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Thread: PC game - problem of black band on screen

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    PC game - problem of black band on screen

    This week I bought Theme Hospital for the PC, cheaper than chips, which I grudgingly admit I was rather excited about, my old childhood copy having being cruelly rendered useless years ago when my dad upgraded our computer processor.

    Anyway, the new copy is designed to work with XP and so I loaded it up full of hope for a blast from the past. I had a few initial problems with the cursor and saving games, but managed to get things working by running it in Windows 98 / Windows ME compatability mode and installing the patch that came with the CD.

    However, I haven't been able to solve the remaining problem of the game screen "not fitting" the computer screen; by this I mean the two screens seem to be out of sync, with a black band over an inch wide along the bottom of the screen and presumably the same size of band of game screen at the top of the screen that I can't see. Theme Hospital has hidden menus at the top of its screen (the ones for saving, game options, etc), which are designed to appear when you move the mouse to the top of the screen. I can make the menus appear if I scroll up as far as I can go, but can only read the bottom few options of each one.

    So... any suggestions?

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    Re: PC game - problem of black band on screen

    You could 'tab' into and out of it again - can fix display issues... can also crash the game <Alt>+<Tab> release (should bring you to the desktop) then <Alt>+<Tab> should take you back in.

    Could try r-clicking on the icon and going into 'properties' 'compatibility' and ticking some of the graphics settings - Never seen it fix anything, but worth a try.

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    ShinyWeeStar (2nd-July-2009)

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    Re: PC game - problem of black band on screen

    My first port of call would be to see if there are any updates for the game. Graphics fixes are quite common in early patches for games.

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    ShinyWeeStar (2nd-July-2009)

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    Re: PC game - problem of black band on screen

    i would run windows 98 inside vmware player or virtual box - both free. That way you get an identical win 98 experience and can install what you like. Alternatively use ubuntu as your os and install the windows game with the inbuilt windows installer - ive tried that with both Diablo 2 and Starcraft - both pretty old games - and they work perfectly.

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    ShinyWeeStar (2nd-July-2009)

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    Re: PC game - problem of black band on screen

    Quote Originally Posted by Dreadful Scathe View Post
    i would run windows 98 inside vmware player or virtual box - both free
    But presumably you'd need a copy of Windows 98 from somewhere, which isn't free (and I guess hard to buy these days)?
    Love dance, will travel

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    Re: PC game - problem of black band on screen

    Quote Originally Posted by DavidY View Post
    But presumably you'd need a copy of Windows 98 from somewhere, which isn't free (and I guess hard to buy these days)?
    No, easy to buy - you can even get it from amazon, about 20 - but i would have thought even easier to get from an old machine or from someone else - i have several copies of windows 98, some on old hard drives from dead machines. There may be dubious legality to transfering them if they are OEM installs but it is an archaic OS.

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    Re: PC game - problem of black band on screen

    Quote Originally Posted by Dreadful Scathe View Post
    i would run windows 98 inside vmware player or virtual box - both free. That way you get an identical win 98 experience and can install what you like. Alternatively use ubuntu as your os and install the windows game with the inbuilt windows installer - ive tried that with both Diablo 2 and Starcraft - both pretty old games - and they work perfectly.
    Whilst I don't doubt the technical accuracy of your advice DS nor your good intentions in providing it, is it likely that someone who has posted here for help in resolving some graphical issues in an age-old game really likely to have the confidence and technical aptitude to follow through your suggestions?

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    Re: PC game - problem of black band on screen

    Quote Originally Posted by robd View Post
    Whilst I don't doubt the technical accuracy of your advice DS nor your good intentions in providing it, is it likely that someone who has posted here for help in resolving some graphical issues in an age-old game really likely to have the confidence and technical aptitude to follow through your suggestions?
    no, but she can ask me and I'll sort it out personally if there are any problems.

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    Re: PC game - problem of black band on screen

    Quote Originally Posted by Gadget View Post
    You could 'tab' into and out of it again - can fix display issues... can also crash the game <Alt>+<Tab> release (should bring you to the desktop) then <Alt>+<Tab> should take you back in.

    Could try r-clicking on the icon and going into 'properties' 'compatibility' and ticking some of the graphics settings - Never seen it fix anything, but worth a try.
    Cheers, but I've already tried the various graphics settings while I was trying to fix the mouse issue though and you're quite right - it didn't fix anything!
    Quote Originally Posted by NZ Monkey View Post
    My first port of call would be to see if there are any updates for the game. Graphics fixes are quite common in early patches for games.
    Thanks. I installed the patch that came with the CD (as it is an updated version to allow the game to run on newer computers) but it hasn't helped. I've found one other patch online (plus one to make the little people pregnant, lol), which from the description sounds very like the one I have, but I'm going to try it anyway.
    Quote Originally Posted by Dreadful Scathe View Post
    i would run windows 98 inside vmware player or virtual box - both free. That way you get an identical win 98 experience and can install what you like. Alternatively use ubuntu as your os and install the windows game with the inbuilt windows installer - ive tried that with both Diablo 2 and Starcraft - both pretty old games - and they work perfectly.
    Whoosh...

