X-Com Apocalypse

Getting old DOS games working on modern hardware. (DOSBox topics belong in DOSBox areas below, not here).

X-Com Apocalypse

Postby Llewen » 2002-7-08 @ 15:04

I don't know whether X-Com Apocalypse qualifies as a VOGON but it is a DOS based game and I am trying to get it working under WinXP with little success so far. I have tried VDMS but I don't know how to set up the config.vdms and autoexec.vdms properly and I can't seem to find any instructions on how to do so. It would appear that I need to enter the initialization information information for the sound card. Just out of curiosity, if a particular default is suggested for the settings why aren't they already entered by default? That would certainly be helpful to folks like me who are only moderately computer literate and can't remember all the applicable DOS gymnastics.

Any suggestions would be gratefully recieved.
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VDMSound Launcher

Postby Snover » 2002-7-08 @ 16:09

Sounds to me like you could use the VDMSound Launchpad. And, if you haven't, get the VDMSound 2.0.4 update 1.
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Re: X-Com Apocalypse

Postby Nicht Sehr Gut » 2002-7-08 @ 16:16

Llewen wrote:I don't know whether X-Com Apocalypse qualifies as a VOGON but it is a DOS based game and I am trying to get it working under WinXP with little success so far.

Just responded to this at VDMSound's page under "newbie questions":
#1) What OS are you using?
#2) Have you tried running the Win95 version instead of the DOS version(and if so, did you try the compatibility mode settings)?
#3)In addition to installing VDMSound, did you install (copy over) the update files?
http://vdmsound.sourceforge.net/files/VDMSound.2.0.4.update1.zip
#4) After that, did you install the LaunchPad?
http://vdmsound.sourceforge.net/files/VDMSLaunchPad.v1.0.0.7.zip
[B]I have tried VDMS but I don't know how to set up the config.vdms and autoexec.vdms properly and I can't seem to find any instructions on how to do so.

That's because you shouldn't have to do so...The .vdms files should be left alone. Even if you _must_ mess with them, make copies and edit the copies (then point whatever needs them to use your copies). IOW, don't mess with those files.
[B]It would appear that I need to enter the initialization information information for the sound card. Just out of curiosity, if a particular default is suggested for the settings why aren't they already entered by default? That would certainly be helpful to folks like me who are only moderately computer literate and can't remember all the applicable DOS gymnastics.

Once you follow the steps above for installing, right-click on the executable you want to run with VDMSound and pick "Run with VDMS" with the little musical note beside it. If that doesn't start it properly you can tweak the settings by right-clicking on the new VDMS shortcut for your program and selecting properties.
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Thanks a bunch

Postby Llewen » 2002-7-08 @ 16:34

I didn't know about the Launchpad program, maybe that will start me on the road to success.

As for what version of Windows I am running, I am running WinXP... I think I said that already. :)

As for running it in Win 95 and 98 compatability modes, that was one of the first things I tried. I even considered creating a new FAT partition on my "Systems" hdd so I could boot into dos but I have a USB mouse that I didn't want to turn into a serial mouse, I was worried about how I would install the DOS drivers for my sound card, I don't have a copy of Partition Magic or any such program for Win XP, etc. etc. It just seemed to be more trouble than it was worth. It also threw me that the "edit" and "help" commands don't work when you use a WinXP floppy to boot into DOS so I would basically be flying blind based on what little DOS lore I could remember from way back when.

Anyway, thanks for the prompt responses and I will let you know how all of this works.
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Postby Snover » 2002-7-08 @ 17:29

Bah, Nicht Sehr Gut, how DARE you be more useful and informative than I, the Great Administrator, Deep Thought? Boo to you!
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Re: Thanks a bunch

Postby Nicht Sehr Gut » 2002-7-08 @ 18:39

Llewen wrote:As for what version of Windows I am running, I am running WinXP... I think I said that already. :)

Sorry. Was cutting and pasting in a hurry (the other post left out the OS).
[B]As for running it in Win 95 and 98 compatability modes, that was one of the first things I tried.

