« On the other hand, I have *no* idea what's going on with Tom's hair. Maybe he needs to condition. | Main | This is what they should show at the intermission of Kurosawa movies. »

Eric: We were unable to solicit a comment from Bill Gates, as he was too busy covering his naked body in treacle and rolling in giant piles of money. So, you know, "Thursday."

Widescreen City of Villains

Well. I knew Hell was in danger of freezing over. I just didn't expect it to happen so soon.

For those who don't know, Apple Computers yesterday announced and released a free public beta of Boot Camp. Boot Camp is a system designed to allow users to quickly, easily and without significant issue turn their Intel based Macintoshes into machines that will boot either Mac OS X or Windows XP. They clearly weren't going to do this for some time -- the clear plan was to release this functionality in Leopard, which is Mac OS X 10.5, or -- as Apple's fond of crowing saying, the fifth major upgrade released to the Macintosh Operating System since the dawn of the new millennium, and how long have we been waiting for Longhorn Windows Vista again?

Not, however, to start that argument up.

As I said, Apple's hand was forced. An independent group of users had held a contest to allow dual booting of Mac OS X and Windows XP on a Macintosh, and that contest had seen fruition in mid-March. Now, that particular victory was very much "it's not that the bear dances well, but that he dances at all," with XP booting without drivers for most of the modern Macintosh's advanced features and built in hardware. However, with a working solution on the boards, hackers and grognards had turned their massive brains to the tasks of writing drivers, which meant that come August, when Leopard was announced, people would yawn at the thought of putting XP on their machines. "What? That? Anyone can do that."

So, Apple needed to grab the news cycle, as quickly as possible. Boot Camp did this. It did it by providing all those drivers and providing a vastly easier installation and configuration process for Windows XP.

Yesterday, this was announced.

Needless to say, I have a dual booting computer now. And naturally enough, I immediately turned said computer to the task of running City of Villains.

Oh. My. God.

First off, understand -- I have a MacBook Pro. That means I have a screamingly fast dual core intel processor now. And City of Heroes/City of Villains is optimized to run on Dual Core.

However, I also have that truly beautiful 1440x990 display, and good graphics acceleration.

Now, I didn't expect much from it. To be perfectly honest, the MacBook is a beautiful notebook computer, but it's a notebook computer. It can't compete, graphics card wise, with the sorts of things you can slap into an honest to God gaming computer built on a Wintel frame.

Or so I thought.

I ran at full native resolution with all the bells and whistles. It was beautiful. Effects I'd never been able to see before showed up perfectly. In the middle of a gigantic fight with a giant monster (the Ghost of Scrapyard, for those playing along at home) I and two other Masterminds, along with a pile of corruptors and brutes, were all in a pack alongside about sixty minions, the giant monster, special effects of everyones' attacks, at least twenty Henchmen and a giant blue glowing thing... oh, and explosions everywhere... at absolutely no choppiness nor loss of framerate.

The other side of it is, 1440x990 is a widescreen ratio. Which means my controls are nicely spread across the screen and kept out of my way. Which to be honest is a welcome change.

The bear isn't just dancing. The bear is doing a freaking paso doble. I've included a screen shot which you can click to get the (obnoxiously large) appearance of the screen, up above. That's some seriously nice screen real estate for this game. My friend Chris Meadows put it succinctly: "All this time we've been waiting for them to make City of Heroes for the Mac, and now they've made a Mac for City of Heroes, instead."

But, despite appearances, this isn't a video game post. This is a post about the change in the technology landscape. Because what's happened is the MacBook Pro, in addition to being... well, a Macintosh... is now phenomenally good Windows laptop.

I would be happier if I could have my Windows stuff living on an external hard drive instead of requiring me to partition my internal hard drive (not that the partitioning process was hard), but one takes what one can get in these matters.

Oh, I almost forgot. It drives my Sling box perfectly, too.

