Testing Valve Games on Intel Macs

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This page is intended as a local focal point for efforts concerning the running of Valve games on Intel-based Apple Macintoshes.

Since modern Macs essentially consist of white PC hardware with systems such as the BIOS removed, there is no real technical hindrance to running exclusively PC software such as Half-Life 2.

Note:As of 2006-04-05, the OnMac.net efforts are made irrelevant thanks to Apple's Boot Camp system for installing Windows XP on an Intel Mac - one which includes full hardware drivers for all available platforms! Older information continues. For this article, please specify whether you are using OnMac's method, or Apple's Boot Camp.

Links to pirated software are not permitted; it is assumed that anyone wishing to run Windows in this manner will have a suitable Windows license for the purpose.

Apple's Boot Camp

This officially developed solution so far is the best for running Windows XP and thus Valve games, since it comes with a full set of Windows drivers for Intel-based Mac hardware. Full compatibility with the Source engine has been achieved as of Bootcamp version 1.1.2.

Mac Mini

  • I tried to run Day of Defeat: Source on my Mac Mini 1.66Ghz 2 GB Ram, but after the DOD "Loading..." screen, it goes black but I can still move my mouse and hear the "clicking" noise as it moves over the menu options. It may be a driver issue. Let me know. codydidy@sbcglobal.net
  • I've got a Mac mini, Core 2 Duo, 1.83GHz, with 2x2GB RAM (not Santa Rosa, alas: only 3GB gets seen by OS X and Windows), Boot Camp 2.0 (Leopard) and Windows XP SP2. Half-Life 2 runs well with average settings (800x600), but there's a bug that causes it to crash on autosave. To fix this, add +mat_forcehardwaresync 0 +snd_async_prefetch_priority 1 to your Steam launch options. Portal, regrettably, does not run well; it crashes whenever I look at a portal. (Any workarounds available for this? It's such an awesome game...) I don't know how other Source-engine games fare; I considerably underestimated the size I should have made my Windows partition. Slab 21:11, 22 Dec 2007 (PST)
    • Additionally, Half-Life 2 Episode 1 works (also using the above settings). The framerate is horrible (single-digit frames-per-second) when using the flashlight, though, making the 'Lowlife' chapter particularly irritating to play. Slab 17:19, 24 Dec 2007 (PST)
    • Team Fortress 2 would appear to be a no-go; forcing -dxlevel 81 gets me to the menu, but going to Options crashes the game and 'Create Server' locks up at the loading step. Slab 19:16, 28 Dec 2007 (PST)

To Verify: compatibility with mac mini 1.8ghz 1gbram:

Counter-Strike:Source : Works, but avoid water and largest maps. Also Breakfloor.

Half-Life 2: Deathmatch : Works, but low framerates.

Half Life 2: Works well. Add startup parameters to play beyond the first checkpoint, then it's golden.

Episode 1: Works decently. Slow, requires patience but ultimately a good play.

Episode 2: Won't launch.

Portal: The First Slice: Memory error on launch. Maybe this is just in the demo?

Team Fortress 2: Eventually loads the menu, but not only are the framerates unplayable, there's a rainbow effect with the textures. So, Not playable.

Half Life 2: Lost Coast : A serious pain in the ass, but playable. Not really worth the effort - it's just showcasing effects.

Half Life: Source : Works great! Not a single problem.

Other source engine games (Mods) work with varying success. I tried Goldeneye (Was unplayable thanks to framerate) Another 3rd Person RPG game (Couldn't figure it out) as well as Vampire: The Masquerade: Bloodlines (Wouldn't launch).

--Auratanshin 19:42, 10 March 2010 (UTC)

iMac, 17"

Works good

  • Gingerlord has verified that source runs good using Boot camp on the iMac 17" with 1GB of RAM--RP 12:13, 12 May 2006 (PDT)

iMac, 20"

Works Great

Steam ID - WhitePanther06 - I own a 20" iMac / Intel Core 2 Duo 2.16 GHz / 1GB (2 X 512) DDR2 SDRAM / 128MB GDDR3 ATI X1600. At 1,024 X 768 with MSAA 4X and AF at 8x, and everything else max'd and enabled, Day of Defeat: Source runs at approximately 40-50 fps. Of course I have Windows XP SP2 on my iMac via Bootcamp 1.1.2; also I have .Net 3.0 installed, along with the update from microsoft that fixes a poor game performance issue on mobile dual core processors (which iMac has) with incorrect power management.

