Magic School Bus Explores the Solar System (1994) - help!?

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Magic School Bus Explores the Solar System (1994) - help!?

Postby silhouetted » 2019-11-22 @ 11:47

Hi,

Please be gentle with me as I am new to the forum and Dosbox. I have searched the forum for this error but not found anything.

I have been trying to install the 1994 game Magic School Bus Explores the Solar System.

I have downloaded Dosbox and installed Windows 3.1, including the SB16 sound drivers a S3 video drivers. It all seems to work successfully - I am able to view a majestic 256 colours.

I can also hear the Windows logon sound that reminds me of the glory days - that golden age when here in Britain we crashed out of the European Exchange Rate Mechanism, and our government was paralysed by five years of polarising arguments about Europe (plus ça change).

Anyway. I have acquired a copy of the game itself, which I am able to mount as an ISO image in Dosbox and then run from Windows 3.1. I can run SETUP.EXE from the mounted drive, and the installation appears to complete successfully. An MSKIDS folder is created on the C:\ drive with the application, and it appears in the start menu.

kidscatalog.png
appears_installed


program_files.png


When the installation completed, it stated I need to restart the computer for changes to take effect.

The problem is, even after exiting Windows and Dosbox and restarting, I cannot open the program. I still get the same error message that the computer needs to restart.

not_installed.png


There's not much help in the game's help or readme files, except advising users to disable antivirus software before installing, which isn't an issue as there isn't any.

Usually I'd go about debugging something like this by trying to find some sort of log file. Does such a thing exist? If not, how on earth do I work out what the issue is?
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Re: Magic School Bus Explores the Solar System (1994) - help!?

Postby STX » 2019-11-23 @ 01:32

The IAU won't let you play it because it teaches that Pluto is a planet.

But seriously, is there a chance that there's a component on the disc that you need to install separately such as Video for Windows or Win32s? (I don't have this game, so I'm just guessing.)
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Re: Magic School Bus Explores the Solar System (1994) - help!?

Postby Dominus » 2019-11-23 @ 07:50

As it wants you to reboot, it probably added something to atoexex.bat or config.sys. See if those were created in your mounted c folder.
Maybe it needs share.exe running. Try to run fakeshare before starting windows 3.x. It's linked to in my Windows 3.x installation guide.
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Re: Magic School Bus Explores the Solar System (1994) - help!?

Postby silhouetted » 2019-11-24 @ 20:10

Thanks a lot for these replies.

What has not worked at all

With respect to the other components on the disk image, all files seem to be installed in the game folder. The other executables from the game disk image run successfully, although unfortunately they are basically just adverts for other games in the MS Home series. I tried moving all the DLLs manually into the game folder, and into C:\Windows\System for good measure, but no luck, although I think it may have solved part of the problem (see below).

Good thought re AUTOEXEC.BAT (even typing that takes me back) and CONFIG.SYS. Both exist - all the lines in them seem to relate to the audio and video settings and none of them are obviously incompatible with one another or the game (although perhaps they would be if I knew what the problem was!). Perhaps the game meant to add something else there, but I can't think how to find out what it should be.

What has not worked in a more interesting way

Thanks for the tip re share.exe, which I was not aware of. It does something strange. I could load Windows with fakeshar running, but I got lots of error messages that it could not open the Main window, so no File Manager, or any other windows like Accessories or Games.

Fortunately, ALT+F+R still opened the Run menu, and I could try to open the game. I get a bit further than before, and it appears for a second to be loading:

microsoft_home.png
This is further than I got before (please excuse the red light filter)


But then I get an error message:

In the standard installation folder

not_installed.png
Peculiar


In the installation folder where I manually moved all the DLLs

needs_more_memory.png
Very peculiar


I get the needs more memory message even when I set memsize=512 (although I get a message in Dosbox Status Window saying max is 63).

I assume making the Main window disappear is not a usual feature of fakeshar? In which case, my current conclusion is that there may be something amiss in my installation. So I think the next step is to reinstall, set RAM to max, run fakeshar and manually move files over to see if that makes any difference.

Thanks for the help - not there yet but this feels possible!
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Re: Magic School Bus Explores the Solar System (1994) - help!?

Postby silhouetted » 2019-11-26 @ 21:24

An update:

I could not get it to work in Windows 3.1 or Windows 3.11, whatever I tried.

I then tried a bunch of different configurations. Ultimately, I had to install Dos 6.22 in VirtualBox, disable VT-x/AMD-V, then install CD-ROM drivers, then mount and install Windows 95 OSR 2, then install display drivers to upgrade to 800x600 resolution and 256 colors.

And voila:

itworks.png
It works!


Thanks for the replies - they kept me motivated to keep trying. Much appreciated. And in the unlikely event that anyone else in the future wants to run this, perhaps they'll stumble upon this thread and save themselves some times.
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Re: Magic School Bus Explores the Solar System (1994) - help!?

Postby Dominus » 2019-11-27 @ 20:36

I actually got it to run on Windows 3.1 in DOSBox.
It does two things:
- installs WinG (which should be downloadable from my Windows 3.x guide) but I think how the game does it works, too. But I'm not sure whether I had it installed previously.
- it adds device=vshare.386 to c:\Windows\system.ini. So I was spot on with the share being "needed" (stupid Microsoft)

So for me it works to run fakeshar.com before starting Windows and that was it. It just ran.
Again, this was with a pre setup Windows 3.1 but I'm pretty sure I just followed my guide for that and installed all the things from that.
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Re: Magic School Bus Explores the Solar System (1994) - help!?

Postby silhouetted » 2019-11-27 @ 21:23

Really appreciate this! It works better in Dosbox with 3.1 that it does with Windows 95, which had a couple of issues around sound and video that I hadn't resolved yet. Thank you so much.
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