Do you have a Mac? Do you wanna play audiogames because you are a gamer? Well, here you have a guide which explains everything on how to set it all up using a virtual machine in VmWare Fusion. Everything is fully accessible and you don't need sighted assistance at all.
Some things in this guide might seem quite overwhelming and complicated to do, but it's not as complicated as it sounds like. I'll do my best to write step by step what to do, so you can follow the guide. However, programs might change in the future so you can't follow those steps. I'll do my best to keep the guide updated.
Everything in this guide has been tested using VmWare Fusion 8.53 and Windows 10 Pro, and this is all fully accessible and doable by blind people.
What you need.
You need the following:
Around 30 gb of free space or more. An external harddrive can also be used, but it might run slow if it's not a SSD drive.
Windows 10 on dvd or as an image .ISO file, and the product key.
Sharpkeys which can be downloaded from the following link:
Installing VmWare Fusion.
Installing Fusion is very strait forward. This is a standard .dmg file which includes an installer. Just follow the standard installer, enter your password multiple times when prompted and the program is installed.
When launching Fusion for the first time, you need to enter your licens. Enter your name and licens key, and the program is registered.
Now your copy of Fusion has been registered, unless your trying the demo version, you're ready to install Windows.
If you have your copy of Windows as a disk image, I'll highly recommend you to put the image on the internal harddrive for faster installing.
If the new machine dialog doesn't automatically come up, go into the File menu and choose new...
Now, click continue and select the Windows dvd if that's what you have, or locate the image file using a standard open dialog.
At the next window, make sure "Use easy install" is checked. Enter your account name.
Warning: Do not enter a password. If you do that, you'll get into trouble logging in when the install is complete. If you wish to set a password you can do that later on.
Enter your Windows product key, choose what language of Windows you wanna install and finally choose what version of Windows you wanna install if available, and click continue.
At the next screen, you need to choose if you wanna share Windows with the folders on your Mac. I prefer to choose more isolated and configure those options later on. This gives you more control and is more secure.
At the next screen, all your settings is being reviewed, and you can click customize settings if you wants to. I'll highly recommend you to leave the default settings as they are and change them later on. I've tried a few times when customizing the settings before the machine is installed, the installer does not start automatically and you're stuck. If you leave the settings as default and change them laer on, the automatic installer will start for sure.
When you press "Finish," a save dialog comes up and you can choose where to save your virtual machine. The standard folder is a sub folder called Virtual machines in your documents folder, which can be changed later on if you wish. Don't forget to give your virtual machine a name, especially if you plan to have multiple virtual machines.
As soon as you press "Save," the new virtual machine will start and the installer will start automatically.
Warning: Do not suspend the machine, shut it down or change the view to full screen until the install is complete. If you do that, the installer might brake or you might loose keyboard focus which means you can't interact with the machine to get speech.
The installer takes between 12 and 30 minutes depending on your machine. There is no way to tell if the installer is in progress. Thanks to Microsoft, there is no sound in Windows 10 telling when the system is starting or shutting down. But don't panic, thanks to Microsoft, there is a workaround for that.
When you think the installer is complete, you need to do exactly the following steps to avoid messing things up and get some speech so we know what we are doing. I'll explain it all later on, but now we just need to get some speech, so we know Windows is alive and working.
1: Press command tab until you reach Finder.
2: Hold down command and press tab until you reach VmWare Fusion and release the command key.
3: Press command tab again until you reach Finder. Each time you press command tab without holding down the command key, you should now switch between Finder and VmWare Fusion, which is very important.
4: When your focus is on Finder, turn off Voiceover.
5: Press command tab once to switch to VmWare Fusion.
6: Press command return, and then Narrator should start talking. If you now get speech, your Windows 10 has been installed successfully... If you don't get speech, well, something went wrong. It's difficult to say what went wrong if you don't get speech. If that's the case, I'll recommend you to go into the menubar (VO M), shut down the virtual machine, remove it and try install it again. But hopefully you get speech, so lets continue.
The keyboard, how it works and switching between the virtual machine and your Mac.
