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Play It On A Mac: Spintires

spintires

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.

Spintires is an off-road adventure game with ridiculously realistic physics and terrain deformation. You can actually see the mud and road debris wrap around the tires of your various Soviet-era trucks as you make your way through forests, streams, and the very rare paved roadway. The game was successfully Kickstarted a number of months ago and just recently debuted on Steam to rave reviews.

Despite being gorgeous to look at, the game is actually built to run on a wide range of systems, which makes it a great candidate for the sometimes underpowered Macs many of us use for gaming. Let's put it to the test!

CrossOver

As Spintires is a brand new game, there is no official entry for it on the official CrossOver compatibility list. As there are no custom settings available for the game in CrossOver, I used the default settings for an "unsupported" game but was met with no success. Looks like we'll have to try something else.

Parallels

As expected, a Parallels install of the game was smooth with no issues or lockups. Upon starting the game, I found the FPS to be extremely low, thanks in large part to the game's decision to give me relatively high pre-set graphics settings as a starting point. With all the bells and whistles enabled I was getting roughly 15 frames per second during gameplay. For a game like this, that mark isn't going to work.

I disabled motion blur, toned down the anti-aliasing, and put particle effects and textures on low. With these settings I was able to get an easy 30 frames per second, which makes the game 100% playable and still a treat to look at. After messing around with some of the Parallels settings, I found the following to be optimal for my particular Mac:

Parallels 9 settings:

  • CPUs: 6 (out of 8)
  • Memory: 10GB (out of 16GB)
  • Video memory: 1GB
  • Performance: Faster Virtual Machine
  • Power: Better Performance

Depending on your own hardware these settings may or may not be your best bet, but it's a great place to start.

Boot Camp

There were no surprises with the Boot Camp install, and the game tossed me to the title screen instantly. Unlike a few of the other games I've tested, Boot Camp offers a noticeable boost in performance for Spintires.

I was able to easily get a solid 30 frames per second with medium settings, as opposed to low, which was the only way to run the game at an acceptable rate in Parallels. This means you'll get the added bonus of some more fancy particle effects, greater draw distance for foliage like grass and trees, and an overall more enjoyable experience.

Verdict

You have a couple of options with Spintires, and while we'll have to wait and see if a decent CrossOver option emerges down the road, playing the game in either Parallels or Boot Camp is totally doable. Boot Camp will give you a boost this time around, which is great if you already have your computer set up for it, but if you're a Parallels devotee, there's still a lot of fun to be had.

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