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Overwhelmed and Lost


MestreLion

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Hi there folks!

Ive played Dune II when i was like 13 (almost 20 years ago), and recently I wanted to play it again, for nostalgia's sake (it was and still is an awesome game). But, after downloading several versions from several sources scattered all over the net, Ive found myself completely lost by the overwhelming number of versions, files, executables, patches, fixes, etc.

Its been like 3 days im reading the forum over and over. The more i read, the more i get in-depth details about the game, modding, patches. But also the more lost i get. I still have so many questions. Im trying to assemble a version similar to the one ive played back then. Could you guys help me?

Heres the scenario:

- Ive nailed all the versions ive download down to 2. Both 1.07. One seems to be US, and the other is a CD-rip (*.IMG) that looks like HS. I dont remember where ive downloaded them from.

- The US version is almost identical to the one posted in http://nyerguds.arsaneus-design.com/dune/dune2versions/. All matching files are bitwise identical, including DUNE2.EXE, but mine have 2 aditional files: CREDITS.ENG and HERC.PAK (besides other non-core files like ico, pif, cfg, read.me, etc). What are these files about? will i miss anything if I use the version you posted?

- Also, why DUNE2.EXE dates from 29/03/2003 ? Werent they supposed to be 1992/3 ? Btw, they are both cracked: After mission 1, mentat asks the question, but thatever you type, it says its correct.

- The CD version has a DUNE2.EXE of 371.474 bytes, dated 18/01/1993, 12:47:20. It is identified by Dune2Editor as HS, but it is NOT cracked! Meaning Mentat asks for the manual, and i must answer correctly. "Your" version IS cracked, but it had that graphic "glitch" when skipping the question.

- Also, the CD version has a 4.7MB file called DUNE2.RNC. Thats huge for its time. Its not present when you install the game to the HD, but HDINSTAL.BAT on the CD checks for it. What is this file for? Additional voices or something?

I want to use the US version, since i remember the "The Building of a Dynasty" voice when i was a kid. But i have no idea about its integrity. What should i do to rebuild a "legit" US 1.07 version, with all the features (2 sound cards, MIDI for music and SBPro/16 for voices/effects), bugfixes and, voices and everything?

Btw, i run Windows XP and DosBox 0.73

And forgive me for the lost topic, and the poor english. And thank you!

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- The US version is almost identical to the one posted in http://nyerguds.arsaneus-design.com/dune/dune2versions/. All matching files are bitwise identical, including DUNE2.EXE, but mine have 2 aditional files: CREDITS.ENG and HERC.PAK (besides other non-core files like ico, pif, cfg, read.me, etc). What are these files about? will i miss anything if I use the version you posted?

CREDITS.ENG is a leftover from v1.0 (the US v1.07 is generally a patched version of the original v1.0 release, while the European three-language versions initially started with v1.07 and did not have any v1.0 at all): in v1.0, the credits were put into the EXE file, save for a tiny part that for some reason was located in ENGLISH.PAK. The first time the game went into credits loop after the final cinematic, the CREDITS.ENG file was generated in the game folder by combining the parts from the EXE and ENGLISH.PAK. In v1.07 this was changed due to the need of multiple language support, and the entire file was moved to ENGLISH.PAK.

As for HERC.PAK, it's a mistakenly renamed MERC.PAK or HARK.PAK. Check if both these files are present, and if yes, you can safely remove HERC.PAK; if not, rename it to the missing file in question.

- Also, why DUNE2.EXE dates from 29/03/2003 ? Werent they supposed to be 1992/3 ? Btw, they are both cracked: After mission 1, mentat asks the question, but thatever you type, it says its correct.

You've answered your own question: the EXE was modified to remove copy protection, hence the date is changed.

- The CD version has a DUNE2.EXE of 371.474 bytes, dated 18/01/1993, 12:47:20. It is identified by Dune2Editor as HS, but it is NOT cracked! Meaning Mentat asks for the manual, and i must answer correctly. "Your" version IS cracked, but it had that graphic "glitch" when skipping the question.