I'm sorry if you're confused and you wander what the heck command return means. I just wanted to take one step at the time and make sure Windows was installed successfully, and you have speech so you at leased know what's going on. Here I'll try to explain everything from switching between the Mac and the virtual machine, how the keys works and which keys conflicts and how to deal with it.
As default, the keys are as follows on the virtual machine:
The left command key is the left Windows key, which opens up the start menu in Windows.
The left option key is the left alt key.
The left ctrl and FN key works as expected.
The right command key is the right Windows key.
The right option key is the right alt key.
As you already might have guessed, if you press command f5 to turn off and on Voiceover while having focus on the virtual machine, you'll open and close the start menu while turning Voiceover on and off. This is the reason for I wanted you to turn off Voiceover while having focus on Finder, and switch to Fusion by pressing command tab to interact with the virtual machine.
You can arrange your opened applications on the Mac in the ordre you want by holding down the command key and press tab. When you release the command key, you'll get focus on the application you've chosen, but when you do that the second time, you'll move the two applications besides each other, meaning a single command tab without holding down the command key will move between the two windows you have dragged together, which we need to make sure we do command tab to Fusion to get focus on the virtual machine when Voiceover is turned off.
Option tab is alt tab in Windows. Don't do command tab instead of alt tab. It takes a bit of getting used to. I have done command tab instead of alt tab a lot of time... Lol. This is extremely useful to be able to switch between your Macs applications and do option tab that quickly. This is very handy and works great when you've got used to it.
How to make a shared folder.
There are a number of ways to get files, installers etc. on a virtual machine. Drag and drop, or copy/paste works great, but having a shared folder is much coolrer, easier and flexible. This is also very flexible if you wanna install NVDA, which I assume you want, right? Narrator is really great in Windows 10, but NVDA is just better for gaming... Not dishing Narrator though, which Microsoft really are doing an awesome job on improving...
Here is how to make a shared folder:
1: Go into Finder and create the folder you wanna share with your virtual machine.
2: Go into Fusion, now this time with Voiceover turned on.
3: Press VO M to go to the menubar.
4: Go to the virtual machines menu, locate the sharing submenu and choose Sharing settings.
5: Check the "enable shared folders" checkbox. Find the "Add folder" button, locate the folder you wanna share and add it to the shared folders table. you can add as many folders you want.
6: When you have added your shared folder, close the window by pressing command w to return to your virtual machine. Then turn off VOiceover, and don't care if you open up the start menu this time. Narrator will inform you about this.
To access your shared folder from Windows:
1: Press Windows key r to open up the run dialog.
2: Type: "z:" without the quotes and press enter. You are now in the list of shared folders
So, go ahead and copy the NVDA installer into your shared folder, access the installer from your virtual machine and install this awesome screenreader! Of course you can do the same when it comes to installing games later on.
Mapping the keyboard.
At leased one very important key is missing: Either the insert key or the capslock key for your screenreader. The capslock key is there, but for some reason, it won't work as expected. An other key which I like is the applications key, the right click key.
This is exactly why you need the awesome tool called Sharpkeys. You already know how to get things on your virtual machine, so go ahead and install Sharpkeys before you really start to miss the most important key for your screenreader...
How Sharpkeys works.
Sharpkeys might seem a bit confusing at the beginning, so I'll quickly explain the concept:
The program is used to map or swap one key to an other. that means: We currently don't have an insert key, so lets go ahead and make one.
My recommendation for the key configuration.
I have set my right option which is the right alt key in Windows to the capslock key. Previously, that was my insert key, but I want to experiement with Narrator, and all screenreaders are using the capslock key anyways, so why not...
I have set the right command key which is the right Windows key to the applications key.
Warning: Do not set the right command key as your insert or capslock key. Pressing the right command key and q for quitting NVDA does not only quit NVDA, but also quits VmWare Fusion from the Mac, because the right command key is still being activated on the Mac OS while being used in Fusion. So don't do that. Trust me, I have tried, and this is not fun...
So why choosing the right alt and right windows keys? Well, you don't need them, so why not make them useful?
How to set the right alt key to the capslock key.
