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Understanding how The Sims 3 runs on a Mac.

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BluebellFloraBluebellFlora Posts: 7,034 Member
I know that the majority of you understand about Cider and how it works but it also seems like a lot of people don't and maybe explaining it might help describe why us Mac users generally encounter so many bugs, glitches and general unstable behaviour on our Macs.

The Sims 3 is natively written for the Windows OS. There is no natively written version for the Mac OS like there was for Sims 1 and Sims 2. TS1 and TS2 were both ported for the Mac OS by a company called Aspyr. We had to wait a few months longer for Mac versions of the game but it was definitely worth it as the game was built for the Mac OS.

The reason why we can play (or try to) TS3 on our Macs is because a company called Transgaming licence a piece of software called Cider to developers in order to make their games Mac compatible. From Transgaming's website:
"Cider™ is an extremely powerful technology that allows games to be released day and date with their PC counter-parts giving publishers significant upside revenue potential and leveraging marketing and branding initiatives. Cider also allows publishers to release either dedicated Mac versions of their games or PC/Mac hybrid versions (i.e. both versions of the game in a single box)."

Cider works by 'wrapping' the Windows written game into a Mac compatible format. Your game thinks it's running in Windows, not OS X:
"Cider acts as a "wrapper" around the PC game dynamically translating PC API calls to the Mac OS X operating system."

and:
"Cider works by directly loading a Windows program into memory on an Intel Mac system and linking it to an optimized version of the Win32 APIs. TransGaming's Cider implements common multimedia Windows APIs such as Direct3D, DirectInput, DirectSound and many others by mapping them to Mac equivalents."

However, Transgaming also make the following claim on their website. This directly follows on from the quote above:
"This allows games to run with equivalent game play and performance but without the typical brute force porting effort typically required to bring games to Mac."

I have not come across any Mac users on these forums, my own blog and website, or any other sites and forums who can say that their game is running "with equivalent game play and performance" to that of a Windows user. I have the game installed in OS X and in Windows 7 on the same Mac, below you can see the differences in graphics settings between the two:

Mac:

osx.png

Windows (ignore the pixellated bits - I had to change to windowed mode because I have no idea how to Print Screen!):

windows.png

I have the option to go to 8 for High Detailed Lots in Windows, only 4 in OS X. In Windows I get 50fps, in OS X I get 25fps. Objects render instantly in Windows, in OS X there is a couple of seconds delay. Overall gameplay is smooth in Windows, in OS X it gets slightly choppy. Bear in mind that I am using exactly the same hardware for both operating systems.

I have been in contact with Transgaming over the sub standard performance we get compared to Windows. Their response was that Cider is licensed to EA, EA are therefore responsible for using Cider to make the game work on Macs. Any support can only come from EA, not Transgaming. EA are responsible for ensuring the game works on a Mac using the licensed software.
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Comments

  • AlexRoz9AlexRoz9 Posts: 309 New Member
    edited May 2012
    BluebellFlora,

    To print a full screen in Windows, tap the "Print Screen/SysRq" key on your keyboard, and then open up MS Paint; you should be able to paste the screen grab here. (I definitely prefer working with grab in OS X though.) If you're running Windows on your Mac and don't have a "Print Screen" key, it should be possible to map that functionality to a key on your Mac's keyboard. I hope that this is helpful in the future.

    The differences that you've noted are certainly interesting; I wonder if this may have something to do with the difference in the way Windows and OS X handle 64–bit capabilities. Windows allows programs to mix 32–bit and 64–bit code, which is something that OS X does not allow. In OS X programs can either be 32–bit or 64–bit, but it's not possible to mix the code. (You can include 32–bit and 64–bit versions of the same program on the same disc, but you can't have a 32–bit program that uses a couple of pieces of 64–bit code.) It looks like EA might be restricting TS3 to 32–bit code for OS X, which would restrict it to 4GB RAM, and that could explain the quality difference. Of If this is the case, the bigger question would be why EA didn't have the game coded for 64–bit mode when they first put it in the Cider wrapper.
  • AnthonySmith1288AnthonySmith1288 Posts: 43 New Member
    edited May 2012
    Being such a Sims fan and just getting a mac a little over a year ago, I loved the sims 3 I had it for PC since day 1, just a month ago I decided to just bootcamp my mac with Windows 7 because I play a lot of games and they run better for Windows and this is the reason why.
  • rainstormedrainstormed Posts: 315 New Member
    edited May 2012
    Thank you for posting this.

