Getting 3D android apps run on PC with AndroVM

Last updated on June 17, 2013 @ 6 Comments

I’ve been with BlueStacks for a while to play android apps on my PC, now I’d like to share about getting AndroVM run with 3d hardware accelerator enabled. Earlier I tried to get WhatsApp running on AndroVM but got no luck, it’s always said that they can’t identify the devices. Although I’ve read somewhere that someone has made it to enable WhatsApp run on it, but i’ll just stick with BlueStacks for now.

It’s not about WhatsApp, but about 3D Android apps running on PC such as 3d games apps, other graphics editor apps and many other 3D apps that worth to try. But before getting those apps running on PC, there are several things that we must know first.
Watch this tutorial on Youtube

Whats is AndroVM

AndroVM is basically an Android OS that run on Virtual Machines and in this case VirtualBox.

Softwares needed

Simply download latest VirtualBox from its official website. When download finished, double click the VirtualBox installer and follow install instruction. Accept driver installation during setup and also extension pack download and installation on VirtualBox first run.

Accept virtualbox extension pack download

Ipmporting AndroVM

Download the latest AndoVM and AndroVMPlayer for Windows from the official website. Choose tp version with gapps & houdini, this version bundled with Google play. Wee need it to browse and download android Apps from Google Play store.

androvm and androvmplayer-64 download

Extract AndroVMPlayer to specific folder, add shortcut to desktop if necessary because we’ll need it later for Hardware OpenGL enable display. AndroVM with OpenGL hardware enable will use AndroVMPlayer as the external display window.

import androvm

On VirtualBox window, open File menu -> Import Appliance and click “Open Appliance“. Navigate to AndroVM file and select the AndroVM, Open and click Next and then click Import. This will import AndroVM into VirtuaBox.

Configuring VirtualBox for AndroVM

On this step we going to configure VirtualBox to support 3D hardware acceleration display for AndroVM.

  • On VirtualBox machine list, right click on AndroVM and click Settings, or simply click on Settings button above the list.
  • On setting menu, click Display to show display settings.
  • Slide to right to increase Video memory to the highest available (128 MB).
  • Check “Enable 3D Acceleration” extended feature to enable 3D hardware acceleration.

3D hardware acceleration enable setting on virtualbox

  • Do not save and click on Network menu to proceed to network setting.
  • On Adapter 1, change “Attached to” to “Host Only Adapter“.
  • Click “OK” to save setting.
  • This setting is required in order to connect AndroVM to AndroVMPlayer’s display upon  Hardware OpenGL enabled setting. AndroVM will show nothing but log without AndroVMPlayer display when we use Hardware OpenGL display.

virtualbox network setting to enable 3d hardware acceleration opengl

Configuring AndroVM to use Hadware OpenGL display

Now that VirtualBox ready for 3D acceleration, we going to configure AndroVM to use Hadrware OpenGL on AndroVM setting menu.

  • Select AndroVM machine and run the machine by clicking Start button on VirtualBox.
  • During AndroVM first boot you will be asked for Google account, fill it with your current account. It required in order to download apps from Google play store.
  • Continue to follow first boot configuration until Android ready and show main menu.
  • On right menu we can see several button; Web Browser, Messenger, Apps and Widgets menu, Contact and Phone menu.

AndroVM setting menu

  • Click on Apps and Widgets Menu (center button) to show current installed apps.
  • Now on the top left apps list, click on “AndroVM configuration” button.

androvm configuration opengl and starusbar

  • You will see several setting here, check on “Hardware OpenGL” to enable Hardware OpenGL, and you may also check on “Force StatusBar” to enable StatusBar that contain navigation buttons.
  • Save and you’ll be asked to reboot Android, click Yes.

While AndroVM restarting you may now run AndroVMPlayer by clicking androvmplayer.exe on its extracted folder. In this moment if android ready to start, it will keep on waiting state until AndroVMPlayer run. The android windows will now attached to AndroVMPlayer display windows and accelerated with OpenGL (3D hardware acceleration enabled).

3D acceleration on Nvdia Optimus Laptop

You will notice greatly different performance between AndroVM with hardware OpenGL and without it. But this setting not really working on integrated video graphic cards. It will work but the display will show flickering windows on AndroVMPlayer. And this also happening on laptop with dual VGA card for example Nvidia with Optimus technology.

When nvidia VGA activated the display performance will run smooth. The problem is that nvidia somehow not always triggered to active even with 3D hardware enabled on AndroVM. The solution is to add AndroVMPlayer to Program Setting list on nvidia control panel.

  • Open NVIDIA Control Panel by right click desktop or by double-clicking nvidia system tray icon.
  • On Task selection menu, select “Manage 3D settings“.
  • Click “Program Settings” tab.

Add to NVIDIA program settings

  • Click “Add” to add application, and navigated to AndroVMPlayer application folder.
  • Select “AndroVMplayer.exe” and click Open.
  • On “Prefered Graphic Processor” select High-performance NVIDIA processor.
  • Apply and restart AndroVM.

It will now use NVIDIA every time and the performance will away better than before.

Download Android Apps from Google Play Store

Next step is to test your 3D acceleration setting by download and run 3D games apps on it.

Install 3D android apps on androvm

  • Simply go to Apps and Widgets menu, and click Play Store to open Google play store.
  • Find any 3D apps or games on it (usually has 3D words on the apps name, but not always).
  • Download and run. Sometime the apps just hang or not responding (usually uninstall and re-installing the apps do the trick).
  • And also some apps tend to change the display into Phone style, which rotate the layout 90 degrees. When you stuck with it, just press “ESC” until the apps show quit menu.

Have fun.

M Riza

Article by M Riza

Is a blogger since 2007, founder and editor of Oa Ultimate. Working as a network administrator, computer technician, database and web maintainer | Twitter | G+

6 Comments → “Getting 3D android apps run on PC with AndroVM”

  1. Olivier


    Great post !

    I got it all working, but when my 3D application is launched, it is not possible to click at all.

    In regular apps when i click with my mouse androVM reacts as if i touch the screen, all is ok.

    But in 3D apps like mini motors racing or heroes of order and chaos, i can’t click ! I see my mouse, but i can’t click.

    Do you have any clue ?

    • M Riza

      Yea, i got the same problem too on several apps (mostly RPG games).
      I guess it because rpg games download additional data on its first run. Some how this process make the game not responding. I let one of the game hanging for more than 1 hour while i’m busy doing my work, and suddenly the game running fine.
      What confused me is that there is no download process/indicator.
      And also i got several apps and games not working for AndroVM, it run at the first time and then stop responding.

  2. test

    3D apps and Heroes o&c only blacksceen, dont start´it…

  3. test

    I have Soundblaster xFi on my system but no sound.. i think game need soundfeetback and cant find any.

    • M Riza

      Unfortunately yes, Heroes o&c was one of the non working 3D apps for AndroVM ever since i posted this article (I’m sorry about the screenshot, i put it there right before i download the game). AndroVM is about to move to commercial with a new name “Genymotion” (there will be also a free version for us) with many new features. I just hope that the new AndroVM will include fixs for this problem.

  4. Jie

    Can u try Ragnarok Valkyrie Uprising. Cos mine is not working. 🙁

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