(Edited by Nowhere Girl (1199), Jul 10, 2012)Running the game in Dosbox
Nowhere Girl (1199), Jul 10, 2012
Actually I will be asking about two Sierra AGI games because my problems with running them are very similar.
I use D-Fend Reloaded, which, as you probably know, wholly removes entering commands like mount c: etc. - you just create a profile and voila! Relatively few games cause problems and crack or don't want to open this way.
I've just downloaded "Gold Rush!" and, unfortunately, I can't even see if I too will have problems with the game's timer (as someone claimed on the [hush hush] download site). The game seems to have two install files, _install and installh. Both of them crash, as does the main game executive file, sierra.
Recently I've had very similar problems with "King's Quest 2": the "install" files also crashed immediately (the program just showed a message that Dosbox was terminated), however the main executive file ran, but then it prompted me to "enter disk letter". Nothing worked. I have two hard drives (C and D), E is the CD-rom, F are USB disks; (unfortunately) I don't have a floppy drive anymore. I used to have one on my old computer, but the machine was really in a bad shape and had to be replaced. My cousin Jim, a computer scientist, took it and will make some use of it (me: "You will do medical experiments on it!!" or "You just took it to sell its kidneys!!" ;)). Finding a good laptop that still has a floppy drive isn't easy.
No such problems at all with running another Sierra AGI game, the AGI version of "King's Quest 4".
Any advice? I can try asking Jim, of course, but he's not really a gamer, he was one when I was 13 and he was 10 - I guess I'm more childish (but I am, I freely admit - I even still play with my plush tigers).
Just a workaround if everything else fails: install Amiga emulator and play Amiga version of the game. It's the same, just w/out any DOSBox trouble (might have it's own minor issues though).
Or Atari ST verision. Ahhh, the joys of emulation.
SCUMMVM (like DOSBox, but more specialised) now runs AGI games pretty well. Download it for free and try it out!
I've read that Scumm VM is compatible with D-Fend, that I could run it through D-Fend just like Dosbox, but how to "connect" it? I've never used it, but I reall enjoy D-Fend Reloaded features such as screenshots, so I'd prefer to keep using it, regardless whether with Dosbox or Scumm VM.
I believe that SCUMMVM has internal screenshot capability also. I have no experience using D-Fend so can't set that up for you, but Google may help on that front.
Problems again... So I've downloaded Scumm VM, but anyway I'd prefer to play all my DOS games in one program, that is D-Fend Reloaded. I read the help and figured out how to "connect" both programs. So far I've made profiles for two games I can't play with Dosbox, "Gold Rush" and "Putt Putt Goes to the Moon"*. However, in case of both Scumm says it can't find game data. What could be wrong? It's not a 1.3.x version, which, as I've read, isn't really D-fend-compatible (which, of couse, doesn't guarantee a 1.4.1 version will).
* I couldn't play it earlier because it can be downloaded... but without the executables. I've read that Scumm VM just replaces these files and that the most clever thing is that it can be used to play games made for other systems. Does it mean I could for example use it to run "Crystal Kingdom Dizzy" (last game in the series, never had a PC version) or "Dizzy Underground" (an early Russian fan game, yet for Spectrum - I've never had a Speccy emulator. Nowadays Dizzy fan games are made mostly with Dizzy AGE, which is completely Windows-based)?
An all-in-one solution is conceptually ideal, but not always feasible... if I want to play both Hexen and Ultima 7on a modern computer, I may have to install both Exult and ZDoom, their modern enhanced fan-made interpreters, in order to experience them. Specialised tools have a certain value.
SCUMMVM's special strength is indeed that it interprets game data directly without use of the original executables -- indeed it allows play of different versions of supported games on other platforms, so sometimes you have the option of trying out the Amiga version, or the FM-Towns version, or rarely the NES version. But only for games made using engines SCUMMVM supports, which are primarily 2D adventure game engines such as SCUMM used by Lucasfilm and Humongous, AGOS by Adventuresoft, AGI and SCI by Sierra, Westwood's Kyrandia games, etc etc. The Dizzy games unfortunately do not fall under this umbrella.
If you have a Putt-Putt game distributed without executables, it is totally intended for use in SCUMMVM (and of course totally illegally pirated.) If you can't get the Sierra AGI games running under DOSbox there may be other AGI game interpreters you can use -- I know that Sarien was one, though I believe their work was folded into the SCUMMVM project. SCUMMVM /should/ work, though if it can't find the games they may be hidden from it in some way -- in a subdirectory or archive. I'd be surprised if King's Quest 2 or Gold Rush had sufficiently advanced installers to unpack or build game data after installation.
