[SOLVED] American Girls Dress Designer on Windows XP and above

Getting old Windows games working.

[SOLVED] American Girls Dress Designer on Windows XP and above

Postby huckleberrypie » 2016-1-24 @ 02:37

I dunno if anyone has a copy of the game, and I certainly wouldn't be putting up links to it here either, but does anyone have a clue on what's causing this issue? Tried running it on compatibility mode to no avail, and attempting to do so using the Win95 compatibility bit crashes the game.
Image

As you can see, the rest of the scenery is cut off, and clicking on the print button next to Quit results in the following:
Image
Image

Short of running the game on a VM or an emulator, any help would be much appreciated. I actually got the idea of posting this from the Splinter Cell topic, where some dude managed to fix the shadow buffer issue that kept the game from being played properly, so yeah. It's a shame, really, the game had a 32-bit installer unlike most games of the era, and yet this is let down by a major show-stopper, even when a few other edutainment games from the era aren't similarly affected from my experience.

EDIT: Problem's solved now, as a friend of mine and I came up with a fix to make the game run correctly on XP and up. It's just the matter of patching the exe to null out hMenu, as noted here:
https://tcrf.net/Notes:The_American_Gir ... s_Designer

The stuttering audio glitch caused by an old Quicktime runtime that came bundled with the game can be fixed by using this instead of the aforementioned QT codec: http://filehippo.com/download_quicktime_alternative/
Last edited by huckleberrypie on 2016-8-25 @ 01:01, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: American Girls Dress Designer on Windows XP and above

Postby MrEWhite » 2016-1-24 @ 20:11

dgVoodoo 2?
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Re: American Girls Dress Designer on Windows XP and above

Postby huckleberrypie » 2016-1-24 @ 23:15

Can it do DDraw?

EDIT: Tried the wrapper you mentioned, but unfortunately it didn't work.
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Re: American Girls Dress Designer on Windows XP and above

Postby ZellSF » 2016-1-25 @ 09:43

I would try DxWnd.

I would also give up on printing as I doubt anyone here reallys knows how to help you with that.
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Re: American Girls Dress Designer on Windows XP and above

Postby huckleberrypie » 2016-1-25 @ 11:57

Well, the game appears to use the standard Windows print stack, but then again I care little about printing random things anyway. What's important is for that pesky window opening error thing to go kaput.

As for why am I playing those things? Why not, and who knows? Maybe some parent or teacher is interested in getting this old game to work without having to fire up a retro rig just for this.

Nope, still no dice with the DxWnd hook. Not to mention that I end up getting a blank window with a crimson border in it. I think this could be due to an issue with Quicktime or something that kept it from displaying properly when I use DxWnd.
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Re: American Girls Dress Designer on Windows XP and above

Postby huckleberrypie » 2016-2-24 @ 13:54

Sorry for the bump, but can anyone help me out on this game?
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Re: American Girls Dress Designer on Windows XP and above

Postby Davros » 2016-2-24 @ 22:15

I cant imagine its a game many people here own ;)
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Re: American Girls Dress Designer on Windows XP and above

Postby catchaserguns » 2016-2-24 @ 22:34

Maybe he was a dress designer in a past life.
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Re: American Girls Dress Designer on Windows XP and above

Postby bakcom » 2016-2-24 @ 23:26

Windows XP or 98 in VirtualBox is probably the simplest solution.
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Re: American Girls Dress Designer on Windows XP and above

Postby ZellSF » 2016-2-25 @ 07:50

Davros wrote:I cant imagine its a game many people here own ;)

And it isn't that easy to get hold of for testing purposes either.
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Re: American Girls Dress Designer on Windows XP and above

Postby huckleberrypie » 2016-2-25 @ 13:12

ZellSF wrote:
Davros wrote:I cant imagine its a game many people here own ;)

And it isn't that easy to get hold of for testing purposes either.

Considering how relatively rare it is compared to the likes of Jumpstart and Carmen San Diego, so yeah I get your drift. If only Wine on Windows would come to fruitrition... :blah:
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Re: American Girls Dress Designer on Windows XP and above

Postby huckleberrypie » 2016-6-17 @ 02:08

Sorry for the bump, but I've just gave it a try on Wine for the lulz, yet even in said compatibility layer the game still crashes. There's not much in the way of fixmes or errors in the log so I decided to run it again, this time with the warn flag enabled, and I get this:

Code: Select all
warn:menu:MENU_GetMenu invalid menu handle=0x1
warn:menu:MENU_SetMenu hMenu 0x1 is not a menu handle


Could this have something to do with the error messages I'm getting? And yes I already filed a ticket on Wine's Bugzilla page.
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Re: American Girls Dress Designer on Windows XP and above

Postby Jo22 » 2016-6-17 @ 06:20

Uhm, no idea if this is relevant, but there were some changes in the printing system over the years :
https://blogs.msdn.microsoft.com/b8/201 ... windows-8/

So perhaps your issue is also related to an API change several years ago.
I think I read something about the old printer dialog box nolonger working properly on newer versions of Windows.
But I can't find any piece of information about this anymore and I only noticed this
on the side, while is was looking for some tutorials about Delphi programming. So it's proably wrong..

