IN AMONGST the announcement of macOS 10.14 Mojave on Monday, there was an alarming development for gamers and game developers. OpenGL and OpenCL are being deprecated.
Let's decode that. OpenGL is an API and programming language which allows games and other graphical functions to run. OpenCL is a way of programming across your CPU and your GPU.
Deprecated means "liable to borkage", primarily as Apple has said it will no longer officially support it, though it won't actively stop it.
What this means in real terms is that Apple won't be held responsible if there's any significant change to OpenGL or OpenCL that needs action on their part. It also won't be responsible if things they decide to do in the future affect the existing OpenGL/CL's functionality.
Additionally, the natural successor to OpenGL, called Vulkan, has never worked in macOS despite repeated requests from developers and even though it is an open source project.
What that does mean in reality, of course, is that - unofficially - Vulkan works through the dedication of developers to making it so.
Apple is advising people to adopt Metal, its proprietary graphics renderer instead. It has been doing that for some time - but the depreciation means that any older games could now stop working, effectively end-of-lifing those games.
This is the equivalent of Microsoft enforcing DirectX on Windows users. It means that, in both cases, everything would have to be written for Windows and then again for Mac. And that's before we get started on Linux, Android, PS4, Switch, Steam and so on.
OpenGL support has already been removed from ARM-powered versions of Windows.
What it does suggest is that Apple isn't too fussed if people view the Mac as a serious gaming platform. Although many games already use Metal - the ubiquitous Fortnite for one - other developers, particularly indies, have started making noises that it won't be cost effective to develop a version specifically for Metal, so it may be that we start to see Mac game availability take a nose-dive. µ
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