Solving the Bedrock Edition Problem for MacOS

An open Mac laptop displays the game Minecraft on the screen.

It’s certainly been a little bit since I’ve written a how-to doc!

I had one of my Reddit kids from the /r/ARBTServer days wanting to visit the server, but they’re exclusively a Mac user. Bedrock Edition is not available for MacOS as of publish time, so I decided to see if I could figure out a way to get them connected while waiting for either Bedrock Edition to become available for MacOS or they get a different compatible system, neither of which is likely in the near future. After a day of playing, googling and tinkering, I think I’ve sorted a workable solution.

Note: The following was tested on a 2015 13″ MacBook Pro with the following specs:

  • MacOS Mojave 10.14.1
  • 2.7 GHz Intel Core i5
  • 8GB RAM

Naturally, your mileage may vary depending on your system specs.

Also – this is for people for whom bootcamping to Windows 10 or purchasing a different system isn’t an option. Just heading both of those solutions off at the pass.

You Will Need:

“But ARBT,” you may protest, “I’ve never used/don’t use Android!” Relax. This process is not exactly going to turn you into an Android devotee, please stop clutching your iOS devices like that before you break something. On the other of the coin, Android is not that difficult to use. Besides, I firmly believe that everyone needs to know how to use as many OSes as possible, so if this is your first exposure to Android, use the opportunity to learn! Everything you need to know/use when operating within BlueStacks to play Minecraft is in the My Apps tab.

Install and Configure BlueStacks

Download and install BlueStacks. MacOS may yell at you about Spooky Apps from the Internet and block the process, so make sure you have admin privileges. This will enable you to get into System Preferences and OK the install from there.

At this point, I’d recommend running BlueStacks once to test that the installation was successful. You may also log into Play Store via the provided app and purchase/download/install Minecraft for Android. Don’t try running it yet, however.

Screenshot of MacOS starting up Bluestacks in Windowed mode.
Starting Bluestacks…

Configuration tweak

When you install Bluestacks, it only allocates itself 1GB of RAM. Minecraft will run, but the frame rate will be awful nigh unto unplayable, even with all the fancy video settings disabled or scaled all the way back. Unless you’ve got the teensiest flimsiest MacBook Air on the market, I’m going to assume you have more than 1GB to play with, so we will need to tweak that particular setting.

Make sure you quit fully out of BlueStacks if you have it running. After that, go to Finder and hide/close the rest of your running applications.

While in Finder, click the Go menu, and then hold down the “option/alt” key. This will reveal a couple of hidden menu items. We want Library.

BlueStacks has its own folder in Library, so open it, then open the Android folder. From there either option-click or two-finger click Android.vbox, and then select “Open With”. I’d select TextEdit, but you can do this with any kind of code editor if you happen to have one.

MacOS screenshot displaying the configuration file to edit and the menu you want to display to select an editor.
Open with TextEdit if possible

Android.vbox is an xml document with a bunch of configuration settings and a friendly looking “DO NOT EDIT THIS FILE” warning at the top. (Obviously, we’re gonna ignore that.) Scroll down until you see a line that says <Memory RAMSize=&rquot;1024&lquot;$gt; Go ahead and change this to half your total RAM in MB. (So if you have 4GB total, you want to use 2GB, which is 2 x 1024 = 2048. I went up to 4GB, or 4096. You can certainly experiment with this number as needed, but half your total RAM is a good starting point.) Save the document, exit out of TextEdit or whatever you’re using, and close up any Finder windows you have open. This is also a good time to close any extraneous applications you have running as well, if you haven’t already.

Screenshot of an xml document with one line highlighted in purple.
The line of code you want to change

A hat tip to Youtuber Dubstep_FX for instructions on how to do this.

Run Minecraft!

Screenshot of BlueStacks running on MacOS, displaying the My Apps tab.
Windowed BlueStacks, displaying My Apps tab with Minecraft installed.

Start up BlueStacks again. If you haven’t previously, click on Play Store and download/install Minecraft. It should appear in the My Apps tab once it’s all done. (No, you can’t close the App Center tab. Just do your best to ignore it.) Fullscreen BlueStacks, click on Minecraft, log into XBox Live, and have fun!

An open Mac laptop displays the game Minecraft on the screen.
Behold, a MacBook Pro running Minecraft. (Pardon the mess…)


Screenshot of Minecraft (Bedrock Edition) video settings, with most advanced graphical settings turned off.
I’d recommend turning everything down that you can initially to reduce lag.

