Tag Archives: MS-DOS

Theme Hospital (Multiplayer maps in CorsixTH)

Note: This isn’t a guide on playing multiplayer games in CorsixTH, more like loading the maps in single player

Theme Hospital shipped with a few multiplayer maps that were intended to be used with network play, which were not intended to be played in single player. With the original PC release, there is a way to force the game to play them, after a while this can cause the game to crash since the game does not know how handle the maps in single player mode. Also there are two bonus maps which were used for the bonus rat levels, that are also discussed here.

A very busy first level, with all rooms available

In CorsixTH and the use of the map editor, we are able to import these maps and convert them pack to single player use, for which we can play then in single scenario.

2 Player Maps: large sized hospitals intended for two players, in the range of Level 20-24

3 Player Maps: larger sized hospitals for 3 players, uses level range 30-34

4 Player Maps: huge sized maps intended for 4 players, level range 40-44. Unfortunately I could not get the game to load these maps due to a lua script. Seems CorsixTH does not recognise 4 players (or maybe the original came counted from 0 and CorsixTH counts from 1?)

Bonus Maps: two maps are bonus maps that were used for the rat killing levels, these are Level 13 and level 14. They are rather small but functional as a basic hospital, Although the second one has a few graphical errors, like a misplaced water tile.

  • Level 13: Looks similar to level 1 at the front of the hospital, possible this was an early design  of it that was later reused. Has a rear door with a path that leads no nowhere and has no mapping data so it wont be used by patents
  • Level 14:  Another that has the same entrance path design to level one, this hospital is highly symmetrical.

Along with the maps came with was the SAM files, which contains level variable data such as the type diseases, rooms available, emergency and pandemic probability. The bonus levels do not have these as they were not intended to be used as a regular hospital.

Converting the maps for CorsixTH

To do this the legacy map editor was used from the 2014 release (Version 0.4.0) where the map was opened, and then saved which converted the map to the new format. The original game did not use a specific extension, with files being named as Level.L01, LEVEL.L31, etc. CorsixTH uses the .map extension.

Whilst the 4 player maps will open in the map editor for this version and can be saved, trying to open it on the latest build results in an error.

The levels seem to have their own names, CRUDSVILLE, NICEVILLE, Emergency!, RUMBLETOWN and ST. SCAVENGERS. I don’t know if these names ever appeared in game, the only reference to them are in the SAM files for each level.

The newer CorsixTH builds don’t recognise the maps files from the original game unless you amend the file extension to .map however i still cannot get the game to load the 4 player maps this way.

Download

Download (Box)

Extract into the Levels directory in the CorsixTH folder, maps can be played using the single scenario menu option

WipEout

A futuristic racing game released in 1995 for various platforms.

In Wipeout your mostly battling against the track itself, rather than the rival ships, and at fast speeds the game can become a challenge, requiring quick reflexes. Thankfully it comes with a banging soundtrack, something which is a staple of the Wipeout series of games.

2 Player mode exists for the console versions, but its one of those games that needs a serial cable, two PlayStation or two Saturn’s, TV’s and copies of each game.

PlayStation

Probably the best version, since it has all the graphical effects, and the sound effects when you enter a tunnel. Can also be played on the PlayStation 3 and PSP as part of the PS Classics. Only issue with this port is the low resolution and the pop-in textures on the track, poor draw distance. As a bonus the game supports the use of a NeGcon controller, allowing for an analogue control, useful for turning and for the airbreaks.

On modern emulators you can sort of re-create the PC effects such as higher resolution and texture filtering, but you are still stuck at 30fps. Overclocking the CPU results in the game running too fast.

