Rescued by Apple

Some very dramatic changes happened in the last few days. First, I finally got a new workstation. But then it’s a MacBook. So I Bootcamp’ed it and put Windows 7 on it. And then I decided to throw away most of the crap on my desk, especially my old CRT Monitor. Workspace feels very comfy now.

My Mac

There are a lot of new impressions to take in. New hardware, new software. Here are some bullet-points of some of the things I notced. First, the bad:

  • Lower Resolution: WTF? This MacBook has actually lower resolution than my 5 years old ASUS? I’m going to need that huge external display soon.
  • Not as much space as I thought: I got the 500GB hard drive. After Bootcamp 250GB left. After installing all my stuff 90GB. This is melting away rather quickly.
  • I hate Apple for the display adapters: Seriously, shame on you, Apple. My girlfriend has the newest MacBook, two display port converters and none of the actually work on my MacBook Pro. What’s so hard about just putting a standard VGA Port on that thing? And why wasn’t at least the adapter included? I have now an expensive piece of hardware that theoretically could run projectors. I just don’t have the physical means to attach it to them.
  • Two USB Ports: Wow. Seriously? I could understand that on a MacBook but on a MacBook Pro? Wow. Let’s see, I use a mouse, a tablet and… well there you go. Goodbye external hard drives, USB sticks, printer… Can anyone suggest a spiffy portable USB hub?
  • The keyboard is all rong: It’s not that bad as I thought but it’s inconvenient. I’m still looking on the workaround to have the PrintScreen key. On the other hand, I found the key combinations that unlock the forbidden powers of del, pos1, end, page up and page down. So I’m mostly set. If only @ was a little less difficult to produce.
  • 64bit is pain: I know that there is a super-good reason for this whole 64bit thing. The user-side experience is that half of the stuff doesn’t work properly. For example the Cisco VPN client required to have proper internet back at where I work. Who can I blame it for now?

But wait, not all is lost. There are lots of good things about this new change.

  • This is fast on an entirely new level: Ok, maybe not that fast but at least After Effects in HD works quite fine now. The improvement is profound. Further work on TRAUMA should go much easier now. This alone was worth it actually.
  • Surprisingly trouble-free: Surprisingly, the setup and my move from one system to the next was done in less than a workday. There were also hardly any hardware configuration issues. Any little kinks I could solve pretty quickly. I guess this is due to both – the whole Apple thing (Hardware and Software) and Windows 7. I love how all the drivers come from one source (Apple) in one package (Bootcamp).
  • Epic Win 7: Well, again maybe not epic but good. It is very different from XP but it looks like I can get used to it. A couple of standard dialogs already surprised me with cool UI details. But I will keep a watchful eye on this one. Especially as Win 7 still takes considerably longer to boot up than Mac OS X.
  • I will survive: One of the reasons why I chose a Mac was simply because they are quite sturdy. One of the problems I had with my old Asus was that it started to fall apart structurally. The display hinges broke pretty much by themselves and needed constant touch-up. The plastic got digested by the venom my tentacles produce. From what I can tell the Mac is better suited for the harsh environment I call work. Using metal as material is already quite promising. The fact that many people own EXACTLY THIS model and can help when things go kaput is a big plus too. I’m expecting a lot here.
  • So that’s it. Work on TRAUMA continues now. I did already a couple of things for it in my new Workspace and it is much easier now. I know there are some people out there curious about how this Mac/Windows experiment will turn out. I will keep you updated ;-)

Krystian Majewski

Krystian Majewski was born in Warsaw and studied design at Köln International School of Design. Before, he was working on a mid-size console project for NEON Studios in Frankfurt. He helped establish a Master course in Game Design and Research at the Cologne Game Lab. Today he teaches Game Design at various institutions and develops independent games.

8 responses to “Rescued by Apple”

  1. Yu-Chung Chen

    So, half of the good aspects are non-Mac, huh. I was afraid to read more things that would make me a convert, but so far, it’s not that “bad” ;)

    The keyboard is a big known issue for me, I don’t want to use Fn-keys to enable Home, End, Delete etc. Also I’m not willing to accept the other bads to gain the cool metal chassis, which is what I like most about the MacBook Pro.

    Re: resolution: When I got my recent desktop monitor, I also didn’t have a resolution boost, but the bigger physical size definitely helps (and is more fun!). Highly recommended. Too bad 4:3 has died. I understand that 16:9 is the way to go for TVs, but I’ll never get why the reduced vertical resolution can be established for computing.

  2. Digital Tools

    Well… Welcome. =)

    I also made the change lately. I am pretty sure, that you will abandon the Win7 thing at some day ^=^

    Some issues for changers are quite natural. Let some weeks pass by…

    I think the keyboard is really great in aspects of typing-comfort. Unfortunately there are some issues with special-chars, especially if you develop. But this is a problem for non-US coders in general.

  3. Digital Tools

    Uh, one thing I forgot:

    If you want to let windows-software run on Mac OS X, also have a look at Virtual Box ( ) and WineBottler ( ).

    The epic win at OS X is, that you now have real console-goodness just right at your fingers.

  4. GhostLyrics

    I admit that I don’t have your required workspace things but I switched to Linux completely last year and I am glad with that, since it runs quite nice on both my laptop and netbook.

    Concerning the USB you might want to look at this one. it seems quite tiny and fitting if you don’t want to clutter up your desk.

    1. Krystian Majewski

      Did you actually use that USB Hub? It looks good, I’m only concerned that the ports may be too close together for certain types of USB Sticks.

      I’m sure Linux is cool. In a different universe, I would probably try it myself. Unfortunatly, due to compatibility issues of a lot of the tools I use, it is out of the question for me.

      1. GhostLyrics

        well… uhm yes and no. I bought it for a friend who uses it regurlarly but seem very satisfied. But I didn’t try it myself though. (his MSI gaming laptop also features just two slots)

  5. Isak

    On my MacBook I’ve remapped Print Screen to F12, due to the despicably cumbersome multikey “shortcut” they have as default. It’s easy to do inside of OSX, but it might require some more fiddling if you’ve cross-booted.

    1. Krystian Majewski

      Yeah, I’ve managed to figure it out – it’s shift + fn + F11. I agree it is a bit cumbersome. On the other hand, when you use a shortcut so often you stop even thinking about it.


The Game Design Scrapbook is a second blog of group of three game designers from Germany. On our first blog, Game Design Reviews we describe some games we played and point out various interesting details. Unfortunately, we found out that we also need some place to collect quick and dirty ideas that pop into our minds. Hence, welcome to Game Design Scrapbook. You will encounter wild, random rantings. Many of then incoherent. Some of them maybe even in German. If you don't like it, you might enjoy Game Design Reviews more.


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