On the weekend, I decided to get a game going on the Mac. One game that my old laptop couldn’t play properly was Portal. The on board laptop video card was just not up to it. Now that I have a MacBook Pro with an Nvidia chipset, I was all ready!
But how do you get games to run on a Mac? The games that I own and want to play are all Windows based.
Mac users basically have 4 options:
- Wait until the game you want is released natively on the Mac platform
- Install Windows inside a virtual machine using a program like Parallels or Virtual PC, then run the game inside this
- Run the game using a Windows emulator like CrossOver Games or Wine or some equivalent
- Install BootCamp which basically lets you boot up into Windows instead of OSX
I really wanted to try not to install Windows. And Portal hasn’t been ported to the Mac yet. So, that left me option 3.
CrossOver Games is a program for the Mac that pretends to be the Windows operating system so that Windows games can try to run. Obviously, it is immense task to pretend to be an entire Operating System with all its quirks, so it happens that only some games have been qualified to run properly on CrossOver Games.
Luckily, some of the Steam engine games like Portal are on the list!
Installation was pretty straightforward. I decided to install the Steam engine and grab the demo version of Portal. After mounting the CrossOver Games application, I proceeded to install the Steam engine using the wizard.
It was really weird to see Windows components like MSXML install, seemingly on the Mac, but they were really being installed on a cut down version of Windows in something called a “bottle”.
Unfortunately I did run into a problem during the Steam installation process with the error, “Unable to load library: Steam.dll”.
A bit of Googling later and I found someone recommend that you check that the Windows emulation mode is set to Windows XP.
I restarted the Steam engine installation, asked the Windows installation to “Repair”, and then it all worked. After choosing to install Portal, it all started up magically and worked fine!
The framerate was fine, but the screen looked like the vertical sync was not on because there was tearing. I’m sure this can be fixed somehow.
In the end I was very happy with the experience and will hand over some dosh to buy CrossOver Games and Portal! Now to install Guild Wars and see how that runs.
More info here: http://www.codeweavers.com/products/cxgames/