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Blog Post AN OPEN LETTER TO APPLE, INC

Discussion in 'TLOPO News and Announcements' started by John Foulroberts, Jun 21, 2018.

  1. John Foulroberts

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    8e4cc248718971f31d1d8cf2d70ff49c.jpg_558x314.jpg
    Posted by TLOPO Crew on June 21, 2018, 9 p.m.

    To the TLOPO Mac Community and Apple, Inc:

    We are writing this letter-style blog post in regard to the recent announcements made by Apple, Inc at the Worldwide Developer Conference in San Jose, CA.

    This letter is going to be very long, so we would like to give you all a summary of what this all means: If Apple doesn’t change their plans, The Legend of Pirates Online will no longer officially support macOS - directly affecting over 20% of our community. If you are a macOS player and want to continue playing, we strongly discourage upgrading to any new major versions of macOS. Over the past few years, Apple has made it increasingly difficult to support their operating system. After serious consideration, we feel this is the only option we have. We will be explaining why this is our only option in much more detail below.

    From the beginning, we have strived to make The Legend of Pirates Online easily accessible by everyone in our community. With this goal in mind, we have continued to maintain several versions of our game across both Windows and macOS, as well as other functioning internal test builds of both Linux and Android.

    This is no easy task, especially with the continued polarization of operating system architecture and design. We frequently make changes to our code ensuring that we provide a compatible and high-quality experience for our players. We’ve actually spent the past few months developing a whole new runtime for the game which converts our code from Python to C. This change provides a significant boost in performance as well as improved security.

    However, over the course of the past few years, we have made significant changes to our entire codebase because of deliberate and arguably unnecessary changes made specifically by Apple. These changes have included the deprecation of an entire graphics pipe, architecture, as well as the deprecation of several other heavily incorporated APIs and libraries in our software.

    Many of our macOS players noticed the effects of this ongoing struggle with the release of macOS High Sierra and the subsequent 3-month delay for supporting it. Apple had made large changes to their OS which broke our runtime. This forced us to rewrite a significant portion of our game engine, as well as our runtime environment, in order to support macOS High Sierra. And now, we are back in this situation again with the recent announcement of macOS Mojave.

    Apple has announced their intentions of removing OpenGL in the next upcoming macOS releases. This is a devastating and entirely unnecessary decision which is going to affect more than just us. OpenGL is a massive graphics library which is used heavily across the entire gaming industry. With OpenGL being removed, we and many other game creators are left with very few options to keep Mac support alive - and none of them are simple to implement.

    Apple’s goal in this deprecation is to have all OpenGL software on their computers replaced with Apple’s own proprietary graphics library, Metal. We have seen deprecations like this before with the deprecation of OpenSSL in favor of their own proprietary crypto library. These kinds of changes restrict consumers and developers with little regard to the amount of effort it takes to replace software, which has taken decades to create and is reliant on other, but still actively and properly maintained, software.

    TLOPO does not use a popular or mainstream game engine, such as Unreal and Unity. We use a custom in-house game engine based on a stable version of Panda3D. That means that our version of the game engine is not publicly maintained by the principle of Free and Open Source Software (“FOSS”). Whenever Apple has deprecated and/or randomly removed core functionality from their operating system, consistently with little to no notice, we have had to rewrite significant portions of our game engine in order to keep Mac support alive. Today, we have made the decision to discontinue our efforts on this matter.

    As of now, The Legend of Pirates Online will no longer officially support macOS. This does not mean that we will not provide further updates to our Mac version, this just means that we are no longer going to be fixing the game when Apple breaks it. In other words, we will not make any guarantees that TLOPO will play on macOS in a stable form. It is very possible that in the near future the game may begin experiencing frequent crashes, strange unexplainable bugs, or even not run at all. These are all very common bugs caused by Apple’s adverse relationship with third-party game developers and their sheer attitude with randomly blocking or removing necessary components to keep our software functioning normally.

