Monday, 18 March 2019

UPDATE - March 2019


There's been a few changes and updates on The Collection Chamber these last couple of months, including the much-requested migration away from 4Shared over to Mega. I've also updated 15 games, fixing many long-standing bugs in the process. Read on to find out which...

You may have noticed on my last Disney triple that one of them now uses an emulated version of Windows '98 (The Emperor's New Groove: Groove Centre). This is the only way I found to get it working as it didn't want to run natively on Windows or play ball with my PCEm build of Windows '95. Since then, I've checked out a small number of other previously troublesome titles and about 50% of them run quite nicely. The downside to this - and one some may already be experiencing with the Windows '95 builds - is that you need a hefty machine to run it. It also adds a good 50-100 Mb to the install size, but I doubt many will bemoan that considering terabytes are more commonly a thing.

You'll also find that any installers going forward will now have the default install directory of C:\Games\Collection Chamber instead of Program Files. This helps with a lot of administrator issues that affect some people where it doesn't give permissions to save or other related issues. You can still choose to change to any directory if you wish so it's just a cosmetic change for the most part.

I've made many changes to the FAQ. Firstly, I've taken down the info on 4Shared; it's not need anymore. There's also a note about savegames issues that affect a small number of games. If you're having issues with games using PCEm on lower spec machines, there's a point in that section that may help a small amount (though you'll still need a decent rig). Lastly, I've changed my Collection Chamber email so if you want to contact me directly, you can from there.

Anyway, here's what you came here for - the games updated over the last few months...


  3 SKULLS OF THE TOLTECS

        Removed download link
        Added link to buy on STEAM
  BIG RED ADVENTURE

        Removed redundant Amiga CD32 version
        Updated to Version 4
        Now uses DOSBox Daum
        Changed EMS settings to fix intro crash
        Fixed savegame error from Version 3
  BLADE RUNNER

        Updated to Version 4
        Added patch by Noorz for better compatibility
        Now uses DxWnd to fix the Shooting Gallery bug

  BOOMBOTS

        Updated to Version 4
        Compressed ISO to PBP
        Improved menus
  CALLAHAN'S CROSSTIME SALOON

        Updated to Version 3
        Fixed the DOSBox config issue from V2

  CHEWY: ESC FROM F5

        Updated to Version 2
        Changed resolution to suit all desktops
  D/GENERATION

        Removed download link
        Added link to buy HD version on STEAM
  DARK SEED II

        Updated to Version 2
        Fixed sound stutter during speech
  DIE HARD TRILOGY

        Added working Windows version running on PCEm
        Emulated PlayStation version remains

  ECSTATICA

        Added Version 2
        Now uses a Windows patch to run natively in Windows
        This makes use of the Hi-Res graphics

        Version 1 using DOSBox remains in the Download folder
  GHOST IN THE SHELL

        Updated to Version 3
        Compressed ISO to PBP
        Improved menus
  KLAYMAN: GUN HOCKEY

        Updated to Version 3
        Improved menus
  PYROTECHNICA

        Updated to Version 2
        Changed resolution to suit all desktops
  RACE MANIA

        Updated to Version 2
        Changed resolution to suit all desktops
  THE RIDDLE OF MASTER LU

        Updated to Version 2
        Changed resolution to suit all desktops
  SKULLMONKEYS

        Updated to Version 3
        Compressed ISO to PBP
        Improved menus
  ZOOCUBE

        Added Windows version utilising DxWnd & dgVoodoo
           (I believe the only site to have it as far as I can tell)

        Emulated GameCube version remains


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27 comments:

  1. It should be noted that Blade Runner should still, presumably, require some form of disc drive, either physical or virtual (like Daemon Tools, WinCDEmu, etc.), to be visible on launch in order to work (nothing specific has to be inserted or mounted so long as it can see the drive). I made a package for it a while back and had a hell of a time figuring out why it was working for some people but not others, regardless of OS used - that was the culprit. Anyone that didn't have some form of disc drive visible on launch, the game would crash; as soon as they added one - even by way of mounting literally any random disc image in the built in mounter in Windows 10, just so the drive would appear - and it fixed it. I read the post on abandonware-forums.org:

    https://www.abandonware-forums.org/forum/forum-ltf-abandonware-france/aide-de-jeux-probl%C3%A8mes-techniques/772938-r%C3%A9solu-probleme-lancement-blade-runner-sous-windows-10-help-svp?p=772951#post772951

    and essentially all it does is add in dgvoodoo, which, as far as I know, isn't related to the crash I'm referring to. DxWnd *shouldn't* be needed for the shooting range issue, but maybe it is for W10 specifically, I'm not sure there. It works normally on 7 without it, anyway. I just double-checked to be sure.

