Aero wrote on Oct 23, 2015, 19:07:
A year or two later everything used protected mode extenders and you didn't have to worry about memory anymore, and Falcon 3.0 was definitely the white wale of boot disk fiddling.
I'll agree Falcon3.0 was pretty hard when it came to configuring it for DOS, but out of all the '92-'95 DOS games that came out, none ever gave as much trouble as F-15 Strike Eagle III
! And we're talking World Circuit, Wing Commander
(and all it's derivatives and sequels), X-Wing
and Nascar Racing
, Aces of the Pacific, Task Force 1942
, Harpoon2, Jetfighter 2
(lots of sequels back then!), LHX, Seal Team
and of course, Wolf3D, Doom
. This is a favorite memory of mine since it was the first time since getting a 'modern' computer (for Xmas '92, I'd previously had a Tandy CoCo3) that I'd really been able to figure out configuring memory correctly to run any game with enough, either via boot disks (which I hated with a passion) or just running my system lean and mean. F15SE3
was a monster of a game, it also had a manual that would qualify as a textbook, and it was just as 'engaging' to casually read. IOW, it was pretty dry. Anyway, I was damned determined to get this thing running the way it should. I had the system to run it...an IBM PS/1 486SX/25 (mhz, for you young ones out there, not ghz), 4mb of RAM (yes, again, for the young ones, that's MEGS, not gigs), the notorious S3 801/805 videocard (trust me, this thing has a history all it's own) with 1mb on board, a self-installed SoundBlaster16 and single-speed cd-rom, also aftermarket (the original PS/1's didn't come with a cd-rom but they did go up to 66mhz, if you had the cash). Still, a 486 meant a lot back then and 25mhz was no slouch. The 4mb of RAM was standard in the day and more than adequate. But even with all of that, I had a huge problem getting everything crammed into memory with enough left for the game.
Starting on a Friday afternoon after getting home from school, I figured I'd be playing all weekend, surely by the next day at least. Oh, how naive I was. First tries were soul-crushing. Either I had sound but no cd-rom or a mouse but no sound. Other times it wouldn't run at all for lack of memory. The good thing about DOS though is that it reboots in seconds. So any change I made was quick to test. By the end of Saturday I'd gotten no closer to my goal that when I had started.
Bright early Sunday morning, I was adamant that I would be playing by the afternoon (dammit!). My friends up the street were constantly pestering me to come outside but April in New Jersey tends to be pretty fucking dreary so I wasn't enthused about the idea. Surely they could understand my struggle? When I told them what I was attempting, all but one called me a 'NERD!' and ran off. The one that didn't stayed and watched silently as I tried different combinations of settings in my autoexec.bat and config.sys. (I'm going to have them printed, with this winning memory configuration, on my tombstone!). Nothing was really working. I could play the game at times, but in silence or without a mouse, so I know it worked, just not optimally. After another ten minutes, he just shrugged and was about to leave, rather unimpressed with the whole thing. Maybe it was because of the massive amount of printouts all over the floor of different memory setting combinations? Or maybe that it was nearly 4 in the afternoon and I was still in pajamas and hadn't combed my hair? I wasn't sure, but when I asked him if he had any ideas, he mentioned something that floored me.
'Well, you could probably get it all to work if you didn't load in the cd-rom, since the game is installed on the hard drive from floppies, right?'
I just kinda stared at him. How could I have missed that?! I'd been so wrapped up in getting it to work with everything I had in the system that I'd overlooked the simplest of fucking things...the game wasn't on cd! I didn't NEED to run my cd-rom! I didn't know whether to hug him or punch him for not telling me sooner. He said he had noticed it almost right away but didn't say anything because he thought I either already knew or needed the cd-rom for some other reason.
It was now 5:30pm on a Sunday evening, tomorrow was school, I had homework to do that I'd put off all weekend thinking I'd have plenty of time to do it. My friend just quietly disappeared as I got lost in redoing my settings one more time, configuring everything so that it loaded as much as possible HIGH and then also gave me room for my sound and my mouse. Thank the Gods that I didn't have to worry about EMS (expanded) memory, which would have been a whole 'nother ballgame entirely! And sure enough, at 6:00pm on that Sunday night, F-15 Strike Eagle 3 ran with full sound and a usable mouse cursor!
I played around in the menu's for a little bit and loaded one mission just to make sure it worked all the way through and then promptly turned it off after realizing that it would take another weekend or two to learn just what the hell I was actually doing
=-Rigs-=This comment was edited on Oct 23, 2015, 21:26.