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Messages - Kiwi

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General Freespace / Hardware preferences this (these) game(s) have, if any
« on: September 07, 2009, 05:08:23 PM »
Since the last update in this thread, the Abit BX-6 version of the 440BX mainboard finally arrived, and because of its liberal CPU speed adjustments, eliminated the need to seek a better CPU cooler than the passive ones, since I had a fan-equipped P2/400 I downclocked slightly to suit what I wanted.  However, something very odd happened with that speed change.  

I have dual boots set up on any relatively old systems, if they can handle the newer OS, because the NT versions of Windows are more stable across my LAN.  Freespace 1 wants either Win95 or Win98, and I have Win98se on this 440BX system that is supposed to replace the P5A, but whereas Win2000 was extremely unstable with 100 MHz memory, unable to run longer than 5 minutes without blue-screeing with a memory error, Windows98 was running fine at the CPU's defaults.  

I've had about eight separate PC-100 DIMMs through the system, and it just didn't seem to be the RAM, but the chipset's own memory management.  Then, with the memory reset to 66 MHz for a lower CPU core speed, Win2K became as docile as a lamb.  

Windows98se, on the other hand, is suddenly a slug, unable to get out of its own way.  I swear I recall DX2-66 PCs that were quicker!  Anyone here a whiz on the 440BX?  As I've probably pointed out above, I had horrible luck with one of them back in its own time frame, and got rid of it fairly soon.

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General Freespace / Post-Isolation Sol Politics
« on: August 24, 2009, 10:36:58 AM »
Quote from: General Battuta;118984
The Earth Alliance being Inferno's take on it, Ubuntu being Blue Planet's, for those not familiar with one or the other.


That isn't much to go on, actually.  Remember, everything is in a fluid state, and people here come and go, including recent joins, without any history of familarity with any of the Freespace-related web sites.  

OK, in between paragraphs, I paused and looked at the lists of forums / mods at Hard Light.  Both of those are mods for FS2 . .

But since I'm only just on the verge of a first, stock game, play test of one or another (or maybe even both) of two period hardware systems using the original game, so I haven't spent a lot of time looking at those other forums over there, sorry.

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I have two VooDoo2 video cards now, and two Matrox cards for the 2D, but I was not aware that the stock FS1 game used anything other than Direct3D, and might change from the current ATI Radeon 7500 (AGP) to a Riva TNT (PCI), at least that would possibly improve the COMPLETE oldie's chance of playing with fewer instability problems.  I've gotten several comments from around the old game and old hardware sites about the Acer ALi5 chipset having AGP problems.  

(I've forgotten, already, how comparatively recent the Dx(Nr) add-on is for each of the two OSes on the P5A equipped PC.  I still haven't put any 440-BX system into a PC case, and the seller of the Abit BX-6 delayed for nine days after the auction before putting it into the delivery system!)
:mad:

4
I thought about being really sneaky while editing the prior comments I'd written -- that would caused the last reply to no longer be connected, but I decided to be less of the stinker than my errant thought was leading toward, even though the prior message would perhaps have made more sense.  

I have been using eBay since 1998, but at that time, it really was collectibles & hobbies, however, I didn't think of PCs as "hobbies" until long after I did discover the large eBay marketplace for computer parts, in late 2004, or early 2005.  

I also build and fly model planes from time to time, and I did collect a ton of model engines using eBay, before serious collectors began to collect those, and ran the costs up too high for me.  

I suppose I should add the "oldie" PCs I've built this year to the count, which makes the total seven complete systems . .

5
General Freespace / Eight or nine years ago, and four years ago . .
« on: August 18, 2009, 01:04:01 AM »
Four years ago, I was just getting started on a serious round of upgrades, from one XP 1800 powered PC, and two P-1s, to four XPs from 2100 through 2800 within six months, after a four year layoff from building my own systems.  In '01, there was no Newegg that I was then aware of, and if eBay existed, it either was still just for crafts, dolls, and hobbies, or I had missed hearing about it.  

{EDIT: I'm really not sure what I meant to write when I wrote that, because I did USE eBay all the way back that far (1998/1999), just not for anything related to computing!}

I bought new components then (2000/2001), or didn't buy at all -- used parts just did not show up at my local flea market or thrift store.  

But I was still working, and in fact had very little time to enjoy game playing, although I bought quite a few games,  most were never even installed.  I'd been aware that 3dFX had come and gone, and was more or less aware how comparatively expensive their cards were, but all I had was a TNT2 32 in one PC, the P1/233 MMX, and a GF3 Ti-200 in the XP 1800 PC (I don't recall what was in the old Pentium 133, but it was PCI, not AGP, so maybe an ATI Rage).  

