Hi, been reading these threads about compatibility with WinXP extensively over the past two days. I've actually got complete copies of the deluxe editions of WC I and II, and they run perfectly in DosBox, so I'm mainly concerned with WCIII. (kind of ironic.. I ran it in Win95 with no problem back around 1998
I've got both the Kilrathi Saga, and an old copy of the WCIII classics release, and unfortunately, neither will work correctly in XP.. well, sort of.
Kilrathi Saga edition didn't work at all at first, froze up like the many others at the startup sequence. When I set it to Win95 compatibility mode, and check all the available boxes, the game actually gets moderately playable. Video sequences don't crash it oddly, and I can move around and talk with any character with no problems. Simulator runs perfectly as well, great performance.
Except: I discovered it is impossible to progress through the game. I can fly the first mission, no problems. Come back and land, and the landing sequence plays. After that sequence finishes though, game over- blank screen, and it's frozen solid. No way to get to the terminal to save. If I press esc fast enough during landing, it'll skip, and I'll be back on the deck, but clicking anything after that crashes the game. (Now that I think about it, maybe I was able to save at the terminal after skipping the scene, have to check that again.) So, basically, I'm stuck at the first mission forever.
Original WCIII I can actually get to run fairly decent using the steps in the recent VDMSound fix topic.. just as long as I don't use a joystick.
The joystick calibration never quite works, and while it does calibrate, in game the joystick jumps around like mad, making aiming nearly impossible. It will jerk at random intervals toward the upper right no matter how I calibrate it.
The most success I've had was with DosBox actually. I found settings that ran the game reasonably well (quite a bit of sound delay, but at least it played), but it was pretty unstable, and would crash easily for weird reasons.
Now, something odd that I only really discovered by accident. I don't know if it's already known, but it might give a hint as to why the KS version of WCIII freezes up.
I was testing settings on my KS WCIII exe, after giving up on the dos version... however.. I left the dos version cd in the drive. I accidentally double clicked the program, thinking, eh, oh well, it'll just ask me for the cd. Nope. It ran just fine, till again, I got to the end of the first mission, and it froze.
So, for all intensive purposes, KS will read the original WCIII cds for playing the KS WCIII. There is one major difference I noticed though. When playing the dos version, the cutscenes are normal video, while the KS version plays interlaced cutscenes. BUT: The KS version, when run with the dos cds will still play the interlaced cutscenes. So, the interlacing is not within the movie files. I was running on a minimum install of the KS WCIII, meaning I was using the old dos version movie files, directly from the cd. So there are only a few possibilities as to why this could happen.
I ran a few other checks, and it seems the video files themselves have not changed since the dos WCIII. The interlacing appears to be introduced by the Xanmovie player, which wasn't used in the dos version. Since video sequences seem to be the leading cause of WCIII crashing, I'm going to go right ahead and say it: it looks like Xanmovie is the culprit in some way
After reading a news item from the main page (from a ways back I think, don't know the date) about how the XanMovie .dll is really just a video codec, I'm curious... could installing an updated XanMovie codec into WinXP fix the video crashes? And if so, does one even exist? Or would we just have to install the old version as a codec to make windows tolerate it better? The problem might be caused by WinXP's method of codec application, which is sure to be very different from Win95's.
If anyone has any tips on getting the joystick running smoothly in VDMSound or Dosbox for WCIII, I'll be plenty happy. But I'd much rather get the KS version running, as it runs so much more smoothly, besides the throttle/rudder support.