Mac Installation Guide

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Note: See this thread for an up-to-date version of these instructions.

Installing FreeSpace Open on a Mac takes several distinct steps:

Install FreeSpace 2 (required)

You need a copy of the original game. You can buy a copy from Good Old Games.

FreeSpace 2 is a game for Windows only, so the installer also requires Windows to run. On a Mac you can work around this is several ways:

If you've gotten your copy of FS2 from a source other than GOG, you'll need to install the 1.2 patch.

In all cases, you should end up with a folder that contains an FS2.exe, several .vp files, and several folders including data, ereg and tools. The usual location on your Windows (virtual) machine is C:\Games\FreeSpace2\. Move this folder to a convenient place on your Mac. You no longer need any of the .exe files.

Install FreeSpace Open

You can do it by hand according to the instructions at the bottom of this thread, but you can also use Turey's FSO installer. For the Mac, you need the cross-platform .jar installer. It needs Java 1.5, which is standard on OSX 10.4 (Tiger) onwards, and can be hacked into 10.3 (Panther).

Run the installer. Select the folder where you have your FS2. Then make sure you leave the Update Current Files option unchecked. Otherwise, you can select anything you want.

After you select software and mods, allow the installer to fetch the latest versions. Caution: Depending on your mod choices, the installer may start downloading several GBs. If you are on a relatively slow connection (including basic broadband) this could take hours.

If you want a newer build of the FSO game than the installer provides for, you can find build announcements in the Cross-Platform Development forum. Caution: these builds are experimental and may not function as intended.

Find your FS2 folder and put the FS2_Open application in your FS2 folder

Installing the OS X game launcher

On platforms other than Mac, FS2O is configured via command-line options. On the Mac, these options are not used on a command line, but are listed instead in the ~library/FS2_Open/data/cmdline_fso.cfg file. You can edit this file by hand, but a more convenient way is to use Soulstorm's OSX launcher. Download the disk image, mount it, and put the launcher in your FS2/FSO folder.

When you first run the installer, let it update itself to at least version 3.1, and enter the location of your FS2O application in the bottom part of the window.

Go to the GamePlay + Speed tab to select one of the mods you have installed. FS2O can have only one mod active at the same time, so select the one you want to play. The launcher should be able to find the mods in your FS2O folder. If not, you will have to add them to your cmdline_fso.cfg file by hand.

Go to the Graphics tab to enter your graphics options. The MediaVP's mod readme.txt file recommends the following settings, but your Mac may or may not support these:

-spec (Enable Specular maps)
-glow (Enable Glowmaps)
-env (Enable Environment Maps)
-missile_lighting (Apply Lighting to Missiles)
-normal (Enable Normal Maps)
-3dshockwave (Enable 3D Shockwaves in random orientations)

-ambient_factor 35
-spec_exp 15
-spec_point 1.2
-spec_static 1.5
-spec_tube 1.5
-ogl_spec 20

Further OS X graphics settings

Open up ~/Library/FS2_Open/fs2_open.ini with the text editor of your choice ( You'll see something like the following:

VideocardFs2open=OGL -(1440x900)x32 bit

To set FS2_Open SCP to use the highest setting possible, add the following lines (set AF and AA to preference). Anti-aliasing is available in 3.6.11:


Install additional mods

You can use the FSO installer to download more mods, or follow the links in the FS campaign list. Total conversion mods are also available, which take place outside the FreeSpace universe.