July 6, 2011

Star Trek Voyager: Elite Force and Windows 7 64bit

This was the first time in a long time that I have had some time off to myself.  When deciding what to do with my spare time I decided to bring out my old catalog and play a game that I hadn’t played in years and the first game that popped up was Star Trek Voyager: Elite Force. 

For those of you who don’t know Star Trek Voyager: Elite Force is an old game, by gaming standards, released in 2000 and follows the exploits of the “hazard team” abord the starship Voyager.  The “hazard team” is essentially a team of special forces operatives who are sent out to deal with “dangerous” situations that standard Starfleet personell aren’t equiped to  handle, much like your modern day special forces. 

While playing this it got me to thinking how much simpler the FPS genre was 11 years ago.  The way games were made were far different then todays modern shooters.  The biggest difference was how there were no extra features such as unlocks, upgrades, perks or leveling up.  I also had to get used to the idea of using ammo stations and health stations.  It’s been a good long time since I have had to deal with managing my health with my saves.  There were a couple of times I actually had to move back to previous save because I had saved at a “inopertune” time.  

It was intersting how different FPS genre has become over the past 10 years and I think they’ve actually tried to over complicate what is actually, what I think to be, a rather simple genre and shouldn’t need to be overly complex.  Games like Call of Duty and the Battlefield series have taken the FPS genre to new, complex, heights with weapon and armor unlocks, upgrades and perks.  It was actually really refreshing not having to worry about any of those things while playing and the only thing I had to think about was just running, shooting and listening to the entertaining dialouge and story.  There was also no scripting outside of conversation pieces.  There were simple stealth missions where you had to mostly “stay out of sight” but could still be in clear view. 

Elite Force was a great way to go back to a time when things were simple, fun and exciting where enemies would come at you in hordes and level layouts were huge and all that was required to beat the final boss was to shoot it three hundred thousand times.  It was the most fun I’ve had in years and funny enough I didn’t put it down until I played it all the way through. 

Installing this “ancient” game was not as simple as installing it from the CD.  I had to go to some lengths to get it installed on a Windows 7 64bit system running on a AMD Phenom II X4 965, 8GB of ram, Radeon 5870 running on the latest drivers.  Having said all that I thought it would be nice to give you the steps I took to get this installed and running.

1. Grab your CD and copy all files to a folder somewhere on your computer

2. Go to the directory you copied all of the files and go to the setup folder

3. Right click on the setup.exe file inside the setup folder and click the compatability tab and set these settings .   

          a.  Check run compatibility mode and set it to Windows 2000

          b.  Check disable desktop composition

          c.  Check Disable display  scaling on high DPI settings

          d.  Check Run this program as an administrator

4.  Keep in mind this step can take as much as 20 minutes before you see any results.  Run the setup.exe file as administrator.  On my system it took 20 minutes before I saw ANY signs that it was working.  If you don’t see signs that something is working be patient it should start working. 

5. Now that the program is installed there are still a few other things that I had to do to get things functioning correctly.  One thing to note about older games that were designed before the advent of 64 bit systems and 1GB video cards.  Is that most of them can’t handle multi core processors and system memory over 4Gb including your video card.  What we have to do is make the game think it’s running on an older system.  I should mention I would try getting the game to work without changing these settings as it’s just easier.  If the game functions at the settings you desire then you have no need to follow the following steps.

6.  Launch msconfig by clicking on the Windows button and typing msconfig

        a.  Click the boot tab

        b.  Click advanced options

        c.  Set the maximum memory to what brings your total system memory under 4Gb including your video cards memory.  For example if you have a 1Gb video card memory you would set the maximum system memory to 3000

       d.  This step can be done in two ways and it depends on what you prefer.  You need to set your system to use only 1 processing core instead of 2 or 4 or 6 or whatever your system currently has.  Most older games can’t utilize multiple cores and in cases where they can it often ruins performance having multiple cores instead of one.  Choose one of the two options that bests suits you:

                    1.  Go back to the boot options where you set your maximum memory and check the number of processors box and set it to 1.  This will set your system to use only 1 processor and until you set it back it will only use one processor.

                    2.  Launch the game and press control + alt + delete and click on task manager.  In task manager click processes and look for the stvoy.exe.  Right click on stvoy.exe and click select affinity and uncheck every box execpt  CPU 0.  This will set only stvoy.exe to use one core instead of all of them.  For some people this would be a better option.

These were the steps I took to get the game working on Windows 7 64bit.   The steps may vary a little depending on your circumstance and if you have problems please feel free to post here and if you have another solution that works as well please post it as well.  I hope this has helped someone out there looking to take a stroll down nostalgia lane. 

I should also mention that you follow these steps at your own risk and that I am NOT responsible for any damage caused to your system. 

 Do not right click on the setup.exe file in the main directory as this one will not work.

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