    It has already been a lengthy and uphill battle to keep Mac support alive as it is today. We do not have the time, money, or resources to rewrite a significant portion of our game engine solely to comply with changes Apple has made unnecessarily. Apple has suggested that OpenGL applications will still function normally in macOS Mojave, but we will not make any guarantee that TLOPO will work. It is not uncommon for Apple to randomly break our game in other ways.

    Should Apple begin to change their tone and begin working with their developers in a more friendly way, we are not against providing official support for a macOS version of TLOPO. However, if they do not, we are going to discontinue official support for macOS.

    We have put an unreasonable amount of energy into keeping Mac support alive, and we sincerely apologize to our Mac community members. That said, we are going to continue providing updates to macOS in their current form. But when the day comes that Apple inevitably breaks our game, we will not be fixing it.

    Apple knowingly makes these kinds of decisions with little regard to the developers or consumers in their own community. We heavily discourage our Mac players from upgrading to any newer version of macOS if they wish to continue playing our game. If you do update, it is at your own risk. We will not be providing any support materials to macOS players, including workarounds for bugs introduced by Apple’s unnecessary changes.

    In the coming weeks, we personally expect to see other games dropping support for macOS. It is not worth their time or effort to attempt to support it. The market for gaming on macOS has been in decline for many years largely due to Apple's obstructive changes. Their decisions have placed an enormous strain on game developers, even those backed by a massive corporation, to support macOS. It’s unfair for us, other developers, and most importantly: it is unfair for the consumers. They’re the ones really taking the hit for it, not us.

    The only way that Apple will ever stop treating their developers and consumers like this is if it begins to impact their profits. If you want Apple to continue supporting OpenGL, you need to write them letters, send them emails, and call their support line. Let them know that you demand that they continue to support us. They aren’t going to care unless you make your voice heard.

    You don’t need to be a Mac user to let them know how you feel. We are one community, and if our history together says anything: we are very determined. Everyone on our game will know someone who is affected by Apple’s decision. Whether it’s yourself, a friend, a guildmate, or some friendly face on the Tortuga beaches. We’re all in this together, and we need to make our voices heard as one.

    Again, we sincerely apologize to our Mac community. We never wanted this to happen and we have worked so incredibly hard to make sure that it didn’t. But at some point, we must admit defeat. We have tried our best, but due to Apple’s unaccommodating decisions towards third party developers, it is simply no longer feasible to continue supporting their operating system.


    Sincerely,
    The Crew @ The Legend of Pirates Online



    If you are a member of the press and wish to contact us or receive a Press Kit, please visit our Press Center or email us at press@tlopo.com.
     
    #1
  2. Sparky Wonderwolf

    Site Founder

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    Once again, Apple trying to be a rebel and hipster by not being mainstream. I'm not sure what they hope to accomplish with this, because it really doesn't make much sense. Removing the headphone jack-fine sell an overpriced adapter and make more money. But this? It doesn't make sense. At all. If anything it just would be a move that alienates people. Bad enough, a few of the Apple/Mac people I do know (not all of them and this is by no means representative of the rest of Apple or even a majority of Apple customers) have become more dissatisfied with what Apple has had to offer and supports. Of those who game, with this? I don't think they're going to be Apple people for long.

    This is absolutely terrible and I wish the best of luck to the pirates who operate macOS and no other, no option of other. Because not only will TLOPO not be able to support you, but neither will most anyone else-and that is a scary thought.
     
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  3. squintz

    squintz Pirate Lord

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    Well, this is exactly what Microsoft has done with directX. Almost the same attitude. "If you want games to run windows, you are going to have to use directX or parts of it's base. Apple is no different. If apple allows open source of Metal, this will work out like directx. If Apple makes it a paid or closed propriety thing, then yes, I fully understand booting Apple. I'm willing to bet there is costly licensing and royalty issues as well. My laptop is macbook pro and I play any time I'm on it.
    I fully support tlopo's decisions whatever they choose to do. Could you & tlopo post updates as well on what's going down? And perhaps a line of which other games do the same.
    Thanks for all you do.
     
    #3
    Kat Winchester likes this.
  4. Crashalot

    Crashalot Pirate Lord

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    Wait a minute! People use Apple stuff still?!?
    LOL!
     