Just for future reference, "compatability mode" only applies to Windows9x executables. It has no effect on DOS versions.
[B]I even considered creating a new FAT partition on my "Systems" hdd so I could boot into dos but I have a USB mouse that I didn't want to turn into a serial mouse,

A dual-boot is your best option since it pretty much guarantees compatibility when you go back to DOS/Win9x. Since you've already installed the XP OS however, that makes it extremely difficult.

Some newer motherboards have the option to make USB available at the BIOS level. Mine shows a USB mouse as a generic DOS mouse when I enable it. Might check your BIOS for this.

If you ever decide on a re-install, go to http://www.windowsreinstall.com/
and check on the guide to running a "parallel install" with XP.
(Actually, if you just install DOS or Win9x 1st, XP will give you the option at startup, then setup and configure a start menu for you.)
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Postby Llewen » 2002-7-08 @ 18:57

Regrettably I can't do a parrallel install of Win 9x because my system has too much memory (I use it for music editing). From what I have heard however DOS just ignores the RAM that it can't use. I may see what I can do about picking up a copy of DOS, which version of DOS would you recommend?
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Postby Nicht Sehr Gut » 2002-7-08 @ 20:04

Llewen wrote:Regrettably I can't do a parrallel install of Win 9x because my system has too much memory (I use it for music editing).

Too _much_ memory? You've lost me...
[B]From what I have heard however DOS just ignores the RAM that it can't use. I may see what I can do about picking up a copy of DOS, which version of DOS would you recommend?

An actual copy of Microsoft DOS would be preferable so XP won't see it as a "foreign" OS and demand that you remove it. The best being the last: v6.22. I still recommend Win95 version B (FAT32) or Win98 first. That would give you DOS 7.xx plus another version of Windows for older Windows games that balk at XP.
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Postby Nicht Sehr Gut » 2002-7-08 @ 20:07

Administrator wrote:Bah, Nicht Sehr Gut, how DARE you be more useful and informative than I, the Great Administrator, Deep Thought? Boo to you!

Fine. I'll go soak my head in a bucket of water. *thunk*
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Postby Llewen » 2002-7-08 @ 20:35

Well Nicht, I think you're coaching me both here and on the VDMS boards. :)

As for the amount of memory, Win 9x can't handle more than 384MB of RAM, I have 1GB. As soon as I get over 384MB of RAM under Win9x, I start getting memory errors.

I may yet go the parallel OS system route if I can find the USB option in my BIOS, but I would rather not have to deal with that and just get the thing working under XP.

However, as I already posted on the other boards, I managed to configure the sound and get the game through the intro but as soon as it hits the game it crashes. My whole system gets screwed up as it corrupts my display. The only way to correct this is to restart Windows.

Any further suggestions would be gratefully accepted.
Last edited by Llewen on 2002-7-08 @ 22:10, edited 1 time in total.
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Postby Snover » 2002-7-09 @ 02:25

Llewen wrote:Well Nicht, I think you're coaching me both here and on the VDMS boards. :)

As for the amount of memory, Win 9x can't handle more than 384MB of RAM, I have 1GB. As soon as I get over 384MB of RAM under Win9x, I start getting memory errors.

I may yet go the parallel OS system route if I can find the USB option in my BIOS, but I would rather not have to deal with that and just get the thing working under XP.

However, as I already posted on the other boards, I managed to configure the sound and get the game through the intro but as soon as it hits the game it crashes. My whole system gets screwed up as it corrupts my display. The only way to correct this is to restart Windows.

Any further suggestions would be gratefully accepted.


No DOS game should be able to crash so badly on any of the NT-series OSs. (That said, it probably does.)

Are you sure W98SE has the same RAM issues? FWIW, I'd look into it. (There were a lot of things fixed in 98SE...)
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Postby Nicht Sehr Gut » 2002-7-09 @ 05:27

Llewen wrote:Well Nicht, I think you're coaching me both here and on the VDMS boards. :)


I _thought_ that was you...

[B]As for the amount of memory, Win 9x can't handle more than 384MB of RAM, I have 1GB. As soon as I get over 384MB of RAM under Win9x, I start getting memory errors.