If by "your" version you mean the Dune 2 Fix, then the glitch should not occur as the copy protection routine was entirely disabled in the latest version of the fix.

- Also, the CD version has a 4.7MB file called DUNE2.RNC. Thats huge for its time. Its not present when you install the game to the HD, but HDINSTAL.BAT on the CD checks for it. What is this file for? Additional voices or something?

I guess this is some part of the installer, definitely not part of the game itself.

I want to use the US version, since i remember the "The Building of a Dynasty" voice when i was a kid. But i have no idea about its integrity. What should i do to rebuild a "legit" US 1.07 version, with all the features (2 sound cards, MIDI for music and SBPro/16 for voices/effects), bugfixes and, voices and everything?

I believe Nyerguds uploaded a "clean" US v1.07 (as well as other versions too), so the only thing you need to do if you want to play exactly as it was back then (i.e. no additional modern fixes) is to download the official sound card patch available here:

ftp://ftp.westwood.com/pub/dune2/updates/d2sound.exe

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CREDITS.ENG is a leftover from v1.0

Thats reasonable, since the READ.ME file ive also found there are instructions on how to patch. Its curious that this text file is NOT included in the offcial patch zipfile. Only PATCH.EXE and PATCH.RTP. Btw, none are present in the directory, but the READ.ME presence suggests this was indeed an upgraded version.

Thanks for the detailed explanation on credits.

As for HERC.PAK, it's a mistakenly renamed MERC.PAK or HARK.PAK.

Yes, its indeed the same size as MERC.PAK. And Windiff shows they are indeed identical. Looks like my version is full of garbage, isnt it? :P

You've answered your own question: the EXE was modified to remove copy protection, hence the date is changed.

I thought about that. But ive read somewhere here Nyerguds explicitly saying that "now all the archives are the original, untouched versions", or something like that, so i got puzzled.. But both his US1.07 and HS1.07 are cracked The US by accepting any answer, and the HS byt skipping the dialogue.

If by "your" version you mean the Dune 2 Fix, then the glitch should not occur as the copy protection routine was entirely disabled in the latest version of the fix.

By "your" i meant the files at http://nyerguds.arsaneus-design.com/dune/dune2versions/, which seems are mentioned in several posts as the indicated place to download it. It was "your" meaning the forum, as every version and patch and fix mentioned here is hosted there. (btw, what a wonderful resource!)

I guess this is some part of the installer, definitely not part of the game itself.

I just noticed it is not present after running the HD installer, so i wont bother.  I was urious because its so huge (more than 50% the size of the game itself). The DOS installler is a very simple one.. it asks some questions (about path, language, etc) and basically copy the files from CD to HD and then launches SETUP automatically I could upload the ISO (actually, IMG) sowhere if anyone is interested. Its only 16MB.

I believe Nyerguds uploaded a "clean" US v1.07 (as well as other versions too), so the only thing you need to do if you want to play exactly as it was back then (i.e. no additional modern fixes) is to download the official sound card patch available here:

ftp://ftp.westwood.com/pub/dune2/updates/d2sound.exe

Thank you!!! Thats exaclty what i did. And so far is working great. I was afraid of the absence of the CREDITS and HERC.PAK, but now i can finish the game without fear of missing anything.

Btw, that sound card patch is great. Ive set music to "Sound Canvas", and voice and sound to "Sound Blaster Pro". Dosbox passes the music directly to my sound card (an ancient SB Live! Value PCI), and omg, it sounds AWESOME! I guess "Sound Canvas" is an odd name to General Midi, right? Sounds SO much better than emulated SB Pro, and also MUCH better than the (also emulated) MT-32, which actually sounds very bad (maybe Dosbox fault?).

Last but not least, ive also "installed" your fix. And its GREAT! No more decay, game play seems smooth, not a single glitch so far. I was afraid the correction of team bug would make the game way too much difficult (i remember it already being pretty hard when i played as a kid). But so far i finished level 8 harkonnen, and difficulty seems fine. Maybe i just learned how to play decently. Absolutely perfect, great job!

