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The Apple Transition To ARM

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On Monday, June 22, 2020, Apple announced that it was transitioning all of its computer hardware to the ARM "System On A Chip" platform instead of Intel.


There isn't a lot of information about this transition yet, so it's difficult to tell what the full effects will be as far as running City of Heroes on a Mac.  The only certainties are that Apple plans the transition to take two years, and that MacOS "Big Sur" (the next upcoming version) will support Intel x64 to ARM/64 translation called Rosetta 2.  The new ARM computers will be powered by a custom ARM/64 chip with built-in video.


What I don't know for certain about it is whether Apple's own video inside the new silicon will support any Intel based games that have to be translated via Rosetta 2.  I'm also unsure if Wine, the core of the CoH Mac client, will even be translated by Rosetta 2 (it might be for GUI launched apps only, not command-line).  The best case scenario would be if CoH launches via Wine with no problem, other than some sluggishness and lower FPS because it has to be translated.  But worst case would be it doesn't work at all, and there is no immediate fix.  If you're using a Mac for CoH, you should at least be prepared for that possibility.


Another issue might be if Apple decides to "lock down" these new ARM Macs to only allow software downloaded from the App Store.  This would be an extreme roadblock:  Even if CoH could run via Wine (and Rosetta 2) on the Mac, the OS simply wouldn't allow it.  An alternative might be to try and get it approved for the App Store, but that would take both a Signing of the Official Agreement™ and Apple drastically changing its App Store rules (it currently does not allow apps that require emulation or translation, and definitely doesn't allow apps that have to download more stuff).


Unfortunately I can't afford to purchase a developer ARM machine just to test CoH for Mac.  Even when the first ones are released, I still might have too strained a budget to purchase one right away due to the virus shutdowns and limited employment sucking up most of my savings in 2020.  So when the first ones are released, it's likely that some players will get ahold of them before I do, and I might have to depend on their accounts and experiences to see how this works.


Even if initially the roadmap reads "road closed", it could be short lived.  This is a big and complicated transition that's going to harm a lot of games and open-source projects.  Hopefully that means workarounds will come fairly swiftly.  It just might take some time.


I will try to update this thread as more information becomes available.

Edited by Manga
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