    #4
    RottenBeard and Malia like this.
  5. Luna Storm

    Luna Storm Greeter
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    I have never been a fan of Apple. They seem to have high pricetag but not the goods when it comes to playing games (so I have heard from many friends)

    However my opinion is not what is important here. What IS important is that many of our community members and friends won't be able to enjoy TLOPO with us.
    I will send an email to Apple and hope others do so aswell. If like me you don't use Mac, you can still send an email in support of TLOPO and it's Mac users!

    It's time for our community to do what it has done so well many times before, band together and help those who need us.
     
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  6. Pathos

    Pathos Swashbuckler

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    The decision by Apple regarding their 3rd party software interaction isn't really a big surprise, they have been very rigid about this from the early days on...one could say they are are protecting their brand very proactively, even though it creates a negative end user experience.

    While I cannot disclose whom I work for or contract with, the ability of the end user to be up down rev various firmware versions in servers or networking devises has been significantly restricted to force the use of the most updated revisions even though the updated revisions may not be compatible with firmware on other systems within your enterprise. Agreed, it it not exactly the same as restricting OS API interactions the concept of restricting access and action is the same. In the eyes of the system producer, it is a move for a better customer experience by ensuring the firmware is as bug free as possible.

    I hope this edit clears up some of where I am viewing this issue.

    Thanks!
     
    #6
    Last edited: Jun 22, 2018
    Marc Daggerhound likes this.
  7. Luna Storm

    Luna Storm Greeter
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    I was trying to find what other games will be unavailable to MacOS users after this goes through and can't find anything online.
    Is this being kept quiet so it won't damage Apple sales or are there not many other games that will be affected?
    I have never been interested in owning a Mac but am just curious to know.
     
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  8. Richard Seastorm

    Richard Seastorm Honorable Pirate

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    The Press Kit download doesn't work as a link
     
    #8
  9. Captain Kidd-Ing

    Captain Kidd-Ing Pirate Apprentice

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    I feel badly for those here (and the millions of other gamers) who use Apple electronics but it will be those folks who can sway Apple by not buying their products anymore.

    I'll be sticking with my Samsung phones and Asus, Lenovo, or HP pc/laptops.
     
    #9
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  10. John Foulroberts

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    Good catch! Apologies for that - I'll commit a fix to correct that link. In the meantime, you can use this link to download the package:

    https://download.tlopo.com/PRESS_PACKAGE_TLOPO.zip
     
    #10
  11. DreamDancer82

    DreamDancer82 Swashbuckler

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    Just my luck. Just as I start to get back into this game, this happens. Yes, I'm one of the MacOS users on this site. Personal preference, you understand. Some of us computer users prefer the Mac.
     
    #11
  12. Mark Scurvyfox

    Mark Scurvyfox Parley Negotiator
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    Although I'm not fully committed to Apple ecosystem, my understanding is that they are constantly looking after simplifying end-user experience by putting the customers and the quality of their services in the centre of attention. That being said though, it is true that MacOS has undergone significant changes ever since Jobs' era.

    Apple has always been secretive of what is coming next so it's a tough call to explicitly state that OpenGL is going to deprecated (though that's likely to happen if they decide to hard-push their own APIs)

    If you ask me, I'm curious to find out the possibilities of porting the Windows launcher on macOS. I know it's possible because I've previously done the same on Linux by executing the WINEHQ compatibility layer. It played along flawlessly with TLOPO without carrying on performance/memory penalties.
    @Davy Darkrage does it happen that you have any Mac computers lying around these days? We could testify TLOPO's behaviour that way. I'm personally confident that for as long as Wine remains macOS-ready and compatible, it should have no problem running the game as well. That method might not be ideal/familiar for the end-user, but if we combine it with utilities such as PlayOnMac, users will be able to port the Windows version of the game on Mac with little effort.

    In any case, it's admirable of TLOPO to acknowledge the issue at hand and for being transparent. Thank you for the hard work team!
     
