Valve offers Mac graphics code to other devs

In a bid to harvest more top-tier games for the Mac version of Steam, Half-Life creator Valve plans to offer its Mac graphics code to third-party game developers.

In a revealing interview with game dev site Gamesindustry.biz today, Valve's director of business development, Jason Holtman, revealed that his pals at Valve are "going to release some of our graphics code for the GL layer."

"The real hard work in making a Mac version is doing that graphics work," says Holtman, "so we're going to help people along by giving them some of our code." The code will be released via Valve's Steamworks gaming tool set, meaning it will be accessible to any Steamworks partners, including big players such as Epic.

The move forms a part of a strategy which Valve hopes will kick-start a gaming revolution on Apple machines. Valve released Steam for the Mac back in May, with a catalogue that includes several big Valve titles, such as Half-Life 2, Team Fortress 2 and Left4Dead, but otherwise looks pretty sparse unless you're into casual indie games.

However, Valve's vice president of marketing, Doug Lombardi, reckons this is all going to change next year as publishers make room in their schedules to produce Mac versions of their games.

"People are looking at their titles for this holiday," says Lombardi, "and saying 'a Mac version would screw with my schedule, or I'd have to ship it late. Neither of those is super-desirable, but the titles that I have in Spring of 2011 or in Holiday of 2011; let's have a discussion and let's see those numbers and start to figure it out'."

Holtman and Lombardi weren't able to reveal precise usage figures for the Mac version of Steam yet, but they estimate that they're very high.

To get an idea, Holtman sayd you can play Team Fortress 2 "and see how many people have the little earbuds in, right [Mac versions of the game feature in-game iPod headphones]. Or when you get killed you'll see the OSX sign. And that's a fairly representative sample of seeing how many people have pulled out their Macs and started to play that game."