This setup clearly isn’t perfect or ideal, but thankfully Minecraft has some native settings within it that make configuring the mobile app into something useable with a keyboard/mouse or controller. Also even with quadrupling the allocated RAM there is still some perceivable lag, especially when connecting to an outside server/friend’s game as opposed to playing a local world. (it’s most noticeable in that there’s a delay in action triggering sound effects. Not too much of an issue for me since I generally play with sound off, but it would probably bother others.) Definitely tinker with your video settings to alleviate this, and if need be, close out of everything and repeat the instructions above to bump up your RAM allocation. Obviously, if you’re a Mac user, the ideal situation would be for Mojang/Microsoft to release Bedrock for Mac, so go to the feedback site, login with your XBox Live credentials and upvote/comment in the Bedrock engine on Mac & Linux thread. However in the meantime, I hope this post provides an acceptable stopgap measure.

No one warned me about the adorable dogs!

So I finally FINALLY had a few minutes of uninterrupted downtime today to play Super Mario Odyssey on the Switch. I hadn’t gotten out of the Sand Kingdom yet and both the Beasts are WAY ahead of me so putting in some catch up time was overdue. So I finished up with the boss (That is an awesome boss battle, btw!) and played a couple of the little minigames that unlock when you do… and then I ran into The Puppy.

So there’s a dog wearing a little pork-pie hat in the town just wandering around. If you follow him and try to play with him (translation, bonk him with Cappy a few times) he’ll lead you a little ways into the desert to a beam of light emitting from the sand. If you ground pound the beam, you get a Moon. Standard side quest stuff. What I was not ready for was for the dog to become your BFF for the rest of the time you stay in the Sand Kingdom, loyally trotting around after you wherever you go. You can even play fetch with him if you toss Cappy for him to chase, and it is the Cutest. Thing. EVER.

Go get it, boy!
Who’s the best boy in all the Kingdoms? It’s you.

And then this happens.

Noooooo, puppy. 🙁

He can’t get on the Odyssey with you. He’ll look distressed and then do this thing where he’ll stand up to follow you, and then sit, and then stand up again. And you’re like… nooo new puppy friend, I want to take you with me! But the game won’t let me!

Not gonna lie, I was a little bit heartbroken to have to take off for the Lake Kingdom without my hat wearing buddy. I guess in this game there can only be one faithful companion on this adventure. Damn you, Cappy!

Some thoughts on retro gaming, nostalgia and childhood stories

A section of the splash screen from Tetris (Original game boy edition)

So after a few weeks of streaming some of my current PC games, I’ve been trying to think of what sort of overall theme I want my Twitch/YouTube presence to have. I could keep mostly streaming Minecraft * but really there are a million MC streamers out there. Really there are about a millionty-one PC game and current console streamers already out there, and I feel like if I keep doing what I’m doing, even keeping the “my kids** and their friends are watching lol look at how bad I am at this okay self try not to cuss too much” angle, it’ll keep feeling a bit too much like a retread of what literally everyone else is doing.

This week I’ve been bopping around on Amazon staring lustfully at the ElGato HD60 because I was thinking about streaming my hilari-bad attempts at playing Splatoon 2 and Super Mario Odyssey*** but I can’t quite justify the cost of an HDMI capture card, not at this point in my fledgling streaming… experiment? Sure, let’s call it that. And then, poking around the cheaper options, I stumbled across RCA to USB converters and something in my brain said “Aha!” and immediately the theme from Zombies Ate My Neighbors started playing in my head.

Look, y’all know I’m an Old. Full disclosure, I’m staring down the barrel of 40. Not quite Pong old, or even quite Atari/NES old, but old enough to remember needing a box or a stool at the arcade because I was too tiny to reach the controls at five or six, old enough that having a personal computer (moment of silence for my Apple IIGS) was still a revolutionary thing to have, especially for a kid, and definitely old enough to remember the sheer unadulterated joy of finding Super Nintendo games under the Christmas tree in 1991, knowing that the console itself was under there somewhere (and my dad muttering something about “someone put the cart before the horse” but enjoying my moment anyway). I still have that exact console, which still works and get played with regularly in my house. I also still have a working Game Boy**** as well as all but one (two?) of my own games. So yeah. Old.

A while back, in a conversation I had about reissued game consoles that tend to hit the market every Christmas season, a friend of mine said something about not understanding the idea of spending money on retro-gaming. As far as games were concerned they didn’t want to keep wallowing in the past, but wanted to embrace the now or the future in terms of game consoles. This person has also previously stated a similar viewpoint on keeping/rereading books, because “what’s the point if you know how the story ends already?” Needless to say I respectfully but vehemently disagree, as my home library can attest. While I admittedly should go through and cull the books I am definitely never reading again, my library contains volumes I have acquired over the years – dusty hardbacks, Scholastic Book Club paperbacks I have meticulously repaired with scotch tape, gifts from friends – that I return to repeatedly to the point of almost considering the books themselves old friends.

