If you have installed Four Winds Mah Jong on Windows Pro or Enterprise, you can play the game on a Windows, Linux, macOS or iOS client by using free Remote Desktop App (or equivalent desktop client, included in the operating system). Or you can use a third-party app like Splashtop Personal, or Chrome Remote Desktop, to host the game on Windows Home computers, as well.
Normally the connection is created within a local area network (wired or wireless), but can be extended to WAN connections. The experience especially within LAN is close to running a local app, and can ideally near the experience of using a native app on a non-Windows client. This post shows how to establish the connection.
When streaming within LAN, all native features of the game are accessible to all clients, including multiplayer games. You can play the game with your family e.g. by using mixed devices, e.g. Windows/macOS/Linux laptops, iPads and Android tablets (or even, if only barely, large-screen mobile phones, as shown in the screenshot above).
Using Windows Remote Desktop Connection (requires Windows Pro or Enterprise)
The easiest way to set up the hosting computer is to download Microsoft Remote Desktop Assistant at https://www.microsoft.com/en-us/download/details.aspx?id=50042. If you use the assistant, you get easily the IP address that you need to establish the connection from the client side. An alternative method would be setting up the remote connection manually. In recent versions of Windows 10 you can do this from Settings > System > Remote Desktop, where you can access the related settings like turning off the automatic sleep mode. On older systems, the easiest method to establish remote desktop connections is to right click the My Computer icon on the Windows Desktop, choose Properties and then the Remote tab (this can still be accessed on Windows 10 Control Panel by clicking System > Advanced system settings > Remote.
If you use Linux or macOS computer, or iOS, Android or Windows Mobile device, open the Remote Desktop app (available for free from Microsoft Store, Google Play, or App Store), and add your remote PC. Select the remote PC, and then wait for the connection to complete. An alternative method would be using the Remote Desktop Connection desktop interface (it can normally be located by searching “Remote Desktop Connection” from the Start Menu Search box, but if not, it resides in C:\Windows\System32\mstsc.exe). The app has the benefit of supporting better display scaling (useful especially if either of your computers uses 4K or very high-resolution display but the other does not).
Go to https://www.splashtop.com/personal to download and install the Windows XP, 7, 8 or 10 host (“Spashtop Streamer”) on the computer where you have Four Winds Mah Jong installed, and a client app for Windows XP, 7, 7 or 10, Windows Mobile, Mac OS X / macOS, iOS (iPhone and iPad), Android or Kindle Fire to be installed on your client device.
Follow the instructions for creating a Splashtop account and setting up the apps.
You can use Splashtop Personal free within LAN. At an extra annual charge, you can extend the connection to operate across the Internet.
Recent developments in virtualization, emulation and techniques that allow running of applications developed for “foreign” platforms as if they were native ones, have made it relatively easy, and often free, to use the same app in mixed environments.
This post takes a closer look on one of this techniques, namely Wine (acronym for “Wine Is Not an Emulator”), that allows running native Windows software on POSIX-compliant operating systems, such as Linux, macOS, & BSD, without need for a Windows license.
Here we install the game on macOS Sierra / High Sierra (the screenshots are from Sierra).
First you need to allow your system to install apps from “App Store and identified developers” (or possibly “Anyone”, depending on what else needs to be installed other than XQuartz and Wine). Earlier macOS versions let you alter the default setting (that allows apps only from the App Store) by setting the Gatekeeper option under System Preferences > Security & Privacy > General, but High Sierra hides the other two options and you need to enable them by opening the Terminal (in Finder, click Go > Utilities and open Terminal), and type the following (you need to enter your user password to be able to change the setting):
sudo spctl --master-disable
After this you can go and change the Gatekeeper setting.
You first need to have XQuartz 2.7.7. (or later) installed. Visit https://www.xquartz.org to download it. Click the .pkg file in Downloads to mount the installer, then launch it to go through the installation.
Download the .pkg file, click it in Downloads to mount the installer, then launch it to start the installation. During the installation, you may be interrupted by prompts to install support for Mono (for .NET applications) and Gecko (for apps that use HTML internally). Accept to install these support packages.
After the installation is complete, you can go to http://www.4windsmj.com/downloads01.htm and download the latest version of Four Winds Mah Jong. Once downloaded, click the executable setup package (normally 4W2Full24.exe) in Downloads. It will automatically be launched in Wine and installed in correct location. A Windows shortcut is placed on the desktop, but it naturally does not work. You need to replace it with a Mac alias.
Open your Home folder (in Finder, click Go > Home or press Cmd+Shift+H). Now make hidden files and folders visible by pressing Cmd+Shift+. (dot). This shows the hidden .wine folder where your Windows environment is installed:
Double click the .wine folder and open folders until you have 4Winds2 folder open (the folder path relative to .wine is, as shown in the image below: drive_c > Program Files > 4Winds2:
Here, click with the secondary mouse button on 4Winds2.exe to create an alias, then drag and drop it on your desktop.
Launch Four Winds by double clicking the alias.
Once launched, go to File > Preferences, and under User Interface > General option page (accessed by the category tree on the left), disable color management by clearing the check mark from the Use color management option:
You may also need to Bypass DirectX sound (under the same option page), and choose a MIDI file (on the Themes option page) for the “Background” and “Win of the game” music, or set their values to “none”. (the default music comes as .mp3 files which require DirectX). If you do not change the sound settings, you can turn off background music from the Options menu so that an unsupported feature is not used.
If you have a one-button mouse, click the Game Controls button, then change the mouse control setting for discarding from “Right click on raised tile” to “Click on raised tile”. On the same dialog box, you may need to uncheck Use custom cursors (with recent Wine builds, animated and custom cursors seem to be working fine, but if the game suddenly freezes, one possible cause is the use of custom mouse cursors).
Close the Preferences dialog box and click Help > Register to enter your registration name and number. Then choose Game > New Game to start a new game with preferred rules.
You may want to test with different game boards by using the options under the View > Game boards sub menu to find the board size and layout that works best on your screen. Note that the quality of graphics is mediocre compared to the original but looks slightly better on boards that have not been scaled. If you choose a 24-bit theme, scaling has a better quality: e.g., for the default graphics, choose File > Preferences, then under User Interface > Themes, choose “Four Winds (24-bit)”.
And there you are, running Four Winds Mah Jong on your Mac, without needing a Windows license. The quality is not as good as when using VMWare or VirtualBox (both free), or Parallels Desktop, not to mention running the game on real Windows on a BootCamp partition, but at least you can now play proper Mahjong with multitude of rule options offline on your Mac.
Running Four Winds on Linux
The procedure is basically the same as on macOS, though installation happens from within the Terminal. WineHQ has instructions for installing Wine on several different Linux systems. Below is a screenshot of Four Winds running on Ubuntu 16.04 using Wine 3.0.