    Unfortunately, as robd suggested, while I consider myself fairly computer literate and on a second reading understand the basics of what you're getting at, I'm not technically savvy enough to really know how to go about it! Though my dad has a copy of Windows 98/ME somewhere I think and may understand better, so it may be an option at some point. Thanks anyway.

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    Re: PC game - problem of black band on screen

    I have a couple of suggestions regarding your screen resolution problem for Theme Hospital, seeing as its an older game that uses DirectX 5::

    Use third-party tools that were written to try to run Direct3D applications in a window. Theme Hospital is a good candidate because your copy sounds like its a Win32 port of the original DOS game - and that's the type of application that these applications are meant to be used with.

    A collection of the best-known ones can be found here (Running Dungeon Keeper in a window)

    I'd recommend Skywing's Dxwnd 1.035 first, then try D3D Windower (the English version!)


    If those 3rd-party applications don't work, you could try using DOSBox - its essentially a DOS environment emulator that allows you to install and play DOS-native games and applications under modern Windows XP/Vista computers.

    Here's a guide on how to setup Theme Hospital under DOSBox :-

    http://www.bumcheekcity.com/pages/110-theme-hospital


    Hope that helps

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    Dreadful Scathe (3rd-July-2009), ShinyWeeStar (3rd-July-2009)

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    Re: PC game - problem of black band on screen

    Quote Originally Posted by AussieJ View Post
    I'd recommend Skywing's Dxwnd 1.035 first, then try D3D Windower (the English version!)
    Okay, I've downloaded and extracted Skywing. According to these instructions the next step is to create a shortcut and it gives various examples.

    After you download and extract the DxWnd.zip you can begin by either executing from command line (in Command Prompt) or more conveniently create a shortcut. The syntax for the execution should be:
    (e.g. With Starcraft, I created a shortcut named "Starcraft - Window Mode" and then as a the target: "C:\Documents and Settings\Interdev\My Documents\My Received Files\DxWnd\DxWnd.exe" "C:\Program Files\Starcraft\starcraft.exe" "C:\Documents and Settings\Interdev\My Documents\My Received Files\DxWnd\Starcraft.dxw")

    When I open Skywing I get a DirectX Windowed Mode Launcher with a blank white window, asking me to Select a windowed mode patcher. The four buttons displayed are: Run / Configure / Create shortcut / Cancel. When I click on any of them (except Cancel) I get an error message telling me I must select a program extension first. There's nowhere to type in or select anything as far as I can see, so what does it mean?

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    Re: PC game - problem of black band on screen

    Ooops I forgot to mention that Skywing's DXWind program requires Microsoft Visual C Runtime library to be installed on your computer.

    Try downloading http://www.nynaeve.net/Programs/vcredist_x86.zip

    Unzip it, then place the extracted files onto your PC's system32 directory, e.g. C:\windows\system32\

    Try running and configuring DXWnd again, that may get rid of the error message(?)

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    ShinyWeeStar (3rd-July-2009)

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    Re: PC game - problem of black band on screen

    Quote Originally Posted by AussieJ View Post
    Ooops I forgot to mention that Skywing's DXWind program requires Microsoft Visual C Runtime library to be installed on your computer.

    Try downloading http://www.nynaeve.net/Programs/vcredist_x86.zip

    Unzip it, then place the extracted files onto your PC's system32 directory, e.g. C:\windows\system32\

    Try running and configuring DXWnd again, that may get rid of the error message(?)
    Downloaded and extracted it to the desktop, then moved it across to the System32 folder but still getting the error message on running DXWnd. Computers, bah humbug.

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    Re: PC game - problem of black band on screen

    Hmmm...

    How about trying SFB7's DXWnd? Download it, unzip it, then follow its instructions. Tick the checkbox for 'DirectX~DirectX6' or 'Automatic'. Maybe that will work better than Skywind's DXWnd ?

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    ShinyWeeStar (6th-July-2009)

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    Re: PC game - problem of black band on screen

    Righto, will try that next - won't be till after the summer now though, as I've headed for home (where the game works perfectly on my dad's computer - yay ).

    Thanks for all the advice and suggestions.

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