Unsurprisingly, I have the same attitude towards games. While I had both Game Boy and SNES growing up, I only had a handful of games because I was 13, games were expensive and my parents, being Olds even at the time they were raising me, really didn’t see the point of constantly buying me new ones. I think I had less than 5 total for the SNES, only a couple more for the Game Boy and borrowed the rest from friends. Then high school started really kicking my ass and I didn’t have time for video games again until after college. As a result, I’ve played the ever loving crap out of my handful of games, and occasionally going back and revisiting them has the same feel as picking up a well-loved book. Sure, I’m older and wiser and not as blind to various flaws in the game (Example: that rampant Princess as Macguffin trope as well as other problematic gender stereotypes in Mario games – shoutout to Black Girl Gaming, btw) but picking up an old controller and executing a series of jumps that are still in your muscle memory a quarter century later is its own kind of weirdly comforting.

Anyway. I bought a cheap ass analog to USB converter dongle, and this weekend I’m going to see if I can get it to work. If I can, I’ll take y’all on my latest trip down Nostalgia Lane with me. Possibly with less cussing.

* I know, I know, I need to make a post about the Contemporary build eventually. lol I am bad at game blogging.

** by “kids” I also mean my former Minecraft server kids, they didn’t call me Server Mama for nothing.

*** insert pout about how much farther Husbeast and Wee Beast are than me – I’m still in what is essentially Mario Mexico because I’ve barely had time to play.

**** Not my original; my nephew drowned that one in a bucket of water in, like, 1997. I’m still bitter.

Not one, not two, not four, but THREE evening runs!

It has been a busy few days on the server between Saturday night and the usual Monday run. After a long busy Saturday I decided after I came home that I was going to put my feet up and play MCPE and I might as well do it with extra company, so I put the call out on the subreddit and even put a little announcement in /r/MCPE since it was a special irregular run. Had so many folk show up and hang and start building things that I decided I’d run Sunday night too. And of course, Monday night, because Monday Night. All three nights were great, despite periodic connection problems and spontaneous game crashes… people had a good time tho.

We have two new players late of Worst Sever Ever – Hachi and FatalDeath (or VitalLife depending on their level of humorous nihilism) We’ve also seen quite a bit of Henry10030 and DoublePositive, and of course 576875 and Swarm. At one point during Monday’s Survival/anything goes run (between game crashes) I managed to get the group pic in the last post. You know what I’m going to post it again because it was awesome.


We hit a server milestone on Monday! A good portion of that night’s game was at full five player + host capacity. That was certainly a thing! Never had that many on at once before.

the server... is full...
the server… is full… [/strongbad]
The 4 Guardians accidentally acquired names in an offhand comment to Hachi. They are now Icky, Stinky, Yucky and Clyde. As to which one is which… does it really matter? lol.

New Things built:
Swarmhut added an advertisement board during Monday’s run, having a forgotten I was intending to wipe and restore after the game. (Oops.) I liked the idea so much I put it back in after I restored the game, and also started to revamp the Pillar of Rules at spawn. I think it’s going to be more of a Fence of Rules eventually.

but was Kilroy here?
but was Kilroy here?

Hachi built an awesome house near Mt. Severmore!

Remains awesome despite me forgetting to turn off the GUI.
Remains awesome despite me forgetting to turn off the GUI.

I love the white umbrella/canopy above it – reminds me of something out of the Super Mario Mushroom Kingdom.

Meanwhile FatalDeath is working on a colossus standing across the road near spawn. So far they’ve gotten the skeleton completed but that by itself looks cool:

Fatal's Colossal Skeleton.
Fatal’s Colossal Skeleton.


Meanwhile, Swarmhut and 576875 are working on a minigame tournament space. Parkour! Fishing! Spleef! Chills! Thrills! You’ll pay for a whole seat but you’ll only need the edge! 

um, picture when they get further along.

Some of us wanted to go down to the basement of 5’s fishing house after the group picture to clobber zombies. There was a disorganized effort to reset spawns by sleeping, during which I tossed a bed out on one of the patios to sleep outside.

It's really hard to sleep with a creepy dog staring at you.
It’s really hard to sleep with a creepy dog staring at you.

After zombie clobbering fun was had, the last two hours of Monday’s game we decided it was all rules off. The free-for-all that resulted was epic, and the area around spawn just became this mess of creeper craters and forts:




Thank goodness for backups and restores. 😉 Even my PvP-disliking self got in on the fun in the last 45 minutes, which is where I found out that I’m a much better long range shot than short range shot. Which is to say both are terrible but I hit things/people more often at ridiculously long distances.