If anyone is interested, i can also share my dosbox.conf ive created for dune. Nothing fancy, but i tuned it to solve the slowdown when many units (now it runs same speed no matter how many units on map), and also adjusted the mexer to equalize MIDI+WAV properly

Again, thank you for such impressive, detailed anwers. This forum is hands down the best resource in Dune 2 ive found. And you Mr Fibble has contributed a lot for it! Thank you!

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I thought about that. But ive read somewhere here Nyerguds explicitly saying that "now all the archives are the original, untouched versions", or something like that, so i got puzzled.. But both his US1.07 and HS1.07 are cracked The US by accepting any answer, and the HS byt skipping the dialogue.

The HS version is indeed the original (i.e. this is the way it was shipped, on a CD). It's just that the publishers removed the copy protection for some reason, and the way they did it resulted in a minor screen glitch.

I could upload the ISO (actually, IMG) sowhere if anyone is interested. Its only 16MB.

I think Nyerguds will be interested in adding that one to his collection :)

Btw, that sound card patch is great. Ive set music to "Sound Canvas", and voice and sound to "Sound Blaster Pro". Dosbox passes the music directly to my sound card (an ancient SB Live! Value PCI), and omg, it sounds AWESOME! I guess "Sound Canvas" is an odd name to General Midi, right? Sounds SO much better than emulated SB Pro, and also MUCH better than the (also emulated) MT-32, which actually sounds very bad (maybe Dosbox fault?).

I've heard emulated synths sound very different from the real deal. However, I've never had either General MIDI or MT-32, so personally I have no idea.

Last but not least, ive also "installed" your fix. And its GREAT! No more decay, game play seems smooth, not a single glitch so far. I was afraid the correction of team bug would make the game way too much difficult (i remember it already being pretty hard when i played as a kid). But so far i finished level 8 harkonnen, and difficulty seems fine. Maybe i just learned how to play decently. Absolutely perfect, great job!

Thanks, glad you like it :) If you want a higher difficulty level, I suggest you check out either Super Dune II or my Dune 2 eXtended mod :)

If anyone is interested, i can also share my dosbox.conf ive created for dune. Nothing fancy, but i tuned it to solve the slowdown when many units (now it runs same speed no matter how many units on map), and also adjusted the mexer to equalize MIDI+WAV properly

Would be interesting to take a look. Actually, I found that only a few tweaks to the default configuration work fine for me to run Dune 2. It's setting the CPU cycles to max (optionally, CPU core may be set to dynamic), Sound Blaster to sb1 (works better than sbpro1 or sbpro2 IMO), and, well, that's pretty much it :)

Again, thank you for such impressive, detailed anwers. This forum is hands down the best resource in Dune 2 ive found. And you Mr Fibble has contributed a lot for it! Thank you!

You're welcome! :)

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The HS version is indeed the original (i.e. this is the way it was shipped, on a CD). It's just that the publishers removed the copy protection for some reason, and the way they did it resulted in a minor screen glitch.

I think Nyerguds will be interested in adding that one to his collection :)

He probably will, since this CD has a DUNE2.EXE that is reported by his editor as HS, but copy protection is active! and its dated 18/01/1993, prior to his HS (from 95). Im not sure if it is a legig copy, since ive downloaded it from the internet. But given the files timestamps and directory structure, it surely looks like so. All BAT files have the Virgin header, and files range from 23/10/1992 to 01/05/1995. Wish i had the cover or more info about it.

I've heard emulated synths sound very different from the real deal. However, I've never had either General MIDI or MT-32, so personally I have no idea.

Well, every modern soundcard have some sort of MIDI-playback capability. And generally far superior to what we listened to in 93. My soundcard is a modest, 7 years old SB Live! Value,. The very name "Value" means it was never a high-end soundcard, but its wavetable is quite decent, and old games sound really amazing. You should give your soundcard a chance, you might get surprised.

