Thanks, VirtualBox, for OpenGL support

When an old friend of mine asked whether we wanted to try and play a bit of “Neverwinter Nights” again, I had accidentally just read that the game is available on Mac, too, and I embarked on an odyssey to get this to run.

Of course, I still had my whole old NWN Linux installation backed up. So I extracted that again. I imagined, I would just get the latest patch from Bioware, extract the Mac binaries, copy them over and be done with it. That, of course, would have been too easy. I did get the latest patch and extracted the Mac OSX apps. However, they wouldn’t run. Turned out, I needed some specific libraries from the MacSoft version of the game. The Mac game is no longer for sale, and quite contrary to prices for the PC versions, prices for used Mac versions are pretty high on ebay. So I found the old NWN Tech Demo on the Internet and copied the “Bink Carbon Library” to my NWN directory and the libraries in the miles/ directory to my miles/ directory. Lo and behold, the game would start, I was overjoyed … for a while.

A while later it turned out, the game did not run reliably. It took up the habit of crashing on me in the most inconvenient situations. I died a couple of times on both “Forgotten Realms Cormyr” and “World of Greyhawk” because the game crashed when I was almost done with some heavy fighting, myself almost spent, I then couldn’t get a connection again for an hour or more, and eventually got back right into the dungeon nearly dead with all the monsters respawned. No fun at all!

So before diving deeper into any action, I resolved to get a more stable gameplay experience. I tried researching the crash, but all the CrashReporter told me was that it was some sort of rosetta problem. I completely replaced rosetta with the original Leopard CD version. That, at first, seemed to help, but after a while I was getting the same crashes. Then I tried wine, with or without the NWN Wrapper off http://nwn.bioware.com . No luck there.

Finally, I thought, why not use VirtualBox? After all, VirtualBox does have OpenGL support. So, another attempt:

Install Linux on my recently updated VBox 3.0.8. I only had a gutsy CD ready, so I used that. Installation done, VirtualBox guest additions installed (with message about too old a kernel for DRI), glxgears showed smth., fire up nwn and … the complete VM crashed … wow!

So back we go to the VirtualBox documentation to find that OpenGL support requires kernel version 2.6.27. Gutsy’s way too old. I update to hardy, to intrepid, reinstall the guest additions and glxinfo shows OpenGL version 2. Try nwn again … the VM crashes again. That with the docs saying OpenGL has been tested on ubuntu 8.10 (though glxgears was a lot smoother, now.)

Before giving up completely, I upgraded to 9.04 without much hope. I reinstalled the guest additions again, for the sake of completeness fired up nwn, and … IT WORKS!!!

I’ll test this some more and come back with good settings.

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3 thoughts on “Thanks, VirtualBox, for OpenGL support

  1. […] Now that I’ve managed to get my copy of Neverwinter Nights to run in a VirtualBox VM (as detailed here), I wanted to make sure I got the most bang for my bucks, and played around a bit with a few […]

  2. Polprav says:

    Hello from Russia!
    Can I quote a post in your blog with the link to you?

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