Problem Children

Files, FAQs, and other things to help you get your games running before you start asking questions.

Problem Children

Postby Nicht Sehr Gut » 2002-11-17 @ 05:17

This thread is here for the sole purpose of listing games that are frequently difficult to run on modern machines, (especially NT-based PC's) and possible suggestions on how to get them working.

It should cover both DOS and Windows titles, but DOS titles will be the primary concern due to their inconsistencies with each other. Some used only base memory (the first 640k), other need EMS, some need XMS, some need DPMI, some need VCPI, some need DOS "extenders" or a combination of the previously mentioned. Note that getting the program to run at all is often a separate issue from audio support. This is why you should always try problematic problems without audio to "narrow" the list of potential causes for your problem.

Most all of this information is available by searching the board, but here the information is consolidated, removing all chit-chat and gererally irrelevant discussion.

This is a "work-in-progress".
Last edited by Nicht Sehr Gut on 2002-11-17 @ 20:42, edited 1 time in total.
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Postby Nicht Sehr Gut » 2003-1-06 @ 22:48

BUILD Games
including:
Duke Nukem 3D
Blood
Shadow Warrior
Redneck Rampage
Witchhaven
TekWar
Extreme Paintbrawl
Powerslave
NAM/Napalm
WWII GI


These are multi-resolution DOS games.
Screen resolutions range from 320x200 (basic VGA display) up to 1600x1200 (VESA) resolution, with 640x480 mode being the most common.

There are some problems that you can come across with these games when trying to play it on a modern system, especially for the NT-based operating systems which do not have DOS.
----------------------------------------------------------------------------
UPDATE for Duke3D
Since this post was made, 3D Realms has released the source code to Duke3D. This, essentially, was the code used to make all of the BUILD games you see listed. With the release of the code, Source Ports become a real possibility, which would "fix" virtually every problem with these games. Be aware, however, that only Duke3D's source was released. For other titles to be ported, either the people responsible for them would need to release their game-specific code, or really clever programmers would have to modify the Duke3D code to "fill in" for whatever is missing. For now, only Duke 3D has a reliable Windows port.

There are actually a number of ports, so far the most useable I have seen is JonoF's Duke Nukem 3D Port. It is only for Duke3D v1.5, so make sure your game is patched up to v1.5. If not, use 3DRealms patch to fix that. You will need your CD for the patch to work.

So if you have Duke3D 1.5 (="Duke3D Atomic"+1.5 patch or "Duke3D"+"Plutonium PAK"+1.5 patch), you can grab JonoF's port here. Drop the files inside your Duke3D directory, run the new SETUP.EXE, configure to your personal tastes, then have fun. Be aware that it is still an early release and there may be "bugs".

For people with the "plain" (1.3) version of Duke3D...
...you can try one of the other ports, like the Rancid port. Be aware, however, that the source code that was released was for v1.5 and that makes ports compatible with v1.3 more difficult. Also, there are still some serious bugs in these ports. Can't give any advice on them as they are in a constant state of change. You can experiment with them or stick with DOS version and try the suggestions below.

For all the Non-Duke3D fans, all you can do for the moment is follow the suggestions below and hope that someone will create a port for your specific game in the future.
----------------------------------------------------------------------------
Common Problem #1: For Windows 9x/ME
You were entering a sewer pipe (Duke3D), a pool of water (Shadow Warrior), or picked up a "Reflective Shots" sphere (BLOOD) and the game crashed.

When most of these games were being programmed, DOS was still "king" for games, but Win9x was starting to become more popular. So even though they were made for DOS, most will behave themselves within Windows.
However their code was written with ISA SoundCards in mind. The reverb effect works fine on ISA, but has compatibility problems with PCI SoundCards. Some PCI soundcards seem more well-behaved than others.

Solution #1
For Duke3D and "Shadow Warrior" (the primary offenders), Ken Silverman has created patches that remove the "reverb" audio effect to prevent crashing.
http://www.advsys.net/ken/build.htm

Common Problem #2: Windows NT/2000 only
No digital audio.