Another question (I know, I'm having problems all the time... but I'm mostly a computer autodidact and now even more so, most people of my age don't play childish games and I like it). I can run "Putt Putt Goes to the Moon", albeit with some tiny tricks, I still can't play "Gold Rush". Anyway, why does every screenshot thumbnail look the same? They all look like the last one edited - the screenshots themselves are OK, but the miniatures look the same. Can I do anything to make them look like they should? "Refresh" doesn't work (it works in cases of similar problems in normal Windows document folders). It's frustrating...
I am well familiar with the nested doll of computer problems.
I can tell you that Gold Rush runs under stock SCUMMVM for me (just tested), though I can't speak to DOSBox or D-Fend Reloaded. Which of the three programs are you using to make your screenshots? (I don't have an answer either way, but specifying might be helpful.)
"Gold Rush"still doesn't work (I guess I'll have to ask Jim to give it a try... maybe he'd get it to work in D-Fend, like another AGI game does?); as for "Putt Putt", I use Scumm + D-Fend. Scumm VM uses a different key combination to take screenshots (however, when I tried the usual D-Fend ctrl-F5, I discovered F5 brings up the menu. I probably would never have guessed it without this little mistake of not noticing the information and trying the usual combination instead), and, as I've said, the screenshots themselves are OK, but the thumbnails all look the same. It's not easy to select screenshots to keep when you can't see the real thumbnails.
Btw, the Scumm VM screenshot keys (alt-S) are actually more comfortable - they are closer to each other and can be pressed with one hand - it is also possible for ctrl-F5, but has to be done more carefully, certainly not almost without looking. But anyway I guess those programs have some trouble finding combinations which aren't used for anything else. alt-S would be a problem for example in Apogee platform games (alt is used for shooting, however it's possible to redefine keys). ctrl is rarely used in games (I'm not sure if I know a non-game use for it, too, apart from the immortal ctrl-alt-del. But I very rarely use hotkeys, I just don't remember them), but it is used in the game "Lollypop", so in every screenshot of that game the doll is throwing her lollipops. In a few games ctrl is one of the keys used for skipping cutscenes and intro screens - "Goblins" series, "Fury of the Furries", if I remember well - so you have to press both keys very quickly to get a non-fading screenshot. I often hold ctrl for a while and then press F5 - impossible in these games.
Hello again, I've solved the problem (it was a broken version) and I'm close to the end of the game. However, when walking through the secret passage (under the outhouse), I have a technical problem. A message appears: "Memory (something), have 778, need 880", or something like this. Then the game crashes. I can't seem to access debug mode from there (the game says "Ya can't do it from here" as if it was a normal action) and I haven't seen any hints on debugging memory problems, only things like how to ensure the house buyer comes on computers with a very different speed setting. Has anyone had such problems?
We still don't know what interpreter you're using to play the game, which might be useful in debugging your problem. Which version of what was broken?
Nowhere Girl Wrote:
Precisely that's why Ctrl+F5 combination is awkward. You may change this by running DOSBOX keymapper (Ctrl+F1) - I've changed the screenshot command to good old PrintScreen key, which is usually unused and thus safe.
Nowhere Girl Wrote:
Please don't say it as if it was a bad thing. That's the most effective way to learn such subject as computers. Myself I found the various courses I took not much useful.
BTW: thanks, I didn't know that word for samouk ;)
I have a little problem with Print Screen - the producer of my laptop did a very bad thing and made it a function accessible only when pressing the Fn key simulaneously (it's also a new thing for me, my old laptop - bought around 2000 - didn't have an Fn key at all). The main function of the PrtScr key is Insert - the worst key ever for me. At least once daily I press Ins instead of Backspace - I'm able to type without looking a little bit and I have quite thick fingers - and you know what it causes before you notice you've pressed it... And I use text editors quite a lot, I'm a translator, so Open Office Writer is my main work tool... PrtScr itself being used with Fn is uncomfortable. Have you heard of Dizzy? Probably you did, it seems UK, Poland and Russia were the countries where Dizzy games were most popular. So fan games made with Dizzy AGE automatically save screenshots in the game's folder when you press PrtScr - you don't have to paste the image in a graphic program, it's being saved automatically. When you have to press two keys for Print Screen, it becomes hard for example to capture Dizzy while he's moving. :( I'd prefer to swap the Insert and Print Screen functions, to have PrtScr as that key's main function and Insert accessible only with Fn - I can't recall a single time I actually REQUIRED this key.
