How to install XBCD on Windows 10 or any other unsigned driver

XBCD allows using the original Xbox Controller S on Windows. Windows 10 doesn’t allow installing unsigned drivers and XBCD has an unsigned driver. In order to instruct Windows to allow the installation you’ll have to:

  1. Press Start
  2. Click on Power
  3. Hold down Shift and press Restart
  4. Navigate to Troubleshoot -> Advanced options -> Startup Settings and press Restart
  5. Wait for Windows to restart and when prompted press 7 for Disable driver signature enforcement and wait for Windows to come up
  6. Install XBCD and allow it to install the driver
  7. Restart

Betrayal at Krondor – How to make it sound great as you remember?

I’ve just purchased Betrayal at Krondor from gog.com. This game was one of my favorites when I was a kid, not knowing a word in English. I haven’t played it since then.

As I started to play, it was obvious that three things about the sound were different:

  1. Sound effects were totally different than what I remembered.
  2. The music, in stores or chest for instance, wasn’t looping as it should have been.
  3. The quality of the music was much better than before.

Solve 1

After a bit of researche I found what was the problem. Games of that time had different drivers for different sound cards. In a config file, it is possible to select which sound driver you want to use. Now that I run the game in DosBox, the game works regardless of the driver I choose, but the choice does change something. It changes the sound bank (sound font) used in the game. My old 486 had a SoundBlaster, so I just had to tell the game to use its SoundBlaster driver like that:
In the file

KRONDOR.CFG

change the line

soundDrv  = MT32.DRV

to

soundDrv  = SNDBLAST.DRV

That’s all.

Solve 2

This is caused by the fact that the music used by the game is no longer MIDI as it was back then, but “CD music”, which means, pre-recorded, high quality music. They improved the music, but in the process lost the loops. In order to bring the loops back, all you have to do is go to Krondor’s preferences, in-game, and disable CD music, that’s all. You’ll get a significantly lower quality music, but I prefer that over silence in long battles and while solving riddle-chests.

What about 3?

So we lost the high quality music, isn’t there anything we can do to get the good from both world?
Well, I don’t know whether it’s possible to make the CD music loop or not, but I do know that it is possible to significantly improve the quality of the MIDI music. I haven’t done that, because I’m happy with the music as I remember it, but if you want, you can follow this guide which is more complicated but achieves more.

Enjoy!

How to run Starcraft Brood War and Diablo II on Windows 7? (Color correction)

Old games and new versions of windows not alwasy go well together, but sometimes there are games which stay with us for a very long time and require some fiddling in order to work.

Most of the problems with old games can be solved by simply running them in compatibility mode or as administrator. Starcraft does not need it, and Diablo does. These two games have another problem. Although they run, their colors are messed up. Luckily, once you know the solution it is very simple. Close explorer.exe and viola! the colors are good again.

Closing explorer.exe has a price though. You can’t change volume, and it is harder to start up your games. In order to help with these two tasks, I wrote a little C# application which allows you to close explorer, run your games and open the sound mixer in order to control the sound. Extremely simple but useful.

It can be downloaded from here: 32-bit, 64-bit, and the source code.
Make sure to use the right architecture because manipulating explorer with the wrong version won’t work.