Long version
Windows NT uses the virtual DOS machine (VDM). Due to a limitation in the Intel architecture when running a process in protected mode at a privilege level above zero, the popf instruction that would normally restore the interrupt state does not cause a trap and hence the virtual interrupt state in the VDM gets out of step with what the program expects and further virtual interrupts such as timer, mouse or sound card are not delivered to the program.

Short version
When using Windows NT or 2000, digital audio in BUILD games will not work.

Solution #1
Use CLI2NOP to "process" the game. Please note that this is a hack, and will reduce the game's stability (more likely to crash).
Still, it's better than no digital audio at all.

Remember that you will still need to use an audio emulation tool (as in Common Problem #3) to get digital audio.

For more info, please read the FAQ for CLI2NOP

Common Problem #3: XP only
Terrible audio quality

XP has a form of SoundBlaster emulation that is built into the XP operating system. It is roughly the equivalent of the SoundBlaster v2.0 8-Bit ISA (Mono) soundcard. It works, but its performance/audio quality varies.

Solution #1
Use SoundFX 2000, a sound emulation tool for Windows NT/2000
http://www.softsystem.co.uk/page3.htm
Commercial 8Bit/16Bit SoundBlaster emulation tool

Solution #2
Use VDMSound, a sound emulation tool for Windows NT/2000/XP
http://ntvdm.cjb.net/
Freeware 8Bit/16Bit SoundBlaster emulation tool

This is the more common tool. Highly recommended.

NOTE: To use VDMSound at it's fullest, this is the recommended install procedure:

Install Vlad's VDMSound program.
VDMSound v2.04 at http://www.ece.mcgill.ca/~vromas/vd...load/index.html

After installation is completed, copy the files from the 2.04 Update zipfile at http://vdmsound.sourceforge.net/files/ on top of the original files (wherever you installed them, the default for this is
C:\Program Files\VDMSound\).

Then download and install the GUI Launcher VDMSLaunchPad.v1.0.0.7, also at : http://vdmsound.sourceforge.net/files/


Common Problem #4: For Windows NT/2000/XP Only
Game starts up with a blank screen or a "locked-up" screen image.

Possible VESA incompatibility with your video card. VESA is not supported as well on NT-based operating systems.
(GeForce3 is known to have this problem)

Create a batch file to start the game with easy to remember name like GO.BAT
Use NOLFB.COM or similar tool to force use of an alternate video mode.
C:\PATHWAY\NOLFB.COM
DUKE3D.EXE
Edit to match your VESA tool's name, the game name and the pathway for both.

NOTE: NOLFB must be resident in memory for it to work. Use of the batch script assures this. You cannot simply double-click NOLFB, then click the game. That will not work.

NOTE #2: Your command prompt should be in full-screen mode before you start NOLFB to make sure the VESA mode starts up properly. Hit Alt+Enter to switch if you are in windowed mode.

If using a VDMSound Shortcut, choose the "Enable basic VESA support" option from its "Properties".

Common Problem #5: For Windows XP Only
Game locks up at the first sound of digital audio (usually immediately after the game starts).

There is a fixPOPF bug if you are
1) running XP
2) you installed "Update 1" on top of VDMSound v2.04
3) you installed the GUI and
4) if you used the GUI (or the GUI's VLP shortcut) to launch a BUILD game (or certain other games)

BUILD games and a few others have a bug when used with latest updated VDMSound+GUI.

Solution #1
Try using the right-click "Run with VDMS" shortcut that does not have the musical note on the game's executable (or batch file) and also for the game's SETUP program.

Note that the "Run with VDMS" shortcut that does not have the musical note activates the default "command line" version of VDMSound, which means that it will ignore these settings placed in the VDMSound shortcut and use the default VDMSound settings instead.

These will be for a SoundBlaster 16 with an IRQ of 7, Address 220, an 8-bit DMA of 1, then a 16-Bit DMA of 5 and uses the General MIDI configuration.

Solution #2
It is possible to use a "Brute Force" workaround that allows you to still use the GUI with BUILD games, although it will usually incur an additional performance hit.

