Adventures with Wine

Before I write anything about games here is a bit of motivation.

I've recently got a new job. Woohoo! Right? Of course, it’s for all intents and purposes my dream job, something I've wanted to do for years (I'm just finishing my PhD in electronics so this is my first time in the "real world"). Having built up to this point after school, undergraduate degree and doctoral degree you can possibly understand my excitement. Of course, as is usual in life things aren't perfect. I need to move across country, while my fiancé looks for a job in the new area she’s going to be staying home. This, of course leads to many weekend visits and a lot of time spent on planes/trains. To fill some of this time, I’ve been attempting to build up a solid library of games on my Macbook Pro. Now, before anyone says anything, I have a Mac laptop because that was the standard for the stuff I did at Uni, and my primary gaming system at home is a PS3, so I play most of the big releases there.

What I’m attempting to utilize the Macbook for is for some of the more quirky PC type experiences. Mostly RPGs (I’ve actually sank close to 100 hours into CS:S on my macbook in an attempt to get better at using FPS controls using a touchpad), and strategy games to play whilst traveling and in the evening before I can ship my PS3 and TV to my new place. Now, the motivation of this blog: how easy is it for someone to use Wineskin (or similar) to get PC games running on OSX? This was inspired by my recent playthrough of The Witcher, the OSX version of this simply being a Wineskin wrapped version of the PC game.

Firstly my limitations: First, my machine is a 2012 MBP, with an integrated graphics (Intel HD 4000), which isn’t ideal for gaming. That might have been a bit of an understatement, like saying a mounted knight is a little un-suited for modern combat in Iraq… however, it all I’ve got. Second, budget, all this traveling doesn't come cheap and as a result I don't have an unlimited budget. I’ll try limiting my spending to £20 a month form sources including steam,, my old PC collection and second hand shops.

I'll be using Wineskin to create my wines wrappers. They have a nice FAQ and manual which are much better than anything I could write. The thing I would point out is that I had no experience with this before 2 weeks ago, so its fairly intuitive.

I’ll attempt to chronicle my experiences getting some games working on OSX as well as writing down some thoughts about how these games have held. At the same time I guess I’ll be trying to improve my writing skills, which require some improvement. I’ll start with the first couple of games I’ve been playing:

Fallout 2

Source: My old PC collection

Cost: N/A

Wineskin Wrapper Version: 2.5.8

Wine Engine: 1.5.13

Wine Comments: Installation went smoothly using a default wrapper generated using Wineskin Winery. Had some problems getting the game to launch as X11 struggled to set the correct resolution. It turned out my old disk version of Fallout 2 runs only in 8 bit colour depth. Luckily there is a mod/patch (unofficialFO2patch.exe) available which allows the resolution to be greater than 8 bit. Once this was installed I had no problems starting the journey of Fallout 2 on my laptop. I haven’t installed the no cd patch yet so I still need to put the CD in every time. Need to test this at some point.

Game Comments: I’ve sunk maybe 10 hours in to this game and the majority of it holds up. The world has great character, some of which I feel was missed in the subsequent Bethesda games. The characters a much more cartoonish and the humor is much drier and is very self referential. I’m always torn on the debate about whether video games have become easier or are simply better designed nowadays, and to my dismay I miss the constant hand holding and safety nets present in current generation games. Luckily I’d played through and finished this game more than 10 years ago, so I managed to remember most of the things that would have left me stuck otherwise. The game suffers from random difficulty spikes in the combat, which feel very artificial, however this is relatively common in RPG games, especially of the era.

Legend of Grimrock


Cost: £10

Wineskin Wrapper Version: 2.5.8

Wine Engine: 1.5.16

Wine Comments: The installation of DirectX9c threw up some errors, which left me worried. The game runs well on medium to high graphics settings. No problems at all.

Game Comments: I’ll probably write a little more on this later. I’m only around 2 hours into this and I’m really enjoying it.

What next? I’ll probably spend some time finishing these games off. I’m also playing through Dragon Age: Origins again, my first playthough was on PS3, and I was interested to see the difference between this version and the OSX version, which I purchased on Origin (too many online accounts now!). The OSX version looks much better than the PS3 version, which surprised me, partially because I think the Intel HD 4000 integrated graphics in my MPB is rubbish, and partially because in a part of my mind the PS3 is still a powerful machine. I also picked up Crusader Kings 2 in the steam summer sale but have been really struggling to get into that one (any hints/advice welcome!). On the PS3 I’m powering though Borderlands 2, which seems pretty good (but then again I didn’t play Borderlands 1).

Hope some of that waffle was informative/interesting. I'll stick something new up soon.