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Monday, August 20, 2001
Carmack Comments on OpenGL, Mac Market
9:02 AM | Eddie Park | Comment on this story

Blue's News has noted a posting by id Software's own John Carmack on Posted under the topic "What's Happening with OpenGL?", Carmack makes some comments regarding Application Programming Interfaces (APIs), OpenGL's influence on game sales, and the like. Though most of the talk is predictably PC-centric and riddled with tech-speak, Carmack brings up a couple of points that should be of interest to Mac users.

First of all, he makes a statement about OpenGL's usefulness in opening up the market for more sales on non-PC platforms, including Linux and Mac:

It has been pretty clearly demonstrated that the mac market is barely viable and the linux market is not viable for game developers to pursue. Linux ports will be done out of good will, not profit motives. From an economic standpoint, a developer is not making a bad call if they ignore the existence of all platforms but windows.
This is not an entirely unfair statement, as the PC market still vastly outweighs the Mac market. The Mac gaming market is growing at a steady rate -- after all, Aspyr, MacSoft, GraphSim, MacPlay and many other companies are able to sustain themselves and even grow the number of titles they offer. To be fair to Carmack, he also notes in the very beginning of his post that he still intends to target both Mac and Linux platforms as well as the PC market.

As far as the future goes, Carmack seems confident that eventually cards and graphics standards will be functionally equivalent:

At that point, a higher level graphics API will finally make good sense. There is debate over exactly what it is going to look like, but the model will be like C. Just like any CPU can compile any C program (with various levels of efficiency), any graphics card past this point will be able to run any shader. Some hardware vendors are a bit concerned about this, because bullet point features that you have that the other guy doesn't are a major marketing feature, but the direction is a technical inevitability. They will just have to compete on price and performance. Oh, darn.
This would definitely go a long way towards ending the indecision people face when deciding what graphics card to buy if Carmacks vision holds true; but his vision seems inevitable already, as the Radeon 8500 and th GeForce 3 have almost identical feature sets and comparable speed, with a few minor exceptions here or there.

For those interested in reading the rest of Carmack's posting as well as following the general thread, be sure to check it out at

IMG Forum Topic: Carmack and Macs

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• Carmack Comments on OpenGL, Mac Market9:02 AM
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