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  The Skinny on a Mac (ie what I do I need?)  (Read 3228 times)
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Offline dranonymous

Junior Devvie




Hoping to become a Java Titan someday!


« Posted 2004-07-19 14:54:48 »

I've been talking about getting a Mac for some time, but still haven't done it.  I think it will happen in the next 6 months, though I might be totally mistaken.  Smiley

So, heres what I want to do -

- Program in Java using eclipse
 -- Use openGL
 -- Use Audio
 -- Use JWS
 -- Probably use things such as Xith3D, lwjgl, jogl, etc.

- Use MSWord97, maybe 2000, but nothing newer as my wife and I both HATE all the newer features.  We consider them annoying and overkill

- Do my taxes
- Run Quicken
- Browse the web, obviously
- Run Tomcat
- Run FamilyTree Maker or something compatible

My theory is that I want something with at least OsX, but if I knew for sure, I wouldn't be asking these questions.

So what type of machine do I need?  How much RAM?  CPU?  Will my java experience become less fun than it is now?

My current machine is a Compaq Laptop 1.3GHz, 512Ram, CDR/DVD reader.

Don't even think of suggesting a Linux box anyone!  My wife wouldn't tolerate it and I have to stay married!  Smiley

Offline blahblahblahh

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« Reply #1 - Posted 2004-07-19 15:14:21 »

Quote

Don't even think of suggesting a Linux box anyone!  My wife wouldn't tolerate it and I have to stay married!  Smiley



That rules out OS X then Tongue (tongue in cheek).

malloc will be first against the wall when the revolution comes...
Offline darkprophet

Senior Devvie




Go Go Gadget Arms


« Reply #2 - Posted 2004-07-19 15:21:12 »

I think you'd find OSX Kernel is based on FreeBSD 5.0 development Kernel and not on the linux kernel  Tongue

So OS X is still much on the playing cards.

DP

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Offline dranonymous

Junior Devvie




Hoping to become a Java Titan someday!


« Reply #3 - Posted 2004-07-19 15:49:34 »

Don't worry about the linux/unix/*ix kernel under the Mac hood.  As long as my wife doesn't have to know its there and start using things such as: chmod, chgrp, ls, etc.  We'll all survive the conversion!  Smiley

I enjoy harrassing the linux power users around here by saying 'Well, time to get back to work and do some more cha-modding and cha-grouping.'

I haven't stooped to saying linux using all the various mispronunciations. Wink

Anyway, back to Mac land.  What's my migration path looking like?
Offline ribot

Junior Devvie




Ribot - mobile UI specialist


« Reply #4 - Posted 2004-07-19 16:19:35 »

laptop or desktop?

http://ribot.co.uk - design agency focused on mobile
http://www.retrospecs.co.uk - online vintage eyewear store
Offline princec

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« Reply #5 - Posted 2004-07-19 17:17:20 »

Don't get less than a gig of RAM these days, it's by far the biggest bottleneck in most development systems.

Cas Smiley

Offline dranonymous

Junior Devvie




Hoping to become a Java Titan someday!


« Reply #6 - Posted 2004-07-19 19:57:49 »

I currently have a laptop.
Offline swpalmer

JGO Coder


Exp: 12 years


Where's the Kaboom?


« Reply #7 - Posted 2004-07-20 02:48:40 »

Get 1GB RAM like Cas says.

The rest you can't go wrong with as nearly everything you mentioned is included with the OS.. (E.g. Tomcat is part of the developer tools install, java and JWS are all pre-installed.  The UI relies heavily on OpenGL...)

Not sure why you mentioned that "in theory" you wanted at least OS X.  You can't buy a Mac with anything else, and if you did you would be quite an idiot (no offense Smiley ).

Java 5.0 (formerly 1.5) will only be available for the next version of OS X if history is to repeat itself.   And OS X 10.4 (also named "Tiger") isn't to be released for almost a year.   Previews of Tiger and Tiger (Java) on Tiger (OS) are available now.  But I think it will be a while before it is usable.

Updates for the JRE/JDK are available less frequently for the Mac.. but Apple has caught up now to Sun's Java releases for the most part so it's not bad.

I run Eclipse on my Mac, with only 512MB RAM.. and it I can get by.  The Eclipse team has really improved the Mac support with the 3.0 release.

LWJGL still isn't working properly on Mac.. but if you are the one to make it work, Cas will buy you a brand new to of the line Mac.. so that's a bonus.  I 've been hoping to help out in that department myself.. but dammit if my day job doesn't require too much time.

