A technical FAQ is included with the (patched) game. Many problems are resolved by using the latest patched version (see Where can I get the game, patches and manual? above) or dealt with by that FAQ. Even patched, there may be no solution to the infamous crash error message (that regularly greeted me while writing this FAQ):
DOS/4GW Professional error (2001): exception 0Dh (general protection fault) at 127:0000080F
On this page:
- 9.1 Have you got any tips getting BC3K to run under Windows ME, 2000 or XP?
- 9.2 Why does the freeware version ask for the CD? Why is it running in debug mode?
- 9.3 Why does the freeware version installer try to install the game to the wrong hard drive?
- 9.4 After installing the game all I see is a black screen. What’s the problem?
- 9.5 Why does BC3K start to run slowly or suffer frame rate reduction at certain points in the game?
- 9.6 Why does the game crash on or after saving, particularly during the ACM?
- 9.7 Can I change the resolution?
- 9.8 What does CRTL+A do? Why can’t I speed up the game?
- 9.9 Why can’t I find bases on planets?
- 9.10 Why do my crew get stuck on decks?
- 9.11 I ordered my shuttle to tow my battlecruiser and now the battlecruiser has disappeared. Why?
- 9.12 How do I backup or copy a save game?
9.1 Have you got any tips getting BC3K to run under Windows ME, 2000 or XP?
These operating systems are not supported, but you may wish to try some of the suggestions below:
Many Windows ME issues relate to the video display. Cmdr Nova writes: “If you can go into Display Properties-Settings-Click on Advanced, and look around for an option for Composite Synchronization, try to disable/enable it.” R_wilco suggests trying: “Edit the game’s batch file, bc3k.bat, so the line for the game looked like this: bc3000ad.exe /v1 – thus setting the video card to standard VESA.” This suggestion is worth trying on any modern computer.
On Windows 2000, opt1k notes: “I have managed to get version 2.09 running under Windows 2000 in DOS mode with sound by using VDMSound for Windows NT (MS-DOS sound emulator) and starting with the following options: bc3000ad /n /d1 /v1.” The mouse may not work correctly, appearing to be trapped in the corner of the screen. Derek Smart writes: “BC3K uses a DOS mouse driver, e.g. mouse.com etc. If you can load a DOS mouse driver in the DOS console window before running the game, it should work.” The installer packaged with the freeware v2.09 specifically disables Windows 2000 installation.
Isadevil on installing under Windows XP: “I successfully installed version 2.0, patched it all the way up, modified the bc3k.ini not to ask for the CD all the time, set bc3000ad.exe under WIN95 compatibility mode, set my sound options properly and voila.”
There was an unsupported file called bc3kwin.zip or bc3k209win.zip, which allows BC3K to be run directly in a window under Windows 2000 (and probably XP) without any tweaks. As I understand it, this file is included in the v2.09 freeware version, and may be lurking elsewhere (I’ve not be able to find it myself). This patch is not very stable and contains various graphical glitches, so may not be worth the time spent trying to find it.
A further XP installation tip from snider (this applies only to the freeware release): “Fortunately, all the needed files are actually in the 130+ meg version you’ve downloaded – just rename it to the extention .cab, and extract all the files in it (with winRar or similar), to the same directory you’ve places the downloaded BC file (for some reason, only msi-relevant files are available in the archieve). Then, rename the BC file back to the .exe extention, set compatibility mode to Windows 95/98 for *both* the BC exe and the newly created file named ‘msiexec.exe’. This file will hopefully be used to perform the install, rather than the one in your system32 dir. Then run the BC setup, and it should work.” Tlhonmey notes: “If you have problems you may need to set the system path to include the directory where you put the aforementioned files. Also you will need to use an account with administrator privileges.”
A method of getting BC3K to run on XP from Cartmanbeeps: “(1) Right click on any blank portion of your desktop. (2) In the menu click ‘New’. (3) Now click ‘Shortcut’. (4) Click ‘browse’ and scroll through your root directory. Select the ‘Windows’ folder and double click on the file labeled ‘DOSPROMPT’. (5) Click ‘Next’ and then ‘Finish’. (6) You should now have a icon labeled ‘MS-DOS prompt’. (7) Right click on your MS-DOS Prompt icom and click on ‘properties’. (8) Click on the ‘program’ tab and then click the icon that says ‘advanced’. (9) Click on the check box that says ‘Prevent MS-DOS based programs from detecting Windows.’ (10) There will be a second box that has a check in it. Leave the check mark in the box. (11) Click ‘OK’. (12) Click the tab labeled ‘Screen’. Click the option ‘Full screen’ and then click ‘OK’. (13) Click ‘OK’. (14) Double click the icon labeled ‘MS-DOS Prompt’ and type in the full directory of the battlecruiser file. Don’t forget to add the filename in the directory. (15) Press ENTER.”
