VOGONS


Difficult games to get working

Topic actions

First post, by Warlord

User metadata
Rank Oldbie
Rank
Oldbie

Post games here that are hard to get working. (Real Hardware)
Working means full GPU acceleration and Sound.
Dos and Windows.

Wrath of Earth
FF 7 (Vanilla)
Metal Gear Solid

Reply 1 of 77, by JudgeMonroe

User metadata
Rank Member
Rank
Member

What makes those games difficult to get working? A plain list of game names doesn't mean much to me. What's interesting about them?

In my experience, games that push the envelope at the time of their release are the toughest to get working.

Ultima VII: Had a requirement of both high free memory but used its own memory manager, so you always needed a boot disk or a special boot configuration to run it. In hindsight, these requirements weren't that steep, but mouse drivers in particular at the time were real memory hogs. Using a boot disk was more a hassle than a real burden.

Under A Killing Moon: one of the earliest SVGA games I remember. Multi-CD and high resolution but if your VGA card wasn't up to snuff you had to futz with the univbe driver to get it to run.

Reply 2 of 77, by shamino

User metadata
Rank Oldbie
Rank
Oldbie

This could fall into 2 categories: Games that are difficult to get set up, and games that are picky about hardware. I suppose both counts.

A lot of early 90s DOS games can be frustrating to get working just because of how much conventional RAM they want.
I think X-Wing was one of the most troublesome for me (if you want sound fully working, which also requires EMS).

It got easier with late DOS games that used memory extenders, so conventional RAM requirements weren't so steep anymore. But then those might introduce other difficulties like SVGA support.

Ultima 6? - When I tried to run this on my last DOS build, the AdLib sound (on an OPL3 Sound Blaster clone) was a painful explosion of noise. Maybe that's a speed issue, I didn't look into it enough to solve it.

Ultima Underworld - If you want Sound Blaster Pro music to play correctly, you need a dual OPL2 card. Otherwise the mixing levels of the different instruments is all whacked. I immediately noticed this when I upgraded to an AWE32 back in the day, and the same issue is present in every Youtube video. A lot of people don't seem to notice if they've never played it on the card it was programmed for.

Morrowind - Okay not really, but if you love the game enough then you'll have to spend days, weeks, or months modding it before you're happy.
Make a backup.

Reply 3 of 77, by Horun

User metadata
Rank l33t
Rank
l33t

May sound weird but back in my 386 days had trouble getting Magic Carpet to work smooth with good audio. Yeah was recommended for 486 but did not have one yet and remember finally getting it to run smooth and then lost interest. That and one other game back then but it's name eludes me for now...

Hate posting a reply and have to edit it because it made no sense 😁 First computer was an IBM 3270 workstation with CGA monitor. 🤣 Second computer a 286 12Mhz with real IDE drive ! After that came 386, 486, Pentium, P.Pro and everything after....

Reply 4 of 77, by Oetker

User metadata
Rank Member
Rank
Member

Lithtech games and Dark Engine games, although there's an improved engine for the second nowadays.
I remember having a lot of trouble getting NOLF2 to work even a few years after its release.

The Nomad Soul wouldn't work on ATI video cards for years but that's also been fixed.

Reply 5 of 77, by dionb

User metadata
Rank l33t
Rank
l33t
JudgeMonroe wrote on 2020-08-14, 02:08:

What makes those games difficult to get working? A plain list of game names doesn't mean much to me. What's interesting about them?

In my experience, games that push the envelope at the time of their release are the toughest to get working.

Ultima VII: Had a requirement of both high free memory but used its own memory manager, so you always needed a boot disk or a special boot configuration to run it. In hindsight, these requirements weren't that steep, but mouse drivers in particular at the time were real memory hogs. Using a boot disk was more a hassle than a real burden.

Also very picky when it comes to sound. I had to downgrade to SB 1.0 replica to get DA working at all, despite my other cards (both SB16 and some otherwise bulletproof Aztech SBPro2 clones) working in everything else I could throw at them.

shamino wrote on 2020-08-14, 04:25:

This could fall into 2 categories: Games that are difficult to get set up, and games that are picky about hardware. I suppose both counts.

[...]

Ultima 6? - When I tried to run this on my last DOS build, the AdLib sound (on an OPL3 Sound Blaster clone) was a painful explosion of noise. Maybe that's a speed issue, I didn't look into it enough to solve it.

