VOGONS


First post, by exofreeze

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So it seems the last time someone came on here looking for help running SimTown they were trying to use Mame...🤣.

I promise you that is not the case this time.

This game has been a huge headache. First I found that only the first release of the game is Win 3.x compatible. All releases after this had the Win31 directory removed, and only left the Win95 folder.

So I finally tracked down a copy of the game with the original 1995 date printed on the disc. It arrived yesterday, so this morning I immediately imaged it (bin/cue), loaded up a blank install of Win3.x I created by following dominus's guide, and installed the game. My copy of Win 3.x already has Win32s installed, and runs using the suggesting sb16 drivers and s3 video card drivers (640x480 @ 266 colors).

The game starts up, and at the front screen I can choose to start a new town or use a Starter Town or Fixer Upper Town. What I have found is, I can start a new town or pick a starter town, and things are ok. But the problems seem to kick in when I either place a building in town, or choose a fixer upper town (which already has buildings). For the record, the starter towns I have opened so far were just vegetation and roads. No buildings. So if I add a building or open a city with a building already placed in it, I get this vague error:

SSehAHF.png

I have tried the following:
Under Dosbox 0.74 I tried 16mb and 32mb of ram. I tried changing the cputype to 486_slow. I tried limiting the cycles.
I then tried the DAUM SVN build, and went through the same switches as listed above.
I noticed the version of win32 packed with the game was older then the one recommended, so I then tried a clean install of SimTown on a fresh copy of Win 3.x, but this time I let it use it's version of Win32. No progress there.

At this point I decided to go the virtual drive route. I created a 100mb drive image, installed DOS 6.22 to it, and then installed Windows 3.11. After installing the sb16 and s3 drivers, I mounted the games CD using the DAUM build's IDE mount support with VIDE-CDD.SYS and MSCDEX.EXE. I thought that this would solve the problem for sure, however after installing the game, I got the exact same error message.

I have had one person hypothesize that the game simply does not work under Win 3.x, however it is worth noting that apart from the disc having a Win31 folder, the original boxes all specifically state Win 3.x support on them.

I have tried googling the topic, and can find no one else with the error... but I also couldn't find anyone else who was trying to play the game in Windows 3.x. The only errors I found online where in regards to RAM issues.

Just to be clear ahead of time, I am working on a Windows 3.x project. So while it is probably much easier for me to pursue a route that involves playing the game under Win95 compatibility mode in a modern OS, that would defeat the purpose of my project. My specific goal here is to see if I can get the game running under Windows 3.x, as it is supposedly capable of. Any assistance in accomplishing this, or even just determining what is causing this error, would be *greatly* appreciated.

Reply 1 of 6, by DosFreak

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Can you try windows in standard mode?

If you can also try the game in virtualbox\vmware\qemu\etc.

We only care about the 0.74 release or the official SVN. The unnoficial ports we don't care (unless something works there of course).

Not related to your issue but I thought it was funny:
https://appdb.winehq.org/objectManager.php?sC … rsion&iId=23944

"There are two versions on the disc, a win95 version and a win31. The windows 95 version is what worked. I tried to run the windows 3.1 version for the sake of it but it didn't start without complaining. There is no need to fix that issue because it runs."

heh. No it doesn't.

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

Reply 2 of 6, by Dominus

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just maybe the win3x version has been removed for a reason 😀

Windows 3.1x guide for DOSBox
60 seconds guide to DOSBox
DOSBox SVN snapshot for macOS (10.4-11.x ppc/intel 32/64bit) notarized for gatekeeper

Reply 3 of 6, by exofreeze

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I had to use the DAUM release (in regards to the DOS 6.22 solution) simply for the IDE mounting. It was the only way I knew how to mount the games disc and access it from within DOS 6.22 booted from a hard disk image.

By windows standard mode, are you referring to the video driver in 3.x? I did try just playing in standard 16 color VGA mode. Same error, however the game did stop and take time to warn me that it would look and perform much better in 256 colors.

I suppose the fellow who tested it for wine figured that the win95 version ran, so there was no point it trying to figure out if the win31 version would also run.

I will give virtualbox a shot. However, never having used it before, I have a feeling it is going to take me a bit of time to figure it out properly. I'll reply with results once I get it up and going.

I have also reached out to 2 of the programmers who worked on the game to ask them if they have any insight as to whether or not there was an issue with the game running in Win 3.x at launch.

edit:
Standard mode is a No Go.

Win32s requires enhanced mode, and since the game requires Win32s, that means it can't run in standard mode.

Reply 4 of 6, by exofreeze

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Just lost the last few hours trying virtualbox.

It appears that Win 3.x in virtual box is limited to 16 colors. This presents problems. That may or may not be related to the fact that the SimTown setup file immediately errors out with an initialization error.

From the articles I read, Win 3.x is not very stable in VirtualBox.

Dominus isn't the first to suggest that the game may have inherent issues running under Win 3.x That very well may be the case. However I'd like to get confirmation from one of the developers on this, or at least understand what is causing the error. After all - the game does install and does start. And the fact it doesn't crash until a building is introduced may suggest that the problem may have a work around.

Reply 5 of 6, by Dominus

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I really doubt the developers can give you any clear answer from that information and without having the game and running it inside the debugger. But then, AFAIK, debugging a Windows game adds much more problems than a dos game (because of the underlying Windows 3.1x system).
But you wrote you ran it through booting Dos. Have you tried running Windows 3.x (and the game) directly in Dosbox without booting an image as per my guide?
And then maybe try the different emulated graphic cards and different memsizes.

Windows 3.1x guide for DOSBox
60 seconds guide to DOSBox
DOSBox SVN snapshot for macOS (10.4-11.x ppc/intel 32/64bit) notarized for gatekeeper

Reply 6 of 6, by Dominus

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This way you can at least rule out problems introduced by the many things that Daum SVN has added

Windows 3.1x guide for DOSBox
60 seconds guide to DOSBox
DOSBox SVN snapshot for macOS (10.4-11.x ppc/intel 32/64bit) notarized for gatekeeper