Back to "Gold Rush" - interpreter? Do you mean emulator? I'm using D-Fend Reloaded 1.1.0, without ScummVM - this version works OK without Scumm, so I keep it for games which just won't work under Dosbox. Or at least worked up to that point... :( Maybe I'll have to remake a profile in ScummVM - oh wow, running the whole game again from the beginning... :( (Actually I made a ScummVM profile for it, hoping my saves are somewhere in the game files and that I'll be able to access them and just get past this point in ScummVM - but nope.) Are there any patches for the game? I'd prefer to avoid having to play the whole game from the beginning since I was already able to get quite far and a few scenes, like panning for gold and getting the right mule from the stable, are so - here a Polish word would fit best: "upierdliwe". ;) Let's say in English they are tiresome and irritating.
I'm pretty sure the game pre-dates patching -- they didn't ship bug-free, but close to it as getting patches to customers was very difficult.
If it helps to get yourself past the buggy part of the game, you may be able to use its internal debug mode as described at http://wiki.scummvm.org/index.php/AGI/Debug_Modes#Game_Specific:_King.27s_Quest_series_.26_Gold_Rush.21
A weird thing is that I can't access debug mode while I'm there... However, I thought better and of course I ca't reload an earlier save. If there isn't a way to manipulate game memory, I thought I could move myself to a place just after the one where this bug accurs (again: it's right behind the door where I had to use the magnet to get the key), a bit after I start climbing down the ladder. However, I don't know what room number I should use! I think I might have seen such a list somewhere, but when I search for "gold rush game debug mode", all I get in terms of numeric codes are item numbers, no room numbers at all. Maybe someone knows where to find the room numbers or how to increase game memory?
(Edited by Nowhere Girl (1199), Jul 25, 2012)Re: Running the game in Dosbox
Nowhere Girl (1199), Jul 25, 2012
Yeah, sure... Now, in Web times, it's easier, but then it would have been very inconvenient. (However, there could be modern patches, some bugs may be specific to modern computers... I guess so, at least.) Now it's so easy, especiall for small developers who really have contact with players. I remember the case with one of Dizzy fan games: on my old computer a certain graphic touch didn't work (the standard Dizzy health meter in old Spectum games and Dizzy AGE games is the "rasta-colored bar", but the author of "A Pirate's Life Dizzy" decided to do something better: a red-blue bar with a pulsating heart and moving electrocardiogram-like line). On an old computer - mine, precisely* - just a white bar appeared instead, which made contolling Dizzy's health rather impossible. The author tried to improve it and messed up something more serious: the game started freezing when Dizzy exited (but not entered) through one of the secret passage enrances (fortunately it didn't make finishing game impossible, just uncomfortable, so I was able to finish the game with that version before downloading the next one). People wrote on the Yolkfolk forum that this is broken, that is broken and finally probably the 7th version was finally bug-free. :)
Not that I'd like to laugh over it... I'll see if I can do better. ;) When I have more free time, I'd like to finally learn how to use Dizzy AGE and debut as a game author... I already have some ideas, but don't know yet how to materialize them from the technical point of view.
* Interesting: on my old computer - a Toshiba laptop from around 1999-2000 - many old games worked without emulators, including some Sierra games such as the Ecoquest series. Now even relatively new DOS games such as Tetripz the psychedelic tetris ;) (1998, so it seems soooo recent...) don't work without Dosbox.
[edited: btw, a forum-technical detail: why does the script understand double breaks, but not single ones? I had to edit it to add < br >, but double line breaks appear...]
Now, in Web times, it's easier, but then it would have been very inconvenient. (However, there could be modern patches, some bugs may be specific to modern computers... I guess so, at least.)
One point which fills the SCUMMVM devs with pride is that they often make improvements and corrections to the original games, fixing mistakes they find while reverse-engineering. In this sense Gold Rush under SCUMMVM is perhaps less likely to have game-crashing bugs than you would be running it under MS-DOS in 1990.
Or as they put it: "In the following you will find a number of bugs which actually already occur when using the original interpreter / .EXE. That is, those errors are bugs in the games themselves, not in ScummVM. Still, we sometimes are able to implement workarounds, meaning ScummVM at times works better than the original ;)."
I'm writing just in case: earlier, before those anecdotes about fan game bugs, I also asked about accessing particular screens in "Gold Rush". I think I could bypass this place where the error occurs by just loading one screen later or so... but to do it, I need room numbers. I'm pretty sure I've seen them somewhere... I can't debug in the secret passage (I don't know why), I've read I can check screen numbers, but doing it while in the Green Pastures hotel is far from guessing what screen numbers can the secret passage have...