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Intel-chip Mac dual boot with Linux + WINE + GW2 for Windows

Leo.3428Leo.3428 Member ✭✭✭
edited January 10, 2021 in Account & Technical Support

Following ArenaNet's short notice that they are dropping the game's Mac client, I'm looking for a solution for my wife to be able to continue playing the game on her Intel-chip Mac. I have some experience with Windows-Linux dual booting, but I know close to nothing about Mac computers. I get a sense that Mac-Linux dual boot is popular, at least among developers.

I'm not looking to be spoon-fed instructions, I can search the web and learn about Mac, but I would appreciate the opinion of people who already tried this configuration to play the game and can tell if the performance makes it worth the effort. I know there is a Linux thread here which is immensely long and I don't know if it mentions Mac computers.

Thank you in advance.

PS: Not looking to use Bootcamp and pay for a Windows license just for one game.

Comments

  • dusanyu.4057dusanyu.4057 Member ✭✭✭
    edited January 10, 2021

    first download and burn a ISO to a USB stick one of the easiest to use for newbies is Ubuntu if you want a more Mac like interface i recommend Ubuntu budgie https://ubuntubudgie.org/

    Next to boot from the USB hold down the option button as you turn on the computer. Then just follow the onscreen instruction for the installer (I can't say if partition resizing on HFS partitions)

    as far as installing GW2 on Linux the first post on the lengthy thread has a wrapper for GW2 and intrusions on how to install it. it works great out of the box, but you may experience shader cache related stuttering if you are on a hard drive and not a solid state drive.

    as far as optimizing Linux to get it to game better here is a great guide for it and even links to a video walkthrough of the process https://christitus.com/ultimate-linux-gaming-guide/

    good luck

  • tuck.2719tuck.2719 Member ✭✭

    Instead of messing around with running GW2 on Linux (and the potential weirdness that entails), why not just install dual boot Windows on the Mac using Boot Camp Assistant? It looks pretty simply based on Apple's support doc on it: https://support.apple.com/en-us/HT201468

  • dusanyu.4057dusanyu.4057 Member ✭✭✭

    @tuck.2719 said:
    Instead of messing around with running GW2 on Linux (and the potential weirdness that entails), why not just install dual boot Windows on the Mac using Boot Camp Assistant? It looks pretty simply based on Apple's support doc on it: https://support.apple.com/en-us/HT201468

    he said why in his post

    @Leo.3428 said:
    PS: Not looking to use Bootcamp and pay for a Windows license just for one game.

    while i understand you think this the easy way its probably not the best way economicly paying for a windows licance to play one game when you can use linux with verry little fuss for free

  • Leo.3428Leo.3428 Member ✭✭✭

    @dusanyu.4057 - Thank you so much for this wealth of info! I'll try all that (probably next weekend) and I'll let you know how it went. I didn't know there was a distro with a Mac-like UI.

    @tuck.2719 - That was the first solution I explored, but my wife's computer is a very old second-hand mac. Windows would be expensive and bloated just for this computer and just for GW2. Also the graphics card does not seem to have a pilot for W10, add to that the old DX9 that GW2 uses and I may be safer with Linux.

  • dusanyu.4057dusanyu.4057 Member ✭✭✭

    @Leo.3428 said:
    @dusanyu.4057 - Thank you so much for this wealth of info! I'll try all that (probably next weekend) and I'll let you know how it went. I didn't know there was a distro with a Mac-like UI.

    @tuck.2719 - That was the first solution I explored, but my wife's computer is a very old second-hand mac. Windows would be expensive and bloated just for this computer and just for GW2. Also the graphics card does not seem to have a pilot for W10, add to that the old DX9 that GW2 uses and I may be safer with Linux.

    Your most welcome I have been a Linux user since 1998 so if you have any questions feel free to message me

  • Leo.3428Leo.3428 Member ✭✭✭
    edited January 15, 2021

    @dusanyu.4057 said:
    Your most welcome I have been a Linux user since 1998 so if you have any questions feel free to message me

    Much appreciated! I am going slowly and will document my adventure here in case it can benefit someone in a similar situation.

    So, this computer is an iMac from around 2010 with a Radeon graphics card. Due to the limited storage, I decided to leave Mac-flavored distros for later. For a moment I considered Tiny Core Linux but was afraid I would run into compatibility issues. I finally picked a minimal Ubuntu with some history record that may be more likely to make things easier. It goes by the name LXLE, and I put the image on a stick with Rufus.

    I partitioned the one drive using the Mac's built-in utility. 90% of the Linux space will be for the GW2 files, and 10% for LXLE and WINE. I booted from the flash stick and quickly sank into a black screen. After some research I learned that I should boot with the option "nomodeset" because the Radeon card is a problem - this much I had been fearing from the start. I was able to install LXLE and let it download what it needed for adjusting itself. I allotted 4GB for the swap partition, I can enlarge it if necessary.

    Upon reboot I get the black screen again unless I start in recovery mode. From what I could read it is not advised to install manually the manufacturer-provided Linux driver for the oldest Radeon cards, but the open source driver is a problem too unless one downgrades the OS. This is where I am, researching the matter and trying to make sure that the OS will be able to use the Radeon for more than the basic graphical functions.

    (Late edit for typos and wording)

  • Leo.3428Leo.3428 Member ✭✭✭

    Update: None of the information I could find on the web has been reassuring. The old Radeon cards have been a problem since at least 2013, and I'm not keen on installing a 2010 Linux out of LTS for kernel-driver compatibility.

    I did investigate a W10 boot but you know, it runs into even more issues on this old hardware.

    I dragged my wife into the game, ignoring the red flags around the engine, and now she plays way more than I do. I owe her a solution to keep playing the game... I haven't played in a week, spending my time searching for that solution.

  • Barabeam.4638Barabeam.4638 Member ✭✭

    @Leo.3428 If I had a similar hardware setup to yours, I would have tried to look into it further, but my experience with linux is for like 3 years anyway lol.
    I don't know if you went through this link: https://help.ubuntu.com/community/RadeonDriver
    this link is last edited in 2017-08-21, and as you said, seems like ubuntu 16.04 supports the gpu fully, if I were you, I would totally go for that :) Especially since you are also keeping mac on the side! Older OS might be less secure, but if you only use it for guild wars 2/ and the wiki, I would be ok with it.

    But everyone thinks differently, so I hope you overcome this issue.

    Best of luck!