    I had a bare bones idea of how cider worked, but you did an excellent job explaining. And it doesn't surprise me at all that cider is licensed to EA.

    I didn't play sims 2 much, and I didn't play on a mac, but I'm wondering if anybody knows why EA didn't use Aspyr again to make the code native to mac? I'm sure that would solve a lot of problems.
  • perleroseperlerose Posts: 248 Member
    edited May 2012
    Thank you for posting this.

    I had a bare bones idea of how cider worked, but you did an excellent job explaining. And it doesn't surprise me at all that cider is licensed to EA.

    I didn't play sims 2 much, and I didn't play on a mac, but I'm wondering if anybody knows why EA didn't use Aspyr again to make the code native to mac? I'm sure that would solve a lot of problems.

    Most likely because by using Cider they can release the game for PC AND Mac at the same time, on the same disc. If they had released the PC version first when the hype was at its peak, and the Mac version two months later, the Mac community probably wouldn't have cared as much as they would have had when EA was marketing their game to hell and back.

    It's always about money, it seems...

    Feel free to correct me if I'm wrong, but sadly I don't think I am. Transgaming's page itself even says so.

    Edit: weren't TS1 and TS2 made by Maxis, too? EA only got into it with TS3 if I remember correctly.
  • caspinwallcaspinwall Posts: 916 Member
    edited May 2012
    Thanks BluebellFlora for this, I learn a lot about my Mac from your posts!

    Transgaming can blame EA and EA can blame Transgaming. They can go round and round pointing the finger at the other, ultimately it is Mac simmers who lose out.

    I would rather have waited a few months for Aspyr to port the game properly for Mac than to get a sub-standard Cider version (particularly since we pay the same price for this shoddier version). It is disingenuous to state that Cider allows games to runs with the "same performance" on Mac and PC and I'm glad that BluebellFlora called them on it. There are enough issues affecting all simmers; we don't need extra Mac-specific problems!

    I was happy to wait for Sims 2 games for Mac and I would certainly have been happy to wait for Sims 3. The EPs tend to introduce so many bugs that I rarely buy them straight away anyway, I wait for a patch and read reviews and wait for the price to come down.

    It may be a concept that is beyond the comprehension of EA, since it appears to be the complete opposite of their own position, but I would prefer to wait a little while for a better quality product. That's why I saved up my money to get an expensive Mac in the first place.

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  • BluebellFloraBluebellFlora Posts: 7,034 Member
    edited May 2012
    Glad you all found it a bit helpful :)

    @AlexRoz9 - hmmm, interesting. I thought that the game was only 32 bit because it can only recognise 4Gb RAM in Windows, no matter how much RAM PC users have installed?

    @perlerose - EA have owned Maxis since the late 90's so The Sims has already been under EA's control. And yes, you're spot on with using Cider being purely financial, at least that's what I understand from Transgaming's website too. I so wish they used Aspyr still..... :(

    @Caspin ;)

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  • aprilroseaprilrose Posts: 1,498 Member
    edited January 2013
    To Mac users that have played TS1/TS2 on a Mac: Were there any glitches/crashes/problems then?

    I was just wondering because it seems like since the game back then was developed exclusively for Mac and came out a litte later and was actually compatible.

    I've only played TS3 on a Mac so i'm just curious.
    Simming for 17 years!
    Family Tree
    Playing Mod & CC Free



  • BluebellFloraBluebellFlora Posts: 7,034 Member
    edited January 2013
    aprilrose wrote:
    To Mac users that have played TS1/TS2 on a Mac: Were there any glitches/crashes/problems then?

    I was just wondering because it seems like since the game back then was developed exclusively for Mac and came out a litte later and was actually compatible.

    I've only played TS3 on a Mac so i'm just curious.

