This week Apple releases the latest and greatest iteration of its operating system OS X, titled Mountain Lion. With tons of new features, apps and services, it’s a lot to take in. We here at GameAgent want to help ease the transition for you by providing some general information, and most importantly, how it will affect your gaming.
Read below to find out the answers to important questions.
Q: What is Mountain Lion?
A: Mountain Lion is the latest version of the user interface called OS X. This one is OS X v10.8, but instead of boring you with a number you won’t remember, they give each release a name based on a member of the feline family.
Q: How much is it and where is it available?
A: It’s only$19.99 ($10 less than the last OS X release!) and available right now on the Mac App Store.
Q: What are the system requirements?
A: Here’s the system requirement breakdown:
- OS X v10.6.8 or later
- 2GB of memory
- 8GB of available space
- Some features require an Apple ID; terms apply.
Q: Which Macs are supported?
A: Here’s the models Apple has listed as capable of handling the new OS X:
- iMac (Mid 2007 or newer)
- MacBook (Late 2008 Aluminum, or Early 2009 or newer)
- MacBook Pro (Mid/Late 2007 or newer)
- Xserve (Early 2009)
- MacBook Air (Late 2008 or newer)
- Mac mini (Early 2009 or newer)
- Mac Pro (Early 2008 or newer)
Q: What’s new in Mountain Lion?
A: All sorts of things! ‘Messages’ replaces iChat, Notes and Notification Center makes their way from iOS. There’s also FaceTime, Power Nap and Airplay Mirroring. Find a complete list of features here.
Of most interest to gamers is addition of Game Center and the virus protection program Gatekeeper.
Q: Tell me more about Game Center!
A: Apple launched Game Center for iOS in late 2010 as an online multiplayer social gaming network. Users can play multiplayer games using matchmaking, track achievements and compare high scores on leader boards. Create a nickname and link it to your AppleID; it can be used by friends to search for you. Each player has a profile that details his/her games, friends and achievements. Players can gain points by accomplishing in-game challenges.
Game Center for OS X should function in very much the same way, tracking achievements, friends and matchmaking the games that function within Game Center. In addition, OS X users can challenge iOS users to a match if they’re playing a game both users have. Games must be from the Mac App Store. Game Center functionality vary from game-to-game, depending on how much the developer has supported Game Center compatibility. Want to see your favorite Mac App Store games use Game Center reach out to the developers and let them know!
Q: What if I already have a Game Center account on my iOS device?
A: Great! Then you just log in to your pre-existing Game Center account and all of your stats and friends should carry over.
Q: So it hosts games of Call of Duty and stuff like that?
A: No. Game Center is NOT for servers and game hosting. Games like Call of Duty utilize dedicated servers for those individual games. Therefore, Game Center is not a one-to-one replacement for services like Steam. It’s still too early to tell what all Game Center will eventually entail, but right now it’s mainly for matchmaking and connecting people that play games, not hosting the multiplayer itself.
Q: What does Gatekeeper have to do with gaming?
A: Gatekeeper is Apple’s answer to the increased amount of malware and potentially threatening software floating around the web. This program monitors programs downloaded and depending on the settings, will only install applications from Mac App Store, App Store and trusted developers with a Developer ID. You can also tell it to relax and accept anything from the Internet. More information can be found here.
At least initially this could cause problems for games that are already installed on your computer after loading Mountain Lion, claiming they are from untrusted sources. You could get a message like this:
To bypass this with most digital titles (including games from GameAgent and Aspyr), right click (ctrl+click) the app icon and select Open. Voila! No cranky Gatekeeper blocking your favorite game.
Q: I have some older games that weren’t compatible with Lion. Will they now work with Mountain Lion?
A: All games that are currently compatible with Lion should be compatible with Mountain Lion also. Older catalog titles that are not Lion-compatible will similarly not work with Mountain Lion, either. Each publisher will have different plans on how to handle compatibility issues, but Aspyr plans to review their older games for updates on a title by title basis.
Q: I’ve heard a lot about Retina Support lately. Does this have anything to do with Mountain Lion.
A: Not exactly. Retina display is the new high-resolution screen only available in a specific line of new MacBook Pros. Mountain Lion is definitely retina display compatible and signs within Mountain Lion system preferences indicate that it’s only a matter of time before more Macs have this state-of-the-art screen.
For more information and troubleshooting retina displays, please visit Apple’s Retina FAQ page.
Q: OK, will you tell me about Retina display and gaming anyway?
A: Sure! Such a high resolution is a somewhat new phenomenon, especially for Macs; many publishers and developers are working as hard as they can to make programs and websites support retina displays. The same goes for game companies, with Blizzard promising a retina-supported version of Diablo III “soon.”
In the meantime, many of Aspyr’s top titles are now retina-ready! A few days ago we wrote up an article giving all the details on their titles that support retina resolution. You can find that here. Remember, for any technical issues regarding playing your Aspyr/GameAgent games please contact email@example.com.
That’s it for our Mountain Lion FAQ for now. If you have any tips or other cool information on Mountain Lion you’d like to share with the gaming community, sound off in the comments!