JOGL works well and is supported by an Apple engineer.  Xith3D works.

Quicken is available - though it costs more for the Mac version because Intuit are money sucking weasel scum.

You will have to go with a newer version of Word (which has sucked for many years andding useless features that are always in the way and buggering the UI so now everything that you want to do is hard or non-intuitive to do.  It is easier to use TeX at this point.)
Office 2004 for the Mac has some features that debut in the Mac version.. it seems Microsoft's Mac Business Unit is doing a decent job.

The built-in browser "Safari" is excellent.

I dont' know of compatible software for the familiy tree stuff... but it sounds like a nice Java project Smiley

If you intened to get a Laptop (you didn't say if you were replacing or complementing your current machine - sounds like you are replacing) it might be a good idea to wait a bit and see if any G5-based laptops happen soon... but they have been rumoured for some time.  Though the current G4 crop are super machines.  I have a previous generation G4 laptop and I love it.

You can use a combo-drive (CD-RW/DVD) or a "superdrive"  (DVD-R/CD-RW), the "iLife" package that is included with the machine is excellent.

Mac comes with a C/C++/Objective-C/Java IDE called Xcode.  It is decent, but there is a learning curve, as the UI is unlike most other IDEs.  The Objective-C GUI builder "Interface Builder" is excellent, but they dont' have great support for Java in Xcode yet... though it improves with each version.  For Java work stick with Eclipse in any case.

You will likely hate hte one-button mouse/trackpad.  Plug in a 3-button USB wheel-mouse and it will work as you expect it to though.

Browse the Apple.com pages to get a feel for what is included with the Apple hardware and OS.. you will find there is a lot there that comes bundled with the machine/OS.

Offline dranonymous

Junior Devvie




Hoping to become a Java Titan someday!


« Reply #8 - Posted 2004-07-20 11:30:52 »

Well it appears swpalmer is a hardcore MacAddict!

Thanks for all the info.  The reason I was mentioning OsX was that all of what I want/need is wholly dependent upon what I can afford.  Smiley

How's the support for older Mac software?  If I wanted to go find a used copy of Office97 or so, would it still run on the newer machines?

Whats the oldest I would want to go back to, as far as a Mac goes?  I need model names as I'm still pretty ignorant on the Mac scene.  I figure a box with a G4 would work and a G3 with lots of ram would probably get me by too.

On a side note - How well does the GUI refresh on the Macs?  This is a peeve of mine about Linux.  We have a Dual Xeon with a Gig of ram in one of the labs.  You would think the screen redraws would be super crisp, no lag or stutter.  Wrong!  It looks no different visually than Fedora Core running in my office on an old P2 400Mhz.  Even win95 looks better as far as responsiveness.  My old Amiga 4000 with an 060 looked superior.  I'm ranting a bit, but it seems as though Linux is still behind in the UI race.  The whole Xwindows thing just appears to be a stick on the system and it shows.

No blasting away here!  I do like Linux and love being able to ssh in to my boxes.  What a great thing!  Windows would be a nightmare to do the same.

Ok, ok.  So - Long live Amigas, Macs, and other computers which are well designed and work far beyond their original estimated life span!
Offline swpalmer

JGO Coder


Exp: 12 years


Where's the Kaboom?


« Reply #9 - Posted 2004-07-20 13:45:30 »

Don't go with a G3.  It is too old and will limit you for sure.

I NEVER run OS 9, but it can be done.  I have no idea what is available for it.  There is also a "classic" mode that lets you run a lot of OS 9 software while still booted in OS X.  (It needs OS 9 installed on the HD - a waste of space in my opinion.)

The Amiga was a slick machine for its day - the UI always looked better than the crap you get form windows even today.  Mac OS X will impress you just the same.  No flickering. no leaving vast regions of the screen unpainted for many seconds, none of the stuff that makes Windows look like crap. (In many ways Linux is even better than Windows as far as keeping the UI is an uncorrupted visual state.)

What Linux lacks more than windows is any sort of consistency and interoperability amoung the apps.  And that is where Mac smokes the pants of the competition.  Everything works together on the Mac.  E.g. Open up Address book and enter a contact... hey you can put a picture for he contact.... open iPhoto and drag and drop an image into the address book entry - a UI to scale and crop out the face will appear automatically... easy as pie.... fire up iChat (AIM compatible IM client) add a 'buddy' from your address book (which has fields for IM ids) and the icon beside your buddy is the picture from the address book.. you can change it if you like... but everything works so well together you realize how far behind Windows is.  But it isn't all wonderful.. you will find annoying things...   to continue the above exampe, the address book can hold multiple IM ids for a single person for instance, but iChat only sees one of them and has no way for you to choose the others.