    TS1 and TS2 were written natively for the Mac OS, as opposed to being wrapped using Cider. We were always a few months behind Windows users but the game ran properly at least.
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  • GetafeGetafe Posts: 72 Member
    edited January 2013
    I half agree this is the problem. I also think the game is coded badly altogether, even for Windows. I have played Sims 3 on both Mac and Windows and had constant problems on both OSs, the error 12 code being the biggest problem. I have played Sims 1 and 2 on Windows and the game(s) in like 8 years of me playing crashed 3 maybe 4 times ever (sims 1 & 2). But since Sims 3... It's crashing all the time. It's frustrating as hell, I bought a good Mac, and Sims still won't play. Having no luck with the game.
  • aprilroseaprilrose Posts: 1,498 Member
    edited January 2013
    aprilrose wrote:
    To Mac users that have played TS1/TS2 on a Mac: Were there any glitches/crashes/problems then?

    I was just wondering because it seems like since the game back then was developed exclusively for Mac and came out a litte later and was actually compatible.

    I've only played TS3 on a Mac so i'm just curious.

    TS1 and TS2 were written natively for the Mac OS, as opposed to being wrapped using Cider. We were always a few months behind Windows users but the game ran properly at least.

    So why can't EA just go back to that method since it actually worked? Oh yea...greed :evil:
    Simming for 17 years!
    Family Tree
    Playing Mod & CC Free



  • meekeeleekeemeekeeleekee Posts: 197 Member
    edited January 2013
    thanks fo rthat, the explanation really helped. I am trying to get my hands on a copy of windows 7 when i can afford it so i can bootcamp my mac.
  • DeterminedGirlDeterminedGirl Posts: 156
    edited January 2013
    I have no idea how to ''bootcamp'' my mac.

    Also, The Sims 2 expansions for Mac by Aspyr ran like the wind on my MacBook, loading times and shutting down was immediate.


  • heat33330heat33330 Posts: 255 New Member
    edited January 2013
    I have no idea how to ''bootcamp'' my mac.

    Also, The Sims 2 expansions for Mac by Aspyr ran like the wind on my MacBook, loading times and shutting down was immediate.


    Yeah I have it on my Powerbook G4 and even though the graphics aren't the best it's very fast. It's a pity they didn't port over Freetime and Apartment life so we could use them on our intel Macs.

    Bootcamp is a utility in Mac OS X that lets the user dual-boot Windows.
  • DeterminedGirlDeterminedGirl Posts: 156
    edited January 2013
    heat33330 wrote:
    I have no idea how to ''bootcamp'' my mac.

    Also, The Sims 2 expansions for Mac by Aspyr ran like the wind on my MacBook, loading times and shutting down was immediate.


    Yeah I have it on my Powerbook G4 and even though the graphics aren't the best it's very fast. It's a pity they didn't port over Freetime and Apartment life so we could use them on our intel Macs.

    Bootcamp is a utility in Mac OS X that lets the user dual-boot Windows.



    ^^^Yeah, thanks I found it by accident in Utilities few hours ago btw. I'm not ready the go through the steps yet until I backup up my game again on my USB stick.
  • BluebellFloraBluebellFlora Posts: 7,034 Member
    edited January 2013
    I have no idea how to ''bootcamp'' my mac.

    This might help:

    http://forum.thesims3.com/jforum/posts/list/579888.page
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  • DeterminedGirlDeterminedGirl Posts: 156
    edited January 2013
    I have no idea how to ''bootcamp'' my mac.

    This might help:

    http://forum.thesims3.com/jforum/posts/list/579888.page

    Thanks, Bluebell.


    I can't remember if you said anything in this forum about LAA (Large Address Aware) or DEP (Data Execution Prevention) but I was wondering about those because tech know-how simmers say it's often the cause of their crashes. Is there anything like this on the MacBook?
  • KoriruKoriru Posts: 11 New Member
    edited January 2013
    I am terribly saddened about this. Because I bought a Macbook Pro hoping that Id run into less troubles running Sims on this than I had in the past on other PC's that would constantly crash unable to handle the load of The Sims 3 graphics. Only to find out that there are more issues on this end. And I have almost no idea how to fix them.

    Boot Camp or Parallels is not an option in my mind either.
  • AstroTurfItAstroTurfIt Posts: 8
    edited January 2013
    For some of the more computer savvy people among us, some people have had success with manually removing Cider from the game and replacing it with another wrapper, such as Wineskin.

