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This thread is here to help Mac users understand the difference and similarities between the PC version of the Ultima games and the "Mac" versions offered on this site. Usually when information is found on the internet it applies to Windows and DOSBox, so I hope the information provided here will allow Mac users to apply those instructions to their own setup. It is not intended as a complete guide to everything ultima for Mac users, but to enable Mac users to follow instructions for Windows users.

This information is for people who want to tinker with their games, everyone else can just ignore it and play the games as provided.

The Mac version is the PC version
The Ultima series has been on many computer systems, including PC, up until Ultima VI when they used the PC as their only system (aside from console ports). They were all released for DOS, with the exception of Ultima IX, which is for Windows and won't be discussed here for that reason.
What GoG is selling is the DOS versions of the games wrapped up in an emulator. That way anything that applies to the PC version can be applied to the "Mac" versions sold here as well, because it is the same game running in a different emulator.

DOSBOX and Boxer
is an open source multiplatform MS DOS emulator and it is used by GoG to get DOS games (including Ultima) to run on Windows. While DOSBox is available for OS X as well the more accessible solution is [url=http://boxerapp.com]Boxer (which is still using DOSBox under its hood for emulation). Boxer is an application that wraps up DOS games as gameboxes; each gamebox contains a game and its DOSBox settings. When you double-click a gamebox the main app launches and starts emulating that particular game.

Boxer Standalone
Boxer is a nice tool for emulating your private game collection, but it is not a practical solution for selling games to work out of the box; that's why Boxer Standalone was created. A Boxer Standalone game looks like any OS X app, but within it are both the game and the emulator, no additional software needed. This is what you get when you download the Mac version of a DOS game from GoG.

As I already pointed out, Boxer wraps up games into gameboxes. Even Boxer standalone has them and they are within the package contents of the app file.
On the outside the gamebox looks like a file with the extension boxer. Right-click the gamebox to see its contents. You will usually see a file for DOSBox settings, one for game information and one or more folders. The extension of the folder (harddisk, floppy or cdrom) indicates what the emulator mounts the folder as. Usually you are interested in the harddisk folder, because that's where the actual game files are.

Finding the gamebox
Anything you want to do to your game has to be done to its game files, so we need to find the gamebox. Right-click the standalone app -> Show Package Contents -> Contents -> Resources -> and you should see a file with the boxer extension (it has two boxing gloves as its icon). From now on when I'm referring to the gamebox, this is the one I mean.

Playing in plain Boxer
Making changes to the game is easier in plain Boxer, because you don't have to go through all the app structure, plus you save some disc space by not having the emulator included with every game.
First of all download Boxer and launch it once. Now you can take the gamebox out of the app and put it wherever you like, preferably where you want to store your other DOS games as well. Feel free to throw away the rest of the app, you won't be needing it anymore. Boxer will pick up the DOSBox settings, but it won't pick up your save files and the gamebox will still have the default icon. You can change the icon yourself if you want.

Making changes to the game
Most instructions on the internet will be like "put these files where your Ultima installation lies". This refers to the harddisc folder inside your gamebox. Just open it up and drop in the files.

Running custom commands
Often times, for example when installing an upgrade patch, you will be told to launch a particular exe or bat file. In plain Boxer you can just use regular DOS commands or you can find a list of executables at the bottom of the window. For Boxer Standalone you will have to find the gamebox and launch it using plain Boxer and then launch the executable. See above for instructions, but don't move the gamebox, we just want to change the game files, and then get back to using Boxer Standalone.

Save Files
In the old days of DOS games stored their save files with all the other files, so when using plain Boxer look for them in the harddrive folder of the gamebox.
Boxer Stanalone is different; due to various policies of OS X the save files have to be placed in the user's Library while the app itself stays pristine. In Finder click Go -> Go To Folder and type "~/Library/Application Support/Boxer/Gamebox States"(without quotes). You will see a bunch of folders for all your games, double-click the one you want. There you will find a boxerstate file, show its package contents like those of a gamebox and you will see all the changed or created files of your game, including the save files.

Resetting a game
Back in the day before hard drives existed players had special floppy discs they used to save on. Resetting the savegame for those games can be tricky. For Boxer Standalone it is enough to click File -> Reset Game Data. For plain Boxer I would figure out which files are involved and make a pristine backup of them before playing. Or you could just re-download the game again and throw away the old gamebox.

Game speed
In plain Boxer you can use the information panel set CUP cycles. In Boxer Standalone the game should already be set to the right speed, so make sure the Fast Forward option under Emulation is not turned on. You can manually change the speed if you open the gamebox in plain Boxer and then change it there. Also make sure the game is not actually running too slow due to graphics filters (under View -> Rendering Style), because a game running too slow can look like it's running too fast.
Post edited August 17, 2013 by HiPhish
Very informative. Thanks.
Thank you for the information. Very helpful.