is in a great place; it has improved substantially every year since its introduction, and for most developers it is by far the best way to build great Mac-like Universal apps that run across iPhone, iPad and Mac. Its hybrid nature allows a developer to pick and choose which elements of UIKit, SwiftUI, and AppKit they need to achieve the experience they’re looking for, or combine them all for the best of both worlds. It clearly has a lot of traction inside Apple’s product teams, as it’s become the enabling technology for Messages, Maps, Podcasts, Find My, Playgrounds, Books, Voice Memos, Stocks, Home, and News. Paired with SwiftUI, it’s rapidly becoming the defacto standard for new Mac apps on the App Store, for better or for worse — all the more reason that the remaining rough edges be given priority.

I wholeheartedly agree with this assessment. Mac Catalyst has come a long way in a short time and has already become the default starting point for many developers, judging from the large number of Mac Catalyst apps developers have shared with me in the last year or so. However, as Troughton-Smith makes clear, there are still trouble spots that are preventing or slowing down Mac Catalyst’s adoption in important app categories, which is why a focus on Mac Catalyst is on my macOS wish list for WWDC again this year.

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Apple Announces 100+ Tech Talks for Developers

Apple announced today that it will be conducting over 100 live sessions and 1,500 hours of one-on-one office hours over the next eight weeks for developers. According to Susan Prescott, Apple’s vice president of Worldwide Developer Relations:

Every single day, developers around the world are creating incredible apps and games for our platforms, and it’s our goal to provide them with every resource we can to help make the hard work they put in that much easier and more impactful. Our team is looking forward to connecting with even more developers around the world so we can better support the important work of this incredibly valued community, and listen to and learn from them.

The live sessions are being held online around the world from Bengaluru, Cupertino, London, Mexico City, São Paulo, Seoul, Shanghai, Sydney, Tel Aviv, and Tokyo, making them accessible from a wide range of time zones. Each session, which will be led by someone from Apple and followed by a Q&A session. Topics will include many subjects, including SwiftUI, App Clips, HealthKit, machine learning, AR, and accessibility. Office hours are a chance for developers to get one-on-one assistance with their apps in 30-minutes sessions.

Tech Talks 2021 are free and available to members of the Apple Developer Program and the Apple Developer Enterprise Program. To register, visit developer.apple.com/tech-talks.


What Does It All Mean?: A Look at Judge Gonzalez Rogers’ Decision in the Epic Versus Apple Trial

Yesterday, US District Judge Yvonne Gonzalez Rogers decided Epic Games’ antitrust lawsuit against Apple, delivering a ruling in favor of Apple that comes with significant caveats. Although the Judge found that Apple‘s operation of the App Store isn’t an exercise of monopolistic power, she concluded that App Review Guidelines and related provisions of its agreements with developers foster a lack of pricing transparency store-wide that undermines competition under California law. So, while the decision is undeniably a win for Apple in many respects, it’s also a decidedly mixed bag. I’ve taken the time to read Judge Gonzalez Rogers’ 185-page decision and having written an in-depth look at the issues going into the trial, I thought I’d follow up with what the Court’s ruling is likely to mean for Epic and Apple as well as all developers and consumers.

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MacStories Developer Debrief: WWDC 2021

We kicked off the MacStories Summer OS Preview Series on AppStories a couple of weeks ago with interviews of four 2021 Apple Design Award winners. We’ll also publish a series of in-depth first-looks at what users can expect this fall from iOS and iPadOS 15, macOS Monterey, and watchOS 8. We’ll also be interviewing developers on AppStories, exploring the technical details that we expect will have the biggest impact on upcoming app updates and releases. You can follow along with the series through our dedicated hub or subscribe to its RSS feed.

Today, we wanted to continue the conversations that began with the AppStories ADA interviews by talking to seven more developers about a wide range of topics. Now that the initial excitement has passed and the dust settled from WWDC, we wanted to hear more from the developers who will be using Apple’s latest technologies to bring readers new apps and innovative updates to readers this fall.

This year, we spoke to:

The following is a collection of the responses from each of the developers I interviewed on a wide range of topics from new frameworks and APIs to Shortcuts on the Mac, the ability to publish apps built on the iPad, SharePlay, SwiftUI, Swift concurrency, and more. Thanks so much to everyone for sharing their insights on these topics with MacStories readers. We greatly appreciate everyone taking time out of their busy post-WWDC schedules to participate.