    In related news, it's being worked on for ScummVM. So hopefully at some point we can ditch all this junk and just simplify it that way.

    Good job on the updates!

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    1. I wasn't aware of the CD drive bug. I've not had a CD inserted or ISO mounted at all when playing and haven't experienced the crash you're referring to, but then again I don't have a desktop or laptop without a disc drive. Perhaps that's with the unpatched version? It certainly sounds that way in the link you gave, but details could've been lost in the translation from French. Also, my installer doesn't use dgVoodoo.

      The shooting range issue is entirely down to timing. It did work before, though you wouldn't know it as it took over 3 minutes before the first target popped up. The faster the CPU, the slower it will be. DxWnd allows you to limit the delay without going deep into an individual's desktop configurations (some of which may not have that option) which fixes the issue. Here, I've set it to 40 msec (read the ChamberNotes for more info).

      https://adventuregamers.com/archive/forums/hint-requests-technical-problems/3118-blade-runner-shooting-range-help.html

      Either way, I'm looking forward to it being added to ScummVM. That would be my preferred way to play, unless it has some issues like UFOs.

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    2. Re-reading that thread, it looks like he does mention DT/optical drives as no longer being necessary in a prior post to the one I was looking at, so maybe it does indeed address it. I'll have to try that out. That's exciting if so. It's always bugged me having that as a sortof caveat on it.

      It didn't take 3 minutes for the targets to start when I tried it again last night, maybe 30 seconds. I have an i7 4770k. If it's a CPU speed issue, would a priority adjustment .bat be sufficient? I'm not a big fan of DxWnd personally. I've used it a few times before but it tends to introduce its own complications.

      Maybe a .bat with something like:

      start /affinity 1 hg.exe wmic process where name="Blade.exe" CALL setpriority "low"

      Guess I'll have to play around with it a bit.

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    3. I guess part of it could also be that I have a "CPU patch" that I found somewhere years ago (replaying.de I believe). It didn't say specifically what all it addressed, just that it was a "CPU patch". It's a ddraw wrapper though, so maybe it's serving the same purpose as DxWnd. Here it is if you want to check it out:

      https://mega.nz/#!hclznSqS!Si9NPda60ZQK0QhslNJHfSUXeeHwHWagTpIb2itxfYs

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    4. DxWnd does a lot of good stuff, but it is quite complex. Generally speaking, it shouldn't break what was already working before - you can theoretically bypass all options and 'hooks'. My only issue is that some games don't catch it, especially if it uses multiple .exe files like Die Hard Trilogy or forces a launch from a menu. I guess I prefer tinkering and testing within its environment and I'm impressed with the results so far. The more I use it the confident I am with its abilities.

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    5. By the way, I'm loving what you're doing with your site! I was even planning on adding some of the games you've recently added but you beat me to it :)

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    6. Thanks! It's getting there. I usually check here before deciding what to work on next, so as not to cover the same stuff (unless it's something I feel pretty strongly about like Blade Runner). I end up saying "What about... Nope, he's already got it." a *lot* haha. Good thing there's no shortage of old obscure adventure games out there.

      Keep up the awesome work man. Wouldn't have gotten into doing this stuff without you.

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    7. I checked on two PCs, one on 7 and one on 10, both with no physical/virtual drive and the patch from abandonware-forums fixed the issue on both, so hurray! Thank you and Noorz for bringing that to my attention. Gonna have to update my package with that tonight. Happy to not have to worry about that snag anymore.

      I also tested and can confirm that aqrit's ddraw wrapper fixes the shooting range issue - I removed it and it happened, put it back and it was back to normal.

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  2. I'm one of the people who couldn't launch Blade Runner before, because I am using a laptop without a disk drive. I can confirm that the patch by Noorz, incorporated into version 3, fixes that problem. I also had to wait an eternity for targets to appear in the shooting range, because I am using a powerful i7 processor with Windows 10. I can confirm that I only have to wait about 10 seconds for the targets to appear now, because the DxWnd solution, incorporated into Version 4, fixes that problem. I have gone deep into the game now and encountered no problems.

