System Shock 2 on a MacBook Pro

On September 11, 2006, in Games, by peterb

In case there’s anyone else out there who wants to play this game, here’s how I got it working on my MacBook Pro running Boot Camp. Thanks to the various commenters who made suggestions and helped convince me to not give up.

(1) Install from the CD. The cut-down version on the-underdogs isn’t good enough. The game is cheap. Buy it.

(2) You can install daemon tools and make a virtual disc image if you don’t want to keep the disc in the drive.

(3) Patch the game to version 2.3

(4) Apply the Windows NT fix.

(5) Put the line “safe_texture_manager” in shock.cfg

(6) Start the game.

(7) When you reach the main menu, alt-tab back to the desktop. Bring up the task manager. Click on “processes”, right-click on “SHOCK2.EXE”, and choose “set affinity”. Set the game to run on only one CPU. There is a “multithreading patch” that people claim solves this same problem, but it didn’t work for me.

It’s that last step that seems to make the big difference.

Once you’ve got it up and running well, consider applying some of the texture map enhancements to improve the graphics.

For any other game, I’d say this wasn’t worth the hassle. I’ll explain later in the week why it’s worth it for this one.


6 Responses to “System Shock 2 on a MacBook Pro”

  1. rmitz says:

    Ah, interesting. Yeah, I only have a single core mini, so that explains my not having that problem. (There was no point–I just use it as an entertainment console on the TV, mostly).

  2. Jonathan Perret says:

    Does that make SS2 a “playable classic” ?


  3. Jochem Liem says:

    I am trying to get this running via Parallels (, but I keep getting the error: “Your video card is not compatible with System Shock 2.”

    Info on the 3rd party graphical upgrades to SS2 can be found in the references on wikipedia (

  4. datafrog says:

    Wow cool! Thanks for the info. Following your guide, I managed to get SS2 up and running on my new iMac. Been playing it for a couple of hours now and it’s running perfectly!

    I tried loading SS2 a few weeks back when I first installed Boot Camp – it was the first game I tried playing. The game started up ok but crashed my entire XP Boot Camp installation as I went into the first training module. I thought I’d be out of luck getting the game to run – thanks for the guide!!!