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Topics - Kiwi

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Six weeks ago, I had some free time, and installed Freespace I to a vintage PC I'd thought was ready to go with old games from its 1998/1999 time frame.  It is in a really tall, really skinny old case (putty colored, of course), and was supposed to run at 266 MHz, with 384 MBs of RAM, and an AGP version of the Geforce256 video card.   The MB is an Asus P5A, which has the Acer ALi Aladdin5 chipset.  

I couldn't keep my Wingman joystick installed, however.  It would totally lose all of its USB peripherals between sessions.  To make room on a restricted space keyboard shelf, I want to use a USB keyboard, the i-rocks slim, with lighting.  When the USB ports are ignored, I can't even do anything in the boot menu, so I didn't play Freespace.  

Instead, I may use a system with an Intel 440BX chipset.  I've tested Intel's own SE440BX, and it works fairly well, but I hope that an Abit will be a still better choice (BX-6).  Supposedly, that Aladdin5 chipset has a faulty AGP implementation, and doesn't get along as well as it should with most of the AGP 3d cards.  

The old stuff is cheap, so now I have a range of parts to try in whichever 440BX motherboard runs best for me.  I have several old nVIDIA cards, such as a Riva TNT 16 MB for PCI, a Riva TNT2 32 MB for AGP, VooDoo2 and VooDoo3 cards (PCI for the former, AGP for the latter), and a couple of relatively old ATI cards, including the original Radeon, the SDR 32.

The Asus P5A had not "liked" my old Creative AWE32 and 64 cards, and forced me to use a Turtle Beach Santa Cruz, but I now have several options for audio, although the Intel 440 MB is doing fine with an AWE64.  

I know several of you will suggest using the upgraded add-on,  especially for better resolution, and I now have a set of the Freespace2 CDs, when I'm ready to do that.  At first, I want to get a feeling for what the game was like in 1998.  

HOWEVER, since I ended up with an excess of old parts here while fighting with the Aladdin system, is there any consensus on the hardware components that provide a richer experience that might otherwise be available?

Should I use an Aureal Vortex 2 instead of the AWE64?  Or is the Turtle Beach Santa Cruz (I have two now) better?  Etc.  Etc.

And finally, what if I pretend that the P5A doesn't have any AGP slot?  Was Freespace sufficiently demanding that accelleration is missed when the video card is on the PCI bus?  

Let's hear the opinions, please!

There is a file on the game CD for Descent: Freespace, named Refcard.RTF, but the several text-handling programs I have on that PC aren't getting a usable image in Rich Text Format, just a run-on, jammed-together short paragraph, followed by a very long second paragraph of the same kind.  

Is there a PDF file somewhere that can be used instead?  

P.S. Added in edit, twenty minutes or so later (10:42 AM):  were there changes in the assigned keys between FS 1 and FS 2?  Google led me to a copy of the Freespace two reference card.
P.P.S. At 6:30 PM CDST: I really had no idea how active the community for Freespace was until an hour or so ago.  I'd just managed to miss a lot of links until then.  But I do have a question besides asking about any command key references that may have changed from FS1 to FS2.  

My Retail copy of the game came with three CDs in two CD cases, in a joined cardboard CD wrapper.  The 1.06 patch had already been applied, and the manual is on the CD as a PDF file.  The third CD is for the expansion, of course.  But the game's install never asked for the second CD.  What is it used for?  Other language versions?



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