You will also be frustrated that it is harder to find Mac software - online stores are often the only place to get certain things.  There are great games for Mac, but they are not nearly as plentiful as they are on Windows.  And of course everything Mac related seems to be a bit more expensive... after using the Mac for a year and a half I realize that you get what you pay for though.

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Offline William Denniss

JGO Coder


Projects: 2


Fire at will


« Reply #10 - Posted 2004-07-22 23:05:22 »

I "switched" from Linux to OS X on my laptop two months ago and very thankful I did (Linux isn't so great on laptops - hardware comaptability being a big issue).

I'm currently programming Java on a Mac with Eclipse and using:

* JOGL (OpenGL)
* Xith3D
* JWS
* Odejava
* Tomcat 5

I test my Odejava/Xith3D/Jogl/JWS applications in the three main operating systems and now that I am able to test it on all platforms I find that I have very few issues (gotta love java!).

You've got no worries with web/email, the mac software is almost intellegent! I use Camino (like firefox - but OS X only) for browsing as I like the Gecko renderer.

Mac's do 3D graphics very nicely - my powerbook had a better 3D graphics card than every Windows laptop I looked at (and I looked at almost all the current big-brand laptops available), I think this is because mac users generally do a lot of grpahics stuff, and the GUI needs OpenGL to be snappy (this also makes it an ideal target platform for any games).

Also, if like me you find using the shell very efficient - OS X comes preinstalled with BASH, and many *NIX tools (ssh, locate, find, etc) plus using fink will get you all the rest (pdflatex, gimp, etc).

I only got 512 RAM but made sure I have a free slot - I will upgrade soon to 1GB, as running Gimp (requires X11) and Eclipse + the usual email/web apps takes it's toll.

If you do install X11 - make sure you use the one from Apple, it's far better than the one which comes with fink.

You are making a very good move - chances are the wife will prefer OS X over Windows, it's much easier to use - and it is very visually appealing (rather than the grey drudgery of Windows).  Plus, she will probably bug you less with problems as stuff seems to "just work".

Make sure you try out the F9, F10 and F11 buttons (you may have to hold the function key down unless like me you reversed the function key mappings) if you get one Grin

Will.

Offline William Denniss

JGO Coder


Projects: 2


Fire at will


« Reply #11 - Posted 2004-07-22 23:11:47 »

swpalmer - I totally agree that OS X applications have a very consistent feel, but there is one exception which is a real PITA - the home/end/pageup/pagedown keys.

I found someone who uses similar applications to me and had documented his frustration: http://sean.typepad.com/ditto/2003/12/crazy_mac_os_x_.html

I'm not covering for Apple on this one - it's a real pain.  It comes naturally to me now, I somehow switch between the differnt methods when I change programs but it was damn confusing at first.

However, this is my only complaint of OS X to date (don't ask me about Windows).

Will.

Edit: 1000 posts, who hoo!

Offline swpalmer

JGO Coder


Exp: 12 years


Where's the Kaboom?


« Reply #12 - Posted 2004-07-23 03:04:55 »

Actually I know what you mean, but I don't blame Apple.  I blame the programmers that didn't follow the Apple guidelines.

It is usually programs which are not native to Mac (i.e. started on Windows) that make things inconsistent.

But you are correct in that the problem is there.

Mac-centric apps seem to follow this convention though:
Command or Ctrl + left/right - go to end of line
Command + up/down - go to end of  document (up-down)
Ctrl + up/down - page up/down
Option + u/down - start/end of line
Option+ left/right - move cursor by word
Option+delete deletes by word

It is also worth noting that on Mac PgUp and PgDn are not supposed to move the cursor - they only scroll the page (if the app follows the guidelines).

You do get used to it though, but it is a pain when you flip between Windows and OS X a lot.

My main regret (besides waiting 8 months and getting a much better machine all around Smiley ) was not getting 1GB of RAM... and I didn't have the foresight to get my 512MB in one slot so I had the free slot available  (Why is laptop RAM so expensive - at least if you get it from Apple?)

Drive space and RAM you can NEVER have enough of.

Offline dranonymous

Junior Devvie




Hoping to become a Java Titan someday!