!?!? My Win98 is running fine with 512 Meg memory, Win98SE seems fine as well. This sounds more like a BIOS issue. Hrmm...

[B]I may yet go the parallel OS system route if I can find the USB option in my BIOS, but I would rather not have to deal with that and just get the thing working under XP..


The VESA screenmode issue makes it extra difficult. Three ways I know to fix that:
1) Dual-Boot with a DOS-based OS
2) Run a "true" PC-Emulator like "Virtual PC". Expensive, and _not_ designed for games, but it supports VESA screenmodes while emulating DOS/Win9x.
3)Use Sci-Tech's "Display Doctor".

That last one makes me uncomfortable...

[B]...The only way to correct this is to restart Windows.

That's a pretty intolerable situation. Anything that crashes _that_ bad under XP isn't likely to have an easy solution.
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Postby Snover » 2002-7-09 @ 07:17

If your BIOS is that unfriendly, perhaps you should consider getting a new motherboard. My personal recommendations are Microstar -- they're GREAT motherboards. I've had three of them, and they've all run perfectly. (They are overclockable out of the box, too, but don't mess around with that function if you don't know what you're doing.) The BIOS is really friendly, too. (One of the BIOSes they use is the Award BIOS.)
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Postby Llewen » 2002-7-09 @ 11:09

Yes Win98SE has the same issues. That is the reason I upgraded to WinXP. I had Win98SE and I needed at least 512MB of RAM to do my music editing. I had 256MB and as soon as I put in the next 256MB I would start getting memory errors. I wasted alot of time before I finally discovered that the problem wasn't the memory I was trying to install, or my motherboard, the problem was Win9x (including 98SE and Me as far as I know).

I was pretty happy though with Win XP until I hit this wall with the DOS emulation. I've managed to get most of my old programs working with XP but two of my favorites, X-Com Apocalypse and Chessmaster 5500, are among the duds. Chessmaster is a Win95 program and it is an entirely different bag of bolts. The problem there is with ODBC (or whatever the acronym is) :) I had to re-install WinXP after installing that one.

P.S.: I have heard of people running Win9x with as much as 512MB of RAM, and as far as I know it is supposed to be able to handle it, but I have also heard that Win9x will start having problems when you get above 384MB and that was certainly the case with me. I sometimes wonder if some of the people who are "successfully" running 512MB of RAM under Win9x just haven't run memory diagnostics and aren't aware that they have a problem.
Last edited by Llewen on 2002-7-09 @ 11:14, edited 1 time in total.
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Postby Llewen » 2002-7-09 @ 11:26

[B]!?!? My Win98 is running fine with 512 Meg memory, Win98SE seems fine as well. This sounds more like a BIOS issue. Hrmm...


Well, I had the memory problem with two mobos, an ASUS P3Bf and a SOYO SY-K7V Dragon+. Both of these boards came highly recommended although I will certainly keep Microstar in mind for future upgrades.

I wasn't aware of the USB support option in the BIOS and I will look for that as well in future upgrades. Unfortunately the BIOS on my SOYO board doesn't have that option (at least not that I have found yet).
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Postby Nicht Sehr Gut » 2002-7-09 @ 15:10

Llewen wrote:I had 256MB and as soon as I put in the next 256MB I would start getting memory errors. I wasted alot of time before I finally discovered that the problem wasn't the memory I was trying to install, or my motherboard, the problem was Win9x (including 98SE and Me as far as I know).

I had completely forgotten about this memory "issue". Probably because I only just recently hit 512MB (and have been primarily using XP).

http://support.microsoft.com/support/kb/articles/q253/9/12.asp

Note, however that this supposedly doesn't kick in until you pass 512MB; so there may have been "other factors" at work.
[B]I sometimes wonder if some of the people who are "successfully" running 512MB of RAM under Win9x just haven't run memory diagnostics and aren't aware that they have a problem.

Just tried mine and it test fine. Of course it dropped to DOS to do it (But it did "see" all the memory).

