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Thread: Small nagging problem..

  1. #1
    New Member
    Registered: Aug 2006

    Small nagging problem..

    Well.. I've had a copy of this game since a week or two after it's release. I even think I kept the big box. Anyways.. I hadn't played it in years even though it was alwats one of my favorites. My PC is archaic. It's a pentium 800 w/onboard sound and an Alladin TNT2 onboard.. no less, but I have a dual boot system (2 separate HDs actually), The last few days I've been re-installing all of my mech genre games and reminiscing. Even though SFC employs battle armor, not mechs.. it's one of my favorites and I lump it in with them. However I wasn't looking forward to installing it and trying to get it to run.

    You know what? Dang me!.. but I went into W98SE, brought up a DOS window and did a large install from it.. no problems! Then I checked my legacy sound driver settings and went in and configured it through a DOS window.. again.. no problems. Then I applied the v1.09 patch and got ready to start it.. AGAIN.. through a DOS window.. and.. NO PROBLEMS! (so far). I realized what a lucky man I am from all of these posts in here. So far.. I've only played the tutorial but everything seems OK! I have the problem with the funky colored main menu but even that goes away if I go into the quarters or ready room and then exit back out to it! Sound seems perfectly fine too! Just for kicks I tried it through DOSBox but it runs as slow as molasses in it.. go figure.. probably because of my meager CPU speed.

    So I'm actually better off running it on top of windows in a regular old DOS window! BUT... (there's always a but isn't there?).. I've got one problem and I've had it off and on over the many years I've had and enjoyed this game on a plethora of different machines and configs.. that's the voices being out of sync with the movies problem. granted.. it's not a big thing.. I can live with it.. and I DID see it mentioned in a SFC FAQ put out by LG when it first was released. they were aware of it and said they were working on it.. but I guess it never happened. I read about every post in this forum and only found one other mention of it with no solution.

    The movie/sound doesn't stutter like in a Bink video (Those Smacker guys.. gotta love 'em.. they crank out more and more cr*ppy APIs as time goes on.. but never fix the old ones) but it's simply out of sync with the videos. Was there ever a fix? I'm just wondering? And am I the only guy on the planet whose had this problem?

    Here's what LG said about it in their FAQ:<quote>

    Movie Problems:

    I have a high-end system with an awesome sound card, but whenever the movies are playing, the sound does not appear to be properly synchronized with the actors' lips.


    Here is the scoop on that:

    No, this is not a purposeful imitation of those old Godzilla flicks. This is a known problem that we should have a fix for eventually. Please contact Looking Glass Technical Support at (617) 576-3310 (or e-mail us at the appropriate on-line sites located in the Installation Guide) for further details on the latest status of this problem.

    In the interim, make sure your buffers switch for your CD-ROM driver located in your AUTOEXEC.BAT file is set to 25 or greater (e.g. C:\DOS\ MSCDEX.EXE /D:ASPICDO /m:25). This will in no way completely cure the problem, but it will certainly help more than not having the switch in place at all. <end quote>

    .. now this might work for me.. but I'm playing fine in Windows.. not DOS; and my machine doesn't even boot out to true DOS to run the game.. so I have no AutoExec or Config file to toy with. My old mobo has no drivers for DOS.. so I can't actually run the game with sound in DOS. Between a rock and a hard place..

  2. #2
    New Member
    Registered: Dec 2005
    It's been several years since I last played it, but I think the movies are on the CD, and don't install with the rest of the game. Try copying them onto the hard disk, and that should remove the CD drive from the equation. Perhaps it depends on how fast your cd drive is. Most modern drives are about +48/52x.

    Unfortunately, I did use DOSBox to get this running the last time I tried, and it did indeed run poorly. It's been a long time since I've had an old enough computer to run this properly.

    I can't think of any other suggestions at the moment, but I'll see if there's anything else I can come up with.

  3. #3
    New Member
    Registered: Aug 2006

    Oh! Yup! I forgot to mention.. that was the first thing I tried and it didn't help. I was kind of shocked that even with the "large" install.. so much of the movies were still left behind on the CD. I also thought that maybe the "in-movie" voices were separate (which might account for even the possibility of being out of sync).. so I copied them.. but that's not the case either. The videos are Smacker format (the precursor to Bink; which if you hadn't gathered yet.. is one of my most hated video formats) and I'm pretty sure that they are incorporated into the SMK file itself.. which would make one think that a synchronization problem would be next to impossible. The more I think about it though.. the more the fact that they're Smacker files by RAD makes me blame them themselves.

