Performance Problems with Guitar Hero III on Mac

What does a guy have to do to rock? (on a Mac)

A lot, apparently. We’ve been working with Aspyr recently due to their smash-hit game simply not performing on a very nicely equipped system.

The problem we’ve run into: Screen Stutter in the Desert Rock Tour and Kaiju Superdome. In particular: the camera views when looking up to the stage from the front row as well as sweeping camera pans from the back row to the stage.

On a quad 2.66 Xeon with 5GB RAM, a 500GB SATA HD, and a GeForce 7300 card with 256MB RAM the stutter in these areas is noticeable and seriously affects gameplay.

To attempt to remedy the situation we:

  • obviously shut down all other programs
  • made sure GH3 was patched (version 1.1 is the latest at press time)
  • made sure we were on the latest OS (Mac 10.5.2 at the time with the “graphics update” package)
  • set the game’s graphics mode to “boring” (eg: lowest resolution, low crowd**, no special effects) (low crowd is not NO crowd– they just remove the crowd near the stage and thin the crowd in the back)
  • killed the dashboard to remove the last bits of network connectivity (many widgets connect frequently to the internet which can cause hiccups)
  • created a new account on the system to use
  • upgraded the graphics card to an ATI X1900 with 512MB RAM

Once we hit that last step we knew there was a real problem with the game, which aspyr has finally admitted to. There is another patch in the works but there is little info as to what exactly they are patching and how so there is not much we can do but wait.

In the meantime, if you are experiencing some performance issues that you think might be related to your widgets this article tells you how to kill them (and restart them later)

Apparently Aspyr is not allowed to mess with the widgets due to some legal issues with Apple but end users have a little more flexibility.

To that end, I’ve used Automator to create two programs that you can try to see if your performance is improved somewhat:

Rock sets the dashboard to “off”, restarts the dock (making the changes take effect) and launches GH3 (presuming that you’ve quit your other running applications and that your game is in /Applications/Guitar Hero III folder)


Done sets the dashboard to “on” and restarts the dock to resume normal computer use



You can download them here.

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