I am using VirtualBox to play Civilization III (from Steam) in Windows 7 on my 13" Retina Macbook Pro. The only problem is it's horrendously slow. It seems like this only impacts screens with animation (which is basically everything). Because other programs work fine, I believe a change of VirtualBox settings might provide a fix. What configurations/fixes should I try?

This is unfamiliar territory for me - thanks for any tips you can offer.

  • While I'm not a Mac user (yet) I think it would make sense to disable superfluous built-in Windows features like Aero. Additionally downloading a benchmark suite might help find where VB or Windows is screwing up. – Zach Mertes Mar 23 '14 at 4:19

You're probably better off running in BootCamp.

This will give you near native performance and allow you to run the game without a lot of the overhead a virtual machine will give be giving you.

  • This is an excellent choice since retina Macs should have a graphics card strong enough to play CIV III flawlessly when the program runs on an OS directly. – bmike Mar 23 '14 at 16:46

Tuning performance on one system stacked that deeply with layers of software is tricky - you will need to observe and measure:

  1. The game performing against Windows 7 so that you could see if Windows needs settings changes to run the game more effectively.
  2. The Windows OS running against the VirtualBox environment and seeing if VB settings can make windows run better.
  3. The Virtual Box runs on OS X and you'll need to see what OS settings might influence how well that runs.

Since we're an Apple centric site, I'll get you started on item 3 on how to measure things on the OS level open activity monitor when you are running things and get a sense whether memory, disk or CPU is being stressed. Hopefully it's just one of the three items and you can then see if tuning and optimizing for that one area helps your gameplay more satisfying.

  • System (host) resources don't seem to be the issue, so unfortunately I think its related to #2. Thanks for your comment. – gsysko Mar 23 '14 at 16:19
  • @gsysko I agree with the Bootcamp suggestion. Much more likely to get you excellent results with a one time setup effort. You might get better graphics from Parallels or perhaps VMWare, but direct would be best clearly. – bmike Mar 23 '14 at 16:38
  • Now to just find where I put that windows disk img ;-) – gsysko Mar 23 '14 at 17:18

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