Try adding this to your SYSTEM.INI file under [vcache]:
[vcache]
MinFileCache=16384
MaxFileCache=262144
ChunkSize=512

Also Try:
To work around this issue, add the following line to the [386enh] section of the System.ini file:

MaxPhysPage=30000

This limits the amount of physical RAM that Windows can access to 768 MB.
To do so, use the following steps:

1.Use any text editor (such as Notepad) to edit the System.ini file.
2.Add the following line in the [386Enh] section of the file MaxPhysPage=30000
3.Save the file, and then restart your computer.

Actually, you might make that 15000 (384 MB).
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Postby Llewen » 2002-7-09 @ 15:19

Well the question is moot now because I have a bad habit of throwing away/giving away anything that I am not presently using so I no longer have Win 98SE or my old copy of DOS 6.22 (which is a shame). I think what I may do at some point in the future when I have the cash is pick up a copy of Virtual PC and DOS 6.22 and maybe even Win 98SE on eBay. This should allow me to run any software I wish without having to get another PC (which I don't really have the room for, hence the reasons I throw stuff out/give stuff away). It may even be a cheaper solution than buying an old PC or laptop.
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Last Resort

Postby Snover » 2002-7-09 @ 18:00

That's a really extreme answer to this relatively simple problem, Llewen. There's no reason for you to do that, if you'd just be a bit more experimental about things. From what you've said, it doesn't sound like you've tried very many of the suggestions we've given you.
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Re: Last Resort

Postby Llewen » 2002-7-09 @ 18:53

Administrator wrote:That's a really extreme answer to this relatively simple problem, Llewen. There's no reason for you to do that, if you'd just be a bit more experimental about things. From what you've said, it doesn't sound like you've tried very many of the suggestions we've given you.


I'm a little confused. I no longer own a copy of Win 9x or of DOS and at this point I can't afford them so I'm afraid I'm stuck with what I've got for now, which is Win XP. Even if I did get a copy of Win 9x (preferrably Win98SE) it wouldn't work on my machine because I have too much memory. There are many people who have gotten their Win9x systems working with 512MB of memory but I have never heard of anyone getting Win9x working with 1GB of memory. **I just clued into the fact that Nicht has given me a possible workaround for this, but again, I don't have Win98SE anymore, so I can't very well try it.**

As for other suggestions... I have followed all the suggestions that I recieved with regard to VDMS. I used the Launchpad program and got VDMS working quite nicely thanks to you and Nicht. However, while I got to the place where the game would actually play the intro, as soon as it hits the game proper the program abrubtly terminates and screws up my display.

I could set up a dual boot into DOS with a WinXP DOS disk but I would have to set up a FAT partition because my partitions are all NTFS at this point. I probably could download a trial version of Partitionmagic or some such program which would mean I wouldn't have to reinstall my OS and all my software. However, that won't work in any event because my mouse is a USB mouse and I don't have the option for USB support in my BIOS.

Even if I did manage to set up that FAT partition and boot into DOS with the WinXP disk, setting up the DOS drivers could prove to be tricky because the only DOS drivers I have available for my sound card were the ones that were included for DOS support under DOS 7.0 that came with Win 98SE. I'm not sure that they would work. I'm also not sure that the DOS that you boot into with the WinXP DOS boot disk is a fully operational version of DOS. The "edit" command doesn't work, neither does the "help" command. I don't know if you can use the DOS disk to run DOS programs, maybe you can.

I have been posting to two boards throughout this process, both here and the VDMS boards. When I started I didn't realize I would be running into the same person on both boards (Nicht). You may have missed out on some of the dialogue because I didn't post all my comments to both boards.

At any rate, I am very grateful for the time and attention you and Nicht have lavished on me, but I feel as though I'm stumped, unless you can offer me some further insites into the workings of VDMS. I have tried the VESA mode along with tinkering with alot of the other VDMS settings. I have set up the .pif menu as proscribed in the VDMS faq. I really don't know what else to try. And right now I've got to go pick up my sister at work... lol

Cheers
Last edited by Llewen on 2002-7-09 @ 20:21, edited 1 time in total.
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Postby Llewen » 2002-7-09 @ 19:25

Actually there is one thing I haven't tried. Display Doctor. I will give that a go and let you know if I have any success.
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