C&C First Decade: Windows 7
Well, Christmas time is nearly here, and as much as I hate all the adverts on telly, its a great time of year to get snowed in, crack out the old computer games and put your feet up on the computer for warmth. With this in mind, I’ve written a little guide for getting C&C The first Decade working on a modern Windows 7 system.
Command and Conquer; Tiberian Dawn came out in 1995 and was followed shortly after in 1996 with Red Alert. Hidden in the lounge at my friend Ian’s house with his mum upstairs asleep, his chronically underpowered 233mhz pentium computer wurring away I was absolutely amazed by the entire C&C experience. The installer was immensive and fell modern and damned cool, the video’s looked beautiful and like nothing else I’d experienced and the music track was fantastic. Many hours were lost.
So now, 15 years after the first game was released lets have a go at getting it all running in time for Christmas. After a couple of days of failure (and the need to multiplay with my brother) I gave up getting it running in WINE under Linux and cracked on with a Windows 7 install.
In 2006 Westwood packaged the first 8 years of gaming into one 8gb installer. Some of the games still work “out of the box”, others (like Generals; ironically the latest games) are a bit of a pig to get going; but they all will work!
I’m installing this on a Windows 7 Professional x64 system. It was a clean install of Windows with all of the Updates and the right drivers. I’ve then gone through and tried it on another Win7 Pro and a Win7 Ultimate; it seems to work, but as always please get in contact and let me know if you’ve had problems.
Stick the DVD in the drive (or mount your ISO) and start the installer. Personally I do a custom installation just to avoid installing Renegade; its awful.
Type in your serial numbers, make a cup of tea and try not to be too upset its missing all the fantastic original installers.
Once the install is done, download and install the unofficial (but officially endorsed) patch for The First Decade.
When you install it, make sure to Run as Administrator.
There are two ways to do this, either set compatibility mode to Windows 95 and live through the corrupt videos (but 1024×760 in-game resolution) but you’ll also find that alt+tab breaks horribly and you get possibly slowdown and crashes on multi-core systems.
You can change the resolution by running ccsetup.exe in the install directory (C:\Program Files (x86)\EA Games\Command & Conquer The First Decade\Command & Conquer(tm))
The easy fix is to use the cnc-ddraw.dll fix. If you’re using ddraw then you need to disable compatibility mode.
Download the file and extract it into your game folder, then run the game as usual.
If you don’t run the game as Administrator, then it refuses to save the ddraw.ini configuration file and even if you create one manually it won’t read it; if you don’t want to enable full screen or change the mouse sensitivity then you should be OK.
Note 1: Make life easier for yourself and change the permissions on the ddraw.ini file; set it so Users have full control.
Note 2: I found that when I’d enabled full screen, it would give me a blank screen until I had alt+tabbed in and out of the program, after that it was fine.
Note 3: Control + Tab to release mouse capture!
Exactly the same information as for Tiberian Dawn, except use the rasetup.exe to change the resolution to 640×480.
You can then edit the ddraw.ini file (see note 1 above) to either run full screen, or change the resolution to upscale the video window to something better.
Delete the wrong shortcut
For some reason after all the patching is done we end up with two shortcuts to launch Red Alert II.
Click on the start menu and type in “red alert 2” to the “search for programs and files” box, notice the two shortcuts pop up.
Delete the one entitled “Command & Conquer™ Red Alert™ 2”; you should be left with “Red Alert 2”.
Just make it compatible
For both the Red Alert 2 and the Yuri’s Revenge shortcuts:
- Right hand click and select properties.
- On the Compatibility tab click “Change settings for all users” at the bottom.
- Tick the “Run this program in compatibility mode for” box and select “Windows XP (Service Pack 3)” from the dropdown list.
- Disabling Desktop Composition and Visual Themes doesn’t hurt either, though it doesn’t seem to be necessary.
- Click OK to close the property boxes (and then repeat the instructions for the other shortcut).
Trying to start either Generals or Zero Hour flashes the splash screen and then crashes out. If you’re really lucky then it might just freeze on the splash screen and not even have the decency to crash; it just sucks CPU cycles (and in one case) takes down the browser. So, lets get it running:
1) Crash the Game;
Yup, thats right; before we start you need to try and run both Generals and Zero hour. It will crash when you run it, but it will create the savegame folders in My Documents.
2) File Permissions
We need to change the file permissions on a few folders; you need to do this for the Data and UserData folder in both the C&C Generals and the C&C Generals Zero Hour folder.
Open Windows explorer and navigate to the install directory (“C:\Program Files (x86)\EA Games\Command & Conquer The First Decade\Command & Conquer(tm) Generals”).
Right Click on the Data (or UserData) folder and click Properties. On the Security tab click Edit.
Select the entry for Users (YourComputerName\Users) and tick the Allow: Full Control checkbox. OK to save. (Make sure you do this for all the folders).
3) Create An Options File
Open Notepad and then copy/paste the following:
AntiAliasing = 1
BuildingOcclusion = yesDrawScrollAnchor =DynamicLOD = noExtraAnimations = yesGameSpyIPAddress = 0.0.0.0Gamma = 50IPAddress = 0.0.0.0IdealStaticGameLOD = HighLanguageFilter = trueMaxParticleCount = 5000MoveScrollAnchor =MusicVolume = 55Resolution = 1024 768Retaliation = yesSFX3DVolume = 79SFXVolume = 71ScrollFactor = 50SendDelay = noShowSoftWaterEdge = yesShowTrees = yesStaticGameLOD = CustomTextureReduction = 0UseAlternateMouse = noUseCloudMap = yesUseDoubleClickAttackMove = noUseLightMap = yesUseShadowDecals = yesUseShadowVolumes = yesVoiceVolume = 100
Save the file in your My Documents folder and call it options.ini. (Make sure you set the Save As type to All Files other wise you end up with options.ini.txt which doesn’t help)
Copy the file into both “My Documents\Command and Conquer Generals Data” and “My Documents\Command and Conquer Generals Zero Hour Data”: If these folders don’t exist then you need to start the game and let it crash first.
4) Set Compatibility Mode
In the install directories (once again, do this for both Generals and Zero Hour), right hand click on the generals.exe and select properies.
Compatibility Mode -> Change settings for all users -> Run this program in compatibility mode for: Windows XP SP3.
You should find both Generals and Zero Hour to now work and run fine
Battlefield Control Online…
So there you go. If you’re starting a LAN game then make sure the Windows Firewall isn’t blocking you and otherwise rock on.
No doubt I’ve forgotten to write down a vital step, but I’m sure people will complain when it doesn’t work.
Happy Christmas and Happy Gaming.