Duckstation: Enhanced

The game clears up rather well compared to how it originally looked

Sega Saturn

Wipeout was released for the promising Sega Saturn, and serves as an example of the PSY-Q dev kit for the Saturn, which Psygnosis were trying to promote at the time as an alternative to Sega’s devkit (a version of PSY-Q was released for the PlayStation). The soundtrack has been altered with some songs being removed

Screenshots: SSF emulator

Windows

WipEout was ported to the PC a year later than the PlayStation release, and was designed exclusively for ATI video cards and was typically bundled with Windows PC that had those cards. It’s one of the games that supports ATI’s CIF API rather than Direct3D. This limits it to ATI Rage series 3D chipsets, the one in my Dell OptiPlex being one of them, but in order to play CIF games you need to use an older 1999 driver from ATI (The Windows 98 bundled driver has no CIF support), also CIF is only supported under Windows 98, there is no support for Windows NT 4.0. ATI later removed CIF support from its drivers from late 1999 onwards, so you may have to downgrade the driver order to play. A CIF wrapper exists for Windows 7 onwards, although I’ve not tested it.

Screenshots below are captured from a Dell OptiPlex GX1 with an Intel Pentium 2 350mhz and an ATI RAGE 2 with 4Mb of VRAM

The main difference is the ability to play the game in a higher resolution and with the ability to play at a higher framerate, it’s not exactly 60fps on a Rage2 but its a lot more smoother than the PlayStation version. However the sound is not has good as the console versions, with the PC missing the echo sound effects that play when you enter a tunnel. It’s also one of those games that’s stores the music as Redbook CD audio, and the game plays the audio back like a regular CD player would. This gives the option to change the CD (as the game runs from the hard disk) to play your own music.

MS-DOS

Very similar to the accelerated Windows version, but has a lot of enhancements removed, there’s no texture filtering, the framerate is lower and the resolution is reduced, likely because everything is being done on the CPU. You are limited to a low 320 resolution, 16 bit colour.

Personally I would stick with the PlayStation version, or the Saturn if you prefer more detailed textures. The PC versions sacrifice too much for what benefit they give, although you get the opportunity to run in a higher resolution, the missing sound effects are a huge setback and ruin the immersion of the game. besides with modern emulators you can run the game with additional filtering and upscaling, the FPS is still stuck at 30fps.

Hackers

A concept imaging of Wipeout appeared in the movie Hackers, which features slightly different gameplay with obstacles on the track, a crew that speaks to you instead of techno music playing. It was believed to be rendered on a SGI workstation and features perspective correct texture mapping

External Links

WipEout – Archive Website

WipEout – DOS Support

Windows For Workgroups 3.11 Beta (Build 70)

Install

MS-DOS (6.0) must be installed first before Windows 3.11 can be installed. At this point Windows was still reliant on MS-DOS, but were regarded as two separate products.

After install and some graphics drivers. By default Windows will use VGA mode which restricts you to 640×480 and 16 colours. Windows Sound System is not included in this build but can be installed and was required to use the Windows Sound System Soundcard.

Applications

  • Microsoft Anti-Virus: They had their own Anti-Virus application, before Windows security essentials, Defender or Windows Live OneCare. Different drivers can be scanned manually on request.
  • Smartdrive: Disk caching application
  • Undelete: As the concept of the recycle bin did not exist until Windows 95, Microsoft Undelete was offered instead which could restore files deleted by the user that had not been overwritten

Accessories

  • Write: Predecessor to Wordpad, for when you don’t have Microsoft Office installed
  • Paintbrush: Paint
  • Notepad: Text editing application
  • Recorder: Used to record keyboard and mouse commands, useful for automation.
  • Calculator: On screen calculator
  • Clock: Displays the time in both analogue (Face) and digital format
  • Character Map: Insert and remap any characters that are not supported by the users keyboard
  • Media Player: Plays WAV and MIDI sound files supported by the users soundcard
  • Sound Recorder: Records sound from the line input to a WAV file

Control Panel

Control Panel remains unchanged from Windows For Workgroups 3.1

Drivers

Some drivers that may be useful to users of PCem, depending on the machines they are emulating

AVGA2 Driver

The Commodore PC I was using used a Acumos graphics accelerator onboard and integrated to its motherboard, which was based on a Cirrus Logic CL-GD5402. Installing a driver lets you access further resolutions and colour modes that the graphics chip supports.

AVGA2 Driver – Vetusware

Windows Sound System

This build of Windows did not ship with Windows sound system drivers but can be installed.

WinWorldPC – WSS and SoundBlaster drivers