Cities XL on a Mac: Here’s How

I’ve long been a fan of the Sim Cities series of games, so when I saw that a French company was bringing out its own take on the genre called Cities XL naturally I took a look.

Cities XL could have been Sim City 5 if it had come from Maxis, because like the Sim Cities before it is a natural progression in the genre, complete with graphics fitting 2009.

Sadly though they haven’t developed a Mac version of the game, and at the time of writing don’t intend on creating one. You could set up a bootcamp partition and run Cities XL via Windows, but well…I’d rather not have to boot out of OS X to play the game.

Several hours later I have Cities XL running on my 13″ Macbook Pro without using bootcamp or running something like Parallels. Here’s how.


I should note that I purchased the download via Steam because the Cities XL site’s purchasing section wasn’t working at the time. These instructions should work fine with a standard install.

You’ll also need to download the latest version of Darwine here.


Install Darwine as would any normal program.

From the dropdown menu in Darwine (top right hand side of the screen) select Winetricks. In Winetricks install Direct X 9, MS .NET 2.0 and MS Visual C++ 2008 libraries. If Direct X 9 doesn’t install, don’t worry too much because the game will attempt to install it when it is setting itself up. If you have ongoing problems though, grab Direct X 9 from Microsoft direct and try running it.

Install Cities XL.

I had a problem with graphics, although being on a low end Macbook Pro might have had more to do with it. If you get a popup about failure to deal with screen resolution (or similar) the way around it is to change the settings in Wine to “emulate a virtual desktop” (Wine Configuration/ Graphics.) You will need to restart Wine + X11 for the change to take place.

And that’s all there is to it, and so far I haven’t seen any bugs or issues with the game play.

The game itself: not bad, although the online component is over priced and underwhelming so far.