Tuesday, 3 June 2014

Minecraft 1.5.2 on Snow Leopard

The Trials of Old Kit

I've pretty much given up trying to get Minecraft running on my old PowerPC Mac Mini (and I don't think I'm alone in that), so I dug out my black Macbook from around 2009. My original problem had been that Apple and Oracle had given up on the PPC processor so OSX was stuck at Leopard and Java with Apples version of 1.5, so I assumed the Macbook with it's intel Core Duo CPU would be easy.

Seems I was wrong again!

Its all about the Java

After installing the Minecraft launcher I initially found it crashed after trying to start the game (just like before). I managed to find a Java update that had been recompiled to NOT stop when it found an old version of the OSX.

With this I was able to get Minecraft working, but only on version 1.6.1 or higher. But my server is 1.5.2 and upgrading wasn't an option. I have a friend who's kids play on an old PC that doesn't like any version later than this because of video driver issues.

Once again, after lots of googling I was unable to find a solution to the problem, it seems that the launcher was broken some time after v1.5.2 and thus later versions just won't work on Snow Leopard.

Shoot the Snow Leopard

I'd always held off upgrading to Lion because it meant losing Rosetta and I'd actually quite liked Snow Leopard. I saw it as a better, more 'sorted' version of Leopard, but as this laptop just wasn't being used anymore I didnt have anything to lose. The upgrade went smoothly and was followed by a 2Gb system update.

After this I started up Minecraft and it just worked (wow) albeit running slightly warm. I then spent a little time tinkering with the video settings in the game to get it running smoothly (turning on advanced OpenGL, setting the Graphics to 'Fancy' and turning off clouds). Everything was running great until I turned off full screen mode to see if it would run cooler. Then it crashed in disgust, refusing to restart.

It took a little trial and error to work out how to fix it, but here's all you need to do:-
  • Set your launcher to use the latest version of the game.
  • Launch the game and then go into the video settings.
  • Switch back to fullscreen mode
  • End the game
  • Switch back to 1.5.2 and relaunch.
Simple enough to fix. I suspect there's some sort of backwards incompatibility with the video drivers and earlier versions of Minecraft. In my experience the world of Java is full of version issues and gotchas. But this is the price you pay for cross platform compatibility.

For a simple looking blocky game it sure does make my laptop run hot.

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