I received fantastic, thoughtful responses from all of the developers I interviewed, which resulted in more material than I could use for this story. However, we’ll be featuring unabridged versions of the interviews in the next two issues of MacStories Weekly. It’s an excellent way to get an even deeper sense of the ramifications of this year’s WWDC announcements. If you’re not already a member, you can learn more at club.macstories.net or sign up below.

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Latest iOS and iPadOS 15 Betas Allow Apps to Request Access to More RAM

Sami Fathi, writing for MacRumors on an API change spotted in the second developer beta of iOS 15:

Currently, apps are limited to the amount of RAM they can use, regardless of the amount available on the device. For example, despite the highest-end M1 iPad Pro featuring 16GB of RAM, on iPadOS 14, apps are limited to only use 5GB. 16GB of RAM is the highest amount of RAM ever offered in an iPhone or iPad, and the 5GB limitation means that apps aren’t able to utilize even half of what the iPad Pro has to offer.

In the second betas of iOS and iPadOS 15, released to developers yesterday, Apple is introducing a new entitlement that developers may request that will expose their apps to more memory. Apple says that this entitlement will inform the system that an app “may perform better by exceeding the default app memory limit.” Apple’s developer documentation doesn’t specify how much extra RAM an app may be exposed to and also says this is limited to “supported devices.”

I’ve rarely found myself in a scenario where my iPad Pro needed more than 5 GB of RAM, but I’m also not a professional user of apps such as video or graphic editors that may take advantage of more RAM. This is an entitlement that Apple will need to grant developers who request it, and I’m curious to see how many apps will receive it later this year (or if this option will convince more developers of pro apps to finally bring them to iPad). I find it fascinating – but not surprising at all – that Apple is introducing this possibility while they’re pushing adoption of multiwindow and modern multitasking in iPadOS 15.

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Everyday Robots Releases A Two-Part WWDC 2021 Developer Special

Everyday Robots, a podcast by Jonathan Ruiz, released a two-part episode today featuring developer reactions to WWDC. Ruiz’s guests include Becky Hansmeyer, Frank Foster, Marc Aupont, James Thomson, Zack Becker, Kim aka kaydacode, Ish Shabazz, Christian Selig, and Jeff Rames.

In a year without an in-person WWDC, it was fun to hear which of the announcements this year excited developers and what they felt was missing. I always enjoy Apple’s keynote, and there are a lot of additional details in the WWDC sessions, but there’s nothing like getting a sense of both the big announcements and practical everyday updates that developers are excited about to get a sense of where apps will be headed in the fall.

Both episodes are available on the Everyday Robots website and on Apple Podcasts:

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Apple Design Award Finalists Announced

Source: Apple

Source: Apple

For the first time, Apple has announced the finalists in the running for its annual Apple Design Awards. The awards ceremony revealing the winners will be held during WWDC at 2:00 pm Pacific on June 10th.

The finalists have been divided into six categories that include six finalists each:

Inclusivity

Delight and Fun

Interaction

Social Impact

Visuals and Graphics

Innovation

The selections include a lot of games and entertainment apps, including several Apple Arcade titles, and a mix of apps from smaller developers like CARROT Weather, Craft, Nova, and Pok Pok Playroom as well as bigger publishers. Panic’s Nova also stands out from the rest of the finalists as the sole app that is not available in one of Apple’s stores.

I like that Apple has announced the finalists in advance. Winning an ADA is a big achievement for any developer, but it’s also nice to know who the finalists are because it, too, is quite an honor among the many apps that could be chosen.


Apple’s Developer Forums Gain Tagging Tools, RSS Feeds, and More Ahead of WWDC

Apple has updated its developer forums in the lead-up to WWDC with several new features. Last year, the developer forums got a complete overhaul just before the annual conference, improving developers’ ability to ask questions, interact with other developers and Apple engineers, and follow topics that interest them. This year, the company is adding the ability to:

  • Post comments on questions or answers to provide context or ask for clarification.
  • Search for content across multiple tags.
  • Add and manage favorite tags.
  • Upload images to your question or answer to provide supporting visual details.
  • See tag descriptions when choosing tags for your question so you can quickly select the most appropriate ones.
  • Subscribe to RSS feeds for tags you’re interested in.
  • See your authored and watched content, favorite tags, and trending tags on the newly designed home page.

I expect I’ll use the new tagging tools a lot this summer as I work on my macOS review. The developer forums have always been an excellent resource but haven’t always been the easiest to navigate. Armed with a collection of tags and RSS feeds delivering updates automatically, I’ll be using the forums a lot more than I did in the past. There’s still room for improvement, though. For example, as nice as the addition of RSS feeds is, they only apply to individual tags, not search results.