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C&C on a 233MMX runs poorly

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First post, by Aebtdom

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Just very recently, I have required a great copy of Command & Conquer + The Covert Operations in a single big box.

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Besides some stupid things like, The C&C cd's only work on win9X no MS-DOS install possible, which is a shame in my opinion, therefor I won't be able to relive the ingenious E.V.A. installation and play the game in MS-DOS. The CovOps installation is, you never guess DOS only... ... riiight....

But nevertheless, the add-on adds extra maps to the windows version of C&C thus no harm is done.

And running this game in 640x400 will run like... smooth on this cpu right? Right?

Well, close but no cigar. It has speed drops. It won't run nearly the speed that I am used to play the game at. And when some heavy fighting starts, It's watching a slow-mo of C&C. The horror.
So, what am I doing wrong? Yes with this setup I can play Tiberian Sun and Half-Life. Between 15 and 30 fps on a vd1.

Builds:

Xp2400+ gf3 ti200 + vd2 SLI 12MB + 768MB + SB live @ WinXP & 98 Dualboot.

MMX233 + S3trio 3D/X2 8MB + 3Dfx Voodoo 1 + AWE64 + 64MB SDR @ msdos / win98.

Reply 1 of 29, by Socket3

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C&C 95 should be pretty smooth on 233mhz mmx. The slowest PC I have that will run C&C95 well is my 266mhz Cyrix MediaGX witch is basically a 486 "DX8" with MMX and no L2 cache . It runs the game well enough but I do get occasional slow-downs witch seem to be related to loading bits of sound or graphics, involving explosions mostly.

It's possible you have a driver issue, either related to the sound hardware, video card or direct X. Have you tried un-checking the "Back buffer into video memory" box in cncsetup?

As an experiment I'll slow down my K6-2+ to 200Mhz and have a go at the game under win9x. I suspect it will run fine tough.

[EDIT]

Ok I just run C&C95 after setting my K6-2+ to 200Mhz via setmul and it was smooth as silk. I loaded up a savegame of GDI mission 10 witch is pretty action packed from the get go and played for about 10 minutes. Had the game set to it's fastest speed and units were zooming about the map, had to slow the game and scroll speeds down. The only time I did encounter any kind of issue @ 200Mhz was when the music track changed - and I'm not running the game with the CD - I'm running it entirely off the hard drive. When loading a new music track the game will freeze for a millisecond. Other then that it ran perfectly smooth.

That means there's something wrong with your setup. It might actually be a good idea to check your system with a utility like AIDA32 under windows and see if everything is setup correctly - FSB to 66, the correct multiplier, memory timings and so on.

Now time for silly questions - What kind of cooler are you running on your pentium 233? Is it running on a dual voltage socket 7 motherboard? Are your timings set correctly in BIOS? Is the l2 cache detected correctly? Are CPU to PCI writes enabled in BIOS? Is "assign IRQ to VGA" enabled? Are you running win95 or 98? How much ram do you have installed and how much l2 cache? What sound card and driver is in the system?

I also discovered an interesting tid-bit. The K6-2's really can't do 2x multi. It seems when you select 2X via setmul it doesn't actually drop the multiplier to 2X, but instead sets the FSB to 80MHz and the multi to 2.5.... too bad it can't set the FSB to 66 or lower.

Reply 2 of 29, by Cuttoon

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Ineresting.

Well, at face value, the game should be right at home on that rig.
https://www.mobygames.com/game/command-conque … tions_/techinfo
http://www.vgamuseum.info/index.php/cpu/item/370-s3-trio3d

Going by the info in your sig, you could well play that game on the Athlon with Win 98, so I'd assume this is mainly about the challenge?

Just idle speculation:
Original C&C was DOS and 320 x 200 only. This here is 640 x 480. Red Alert did 640 x 480 if played on Windows. 320 under DOS.

- Maybe they just made a sloppy port of a DOS game and screwed something up that shows with very specific hardware. Being released in 1997, the game must have been supposed to run on a vanilla Pentium like 133 MHz. It sounds very unlikely with a S3 card that basically is a venerable Trio64 in the 2D part, but, you could try another VGA.
- Same can happen with Sound - try disabling that and compare.
- Does Red Alert run well on Windows?
- Did you check whether the DOS .exe file is among the files so you could run it in DOS? That happens. Else, you own the game, maybe try to get the dos .exe via e-mail from someone - chances are, it will run with the rest of the files.

I like jumpers.

Reply 3 of 29, by auron

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from recollection i'd agree that C&C95 runs quite a bit worse than expected on pentiums, i just chalked it up to the engine scaling poorly. compare this to starcraft, which is actually quite playable on its p90 minimum spec while being more advanced in many respects. it's a bit of a mystery to me why they didn't include the 320x200 mode in the windows version.

maybe it runs so well on the K6-2+ because of the on-die L2 helping? the pauses upon CD music track changes seem to be a given with any game using redbook audio.