A little sidenote: decreasing the resolution to 800 X 600 and increasing the AF to X16 and MSAA to X6 produces about the same image quality with about a 10-15 fps increase.

MacBook

I tried to run Day of Defeat: Source on my Macbook 2.0Ghz 1 GB Ram, but after the DOD "Loading..." screen, it goes black but I can still move my mouse and hear the "clicking" noise as it moves over the menu options. It may be a driver issue.let me know -Glitch

        • FIXED IT******

This is a known issue with some graphic card / driver combinations.

A work around you can try is to modify the command line for the Steam game you are trying to run. For example in Half-Life 2, right click on the game in the Steam games list. Then choose properties. Click the 'Set Launch Options' button. In the text field add this to the end:

-dxlevel 70 -width 1024 -height 768

You can also change the resolution to what you want to run. dxlevel lowers the HL2 engine to DirectX 7.0 levels. This is more compatible on some chipsets. For example, regular MacBook users must use this this setting as the Intel video chipset does not support shaders. -Glitch

Half Life 2, Half Life 2: Deathmatch and Half Life 2: Episode 1 all work near perfectly on my firstgen MacBook with only occasional slowdowns. Garry's Mod works fairly well, but causes WinXP to BSOD if a lot of explosive barrels are detonated. Portal does not work, crashing moments after the first portal is entered. This is curious because the game works somewhat in Crossover on Mac OS X. (Barely works, but is just about playable with the settings set to lowest.) I don't have any other source games, but the original half life works well, with problems in the other half life mods. (Which are non-valve, so I won't bother with those) --Mwa 13:11, 6 Feb 2008 (PST)

Portal and Team Fortress 2 work on my MacBook3,1 (2.2GHz C2D, with GMA X3100) in BootCamp'd Windows XP. They do run with default settings, but you'll probably find it best if you drop the detail settings down and put it at 800x600. Using -dxlevel 81 also helps. Slab 11:18, 12 May 2008 (PDT)

MacBook Pro

Works Great

  • VDC's Cargo Cult has verified that Source runs great using Boot Camp on the MacBook Pro. --Steamfraiser 07:22, 6 Apr 2006 (PDT)
  • Half-Life seems to work fine too - just played through Someplace Else in widescreen. Hammer works very nicely, and the map compilation tools most definitely take advantage of the dual core processor. It's fast. —Cargo Cult (info, talk) 11:13, 6 Apr 2006 (PDT)
    • Stats: 1.83Ghz MacBook Pro, 1GB RAM, 128MB ATI Radeon x1600 Mobility, 80GB HDD.

OnMac.Net

This unoffically developed method of modifying Windows XP for booting on Intel-based Macs is problematic, since it depends on modified drivers for full hardware support. A table of Valve games confirmed as working follows:

Confirmed Working
# Console Engine Quality
1. Mac Mini Source Good
GoldSrc Great
2. MacBook Pro Source Poor
3. 17" iMac Source Good
Unconfirmed, or Doesn't Work
1. 20" iMac

Progress

Microsoft DirectX 9.0c is now successfully running on intel macs.

Mac Mini

Working

  • Half-Life 2 is now very playable on the mac mini, especially considering the integrated graphics.
    • Autosaving does not work. Needs to be disabled using sv_autosave 0
  • Half-Life runs very well using both D3D and OpenGL modes.
  • Video of Mac Mini running Half-Life 2 Here and Here

17" iMac

Working Good

  • With settings set to high the game runs at a good 30-50fps in most places

20" iMac

Not yet working, or not yet tested.

MacBook Pro

Not Working Well

Hardware

Software