Thanks, glad you like it :) If you want a higher difficulty level, I suggest you check out either Super Dune II or my Dune 2 eXtended mod :)

SD2 is just a mod with different houses and minor gameplay fixes, right? Ill pass that. First im planning on beating the game with all 3 houses, which ive never did before (just harkonnen i guess). Then ill go Dune2000. Then i surely will try eXtended, looks quite interesting.

Would be interesting to take a look. Actually, I found that only a few tweaks to the default configuration work fine for me to run Dune 2. It's setting the CPU cycles to max (optionally, CPU core may be set to dynamic), Sound Blaster to sb1 (works better than sbpro1 or sbpro2 IMO), and, well, that's pretty much it :)

Yup, cycles to max is mandatory for DuneII. As for core, i changed to normal, not sure if it makes any difference. Btw, in most cases auto = dynamic, so you dont need chance it from default.

As for SB1, wow, sure? I would never guess that. Is this true only for Dune II? Mine is set to SB16, as its backwrd-compatible for all of them

My config is attached. The main differences from default are:


fullscreen=true
(a must for any game, IMHO)

output=ddraw
(so it is able to do aspect correction and scaling. Any option besides the default "surface" will be able too)

aspect=true
(but it doesnt work as intended: since aspect from a widescreen TV is different from the games 320x200, i should get vertical black bars. but i dont)

scaler=hq2x
(better-looking than normal2x, but faster and sharper than eagle or sai)

core=normal
cycles=max
(for some reason, auto core (=dynamic) and auto cycles made the game waaaaay too realistic, with huge slowdowns in crowded maps. Even a few units made it much slower. max gives me a perfectly smooth speed no matter how many units. And in-game speed setting works much better too. Only drawback is that mouse scrolling is very fast.)

rate=44100
oplrate=44100
(if soundcard handles CD-quality fine, and some games use it, why stick with 22050?)

[autoexec]
mount c d:\jogos\dosbox
mixer SB 140:140
c:
cd dune2
dune2
exit

(mixer equalizer is necessary for dune because its MIDI sounds are VERY loud when set to Sound Canvas. So 40% more in sound effects makes it same level as music. Then i could use master volume in my stereo to confortable levels. For all other games i usually set SB to 60:60 (means 40% quieter than music).

The "exit" at the end closes dosbox, so i dont have to type anything to launch or close a game. ive created a launcher (.PIF in windows) for each game, with a command "dosbox -conf <game>.conf" to make things even easier.

Any comments and suggestions are welcome

(wow, that was again a HUGE post.. i gotta change that someday...)

dune2.zip

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He probably will, since this CD has a DUNE2.EXE that is reported by his editor as HS, but copy protection is active! and its dated 18/01/1993, prior to his HS (from 95). Im not sure if it is a legig copy, since ive downloaded it from the internet. But given the files timestamps and directory structure, it surely looks like so. All BAT files have the Virgin header, and files range from 23/10/1992 to 01/05/1995. Wish i had the cover or more info about it.

Nyerguds recently posted he got a CD with a HS version with functional copy protection as well, as a part of the 10 years Westwood anniversary package.

Well, every modern soundcard have some sort of MIDI-playback capability. And generally far superior to what we listened to in 93. My soundcard is a modest, 7 years old SB Live! Value,. The very name "Value" means it was never a high-end soundcard, but its wavetable is quite decent, and old games sound really amazing. You should give your soundcard a chance, you might get surprised.

As I said, I have no personal experience with real General MIDI or MT-32, but people who know say it's not the same as modern emulations.

As for SB1, wow, sure? I would never guess that. Is this true only for Dune II? Mine is set to SB16, as its backwrd-compatible for all of them

My DOSBox is set to SB1 because it produces better results with synthesized music if a game does not have an option to play it through General MIDI. It also worked good for Dune 2 before I discovered the multiple sound device patch.