It gets better. Similarly spurred on by all the hubbub, a company called Parallels has announced Virtualization software today that will run XP in a window on your Intel Mac OS X machine. It doesn't have the sheer graphics might of the dual boot (yet), so if you want to game or do heavy graphics stuff, that's your best bet. But, if you just need those one or two Windows applications for work, they're your huckleberry. Initial reports are it's damn fast as well, but as Parallels has been crushed by a mind numbing onslaught of downloaders, their server is not currently talking to the world, so I don't know first hand.

What I do know is this -- far far far more than in the Virtual PC era, the Macintosh now makes it relatively trivial to do an extremely successful Windows build on your laptop.

You want to bet Michael Dell went into counseling, today?

Posted by Eric Burns-White at April 6, 2006 10:38 AM

Comments

Comment from: wingie [TypeKey Profile Page] posted at April 6, 2006 11:40 AM

I've been waiting for someone to actually test out a graphics intensive (i.e., any "modern") game on a Dual Core Mac running XP, because that's really the only reason why I need Windows... And... wow... I think I may be switching as soon as I can afford a Mac!

Comment from: Christopher B. Wright [TypeKey Profile Page] posted at April 6, 2006 11:58 AM

Now if they'd just let you have more than one hard drive on the laptop...

Comment from: Alexis Christoforides [TypeKey Profile Page] posted at April 6, 2006 12:03 PM

Eh. Dell still rules the "under the price of a used car" notebook market. When Apple releases a Intel iBook, we'll see.

Laptops rule nowadays. My two-year-old widescreen HP is still great for everything, and I estimate a cost of about $300 to bring to a point where it'll be useful for two more. And wide screens are great for gsmes.

Comment from: Kail Panille [TypeKey Profile Page] posted at April 6, 2006 12:12 PM

There's an inner PC geek inside me frothing at the bars of his cage, growling about smashing macintoshes, etc. I'll keep him locked away, though, for everyone's benefit.

The thing I'm curious about is this, though. Are frequent OS upgrades a good thing now? Is that where we are?

Comment from: Christopher B. Wright [TypeKey Profile Page] posted at April 6, 2006 12:17 PM

Well it's certainly good for Apple. They charge about $40 a pop.

I'm getting to the point where I might need a new laptop. The one I'm using is mostly acceptable for what I'm doing (it runs Kubuntu/Inkscape/the Gimp just dandy) but of late I've found that I'm thrashing the hard drive something fierce when I work on some of my new detailed backgrounds. "Thrashing the hard drive something fierce" as in "try to shut down the program and have to wait 8 minutes (I timed it!) before it happens."

That's a little excessive. If a memory upgrade to the laptop doesn't fix that problem, then I'll be looking for a system with a bit more heft. Don't know if I can actually afford a Powerbook (because you have to factor in the cost of software -- though Inkscape is available for OSX, and I imagine the Gimp is too) but it sure is an attractive pipe dream.

Comment from: VillarrealP [TypeKey Profile Page] posted at April 6, 2006 12:29 PM

Just a little inside info. Michael Dell retired. So he's enjoying his easily earned millions in the Bahamas or something.
That didn't stop the people who called to Customer Care and requested to talk with him, though.

Comment from: Adam [TypeKey Profile Page] posted at April 6, 2006 12:29 PM

They're good if they add features you want and improve your machine's functionality and performance. So far, Apple's hit that sweet spot for me with each upgrade.

And now, I no longer need contemplate buying a PC for non-WoW MMORPG action. Hurrah!

Comment from: Archon Divinus [TypeKey Profile Page] posted at April 6, 2006 12:35 PM

I really don't get the big deal. Now it's possible to put XP on a Mac, but why would you want to. I can get a lot more power for a lot less by sticking with XP on a real computer.

Comment from: McMartin [TypeKey Profile Page] posted at April 6, 2006 12:38 PM

The thing I'm curious about is this, though. Are frequent OS upgrades a good thing now? Is that where we are?

That's been pretty painfully self-evident since, oh, the Slammer worm outbreak.

(Yes, yes. This is, of course, cheating; by this standard MS releases a new OS every two weeks, and the Linux distribution release lifetimes are measured in hours.)

Security aside, "this thing which was previously impossible now isn't" is a decent reason to upgrade. I shifted my Linux machines to X11R7 pretty much as soon as it was stable to do so - the toys that it will permit will more than justify the upgrade time.

