Games, games, games!

samer meshreki (meshreki@freezer.acs.udel.edu)
Tue, 11 Jun 91 00:58:46 EDT

Well, since no else has mentioned it, I must be the only person who has
tried to run some entertainment on the UL :-)

The first thing I noticed was that everything looked horrible.
I realized that the LCD screen was showing the INVERSE of what I would normally
see on a CRT. So I said, no problem. I'll take SETUP out of hiding, and use
the palette function for the first time, inverting all the colors (i.e.
changing all 5's to 1's, all 4's to 2's, etc.)

Well, everything went fine until I tried switching 6 to 0, or vice versa.
SETUP shows immediately the changes as they happen, hence my screen blanked
out of existence. (text and background became the same color.) So, I
rebooted, saved 6's and 0's for last, and counted carefully the number of
times I would need to press the spacebar or whathaveyou and it worked fine.
I run SETUP only right before I play a game---I found that combined with
DGSET in my autoexec, and the fact that the "inverse palette" of setup
disappears when you reboot (ctrl-alt-del), that I have no problems whatsoever.
SETUP kept the inverse palette somehow in memory, but it didn't activate it
until I actually ran SETUP. The games I tried so far didn't have any trouble
with SETUP in memory.

(Aside: Dale, if you could modify DGSET or write a new program so that you
could inverse the palette, now that would be worth
something! Maybe you could call it DGCRT :-)

Ooh, I almost forgot. The other important lesson I learned. The other thing
I did with SETUP was set the backlight to HIGH, not AUTO. After five minutes
of playing a game, I found myself squinting to see the screen.
Apparently all the games don't care how many keys you press on the keyboard,
that backlight goes out after 5.

THE GAMES:

I tried a bunch of games on CGA. None had any problems running.
General comments: Depending on the general coloring of the screen, I found
I had to adjust the contrast. All of the games I have tried so far, I didn't
find to be annoying (i.e. I didn't have to adjust the contrast in the middle
of some kind of action). All the games had no on-disk copy protection, just
mostly the 'ol maroon-on-black code pages. I ran all the games off the disk
drive.

What games? Nightbreed, something I got on clearance at a local software
shop. I had to adjust the contrast every once in a while, but usually just
kept it at one place. During the arcade sequences I had no problems whatsoever
with LCD blur. Graphics are really good, and I'm getting a lot of play out
of it.

Keef the Thief, adventure/action(combat). This I had to adjust contrast
perhaps a little more often, say 5% of the time. Still, no real problems
viewing the screen, although whenever possible, the higher the contrast, the
nicer the picture.

Dragon Lord. A real picturesque cinemaware game, with plenty of strategy and
a little action -- a simulation. I have had a few problems
with this one, mainly because it insists on differentiating the three
different players by the colors red, green and blue, which to me look like
blue, blue and blue. Other than that one oversight, the game has incredible
graphics, and looks very well done. (I popped it onto the VGA machine next
door just to see the color, and it is mighty nice!) I can't tell how crucial
this is right now, because I have been playing it much yet. I haven't played
it much because, frankly, I'm having too much fun with the other two.

---

SUMMARY:

Remove SETUP from your AUTOEXEC.BAT. Get DGSET and put it in your AUTOEXEC.BAT. (Thanks Dale!) Setup your SETUP one time only by inversing the palette (tricky) and also setting the backlight to HIGH. Make sure you EXIT (save), not QUIT. Then reboot and forget about it. Whenver you want to play a game or view graphics, type SETUP (or D:SETUP) and play. Most games force you to reboot when they're finished, so after you are done everything goes back to normal. CAUTION: you will have to resetup SETUP if you for some reason hit ctrl-alt-fn-del, which is the super-whammy-reset-boot-from-drive-d. Try to avoid doing that. :-)

Well, that's all I have to report for now. Maybe if anyone else tries out some of their old IBM funware, we can get a game ratings list, devoted just to visibility and playability.

Samer Meshreki meshreki@freezer.it.udel.edu