VOGONS


Terminator: SkyNet

Topic actions

First post, by HunterZ

User metadata
Rank l33t++
Rank
l33t++

Trying to get Terminator: SkyNet running in pure DOS 7 from a Win98SE install, on a PIII-550 w/512MB RAM, S3 ViRGE/VX PCI video, AWE64 Gold ISA sound.

After installing the game from CD, setting up sound, and trying to launch the game, it aborts with a library error - usually mentioning something like gamedata\MDMDMUSC.BSA or gamedata\MDMDHRES.BSA.

I tried the following things:
- stock install
- no-CD mode (by copying all files to gamedata and editing INSTALL.DAT)
- unofficial patch (Re: Terminator Skynet problem)
- sound/music configured for SB16 instead of AWE32
- DOS32A (may have resulted in a different error)

None of it gets the game running. The *only* thing that works is running it from inside of Win98SE, which someone in the DOSBox thread mentioned they had to do as well.

Has anyone ever successfully ran this in pure DOS?

Reply 1 of 23, by keropi

User metadata
Rank l33t++
Rank
l33t++

Maybe it needs less than 16mb if ram? Have you tried using xmsdsk /t to eat up enough memory so you end up with less than 16mb free?

🎵Link to buy a PCMIDI mpu
🎧Orpheus soundcard project
💻WTB Amstrad PC7486SLC-33 system

Reply 3 of 23, by HunterZ

User metadata
Rank l33t++
Rank
l33t++
keropi wrote:

Maybe it needs less than 16mb if ram? Have you tried using xmsdsk /t to eat up enough memory so you end up with less than 16mb free?

Well, slightly more than that but yeah. The game requires 14-16 minimum, so I doubt it would also have a problem with slightly higher amounts.

hail-to-the-ryzen wrote:

Could test with HDPMI dos extender.

Where do I get that one?

Reply 4 of 23, by hail-to-the-ryzen

User metadata
Rank Member
Rank
Member

It is from: https://sourceforge.net/projects/hx-dos/files/2.17/

May start with that version 2.17. The file is archived in HXRT217.zip as HDPMI32.EXE. (I previously pasted the name incorrectly as HDMI.)

Reply 5 of 23, by HunterZ

User metadata
Rank l33t++
Rank
l33t++

Now Daggerfall is reporting that it can't open politic.pak.

I thought maybe it was because my 400GB HDD was formatted as one max-size ~136GB FAT32 partition, so I resized it to 32GB but the same thing happens.

What the heck is going on with these games?

Edit: Maybe 32GB is still too big? I guess DOS 6.22 had ~2GB max partition size.

Reply 6 of 23, by BinaryDemon

User metadata
Rank Oldbie
Rank
Oldbie

Possibly, although its been my experience that > 2gb disksize usually only confuses the installer exes. *Most* dos games don't do a lot of filespace checking once they are installed.

Check out DOSBox Distro:

https://sites.google.com/site/dosboxdistro/ [*]

a lightweight Linux distro (tinycore) which boots off a usb flash drive and goes straight to DOSBox.

Make your dos retrogaming experience portable!

Reply 7 of 23, by HunterZ

User metadata
Rank l33t++
Rank
l33t++

I've run into a few that freak out in DOSBox if you don't configure it to report a low virtual HDD size.

In any case, I created an extended partition with a 2GB FAT16 D: partition inside, copied Daggerfall over, edited Z.CFG, and it still bombed with the same error.

I'm stumped!

Reply 8 of 23, by Caluser2000

User metadata
Rank Oldbie
Rank
Oldbie

I don't see the point in running it in plain Dos if it's fine in Win98. Run a VM with Win98 on a newer system if you have to then run the game and be happy.

There's a glitch in the matrix.

Reply 9 of 23, by HunterZ

User metadata
Rank l33t++
Rank
l33t++

Normally I just game on a modern machine via DOSbox.

However, I'm currently trying to get a stable, compatible DOS setup on an old computer for testing and backing up of old games and other stuff. I'm also doing it to test out some old hardware I have but have never had the chance to use, and also to just have fun and revisit paying on an old computer with a CRT monitor.

So the point isn't to get the game running by any means, it's to get it running in this configuration.

Reply 10 of 23, by VicBond007

User metadata
Rank Newbie
Rank
Newbie

My guess would be dying hdd, or at least an inappropriately sized drive for the time. Despite being formatted down to 2GB FAT16, the games might not know how to get to that part of the drive. They shouldn't care, the BIOS should be taking care of that, but...Bethesda...

Can confirm that both run on my system (both stock install). K6-3 450, 64MB RAM, S3 Virge DX PCI,SB AWE64 (regular), 8GB HDD with 2GB partitions, DOS 6.22. Reasonably similar to your setup.