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  13. Davy Darkrage

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    I had the same thought actually, before it dawned on me that Wine relies heavily on OpenGL and will be affected by this announcement all the same. This announcement affects a ton of software. With that said, because the impact is so great, it's pretty much unthinkable that Apple will actually remove OpenGL support until at least the next major version (after Mojave). The current announcement is only a deprecation notice, which just means it is scheduled be removed at some point in the future. This move has been heavily scrutinized all throughout the industry, so hopefully they will change their plans.
     
    #13
    Sparky Wonderwolf and Pathos like this.
  14. DoctorFartPhD

    DoctorFartPhD Sea Legs

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    I doubt Apple will remove OpenGL anytime soon as long as there is any dependence on it. The depreciation is a warning to stop using OpenGL. Probably no new updates of OpenGL will come to MacOS but it will remain depreciated for the purpose of legacy software. Apple wants developers to use Metal instead of OpenGL not to decrease compatible software. There are many reasons to use Metal. It would be foolish to remove OpenGL before Metal is widely adopted. It is also foolish for TLOPO to stop supporting MacOS as long as MacOS contains the necessary libraries.

    Much of the difficulty with supporting MacOS is because of all the libraries which were not designed for it. If TLOPO were to use Apple framework, The game would run much better on MacOS and it would be easier to maintain. I understand it is a burden to do this and perhaps it is better to instead progress development of the game. As an Apple developer, given the chance, I would attempt to convert the game to the new frameworks.
     
    #14
  15. Davy Darkrage

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    Run better it may, but supporting two platform-dependent low-level graphics APIs instead of a single cross-platform one is categorically harder to maintain. Why Apple couldn't pour their energy into Vulkan instead of Metal and fulfill the dream of a next-generation cross-platform graphics API, I'll never completely understand.

    Either way, supporting a entirely new graphics API in a legacy game is a pretty big undertaking for a small volunteer team, especially given the majority of players are probably on Windows anyways.
     
    #15
  16. squintz

    squintz Pirate Lord

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    Makes sense all the way around. Was there ever a count taken or the team actually count how many log in with Macs?
     
    #16
    Quinn Savagerackham likes this.
  17. Davy Darkrage

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    Yeah, the team has some stats available internally to track those sorts of things.
     
    #17
    Quinn Savagerackham likes this.
  18. DreamDancer82

    DreamDancer82 Swashbuckler

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    Whatever Mac may be doing, I am able to switch to my PC, which I will do, though grudgingly. There are times when I hate Windows, and my cat can't sleep on my shoulder. The Mac I play TLOPO on is a Macbook, which is a laptop. I'm always in a reclining position when I use it, and therefore, my cat (who is my baby) is able to get up onto my shoulder, lay her head down, and go to sleep (purr-snoring in my ear yet).

    Sorry, I'm obsessed with my cat.
     
    #18
    Quinn Savagerackham likes this.
  19. Quinn Savagerackham

    Quinn Savagerackham Swashbuckler

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    Don’t update to Mojave and I should be fine I believe
     
    #19
  20. RottenBeard

    RottenBeard Honorable Pirate

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    Exactly my issue with Apple. I may post sometimes about my horrid laptop, but i own a prety good (but a little outdated) computer that I use for playing video games. (The RAM needs some work)
    (Edit: im using windows 10. Am i the only one who has some minor trouble with OpenGL and older DirectX versions?)

    I can run old games like Team Fortress 2 at 60+ fps And while this computer is ment to run games on it, my dad has a mac, and i tried playing Team Fortress 2 on it, and it ran at a choppy 20-30 fps. Even on the lowest settings, it lagged unbearably. While its not supposed to run games like my supercomputer, this mac was designed to run some pretty RAM-eating software. Thats not even to mention using all the features of the keyboard and mouse that completely messed the gameplay up.

    In short, I dont think mac was really designed to play video games on. At least not as much as windows. Sure, mac has its uses, especially in the development world, but for playing games, its wretched, and so is its price tag. I Think apple likes to use its aesthetic to jack up the price of its products. but all this banter is just from my experiences.

    Sent from my iPad.
     
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    Last edited: Aug 3, 2018