Fixing the black screen issue on Emperor running using Crossover on macOS

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If you are getting a black screen issue on Emperor using Crossover on macOS, here’s how you can get it fixed. Emperor: Rise of the Middle Kingdom (RotMK) is a pretty good strategy game set in ancient China and its still plays well today. Being only a windows game, you will need to run in on an emulation software like Crossover as I did. The problem is Emperor supports only 800×600 and 1024×768 screen resolutions and if your screen resolution is anything other than these two, it messes up the game.

emperor game screenshot black screen issue fixed

Installing Emperor: Rise of the Middle Kingdom using Crossover

Installing Emperor is pretty straight forward using Crossover. Obviously you will need to get Crossover and Emperor. I purchased Emperor from where I can easily download an offline installer that is DRM free. I highly recommend this approach as it makes it a lot simpler to install it on Crossover. If you purchase it through Steam, you will need to install Steam, and then Emperor on Crossover. Once you downloaded the offline installer for Emperor and have installed Crossover, the following video will walk you through the installation steps.

You will notice there are some errors after the installer completes installing Emperor. You can just click ok and ignore the errors. Don’t run the game immediately after the installation. You will need to change the Wine configuration on Crossover before the game runs properly.

Error, group does not exist! Check your syntax! (ID: “2”)

Fixing the black screen issue on Emperor: RotMK

Crossover, or Wine specifically, has a configuration to change the screen settings. Open up the Wine Configuration to get to the settings. You can find it on the Control Panel section of Crossover.

Getting to the Wine Configuration on Crossover

Make sure you are selecting the right bottle for the Wine Configuration. Next, click on the Graphics tab, then enable Emulate a virtual desktop and set the desktop size to 1024 x 768.

Set Crossover to emulate a 1024x768 desktop for Emperor

This SHOULD technically resolve the issue already. I tested this and it works well on my Macbook that is running with an external 27” 4K monitor. You can see it from the video below. NOTE: The screen recording of the video below captures everything at the resolution of my display. Thus, the game shows up as a small part of the video, but in reality it shows up full screen on my monitor.

If it still does not work and you still see a black screen, try pressing F5 to toggle between full screen and windowed mode. This might force the game to display the menu again. You can also try to use F6 to set the game resolution at 800×600 then F7 again to reset it back to 1024×768.

Note, you can find all the hot keys for Emperor here.

Option 2: Set Emperor to run windowed mode by default

If you don’t want to go through all the trouble with the full screen mode to begin with, you can also set the game to run immediately in windowed mode right from the start. Download this version of the emperor.inf file. I’ve renamed it with a .windowed so that you don’t immediately overwrite the original file when you copy it over.

You can find where Crossover stores the files of the bottles at ~/Library/Application Support/Crossover. On finder, use CMD+SHIFT+G to go to the specific folder. There you can click into the Bottles folder and you will find where the game files are installed. The screenshots below will walk you through where to find it.

Where Crossover stores all the bottles on macOS
Fixing the black screen issue on Emperor

Once you get into the folder where Emperor is installed, copy over the emperor.inf.windowed file. Rename the original copy so that you can restore it back if you want to. And then rename the .windowed one back to just .inf. Now, when you run Emperor, it will immediately load in a window.

Hope this help to play Emperor on your Mac. Also, do let me know if you found an easier way to fix the problem.

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3 Responses

  1. michael says:

    Hello, i also have this issue with the black screen but im playing it on a mac via Porting Kit, not Crossover.
    i could not find a way to try your first solution since i couldn’t find any way to “Emulate a virtual desktop” in the Porting Kit Wine settings. So i tried your second solution to run the game in windowed mode, i downloaded the emperor.inf file, replaced and renamed it and after opening up the game the intro sequence was playing in windowed mode but it was only a black screen and then when i reached the title screen /menu the window changed size and became extremely small, only a few pixels wide. i could make out some colored pixels so i suspect that it is actually showing the menu instead of only a black screen… but yeah, the window is super tiny. this problem happend both on my macbook and on my mac mini with an external monitor. any idea whats happening here?
    thanks in advance 🙂

  2. Ken Ng says:

    Do you have a 4K external monitor? 😄 I’m unfamiliar with Porting Kit so not sure how much help I can provide. However, Emperor: ROTMK runs only on 800×600 and 1024×768 screen resolutions. Perhaps you can try to run the game in low resolution mode on macOS (right-click the app -> Get Info -> Check “Open in Low Resolution”) to try and get it to open in a bigger window? Alternatively, try to also use F5 (toggle full screen vs windowed), F6 (run at 800×600) and F7 (run at 1024×768) and see any of that resolution flipping helps? Lastly, perhaps try to force your external monitor to run at 1024×768 resolution and then run Emperor in full screen mode? I can’t think of anything else.

  3. Lukas says:

    Thank you,

    this fix even helped me by an Steam isssue where the login screen kept black.

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