My config is attached. The main differences from default are:

Thanks for sharing, I learned some new stuff here :)

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  • 2 weeks later...

By "your" i meant the files at http://nyerguds.arsaneus-design.com/dune/dune2versions/, which seems are mentioned in several posts as the indicated place to download it. It was "your" meaning the forum, as every version and patch and fix mentioned here is hosted there. (btw, what a wonderful resource!)

I didn't update that... only the exes pack here:

http://nyerguds.arsaneus-design.com/dune/d2exes.rar

The full game upload you're talking about is the original HS version as it was given to me by ArrakisResearchCo. I could update it to have my own CD version though.

btw, the US 1.07 version also has a 2003 date stamp, but I think that's just because the original file was never released, meaning any 1.07 US exe that exists is the result of the 1.07 patch. Obviously, this gives the exe the date stamp of the patching process.

[edit]

I renamed the original HS upload to dune2_hs_1.07_cracked.zip, and uploaded my own as dune2_hs_1.07.zip :)

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btw, the US 1.07 version also has a 2003 date stamp, but I think that's just because the original file was never released, meaning any 1.07 US exe that exists is the result of the 1.07 patch. Obviously, this gives the exe the date stamp of the patching process.

It doesn't if you use the RT Patch Manager to apply the patch.

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Here is my CD:


Directory of G:\

01/05/1995 09:01 547 GO.BAT
01/05/1995 08:12 383 HDINSTAL.BAT
01/05/1995 07:58 603 README.BAT
01/05/1995 08:18 449 SETUP.BAT
01/05/1995 07:45 <DIR> VIRGIN
4 File(s) 1.982 bytes

Directory of G:\VIRGIN

01/05/1995 07:45 <DIR> .
01/05/1995 08:20 <DIR> ..
01/05/1995 07:46 <DIR> DUNE2
0 File(s) 0 bytes

Directory of G:\VIRGIN\DUNE2

01/05/1995 07:46 <DIR> .
01/05/1995 07:45 <DIR> ..
11/01/1993 08:57 411.391 ATRE.PAK
01/05/1995 07:49 2.452 CDPATCH.EXE
27/10/1994 19:19 10 DUNE.CFG
14/01/1993 19:27 404.734 DUNE.PAK
18/01/1993 12:47 371.474 DUNE2.EXE
23/10/1992 10:19 1.792 DUNE2.ICO
16/11/1992 13:10 545 DUNE2.PIF
27/10/1994 19:47 4.814.105 DUNE2.RNC
18/01/1993 12:47 89.481 ENGLISH.PAK
11/01/1993 08:56 582.276 FINALE.PAK
15/01/1993 13:28 487.619 FRENCH.PAK
15/01/1993 08:24 492.525 GERMAN.PAK
11/01/1993 08:57 434.162 HARK.PAK
01/05/1995 08:07 194.410 HDINST.EXE
14/01/1993 19:27 1.224.371 INTRO.PAK
11/01/1993 09:00 975.460 INTROVOC.PAK
12/01/1993 08:10 573.783 MENTAT.PAK
11/01/1993 08:57 45.589 MERC.PAK
11/01/1993 08:57 462.480 ORDOS.PAK
14/01/1993 10:40 317.239 SCENARIO.PAK
15/01/1993 07:54 91.264 SETUP.EXE
06/01/1993 15:00 2.978 SETUPENG.DIP
15/01/1993 07:54 3.692 SETUPFRE.DIP
15/01/1993 07:44 3.699 SETUPGER.DIP
11/01/1993 08:57 1.310.138 SOUND.PAK
11/01/1993 09:00 262.744 VOC.PAK
26 File(s) 13.560.413 bytes

If you want any info (or want it for your collection), just tell me where to send it...

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a mysterious 5-hour difference on all date stamps. I don't suppose those adapt to time zones somehow...?

I've observed things like this before (can't remember what files or programme that was). Either it's the time zones, or some other unimaginable weirdness with time/date identification on individual machines.

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