Sunday, 20 May 2018

UPDATE - MAY 2018


I've had a heck of a time this past week or so and all because MicroSoft's April update for Windows 10 screwed up my system (I'll rant about it later). Thankfully it came at a time where I'm in between work contracts so I still had the time to do some Chamber stuff before and after that cataclysmic event. Read on to find out what games have been updated and also some exciting developments for future games...

OK, here's my Micro$oft rant. I'll keep it brief and to one paragraph so if you want to skip to the gaming stuff you can do so easily. I was in the middle of writing my CaveWars review when the 'update now' popup appeared. I didn't notice this in time so I unknowingly accepted it which I usually wouldn't. These updates cause more headaches than anything else. Anyway, there was a known bug that crashes the system if you have a certain type of SSD drive installed. However, reverting back to the previous version caused my system to hang up after about 20 minutes of use. This was getting beyond my knowledge to solve myself so I contacted the Micro$oft customer support. Over the next four days, they did several things to try and fix it. At one point the length of time before a hang grew to about an hour but that didn't last long. The next 'level 2 technician' played around with my registry and effed it up even more. I couldn't even copy over any files I wanted to keep (thankfully all the really important stuff are either backed up or on another drive. I did lose a few Steam saves though). Anyway, I had to format the C drive and install Windows 10 from scratch (not the latest update, natch). The took the best part of a week to get to this point plus a few extra days to reinstall some programs. It's all OK now, thank the gods, but I was in panic mode for a time. Anyway, on to some better news.

You may have noticed that some recent Windows '95 games have used PCEm instead of DOSBox Daum. It's a darn good program that has actually replaced my need for the increasingly archaic DOSBox offshoot which is no longer being updated. It has better compatibility and support for beefier legacy systems but on the downside, it can't mount more than one CD-ROM at a time. I can work around this using virtualisation within Windows '95 which become is a lot more time consuming but you as the end user shouldn't see much of that. It's so good, I think I'll gradually convert the older Daum games over to it.

Another program I've just gotten to grips with is DxWind. Unlike other programs I use, DxWind is not really an emulater but acts more like a frontend. Because of this, I'm not entirely sure how unified the outcome would be for each user. I've therefore decided to include a text file in each release called ChamberNotes.txt which will detail which of the options I've implemented and why (although I probably won't in the unlikely event that a game uses the default settings). I'm sure the more I use it, the more I'll understand it so I'll understand the quirks and intricacies but until then users having trouble can look here for clues of how to fix it.

An awesome Chamber fan named BZPlasma and his pal ModsMonthly (@relicanyobro) helped me understand this fairly  complex program to the point where all but one game on the site works on Windows 10 (they stopped working after upgrading from Windows 7 to Windows 10). So far I've only updated The Devil Inside but expect Guardian of Darkness soon. This only leaves Silent Hill Arcade unplayable but due to its arcade roots, that game requires an extremely specific setup to play (I'm still searching).

Anyway, it's been a while since my last update post so there's a fair bit to cover. Here's what's new around here...


Black Dahlia
  THE BLACK DAHLIA

        Updated to Version 2
        Now uses PCEm
        Patched game to official version 1.10
        Subtitles now supported (see notes)
        Fixed missing CD error
The Devil Inside
  THE DEVIL INSIDE

        Updated to Version 2
        Now uses DxWind
        Added compressed CD Audio
Discworld Noir
  DISCWORLD NOIR (PC VERSION)

        Updated to Version 3
        Now uses PCEm

Discworld Noir
  DISCWORLD NOIR (PSX VERSION)

        Updated to Version 2
        Now uses Retroarch with the Mednafen PSX core
        Compressed ISO to PBP
        Improved mouse support
Duckman: Legend of the Fall
  DUCKMAN: LEGEND OF THE FALL

        Updated to Version 2
        Now uses PCEm
        Opening movie now plays
Heart of China
  HEART OF CHINA

        Removed download link
        Added link to buy at GOG
The Kite
  THE KITE

        Added link to buy expanded version on Steam
Orion Burger
  ORION BURGER

        Updated to Version 2
        Changed resolution to suit all desktops
        Fixed item description error
Rise of the Dragon
  RISE OF THE DRAGON

        Removed download link
        Added link to buy at GOG
Shivers 2: Harvest of Souls
  SHIVERS 2: HARVEST OF SOULS

        Updated to Version 3
        Added patch to run natively on Windows
        Fixes missing animations