It is of course up to you to desite what keys you wanna map and how you wanna do it. Here is an example on how to map the right alt key to the capslock key, so you get an idea on how this is done:
1: Open Sharpkeys.
2: Tab to the "Add" button.
3: In the "From" list, scroll down to the special category and find the right alt key.
4. Tab to the "to" list, and scroll down to special capslock.
5. Tab to the "OK" button to close the dialog.
Now, you have done the following:
You have taken the right alt key, thrown it away and moved its function over to the capslock key. that means you now have two capslock keys, but who cares. You can then go ahead and do the same for the right Windows key to make an applications key if you wish.
The logic says you should make a: From capslock to the right alt key, to swap the keys. that would seem more logic, but practically, on the Mac keyboard, it don't make any difference. I know that might sound confusing, but I hope it makes sense after having read it a few times.
When you have mapped the keys you want, then tab to the "write to the registry" button. Restart the machine to let the changes take effect, and your keys should work.
How to give the machine full keyboard and mouse/touchpad control.
A lot of keyboard commands such as ctrl and the arrow keys and the f-keys does activate som functions on Mac OS as default. The same goes for the touchpad or trackpad. Let's get rid of this, so we can use all the commands in Windows without being interrupted from Mac OS.
Getting rid of all the keyboard commands.
1. On the Mac OS, open up System preferences and go to the keyboard.
2. Choose the shortcut tab, and uncheck the following keys:
Uncheck everything in the Mission control category.
Uncheck everything which is f-key related in the keyboard category.
Let's get rid of all the trackpad gestures:
1. Open system preferences.
2. Open Trackpad.
3. Choose the Gestures tab and uncheck them all.
On the first tab in the trackpad settings, you also need to enable the seconary click, and set this to be activated when clicking the lower right connor of the trackpad.
Optimizing the mouse for games.
If you don't optimize the mouse for games, it might react really strange. This is especially seen in Swamp.
To optimize the mouse for games do the following:
1: Open Vmware Fusion, and make sure the virtual machine is shut down.
2. Press command comma to open up the main settings for Fusion. Don't confuse those settings with the settings for the virtual machine. The command comma preferences are the main settings for all virtual machines.
3. On the generel tab, there is a section called: "Optimize the mouse for games." On my computer, this works best if this setting is set to "Always optimize the mouse for games." Please note that this might work differently depending on what computer and hardware you're using.
Configuring the RAM and CPU for your virtual machine.
It is important to configure the RAM and processor so it runs as great as possible. This is done as follows:
1. Make sure your virtual machine is shut down and turned off.
2. Press command e to open up the settings for the selected virtual machine.
3. Go to the processor and ram tab.
Please note: those settings might work very differently depending on your hardware, so you need to try it out for yourself to see what works best on your machine.
Regarding RAM and memory: For some odd and interesting reason, you can only use up to around 4 gb of ram. So having 16 gb of ram don't make any difference at all. I have no idea on why, and I haven't been able to find much information regarding this.
On my computer, the following configuration works best:
3000 MB ram and 2 processor cores.
The computer might be very hot when using this, so you can try a single core to see if it works better. On my Macbook Pro, 4 processor cores works better, so yeah this is very different.
Get rid of the audio delay so you can play games without the lag.
You might have noticed some delay from when pressing a key to the screenreaders reaction or some lag when playing games. Lets try to fix that.
Warning! This is pretty complicated. If you mess this up, your virtual machine will not start up, and you might end up being forced to reinstall the machine. I am not responsible for any damages, so do that at your own risk. If you follow this guide step by step, you should be able to fix the lag so you can play rhythm games and other games which requires a quick reaction.
The first thing you need to do is to get Mac OS to write the quote signs correctly. This is very important, otherwise you'll mess up the virtual machine. Do the following:
1: Open up System preferences.
2. Choose the keyboard settings.
3: Choose the text tab.
4. Uncheck the checkbox next to the spellchecker to make the keyboard to type normal quotes. Please make sure it is writing the normal quotes before taking the next steps.
Adjusting the soundcard settings.
