The current situation is that we kind of make mac builds available of Thrive. However, they aren’t really well supported, and multiple times I’ve accidentally made broken builds (due to the way mac is excluded from our crash reporting system, they use separate templates). There are also many mac specific bugs (I’ve fixed one or two so far). Unfortunately the biggest one I see on my m1 mac mini is likely a Godot engine bug we can’t do more than report it to Godot.
So with official mac support I think the following things would be better for the players: we’d make better (and tested) instructions for how to install and update on mac (also we’d be able to make the launcher auto update work), Thrive would be available for Mac through Steam and Itch, we’d give priority to serious bugs on mac to ensure the game is playable, and we’d give the same kind of help with getting the game running as users on other platforms get.
If you are a mac user and that sounds good to you, then please let us know by showing support. I think our primary metric should be Steam wishlists for the Mac platform. So if you’d like to see that wishlist Thrive on Steam and make sure you have properly set the platform for your wishlists otherwise your wishlisting Thrive won’t show up in the Mac numbers. Let’s say 1000 more wishlists from Mac users would be the goal to reach (if other developers voice scepticism about the benefits, this might need to be increased). If/when that makes progress I’ll update people about it in this thread.
(above when I said “we”, I mostly meant me as I’m the one who is mostly responding to bug reports and trying to act little bit as a basic computer tech support)
Now onto the part of this post aimed at the other Thrive developers. Obviously there is a certain cost to making the proper Mac version. I calculated above the wishlist amount (based on our wishlist conversions) to about cover the cost of a used older mac mini for testing and one year Apple developer fees (I assume we’d sell enough copies each year on Mac at least to not lose money on that). So if we get that level of support from Mac users, we’d break even on the costs the association would need to pay to make the official support happen. I conveniently left out the work calculations from above, because they are quite uncertain and I kind of doubt (sorry fans) that if I calculated more than a few dozen paid hours cost (which would double the required wishlists), it would be very realistic to hit very soon. And that would leave many fans with just a Mac in a bit of a bad situation, which is not their fault really, even if they went ahead and voluntarily bought their mac.
The costs would be about 600€ for a used mac mini for testing on non-m1 hardware to make sure there aren’t problems, and about 100$ per year for an Apple developer license (this might have some hidden fees as the association would need to register a specific kind of organization identifier to be accepted by Apple).
In the long run over Thrive’s entire lifespan I suspect people on Mac would bring in much more money than supporting Mac costs. So this would be just a temporary dip in the amount of resources that can go into non-mac development for a while if we were to go for this, but in the long run it would provide more money to make Thrive better on all platforms, thus I’d claim that overall no one really loses anything except needing to wait a bit longer (Thrive will take a really long time to complete anyway). I’d work on the mac support myself starting from when it seems we have hit the wishlist target. Obviously it won’t happen immediately after hitting the goal, so my prediction is that this might happen next year.
The timeline is further made a bit more complicated in case we add native code modules to Thrive or finally get a new launcher made with a different technology (I’ve wanted this for a while as it seems Electron is a bit of a dead end, especially as they don’t care enough to support new JS code packages: Support Node's ES Modules · Issue #21457 · electron/electron · GitHub), obviously doing those (if they are on the horizon at all when Mac support is worked on) at the same time is much more efficient than doing them later.
There, that’s basically my plan about making Mac a first class platform for Thrive players. Anyone have thoughts or concerns about this? If there isn’t major pushback, I’ll link this thread in our various announcement channels to give the challenge to the players.