Installing Skyrim Using Wine on Mac OS X

Computer used: 2009 Mac Pro with 8 GB memory, a 1 GB Apple graphics card, and OS X 10.9 Mavericks

  1. Purchase Skyrim on Steam. (By waiting for the right sale, I got it for $5.)
  2. Download ThePortingTeam’s Wine wrapper for Skyrim.
  3. Follow the installation instructions under “Installation”. Run Skyrim at least once. At this point Skyrim worked excellently except for a horrible display bug. So, after a lot of websites and some guessing…
  4. Right-click on the wrapper (the Skyrim icon), choose “Open Package Contents”, and open just as you did during Step 3.
  5. Click “Set Screen Options”. Uncheck “Use Mac Driver instead of X11”.
  6. Under “Override Wine control of Screen Settings?” click “Override”.
  7. Under “Override Settings” make sure that “Fullscreen” is checked. Under “Installer Options” make sure that “Force Normal Windows” is checked.
  8. Click “Done”. Click “Quit”. Double-click the wrapper icon, and enjoy your game!

I also installed the Unofficial Skyrim Patches, SKSE, and SkyUI, but that’s for another time. Further, I updated the wrapper engine to WS9Wine1.7.21, but I’m not sure I needed to do that. If you do, the instructions are on the Wineskin Winery website.

Have fun hunting dragons!

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To Healthy Competition

Some of my fellow geeks seem surprised when they learn I’m happy that Android phones are doing so well. But even though I’m using an iPhone now, I’d prefer that it be a difficult choice; I may like Apple products, but I want there to always be someone out there that keeps them innovating, refining, and generally working hard to convince me that they should keep my business. There was a bad period in the nineties when Apple computers were beginning to… well, ‘suck’ is probably too strong a word, though plenty of folks used it. Now that the company’s doing so well, I’d hate to see them get lazy again.

So if you have an Android phone, and you really like it, I think that’s awesome and I won’t try especially hard to evangelize you. Don’t let them get lazy on you, either 🙂

Why this “Steam on Mac” thing is a big deal to me

Steve Jobs has little use for computer games. Inconveniently, his customers are quite interested, and that’s been a problem since 1984.

I can’t source most of this, so you’ll have to assume that my memory isn’t too fuzzy, and I wouldn’t lie to you. But while plenty of Apple engineers have been happy to help out game developers here and there, Steve’s seen bigger things for his Macintosh; leaps and bounds of creativity, imagination, and the simplification of daily tasks. Not bad, but we want to shoot the undead too, and Mr. Jobs doesn’t really seem to get that.

So thanks to that, and years of management confusion at Apple, Mac gaming has never had the market share of Windows gaming. That didn’t mean no one was playing, though. The company that created Halo made its first fortune off a Mac game. The company behind Doom and Quake always found it worthwhile to publish Mac releases of their titles. But there was one game, a classic among Windows gamers, one that always stood separate. When people tested me for rabid Apple fandom, there was always one fact I’d easily admit to: you couldn’t play Half-Life on the thing.

And there’s some odd history behind that. According to rumor, Half-Life for the Mac was nearly done: in late beta-testing, at worst. Then Gabe Newell of Valve went to Apple and asked Steve Jobs to make some changes to the Mac OS so it would run his games better. (I suspect it was either DRM hooks in the OS, or more likely, licensing DirectX from Microsoft… both of which had a snowflake’s chance in Molten Core of happening.) Steve probably explained in his winning way where he figured Newell’s head was stuck, and Mac HL was immediately cancelled.

But, you know, other guys kept making money, small though they might be. And did I mention “Molten Core”? Yeah, see, that’s a place in a little game called World of Warcraft… a game with around 11 million subscribers, available in parallel for the PC and the Mac. So, maybe Mac gamers are only 1% of the PC gaming market. That meant that Blizzard was collecting subscription money from 100,000 gamers every month. Obviously, that’s the kind of money than any successfully game company can totally ignore…

Oh. Hm. Well. And, you say, Macs all run on Intel motherboards, now? Well. Perhaps we can do this without trying uselessly to twist Steve’s arm after all…

So, now we’ll have Steam on the Mac, and I can play HL and Portal without dual-booting, and not have to roll my eyes when a friend tells me about this awesome little $5 game download they found there the other day. I’m happy. Gabe will get my money. He’s happy. And it only took him over a decade to figure out how to reach into my wallet!* Well, we all just need a little time, sometimes.

