Trying to run Medal of Honor (PowerPC) in Snow Leopard Server Guest OS (Intel) VM

Discussion in 'macOS Virtual Machine' started by Tragic Nostalgic Patrick, Jun 7, 2024.

  1. Tragic Nostalgic Patrick

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    I have this old Mac game, Medal of Honor Allied Assault or MoHAA (although ported from the Wintel original), from back in 2004 (copyright on the box is 2003, latest update patch is from 2004), when Macs were still running on PowerPC CPUs. With the transition to Intel CPUs, many software (including game) developers offered updates/upgrades to their programmes which would make them (the first iteration of) Universal (i.e. able to run on both PowerPC and Intel Macs); however, as far as I can find on the internet, this was not the case for MoHAA.
    The other route to run PowerPC programmes on Intel hardware was through (the first iteration of) Rosetta, but since this is no longer available from Lion (10.7) onward, the only option on Intel hardware (which is the intended target 'hosting' hardware) would be either Tiger (10.4; from 10.4.4 onward), Leopard (10.5) or Snow Leopard (10.6); however, since Apple makes it as good as impossible to install an older OS than the one available at the launch of a specific hardware setup, the only option is through a Virtual Machine (VM) solution such as Parallels Desktop, but for those older operating systems, only the Server variant is allowed to be run inside a VM. I have a copy of Snow Leopard Server (10.6.8) ordered from the Apple Store (by phone; it's not available on the site); I'm not sure whether Tiger Server or Leopard Server are still available to be ordered (certainly not on the site).
    So I've set up a Snow Leopard Server (SLS) VM for this purpose with 2 processors, 6 GB of RAM and 512 MB of VRAM; I've installed the game from the original DVD and updated it with the latest patch. When I want to start MoHAA, it opens a console with some initializing output and it goes OK for the first few steps (it 'correctly' detects 2 PowerPC G4 CPUs, so the Rosetta emulation works fine), but when it's busy initializing the renderer, it throws up an error dialogue claiming "Medal of Honor has encountered a problem; aglChoosePixelFormat failed" (see also screenshot). Clicking the OK button on this dialogue gives another error dialogue stating "Medal of Honor cannot continue; Couldn't start OpenGL!" and a further click OK simply quits MoHAA. The agl prefix points to the Apple Graphics Library, a software layer in Apple's implementation of the OpenGL standard.
    I am certain this is a problem with the implementation of Parallels' Virtual Machine (specifically the graphics: the System Profiler of the SLS in the VM gives no name or chipset model for the 'graphics card'), since I have tried the same route on a Mac Mini Server running SLS 10.6.8 and on that hardware machine, MoHAA starts without a glitch, plays the intro videos and opens the starting screen where I can select or change various technical settings and gameplay options or start a game. However this Mac Mini is not really a solution for me, since it is 'headless' (no monitor, no keyboard, no mouse) and therefore only approachable via Screen Sharing or Remote Desktop, which would introduce additional lag during gameplay; plus I mainly run it as a small server on my home network, so I wouldn't want to burden it with this.
    My question: is there anyone who knows how I can get my PowerPC copy of MoHAA running inside a (SLS) VM, or at least could point me to a possible solution?

    So, in short:
    Guest OS: Mac OS Snow Leopard Server 10.6.8 (dual 2,9 GHz processor; 6 GB RAM; 512 MB VRAM)
    Host OS: macOS Mojave 10.14.6
    Host hardware: 15" MacBook Pro (2018); 2,9 GHz Core i9; 32 GB RAM; Intel UHD Graphics 630 1536 MB & Radeon Pro Vega 20 4 GB
    Parallels Desktop Standard Edition 17.1.7 (51588)
    MoHAA version (from starting console): Medal of Honor Allied Assault 1.11 MacOS-PPC Oct 22 2004
    For comparison, the Mac Mini hardware which does successfully start MoHAA: Mac Mini Server (2010); 2,66 Ghz Core 2 Duo; 8 GB RAM; NVIDIA GeForce 320M 256MB

    With kind regards.

    Screenshot 2024-06-06 at 17.08.34.jpg
  2. WillieE


    Try these steps:

    Optimize VM graphics settings in Parallels.
    Install Rosetta in the VM.
    Update Parallels Tools.
    Check MacRumors or Parallels forums.
    Try QEMU for emulation.
    Good luck!

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