Monday, 14 April 2008

Old Games - Crossover, Mac and Windows

Like a lot of you out there I suspect, I enjoy gaming, though these days if I have time to play its more the exception than the rule. Nevertheless if opportunity arises I like to get in a frag or some world domination here and there.

At the moment I do a lot of my gaming on my XP bootcamp partition, purely because for newer games it better if they run on windows directly.

I have some older games, Diablo II, StarCraft, Warcraft 3 and so on, that recently I have been having a craving or an urge to play again. As they were old though (and also because space on my windows partition is low) I thought I would try to get them to run under OS X, as it should easily handle it and also its easier just to fire up a game there, than to have to reboot the whole system.

Now most blizzard games are hybrid CD's, that is to say the installation discs includes Mac and Windows installers. Which sounded really promising at the start, so I popped the Diablo II disc into the drive, opened it and saw just a windows installer.

After a bit of googling, I found out that I probably have an old set of discs that only include either the windows or classic installers, so what now? Luckily (or at least I thought), Blizzard includes a Diablo II OSX Installer for just this situation, so I downloaded it, launched it and got stuck right away. Why? Well because the OSX Installer asks me to insert the "Diablo II Install Disc", whereas my disc when its mounted is listed as "INSTALL". I tried messing around a bit with Disktool and renaming Install to Diablo II install Disc but couldnt get it to work, so in the end because I was a)tired and b)my daughter was crying I gave up (for now), fired a question off to Blizzard Support (no answer yet) and decided to attack it from a different angle tomorrow (that being today).

The Different Angle - Crossover Games

As many of you may know, Crossover recently released Crossover games which is supposed to specialise on running windows games under OS X and Linux as well as providing support for more games than the standard release of crossover.

Sounds promising right? When I checked out their compatibility list for games, I found that Diablo 2 is listed, though only as an honourable mention - i.e. someone tried it and got it to work but officially its not supported. Not being deterred easily, I decided to give it a try anyway.

I installed the trial version of Crossover Games 7, which runs for 7 days as a full version and then you have to pay up if you want to keep using it.

I tried to use it to install Diablo 2 and got a bit further than with the os x installer. I created a bottle (basically a container that provides an emulation layer for the game) put the install disc in the drive and got through the first part of the installation. It then asked me for the Diablo 2 Play Disc, so I inserted the disc into the drive, clicked ok and it asked me for the Diablo 2 play disc. I tried again, same thing.

So I then used the Crossover window to eject the disc and tried inserting it again but it still didnt work, this time however when I tried to eject the disc via crossover it wasnt recognised. At this point I gave up on this attempt and cancelled the install.

I tried the install again this time by just inserting the install disc into the mac (you can set crossover to recognise windows discs), unfortunately this met with the same result as above. I tried checking the crossover support and Google but everything brought back results mostly for linux. There was a post about making images of the discs and using those though which I thought was worth an attempt.

Initially I tried to make images of the disk using Disk Utility and although they completed successfully they werent true one to one copies. I tried Toast but for some reason that didnt work either, so I then went to the terminal and entered the following;

drutil status - this tells you the device name for the disc - usually disk1

dd if=/dev/yourdevice of=yourpath/yourisoimagename.iso bs=2048
This command will make a one to one backup of your disc.

So using the above command, I made images of all 3 Diablo 2 disks and the frozen throne expansion. I next mounted the Install disk image (which still mounts as INSTALL) and started the installation procedure.

This time, when it asked me to insert the play disc, I used Crossover to eject the install disk and then mounted the play disc, clicked ok and the installation continued without a hitch. I then continued to mount the cinematics disc and finally the install disc again.

NB: I am using toast 8's "mount it" option from the ctrl+click or right+click menu to mount the images.

So now Ive got the installation successfully completed I realised that for Crossover it hadnt, it was still showing the installation as being in progress, so after moving some windows around I found the cause, the video test window was open behind the D2 installation window. So I cancelled that (I read on the crossover site to do this if you plan to install the expansion) and finally the installation was finished.

Flushed with this success, I decided to go ahead and install the expansion, so following the same procedure as above, I mounted the expansion image that I made, told crossover to install it into the D2 bottle and then selected upgrade from the installer.

Everything was chugging along nicely, until I got to 99% and then it asked me to insert the "Expansion disc". Eh? It in the drive... so I eject it, remount it and try again - no joy. So I tried again, still nothing, so I unmounted the image and tried with the real CD, still wouldnt work. Tried the image again and at this stage I realised that Crossover was no longer ejecting discs if I clicked on its eject option. So I clicked cancel and the install supposedly rolled back. I say supposedly because afterwards when I tried to run Diablo 2, I couldnt get it to work, even after trying the video test.

In the end, I made the assumption (perhaps incorrectly, perhaps not), that the install was botched and so deleted the entire bottle. I plan to try again tomorrow time willing - for some reason I really feel like playing D2.

The Mac Native Bit ;)

Anyway, not wanting to give up totally, I tried Warcraft 3. This time the installer from the CD worked and the game installed directly under OS X without me needing to use  Crossover. So not learning from my above lesson I pushed my luck and installed the expansion, this also finished successfully. 

So there was no stopping me now and I launched the game - after a second where it looked like it had bombed out, it started. The intro video didnt play, I just got a black screen but I pressed space to skip it and got to the menu screen.

At this point the fans were all going nuts, on 4000+rpm, which is quite loud as you can imagine and the game was reporting that it was version 1.07. I connected to Battle.Net to auto-download the update but it wasnt working. After quitting the game, I found the reason why - Little Snitch was blocking it by default. So I unblocked it but left it at that and went to help my wife get my daughter to sleep and went to bed myself.

Today while I was at work and writing a report, I decided to use the time to see if it would work, so I started up the game, went into Battle.Net and sure enough it connected and started to download the patch. It took a long time, around 45 minutes on a 6mbps connection (admittedly shared with the rest of the office) but once done it restarted and patched the game up to version 1.21 if memory serves.

I tried a couple of quick custom games and they started and ran without any problems, the patch also seems to have updated the game to a universal binary, which means that its not running in rosetta and so the fans no longer run at full blast, which is good :)

So finally after some fiddling I got one of the games to work. I plan to go back to D2 tomorrow as Ive said but it may come down to me having to exchange my discs with Blizzard for newer versions if they still do that. I also want to try to get StarCraft going if I can.

Im a bit disappointed with Crossover, I was hoping that it would cope with an old game like D2 without too much issue but it might have just been me, we'll see tomorrow. I'll also try searching a bit harder for something on Google, after all someone must have trod this path already right?

Btw those images that you made earlier also come in handy for playing the game as theyre one to one copies, the game(s) will play as long as theyre mounted.

Ok thats all for now, more tomorrow.

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