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    1. That's good the hear! It's one amazing game.

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  3. As a responsible tester, I have to say that it is not quite accurate to say the resolution for some of these games has been "changed to suit all desktops". Perhaps it suits other desktops, I don't know. However, if people with a computer like mine intend to go fullscreen, they will still need to edit the dosbox.conf file, changing the line "fullresolution=desktop" to "fullresolution=original". (I also said this in the Ripper thread.)

    The list says "Heart of China", when it should say "Chewy: Esc from F5". There is also an issue with Chewy, in that the intro video doesn't play, not on my machine, at least. The game itself works just fine. (And I can watch the intro on YouTube.)

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    1. Good catch with China, I copied the template from my previous Update so must have missed it.

      It was a while ago but I seem to remember something about Chewy only playing the intro on first run. Obviously, I ran it when I briefly tested the change. I don't know whether it was a DOSBox thing or whether it was programmed that way, but I'm looking into it.

      I don't use the fullresolution=desktop anymore but =0x0 which apparently does was =desktop was supposed to do (it's always worked for me so I'm going by official documentation here). These installers previously had 1920x1080 (my desktop resolution) which caused all kinds of trouble with differing setups. =desktop and =0x0 are supposed to get that number from your computer's setup. I found having it at =original the image if often off centre or tiny and surrounded by a black border. Are you using a 4K screen? I hear =original is the best for them.

      https://www.dosbox.com/wiki/Dosbox.conf#.5Bsdl.5D

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    2. So long as aspect=true, which I imagine it is, fullresolution=desktop is correct. All that means is that it will scale, while maintaining the aspect ratio, up to whatever your desktop resolution is. If it's not, then it's something weird with your monitor, video card settings, or some combination thereof. Presumably "changed to suit all desktops" was not intended to mean "Will now look best on literally every computer ever.", but rather "will scale to your own desktop resolution, rather than using an arbitrary/static one", because that's quite literally what the setting does. fullresolution=original is going to look blurrier for just about everyone.

      If your complaint is that you want them to actually *stretch* to 16:9 (why you would want this I don't know, you're warping the image in the process; most games weren't designed for 16:9 in the 80s and 90s), then you don't need fullresolution=original, you just need to change aspect=false. Again though, most people aren't going to want that - you're altering the aspect ratio in the process.

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    3. OK, I've done some troubleshooting and Chewy ver 3 is now up. Basically, once the intro is viewed, the game installs CSP.INT under HDD\CHEWY\ROOM. I guess this is a clumsy way for returning players to not have to sit through the lengthy intro again. Delete this and the intro will play again.

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  4. That's brilliant. I don't see Chewy Ver 3 up yet, but deleting the CSP.INT file works. I have to repeat this any time I want to watch the intro again.

    I am not using a 4K screen. In fact, I am using a 1920x1080 monitor just like you. However, my monitor is 17 inches instead of the usual 15 - I'm not sure if that makes a difference. I doubt it.

    I was not making any "complaint" about resolution in my previous post, as it is no problem for me to edit one line in the dosbox.conf file. I was simply informing others, who have similar computers to mine and who may want to go fullscreen, what they must do. Hence I said "if people with a computer like mine intend to go fullscreen". Of course, they may not intend to go fullscreen, in which case they should edit nothing.

    I didn't want to get into a big debate about whether maintaining aspect ratio or going fullscreen is better. Personally, I like games to fill the whole screen and not have wide black margins. Stretching animated works is not a problem for me at all, although I can see that it might not be good for a live-action FMV game, because we wouldn't want to turn slim humans into wide humans.

    When I open DOSBox games (not from this site), they always open fullscreen for me, so I am used to that. I would not be presumptuous enough to know what most people like, but Biffman seemed to indicate in his last post that he too sees "a black border" as a negative thing. The terminology he used next to the downloads for the new versions (not on this page) is "Changed fullscreen resolution to suit all desktops". Since he specifically used the word "fullscreen", I informed others who may have similar computers to mine how to go fullscreen.

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    1. You're mixing terms. You can maintain the aspect ratio and be in fullscreen. They're not mutually exclusive. Fullscreen does not mean "fills the entire screen", it means "not in a window". What you're referring to is disregarding the original aspect ratio and *stretching* the image to ignore the correct aspect ratio. That's certainly your prerogative if you so choose but, again, this is not what most people are going to want.