« Reply #13 - Posted 2004-07-23 11:49:15 »

Thanks for all the great advice!

Does the Mac use a swap file?  Does it do the stupid stuff windows does as far as swapping an app out to virtual ram as soon as you minimize something?

I recently turned off the swap space on my laptop and work computer.  Wow!  It was like getting a whole new machine.  No more waiting for eclipse to 'come back to life' when switching between apps.

I actually prefer to avoid the command line if at all possible.  I also hate X11.  My ignorant theory is that X11 is nothing but a tumor on the code base of linux.  GUI stuff seems like such a hack in linux.  It doesn't 'feel' like part of the OS, but more like an add on package.


Does anyone have any specific desktop or laptop models to look at?  I'll probably be buying used, so keep that in mind.  Price limit is probably $1000 for an estimate.  No laughing if thats way to low!  Wink
Offline blahblahblahh

JGO Coder


Medals: 1


http://t-machine.org


« Reply #14 - Posted 2004-07-23 12:29:45 »

Quote
Why is laptop RAM so expensive - at least if you get it from Apple?


IMHO never buy laptop RAM off anyone other than crucial.com (or your country's equivalent - they have different sites in different currencies). They *seem* to have entries for most if not all laptops and their prices can be as much as 1/3 the laptop manufacturer RRP (for brand new RAM)!

malloc will be first against the wall when the revolution comes...
Offline William Denniss

JGO Coder


Projects: 2


Fire at will


« Reply #15 - Posted 2004-07-23 22:35:13 »

swpalmer,

The problem happens when you mix X11 applications (which use CTRL for shortcuts), OS X native applications (which normally follow Apple's guidelines), BASH (no excuse there - this is distributed by Apple) and Java applications which seem to be a mixed bag.  The programmer in all cases except the native OS X applications isn't catering for OS X directly, and probably doesn't even have a mac to test it on.

Nothing wrong with a heterogeneous operating environment, I like being able to use X11 & Java as well as OS X apps - it gives you much more choice, but it's just a shame this wasn't possible to fix.

Non-programmer users are unaffected for the most part I guess.

Will.

Offline blahblahblahh

JGO Coder


Medals: 1


http://t-machine.org


« Reply #16 - Posted 2004-07-23 23:18:18 »

Quote
Non-programmer users are unaffected for the most part I guess.

Will.


Ahem. PgUp (move CURSOR up), PgDn, ctrl-left (for move one WORD to the left) are used by most normal MS windows users AFAICS. Which is not to say that's the best use for the bindings Wink but I've never worked in any (non development) office where *every* word user didn't know at least those Grin.

I'm assuming there is a setting somewhere in OS X to remap the default action for OS X apps? If not, this is *terrible*, because it's a bit of a usability nightmare. Eventually, we'll get OS's which do the mind-numbingly obvious and map "actions" to app-commands, and keys to actions, so that the user can choose whatever system-wide config they want. No good reason not to do it already, really. Grumble.

malloc will be first against the wall when the revolution comes...
Offline swpalmer

JGO Coder


Exp: 12 years


Where's the Kaboom?


« Reply #17 - Posted 2004-07-24 01:08:01 »

Quote
I'm assuming there is a setting somewhere in OS X to remap the default action for OS X apps? If not, this is *terrible*, because it's a bit of a usability nightmare.


There is no way to remap those actions as far as I know.  But I don't that it's "*terrible*".  Apple should have made the shell (BASH) meet their human interface guidelines of course.  But in most cases the Mac is about consistency on the platform.  You simply aren't supposed to use other bindings if you are running on a Mac.  So under normal circumstances there doesn't need to be a way to change application bindings
*IF* they already meet Apple's guidelines.  Apple users are very particular about the UI guidelines, much more so than Windows users, and to be fair it is the rule that you *must* do it the Mac way that helps to differentiate the Mac platform...  it's one of the reasons that Mac users (usually) find that things "just work".

Will, you are absolutely right about the shell... I don't know why that slipped my mind.  Seems like such a trivial thing to fix too... I should go file a bug against it (you should to if you care to see it fixed).

Offline blahblahblahh

JGO Coder


Medals: 1


http://t-machine.org


« Reply #18 - Posted 2004-07-24 01:32:08 »

Quote


There is no way to remap those actions as far as I know.  But I don't that it's "*terrible*".


I meant in the abstract - it undoes the good work of a good UI to have something like this arise.

