Saturday, January 21, 2012

Running NWN for Windows on Lion using Wineskin

Thanks to Apple dropping Rosetta from Lion it is no longer possible to run the Mac versions of Neverwinter Nights natively. While NWN plays fine in Parallels, I decided to undertake getting it to run natively.  I little Google searching and I came across Wineskin by doh123. Basically from what I can tell 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. They develop for Windows and then wrap the application for Mac OS.

doh123 is kind enough to not only provide Wineskin free of charge but also creates many Wineskin wrappers for specific Windows games, including one for Neverwinter Nights. This allows playing the game, although it does not allow using the Toolset. He has posted about this in the NWN Bioware forum.

I downloaded doh123's NWN Wineskin v4 and followed its installation instructions, copying my NWN folder from my Bootcamp partition into the wrapper. Unfortunately I had a couple of problems. If you want to get this working yourself read until the end of the blog post before doing anything otherwise you will be wasting your time.

The first problem being that when NWN was started the screen would turn white and then seem to freeze. Cmd-Q would quit so I don't think it was really frozen, but it definitely wasn't running either.  A little searching and I again found someone else who was having the same problem and eventually found a suggestion from doh123. The cause is that the intro videos are not compatible and need to be skipped. This is easy enough to do by editing the nwn.ini, and in fact doh123 provided in his wrapper a program called MovieFix that is run by the Wineskin startup script and updates the nwn.ini for you. Unfortunately the program was doing the opposite on my system, actually removing the needed lines from the Display Options section in nwn.ini:
Disable Intro Movies=1

So I edited the nwn.ini to add in the lines and then deleted the MovieFix program from the Resources folder. This solved the white screen problem.

Update: At the end of the first chapter the game hung trying to display the in-game movie. I tried several things to resolve this, but in the end the only solution I found was to rename the movies folder to movies-old so that they cannot be found. No movie, but at least the game continues.

The second problem was that while I had music playing on the initial NWN menu (the one with Toolset), once I clicked Play all sound would cease including music, button presses, sound effects.  I played around with several settings and even tried using another Mac, but no matter what I couldn't get any sound.  I reported this to doh123 and he responded quickly but had no solution to suggest. Again I found by searching that another person was having the same problem. I was unable to solve the problem without doing much more, but I believe I have solved it. So if you try to use doh123's NWN v4 Wineskin wrapper and cannot get the sound to work, you may want to try the following:

Ideally I think that updating the wrapper and the Engine used by the wrapper should have been sufficient, and there are options for doing that built into the program. Using them still requires installing Wineskin Winery and downloading them, but would have removed the need to copy files between doh123's wrapper and the new wrapper. However, when I attempted to use those options, any attempt to update the Engine would run and run and run. I cancelled it after 15 minutes, so I do not think the update option works very well with doh123's wrapper (at least not on either of my Macs).

From my testing so far Neverwinter Nights is working fine with my new wrapper as long as movies are disabled. If I run into any problems I will update this post.


  1. Thanks a lot for this. I'm trying to install NWN on a friends Mac using Wineskin. Everything seems to be working well (thanks in no small part to this guide). One issue remains, though. When I try to start the original campaign, the game gives me an error message saying "Could not load the module. Could not unpack the module". I'm using a copy of Neverwinter Nights Gold, and the SoU campaign works fine, so I'm sort of confused. Any ideas?

  2. Normally that error message indicates a problem with a corrupted file that is required by the module. You may have to reinstall to correct it. Note that I did not try to install NWN in a Wineskin, only copy the files from my BootCamp partition where it was already installed and working into a Wineskin so I could run it without BootCamp. I imagine installing directly into a Wineskin would work, but I haven't tried it myself and don't know the specific steps. When I did that with NWN2 I found that patching was problematic. If NWN Gold is already at 1.69 then patching wouldn't be needed. I do not have that version though.

  3. Thing is, I installed it on my PC (at version 1.32, which appears to be what Gold ships with). Then I copied it to the Mac and into Wineskin and did the patching there. There were indeed some issues with the patching of the campaign module files, but when I first received the "Could not unpack module" error, I patched the game on my PC (which went fine) and then copied the nwm files (which were the ones that didn't work properly with the patch) from there to the Mac.

    Also, things appear to be even stranger now. I started the original campaign on my PC and made a savefile during the prelude. Then I copied the save file to the Mac, and it loaded without problems, so there appears to be no problem with module file itself.

    Finally, apparently all saves have now stopped working, including the ones made in SoU or other modules. New games can be started, but when I try to load a game it gets stuck at the loading screen. Especially strange, seeing as all the saves worked perfectly fine only yesterday

    Strange stuff.

  4. Agreed, strange. I installed NWN on Windows and patched it there up to 1.69. I then copied it over into the Wineskin. I have loaded save files and they seem to work fine, as well as starting a completely new campaign and am currently in act 2. The only problem I had is with the movies and I'm not able to run the toolset. I'm sorry you are having problems but I'm not sure what advice to offer.

  5. Thanks so much! This is great, and the port seems to work perfectly.