Reply 11 of 23, by swaaye

User metadata
Rank Moderator
Rank
Moderator

I had problems with this game freezing on various authentic hardware in DOS. I think that was when trying to play the Future Shock missions on the Skynet game as you can do. I think Win9x is more stable with it than DOS. Buggy but classic game.

Reply 12 of 23, by HunterZ

User metadata
Rank l33t++
Rank
l33t++
VicBond007 wrote:

My guess would be dying hdd, or at least an inappropriately sized drive for the time. Despite being formatted down to 2GB FAT16, the games might not know how to get to that part of the drive. They shouldn't care, the BIOS should be taking care of that, but...Bethesda...

Can confirm that both run on my system (both stock install). K6-3 450, 64MB RAM, S3 Virge DX PCI,SB AWE64 (regular), 8GB HDD with 2GB partitions, DOS 6.22. Reasonably similar to your setup.

Thanks, yeah this feels like the most likely culprit. Fortunately I have a ton of old IDE HDDs laying around, so maybe this weekend I'll look into moving the OS over to a smaller one.

swaaye wrote:

I had problems with this game freezing on various authentic hardware in DOS. I think that was when trying to play the Future Shock missions on the Skynet game as you can do. I think Win9x is more stable with it than DOS. Buggy but classic game.

It does seem like Bethesda was probably doing most of their testing of XnGine games in Win9x, based on how much better they run in that setting.

I've always thought it was a bit silly that I ran Daggerfall in Win95 on my 486DX4-120 in the mid-1990s so that I could run a dialup BBS at the same time, but it turns out that it was probably not a bad idea at all.

Reply 13 of 23, by schmatzler

User metadata
Rank Member
Rank
Member

Sometimes Terminator: SkyNet crashes on level transitions on my 1.4GHz Tualatin.

I run it on Windows 98SE, not in real DOS mode.

That's the only problem I have with this game, though. I save very often because of it.
...Got stuck in between objects a few times, though. 🤣

Reply 14 of 23, by HunterZ

User metadata
Rank l33t++
Rank
l33t++

Update: I cracked it, at least for Daggerfall (still need to test SkyNet, but have high hopes due to it using the same engine)!

After going to all the trouble of moving my Win98SE/DOS7 install from the 400GB HDD to an 8.4GB one and having the same issue, I reversed the no-CD hack and tried to run the game via DAGGER.EXE. It helpfully informed me that it couldn't open enough files because I need FILES=20 or higher in CONFIG.SYS. After fixing that and rebooting, Daggerfall started up just fine.

Reply 15 of 23, by HunterZ

User metadata
Rank l33t++
Rank
l33t++

Update 2: SkyNet runs, until I try to start a mission in 640x480 mode, at which point it freezes at a black screen. This is with the unofficial patch installed, with retail CD-ROM actually still in the drive.

If I run it via GAME.EXE instead of SKYNET.EXE, I can start the mission in 640x480, but it seems to lock up within several seconds. Tried DOS32A and SciTech Display Doctor, but they don't seem to make a difference.

Anyone know how to get this stable at 640x480 under pure DOS?

Edit: Tried using S3's S3VBE20 driver. If I let it load into high memory, GAME.EXE would ignore attempts to use 640x480, while SKYNET.EXE would bomb out with a ChangeMode error. If I force S3VBE20 to load into low memory, SkyNet runs in 640x480 until I open and close the menu once or twice (cycling between 320x200 and 640x480) at which point it freezes.

I guess SkyNet is just super-unstable at 640x480 except on whatever hardware they actually tested it on.

Reply 16 of 23, by swaaye

User metadata
Rank Moderator
Rank
Moderator

That sounds exactly like the behavior I remember.

I think it works slightly better with Win9x and DOSBox than real DOS. I made some progress playing the game in DOSBox but it is still flaky in some way. It has been around 6 years so the memories are fuzzy...

Reply 17 of 23, by j^aws

User metadata
Rank Oldbie
Rank
Oldbie

From what I recall (it's been a while), you need a VGA core with VBE 1.2. Something like an S3 card with native VBE 1.2 to work in higher resolutions in DOS, rather than a VBE 2.0 card downgraded to VBE 1.2.

Reply 18 of 23, by HunterZ

User metadata
Rank l33t++
Rank
l33t++
j^aws wrote:

From what I recall (it's been a while), you need a VGA core with VBE 1.2. Something like an S3 card with native VBE 1.2 to work in higher resolutions in DOS, rather than a VBE 2.0 card downgraded to VBE 1.2.

My Stealth3D 3000 (S3 ViRGE/VX) appears to only have a VESA 1.2 BIOS, but the game still tends to freeze quickly and/or after I open the menu 1-2 times.

I was trying the official S3 VBE 2.0 driver to see if it helped any, and it doesn't make much of a difference either way (if anything it helps with the quick freeze).