      If you want a more specific example, take a look at these two images:

      This is captured from fullscreen with the correct aspect ratio maintained (aspect=true): https://i.imgur.com/JFNjfBs.jpg

      This is captured from fullscreen with the aspect ratio ignored (aspect=false): https://i.imgur.com/vlCBq2a.jpg

      Round objects are a good/clear demonstration of what happens when you stretch an image to a size that it wasn't intended for. In the first image (which will have black bars on the left and right in-game) the character portraits are nice and round as they're supposed to be. In the second image (which will remove the black bars on the left and right in-game) they become ovals. Everything becomes abnormally fat because it's all stretched horizontally. If you want that, go for it, just set aspect=false, but that's a matter of personal taste; and one that disregards how the image was originally intended to appear.

      There's a decent writeup here if you want more info:
      http://www.gamasutra.com/blogs/FelipePepe/20150423/241730/No_MSDOS_games_werent_widescreen_Tips_on_correcting_aspect_ratio.php

      Mind you, DOSBox, as in regular old DOSBox, isn't perfect as far as this is concerned, even with aspect=true. It's basically just "closer". DOSBox ECE, however, has a nice pixel-perfect output mode for "perfect" ratio scaling:

      https://yesterplay.net/dosbox-ece-en/

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    2. Yes, I think there has been a misunderstanding up in terminology. When I say borders, I meant that there were black on the top and/or bottom as well as the left and right, which is what I thought you meant. The games I post should mostly keep their aspect ration using all screen real estate at the top and bottom.

      I'm not fully against a stretched image in more cartoonish games, and I do prefer to play some that way, but I aim for the original aspect ratio in my uploads (although there may be times where I missed forgot to add it).

      I have thought of doing what GOG does with their DOSBox setup by including a front end for their own options, but I havent researched it enough to implement it.

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    3. If all else fails you could do something like creating .bats to swap them around if you really wanted to. Make a couple different versions of the .conf copied out into separate folders, then make .bats with:

      xcopy /s/Y "[relative path to specific conf folder]
      "[relative path to primary dosbox.conf folder]"

      Making something like Original Aspect Ratio.bat and one for Widescreen.bat. This will copy out the one you want and overwrite the one in use.

      GOG .confs are handled kindof strangely - then tend to be broken up into a couple separate .confs chained together. I don't know how much/if that ties into their configurator.

      I kinda feel like given that this is just personal taste it should just be set to maintain the aspect ratio and if people want to change it to suit their own tastes they can. I'm not sure that it really warrants the extra hassle. GOG and Steam DOSBox games always default to a maintained aspect ratio.

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    4. No, resolutions absolutely do not warrant any extra hassle. They may simply warrant some extra information, which is what I gave in my original post on the subject. However, I did indeed use incorrect terminology in my original post. I should say "widefullscreen" instead of just "fullscreen".

      By the way, it is not quite accurate to say that GOG DOSBox games always default to a maintained aspect ratio, or not on my screen, at least. I tested a handful of these that I have. I found that:

      Call of Cthulhu: Shadow of the Comet goes widefullscreen. So does Sierra's Freddy Pharkas: Frontier Pharmacist. Presumably, therefore, so do some other Sierra games.

      The Legend of Kyrandia series and Loom by LucasArts both use the SCUMMVM engine on GOG. They both go nearly widefullscreen, meaning I have very narrow black margins of about 1 cm on either side.

      Toonstruck and Shivers both play in a boxy screen with very wide black margins. Unlike the other ones I tested, these two have maintained their original aspect ratio. My guess, as I said in another post, is that this is because they both contain FMV scenes featuring live-action humans, and GOG didn't want to make slim humans wider. Perhaps this is what they do for the majority of their games; I don't know.

      Meanwhile... speaking of Shivers... I wonder if GOG will ever get around to doing Shivers 2. They probably stumbled at the same obstacle that Biffman did: those video sequences which make the game crash. The first video while entering the motel room can be skipped, but I don't think the other videos can be bypassed. It seems to be an intractable problem for everybody.

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    5. I *think* that crash is only on that one video, I remember encountering that some years ago. That's my recollection anyway. I seem to recall playing a good ways into it at least, and only having a problem in that one specific sequence - when you first go into your hotel room I believe.

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    6. RE: Shivers 2 - it is only that early video that's affected (which I haven't figured out how to resolve). Shivers 1 is on GOG so I suspect the sequel will follow at some point which is why I haven't been too focussed on it.

