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os9 games on a Mac mini ppc

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First post, by ratfink

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Trying to create some space in the house, I'm thinking that a Mac mini is a lot smaller than my 5500, so looks promising.

Given that the only games I'm bothered about are Ambrosia, Blizzard and idsoftware I think I'm safe assuming they will run in the classic environment.

But I'm guessing this is some emulation layer, in which case will I get lag when running a game under classic in os x?

Reply 1 of 24, by Dominus

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Just remember that classic is no longer working in OS X 10.6 and upwards

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Reply 2 of 24, by Sune Salminen

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You're confusing Classic and Rosetta.
Last OS X to support Classic is 10.4.11, Rosetta works up until 10.6.8 but it is not installed by default.

Classic is MC68K emulation for PowerPC based Macs where you run a special version of MacOS 9 installed alongside 10.4.x that starts up automatically when you run a 68K app. It does not work on Intel Macs, so if you want to use a Mac Mini, it'd have to be a G4 Mac Mini:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mac_Mini#Mac_Mini_G4

last year I had a Powerbook G4 to play with for a while, all of the 68k games I tried ran smoothly in the Classic environment, no lag at all.

Then there's Rosetta, for running PPC apps on Intel Macs:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rosetta_%28software%29
I don't have any first hand experience with Rosetta but given the way it's implemented I guess it must suck for playing games.

Reply 3 of 24, by Dominus

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Nah, I wasn't confusing them, I just didn't know up to when classic was supported since my Mac usage started a month before 10.6 was released and never had use for classic 😉

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Reply 4 of 24, by ratfink

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Oh well, I bit the bullet and bought a mac mini 1.42 ghz with os x 10.3.9.

Some games from my 5500 play ok but even Snood is jerky, and Barrack is completely unplayable [it used to play fine on a 75mhz 5200, widely regarded as a crap mac]:

Laggy: Snood, Apeiron

Unplayably slow: Barrack, Quake, Doom II, Warcraft 1

Crash on start-up: Duke Nukem3D demo, Quake2

Seemingly fine: Mars Rising, GLQuake

Love os x but very disappointed at Barrack not playing. Ambrosia's website just says more or less, well you're running in an emulator so you may well get these kinds of issues. Seem to be rather extreme issues for such an old game but there you go, I never had problems with dosbox playing anything so massive slowdowns like this are new to me - if it was a game that needed a G3 400 I wouldn't have been surprised, but something from 68k/earlyPPC days? Oh... could it be because it's 68k code running under a PPC OS running under OS X - so 2 layers of emulation?

I guess I could look for the fastest Mac that can run OS9 under OSX, although the point of this exercise was that a mac mini is tiny and saves me space.

Last edited by ratfink on 2012-02-23, 16:36. Edited 1 time in total.

Reply 5 of 24, by sliderider

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Sune Salminen wrote:
You're confusing Classic and Rosetta. Last OS X to support Classic is 10.4.11, Rosetta works up until 10.6.8 but it is not insta […]
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You're confusing Classic and Rosetta.
Last OS X to support Classic is 10.4.11, Rosetta works up until 10.6.8 but it is not installed by default.

Classic is MC68K emulation for PowerPC based Macs where you run a special version of MacOS 9 installed alongside 10.4.x that starts up automatically when you run a 68K app. It does not work on Intel Macs, so if you want to use a Mac Mini, it'd have to be a G4 Mac Mini:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mac_Mini#Mac_Mini_G4

last year I had a Powerbook G4 to play with for a while, all of the 68k games I tried ran smoothly in the Classic environment, no lag at all.

Then there's Rosetta, for running PPC apps on Intel Macs:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rosetta_%28software%29
I don't have any first hand experience with Rosetta but given the way it's implemented I guess it must suck for playing games.

Neither Rosetta nor OS X 10.6 works with PPC Macs.

Reply 10 of 24, by Dominus

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@sliderider: there is nothing wrong with stating tha Rosetta works up until 10.6. That Rosetta doesn't run on a PPC machine is a nobrainer since Rosetta is a way to run ppc apps on intel macs. The OP didn't write that he only is interested in PPC mac minis.