(Well, OK, this is also cheating, as the upgrades I've done were of the form "push the button and it goes.")

Since Apple is also a hardware company, "Hey look, no vendor lock-in" is an easy way to boost sales.

Comment from: Eric Burns [TypeKey Profile Page] posted at April 6, 2006 12:42 PM

I can get a lot more power for a lot less by sticking with XP on a real computer.

Ladies and gentlemen? 1999! Give it a hand! Some classics never go out of style.

(Seriously -- haven't we gotten beyond the point of needless computer theology?)

Comment from: Wednesday White [TypeKey Profile Page] posted at April 6, 2006 12:44 PM

Man, I can't get excited about City of Heroes when this means the face of web front-end beta testing just changed completely overnight. :)

Comment from: Robotech_Master [TypeKey Profile Page] posted at April 6, 2006 12:48 PM

First off, whether you like the MacOS or not, whether you like to poke fun at one-button mice or not, Macintosh is renowned for the high quality of its hardware builds and drivers for same. By concentrating on only a limited number of hardware combinations, they don't have to worry about the headache that the "infinite diversity in infinite combinations" of Intel hardware devices can cause in trying to support them. Building hardware is what they do.

Second, these Macs use dual-core Intels that CoH is optimized to run best on. There are rumors that forthcoming Mac desktops will use two dual-core Intels. Maybe you can get more power, but probably not that much more.

Third...Macs just look cool. *drool drool*

Comment from: Shaenon [TypeKey Profile Page] posted at April 6, 2006 12:51 PM


So, uh...no Modern Tales relaunch for a while, huh?

Comment from: Wednesday White [TypeKey Profile Page] posted at April 6, 2006 12:54 PM

(Seriously -- haven't we gotten beyond the point of needless computer theology?)

We can't get beyond the point of needless theology, period. We like boxes.

Only thing that's ever changed is how fast the flamewar goes.

Comment from: NthDegree256 [TypeKey Profile Page] posted at April 6, 2006 12:55 PM

Jeez.

I've been waiting for Apple to release a Tablet Mac for a while now, despite the fact that I've never owned a Mac in my life. Now that I'll probably even be able to run my Windows apps on it when necessary, I'm going to be chomping at the bit until this particular holy grail comes out.

Comment from: Christopher B. Wright [TypeKey Profile Page] posted at April 6, 2006 1:02 PM

Really, though... the only REAL reason I want a Mac pro?

Light-sensitive backlit keyboard.

That's the feature that sold me.

Comment from: Paul Gadzikowski [TypeKey Profile Page] posted at April 6, 2006 1:03 PM

If Macs are going to start running XP, then there'll effectively be no computer in the world where I can't sit down and execute my daily update as long as I have my flash/USB/thumb drive.

(And a joke.)

Comment from: Nate [TypeKey Profile Page] posted at April 6, 2006 1:04 PM

The thing I'm curious about is this, though. Are frequent OS upgrades a good thing now? Is that where we are?

It is when every update so far has had new features that're actually worth having.

Comment from: STrRedwolf [TypeKey Profile Page] posted at April 6, 2006 1:51 PM

Now we just need to get Linux booting running smoothly and we're set.

Comment from: Fishy [TypeKey Profile Page] posted at April 6, 2006 2:23 PM

So, um...
What happened to Doctor Eidolon? This particular necro/dark Mastermind is, I can't help but notice, a chick clad in black leather.
It's a temptation we face everytime we look at a character generation screen, I know.

Comment from: Will "Scifantasy" Frank [TypeKey Profile Page] posted at April 6, 2006 2:45 PM

We can't get beyond the point of needless theology, period. We like boxes.

A "deus ex machina" joke about computer theology is stubbornly refusing to coalesce inside my brain.

Comment from: aaronbourque [TypeKey Profile Page] posted at April 6, 2006 3:22 PM

::psst! Will!::

"A-hem: We like boxes, we like set-top boxes, we like not having to do the work ourselves!"

That is all.