Reply 4 of 29, by DosFreak

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For converting C&C Windows to DOS
Try the following, for awareness I haven't done this since 2005 but if it worked then it should work now.
Also DosBox was in early stages in 2005 so ignore some of the DosBox specific info if you want to run the game in DosBox but obviously don't run the game in DOSBox on your pentium.
Command & Conquer + DosBox = Works

The attached might work on 9x for running the game in 1024x768

Also
http://nyerguds.arsaneus-design.com/cncstuff/ … es.html#add_tfd

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DOSBox Compilation Guides
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PC Game Compatibility List
How To Ask Questions The Smart Way
Running DRM games offline

Reply 5 of 29, by Socket3

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auron wrote on 2022-05-05, 23:37:

from recollection i'd agree that C&C95 runs quite a bit worse than expected on pentiums, i just chalked it up to the engine scaling poorly. compare this to starcraft, which is actually quite playable on its p90 minimum spec while being more advanced in many respects. it's a bit of a mystery to me why they didn't include the 320x200 mode in the windows version.

on a 90mhz pentium I would agree, the game won't run great. On a 233mmx it should be pretty smooth at least in single player. You're right tough, the engine doesn't scale as well as it should. I had a go on a 133mhz original pentium (a siemens scenic C5) and it gets pretty sluggish when there's a lot of action on screen.

auron wrote on 2022-05-05, 23:37:

maybe it runs so well on the K6-2+ because of the on-die L2 helping? the pauses upon CD music track changes seem to be a given with any game using redbook audio.

Could be. On die cache and the 100mhz (well, 80mhz in this case) fsb should make a difference.

Reply 6 of 29, by auron

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i think this is the case where it would be interesting to install NT4 and see if that will make the game run better, as NT4 is said to perform a lot better with DX2-3 directdraw games.

here's a video of starcraft running on a 486SX-25 with 32 mb RAM under win2k, the performance really seems incredible for such a system in my opinion.

Reply 7 of 29, by RJRC

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Original DOS C&C on my Pentium 60 when I first got it was a painful experience. Crashed very regularly. Audio looping. Brown DOS system text all over screen. Freezing.

The 200MMX was far better and ran the DOS version from Win95 using rungame.exe

A friend I had at the time had a P75 that ran the Win95 version of it ("C&C Gold") very smoothly even when stuff was going on etc. Though neither of us could beat the Covert Ops levels Deceit or Twist of Fate or Blindsided.

Reply 8 of 29, by Cuttoon

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I myself actually never cared for RTS games at all, but out of mere curiosity: Does this C&C "second edition" really run in DOS with 640 x 480? Or only in Windows?
If it does it in DOS, I'd sure try that, wouldn't you?
Red Alert did not and my friends kept complaining about that since playing games in Windows still felt wrong.

I like jumpers.

Reply 10 of 29, by Aebtdom

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Well, I have tried to change the game to MS-DOS mode and succeeded for a small part. Only the Covert part works but without sound since it does not detect my soundcard, even if I change the .ini file with the right DMA, IRQ and port number.
I ran a mission and it runs smooth as it possibly can. Max speed makes it unplayable even. So I think the graphics card does not like the game at 640x400 or the CPU lacks processing power.

Builds:

Xp2400+ gf3 ti200 + vd2 SLI 12MB + 768MB + SB live @ WinXP & 98 Dualboot.

MMX233 + S3trio 3D/X2 8MB + 3Dfx Voodoo 1 + AWE64 + 64MB SDR @ msdos / win98.

Reply 11 of 29, by AlexZ

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The DOS version of C&C ran fine on 486 DX2/66. It was even playable on 386DX/40 although everything was slower than normal. Just adjust game speed in options.

Pentium III 900E, ECS P6BXT-A+, 384MB RAM, NVIDIA GeForce FX 5600 128MB, Voodoo 2 12MB, 80GB HDD, Yamaha SM718 ISA, 19" AOC 9GlrA
Athlon 64 3400+, MSI K8T Neo V, 1GB RAM, NVIDIA GeForce 7600GT 512MB, 250GB HDD, Sound Blaster Audigy 2 ZS

Reply 12 of 29, by Socket3

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AlexZ wrote on 2022-05-06, 20:49:

The DOS version of C&C ran fine on 486 DX2/66. It was even playable on 386DX/40 although everything was slower than normal. Just adjust game speed in options.

Personally I don't consider CnC playable on a 386. The game will run, but it takes forever to do anything and scrolling is a literal headache. I tired playing Dune 2 on my 40Mhz 386 with 16MB of ram + 128kg of l2 cache and the first two missions were ok, but from the 3rd onwards the game pacing is so slow I don't have the patience to play it - although you very well could if you really wanted to. CnC... no. I tried the CnC demo out of curiosity, and GDI mission 1 was.. slideshow-like. When the gunboat showed up, it took forever for it's missiles to reach the turrets. It gets better when not much is going on and there are only a few units / buildings on screen. Turning the music off helps - turning sound off altogether helps even more.

