Astral Viking (kriatyrr) wrote,
Astral Viking

[geekery] Adventures in getting ancient software to run


You may recall my earlier entry where I randomly remembered the game Darkseed. Well, I checked ebay, it was widely available and cheap, I got one.. It arrived in the mail today.

System requirements: "20 MHz 286 or higher, 640K ram, VGA graphics, hard drive, cd-rom drive and dos 3.x or 5.0 or higher"

Eeep, I think, will Matsuri be able to run this?
My fears increase when I read that it requires 500 kilobytes of hard drive space to install. That means the game basically runs off the CD, and CD access is slow as molasses on Matsuri under FreeDOS.

Installation seems to work, I try to run the game, and it doesn't even get to the intro. Screen turns to randomly colored pixels after the first three or so screens of pre-credits. Computer is frozen. Same on the second attempt.

Well, yeah, that's not so strange. Surely Ao-chan must work better.

I turn on Ao-chan, find a music CD that I had thought I had lost in her CD-rom drive, put in the game, and...

"Hard disk(s) fail (80)" it said.

I open the case, and.. duh. I had forgotten to reconnect the hard drive after I put it in Matsuri to copy over Daggerfall.

I connect the cables, put the case back on, boot.. installs fine..
Screen turns to gibberish and freezes earlier than on Matsuri

But I find that if I run one of the executables, the game starts, and appears to work.. for a while. After a few minutes of playing, the game just froze on me. Rebooted, played a bit, froze again.
Saving incredibly often and rebooting several times per hour does not make for good gameplay. That, and I don't think the sound worked. Likely CD sound, which I've yet to figure out why it doesn't work on Ao-chan.. the cable between the CD-rom drive and sound card is connected, CD sound is not muted or volume set incredibly low. Other sounds work.

I conclude that this is a job for DOSBox.

And while I'm at it, I open the case again and install the oldest of my two spare network cards. Upon reboot, it asked me for the drivers. I'll have to figure out where to get them later.. and bring them to work so I can put them on a floppy disk. Or burn them on a CD. Anyway..

That's about it for today. Met that long-haired black cat on my way to work, and back.. had forgotten the memcard in the reader, so I didn't take many pics.

No one I knew at work, cafeteria still closed.. Would have been miserable without my water boiler.

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