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The StarCraft II Beta Is Out For Mac

And it actually runs on a regular ol' MacBook. Who knew?

A bit later than expected, the Mac version of the StarCraft II beta has finally dropped today. If you're already in the beta, just go to your Battle.net account page to download it. If you aren't, uh, I guess you could go preorder the game or something? 
 
I'm shocked to report that this thing actually runs on my MacBook (late '08 unibody model) with a GeForce 9400M. I wouldn't say it runs well, or that it looks very good, but a fullscreen match against an AI was quite playable at around 30 frames per second. Here is the photographic evidence. Doesn't look great, but hey, that's gaming on a laptop. 
  


 

SO CLOSE TO GOLD TIER ARGH. And just for laughs, here's a shot of the default settings the game recommended to me based on my laptop's specs. 
  


Of course, any recent iMac or 15" or 17" MacBook will run this thing at normal pretty and performance levels. Anybody out there in the beta have one of those brand-spanking-new 13" models with the GeForce 340M? I'm curious how well that thing handles this game, and if it's much of an upgrade over my older model. (Come on, give me an excuse to upgrade.)
 
With StarCraft hitting the Mac and the OSX Steam beta coming soon, does anyone else feel like the Mac may actually become a viable gaming platform in the not-too-distant future?
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Posted by Brad

A bit later than expected, the Mac version of the StarCraft II beta has finally dropped today. If you're already in the beta, just go to your Battle.net account page to download it. If you aren't, uh, I guess you could go preorder the game or something? 
 
I'm shocked to report that this thing actually runs on my MacBook (late '08 unibody model) with a GeForce 9400M. I wouldn't say it runs well, or that it looks very good, but a fullscreen match against an AI was quite playable at around 30 frames per second. Here is the photographic evidence. Doesn't look great, but hey, that's gaming on a laptop. 
  


 

SO CLOSE TO GOLD TIER ARGH. And just for laughs, here's a shot of the default settings the game recommended to me based on my laptop's specs. 
  


Of course, any recent iMac or 15" or 17" MacBook will run this thing at normal pretty and performance levels. Anybody out there in the beta have one of those brand-spanking-new 13" models with the GeForce 340M? I'm curious how well that thing handles this game, and if it's much of an upgrade over my older model. (Come on, give me an excuse to upgrade.)
 
With StarCraft hitting the Mac and the OSX Steam beta coming soon, does anyone else feel like the Mac may actually become a viable gaming platform in the not-too-distant future?
Staff
Posted by Evil_Alaska

For Mac!

Posted by StarFoxA

Too bad I don't have a key... :(

Posted by ShaolinSpade

great!

Posted by Aerobie

doesn't help that I still don't have the beta

Posted by ooofafa

heeey it's starcraft

Edited by Seraphim

crazy, doesn't run on my book, (edit: which isn't a mac book, just a regular ol' windows laptop, but still decently powerful)

Posted by Systech

Finally! I've been waiting for this!

Posted by cobble75

awesome, Mac users get a win... if a little late to the party
Posted by RobotHamster

Now all I need is a key.

Posted by The_Moorasaurus

yeah! mac! 

Posted by gimpysoup

huray

Edited by KaosAngel

It runs like shit for me.  I go into bootcamp and it runs flawlessly on Mid but on OSX it loads on low settings and stutters with 30fps.
 
EDIT:  Brad, I'm running on the same unibody laptop with 4 gigs of ram...and mine barely runs on OSX.  :(

Posted by robownz7

I have the Macbook 13" with the nvidia 9400m and it works well enough. I've played it on both windows and mac on it. Everything is about medium, shadows are on low I think.

Edited by skrutop

@Ryan: I think the Mac will always just be a niche market for gaming, but as a recent Macconvert, I'm happy to see that I'll have some options when it comes to gaming.  Oh God, my 360 just looked at me weird.

Posted by Kordanas

Yay! more good news for mac users!

Posted by TheEtherEel

Yo, forget graphics. I'll play this damn game on pen and paper if I gotta

Posted by Seedofpower

@Brad: No I still don't think so. People play pc games like customization i.e. mods and buy better parts for the computer play better next gen games. Every new generation of macs are very expensive and for a cost managment point of view it is unwise for the average man to buy a mac for gaming. Also a lot of indie developers don't have the money and man power to code for both operating systems, so cost wise publishing on a cheaper platform is best. Now if you were a person who doesn't normally play p.c. games and owns a mac, then this movement best suits those people.

