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Thread: SMAC on Win 7 64 bit

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Aug 2011
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    SMAC on Win 7 64 bit

    Hello all,

    I have SMAC from 1999 and used to play it on my Win XP 32 bit machine (using the 1.03f patch).

    I am trying to get it up and running on my new machine (Windows 7, 64 bit), with no success. I try to run the SMAC_Win2000_XP_Compatibility_Update_v1.03f.exe file, and get an error message: ". . . is not a valid Win32 application." I try the compatibility modes for WinXP and that does not help. The .exe will not run.

    Amazingly, SMAC seems to run without any patches at all, but I would like to get it up-to-date as possible. I recall there were patches before the 1.03f which I'd like to have. Anyone know where to find those, and whether I'll be able to run those executable files?

    Also, I can't recall how to change the resolution at which the game runs: is there any way to do that? What is the default resolution?

    Any suggestions for these issues?

    Thanks for reading and for any help.

  2. #2
    Join Date
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    I run Alpha Centauri and it's expansion Alien Crossfire on Windows 7 64-bit with no problems. However the following are a few of the things I've had to do to make them work the best they can:

    Once you apply the Windows XP Compatibility patch then you are almost good to go for Windows 7 64-bit. If you are getting an error message then try to re-download that patch or run the patch itself in a compatibility mode perhaps with the "run as administrator" option.

    You are almost ready to go. Before you even install any patches first make sure the installation folder is not within either the "Program Files" or "Program Files (x86)" folders. This is because Alpha Centauri (and Alien Crossfire) put their save games within their folders. Starting with Vista and newer this will not work because of User Access Control. So, choose an installation folder outside of "Program Files.."

    Alpha Centauri's native resolution is 800x600. You can change this however: in the installation folder, find a file named "Alpha Centauri.ini" and open it with NotePad. In that file, Under "[Alpha Centauri]" add two lines:

    Video Mode=1024
    DirectDraw=0

    The first line will tell the game to run at 1024x768 which is the maximum resolution using DirectDraw that the game can run with. The second line tells the game to not use DirectDraw and it will instead run at your desktop resolution.

    Not done yet! Alpha Centauri itself (not Alien Crossfire) has a bug when running at your desktop resolution. In the main menu the menu's are not visible. This makes getting into a game practically blind luck. There is a fix however:

    If you have Alien Crossfire, get this patch: Here. Also get this patch: Here. Rename terran.exe and terranx.exe (if you have Alien Crossfire) so you have backup's of them. Then unarchive the first patch into your SMAC folder then unarchive the second into it as well overwriting any files (but keep backups of any overwritten files). You can skip the first archive if you don't have Alien Crossfire. Either of these patches will fix the menu not being visible when using the DirectDraw=0 option. So, you'll be at your desktop resolution and everything will work with these unofficial patches. Both unofficial patches also come with something extra: AI improvements! That is just bonus on top of getting them to work at desktop-resolution!

    Almost done! Go back to the "Alpha Centauri.ini" file. Under that put in:

    ForceOldVoxelAlgorithm=0

    This line if it doesn't already exist. With the unofficial patches you can use "=0" but if you don't use those patches then you will need to set it to "=1" or they will crash.

    All of these instructions assume you can get Alpha Centauri to it's last patch: the Windows XP/2000 patch. If you can do that then these instructions just "fix it up" to be the best it can be on a modern system.

    If anything is unclear or I can help further just post back. Post back regardless whether you get it working or not!

    Also, Alpha Centauri itself is now available on Good Old Games.com here: Link. I don't know how well the unofficial patches will work with that version but that version is "turn-key": it's super simple to install and get going!

  3. #3
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    Here is the official download site for Alpha Centauri. The patch off of that page should not be corrupted!

  4. #4
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    Wow! Sorry for the off-topic comment, I am just amazed how much trouble you have to go through to get this very nice game to run on modern version of windows. I am also a dedicated SMAC/X player even today, but I have fortunately purchased the linux port from Loki. Interestingly, that still runs without any problem or patching even on the latest linux releases.