Although, I'd have thought that this was an obvious enough problem when OS X was being written that there'd be *some* workaround?

malloc will be first against the wall when the revolution comes...
Offline dranonymous

Junior Devvie




Hoping to become a Java Titan someday!


« Reply #19 - Posted 2004-10-20 00:26:32 »

Ok, so I'm seriously thinking of a mac laptop again.

The iBook or PowerBook appear to be my G4 choices.

iBook uses an ATI Radeon9200, while the PowerBook can come with a GeForce card.  Any recommendations?

I'd like to use jME later on.

IIRC blah3 said he'd buy a new mac for anyone who got lwjgl working on a mac properly.  Is that true?

The superdrive seems like a definite upgrade, since I'd like to have the option of burning DVD's later.

Anyone have any advice?

Are there any resale stores, etc that might offer financing the way the Apple Store does?

Regards,
Dr. A>
Offline William Denniss

JGO Coder


Projects: 2


Fire at will


« Reply #20 - Posted 2004-10-20 05:34:15 »

Get the PowerBook - they are better for power users (as the name suggests) and are twice as sexy ;-).

G5 PowerBooks are apparently just around the corner, so it might be wise to wait.  This is a situation faced when buying any technology however, so like usual, you just have to weigh up how soon you need it against how far off the newer version is.

Will.

Offline swpalmer

JGO Coder


Exp: 12 years


Where's the Kaboom?


« Reply #21 - Posted 2004-10-20 11:56:42 »

Go with 1GB RAM as well.  512MB is a little bit tight for a developer.


Offline blahblahblahh

JGO Coder


Medals: 1


http://t-machine.org


« Reply #22 - Posted 2004-10-20 12:02:04 »

Quote

IIRC blah3 said he'd buy a new mac for anyone who got lwjgl working on a mac properly.  Is that true?


*CAS*.

malloc will be first against the wall when the revolution comes...
Offline princec

« JGO Spiffy Duke »


Medals: 437
Projects: 3
Exp: 16 years


Eh? Who? What? ... Me?


« Reply #23 - Posted 2004-10-20 14:33:54 »

My ears are burning! Actually I have bought a Mac for Elias, sort of. I donated $400 to the LWJGL Mac Fund. He took delivery of the Mac yesterday so we should expect a stable port by Christmas. Hurrah!

Cas Smiley

Offline dranonymous

Junior Devvie




Hoping to become a Java Titan someday!


« Reply #24 - Posted 2004-10-28 12:37:48 »

I had another question.  I want to do some home video editing.  How can I get video into the laptop?  Is the Powerbook a better bet for that?

Dr. A>

Offline dranonymous

Junior Devvie




Hoping to become a Java Titan someday!


« Reply #25 - Posted 2004-10-28 12:56:18 »

Forget to ask about PowerBook GPU card differences -

GeForce5200 vs ATI Radeon 9700

The PB can come with either a 64 or 128 meg version of the 9700.  Both GeF and ATI appear to have pixel shaders and such.

Any info on how openGL compliant they are?  Either go up to the 1.5spec?

Dr. A>
Offline ChrisM

JGO Coder


Medals: 3
Projects: 1
Exp: 14 years


Luke...END OF LINE


« Reply #26 - Posted 2004-10-28 13:01:36 »

Quote
Don't worry about the linux/unix/*ix kernel under the Mac hood.  As long as my wife doesn't have to know its there and start using things such as: chmod, chgrp, ls, etc.  We'll all survive the conversion!  Smiley

I enjoy harrassing the linux power users around here by saying 'Well, time to get back to work and do some more cha-modding and cha-grouping.'

I haven't stooped to saying linux using all the various mispronunciations. Wink

Anyway, back to Mac land.  What's my migration path looking like?


Awwww, what fun is that?!?  Don't you LIKE having to rebuild the kernel every time you do something major....like turning on 3D acceleration?

-Chris

Offline swpalmer

JGO Coder


Exp: 12 years


Where's the Kaboom?


« Reply #27 - Posted 2004-10-29 21:29:24 »

Quote
I had another question.  I want to do some home video editing.  How can I get video into the laptop?  Is the Powerbook a better bet for that?


Anything with a firewire (IEEE 1394) connector will be able to get video from a camera that has DV-out.  The main thing is CPU speed and RAM for running the software.

Included with the Mac will be iMovie and iDVD* - iDVD is very well done, iMovie is a tad simple.  I got Final Cut Express cheap and it is great.

[size=1]*if you get a model with a "Superdrive"[/size]

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