I ran the same DOS CnC demo on an IBM PS/2 Valuepoint 466 (DX2-66 with 16MB of ram and on board S3 graphics) and the game runs, but the pacing is much too slow for my taste. Setting the game speed to maximum does not help. With it set to maximum, when there isn't much going on, the game runs pretty fast - a bit faster then I'd like - so I turn it down a notch. The your base gets attacked and it slows down too much. Scrolling is too slow and stutters. Explosions sounds will sometimes make the game hang for half a second as if it's loading them. Playable, but far from enjoyable if you ask me...

The windows version of CnC is playable on a 133Mhz 586, (witch is what I completed the game on back in the day) but again it gets really slow at times. Personally I like playing CnC on a 350MHz AMD K6-2 or 300MHz pentium II. Scrolling is smooth, sound and music play all right with no stuttering of freezing like on slower systems, and the game maintains the same pacing regardless of how much stuff is happening on-screen.

Reply 13 of 29, by AlexZ

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That is a matter of personal taste. I preferred slower pace of the game to have sufficient time to respond to AI attacks. Me and another friend had a 386DX/40 and we all played Dune 2 on it as well. We also played Warcraft, Settlers 2 and Transport Tycoon. Transport Tycoon was much less enjoyable for me on 486 as it ran too fast do build much. Even Red Alert ran on 386. My 386 ran on OCed 12Mhz ISA bus though, which delivered nearly 50% higher video performance which was necessary for SVGA games.

Pentium III 900E, ECS P6BXT-A+, 384MB RAM, NVIDIA GeForce FX 5600 128MB, Voodoo 2 12MB, 80GB HDD, Yamaha SM718 ISA, 19" AOC 9GlrA
Athlon 64 3400+, MSI K8T Neo V, 1GB RAM, NVIDIA GeForce 7600GT 512MB, 250GB HDD, Sound Blaster Audigy 2 ZS

Reply 14 of 29, by Socket3

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AlexZ wrote on 2022-05-07, 19:26:

That is a matter of personal taste. I preferred slower pace of the game to have sufficient time to respond to AI attacks.

Indeed. I'm the same with fast paced platformers and side scrolling shooters. I prefer to play them on slower computers because it gives me time to react.

Reply 15 of 29, by Azarien

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auron wrote on 2022-05-06, 18:41:

here's a video of starcraft running on a 486SX-25 with 32 mb RAM under win2k, the performance really seems incredible for such a system in my opinion.

This looks impressive but below my playability tolerance 😀
I played Starcraft on a 486 DX4 100 MHz and it was a bit sluggish but very playable. On a 166 MMX it was smooth.

Reply 16 of 29, by auron

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yeah i would not call it exactly playable but i was surprised that you can get into the game in 2 minutes and actually do something. of course all the other components in that video are much newer, and running without sound should help as well.

Reply 17 of 29, by Horun

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Curious why you would run the Win95 version in 640x400 under Win95, should be 640x480. Did you mean a Voodoo1 when you said VD1 ?
What version of DirectX are you running ? iirc Voodoo1 was supported proper under DX3 and DX5 with later drivers but not Dx6 or above iirc....
Just curious because a Trio64 plays the Win95 version just fine w/o a voodoo on a Pentium..
Just wondering...

Hate posting a reply and then have to edit it because it made no sense 😁 First computer was an IBM 3270 workstation with CGA monitor.

Reply 18 of 29, by auron

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C&C95 is 640x400 because they just scaled up the original's 320x200, it also has a letterboxed 640x480 mode which is just in there for compatibility as 640x400 might not always be well supported. in fact it's S3 cards that need S3VBE20 to display this resolution least under DOS, can't remember if they have this problem under windows as well though.

pentiums sure run the game but the game speed slowing down whenever there's some action going on can get old fast.

Reply 19 of 29, by chinny22

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I may be stating the obvious that you already know but the original C&C's were made freeware few years ago if your not worried about using your original CD's?
https://cncnz.com/features/freeware-classic-c … d-conquer-games
(I don't think the dos version was technically made available for download at the time, but iso's are easy to find)

My experience was dos version ran fine on a DX2/66 Network games would freeze for a second when accessing the next music track (known issue which is why music was off by default)
Win95 version was bearable but you were bettor off in dos really (like most games)
RA started to struggle in the later maps, I remember 1 sub heavy mission where the game would freeze for 1 second every few seconds.
RA95, Don't even bother!

RJRC wrote on 2022-05-06, 19:15:

neither of us could beat the Covert Ops levels Deceit or Twist of Fate or Blindsided.

Cloak & Dagger was the only level I never beat. My brother cracked it last year in the Remaster and I know he didn't cheat as he did it a different way to what's on youtube.
Guess I'm no longe the King of C&C 🙁