Saturday, May 19, 2007

StarCraft II !!! and Running StarCraft 1 on Mac OS X

StarCraft 2 has been announced. Blizzard pretty much rocks. I got seriously addicted to World of WarCraft, kicked the habit in Feb. 06, fell off the wagon for the Burning Crusade expansion, and time just ran out on the subscription, officially I am off the juice again on 5/18/07. I can't trash my install yet though, I tried on Thursday, but I hold out hope that an ala carte pricing model is introduced that is reasonably priced for those times when I need a fix. I just can't play WoW regularly enough to justify paying a monthly fee.

This was about StarCraft though, and I have a confession to make there. I never did finish that game. I finished I think the Terran part of the original game. I didn't get the game when it first came out, I bought the Battle Chest after playing through the original WarCraft III. With this real-time strategy games I always get stuck on a mission and lose interest. Same thing happened to me with WarCraft III: The Frozen Throne. Doesn't mean though I won't get StarCraft II the day it comes out, I do have a lot of fun with these games, even if I can't finish them.

The truly amazing thing though is that StarCraft has been updated to work on Mac OS X. This was a Mac Classic application, here are the original Mac OS requirements from the Read Me:
• Power Macintosh (or compatible).

• System 7.6.

• 16 megabytes of physical memory for a single player game. If you only have 16 megabytes of physical memory, you will need to turn on Virtual Memory. We recommend setting VM so your system’s largest unused block reports at least 27 megabytes free.

• Color display with a minimum resolution of 640x480 and 256 colors.

This is a processor architecture and major operating system revision away. This is all you have to do to get it installed on OS X:
  • Download the OS X native installer.
  • Run it, which worked fine for me from the disk image.
  • If you have the original game and Brood War expansion set, pick to install Brood War. It will automatically install StarCraft once it needs those files. If you install StarCraft first though, and then pick Brood War, you can't upgrade, this Installer will ask you to put the whole game in a new location.
  • Install the latest patch, at the time of this writing it is 1.15. You have to follow the instructions at that link, since its a copy the files yourself install.
  • Run the game, the opening Blizzard logo animation will stutter for a few seconds, I imagine as Rosetta translates the PowerPC instructions to Intel, but this clears itself up very quickly and then it's smooth as silk.

According to the release notes for StarCraft on OS X, a bunch of files were updated to use Carbon, the Mac OS Classic API that is available on OS X, which Mac OS Classic developers could adjust their applications to use to quickly have a working OS X application. The games system requirements are so low and runs so well in OS X (in my limited testing) using Rosetta, I don't imagine Blizzard would ever update it to be a Universal Binary.