Windows 3.1x guide for DOSBox
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Reply 11 of 24, by Sune Salminen

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I can see where the confusion comes from, it does say PPC in the topic title. But my reply was addressed to Dominus and then the OP.
I would probably have worded it differently if it wasn't for Dominus' first post.

Reply 14 of 24, by Sune Salminen

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See post #5

ratfink wrote:

Seem to be rather extreme issues for such an old game but there you go, I never had problems with dosbox playing anything so massive slowdowns like this are new to me - if it was a game that needed a G3 400 I wouldn't have been surprised, but something from 68k/earlyPPC days? Oh... could it be because it's 68k code running under a PPC OS running under OS X - so 2 layers of emulation?

If you're doing this on a PPC Mac, then there is only one layer of emulation. OS X is an operating system, not a processor architecture.

Are you sure the game is running in 68k mode? I'm not familiar with this game, but it says here that a PowerPC CPU is recommended:
http://www.ambrosiasw.com/games/barrack/
This means that Barrack can run on both architectures, but notice that the site also says that the game is incompatible with OS X.

Apple's classic mode 68k emulation is really good but it's not guaranteed to work with everything. It works best with software that accesses the hardware the way that Apple prescribes. Run anything that uses "clever programming tricks" and you're lucky if it works at all. But I'm guessing that's not the problem. I think the problem is that you're trying to run the PPC version of the game on OS X.

Some games had separate executables for PPC and 68K. Make sure that you're starting the game with the 68K executable, or, if you're running the PPC executable, that you're running it on OS9 and not OS X. If the game does not have separate executables, it's probably choosing the PPC "codepath" automatically, which is bad if you're on OS X. Try to find out if there's a way to force it to run in 68k mode.

(yes I know I'm replying to a two years old post)

Reply 15 of 24, by filipetolhuizen

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I'd still recommend you to get a OS 9 bootable machine. The G4 MDD was the fastest mac to boot Mac OS 9. The guys at macos9lives.com have reported to successfully boot Mac OS 9.2.2 on a G4 FW800, but I'd stay with the FW400 MDD to avoid any issues.

Reply 16 of 24, by dr.zeissler

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But it's BIG and LOUD. The early PPC-Minis came with OSX (10.3?) which had Classic (OS9) optional installable.
I never tested a Mini with a real OS9 Game like "Rune", but I think the CPU/GPU of a classic 1,25Ghz PPC mini
can handle that game, or am I wrong with that suggestion?

The Classic OS9 part could also be used to run the old 68K Games..but I am not sure about this.

So is the G4/1,25 Mini the coolest Retro-Mac that combines 68K/OS9/OSX ?

Last edited by dr.zeissler on 2016-11-14, 12:01. Edited 1 time in total.

CPU: PII 133-333 MOBO: SNI-D981 RAM: 512- FDD: Dualfloppy 3,5"HD/5,25"HD - 3,5"HD - 5,25"DD ISA-Catweasel HDD: 2x40GB - DVD
ISA(3): Audician32-S2Dreamblaster - GusACE PCI(3): Monster3D- Intel NW AGP(1): 3dfx V3-3000

Reply 17 of 24, by Anonymous Freak

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Personally, I like the first-generation of "iLamp" iMac G4, specifically the 800 MHz 17" model. It is the last one that can natively boot Mac OS 9 (so 100% native support for any OS 9 or older game, going all the way back to original B&W 68000 games,) plus decently fast running up to OS X 10.4. And good enough GPU for almost all OS 9 games. (Yeah, some of the very latest PPC-compatible OS X games might not run well on it, but those would be the kind that were very likely to have Intel-native binaries, too, so you're better off running them on an Intel system anyway.)

Reply 18 of 24, by dr.zeissler

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I own the previous iMac with GF2mx, but the graphics are poor.

CPU: PII 133-333 MOBO: SNI-D981 RAM: 512- FDD: Dualfloppy 3,5"HD/5,25"HD - 3,5"HD - 5,25"DD ISA-Catweasel HDD: 2x40GB - DVD
ISA(3): Audician32-S2Dreamblaster - GusACE PCI(3): Monster3D- Intel NW AGP(1): 3dfx V3-3000