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by Zso_Zso View Post
    Wow! Sorry for the off-topic comment, I am just amazed how much trouble you have to go through to get this very nice game to run on modern version of windows. I am also a dedicated SMAC/X player even today, but I have fortunately purchased the linux port from Loki. Interestingly, that still runs without any problem or patching even on the latest linux releases.
    The instructions for Linux are equally obscure: Here and there is no way for Linux to go above 1024x768 as far as I know. Basically, glibc changed in new Linuxes and you have to use some compatibility libraries to give Loki's version what it needs.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Aug 2011
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    3

    SMAC update for Win 78 64 bit

    [QUOTE=headkase;1442233]I run Alpha Centauri and it's expansion Alien Crossfire on Windows 7 64-bit with no problems. However the following are a few of the things I've had to do to make them work the best they can:

    Once you apply the Windows XP Compatibility patch then you are almost good to go for Windows 7 64-bit. If you are getting an error message then try to re-download that patch or run the patch itself in a compatibility mode perhaps with the "run as administrator" option.

    You are almost ready to go. Before you even install any patches first make sure the installation folder is not within either the "Program Files" or "Program Files (x86)" folders. This is because Alpha Centauri (and Alien Crossfire) put their save games within their folders. Starting with Vista and newer this will not work because of User Access Control. So, choose an installation folder outside of "Program Files.."


    Hi Headkase,

    Thanks for the reply. I ran the update DIRECTLY from the download site rather than saving the file to my computer and then trying to run it. That worked. I installed into a SEPARATE folder I made for the purpose (C:/AlphaCentauriPatch). But, must I now take all those unpacked files and move them into the Program Files x86 game folder? Otherwise, how does the game even know those files are to be used?

    Sorry for the dopey question! and thanks again for the help.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Aug 2011
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    3

    changing AlphCentauri.ini file

    "Alpha Centauri's native resolution is 800x600. You can change this however: in the installation folder, find a file named "Alpha Centauri.ini" and open it with NotePad. In that file, Under "[Alpha Centauri]" add two lines:

    Video Mode=1024
    DirectDraw=0

    The first line will tell the game to run at 1024x768 which is the maximum resolution using DirectDraw that the game can run with. The second line tells the game to not use DirectDraw and it will instead run at your desktop resolution."

    __________________________________________________ _____________________
    Hello again, Headkase,

    I tried to add these lines to the .ini file, but Windows will NOT allow me to make changes. I even tried changing my account to 'Administrator' privileges, to no avail.

    Suggesions? Thanks.

  8. #8
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    The game itself should be installed somewhere *outside* of either "program files" folders. You have two because you're 64-bit. I'd uninstall the game and then reinstall it somewhere like: "C:\Games\SMAC" or similar. Then overwrite whatever is in there after the installation with the patch files.

    There is another way you can do it however: if the game is installed inside one of the "program files" folders you can get the properties on the shortcut and select the "Run this program as Administrator" option. This will make SMAC play nice with UAC while it's inside one of them. However, this means that each time you run it you will get a prompt to see if it's ok. I find that annoying so I just install outside of "program files."

    Everything else it just getting it set up to a proper display and making the menu's work right once that is done. The unofficial patches are really a good thing to get: better AI and some bug/crash fixes. One of the crash fixes as said is with the voxel algorithm. With the unofficial patch you can use the faster one and without them you have to edit the ini file to tell the game to use the slower one.

  9. #9
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    The program making the changes (notepad) must be running as administrator to save into the "program files" location. Go to Orb (Start) -> Accessories -> Notepad. Instead of clicking on Notepad, right click it and choose "Run as administrator". Then you can open the ini file in the Notepad window that opens and should be able to save it into the program files location too.

  10. #10
    Quote Originally Posted by headkase View Post
    Here is the official download site for Alpha Centauri. The patch off of that page should not be corrupted!
    The above link is no longer valid

    "Sorry, but we can't seem to find the page you're looking for."

  11. #11
    I have the complete games on original CD but was going to download the patch as the game is a bit unstable. (Running Windows 7 Professional)

  12. #12
    Join Date
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    Lady G, you might simply do better to buy a new copy of the game from Good Old Games.

    I, myself, got tired of fighting to install SMAC and SMAX from my own disks (still carefullypreserved) every time I wanted to install on a post-XP machine. So I ponied the money up for a new copy from GOG, and didn't have to fight for even half a second to get it to work.

    It's currently only $5.99US. Give it a look: http://www.gog.com/game/sid_meiers_alpha_centauri

    Like you, I have Win 7 Pro ... and GOG's installer ran without a hitch, as the game does now, too. Personally, I found the six bucks to be well worth the saved hassle and headache.
    -- Sean ... SteamID: GM Pax
    CPU AMD FX-8350 (8x4.00GHz); GPU AMD Radeon 7970 (3GB); RAM 16GB DDR3-1600;
    System Drive Intel 520 SSD (240GB); Data Drive WD Green (3TB); Sound ASUS Xonar DSX.

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