Aaron "The Mad Whitaker" Bourque

Comment from: Eric Burns [TypeKey Profile Page] posted at April 6, 2006 3:46 PM

This is Doctor Eidolon.

About 9/10ths of my characters are female. I've copped to that often before -- I am a firm believer in the Francis philosophy of superbeing character creation. However, you'll notice the black leather is as close as I was able to get to the traditional Murk Eidolon suit, minus the face mask and plus bits of armor on the shoulders.

(Also, at least half the Eidolons are female -- haven't you noticed? Doctor Vahz likes himself the ladies.)

Comment from: Aerin [TypeKey Profile Page] posted at April 6, 2006 3:48 PM

Well it's certainly good for Apple. They charge about $40 a pop.
That's one of the things I love about my school: site licenses. Every student who was willing to wait two weeks for the thing to go through was upgraded to Tiger for free.

My laptop's on its last legs at the moment; if I weren't looking at about $1000 for a family vacation in September, I might look into a MacBook. Hell, if my laptop continues in the direction it's going, my family might end up at the Best Western rather than the Disneyland Hotel...

Comment from: chalcara [TypeKey Profile Page] posted at April 6, 2006 3:52 PM

Hoh boy. My heart REJOICED when I heard that.

I always wanted a Mac. ALWAYS. It's just that I am an avid gamer, so I kinda depended on Windows. Now that I can have a Mac AND can run Windows on it...

Happy times! Happy times!

Comment from: Christopher B. Wright [TypeKey Profile Page] posted at April 6, 2006 3:55 PM

(Also, at least half the Eidolons are female -- haven't you noticed? Doctor Vahz likes himself the ladies.)

The shambling, rotting ladies...

Comment from: Eric Burns [TypeKey Profile Page] posted at April 6, 2006 4:04 PM

Come now. The eidolons aren't rotting. They're victims of horrible diseases and injuries being treated exclusively through unlicensed transplants and restitchings!

You know. Like Frankenhooker.

Comment from: Christopher B. Wright [TypeKey Profile Page] posted at April 6, 2006 4:29 PM

so given that games average between 2-5 gigs these days, if you were going to create a windows partition exclusively for gaming, factoring in the swap file you'd need as well as extra space for mods, how much space is enough? This will be the critical question... I'm guessing somewhere between 30-40 gigs.

Comment from: 32_footsteps [TypeKey Profile Page] posted at April 6, 2006 4:55 PM

Okay, the word "Frankenhooker" made me chortle.

I'd comment on the rest, but I couldn't care either way about any OS, I don't play games on my computer, and I don't get hardware lust.

And that shredding sound is from the Great Geek Conspiracy, destroying my membership card.

Comment from: Christopher B. Wright [TypeKey Profile Page] posted at April 6, 2006 5:02 PM

When I first started using computers (at the tender age of 10 or so) up until a few years after I graduated from college, I firmly believed that the only two worthwhile uses a computer had were for a) writing, and b) playing games.

Comment from: Nentuaby [TypeKey Profile Page] posted at April 6, 2006 8:58 PM

Am I the only one not seeing the big deal?

*peeks inside a typical "wintel" box, which in point of fact is constrained neither to win- nor -tel*

Lesseee... Dual core processer? Check, but you're a sucker if it's intel, because AMD has equivalent apps performance and fully 15% better games performance. Nice graphics card? Yeah, +2 through -0 generations on whatever's in a the newest Mac at any given point in time. OS? XP, Linux, or BSD.

About the only advantage Macs actually have is good physical quality (which is totally distinct from performance) and their really slick OS... Which is kind of obviated if you boot into Windows.

So... Yeah? Nice? Not something to carol from the rooftops?

Comment from: Aerin [TypeKey Profile Page] posted at April 6, 2006 9:48 PM

Oh good Lord, the cheaper of the two MacBooks is $1,800 with the educational discount. That's the one thing that's kept me from getting a Mac, though I really want one: the fact that I'd have to mortgage my freaking kidneys to be able to afford one.