Not a speed issue. I have it on my UMC U5S-33 system, but not on a K6-2 350. It's only AdLib - I can do SSI-2001, CMS, MT-32; everything else works fine, just not AdLib. Also haven't looked too deeply as U6 will run on so many other systems anyway without the issue.

Reply 6 of 77, by Jorpho

User metadata
Rank l33t++
Rank
l33t++

Don't we already have the Problematic Windows games list thread?

It's hard to keep track of these things anymore. I might submit Ultima 7, but is that really the case when things like U7Run and Exult exist?

Wing Commander 1 & 2 still seem to give people a lot of grief.

Warlord wrote on 2020-08-14, 00:17:

FF 7 (Vanilla)

Not sure why that qualifies. There are enough fixes for its various problems out there.

Reply 7 of 77, by waterbeesje

User metadata
Rank Member
Rank
Member

Do badly compiled games count?
Then Street Legal Racing Redline comes to mind, it was originally buggy af but became playable with community help over time.

Still hard to get it working without crashing, not sure what it is. It seems shadows play a big role as well as view distance.

Stuck at 10MHz...

Reply 8 of 77, by Warlord

User metadata
Rank Oldbie
Rank
Oldbie

This isn't the same. That other thread is I can't get these games to run on windows 10. This thread is more about difficult games to get running on period correct or even older systems that should run it.

Reply 9 of 77, by auron

User metadata
Rank Member
Rank
Member

more of a list of old technical grievances rather than games that outright won't work at all, but...

rise of the triad in its original release to my knowledge still hasn't been cured from the mid 90s shooter plague that is player movement mapped to mouse y-axis, at least the different iterations of NOVERT don't have any effect.

jazz jackrabbit 2 has always had rather jerky scrolling that also hasn't been addressed in recent fanmade patches, regardless of hardware. they got the scrolling right before with JJ1 but apparently doing this kind of game for windows came with different challenges. should also be noted that only software mode gives the full graphical featureset here.

master of orion 2's fan patches have always been targeting the multiplayer DOS version community only, which is unfortunate as that version apparently forces mouse acceleration on for whatever reason. between this and the pointless black transitions that this version has when switching between a planet and the galaxy screen, i'm one of the seemingly few that prefer the win95 version, even though it certainly comes with its own list of flaws, such as the good old "mark block stack size" crash (which is supposedly related to a memory leak).

diablo 2 can really be a stutterfest on win98 with period hardware (read: HDDs) due to how inefficiently the game loads in assets on the fly while running around on the map. despite this, the game still manages to be a RAM hog for the time, easily using 128 mb of physical memory after 10-20 minutes of play, and that number will only grow as more stuff is cached in. there's a number of threads from back in the day with people complaining about this, plus poor performance in D3D mode.

Reply 10 of 77, by 386SX

User metadata
Rank Oldbie
Rank
Oldbie

I don't know any games "difficult to get working" in the sense they were difficult to run with most configs for specific games problem even if some probably had problems. I suppose it depends on the "common" config of the specific era.
Instead games that were heavy with most most common config, I'd say for myself Wolf3D, Doom 1 & 2, Quake obviously, Thief 2 but one game that make me sad was Stalker.. I remember having just upgraded my (last) modern PC in the 2005/6 probably, an Athlon 64 3500 with a X1800XL vga and bought that game cause it seems like they talked good about it and even if the system were not a slow config, the game ran awfully slow and unplayable at high details even low res even if I actually spent a lot on those system components coming from a XP 3200+ and a Radeon 9500 Pro modded.
After that I never built again a modern config. I sold every of those components and switched to notebook and left pc modern games forever. It happens from time to time to build Core2 systems as the most modern ones for Linux but I completely lost all the evolution from 2005 to 2020 on desktop. The most powerful config I actually have is a Core2 E8600/DDR3 mobo, the most modern VGA I have got is a GT610 1GB DDR3. My everyday home office machine is a mini-itx Atom based pc. 😁

Reply 11 of 77, by Murugan

User metadata
Rank Member
Rank
Member

Probably due to my hardware and limited knowledge back then but I really had problems running the 7th guest on my 386 (if memory serves me right).

My retro collection: too much...

Reply 12 of 77, by creepingnet

User metadata
Rank Oldbie
Rank
Oldbie

For me it depends on the game and the hardware of the 486 involved....

