Wednesday, 26 March 2008

CodeWeavers releases CrossOver Games

CodeWeavers has announced their new solution for playing Windows games on an Intel Mac. Previously, gaming support hasn't been strong with CrossOver Mac, but they've now taken a different route for gaming. CrossOver Games is based on Wine, the already well known open source compatibility layer for running Windows software on x86 computers in Linux, OS X, and other BSD Unix based systems. In the case of CrossOver Games though, it's optimised for games, whereas Wine is intended for a more general catalogue of Windows software, although it does also run some games (and is popular with Linux gamers).

CodeWeavers claims that "you can run many popular Windows games on your Intel OS X Mac or Linux PC". However, when you check the list of compatible games it's not that large (45 at the date of writing this). They also seem have a tendency to pad the compatibility list; for example, not only is the Orange Box listed, but also every game contained within the Orange Box (5 separate games) making a total of 6 entries for what is essentially one release (unless you buy single games through Steam, which is also included in the list).

Of course the absence of a game from the compatibility list doesn't necessarily mean it won't run - it just may not yet have been tested. And much of the testing is not in-house, relying instead on public feedback, so some of those listed as supported may not have had comprehensive testing. Note that at the date of writing, no Tomb Raider is on the compatibility list...

So every potential MacIntel gaming customer will have to decide for themselves whether to use Wine, CrossOver Games, or some other solution like Boot Camp. At this time Boot Camp (native Windows booting on a MacIntel) is still by far the best way run PC games on an Intel Mac, and basically the only limitations are for games that run on the particular Windows version you're running (XP or Vista). One more consideration is that CrossOver Games comes at a cost of $US39.95, whereas Wine is free and may already cater for your specific game, and Boot Camp requires the purchase of Windows XP or Vista (neither CrossOver Games nor Wine requires a copy of Windows...)

1 comment:

Marco said...


I have tested the trial version of CrossOver Games on a MacBook with the demo version of Tomb Raider III and it runs just fine -- just as you would expect it to run on Windows ! .

There may be issues with the full version that are not present with the demo (I have heard that Wine has some problems with copy protection mechanisms that some CD-ROMs use) but that should be solvable.

I have considered other options to rescue my old games such as Boot Camp or Parallels (which also supports Direct3D); but, as you comment, they both require a license of Windows. Since I have no particular interest on Windows except running those games it seems that CrossOver Games is a much better option for me -- so I think I'm going to buy it.

Given that TR Chronicles runs perfectly under Rosetta and that TR IV can probably be made to run using the Carbonized "level player" engine that comes with TRLE it seems that finally the classic TRs (except perhaps TR I) can run under an Intel Mac without leaving Mac OS X :-)

Greetings and thanks for the information !