Every now and again, I get a hankering for retro gaming and it ends up on this blog. I never played Dune II: The Building of a Dynasty on a PC, only the Sega Genesis port Dune: The Battle for Arrakis so it was news to me that you could play Dune II on MacOS. I assume anyone who is reading this probably knows the place that Dune plays in gaming history, but it's largely considered the title that defined the genre of the real-time strategy (RTS) or the first real time strategy (even if not entirely correct.

I can't say I have an special affinity for the genre, as pretty much the only other RTSes I've played are the original Command and Conquer and Warcraft 2, but I always liked Dune: The Battle for Arrakis. I've revisited via emulation a few times. I hoped Dune 2 or Dune 2000 would end up on a service like GOG.com but sadly, it hasn't. Thanks to open source, both Dune II: The Building of a Dynasty and its sequel, Dune 2000, can be played on Mac OS, natively and with some modern improvements.

Disclaimer: By the letter-of-the-law, abandonware isn't 100% legal but there's no real legal vector to obtain these games, each over 2 decades old. I don't see a moral quandry here, but you can always obtain the original game disks if you see fit.

Dune II using Dune Legacy

Dune Legacy on macOS 10.14

Dune Legacy gives a nice modern twist to the original shortcomings of Dune II, including better AI, head-to-head, ability to group select units, more hotkeys, modern resolutions, HD graphics, and so on.

  1. Search "Dune II Abandonware" in your favorite search engine, it'll come up on many sites. Download it.
  2. Download Dune Legacy
  3. Open the DMG, and drag the Dune Legacy app to your Applications folder. Also, decompress the PC copy of the abandonware Dune II
  4. Right Click the Dune Legacy App, and click Show Contents. Open within the app, Contents -> Resources
  5. Drag all the .PAK files from decompressed Dune II into the Dune Legacy -> Contents -> Resources
  6. Double click to start, you most likely will need to whitelist it in GameKeeper. (Go to system preferences -> Security and Privacy)

Dune 2000 using Open RA (and Command and Conquer)

OpenRA Dune 2000 on macOS 10.14

Open RA is for the Red Alert series, but also includes Dune 2000 support much like Dune Legacy modern screen resolutions and minor tweaks. Unlike some of the other OpenRA ports, OpenRA Dune focuses on delivering a recreation rather than improvements.

  1. Optional: Nab the Dune II ISO for Windows, from a site like myabandonware or such.
  2. Download OpenRA
  3. Unless you've previously installed Mono, you'll also need to download Mono, an open source implementation of Microsoft's .NET Framework
  4. Install Mono and then OpenRA - Dune 2000, Dune 2000 will automatically download the necessary graphic and sound assets, but if you'd like FMV or Movies you'll need the ISO, these can be installed at any time in the Management.
  5. Also, see d2kplus for mods, some are supported in OpenRA. you most likely will need to whitelist it in GameKeeper. (Go to system preferences -> Security and Privacy)

For the Command and Conquer series, the install process is the same: find the ISOs for the music and movies and install Mono and OpenRA. Enjoy!