    I absolutely abhor the RAD people who make Bink and Smacker. Every couple of years.. I get the urge to re-install some of my older PC games (H*ll.. even the NEWest games that use Bink videos can have problems). Trouble is.. as far as any in-game videos go for me.. it's always a "crap-shoot" as to whether they'll play or not without EXTREME stuttering. Over the years I've had many PCs and configurations.. in-game videos that played fine one time around.. don't the next. Rad has released so many different versions of the bink dll over the years it's hard to say what works and what doesn't. For every game I install it usually.. ends up being a shell game of switching one version dll from one game for another (since each game dir has it's own version of the binkw32.dll file) and hoping for the best.

    I know I'm not the only one who has this problem.. it's rampant. Just Google "Bink" along with "stuttering" and you'll fine thousands of hits involving practically every game that has ever used Bink videos (sadly about 80% 0f them). My main beef is that once RAD sells the API to a game company.. they're done with it. You'll never find ANY kind of help/support from them and if you ask for some.. they always refer you to the game manufacturer. They don't even have a forum on their site because I'm sure if they did.. it would be filled with hate posts. I've seen countless game developers openly confess on their own forums that they acknowledge problems with Bink and Smacker video formats.. but they can never seem to come up with a permanent fix; and yet the game industry still goes on using that crappy format.

    I even read a few weeks ago how Doom3 on the Xbox.. no less.. is having a problem with stuttering videos! And guess what format ID chose to use for the Xbox version? You guessed it.

    If there was one set of overrated developers in existence.. it would be the RAD people. I'll get off my soapbox now though.

    RAD.. the Derek Smart of the video codec industry.

  4. #4
    Sounds weird :/

    I can't help with that specifically, but the very easiest way to do a 'Full' installation to your hard drive is to first copy the entire CD-ROM over (to, say, c:\games\tnova_cd), and then run the installer from there (and of course, you then want to select a 'minimal' install size to avoid duplicating too much data!)

  5. #5
    New Member
    Registered: Aug 2006
    Hmmm.. I think I'll try that next.. thanks Shadowcat. I've got a plenty big enough hard drive so space wouldn't be a factor. One question though.. I'm assuming that if I just copy over the entiree contents of the CD to my HD.. and make the directory name the same as the game CDs volume label; then I will "trick" the game install config into thinking my C: drive has the CD mounted.. correct? Then I wouldn't have to worry about ever inserting the CD again.. even for gameplay?

    BTW.. just FYI.. I played several missions into the game last night and even tried the random scenario generator.. this game is playing flawlessly at full speed! I'm absolutely amazed how easy this thing was to install and get up and running this time (through a DOS window). I must say.. in the past (with similiar PC specs) I've had my share of problems. it just goes to show you that a lot of these things.. must spring from individual component configurations. In my case.. I'm using a VERY ols PCChips motherboard.. an LMR 745 if I remember correctly. I got it off eBay a couple of years back.. it's a baby AT and has an onboard Crystal Audio 8738 chip on it which can emulate Soundblaster legacy (no DOS drivers though.. so I can't do true DOS gaming in DOS). The reason I bought it though was because it was the last of the older gen mobos that had onboard graphics. While most of the older onboard video mobos had IBM chips or even S3 or Rage.. this one is the only one that ever had a TNT2 incorporated into it. I've been finding lately that for the most part it runs all of my W9X era games just fine, except for the "Bink" problems.

  6. #6
    Registered: Oct 2001
    Location: Gosford, NSW, Australia
    The volume label is simply used to identify the CD when it is in the drive. Look in the directory where you installed Terra Nova for tn.cfg (I think that's the name). Replace any reference to your CD drive with the path you copied the game files to.

  7. #7
    The game never checks for an actual CD-ROM drive. As soon as you've copied the CD to your hard drive, you can put it away forever. It doesn't matter what you name the directory; the game doesn't care. As far as it is concerned, the place you installed the game from *is* the CD.

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