*I confess, he already has some of it. I bought HL for the PlayStation 2, and Portal for Windows, playing the latter by dual-booting my Intel Mac. But Valve says that I’ll get a copy of Portal for Mac for free just because I registered the original through Steam… and suddenly, I’m even more well-disposed to the company. (I previously expressed concerns about the Steam service, and they still exist, but the company seems to be going out of their way to make the utility worth more than the hassle. That seems good business.)

Corporate Shenanigans

Seems that I have two VHS copies of the “Gentleman’s Agreement” Shadowrun movie. I found the better of the two, but I still played with the brightness settings a bit in iMovie to make Jerry’s Toaster work show up better. The initial team meetup scene remains dark as heck, though.

This is Part One…

Part Two behind the cut


Actual conversation from work yesterday:

Coworker: Hey, the vendor put the wrong video card in this box.
Me: Could be worse, they could have just put a ham sandwich in there.
CW: Yeah, could lead to hardware incompatibilities.
Me: Well, maybe if it had a PCI-X interface…
CW: The good news is that Mac OS X and Windows 7 already have the right drivers.
Me: Yeah, but the Mac drivers really only work best with the iSandwich.
CW: The iSandwich tastes awesome, but it’s a bit pricey, and a few breads don’t work well.
Me: I hear iSandwich 2.0 will be able to handle double-deckers and tortilla wraps.
CW: Either way you’ll have to get permission from the Condiment Industry Association of America to send sandwich description files to your friends.

Nano Nanu

I bought Starr an iPod nano for Christmas 2007, in the hopes that she could use it to listen to her music library and crochet podcasts on her work commute (nearly as long as mine). As well, she received a device that played her iPod through her car stereo. This caused a problem: the device plugged into her cigarette lighter, which hadn’t worked in years.

Today, I finally found the round tuit for correcting that problem. After some Googling, and removing her car’s engine air filter, I found the likely electrical fuse, and learned it was indeed blown. Starr admitted to spilling some liquid in the lighter socket once upon a time, and I had hopes for an easy repair. One trip to Auto Zone later, and the little iPod broadcaster works great.

This just makes me terribly happy. I finally got around to fixing the issue I’d promised to, and fixed it properly with a little skull sweat and some digging under her PT Cruiser’s hood. Getting something done is such a good thing.

Working the technology

I’m really losing patience with Facebook apps that lie to me in order to get themselves installed in my profile. I may never install another unless a user I know messages me directly to tell me how awesome an app is.

I’m refurbishing an iMac 400 DV to give to Jesse Braxton. It’s just gathering dust, and is only worth about $100 now; all she wants is an e-mail, web browsing, and music playing machine, so this ought to fit the bill nicely. The good news is that it will happily run OS X 10.4 Tiger; the bad news is that I cannibalized the memory and HD some time ago for other work, and Best Buy doesn’t seem to sell the necessary bits for nine-year-old Macs. The smallest Ultra ATA drive available at Best Buy is 160 gigabytes, which is large enough to throw the poor iMac disk controller into fits. I’ve secured a gig of memory, but I’ll need to dig a bit for an HD smaller than 128 GB.

Despite my hopes, yesterday was a big chore day, and today is looking similar. I really want to make time to sit down at that sewing machine, though; this is potentially an extremely useful skill that I’ve been putting off for decades. Assuming I have the chops to do it, I wish to wait no longer.

Cleaned out my wallet last night, adding business card contact info to my computer and phone, throwing away receipts, ditching a gas card I’d used up, etc. Somehow, I have four filled-out Hot Topic frequent buyer cards in my wallet. How a 40-year-old guy ended up with those, I don’t know, but it looks like I’ll have to head there sometime in the next weeks and find a t-shirt or something to use them on!

Basic misunderstanding of the game

EDIT: Short version of the rant that was in this spot:

Many commenters on Slashdot are fools.

Now I will go and try to write something else that’s actually interesting.

Digital dysfunction

Due to the red tape of services transfer, I will not have Internet at the house tonight or tomorrow. Not the end of the world, but nevertheless an annoyance.

Also in the FAIL department: instead of the nap I’d intended, I spent 30 minutes finding the old TeeFive character sheet, another 60 locating and installing the legacy software on an emulated OS 9 machine to open said sheet, and then another 30 looking for and failing to find the ACTUAL document, which I’m beginning to fear I no longer have.


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