Things are certainly livening up on my little server, that’s for sure. There’s something a little humbling about reading a “hey, anyone know any good servers?” and seeing my name come up in recommendations immediately after Worst Server Ever. That’s a certainly a compliment! Couldn’t do this without my gang – there’s still some debate on whether they’re the ARBFans or the ARBiTors of Justice – They’re really the reason my little one-woman world has become such an awesome place to hang out and play.

Thanks, y’all. 🙂

Comfortable in ones own skin

Busy busy busy, working on stuff. GCT is coming along and I will hopefully be able to post a batch of new pictures by the end of the weekend, after I’ve had a few hours to really go nuts with working on it.

I know I’ve mentioned that one of the main reasons I’m looking forward to 0.11.0 is that finally, FINALLY we will get to have skins.

I am a black cisfemale gamer and any game that gives me the option of being a black woman in-universe is an extra bit of win. Its interesting because I feel like the first question anyone is going to ask me is why I would want to play as myself when games are fantasy and I could escape into being not-me. I see the point, but really it comes down to representation – I think I would be more inclined to want to escape playing myself if I had more opportunities to actually play myself, if that makes any sense.

I guess long story short? Dear lord, I’m tired of being Steve, lol.

One of the things I’ve been working in in anticipation of Yay! Skins! is, in fact a skin. I’d been playing with a bunch of skin editors on my phone and found Skinseed seems to work best for me. (The app itself is buggy and riddled with ads.) Anyway since I kinda such at pixel art type stuff I found a skin I liked as a base and spent about a week tinkering with until I had something that I both really really liked and that looked like, well, me. Only, you know, boxy and pixelated. Big wide world, meet ARBT:

No prizes for guessing my favorite color.
Gold sword sold separately.

For comparison’s sake, this is what I actually look like. On a good day anyway.

Aside from hair color and glasses, reasonably accurate.

Aside from it being red yarn instead of purple and, well, glasses, I think it’s a reasonably good likeness. 🙂 I’m really happy with how the skin came out, and I can’t wait to actually play as her. Me. Whatever! I mean, sure I’ll still sound like a burly dude with a goatee when I get hit, but hey I’ll look awesome doing it. Even better, I’ll look like me doing it.

First open MCPE server run!

Well, after getting the domain and port forwarding right and figuring out FINALLY how to switch the main world back to Survival (I’ll post a tutorial on both later), I posted a “hey my world’s open, come visit!” notice on /r/MCPE this evening. I wasn’t expecting too many visitors – hell, I would have been happy if one person showed up. Happily I had four, and to those four, especially /u/Palcto and /u/EclipseSun, I say thank you for making my first MCPE server run pretty epic.

Sadly the allotted 3h of game was cut a little short by an incoming call from the husband (note to self, Plug PE does NOT play nice with phone calls). Such is the hazard of running a server on one’s iPhone. But still I’d say a pretty successful first run and I’ll definitely be doing it again.

Good Stuff:

I am frankly flabbergasted that it took two hours into a 2.5ish hour run for the game to crash. Between the general bugginess of MCPE especially with Plug PE going, and the unreliability of my net connection lately (sigh *COMCAST*) I was expecting the game to be yo-yoing way more than it did. Nope. Pretty smooth and stable. We only seemed to have problems when teleporting players with laggier connections around, making them fall through a not-loaded-yet world. Oops.

Bad Stuff:

Plug PE’s give command is borked. I can .g stuff to myself fine, not so much to other people. Also had a frustrating problem with amazing disappearing/reappearing chests. >_< Also the .in command does NOT hide you from mobs. I spent most of the game invisible near spawn (mostly so people didn’t spawn into oncoming zombies) and would get knocked about by spiders and skeleton arrows constantly. Yay diamond armor I guess. 😛

Interesting Stuff:

It apparently takes about 2.5 hours to see almost everything in the main world. Palcto found just about everything (I suspect the Hellfire Library was missed, as it’s a little off the beaten path and possibly the maze under the castle). Something for next time then.

Stuff to fix/think about for next time:

It’s been so long since I’ve run/played this world in survival that I’ve not only forgotten what’s in all the chests everywhere (answer: lots of good stuff still) but I’d forgotten to do things like leave minecarts in the subway stations for folks to use. Whoops.

Player Pictures!

EclipseSun has a different shader pack, so I asked him to post the screenshots he took, and holy crap, some of the builds look amazing in it. Palcto also took screenshots of his adventures.