        An early video crashes the game, so expect another
                update in the near future. You can easily skip it
                to continue playing.
Time Gate: Knight's Chase
  TIME GATE: KNIGHT'S CHASE

        Removed download link
        Added link to buy on Steam
Titanic: Adventure Out of Time
  TITANIC: ADVENTURES OUT OF TIME

        Removed download link
        Added link to buy at GOG


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7 comments:

  1. Hello Biff,

    your tragical Windows 10 meltdown must have been one hell of a living nightmare for you, and so I'm more than glad you made it out alive - without loosing your brains -, from there. It's a blueprint of a cautionary example you wouldn't wish on anyone. So, I hope that my old Dual Core with its installed Windows 7 since Day 1 will still last for a good while. That long at least, until all those critical Windows 10 childhood diseases are gonna be cleared up once and for all. Eventually, it's still an operating system whose own puberty hasn't even set in, as it seems. ;-)

    Besides your passionate Collection Chamber activities, you should think about giving lifestyle courses like "Motivating your Inner Self to unfold its Full Potential" as well. That's because the Chamber hasn't seen many weak moments since launch, I suppose, thanks to your everlasting efforts to prove its best sides with all the gifted reviews in combination with their associated game software which needs to be soberly edited by your smart mind first before being able to run properly on modern systems. So, you highly ambitioned jack of all trades, I'm raising my glass to you! :-)

    One who knows about me doesn't wonder at all that once again it's Black Dahlia (in shape of an incredible update this time) which aroused my whole attention. I think this new revision makes for the ultimate Black Dahlia experience on newer PCs to date. Had it actually also been possible for you to get rid of the game's scanlines or will this be a probable feature of the "Definite Ultimate Edition" yet to be announced?

    Anyway, my deep gratitude for all your fantastic work up to here!

    Bye for now,
    Thomas

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    Replies
    1. Thanks! I almost cracked thoughout the whole debacle.

      As for the scanlines, one of the negatives the PCEm has over DOSBox Daum is the lack of support for plugins. Unless there's a legacy patch or program the deals with it in a Windows '95 environment (I doubt such a patch exist as they're not exactly noticeable on ancient monitors), I doubt I'll ever be rid of those pesky scanlines.

      Also, no-one should ever take life advice from me. It would lead to mayhem. Or incarceration. Or both.

      Anyway, enjoy the game!

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  2. Great post. I used to have these kind of problems back with my Windows 98 PC, where it would just randomly be missing a system file after a driver update or program update. I couldn't tell you how many times I had to format and reinstall Windows 98 from scratch lol. It was a nightmare. PCEm sounds cool. I'll have to check it out myself. I wonder if it works for Chasm: The Rift. I've tried playing your custom build and a Windows 95 preinstalled DOSBox build, but no matter what, the game felt like it was stuttering and had laggy FPS. I just couldn't get used to it no matter what CPU type or settings or what cycle settings/amount I used. Some areas ran decent, but in other areas, you could really feel the slowdown when looking around and moving. I've read that the game doesn't seem to like DOSBox emulation. It was a super intensive game back in the day.

    Anyway, great work. Hope to see more in the future!

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    Replies
    1. Have you tried a lower display option? It might run smoother that way.

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    2. Yeah, I have, but I can't play it like that. It hurts my eyes and looks like a GBA FPS game lol. The one thing I haven't tried yet is on a VM program. I've never had any luck getting VMs to work for Win 98 or under with audio and DX/D3D/3Dfx acceleration. I did find some preconfigured VirtualBox and VMWare builds with Win95 and 98 installed, so eventually I'll try those out. It seems to be a big problem with Chasm: The Rift, according to the many forums I've read through. I did beat the game using your build, but it wasn't too fun to play. It just felt off, like when 60fps drops to 40fps. You can't see it as much as you can really feel it. I'm also rebuilding my Windows 95 PII PC, so I'll try it out on that too.

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  3. I've downloaded a few things with PCem but they're so laggy on my computer, choppy sound and the like. I heard it said you should download the latest verison, but I don't know what files to replace.

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    Replies
    1. Win 95 games do need a lot of resources to run smoothly, and PCEm requires more than Daum. Basically you're sacrificing minimum specs for better compatibility.

      You can replace all files if you want to use an updated version. The files needed to get the game to run are not changed so unless PCem has altered how it works, it should be all good. Theres also some notes in the FAQ that might be helpful too.

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