The SE440-BX I have now seems to like Windows2000 well enough that I haven't fully set up everything for Win98se yet.  Of course, I am still looking for proper coolers for the 233 and 266 MHz P2s, so I have a faster 350 running in the breadboarded rig now, which explains why W2K runs better than it does on the slower K6-2, which also has less cache than a P2, AFAIK.  

{I think I will edit in an aside of sorts right here.  In 1997 or 1998, I built a P-II/400 system with that same Intel SE440BX MB, and had nothing but trouble with it for two years.  I finally pulled the older Pentium 1 PC back out of the closet, and got rid of the troublesome machine.  I think that I got the first AMD K7 PC in 2001, ready made, but it didn't have an XP 1800 inside it at first.}

Windows95 seems comparatively unstable, and in need of frequent maintenance next to Win98se, even when it's the the OSR2 version.  The problematic fully assembled old PC with the Aladdin5 chipset is happiest running Windows98, and with a potential infusion of old stuff from another hobbyist's stash, I had that one running today. With the joystick not plugged in, it seemed happy to find and to work with its USB keyboard.  

Since 2005, it has seemed as if I'd hardly get all the way through the house as upgrades seemed appropriate, before I was back where I'd started a last round of new parts again.  I didn't opt for PSI-e and 64 bit CPUs immediately, starting that in '07, and I expanded from one computer in each of three rooms to five scattered around the house, only three of which are PCI-e and 64-bit so far, and only one is AM-2 and DDR2.  

This year, it's back to the old stuff, though.

6
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!

7
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?

Thanks.

:doubtful:

8
General Discussion / Nasty 'bot, leave us alone! Right?
« on: May 19, 2009, 03:56:09 PM »
The 'bot's comment was rather odd, but there are so many internet inhabitants out there for whom English is only a second (or third) language, so I've gotten acclimatized to seeing some odd messages around the forums!  

Thanks again!

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General Discussion / Curious about missing thread addition
« on: May 19, 2009, 12:41:07 PM »
Quote from: St. Kobayashi;111526
hello everybody! I'm new here and I just wanted to share everything about computers and science fiction stuff (either in gaming or movie). Also I had a passion in gaming.


Yup.  Me, too.  New here, and harbor a heavy "Hard" SF addiction (for which I get regular booster shots at Barnes & Noble -- written SF).  But then, I'm also seriously into building PC systems for the pleasure of doing it.  

I wrote the long message to the hosted forum about the Starlancer total conversion of Freespace, and set it for a subscription notice.  It's the "Alive and Well" thread:

http://www.game-warden.com/forum/showthread.php?p=115406#post115406

Supposedly, Posted by: hljhuhu
On: 05-18-2009 07:31 PM

But it doesn't show up in the thread?  

According to the eMail, the message was:

"Wow! I’ve never heard of this before and I think they’re awesome!


All the best,
Game Warden Forums"

Was the reply deleted at some later point?  

Thanks.

:confused:

10
Starlancer: The Sol War / Ringing in with an Attaboy!
« on: May 18, 2009, 06:45:24 PM »
While I am certain it will be too new to me to be able to recognize the made-over game versus the original, the idea that two games as old as Freespace I/II and Starlancer still have adherents today is really encouraging to me.  Ten years ago, I was so busy working, and had such a hectic home situation, that I hardly knew what games were coming and going that I was missing.  

That kind of schedule wound down slowly until about five years ago, when I suddenly had both more time than I could fill, and less cash with which to invest in my hobbies / interests.  eBay was my relief from the cash-short part, and tax abatements based on age helped reduce the financial burden.  

Within in past few days, I assembled an older model PC system to run (mostly) with Windows98se, and installed Starlancer yesterday, but I have both of the Freespaces, and Freelancer, on the shelf as well.  I was waiting until my sound processor was better before I played, though.  The AWE64 that I had ten years ago sounds way too scratchy, so I have another, from an eBay seller again, to see if that helps.  

It's built around an Asus P5A with a K6-2/350, 384 MBs of PC-100 RAM, a Geforce2 GTS 32 MB video card, the AWE64, and a 40 GB Seagate Hdd jumpered to show up in the BIOS as 32 GBs.  I put it all inside of a very tall, somewhat skinny, tower case with a pedestal base that reminded me of the IBM PS/2 Model 80 cases from 1987.

(Like many of the old tower cases, it's is mostly empty inside, has only three 5 1/4" bays, and two 3 1/2" Hdd bays, so it would be top-heavy as can be, were it not for the base section.)  

Does that make me a gamer, or a hardware nut, or a little of each?

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