Got a Mac? Don’t whine… use Wine!

When you’re a simple game developer, there are a few things you get used to. The familiarity of  MS Windows, the simplicity in Game Maker to hash things out… and if you are so inclined, the ease of FlashDevelop to develop nice little applications using AIR. And then you think, ‘Wait a minute! If I am to develop for iOS, I’m going to need a Mac, and a developer license!’. And so you go and get yourself a Mac.

And then after a week of playing around with your Mac, you realize, the last TWO versions of GameMaker have never made it onto the Mac. FlashDevelop ALSO is not available on the Mac. And as the world around you crumbles, and you realize that this beautiful machine isn’t the answer to all your dreams, and that there IS a catch with it after all. But then again, it’s not the Mac’s fault… you should have done your groundwork well before you started. And then, as you wail your way across Mac forums (all tastefully designed of course), you chance upon a small peep – Have you tried Wine? And following that thread, you come upon this:

The heavens be praised! You realize that many other Mac users before you have faced the same problem… how could you possibly be so egoistic as to think that you’re the first developer to face these problems? And then you thank God, and the wise men who came up with such a solution, and you tinker away at making everything work as you would on a Windows PC. And then you stop using the Windows PC altogether!

And while you try to take some of your GameMaker games on a test run, you come across your first rude shock. There’s no sound from your games! The guys at Wine are quite helpful for that, in fact they explicitly mention a workaround just for GameMaker (Look at the DirectMusic section). So you go ahead and install directmusic using winetricks. You then try to install GameMaker just to give game development a go, and then you see that the wine console yells out some horrible insults about .Net, and luckily for you David covers it in his common issues section.

Other than that, you just see another issue – The games sometimes… just… disappear. You can hear the sound, but you can’t see any app while using Wine on the Mac. For that, you’ll now need to do a small workaround. Using Terminal, just enter winecfg, and go to the Graphics tab. Remove the ticks on ‘Allow the window manager to decorate the windows’ and ‘Allow the window manager to control the windows’. What this does is that it removes the Mac-style windowing that you’ve now grown familiar with, and shows you blocky Windows style frames. Still, your app doesnt disappear anymore, and that’s what’s important.

I haven’t tried FlashDevelop yet, I’m using a trial version of Flash Builder in combination with the Flex and AIR SDK, for games development. The powers that be have tried to make life really simple for those trying to develop AIR apps for mobile devices. When I do get around to FlashDevelop (assuming I can’t get Eclipse up and running with AIR), there will be an updated post.