GAMES:Star Wars: Dark Forces

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Star Wars: Dark Forces
Developer LucasArts
Publisher LucasArts
Released 1995
Status Perfect
Tested on 1.0 (Build 2)
Tested game version Unknown
Links Compatibility List
Commands
Executable DARK.EXE
Installer INSTALL.EXE
Setup SETUP.EXE
DOS Extender
DOS4GW.EXE Unknown
Works with DOS32A N/A

Star Wars: Dark Forces is first-person shooter (with no network capabilities) that is halfway between the basic playability of Doom and the advanced playability of Duke Nukem 3D.

Making it work without the CD

Even if you choose full installation, the game still demands you to insert the CD every time you want to play. Luckily, it just does a simple file check. So here's how to bypass that check:

  1. Run the (obviously full) installation. For this example, let's assume you installed the game to c:\games\DARK\
  2. Copy D:\CD.ID to c:\games\DARK\
  3. Put this dosbox.conf file in c:\games\DARK\ :
[autoexec]
mount d .

Now you can play the game without the CD!

If you're using a shortcut and you have your DARK forces directory on it's own mount, simply edit the file DRIVE.ID (It's in the DARK folder) so that it uses the DARK directory letter.

For example, if you had mounted /DARK/ as C, you would replace the letter in DRIVE.ID to C instead of D. Note, DRIVE.ID doesn't support more than one letter, so you'll have to mount it yourself if you need to use a different location.

Optimum Configuration

Use DOSBOX to run the setup program. You can use every music card except for AWE32 MIDI, Soundscape Synth, and Gravis Ultrasound. Using these for music card either produce no music, or crash the game.

For Digital Sound, you can use all excepr Sound Blaster, Sound Blaster Pro, AWE32, Pro AudioSpectrum, and SoundScape Audio.

The rest of the options work fine, however using Gravis gives tne sound a considerable delay before playing. SB2.0 can lag if a few sounds are playing at once, so use Sound Blaster 16 for the best performance.

Now, go to your DOSBOX config, and change prebuffer to 0 under the sound area. This will remove some delay before sounds. Also, it may help to change rate to 11025, this will decrease lag and cause no problems in sound quality.

You shouldn't use fulldouble, this causes lots of render errors and other things that you don't want. It runs graphically fine at any resolution, but the sound may become delayed at higher ones.

If you want to remove the letterboxing without making it look terrible, change output to ddraw, and set aspect to true.

If you want to use the mouse for horizontal aiming, you may want to crank up the resolution. Nope, you should keep Dark Forces' sensitivity the same, for some reason it only affects turning left.

Now, set sensitivity in the DOSBOX configuration to 250. Note that this will also increase the mouse speed in the menus, so be warned.

That's it! Dark Forces should now look and play it's best.

The 3-level-only demo

Star Wars: Dark Forces SE
Developer LucasArts
Publisher LucasArts
Released 1995
Status Perfect
Tested on 1.0L (Build 1)
Tested game version Unknown
Links Compatibility List
Commands
Executable DARK.EXE
Installer D:\DARKSE\INSTALL.EXE
Setup SETUP.EXE
DOS Extender
DOS4GW.EXE Unknown
Works with DOS32A N/A

This is a freeware demo that lets you play only the first 3 levels. Once you complete level 3, the "next mission" button is just treated like the exit button (both display an ad for the full game before exiting).

Installation requirement

D:\DARKSE\INSTALL.EXE has a special requirement. You must MOUNT the entire CD-ROM drive and only then "CD" your way into it (in other words: you can't just directly mount DARKSE itself). Here is how to do it:

Z:\>mount d d:\
Z:\>d:
D:\>cd DARKSE
D:\DARKSE>install

Making it work

The game will run quite well in DOSBox, but there are two points to note:

  • Run SETUP.EXE (it will also run automatically after a successful completion of the installation) and choose your settings.
  • While the game has no CD protection per se, there is no choice for a full installation. Therefore, most of the game is played directly from the CD-ROM. Use this dosbox.conf file to support that behavior:
[autoexec]
mount d d:\ -t cdrom

(assuming your CD-ROM drive is D, of course)

Making it work without the CD

Since the game has no CD protection, but also no choice for a full installation, here is a way to copy just the needed files from the CD-ROM and thus simulate a CD-free full installation:

  1. Install the game. For this example, let's assume you installed it to c:\games\DARKSE\
  2. Create c:\games\DARKSE\CD
  3. Copy D:\CD.ID to c:\games\DARKSE\CD\
  4. Create c:\games\DARKSE\CD\DARKSE
  5. Create c:\games\DARKSE\CD\DARKSE\DARK
  6. Copy every GOB file that doesn't already exist in c:\games\DARKSE\ to c:\games\DARKSE\CD\DARKSE\DARK\
  7. Create c:\games\DARKSE\CD\DARKSE\DARK\LFD
  8. Copy every LFD file that doesn't already exist in c:\games\DARKSE\LFD\ to c:\games\DARKSE\CD\DARKSE\DARK\LFD\
  9. Put this dosbox.conf file in c:\games\DARKSE\ :
[autoexec]
mount d cd -t cdrom

Now you can play the game without the CD!

Tip for those who eventually move from the demo to the full game

The demo version and the full version share the same save-file (DARKPILO.CFG). Therefore, if you like the demo and end up getting the full game, just copy over DARKPILO.CFG from the demo to the full game, and you'll be able to start playing directly in level 4 with your saved player from the demo.

DOS32A

If you want the game to run better and faster, don't forget to replace its DOS4GW.EXE file with DOS32A.