    I found a conversation on Apple's forums that deals with it, specifically for the issues with Sims. I'm not sure if it will be of a help to anyone, but hey! Anything is worth a try!

    https://discussions.apple.com/thread/4325773?start=0&tstart=0


    Has anyone here tried this yet and had any success?
  • heat33330heat33330 Posts: 255 New Member
    edited January 2013
    For some of the more computer savvy people among us, some people have had success with manually removing Cider from the game and replacing it with another wrapper, such as Wineskin.

    I found a conversation on Apple's forums that deals with it, specifically for the issues with Sims. I'm not sure if it will be of a help to anyone, but hey! Anything is worth a try!

    https://discussions.apple.com/thread/4325773?start=0&tstart=0


    Has anyone here tried this yet and had any success?

    That was my idea too I posted it in a thread yesterday I think. I don't think it's that hard to do.
  • AstroTurfItAstroTurfIt Posts: 8
    edited January 2013
    heat33330 wrote:
    For some of the more computer savvy people among us, some people have had success with manually removing Cider from the game and replacing it with another wrapper, such as Wineskin.

    I found a conversation on Apple's forums that deals with it, specifically for the issues with Sims. I'm not sure if it will be of a help to anyone, but hey! Anything is worth a try!

    https://discussions.apple.com/thread/4325773?start=0&tstart=0


    Has anyone here tried this yet and had any success?

    That was my idea too I posted it in a thread yesterday I think. I don't think it's that hard to do.

    Have you tried it yourself yet, or can you link to a more complete list of instructions? I've had problems with finding the correct files, and the steps the one person outlines in the link are a little...sparse.
  • DeterminedGirlDeterminedGirl Posts: 156
    edited January 2013
    Bluebell, when I type 'purge' without quotation marks in Terminal, it says command not found.


    I have a 2010 MacBook Version 10.6.8 Snow Leopard.
  • BrittanyGoBoomBrittanyGoBoom Posts: 9
    edited January 2013
    It's almost gotten to the point where I never play TS3 anymore BECAUSE of how poor it preforms. I have a good Mac, and it's maxed out as much as it can be. It really bothers me that if I were to play my game on a PC with the same specs, it would work 10x better.
    I'm so tired of investing time and money trying to get this to work. That isn't MY responsibility. It should work without me having to tweak it.
  • mortimermortimer Posts: 27
    edited January 2013
    Just to say, I have been having major problems with the Mac version of TS3 for months. I finally got it working earlier this week, but only for about 10 minutes at a time after which it crashed, normally due to a graphics error.

    I've now installed bootcamp and it runs absolutely perfectly, much better than before.

    I am pretty sure that many of the mac problems are graphics driver related. Mac OS does not allow you to manually update the graphics card drivers - they only ever come with their own software updates. They no longer provide driver updates for my 2009 imac. I strongly suspect this is the major problem that many people are having once they get the game to run. Windows allows you to simply update the drivers. I cant over emphasis the difference between TS3 on bootcamp and on Mac OS. It is like I have two different machines.

    If I'm right, its bad news in terms of a patch fixing the main problems with the game.
  • heat33330heat33330 Posts: 255 New Member
    edited January 2013
    mortimer wrote:
    Just to say, I have been having major problems with the Mac version of TS3 for months. I finally got it working earlier this week, but only for about 10 minutes at a time after which it crashed, normally due to a graphics error.

    I've now installed bootcamp and it runs absolutely perfectly, much better than before.

    I am pretty sure that many of the mac problems are graphics driver related. Mac OS does not allow you to manually update the graphics card drivers - they only ever come with their own software updates. They no longer provide driver updates for my 2009 imac. I strongly suspect this is the major problem that many people are having once they get the game to run. Windows allows you to simply update the drivers. I cant over emphasis the difference between TS3 on bootcamp and on Mac OS. It is like I have two different machines.

    If I'm right, its bad news in terms of a patch fixing the main problems with the game.

    It's not the drivers :roll: :x . It's that EA is too lazy/greedy to do a NATIVE, REAL, MAC port! And instead use a BADLY OPTIMISED wrapper around the Windows game! :?

    By the way, I've got my new iMac and once I get an external DVD reader I'll try installing the game in Wineskin.
  • KoriruKoriru Posts: 11 New Member
    edited January 2013
    Id like to hear about how using Wineskin goes. Im new to the OS X interface, so I dont want to do anything risky.
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