Comment from: Egarwaen [TypeKey Profile Page] posted at April 6, 2006 10:53 PM

Nenatubby: Daring Fireball explains very convincingly why this is a big deal. You also underestimate just how nice the hardware is by just looking at the specs. And remember that this includes a built-in iSight. While that might not sound like a big deal, iChat's videoconferencing is really nice.

Once again... Curse you, Burns! You're making me really want to drop a wad of cash on one of these before I get around to graduating and disqualify myself for the educational discount.

Comment from: Egarwaen [TypeKey Profile Page] posted at April 6, 2006 10:55 PM

... I just noticed I badly misread Nentuaby's name in an insulting manner. Many apologies!

Comment from: quiller [TypeKey Profile Page] posted at April 7, 2006 1:21 AM

Wow! How long has it been since I've given a single brain cell over to Frankenhooker... I think I watched that in a bad movie night back in the early 90's. Ok, brain cells, enough of that, back to work plotting world domination... (Hmm, come to think of it, I've been playing Evil Genius, Disgaea and Dungeon Keeper 2 lately, so world domination is kind of a theme. I think there's world domination in The Longest Journey as well, but you are on the other side of the contest.)

Comment from: miyaa [TypeKey Profile Page] posted at April 7, 2006 4:36 AM

As God as my witness, the only thing that came to my mind with "Frankhooker" was that scene from Young Frankenstein where Frankenstein, his assistant that that Terri Gar character reach the large door to the mansion and Frankenstein says...

"Nice knockers."

"Why Thank You!"

Now if you'll excuse me, I think I need to become an enuch.

Comment from: miyaa [TypeKey Profile Page] posted at April 7, 2006 4:45 AM

The only drawback I have with Macs at this point is pretty simple: I'd like to have mine customized. With two hard drives and as much memory as you can stuff in an apple. But, I don't know if you could customize an apple as you could, say, a Dell.

And maybe if it didn't start look with something that sounds like the THX special effects showing that pretty much kills your ear drums for about a five second period.

Comment from: Reinder Dijkhuis [TypeKey Profile Page] posted at April 7, 2006 5:25 AM

Mortgaging my kidneys? Well, there's a thought...

I've instated a moratorium on allowing more stuff to enter my house at the moment. Even records are only bought on iTunes until I have space again. But if I had the money, I'd definitely spend it on a Mac.

Hmmm... I wonder if any of my stuff is worth selling.

Comment from: Elizabeth McCoy [TypeKey Profile Page] posted at April 7, 2006 3:22 PM

Finally got signed in...

WarCrack isn't the only non-Mactel enabled MMORPG. EverQuest has a Mac server, Al'Kabor. Check out:
https://store.station.sony.com/digitalDistribution/base/detail.jsp?SKU=EQMAC-DD-SW0605-EQMACD

And if you get on, check out the Pathfinders. O;>

Comment from: Egarwaen [TypeKey Profile Page] posted at April 7, 2006 5:32 PM

The only drawback I have with Macs at this point is pretty simple: I'd like to have mine customized. With two hard drives and as much memory as you can stuff in an apple. But, I don't know if you could customize an apple as you could, say, a Dell.

You can get up to 2 gigs of memory installed when you purchase it. Can't get a second hard disk (it's only a laptop) but you can get a 120 GB SATA @ 5400 RPM or 100 GB SATA @ 7200 RPM hard disk. With the Intel iMac, you can get up to a 500 GB hard disk preinstalled.

Buying extra memory from Apple's pretty expensive. You can get compatible memory from third parties and use that (or at least you could for the old PowerPC models - the Mini I'm typing this on has a 3rd-party 1 GB stick in it), but there have been some reports of it not working. I've never met anyone who had trouble, but they do apparently exist.

Comment from: Rhandir [TypeKey Profile Page] posted at April 10, 2006 9:28 AM

Hey, for me the advantage is clear: I don't have to buy Flash MX all over again.

The main objection to switching for me was dropping a load of money on hardware, and then re-buying all the software that I need to get my stuff done. You know, expensive stuff. Like Flash. I don't object to spending money, I object to spending lots of money all at once, instead of spread out over a long, long time.

