In a recent post I detailed the steps I took to convert the Windows version of Neverwinter Nights to run natively on Mac OS X 10.7 "Lion" using Wineskin by doh123. Wineskin is a Mac OS oriented implementation of Wine, which is an open-source project that allows Windows apps to run on Linux and other OS's by converting the Windows API calls into native calls. This is basically how EA is releasing games like Sims 3 for both Windows and Macintosh; by developing a Windows app and then wrapping the application for Mac OS. From my experiences so far with Wine, which Wineskin relies upon to create wrappers, I would say that this is not a perfected technology, but it is often good enough. Wineskin wrapped applications, "ports", usually work on Mac OS X 10.5 "Leopard" and 10.6 "Snow Leopard"as well as 10.7 "Lion", so they are compatible with almost any Intel Mac. And since Wine and Wineskin are free, if you already own the Windows versions of the games, the only expense is the time to get the working port. This time can vary from minutes to days though and much of the trouble shooting is closer to art than science. My personal opinion is that any technology that allows running software that would otherwise be abandoned is a great thing and worthy of support.
Fortunately there are sites such as the WineApp Database at WineHQ.org, the Porting Team site, and the Paul the Tall site where Wineskin wrappers can be found for many Windows games. And even if you purchased the Mac version of a game and do not own the Windows version, often installable Windows versions can be purchased at a fraction of their original price at either GamersGate.com or GOG.com. Sometimes the Windows versions work better than the native Mac versions anyway.
The below instructions mostly involve installing from game discs and therefore included patching and in the end the discs were still required to play the games. I've since purchased the DnD Anthology Master Collection which includes digital versions of the games listed below as well as Temple of Elemental Evil and Planescape: Torment and have managed to get all of them ported to the Mac using Wineskin. For more on this see this blog posting.
So far I have been able to get "working" Mac OS X compatible versions of Baldur's Gate (BG1 + ToSC), Baldur's Gate II (BG2 + ToB), Icewind Dale (IWD1 + HoW + ToL), Icewind Dale II, and Neverwinter Nights (NWN1 + HotU + SoU). The quotes around "working" means that the games may not include all functionality, but are playable are far as I can tell. In each case I had to do a little more than simply downloading a wrapper and installing, but with some troubleshooting and help from doh123 and Paul the Tall I have working versions.
Baldur's Gate + Tales of the Sword Coast
Since I have the Windows game CD's for Baldur's Gate and the Tales of the Sword Coast expansion as well as the game patches, I didn't need to buy the game from GOG. I downloaded both the BG_ToSC wrapper by HiPhish available at PortingTeam.com and the BG The Original Saga wrapper by PaulTheTall. In the end I used PaulTheTall's, but I think either is usable. I have not yet tried to install BG1 Tutu, the project that allows you to play BG1 using the BG2 engine, even though I created Tutu compatible ammunition bags and a scimitar years ago.
To get a functional port I first used the Install Windows Software option in Wineskin.app (get to it by right-clicking on the downloaded BG wrapper and selecting "Show Package Contents") to do a complete install from CD of BG1 and ToSC. I also applied the patches the same way. I then used the Set Screen options of Wineskin.app to turn on Override and Full Screen (this is often needed for old games). I also confirmed that the Windows EXE path set in the Wineskin.app > Advanced > Configuration tab was the path to Baldur.exe. This was sufficient to start a single-player game, however I was unable to start a multi-player game. After some online searching and with suggestions from doh123 and PaulTheTall I determined that the solution to getting multi-player to work was to install DirectPlay. The installation of DirectPlay is done by going to the Wineskin.app > Advanced > Tools > Winetricks and then checking the custom checkbox and typing directplay into the winetricks (arguments) box and then clicking the Run button. After that install completed successfully I was able to start multi-player games in BG. Because I installed from CD I do have to have the BG Disc 1 inserted in order to start a game. I suppose that would be one reason to purchase the GOG version instead of installing from CD.
Baldur's Gate II + Throne of Bhaal
Since I have the BG2 and ToB Windows discs, I only needed a wrapper. I downloaded HiPhish's Baldur's Gate II (+ Throne of Bhaal) wrapper available at PortingTeam.com. The hardest part of this was the downloading process at PortingTeam.com, which I found to be less than usable. Basically the trick is that when you type in the captcha you have to press the enter/return key in order to get the real download screen. All of the bright and shiny download buttons on the screen with the captcha just download some Windows ad-ware.
With the wrapper downloaded the installation steps to getting it working were basically the same as for BG+ToSC above. Installed the game and patches with the Wineskin.app Installs Windows Software option; set the Screen Options in Wineskin.app to Full Screen; used winetricks to install directplay; and set the Windows EXE path to balder.exe. Because I installed from CD I have to have the ToB disc in to start a game. I suspect that if I purchased BG2 Complete from GOG I could put the CD away forever.
Icewind Dale + Heart of Winter + Trials of the Luremaster
This was the only time that having the discs did not help me get a working version. I used PaulTheTall's Icewind Dale Complete wrapper and tried to install from disc but afterward could not get it to run. So I purchased for only $5 the Icewind Dale Complete version from GamersGate and after the download was able to get it successfully installed in the wrapper. I again set the Screen Options in Wineskin.app to Full Screen; used winetricks to install directplay; and set the Windows EXE path to IDMain.exe. I only played briefly to test it out, but it seems to work well.
Icewind Dale II
For Icewind Dale II I used PaulTheTall's wrapper for Icewind Dale II and installed from my Icewind Dale II Collector's Edition discs and installed the IWD2 patch. I again set the Screen Options in Wineskin.app to Full Screen; used winetricks to install directplay; and set the Windows EXE path to IWD2.exe. I only played briefly to test it out, but it seems to work well.
With this process working reliably I will probably buy and convert some other games that don't work on Lion natively as well. (In fact, I am now downloading from GamersGame the Dungeons & Dragons Anthology: The Master Collection which for only $20 includes BG1 and BG2 + expansions, IWD and IWD2 + expansions, Planescape Torment, and the Temple of Elemental Evil. Hopefully this will allow me to put my CDs away and with the help of Wineskin play PT and ToEE on my Mac.)
My next post on porting will discuss how I used my newfound knowledge of Wineskin to convert Windows apps at work that either had no Lion version or no Mac version.