      In regards to the aspect ratio, I've added a note about it in the DOSBox section of the FAQ. That's probably the best place for those that want it.

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    7. There is a second video which causes a crash soon after the first one. (Spoilers) It happens when I find a video cassette inside my suitcase in my motel room and try to play it in my VCR. I can left-click out of this one, too, but I just hope there aren't any important clues in these videos! the game is probably still playable without them, so, yes, don't focus on them. Maybe GOG will eventually manage to solve the problem.

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    8. I said resolutions didn't warrant any extra hassle, but Zombeaver thought otherwise. I visited Zomb's Lair (link at the bottom right of the homepage here), and I notice you've included the options of maintaining aspect ratio or going widescreen in your latest package, Hell: A Cyberpunk Thriller. I think you're going above and beyond, but I appreciate you giving people (as in people who don't know how to edit the dosbox.conf file) the choice. It makes the packages look even more smooth and polished than they already were.

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    9. Yeah, I'd been wanting to come up with a way to give people some additional configuration options (not just the aspect ratio thing) in a simple/easy to use format for a while now. ASuite + some .bats to move various files around seems to serve that need pretty well. Now I can give people a lot of options in one place without the need to clog up a start menu folder with a bunch of stuff. With DOSBox, by itself, this is kinda overkill but I'm now incorporating the option to use Retroarch into my packages as well, and I want to give people quick access to a lot of different options to play around with there, so it's kindof necessary. I'm currently in the process of going back through some of my past packages and updating them to the new format. Should have updated versions of several of them over the next few days.

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  5. Hmm, oddly, the second image doesn't remove the black bars on the side for me, although they go from wide black bars to thinner ones. Not sure if that was intended.

    Interestingly, I notice that black is predominant in that entire screenshot. Naturally, therefore, black margins would not be noticeable there. It looked like a typical screenshot from an RPG game. I only play adventures. In an adventure game in full flow, one would rarely encounter a screenshot where black is predominant. As an example, glancing at the list above, one can go to Biffman's pages for 3 Skulls, Big Red Adventure, Callahan's, Chewy, etc, or even the noir Blade Runner, and look at all the bright screenshots he has chosen. I see hardly any black in any of them, apart from in the title screens, maybe. I see no black margins at all.

    It is correct to say that shields and round character portraits were originally intended to be circular and not oval. It is also correct to say that gorgeous adventure games in rich shades were not originally intended to have jet-black margins on the sides. Sadly, both look different to how they originally looked, in old monitors.

    As I said, this is all a matter of personal taste. I would never be presumptuous enough to know what most people want. However, if people with systems like mine want to remove black margins, then, as I informed them, they will need to edit the dosbox.conf file from "fullresolution=desktop" to "=original". I will leave it up to them.

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    1. The screenshots in my early days were actually from Mobygames (such as Blade Runner and Discworld Noir written in my first few months). I now create my own, but understand that the way I capture them takes the image and not the entire desktop. You'll notice that they are in their original aspect ratio of 320x200, 640x480, or 800x600. The same goes for those collected from Mobygames.

      Compare these screenshots to those of The Thing or Trespasser: Jurassic Park where the output should actually be in widescreen. Or some of the games reviewed by Austin like Creature Crunch where he captured the entire desktop during his playthrough.

      It is a matter of personal taste, and I too favour the stretched image on some of the more cartoonish or stylised early games but if that remains in the final installer it was in error. My intention is to have them as close to the best possible version of the original as possible, and that includes aspect ratio. At least people know what to do if they want it.

      The misunderstanding was that I was under the impression that the image was still keeping its correct aspect ration but shrinking with dead space at the top and bottom too (which it shouldn't). Perhaps I should add a guide in the FAQ about the merits of fullscreen vs widescreen.

      Either way, you have still helped a lot with issues I wouldn't have otherwise noticed and I truly appreciate it.

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  6. Having a wedding under one roof means the Bride and Groom can slope off to the Bridal suite after the cutting of the cake and the first dance, once the evening guests have arrived, if they want to get changed. The Bridal suite is also available for the Bride to get ready in, with hair and make up artists coming to you, or the Bride could travel from her home putting her dress on last minute to ensure it's wrinkle free. Bouquets and buttons holes can be derived to the venue, meaning less stress for the Bride trying to remember who is doing what and where everything will be.
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