On your game's .VLP shortcut (created by the GUI the first time it's run), get it's properties, click "Advanced", go to the "Troubleshooting" tab, "check" the "Custom Configuration" box and paste the following into the open text area:
[VDMServicesProvider.config]
fixPOPF = 1
Last edited by Nicht Sehr Gut on 2003-7-15 @ 16:42, edited 1 time in total.
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Postby Nicht Sehr Gut » 2003-1-06 @ 23:24

Death Rally

Death Rally is a 640x400 resolution DOS game.
Portions of the game use 640x480mode.

There are a some problems that you can come across with this game when trying to play it on a modern system.

Common Problem #1:
First things first, installing the game. Unfortunately, when "Death Rally" was being programmed, 64MB of memory was uncommon. So a PC with 64 megabytes or more of memory will likely confuse the memory check portion of the game installer and report this error:
You do not have enough memory on this computer to install Death Rally.
You must have an 8Mb machine to install and play this game.


Solution
A patch (dr64mb.zip) that replaces the function of the CD installer is available here
http://www.3drealms.com/rally/
Or
here
http://www.remedy.fi/dr/download.html

When you run it, you will need to give it the LETTER that represents your CD-ROM.

Common Problem #2:
Horribly sluggish performance.

Solution
Unless you are playing in the DOS Mode of Win9x. you'll need to add the /w parameter to the RALLY.EXE game executable.

RALLY.EXE /W

(This was originally intended for Win9x, but it applies to the NT versions of Windows as well.)

Common Problem #3: For Windows NT/2000/XP Only
Game starts up with a blank screen or a locked-up screen image.

Possible VESA incompatibility with your video card
(GeForce3 is known to have this problem).

Solution
Create a batch file to start the game with easy to remember name like GO.BAT
Use NOLFB.COM or similar tool to force use of an alternate video mode.
C:\PATHWAY\NOLFB.COM
RALLY.EXE /W
Edit to match your VESA tool's name and pathway.

NOTE: NOLFB must be resident in memory for it to work. Use of the batch script assures this. You cannot simply double-click NOLFB, then click the game. That will not work.

NOTE #2: Your command prompt may need to be in full-screen mode before you start NOLFB for the VESA mode to start up properly. Hit Alt+Enter to switch if you are in windowed mode.

Common Problem #4: Windows NT/2000 only
No (digital) audio.

Long version
Windows NT uses the virtual DOS machine (VDM). Due to a limitation in the Intel architecture when running a process in protected mode at a privilege level above zero, the popf instruction that would normally restore the interrupt state does not cause a trap and hence the virtual interrupt state in the VDM gets out of step with what the program expects and further virtual interrupts such as timer, mouse or sound card are not delivered to the program.

Short version
When using Windows NT or 2000, digital audio in "Death Rally" will not work.

Solution
Use CLI2NOP to "process" the game. Please note that this is a hack, and will reduce the game's stability (more likely to crash).
Still, it's better than no digital audio at all.

Remember that you will still need to use an audio emulation tool like VDMSound to get digital audio.

For more info, please read the FAQ for CLI2NOP

Common Problem #5: For Windows XP with VDMSound only
There is a fixPOPF bug if you are
1) running XP
2) you installed "Update 1" on top of VDMSound v2.04
3) you installed the GUI and
4) if you used the GUI (or the GUI's VLP shortcut) to launch a BUILD game (or certain other games).

Try using the right-click "Run with VDMS" shortcut that does not have the musical note on the game's executable (or batch file).
Last edited by Nicht Sehr Gut on 2003-3-22 @ 21:04, edited 1 time in total.
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Postby Nicht Sehr Gut » 2003-1-06 @ 23:29

NOMAD/Project NOMAD

NOMAD (AKA Project NOMAD) is a 320x200 resolution DOS game.

You'll probably see the introductory screens run, but as soon as it tries to play digital audio, you have a problem:

Common Problem #1:
The installer for the game configures the audio settings for you when you first install the game. That's fine (presuming it works correctly) until you change your configuration. If your IRQ was 7 when you installed, but later changed to 5; audio will be disabled.

Potential solutions:

Instead of re-installing all over again to change your configuration, try editing your configuration file manually. That will be SPACE.CFG or NOMAD.CFG. It should look something like this:

#lpt1
sb27
#nointro
#ega
#nosound


SB27=SoundBlaster A220 IRQ7
SB25=SoundBlaster A220 IRQ5

Common Problem #2:
Even if you match the address and IRQ properly, it is likely to lock up on many modern PC's.

