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Thread: Infocom adventures and green-phosphor displays

  1. #1

    Default Infocom adventures and green-phosphor displays

    I downloaded a few old Infocom adventure games to play on my Compaq Portable II, which has a black-and-green CRT display. Only one of those games ("A Mind Forever Voyaging"), when started, asks me if I want B/W or color display. If I choose B/W everything displays fine; if I choose color I get a white-on-bright-green display that's very unpleasant to use. So I run it in B/W mode and everything is fine.



    Thing is, the other games don't offer me the choice and default to color, so I get the unpleasant display and can't play due to the discomfort. See for instance Starcross:



    Is there a way to force other Infocom games to run in B/W mode?

  2. #2

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    Did you set MODE MONO in DOS?
    Not sure what videocard the machine has.
    “Thus, we see that one of the obvious origins of human disagreement lies in the use of noises for words.”


  3. #3
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    if there is a file called "setup.inf", delete it. The game should then ask you those startup questions to let you choose color or b/w.

  4. #4
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    Aren't the Infocom's booters ? The mode command wouldn't work then.
    Have you tried setting DIP 5 and 6 to off ?
    patscc

  5. #5

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    On a Compaq Portable you should get nice hi-res 640x350 monochrome text. This looks like it is running in 640x200 CGA emulation text mode. Like Jorg says, type MODE MONO before running it, to try to force it into hi-res MDA text mode.

  6. #6
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    This might work if the game is launched from DOS. All the early Infocom text adventures I remember were booters, meaning you put the floppy in and booted and it loaded it's own operating environment, which makes the mode command useless. The mode command is also useless if the game performs it's own hardware checking.
    patscc

  7. #7
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    there are several releases of infocom games; the booters all asked if you wanted color at startup (IIRC) and the DOS ones used a tiny setup.exe program which wrote out the setup.inf file so that the game wouldn't have to ask you every time.

  8. #8

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    Quote Originally Posted by hargle View Post
    if there is a file called "setup.inf", delete it. The game should then ask you those startup questions to let you choose color or b/w.
    This worked, but not as you say. If I delete the file (which has the same content in both AMFV and Starcross, weirdly) the game asks me nothing, it simply says "cannot load setup file" while loading, then runs in b/w. I don't know how I'd recreate the setup file, or what it would accomplish - the game seems to work perfectly without. Thanks, I'm off to play Starcross

  9. #9
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    setup.exe is what re-creates that file. if you're missing setup.exe, then your copy of your game is slightly incomplete. (I can provide you with it)
    The same setup.exe appears to be used across multiple infocom titles.
    what is quite strange though is that I just ran my copy and setup.exe did not ask me if I wanted color or not, only the screen width and height.

    what starcross release version does yours say? Mine is Release 17.
    It is also assuming I have ansi.sys installed, as I can see lots of escape characters as it tries to print messages to the screen.

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