iMac Gaming: Playing Fallout 3 With A Boot Camp Partition.
Note: iMac gaming is a blog about playing games on a 24″, 2GB dual core iMac running at just about 3 ghz with an NVidia 8800 GS graphics chip.
When I made the big Mac switch back in August there was one game for windows that I knew I would want to play: Fallout III. I was huge fan of both the previous Fallout games, and with the Oblivion masters at Bethesda at the helm, I knew the game would be something very special. However, I was not sure that getting it work on the iMac would be an easy task. In truth, it was a bit more complicated than I first thought, but only because I did not RTFM (look it up youngsters). However, at the end of the process, the game worked beautifully and I played, enthralled for several hours last night. To complete this process you will need:
- The latest updated version of Mac OSX
- 32 GB of free space on your hard drive
- A copy of Windows XP with Service Pack 3
The good news is that I have done the work for you. Here are the steps I took to make it work.
- In Mac OSX run the Applications/Utilities/Boot Camp Assistant Application
- Select “Create Windows Partition”
- Make the partition 32 GB. This should be enough for a Gaming Boot Camp partition, especially if you are planning to play ONE game at a time (like I am)
- There is an option to Print the Boot Camp manual. You should do this.
- Insert your Windows XP Disc in your Super Drive, wait about 10 seconds until the icon shows up on the desk-top.
- Select “Install Windows Now”
- Your Mac will reboot. If it gets stuck at a black screen with a blinking white cursor, just restart your Mac and it should take you to the Windows blue install screen
- The menu options to install are self explanatory until you get the the option to select the partition to install Windows onto.
- Be sure to select the partition named Boot Camp. It should say it is something like 32xxx MB
- It will now ask you to select the file system. DO NOT CHOOSE “Leave File System Intact”. This will not work. This is the step that confused me and made me install multiple before I got it right. You don’t have to go through the same horror. Choose NTFS the first time.
- Choose NTFS (Quick Format).
- Windows will now install. It will ask you several questions, but they are fairly easy to answer.
- When Windows XP restarts, hold down the Left Mouse Button” to eject the Install disc.
- When Windows XP finally loads, put the Mac OSX Install disc #1 in your Super Drive. Boot Camp should Autorun and start installing your windows Drivers for the Mac Hardware. If it does not Autorun, select My Computer, right-click on the D: Super Drive, and select “Explore”. Find seteup.exe and double-click it.
- The drivers will install and then it will ask you to reboot your computer. Do it! The drivers need to reload or nothing will work correctly.
- When Windows XP finally loads, you should see the “Wireless Connection” icon pop-up in the Systray (lower-left portion of the screen). You will need to get your self up on a network for the next steps. Select [Start][My Computer][Control Panel][Network Connections]. Select the existing “Wireless Network Connection”, right-click,and select properties. Configure it to connect to your network
- Optionally, you can visit the Nivida.com web site now and download new drivers for the graphics card. If you are not sure which card you have, right-click on the desktop, select [Properties]->[Settings]. You should see the current driver for your graphics card in the drop-down box. However, since my iMac was relatively new, I skipped this part.
- Now you can install Fallout III. Do not click on the icon that is displayed for the Super Drive. This gave me an error. Instead, right-click on the DVD icon in [My Computer], select [Explore], and then select setup.exe.
- The install will take the better part of an hour. This is a good time to browse the manual. It is a fun read, but don’t memorize it. The game will teach you everything you need to know in the first hour of game-play.
- Now you can visit the Bethedsasoftworks.com web site and download any new updates for Fallout III.
- Start the game, and enjoy.
- To restart and get back home to your Mac, shut-down Windows and Mac OSX will automatically reload. You can choose Windows or Mac OSX on reboot by holding down the [Option] key.
On my system configuration stated above, the game ran amazingly well. I did not fool around with the default graphics settings (which were set to High by the install). From the performance, I’m sure I could have opted for slightly better visuals, and the game would have worked fine.