How often does Privateer lock up in combat?


I've been plagued by this issue in Privateer since I started playing this game nearly 30 years ago. The game will freeze in the middle of combat.

Usually in the thick of a tough battle, often after being hit hard with shields down on one quarter of my ship. The game just freezes. The music keeps going. I can see my last shots missing my target and that's that. Frequently it will coincide with a blowout on one of my ships control panels, but not always.

When I start a new career, the game never has this problem. After 50+ missions and visiting Sandoval and starting the story the difficuly amps up. Basic missions will throw 3 Talons at you again and again. After I reach that point in a career every 3rd or 4th expedtion ends in frozen screen.

A sample expedition at this stage of the game:
I'm in New Constantinople. Lynch wants me to smuggle his cousin to a mining base in Castor. I've looked up the route and I visit the Merc board and Job board to pick up some jobs that will complement this primary mission. One scouting job, one base defense and a hit on a Retro.

I take off and complete all 3 basic missions in New Constantinople. I jump into Junction. Tangle with some Confeds as they aren't happy about my cargo. But I'm still not too far gone to the dark side so I can talk them out of a full on battle. Breeze the rest of the way through the Junction system and jump into Castor. Here Confeds are waiting for me and these guy can't be talked out of it. They want Lynch's Cuz.

Nice tough fight. My first fight against Stilletos in this playthrough. Those are nasty fighters. I'd be slaughtered if they didn't have such weak guns. It takes a while to knock down those 3-to-1 odds against the Stilletos. I fight strictly with guns and keep a tractor beam in the weapons pod. I finally get all three wiped out but I've taken some hits and the repair bot has a few repairs to finish. In this fight I'd wandered way off the map and far out from the arrival nav point. Rather than autopilot to the mining base for the drop off, I afterburner back to the arrival nav point. This will give the repair bot time to finish repairs. Once I get back in range of that arrival nav point I see the Confeds have jumped in a second patrol (I know it's really the respawn bug). The fight is on again. My craft is a beat up. One of my guns is overheating badly. I sure hope Regulus mining base has a repair bay - but I doubt it.

Then right in the thick of it. 40 minutes since I took off (and made the last save game). Frozen Privateer Combat Screen.

Does this happen to anyone else? Or am I just pushing Privateer too far ( 4 missions, borderline evil repuation, fighting with both sides, mixed cargo, heavy tractor beam use).

My last playthrough was in 2020 or 2021. I tweaked a bunch of dosbox settings and changed the sound card (in DOS SETUP.EXE) to sound blaster pro/16 and sound blaster 16. I thought that finally fixed it, but I probably just didn't play far enough into the higher difficulties on that playthrough.

Ideas? What dosbox/sound card settings are others using with best results?
Last edited:
I get the occasional lockup in Privateer, and the occasional lockup in Wing2 as well, so you are not alone. I can't tell if its the game itself or a limitation of dosbox; its infrequent enough to allow steady progress, but still be an annoyance.
Last edited:
There's a couple hard freezes/crashes in WC2 that are fixed with the loadfix command in DOSbox. I would suspect that hang-ups in privateer might have a similar cause, though I haven't encounterd them myself
AFAIK 'loadfix' just wastes some RAM so older games don't freak out if they see more than about 585K of free RAM.

What sound settings are you using?

Actually what joystick are people using with it too, I've had a usb connected Logitech ATK3 for ages.
I am using a Thrustmaster T.16000M USB wired joystick.

Its not consistent for me, so i doubt its related to the loadfix?
In native DOS lock ups were VERY rare for both games. So more likely an emulation problem.
Not sure what both games refers to? Played about 50 hours in the last 2 weeks and had about 10 crashes/freezes in combat. Attached a dosbox recording of when it happens most frequenlty (shields down, firing and getting hit, console blowout).


    1.7 MB · Views: 3
Not sure what both games refers to? Played about 50 hours in the last 2 weeks and had about 10 crashes/freezes in combat. Attached a dosbox recording of when it happens most frequenlty (shields down, firing and getting hit, console blowout).

Not sure which version of dosbox you are using, but I would give doxbox-staging a try. It's under constant development where as vanilla .74 is like a decade old at this point..