Posted by Buccura

Do Mac and PC users play on the same servers? Be interesting to have some Mac vs. PC tournaments.

Posted by genkobar
@KaosAngel: Sounds like I should just BootCamp this if I get into the beta. I'm on a 2007 MacBook with 1 GB RAM and an Intel GMA950 integrated graphics chip, and I'm pretty sure it won't run at all if you're having trouble with a newer machine and 4 times the RAM.
:'(
Posted by Seedofpower
@Buccura:  yes, they do. Same game same servers.
Posted by Dan

Only the US client is out, Brad. You just made me race to battle.net, only to break my heart.

Posted by KaosAngel
@genkobar said:
" @KaosAngel: Sounds like I should just BootCamp this if I get into the beta. I'm on a 2007 MacBook with 1 GB RAM and an Intel GMA950 integrated graphics chip, and I'm pretty sure it won't run at all if you're having trouble with a newer machine and 4 times the RAM. :'( "
Yeah man, it's bullshit.  Windows 7 runs TF2, L4D, HL2, and Portal all flawlessly at well above 50 fps with the 9400M, how the hell is SC2 on LOW (which is apparently a little better than WC3) running like complete crap?  
 
I would NEVER expect this from Blizzard, and I know why Valve keeps delaying Steam for Mac...it's better to boot into Windows than load it on OSX.  >.>
Posted by amoremono1

Anybody know if everyone accepted into the beta has already gotten their key, or will more people be notified in the days to come??  I really want to check it out; C'mon Blizzard!!!

Posted by TheHBK

Damn that sucks.  I got a Macbook from mid 2009 and was hoping it would look good. Dont want to bootcamp because this thing can get pretty hot while running games on there, and want to run in OSX so that i can control fan speed.  PEople post your screen shots to see the difference.

Posted by zudthespud

lololol is that Starcraft 1?

Posted by NoXious

<dick> High-res StarCraft 1 </dick>
But it beats not being able to play it! It's what I love about Blizzard. Their games never push the limit, just so a wider audience can play it.
I think that's a great service to the fans because I don't just play games on my high-end system.

Posted by ryanwho
@TheHBK said:
" Damn that sucks.  I got a Macbook from mid 2009 and was hoping it would look good. Dont want to bootcamp because this thing can get pretty hot while running games on there, and want to run in OSX so that i can control fan speed.  PEople post your screen shots to see the difference. "
There's an app called Parallels Desktop that basically allows you to run both OSs at the same time. So you can have smcfancontrol running and play the game off windows. Short of just running this thing on a proper desktop computer, this might be your best bet. I'd also have your laptop set on a cooler just in case, though. 
Posted by Sporkbane

Brad you can make it to gold! I have faith!
 
I'm rank 9 gold 1v1 right now and rank 2 silver 2v2, courtesy of terribad teammates in placement matches. 
 
Gold isn't that much harder than silver either. Just learn how to deal with cheese and you should be ok.

Posted by Buccura
@Seedofpower:  It's settled then. There must be Mac vs. PC wars.
Edited by prencher

The newest macbook pro 15" and 17" have a much better disparate graphics card in the GeForce GT 330M, and a Core i5 CPU to boot.
 
AnandTech tested L4D to run at 45 fps (1440x990 @ high) compared to the older models running it at 17fps. While this is in Windows, I think it's safe to say that SC2 will run smooth as silk on those, if you can get 30fps on low as is.
 
(Source: http://www.anandtech.com/show/3659/apples-15inch-core-i5-macbook-pro-the-one-to-get/6)

Edited by AndrewB

There isn't a 13" with a 340m, is there?
 
Doesn't seem like that engine is as optimized for the Mac as it needs to be just yet. It looks about the level of Warcraft 3's graphics, and even Warcraft 3 runs smooth and creamy on my Macbook Somewhat-Pro at maxed out settings.