For Win9x/ME/2000/XP

Solution #1-Disable audio

Disable audio in the game by editing the configuration file.

Remove the '#' in front of #nosound.

Obviously, this is an unpleasant option, but it works.

Solution #2-DosBox Emulation
NOTE: DosBox presumes you understand the basics of running DOS, (how to change directories, how to edit batch files or configuration files, etc...). If you don't, you might want to learn if you're going to use it.

Also note that at the present time NOMAD will still lock up when using SoundBlaster audio, we can get around this by using it's DSS emulation instead. Inferior, but it works. Make sure you are using v0.57 of DosBox or higher.

Delete the '#' in front of lpt1 in your configuration file, while adding it in front of the "sb" entry.

Like this:

lpt1
#sb27
#nointro
#ega
#nosound


You'll also need to make sure your DosBox .CONF is created properly. If you don't already have one, DosBox will create the file with it's default settings for you by typing this command.

config -writeconf dosbox.conf

Edit this file and change the "keepsmall" setting to "true".
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Postby Nicht Sehr Gut » 2003-1-12 @ 07:33

System Shock

System Shock is a 320x200 resolution DOS game.
System Shock CD has an option to set the resolution up to 640x480.

You'll probably see the introductory video run, but as soon as you try to start a new game, you get an error:
Common Error #1:
==Begin error message==
Our System has been shocked!! But remember to Salt The Fries.
System Shock can no longer run due to a fatal error
Error Code 3007
Memory Error
Not enough memory to make email cursor.
==End error message==

Common Error #2:
==Begin error message==
Our system has been shocked!! But rememeber to Salt The Fries
System Shock can no longer run due to a fatal error.
Error code 3007
Memory error
Not enough memory to make email cursor!
==End error message==

Common problem solutions:

For Windows 9x/ME:
Erroneous Text deleted.
Needs DOS.
* Increase FILES in config.sys to 30 or more.
* Disable SMARTDRV write caching
* Use a minimal config.sys and autoexec.bat

For Windows NT/2000/XP:
"System Shock" needs VCPI memory and there was no known way to run it on a NT-Based OS.

Mok has come up with an executable to replace the original (CD-Version only) that appears to work properly with XP.

Solution - 2000/XP Only (so far):
Place the new CDSHOCK.EXE in your SSHOCK game directory.
Replace the the CDSHOCK in the CDSHOCK.BAT file with the name and location of your new CDSHOCK file.

For VESA displays (anying beyond basic VGA), it may be neccessary to include NOLFB.COM to get a proper display. Be sure to run it before the game and include it's pathway. Example below:
@echo off
C:\PATHWAY\NOLFB.COM
cdshock.exe
NOTE: NOLFB must be resident in memory for it to work. Use of the batch script assures this. You cannot simply double-click NOLFB, then click the game. That will not work.

NOTE #2: Your command prompt should be in full-screen mode before you start NOLFB to make sure the VESA mode starts up properly. Hit Alt+Enter to switch if you are in windowed mode.

If you receive a "DOS Extender" error, manually force DOS4GW to start the game, much like this:
@echo off
C:\PATHWAY\NOLFB.COM
DOS4GW.EXE cdshock.exe
DOS4GW extenders here.

Other Options/Possible solutions:
Running it within "Virtual PC": Expensive and poor performance.
or
Install another OS and use a Dual-Boot to play on that OS (DOS or Win9x)

A DOS or Win9x install is probably your best option, although it has some "niggles" of it's own.

Other Info:
There's also the System Shock Hack Project at:
http://madeira.physiol.ucl.ac.uk/tsshp/sshock.html
This is a project "in-the-works", not a truly playable replacement (yet).

For System Shock 2 owners (SS1 maps converted to SS2, just for fun):
http://madeira.physiol.ucl.ac.uk/tsshp/glen/ss1.html
Attachments
cdshock_xp.rar
(539.47 KiB) Downloaded 11422 times
Last edited by Nicht Sehr Gut on 2003-3-06 @ 05:50, edited 1 time in total.
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