Duke Nukem 3D - Used to have an AWFUL time getting music to work on this game in DOS or Win9x DOS Window because for some weird reason it would not find my MIDI hardware on an old IBM PC-330 486 with an ESS1869 (IO Magic MagicSound 16) sound card in it. That sound card itself was a pain in Windows 9x anyway because the IBM would automatically set it's memory address out of range of DOS causing it not to work in DOS Mode.

The Secret of Monkey Island - on older SoundBlaster Pro 2.0 and compatible cards there was a flaw with the 1990 VGA floppy version on faster computers. I used to be able to find the update somewhere online but I can't remember where I got it.

Ultima VII Parts 1 & 2 in pure DOS always require a special configuration to work, one that frees up as much base memory as possible - I usually only load HIMEM.SYS and the Mouse Driver and rely on hardware detection for the sound hardware to save the 574K or however much is needed.

Other games I've had that issue with is X-Wing, Tie Fighter, and Freddy Pharkas Frontier Pharmacist, especially the talkie version of FPFP.

For Windows, NASCAR 2 crashes when booting up the CD-ROM to install it in Windows 98 or higher, but works fine on 95. I think there's a few other Sierra Titles I've had that problem with as well that I recently got (they're titles that are soft of like Myst - but Myst gives me no problems with anything). I also have old Softwrap installs of Postal and Postal 2 I had to delete because S***wrap (SoftWrap) ended (good riddance) a long time ago.

Some of the games made for Windows 3.x are a bit annoying because they either expect 16 or 256 color modes, and almost everything I have that's not a 286 or older can do 16-bit, 24-bit, or even 32-bit color so they usually live in that world. Sim City and Sim City 2000 are a minor annoyance with a few artifacts, but the big killer are the Sierra graphical adventure games (Leisure Suit Larry 5 and 6, and Freddy Pharkas to name a few) which at any mode above 256 color will just black out most of the screen assets except buttons and other functional bits of the game, but backgrounds and characters are invisible.

That said there are some games that will (almost) run on anything. I got Diablo to start it's installation in Windows 3.11 For Workgroups (I'm assuming under Win32s), ad that game also runs on Windows 10 IIRC (have njot tried in awhile). My 486's run Quake comfortably enough but the Windows version has a pretty wide swath as well. Same with DOOM. Ultima VII actually run GREAT under Windows 9x using U7dpmi and U8run for Pagan (Ultima 😎 and they still run on their suggested hardware fine that way.

I'm a bit surprised people have had trouble with Ultima VI - I found my only problem was I was setting it up for Creative Labs GameBlaster (totally different froma SoundBlaster) instead of Adlib (out of my ignorance at the time, it was 2001 when I was doing that). Though I recall that being a problem on one card I had (I think it was a Reveal Crystal chipset card on an old 486 I had years ago). I've got U6 running on everything from my Tandy 1000A (very slow) to my modern systems under DOSBOX.....I usually use that game to display the actual power of the computer it's being run on. Shoot, 8088, 286, 386, 486, Pentium, DOSBOX, Nuvie.....I'd think out of all the DOS games ever made U6 is the one you can trust to run on anything.

~The Creeping Network~
My Website - https://sites.google.com/site/thecreepingnetwork/home
My Youtube Channel - https://www.youtube.com/creepingnet

Reply 13 of 77, by dionb

User metadata
Rank l33t
Rank
l33t
creepingnet wrote on 2020-08-15, 21:16:

[...]

I'm a bit surprised people have had trouble with Ultima VI - I found my only problem was I was setting it up for Creative Labs GameBlaster (totally different froma SoundBlaster) instead of Adlib (out of my ignorance at the time, it was 2001 when I was doing that). Though I recall that being a problem on one card I had (I think it was a Reveal Crystal chipset card on an old 486 I had years ago). I've got U6 running on everything from my Tandy 1000A (very slow) to my modern systems under DOSBOX.....I usually use that game to display the actual power of the computer it's being run on. Shoot, 8088, 286, 386, 486, Pentium, DOSBOX, Nuvie.....I'd think out of all the DOS games ever made U6 is the one you can trust to run on anything.

I was surprised too. Assuming you don't mess up card resource settings (not a game problem IMHO) it's run perfectly on every system I've played it on, from my mum's PS/2 70 in 1990 via my own first P60 in 1995 to my first retro PC K6-2 350. It only started playing up - and then only in AdLib - when I moved my main DOS system from P200MMX to U5S-33, in an attempt to get U7 (which is a timing-sensitive PITA as well as a resource hog) working correctly.