9.2 Why does the freeware version ask for the CD? Why is it running in debug mode?
Debug mode is evoked by adding the switch /d1, most likely to be added in the batch file that launches BC3K (probably bc3k.bat), for example “bc3000ad /d1” as the last line in the file when viewed in a text editor. In the freeware v2.09 debug mode was evoked by default. Debug mode may cause unforeseen problems and issues, for example most artifacts and Fleet Command and Control are enabled in debug mode. There are various oddities, such as the removal of range checks for docking and instant destruction of targets by pressing ALT+X. Probably the most obvious in-game indication is that the HSD module is available on the bridge HUD.
Debug mode can be removed by editing out the /d1 switch from the relevant batch file. However, debug mode is preventing CD checks, and with debug mode turned off the game will expect to find a game CD. The CD path may be changed to point to the hard drive by editing bc3000ad.ini, however there is a discrepancy in the file size/time-stamp of the two files used in the CD check – 3klogo.ani and bcintro.ani. It is suggested you download a small patch to fix this – see Where can I get the game, patches and manual? above. This will allow the freeware game to be run without CD or debug mode. Derek Smart gives some clues as to how this hack might otherwise be achieved (this should not be considered by non-programmers): “If all else fails, the you can hack into the BC3000AD.GLD (glide version) or BC3000AD.DAT (software version) as well as both Windows .EXE files, and look for those entries [below], then remove the check. This will disable this portion of the CD-ROM check and you can run the game in non-debug mode and without the /d1 parameter in the .BAT files.” The files are ANIM3klogo.ani (file size 1400233) and ANIMbcintro.ani (file size 42516829).
9.3 Why does the freeware version installer try to install the game to the wrong hard drive?
This often occurs when the operating system and desired game installation location are on different partitions. Reven writes: “When you run the installer, this is what happens: (1) It unpacks the .msi install package into your temp directory along with an .ini file and the Microsoft Windows Installer runtime. (2) If you already have the Microsoft Windows Installer on your machine it then immediately tries to run it. If not, then it installs it, and adds an entry in your HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE/Software/Microsoft/Windows/CurrentVersion/RunOnce registry key that will cause the installer to try and install the package when you reboot. (3) It then creates ANOTHER copy of the package file inside your temp directory. So, you now have the .EXE at 137MB of space and two copies of the package at 131MB each on your system. (4) It then finally processes the install script inside the second copy of the .msi package. I’ve tried a lot of different ways to try and get it to install under Windows 2000 and no go. But, for the one who is trying on 98 with the small boot drive, what you need to do is edit your AUTOEXEC.BAT and put an entry with TEMP=X:/TEMP where X: is a drive with lots of space. Once you do this and reboot, your Windows temp files will now be on the larger drive.”
9.4 After installing the game all I see is a black screen. What’s the problem?
Rattler writes: “Your game is going black screen because you haven’t set up that sound card yet. Now you should launch the setup program from the setup shortcut in Start/Programs/BC3000AD/Sound Setup. Test them to make sure they work and save and exit.”
9.5 Why does BC3K start to run slowly or suffer frame rate reduction at certain points in the game?
This issue affects almost all computers and is primarily due to lack of processing power at certain times. Lack of processing power will have a knock-on effect in terms of reduced frames per second. Large battles (many ships, missiles, etc) often cause the problem.
There is a tangible glitch shortly after starting the first ACM mission. Derek Smart writes: “ACM is more processing intensive than Free Flight. In much the same way that Xtreme Carnage is much faster than Free Flight or ACM. Check your graphics card drivers and configuration. That sort of drop is indicative of either a configuration problem or you’ve gone and sent probes or NPCs into Nullspace territory, which sets them to search the entire game galaxy until they find a way out of there. That route search is very intensive.” [I have a hunch this is related to the UCV-Molonok trying to find a way out of Obsidia (see TOD1 M1/5 – Diplomatic Escort (Majoris) above), but cannot prove this.]
