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Play It On A Mac: Goat Simulator

goat simulator screenshot

In this weekly series I'll show you how to get your favorite Windows-exclusive PC games running on OS X. For more information on the programs used, check out the Play It On A Mac explainer. For suggestions and/or questions about any game, feel free to contact me on Twitter.

If you aren't excited for Goat Simulator, there's something wrong with you. The physics-experiment-turned-viral-hit was recently released on Steam to much acclaim and many laughs. It was a game that, as its developer admits, was never even meant to be a game, but that doesn't mean it's not a blast to play.

A Mac version is in the works, but there's no release date and you're probably tired of waiting, so here are your options for getting the barnyard animal simulator up and running on your trusty Mac.

CrossOver

Unfortunately, Goat Simulator is not officially or unofficially support on CrossOver. It has a status of "Known To Not Work" on the CrossOver compatibility list, with no ETA on a fix. It looks like we'll have to go an alternate route.

Parallels

After a quick Steam download and the usual first-time installation hiccups and almost-freezes, the game boots up just fine in Parallels 9. Despite being very simple in its approach, the game is pretty graphically demanding on the higher settings, so turn off things like dynamic shadows, light shafts, and motion blur, and turn the anti-aliasing off as well (it doesn't make a big difference anyway).

At full 1080p resolution I was able to get between 25 and 40 frames per second constantly, even as I destroyed cars and sent pedestrians running for the hills. If you're willing to cut down your resolution a bit, this gets better, but it's certainly playable at 30fps given the sandbox style gameplay.

When it comes to Parallels settings, I found that devoting between 50% and 60% of my available resources to the virtual machine produced the best results. Lower than that and the game suffers, but nothing over 60% provided a noticeable return.

Parallels 9 settings:

  • CPUs: 4 (out of 8)
  • Memory: 8GB (out of 16GB)
  • Video memory: 1GB
  • Performance: Faster Virtual Machine
  • Power: Better Performance
Depending on your machine specs, this will differ, but this is a great starting point.

Boot Camp

Believe it or not, there's virtually zero benefit when booting directly into Windows this time around. I got the same 25fps to 40fps either way, and although the game seemed to load faster in between menus, the actual in-game performance was virtually identical.

You might prefer Boot Camp if you'd rather not mess with micromanaging your virtual machine settings in Parallels, but there's no real benefit.

Verdict

Get amped, barnyard brawlers, because Goat Simulator is 100% A-OK in both Parallels and Boot Camp! Even on my decidedly underpowered Mac, the game is a ton of fun, and you should have no problem getting the game up and running on anything with similar (or better) specs. I noticed virtually zero difference between Parallels and Boot Camp this time around, so either one should suit you well.

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