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It is possible to run Unity 3D in VirtualBox on a Mac?

I'm having a horrible time with Unity 3D in Ubuntu 11.10 running in a VirtualBox VM in OS X. Such a hard time, in fact, that I'm about to give up and conclude that it simply isn't possible to use Ubuntu 3D in a configuration like this.

The problem with is that windows simply do not render. I've found that killing Nautilus makes the problem go away, but that's really not much of a solution.

I have installed the guest additions and am running the VM with 2048 MB RAM, 128 MB video memory, and have enabled 3D acceleration.

I've tried all this on several Macintoshes with no luck. Unity 2D, on the other hand, works fine across the board. It's also worth noting that I was able to run Compiz on Ubuntu 10.04 in the same VM environment with no problems.

Any advice or experience would be greatly appreciated.

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Well what did you expected it's Virtual Machine!...Heavy 3D stuff is prone to not render like it should. – Uri Herrera Nov 28 '11 at 2:20
I beg to differ, Uri. Gnome and Compiz have worked marvelously well in VirtualBox for me, as does Compiz under XFCE4 on Arch. Compiz and Unity really aren't heavy 3D, frankly. – Roshambo Nov 28 '11 at 2:25
It's heavy for a VM... – Uri Herrera Nov 28 '11 at 2:59
Regardless, Unity 3D shouldn't fail completely on a VM. If nothing else, I'd expect frames to drop. I'm more or less convinced it's a bug in VirtualBox. – Roshambo Nov 28 '11 at 3:25
up vote 4 down vote accepted

A simple solution for this issue can be found on the forums:

In gnome-tweaks (advanced settings, you should install it, it is not there by default) , under Desktop, choose "have file manager handle the desktop" to "off". This apparently makes the invisible windows bug to disappear. The price (at least, the first one that comes to my mind) is that you do not have icons on the desktop anymore. But you can use nautilus, there is no need to install an alternative file manager. And dont have to do go through the "killall nautilus" routine every time you login.

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Brilliant, this works perfectly. Thanks so much! – Roshambo Dec 14 '11 at 15:28

I tried running 11.10 on the latest build of Virtualbox and it simply won't run Unity 3D.

I eventually gave up and am now running Parallels Desktop for all my Ubuntu needs and it works pretty well.

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Ah, very good to know. I'd really prefer to go the open source route and stick with VirtualBox, though. In the meantime, I've switched to XFCE4 and Compiz on Arch Linux which works fine, but is sadly not quite as polished as Ubuntu. – Roshambo Nov 28 '11 at 2:22

Try another Virtualization software. Parallels for Mac is pretty good and VMware Workstation is good as far as I know. VirtualBox never gave me the result I was expecting.

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