Reply 15 of 77, by hwh

User metadata
Rank Member
Rank
Member

Pretty sure this thread belongs in "software."

Warlord wrote on 2020-08-14, 00:17:

Post games here that are hard to get working. (Real Hardware)

Metal Gear Solid

Well that's just awful. It's an awful (but almost completely faithful port) of a PS game. As a Windows program, it's sketchy and does odd things. Like take a long time to resume from being minimized, or, I don't know, something about controls. No idea why the "mission logs" sometimes appear and sometimes don't.

Oetker wrote on 2020-08-14, 05:36:

Lithtech games and Dark Engine games, although there's an improved engine for the second nowadays.
I remember having a lot of trouble getting NOLF2 to work even a few years after its release.

IIRC, NOLF is really finicky. I think it's just that it only renders correctly on period renderers. Like uh...

uh...

Splinter Cell. The game that basically only runs on GeForce 4600s or Radeon 9800s. At least, if you want the cool shadow and light effects. It'll run on anything, especially with software shadows, but it just won't look like much.

Like literally, 2 years after the game was released (and it was a popular/famous game) the latest graphics cards weren't rendering it correctly.

Reply 16 of 77, by Epirean

User metadata
Rank Newbie
Rank
Newbie

I have lots of trouble getting the original cd release of Mortal Kombat 3 to work. It seems like it doesn't detect my soundcard that works in other games. Sometimes I get passed the intro, and I hear some sound, even though it doesn't detect my soundcard in the setup, but as soon as I press a button the graphics get garbled up and it crashes to Dos. Same thing in Windows 98.

Reply 17 of 77, by Joseph_Joestar

User metadata
Rank Oldbie
Rank
Oldbie

Turrican 2 comes to mind. It won't run if EMM386.EXE is loaded and yet it requires a ton of conventional memory to even start. Worse still, if your CPU is too fast, it will skip the sound setup screen which is hard coded into the main executable instead of being in a separate file like SETUP.EXE or something.

Good game though, just a bitch to set up.

Using Audigy drivers with a Sound Blaster Live
Installing DOS drivers on an Audigy2 ZS
OPL3 vs. ESFM vs. CQM vs. SBLive
OPTi 82C930 review

Reply 18 of 77, by Standard Def Steve

User metadata
Rank Oldbie
Rank
Oldbie
Joseph_Joestar wrote on 2020-08-18, 03:36:

Turrican 2 comes to mind. It won't run if EMM386.EXE is loaded and yet it requires a ton of conventional memory to even start. Worse still, if your CPU is too fast, it will skip the sound setup screen which is hard coded into the main executable instead of being in a separate file like SETUP.EXE or something.

Good game though, just a bitch to set up.

I could've sworn that I got Turrican 2 running under Win98's DOS mode on a Tualeron-1400 just like that. I could definitely be thinking of some other game though, as it's been years since I've used that machine for DOS games; I now run those on a 486-66.

Standard Def Rigs
Super P3: PIII-S @ 1.63 GHz/FSB155 | 2GB DDR-310 | 6800GT AGP | 500GB 7200 RPM
Super G4: 2x PowerPC 7455 @ 1.5 GHz | 2GB DDR-333 | 7800GS AGP | 300GB 10k RPM
Super G5: 4x PowerPC 970 @ 2.5 GHz | 16GB DDR2-533 | x1950XT PCIe | 512GB SSD

Reply 19 of 77, by cyclone3d

User metadata
Rank l33t++
Rank
l33t++

I don't particularly remember any games I played back in the day that I had trouble getting working.

We did play mostly Apogee and Sierra titles back then with a few others thrown in such as the Wing Commander series.

I was kind of a fanatic about getting the absolute most conventional RAM free that I could though... used a program to see what blocks were free and then organized stuff in config.sys and autoexec.bat to get everything as close together as possible as well as finding what I could manually specify to be UMAs.

Basically... memmaker and HIGHSCAN sucks compared to manually setting things up.

Yamaha YMF modified setupds and drivers
Yamaha XG resource repository - updated November 27, 2018
Yamaha YMF7x4 Guide
AW744L II - YMF744 - AOpen Cobra Sound Card - Install SB-Link Header
Epstein didn't kill himself