You may notice that when you are travelling across many regions of space, the frame rate gets progressively lower and lower. This relates to the way BC3K generates and then maintains activity. For example, as you are passing through a sector, an AI fleet appears and attacks the station. The station launches fighters and missiles; the attacking ships may do something similar. Rapidly the number of objects in the region goes from about 5, to 50 or 100. Each object has AI and flight dynamics processing associated with it. When you leave the region, the battle continues until it reaches some kind of conclusion. So, if you travel past several stations, and each evokes a battle, the amount of extra activity in the galaxy increases dramatically for a short period of time. From the v2.0 tips file: “Each time you or a ship under your command enters a region, it activates that region and its processing is given a higher priority. There are 75 planets, 145 moons and 91 space regions and bringing even 15% of the world into higher processing priority will bring a Pentium 200 with a Voodoo 2 card to its knees.”
Removing the bridge/cockpit view by pressing F1 should improve frame rate slightly. SpacePhish suggests altering Windows’ vcache to reduce slowdowns: “Get the Vcache tweak program. It’s called cacheman and you can find it at this site: http://www.outertech.com/ . Download it, tweak with it. All you have to do is click on settings, select either Win-95 or Win-98, then click on 3D games. Restart you system. Now my Battlecruiser runs like magic. I’m fighting huge-space battles with a 30+ frame rate.”
9.6 Why does the game crash on or after saving, particularly during the ACM?
Tyrn writes: “The usual response to this is to update your mouse driver. I will admit that doing this solved my problem of not being able to save at all but did not fix my ‘can’t save in ACM’ problem. I have found that using a slot other than the first one for my commander will allow me to save with no problems in ACM.”
9.7 Can I change the resolution?
No. Even in 3DFX the resolution is fixed.
9.8 What does CRTL+A do? Why can’t I speed up the game?
Time compression features were disabled in later v2.x versions. Key commands related to time compression do nothing. Derek Smart writes: “You can still use it if you’re running the free version in debug mode.” Unfortunately, time compression may cause problems for the AI, the reason it was removed.
9.9 Why can’t I find bases on planets?
You need the Map Pak installed. This is installed by default with v2.08 or higher. If the Map Pak has been downloaded, just not installed, aramike01 suggests: “Try going into your BC3K folder, find the icon labelled ‘Bldmaps’, and double click on it. If you do it correctly, a DOS window should appear and for the next few minutes it will create zones on the planet surfaces.”
9.10 Why do my crew get stuck on decks?
Crew may become stuck in one battlecruiser location, unable to reach their destination. This can rapidly render the game unplayable. Sometimes crew become stuck in support craft. This is almost always fixed by repairing the craft fully, re-launching and docking the craft. I assume this is intended – for example, a damaged Interceptor cockpit door being impossible to open, trapping the pilots inside their craft until the door can be repaired. I believe one of the crew quarters is not sufficiently large to hold all the crew that will try to rest there if they are all sent off-duty at the same time. Crew that cannot fit into the quarters will wait outside, appearing to be stuck in the corridor. This generally affects flight and system engineers, and can easily be resolved by not sending all of them off-duty at the same time, or sending a proportion to rest in the Medibay instead.
When crew become permanently stuck in deck corridors, there are few solutions, and it may be impossible to recover them. By the time you realise there is a problem you may have played several hours since the problem first appeared. It therefore helps to understand what may be causing the problem. Papi suggests: “Check for radiation. If you don’t have ‘Radiation CTL unit’ in your stores you can’t see if there’s radiation problem.” Radiated crew will otherwise be shown as orange under Tactical. Use of cheats may cause crew to get stuck on the Battlecruiser’s S-Deck. Cmdr Nova writes: “I narrowed the problem to Cheat #1. Not Playmod 1. It’s the ‘set cheat 1’ flag that makes all troops/units/people/whatever get stuck in S Deck Aft Corridor.” I think this is also caused by the Just Another Cyborg artifact – perhaps trying to repair something that the System Engineers are repairing.
9.11 I ordered my shuttle to tow my battlecruiser and now the battlecruiser has disappeared. Why?
It’s the ghost-ship bug. Tyrn writes: “Never ever tell your ship to collect cargo of any type and then tell it to tow your ship. Launch a ‘clean’ shuttle with no orders and then tell it to tow your ship.” Derek Smart adds: “Never, ever tell your shuttle to tow you or it will deliver you either to the station or to itself.”
9.12 How do I backup or copy a save game?
Quit BC3K. Go to the SAVE folder in the installation directory. For each player profile there are several files that need to be copied. For example, if you used the first character profile slot, all the files start with PLAYER0, vis: PLAYER0.CMD, PLAYER0.CML, PLAYER0.PRO, PLAYER0.LOG, PLAYER0.SG0, PLAYER0.SG1, etc. Alternatively just copy the entire contents of the save folder.