I have never considered myself a Mac guy. In my opinion, most of the people touting to live the “Apple Experience” have always been nothing more than talentless posers. Want a real phone? Get an android. Want a real computer? Build your own. In fact, back my college days, I prided myself on building and running Hackintosh boxes, back when the JaS builds first came out – much to the chagrin of fellow designers who spent three or four times the amount I had invested and still fell short in the performance department.
Today, times have changed and is it reasonable to own an iMac given the balance between quality (the large IPS screen being one major deciding factor) and performance or a Macbook simply because of the fact that there are no better alternatives around. With this mindset, I made the switch. Before you berate at me as a hipster-barista, I can assure you I am not as I happen to be a production company’s Art Director and I tax these fuckers up to the last penny. I will grant that I cave mostly because of the 27″ IPS screen. Anywho, the “switch” was great. The computer looked slick, it ran Adobe CS6 and Final Cut Pro effortlessly and I couldn’t be happier with my purchase. Yet this brought me one huge lifestyle issue; namely it bogged down my EVE Online experience.
It just (doesn’t) work.
Don’t ask me for what reason but EVE Online simply doesn’t “work” in an OS X environment. Yes you can download the 4.5 GB “native” client and you can even run dual clients if you need to (Hello! We are playing EVE Online here!). There is also compatible versions of the most popular communication tools around (namely Ventrilo and TeamSpeak). But somehow, even at 59FPS, you get the feel that the client just don’t cut it. There is an indescribable feeling of not having enough “horsepower” to back up your internet spaceships when it will be needed the most. Not just that, there is a plethora of bugs and issues which CCP Games need to resolve before a serious player could safely undock an expensive fit. The most common bug I found was the client freezes should I leave the client open in the background for too long. No socket closed issues. No messages. Just a nasty freeze. The existence of an entire Windows file system in ~/Library/Application Support/Eve Online/p_drive/ doesn’t help to shake the feeling of this being a ported version of the client running on top of an environment (ala Wine).
One quick look at the official EVE Online Macintosh forums will give you an idea of the living hell which some players have to endure to “enjoy” EVE Online on their Macs.
The ultimate all-in-one. Turbocharged EVE Online (thanks to Windows).
So after some heavy procrastination, I decided to install a copy of Windows 8 natively using the Boot Camp software strictly for EVE Online use. The process is fairly straightforward, although I won’t be describing it here. Ars Technica has an excellent guide.
I happen to have a copy of the EVE Online offline installer so, after downloading a small update, the process went smoothly.
So I ended up like this:
Now it’s even faster than it looks.
My first impression was to feel a bit of pity for the Mac client team. Either the tools and environment which they use have been expanded to the max or they are simply undermanned and overmatched.
While my OS of choice was Windows 8 (I had just downloaded a release candidate a few months ago), I believe most people would be better off using Windows 7. Still, the performance was quite solid albeit a few tweaks were needed to keep both clients running at 60FPS (bear in mind the IPS panel for the iMac runs at 2560 x 1440). The secondary 32″ monitor ran out of a Thunderbolt to a HDMI port (another big concern I had regarding performance) without problems. And, despite all the Windows 8 glossiness, I now feel confident enough to actually undock and take my pwnmobiles for a ride.
Almost everybody has an old copy of Windows laying around and if you happen to lack one (or cannot borrow one), you can buy one from Amazon or, in the most extreme of cases, simply ignore the high road.
I applaud CCP Games efforts in bringing the EVE Online experience to the Mac platform but in my view these efforts are counterproductive and could result in even seasoned players like me losing interest in playing the core aspect of EVE Online (flying internet spaceships) due to poor Mac client performance. In my opinion, they could be better off posting a note on their page saying “Don’t even bother with the Mac client. Just install the Windows version and run BootCamp.” and focusing that team on more productive endeavors.