Find out how to play Age of Empires in widescreen HD on macOS Catalina, putting more game on screen, and losing the black border to the side of the screen.
Here at MacRetro we have been hard at work upgrading our retro gaming environment ready for the 64bit era ushered in by macOS Catalina.
As a result of Apple deprecating 32bit app support we've had to change our architecture for playing old windows games on Mac. With WINE and PlayOnMac no longer supported, we have build a Windows XP virtual machine in Parallels Desktop Lite. As well as introducing some cost, this also introduces more possibilities as a much wider range of programs can be run. Full article on that coming soon.
Most old windows games run on 5:4 or 4:3 ratios, and Age of Empires is no exception. While most laptop screens run on 16:10 or 16:9 resolution - leaving a black letterbox border around both sides of the screen.
Helpfully a patch has been produced to allow you to use a higher resolution, and the full width of your screen - download the patch here.
You need to already have Age of Empires installed - once you have done so, run the patch that you have just downloaded, and make your way through the installer, which is fairly self explanatory.
Once the patch has finished running the new (old) launcher window will open up. From here you can load up the settings menu, and choose from a much broader range of resolutions - on our MBP we run 1680 x 1050. Now you can launch Age of Empires in HD using the HD Launcher menu item. You can still play old school using the original shortcuts too!
Once you select the appropriate resolutions, more of the game map should fit on your screen, and your Age of Empires install will fill the screen.
For comparison purposes below - the opening screen of the Age of Empires learning campaign - first from the vanilla install, and finally with the patched UI.
Enjoy your empire building. Game on!