People talk about how you can "get more performance for the buck" by carefully aligning AMD chips with the mystical motherboard on the third full moon of the year (when Beast Buy honors their rebates), and maybe they're serious. When I said that kind of thing, what I meant was "gee, if I wait six months, the price of RAM will drop by 50$, and I'll only have to shell out 100$ to get to a full gig. Performance tweaking is another name for me* being cheap and obsessive-compulsive, and above all, never dropping more than 500$ in one place.

All that performance tweaking goes out the window when laptops are considered anyway. It's very, very, difficult to kitbash one of your own. You are dependant on the manufacturer getting it right, for the right price. (Don't get me started on Dell's multitude of different price bands and mystery rebates.) Bad motherboard? Kinda hard to buy a new one from newegg for 50$. Too bad Mac laptops won't run xp. OH, WAIT, they can! Wh33! And, hum, they seem to have reliable hardware, with drivers that don't suck. And pretty good technical support from the sound of it.

Hmm... cheap and flakey vs. expensive and reliable... I don't know, it sounds like the difference between the old and busted and the new hotness.

-r.

*flame me if you want, but I'm talking about what _I_ mean by performance tweaking. This is not about you and your uber l33t UV-reactive windowed desktoptowermonster.

Comment from: Rhandir [TypeKey Profile Page] posted at April 10, 2006 9:49 AM

Comment from: Egarwaen [TypeKey Profile Page] posted at April 7, 2006 05:32 PM
Comment from: miyaa [TypeKey Profile Page] posted at April 7, 2006 04:45 AM The only drawback I have with Macs at this point is pretty simple: I'd like to have mine customized. With two hard drives and as much memory as you can stuff in an apple. But, I don't know if you could customize an apple as you could, say, a Dell.

You can get up to 2 gigs of memory installed when you purchase it. Can't get a second hard disk (it's only a laptop) but you can get a 120 GB SATA @ 5400 RPM or 100 GB SATA @ 7200 RPM hard disk. With the Intel iMac, you can get up to a 500 GB hard disk preinstalled.

It's worth noting that the main benefit to having a second harddrive is having a backup drive to boot from when the primary goes foobar. However, macs have been able to boot from external firewire* drives for quite a while. The solution is pretty obvious: make a mirrored backup of your boot drive on the external hd. I haven't yet been able to verify that you can still pick which OS to boot over the connection, but I expect that it is possible.

There are a number of vendors of drive imaging programs, and several free homebrewed solutions (involving linux boot disks and dd, etc.) External harddrive enclosures can be had for not much money at newegg, and you can put in whatever size/speed drive you like. Note that as yet, you cannot use the same external drive to boot both PowerPC and Intel based macs, due to a low level incompatibility. (Excruciating details here: http://db.tidbits.com/getbits.acgi?tbart=08405 )

-r.
*so far, I don't think usb drives will boot, but I could be wrong.

Comment from: Eric the .5b [TypeKey Profile Page] posted at April 11, 2006 4:09 AM

"Also, at least half the Eidolons are female -- haven't you noticed? Doctor Vahz likes himself the ladies."

Considering the other half of the Eidolons, maybe he likes himself the shapely young ladies and the muscular young gentlemen. And that would be the single healthiest (only healthy?) trait of Mr. Flesh Battlesuit.

And good grief, this post has me drooling. I'd been pondering a high-end Mac (an iMac or maybe a tower if they come out with one soon) later this year or early next year, and this makes it all a lot easier.

Comment from: Andrew McDonald [TypeKey Profile Page] posted at September 9, 2007 8:02 PM

Hey there... I realize this is an old entry, but I was thinking about getting a macbook pro and hoping I could dual boot to play Tabula Rasa on xp/vista. I don't suppose you've tried it on yours, or know anyone that has already, do you? I'm encouraged that it runs CoH/CoV well... I'd love to hear you experiences now that you've been gaming on this a while... andrew AT bravehound dotcom, in case you feel compelled :)

Post a comment

Thanks for signing in, . Now you can comment. (sign out)

(If you haven't left a comment here before, you may need to be approved by the site owner before your comment will appear. Until then, it won't appear on the entry. Thanks for waiting.)


Remember me?