Launcher/UE4 with older versions of OS X - Epic what gives?

This has been my pet-peeve for quite some time now and, I usually rant and rave about it on the IRC, then let it go. I’m tired of it so, I want to let it out here now and be done with:

Dear Epic,

I have been running OS X 10.11.6 for some years. Everything is fine, the OS works as expected and so did the Launcher and UE4. That is until you started making it (demanding?) a requirement to upgrade to newer versions of OS X without any visible (to me) benefit.

Until now it was possible to muck with the Info.plist file to allow lesser versions of OS X (than the one you think should be used) to work with the Launcher or UE4. Not anymore.

The latest Launcher update broke this, and it broke it so much that even editing the minimum OS X version required in the Launcher’s binary does not run it on 10.11.6.

This kind of forceful obsolescence is very (very) disturbing. You did not ask me, or tell me whether you should upgrade my Launcher prior to doing so. You did not notify me in advance that if the upgrade is performed, it will render my Launcher inoperable because I’m not running a what you believe to be minimum version of OS X.

What should’ve happened is a popup telling me a new update is available that would render the current Launcher unusable, based on the OS X version detected. Then offering me a choice whether I want to upgrade, or stay with my current version, and retain functionality.

Instead a popup countdown (until “destruction”) came up, and I didn’t have a choice at all. Thank you for making a choice for me, by the way. I just don’t ever remember giving you Power of Attorney.

I gave up on being able to run the most recent version of UE4 in 10.11.6 sometime ago, and had been using the last known working version (4.17, IIRC).

For awhile I was contemplating making UE4 use Vulkan in OS X, so that problem could be avoided (the problem is you chasing Apple with the latest and the greatest version of OS X, helping them force us to constantly upgrade), but given up on that because frankly, you should do this not me. I’ve done it already once before (actually more than once, it lasted several years) with Linux.

There’s absolutely no reason that everyone must run the latest and the greatest OS X for UE4 (or Launcher). Yes, I heard your excuses about features and abilities that are missing in older OS X, but that’s all poppycock, IMHO. Other competitive engines are compatible with older versions, and still have support for OpenGL (yes that’s still around, not extinct contrary to everyone’s belief) or Vulkan.

Lastly, I am not sure whether you got a “memo” about this or not, but most business and enterprise environments do not upgrade their OS whenever it blows into some vendor’s head to release a new version (which in Apple’s case is every 8-12 months). It is unfeasible, impractical and not cost effective. Generally there are 3-5 year life-cycles, though in cases of some OSes (such as Windows XP or 7) even longer.

There’s no reason to upgrade if everything just works and benefits of newer OS don’t outweigh the costs and efforts of upgrading. And to be honest, any OS X past 10.11.6, or even earlier (think Mountain Lion) did not bring any true Earth shattering features to the OS (and I mean OS itself, not apps that come with it - an eBook reader is NOT an improvement to the OS).

It was purely planned obsolescence and forceful hardware/software upgrade cycle to further Apple’s bottom line. There’s no built-in or provided value to the customer at all, not by a long stretch of imagination. And you are helping them out in the process, thus not providing value to all of your customers either.

Granted, Metal 2 might be considered an improvement you want, and did, jump on, but as I said OpenGL is still around and so is Vulkan now as well. Even if we don’t get that full feature set from running Metal 2, we should still be able to run the Launcher/UE4 with a sub-set of features and support for the other two APIs. Surely, I do not have to lecture you about software design, backward compatilbilty etc, as I hope there’s plenty of experience over there already…

That’s it.

I really do not foresee any change in course from you on this, as I know that it is not a priority, money maker, or anything else (a vision?). I’d seen it already with the Linux Desktop and your support for it (emember, we go way back together…), so I’m not holding my breath on OS X either.

Thanks for reading.