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Arma 3’s Mac version available in Beta – Now supports 64-bit

Work on Arma 3’s experimental Mac port, the open-world tactical shooter from Bohemia Interactive, quietly continues.

Virtual Programming, the team in charge, just added 64bit support and updated the ports to version 1.70. This brings the Mac version much closer to Windows, but cross-platform multiplayer will remain impossible until they both share the exact same version.

Warning: Bohemia Interactive has stated again and again that these experimental ports may never be fully released (and could be dropped at any moment).

Keep this in mind before purchasing Arma 3 solely for its Mac version.

 

Why is Arma 3 different?

Set in authentic and vast settings, Arma 3 is the leading military simulator out there. This isn’t a Call of Duty clone where taking down dozens of enemies is business as usual. This is a realistic military sandbox where every bullet counts and tactics and cover matter.

Arma 3 gameplay

 

Arma 3 features a wide variety of single and multiplayer content, over 20 vehicles, 40 weapons, and limitless opportunities for content creation.

It’s been a long time since I tried this on my Mac, but back then performance was more than decent, and gamers claim this latest version performs even better. Taking advantage of 64 bit largely explains that and overall support for these experimental ports seems quite good.

 

Is the Mac version any good?

Meant as “a complimentary service to anyone who owns Arma 3 for Windows” (in Bohemia Interactive own words), you could think this is an abandoned port that barely works on Mac. Truth is, I tested the game a long time ago and was surprised it had decent performance.

This is a very demanding game and according to readers performance keeps improving (probably thanks to 64bit support).

Plus, Bohemia keeps calling this experimental, but I still find it hard to believe. Why on Earth would they suddenly throw away a working beta and waste all that work (and money)?

And so the list of most anticipated Mac games keeps growing…

 

Arma 3 for Mac is non-native. Does it matter?

According to Bohemia, both Mac and Linux ports are non-native as they use a specialized porting technology from Virtual Programming.

This is what we usually refer to wrappers and we all know performance will invariably suffer. In fact, from Bohemia’s own internal tests:

You may experience up to 30% degraded performance in comparison to the Windows version.

But as pointed out by our friends over at Gaming On Linux, who cares? If the Mac version is stable and runs smoothly, who cares about how the port was made. Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance is a perfect example of a non-native port done right.

That said, Arma games are infamous for being extremely demanding and Arma 3 is no exception and I suggest you do not buy it unless you also want to play it on Windows.

Arma 3’s Mac minimum system requirements:

  • OS: OSX Sierra 10.12.5
  • PROCESSOR: Quad-core processor (Intel Core i5 4570S, Intel Core i5 4570R)
  • GRAPHICS: Metal 2.0 compliant GPU (NVIDIA GeForce GT 650M or better)
  • GPU MEMORY: 1 GB
  • RAM: 8 GB
  • HARD DRIVE: 21 GB

Are you an Arma 3 fan?

  • I worry. External team could also be Virtual Programming :-/

    • That Virtual Programming is behind it is VERY likely. Now, they did take care of Spec Ops and it wasn’t bad. Maybe they’re getting better… (I hope!)

      • Rakden

        Spec Ops played ok, and the old X3 ports by them were fine but TW2 and Dead Island on the exact same Mac Pro hardware will run near maximum settings under Windows while TW2 is unplayable even on low and Dead Island is nearly as bad.

        • Yep, I played Dead Island and didn’t like the performance much. That said, it wasn’t as bad as you say on a Mac Pro…. Strange.

    • ironhorse40

      Dont bash Virtual Programming they have have brought us some great games. Stronghold 3, Patrician, Victoria series. The games they release don’t don’t come out with demanding system requirements. every company is 100% perfect at porting games over to mac.

      • I don’t bash them for porting games like that.
        I have problem with:
        – badly performing GPU-demanding ports (Witcher 2, Dead Island)
        – their support (closing support ticket twice without response.)
        – lot of minor things (bugs, controller support, etc.)

        • Good reasons to bash them…. But I do think they are improving. Problem is, when you compare them with Aspyr or Feral, they can’t really look good…

  • mikelyons

    This one is likely to be too hardcore for me as it is a simulation. Still, I am always happy to see well regarded high profile games come to the Mac. I don’t really mind how it gets there even though obviously I prefer native ports for best performance and compatibility over time. If what they come up with works well though it sure beats not having the title on Mac is how I feel about these.

    • Same here, but if Metal Gear Rising thought us anything, it’s that non native ports can be good enough for most of us!

      • mikelyons

        Yeah, that is a game I am happy to have heard good reports about. I want to play that at some point. It looks very fun.

  • Nosferatu

    I tried Arma 3 just this weekend, since it was a free weekend.
    It ran in bootcamp with my new GTX 980, it ran pretty decent but still couldn’t max out everything. I didn’t buy it yet because it was still a bit much and there’s too many controls for an Apple wireless keyboard (really need to get the wired), but if it get’s cross-platform buy on Steam I probably would.

    Can someone explain me what native and non-native refers to in this context?

    • Hey there, it basically means that a native port is reworked from the ground up to create an OS X app.
      On the other hand, a non-native port means that the Windows app was simply put in a specific “package” to be recognized on Mac. It works too, but as the game itself remains a Windows app, it’s never as optimized as a native port.

      Hope I was clear, it’s not that easy to explain this!

      • Nosferatu

        It is clear, thanks!

  • Josh Hatchett

    Never played Arma III…I’m down!

    • Just be careful because if it ever comes out (the developer insists that it isn’t a done deal), you will need one hell of a Mac to run it, apparently… BTW, what is your main gaming Mac?

  • Lucas Olaerts

    I have a problem,

    when i go to setting I can not adjust them ingame.
    How can i change them out of the game? caise i can not use my mouse for a reason ingame.

    • Sorry man, I won’t be able to help, as I don’t have that game. Have you tried asking VP, the company behind the Mac version of the game?
      http://www.vpltd.com/

  • ikir

    Virtual programming = bad

    • Ric

      Come on man, don’t be too hard on them, they’re trying 😉