Posted by Nasar7
@ryanwho said:
" @TheHBK said:
" Damn that sucks.  I got a Macbook from mid 2009 and was hoping it would look good. Dont want to bootcamp because this thing can get pretty hot while running games on there, and want to run in OSX so that i can control fan speed.  PEople post your screen shots to see the difference. "
There's an app called Parallels Desktop that basically allows you to run both OSs at the same time. So you can have smcfancontrol running and play the game off windows. Short of just running this thing on a proper desktop computer, this might be your best bet. I'd also have your laptop set on a cooler just in case, though.  "
Nah, Parallels is no good for games, even though it supports 3D graphics acceleration nowadays. Running natively is your best bet. And fyi, if you set smcfancontrol at the desired fan speed, reboot and boot up windows, the fan speed will be preserved. Used to do this all the time back in the day. Just make sure to reboot straight into windows, if the MB loses power it won't work.
Posted by ReFracture

As much as I dislike Macs, I do find it quite interesting that the Mac is actually becoming a platform worth playing some games on.

Posted by sdornan

I have one of the new 13" Macbook Pros with the 320M. Unfortunately, I'm disappointed to report that it runs terribly on medium settings at 1280x800. From what I've heard the Mac build of the beta just doesn't run that well, and people are getting much better performance by using the Windows client under Boot Camp.  
 
Dammit, Blizzard...

Posted by shinluis

All right!! Now all I need is a key!!

Posted by raikoh05
@shinluis said:
" All right!! Now all I need is a key!! "
same here
Posted by doylen05

any spare keys !!!!

Posted by kwyee
@AndrewB said:

" There isn't a 13" with a 340m, is there?  Doesn't seem like that engine is as optimized for the Mac as it needs to be just yet. It looks about the level of Warcraft 3's graphics, and even Warcraft 3 runs smooth and creamy on my Macbook Somewhat-Pro at maxed out settings. "

I think it was a typo ... there is no 340m in any of the MBPs (13" have 320m, 15-17" have 330m) and I don't know if 340m even exists: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Comparison_of_Nvidia_graphics_processing_units  
 
I have a new 15" MBP (2.4GHz + SSD) but no Beta key.  I'd be happy to report on the performance if someone were to hook me up with a key? :D 
 
As for whether Mac is starting to be a viable gaming platform, I'll have to say that it would be nice, but I doubt it.  The easiest platforms to develop on and that have the largest install base will be the ones with the most games.  So for the near future, that still means PC/Windows.  OTOH, it would be really cool to have some AAA titles portable between machines with my saves/configs stored in the 'cloud'.  
Posted by jmrwacko

Now I know what Brad's battle.net account name is. And the fun begins...

Posted by Snail

Now I just need to get a key.

Edited by jmrwacko
@Sporkbane said:

" Brad you can make it to gold! I have faith!  I'm rank 9 gold 1v1 right now and rank 2 silver 2v2, courtesy of terribad teammates in placement matches.   Gold isn't that much harder than silver either. Just learn how to deal with cheese and you should be ok. "

I'm 2v2 random platinum, but I certainly don't belong there. Got my ass whooped like 6 times straight so far, I may end up getting demoted to gold. Tragic, I know.
 
Also, at one point I was 4 points away from placing into pro league in 2v2. I would of lol'd hard.
Posted by Kayrack

for mac saaaaaaaayyyyy whaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaat

Posted by RavenShade83

Blizzard has always defeated mac's reluctance for compatibility. I don't think starcraft II coming to mac will change much, although I'm happy just the same.

Posted by bizsumpark182

I hope I get my beta key soon then!

Posted by Physic

Totally just added you as a friend Brad. I'm high ranked bronze (although I would probably be higher had I dont been dropped from my last 3 games. stupid ISP) We should play sometime!

Edited by Addfwyn

Been playing this for a couple days now, it's awesome not having to reboot to play it.  Runs fine on max settings on my iMac or on low settings on my Macbook. 
 
Overall a very well done Mac client, I have to say.  Blizzard knows how to do these things right. 
EDIT: All the PC games (Not many) I've ever wanted to play are available on OSX, so I already consider OSX a viable gaming platform.

Posted by Addfwyn
@KaosAngel:  
Sounds like maybe something is wrong?  I run it on the unibody macbook with only 2 GB of RAM (settings low, 1280 resolution) and it runs pretty much with no problems at all.  
Posted by Milkman

Looks really chunky on that laptop. Not horrible, though.

Posted by Morden2261

Hurray!

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