We need to adjust the buffer on the soundcard to get rid of the lag. To do this, we need to edit the VMX file. Do the following:
1. Make sure the virtual machine is shut down and turned off.
2. Locate the virtual machine file in Finder. This is in your Documents folder in the virtual machines subfolder if you have chosen the default location then you installed the virtual machine.
3. Press VO shift m on the virtual machine to bring up the context menu.
4. Choose "Show package contents" to show whats inside the file.
5. Browse to the .vmx file.
6. Bring up the context menu again by pressing VO shift m, and choose to open the file in Text edit.
7. Navigate to the lines which controls the sound, and add the following line: Sound.bufferTime = "16"
Please note: The buffer might work differently depending on your machine, so you need to experiment with this to see what number works best for you. On my Macbook Air the number 16 gives less lag.
You can read a ton of more information regarding to this subject at the following link:
https://blog.bryansmart.com/2012/02/16/ … or-vmware/
Single window vs. Full screen.
There are a number of different views when it comes to virtual machines in Fusion. I have only tried single view and full screen.
Some games, especially Swamp, goes crazy if you don't set it to full screen. Full screen and single window works differently depending on the computer, so you need to experiment with that.
There are multiple ways to switch between Single window and Full screen. I usually do it from the view menu in Fusion.
Sometimes the Full Screen view hides the menubar. If that's the case, you can quit the full screen view by bringing up the window chooser (VO f2 twice) and quit the full screen from there.
Please note: When Full Screen is enabled, doing command tab to Fusion does not gain focus on the virtual machine. It gains focus on the virtual machines library instead, which is the place where all your virtual machines are listed. This is very important to know, because you can change the name of your virtual machine and other things by mistake, and you need Voiceover to gain focus to the virtual machine.
The best way I have found to gain focus while in full screen is in the window menu, and click the virtual machines name from their.
Hosting a multiplayer games on the internet.
As default, the virtual machine is configured to share the Mac computers internet connection. This is an awesome feature, because you don't even need to think about connecting to the internet. It just works as soon as your Mac computer is connected. This works for most users. However, in a very few siturations when playing a multiplayer game, or especially if you need to host a game, this will give you trouble.
There is a feature called "Bridged networking." This sounds really geeky, but it is pretty simpel. This feature simply separates your virtual machine from the Mac computers network, and gives your virtual machine a normal internet connection, just like if it was a normal computer.
When you activate this function, you just need to establish a internet connection on your virtual machine exactly the same way like on a normal Windows computer. Cable or wifi, your choice. your virtual machine will then get its own IP address, separate from your Mac computers IP address.
to change this setting, you do the following:
1: Go into the virtual machines settings by pressing command E.
2. Go to the networks tab.
3. In the table, choose "Bridged network" instead "Shared with my Mac."
Gaming on a virtual machine might not be as great an experience as having a normal Windows computer. There are only a very few audiogames which I have given up playing on a virtual machine, mostly because it took a while for me to notice that the smart quotes or double quotes was the reason for things broke while editing the VMX file to adjust the sound buffer.
Yes, there are a lot of things you need to do to make the ultimate gaming machine if you go the virtual rute, but the good thing about this is that everything is fully accessible, and you can combine the most accessible things from both platforms as you wish.
I have used virtual machines on my Mac for many years, and I love this combination of having quick access to both platforms at the same time.
I hope this article have been somewhat helpful for some people, and I hope this at leased give you an idea on if a virtual machine is a solution for you or not.
A huge thanks to Brian Smart for making a ton of research regarding the sound buffer on a virtual machine. The sound buffer is somewhat important for a screenreader, but it is more important when playing an audiogame, where timing is needed.
A huge thanks goes to all people who have requested information on how to play games on a Mac, and especially to everyone who have giving me small hints on virtual machines, Fusion and similar useful things. There are simply too many people who have deserved some credit to be listed, so a huge thanks goes to everyone who find this article interesting, useful and who have helped by giving me some useful and great feedback on this...
Link to the discussion about this article on the Audiogames forum:
http://forum.audiogames.net/viewtopic.p … 25#p290025
If you like the post, then please give it a thumps up.
Feel free to contact me privately if you have something in mind. If you do so, then please send me a mail instead of using the private message on the forum, since I don't check those very often.