Total Annihilation on Mac OS X

Five years ago I would have laughed at the idea, but now I am happy to say that I am running the classic PC game, Total Annihilation, on my Mac OS X:

Wine running through Ubuntu on a Mac

This is a screenshot of my Mac running Sun Virtual Box and a copy of Ubuntu 8.08. Within Ubuntu, I setup the image like so:

  • Base Memory: 258 MB
  • Video Memory: 16 MB
  • ACPI: Disabled
  • IO APIC: Disabled
  • VT-x/AMD-V: Disabled
  • PAE/NX: Disabled
  • Hard Disks: 1x 8GB
  • CD/DVD-ROM: PIONEER DVD-RW DVR-K06 (what my Mac Mini is installed with)
  • Host Driver (audio): CoreAudio
  • Controller: ICH AC97
  • Network, Adapter 1: PCnet-FAST III (NAT)

Ubuntu as a virtual server runs quite well under this setup on the Mac, using the latest Virtual Box version. I was pleased to see how seamless the hardware worked overall. Inside of Ubuntu I then installed the program wine (the Windows Emulator). Wine has come a long ways since I first used it. In the old days you had to manually setup the directory tree, and there was a lot of hackery required just to run a game. Few games worked well, except StarCraft, which has always worked. :)

In the newest version of Wine on Ubuntu, I simply run:

wine /media/cdrom0/SETUP.EXE.

That will automatically create the necessary files under $HOME/.wine/, and install the game. Next, to run the game, I just ran:

wine $HOME/.wine/drive_c/CAVEDOG/TOTALA/totala.exe

The game runs quite well, though for some reason the music won’t play (though sounds effects will). The speed is good though, and I haven’t had a crash yet.

So, through a wasted evening, I’ve managed to make a Windows 95 game run under a virtual copy of Linux, which runs on my mac.

Virtual game on a virtual host, in other worse. Amazing how far technology and free software has come. :D


P.S. Sometime this week I will waste another evening to see if I can get my PC-copy of Final Fantasy VII to work. It’s always been extremely finicky on anything that isn’t Windows 95, so we’ll see how far Wine has really come.

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About Doug

A Buddhist, father and Japanophile / Koreaphile.
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8 Responses to Total Annihilation on Mac OS X

  1. arunlikhati says:

    What a screen!

    And yes, it is astounding how far we have come!

  2. the stranger. says:

    Can’t you just run Wine on top of Mac OS X?

    I’m pretty sure its possible.

  3. Gerald Ford says:

    Arun: Astounding indeed.

    Stranger: Nope, see No Mac OS X ports, or free ones at least. :(

  4. The ARM says:

    I installed Wine on the Mac OSX 10.6.8 directly.

    I first got an error: “Unable to find readme.txt Install Failed!”
    and had to run wine from the CD-ROM
    SHELL$ cd /Volumes/Total\ Annihilati\
    SHELL$ wine SETUP.exe

    SHELL$ wine ~/.wine/drive_c\CAVEDOG\Totala\totala.exe
    then got error: “HAPI Environment Init Failed (check yer screen depth)”
    so I installed 3.1cPatch (

    then got error “Environmental Initialization Failed Check your DirectX setup”
    then installed winetricks ( I should have followed instructions from the wine install link I gave)
    sudo port install winetricks

    That didn’t fix it.
    So I downloaded DirectX (
    and tried to install using wine, when that didn’t work I found to:
    and began following instructions.

    I think this will work but I am tied and heading to bed.

  5. Doug 陀愚 says:

    Hi ARM and welcome! Thanks for the tip. I just might try it myself. :-)

  6. The ARM says:

    Let me know how it goes. I’m still stuck at getting DirectX to work. I wish I could give instructions in a more direct fashion but you should know how hack-y installations go. I’m just going to include what I did so hopefully they’ll be useful to everyone else.

    I took care of the “Common Issues” given by David Baumgold:

    I checked out:
    and followed the main instructions “I am giving it a silver because you need to install…happy gaming!”

    NOTE: “Emulate a virtual desktop” causes a great decrease in resolution, I suggest unselecting.
    I also unselected “Automatically capture the mouse in full-screen mode” but left the two “Allow…windows” messages to remain selected

    I can run TA via the CD by
    SHELL$ wine /Volumes/Total\ Annihilati\SETUP.EXE
    It gives a nice looking window but then still crashes looking for DirectX. I clicked on the INSTALL DIRECTX which gives some information but then crashes with “The program dxsetup.exe has encountered a serious problem and needs to close. We are sorry for the inconvenience.” Gah.

    I tried installing Direct3D (which the TA “INSTALL DIRECTX” said wasn’t installed) via which said to run:
    SHELL$ winetricks d3dx9

    This may be why it’s better to run through Virtual Box and Ubuntu, i.e. the DirectX is better integrated for Ubuntu than running directly from a Mac. I had trouble getting Virtual Box going.

    I found: which looks promising.


  7. The ARM says:


    Alright. So in the end I used MacPorts to get Wine (

    and then installed PlayOnMac (

    It prompted me to download Xquartz

    Using PlayOnMac I went to “Install a program”>”Install a non-listed program” and used the Total Annihilation CD1 to install. IMPORTANT: From previous posts I decided to select “Multiplayer Spawn” *NOT* “Regular Install”.

    And finally got it working! So excited!

    One draw back is that it only functions in Full Screen Mode. But at least it’s working

  8. Doug 陀愚 says:

    Well done and congrats!

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