Another possibility I can think of is that you have a problem with your Visual C++ runtime.
Maybe you don't have the right version installed ?
You can have several of them installed on your PC, you know, but sometimes an application needs a specific version to work properly.

Or it is really just a graphics issue ?
GDI was used for printing for ages, but is deprecated since the introduction of GDI+ in 2001.
Besides, I think Windows NT and 9x also used different implementations.
So does you game run on Win NT 4.0 ? I'm curious. :)


Here's something of nothing I've found about your problems:

Information about GDI/Printing System
https://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/librar ... 92(v=vs.85).aspx
http://unixwiz.net/temptips/windows-printsystem.html

"MENU_GetMenu invalid menu handle"
http://erroranswers.com/computer-errors ... e-message/

Visual C++ error
http://answers.microsoft.com/en-us/wind ... e5e9d28c3c

Sorry, I really can't provide you with something more useful. :(
Information on the web is either scarce or glutted with unrelated stuff.
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Re: American Girls Dress Designer on Windows XP and above

Postby huckleberrypie » 2016-6-17 @ 10:52

Jo22 wrote:Uhm, no idea if this is relevant, but there were some changes in the printing system over the years :
https://blogs.msdn.microsoft.com/b8/201 ... windows-8/

So perhaps your issue is also related to an API change several years ago.
I think I read something about the old printer dialog box no longer working properly on newer versions of Windows.
But I can't find any piece of information about this anymore and I only noticed this
on the side, while is was looking for some tutorials about Delphi programming. So it's probably wrong..

Another possibility I can think of is that you have a problem with your Visual C++ runtime.
Maybe you don't have the right version installed ?
You can have several of them installed on your PC, you know, but sometimes an application needs a specific version to work properly.

Or it is really just a graphics issue ?
GDI was used for printing for ages, but is deprecated since the introduction of GDI+ in 2001.
Besides, I think Windows NT and 9x also used different implementations.
So does you game run on Win NT 4.0 ? I'm curious. :)

Here's something of nothing I've found about your problems:

Information about GDI/Printing System
https://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/librar ... 92(v=vs.85).aspx
http://unixwiz.net/temptips/windows-printsystem.html

"MENU_GetMenu invalid menu handle"
http://erroranswers.com/computer-errors ... e-message/

Visual C++ error
http://answers.microsoft.com/en-us/wind ... e5e9d28c3c

Sorry, I really can't provide you with something more useful. :(
Information on the web is either scarce or glutted with unrelated stuff.

Yeah, it could be that MS moved goalposts since 2000/XP was released, and Mattel wasn't able to catch up for some reason. I haven't tried running the game on NT4 yet, and as for erroranswers.com, tell you what, it appears to be another one of those shady "registry cleaner" sites based on the fluff on said site.
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Re: American Girls Dress Designer on Windows XP and above

Postby Jo22 » 2016-6-22 @ 19:39

Maybe this game works in ReactOS then ? I'd be shocked, if it really worked there. Please give it a try! :wink:
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Re: American Girls Dress Designer on Windows XP and above

Postby Jorpho » 2016-6-22 @ 20:20

If you're dead set on getting to the bottom of this, perhaps it's time to break out the debugger? I've not had an opportunity to employ such techniques myself, but http://www.play-old-pc-games.com/2015/0 ... ws-empire/ is an intriguing example. At least it's easy to reliably reproduce the error.

Jo22 wrote:Maybe this game works in ReactOS then ? I'd be shocked, if it really worked there. Please give it a try! :wink:
There's little reason to go testing both ReactOS in addition to WINE, I think.
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Re: American Girls Dress Designer on Windows XP and above

Postby huckleberrypie » 2016-6-22 @ 23:24

Jorpho wrote:If you're dead set on getting to the bottom of this, perhaps it's time to break out the debugger? I've not had an opportunity to employ such techniques myself, but http://www.play-old-pc-games.com/2015/0 ... ws-empire/ is an intriguing example. At least it's easy to reliably reproduce the error.

Jo22 wrote:Maybe this game works in ReactOS then ? I'd be shocked, if it really worked there. Please give it a try! :wink:
There's little reason to go testing both ReactOS in addition to WINE, I think.


Any suggestions as to which debugger I should use and how to diagnose it? As for ReactOS I actually tried running the game on it for the lulz, and on 0.4.1 it ended up with a white screen if I may recall.
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Re: American Girls Dress Designer on Windows XP and above

Postby Jorpho » 2016-6-23 @ 00:38

Whoops, that wasn't the right link. I meant http://punkrockhacker.blogspot.ca/2014_ ... chive.html .

I know pretty much nothing about using debuggers beyond what is written there.
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Re: American Girls Dress Designer on Windows XP and above

Postby huckleberrypie » 2016-6-23 @ 00:58

Jorpho wrote:Whoops, that wasn't the right link. I meant http://punkrockhacker.blogspot.ca/2014_ ... chive.html .

I know pretty much nothing about using debuggers beyond what is written there.


Lol me neither. I can do simple registry hacks for old games which call for a CD to stream its assets from, but probably not beyond that. Might give trusty old IDA a try though. :D
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