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Technical Support

Descent

Platforms:   Windows 9X
System Requirements:

  • DOS 5.0 or higher,Windows 95/98 *Not Compatible with Windows XP or 2000*
  • IBM/Tandy & 100% compatibles
  • 486DX-50 or faster
  • 256 color VGA or SVGA monitor
  • 30 MB hard drive space required
  • 2x CD-ROM

    OR

  • the PlayStation? game console
  • System Recommended:
  • Pentium(tm) processor
  • 16 MB RAM
  • stereo 16-bit sound card with General MIDI support
  • a quality joystick
  • lots of spare time!
  • Installation Tips: To Install: INSTALL.EXE
    Default Install Directory: C:\GAMES\DESCENT
    Game Executable: DESCENT.BAT
    To Re-run the Setup: SETUP.EXE


    To Quit:

    1. Press the ESCAPE until you reach main menu.
    2. Select 'QUIT'.
    FAQ:
    1. Problem: Getting black screen when attempting to run the game.
    2. Problem: Descent bootdisk.
    3. Problem: Trouble with your joystick being recognized correctly, including 'hat' problems, Gravis Game Pad and MS-Sidewinder.
    4. Problem: Boss on level 7 is too difficult / Can't find the reactor.
    5. Problem: Game locks up as soon as you start to move.
    6. Problem: Game gives you a message 'Memory allocation error, cannot load Command.Com.'
    7. Problem: Game locks up or crashes at the same or different places.
    8. Problem: Message stating not enough memory.
    9. Problem: The menus 'flash' like someone is repeatedly pressing the Enter key.
    10. Problem: Modem connection problems.
    11. Problem: Error: Cant open file...MOON01.BMM when loading save games.
    12. Problem: Game is missing some sounds (breaking glass, fan, flares).
    13. Problem: Game runs slowly or video is `choppy.'
    14. Problem: Colors are distorted in Descent.
    15. Problem: Descent locks up at the title screen.
    16. Problem: Null modem play does not work.
    17. Problem: "Strange" problems in modem/null modem cable play.
    18. Problem: Descent and OS/2.
    19. Problem: Receiving error: SOUND: (HMI) 'HMI*.386 File Open Failure.'

    1. Problem: Black Screen when attempting to run the game Solution: Most often a black screen is due to incorrect sound card settings. The games setup will autodetect your sound card, however, this may not work properly on some systems. You will want to input your sound card values in manually. If you are unsure of your sound card settings, you can temporarily disable the sound by choosing No Sound until you can contact your systems manufacturer for the appropriate values.


    2. Problem: Making a Boot Disk for Descent: Solution:
    1. Insert a disk into drive A. (Must be Drive A, not B.)
    2. From the C Prompt, type FORMAT A:/S and hit the ENTER key.
    3. Switch to the A prompt by typing A: and hitting the ENTER key.
    4. Next, make a CONFIG.SYS file. Type EDIT A:\CONFIG.SYS and hit the ENTER key.
    5. Put the following lines in the CONFIG.SYS file:
      • DEVICE=C:\DOS\HIMEM.SYS
      • DOS=HIGH,UMB
      • FILES=40
      • BUFFERS=40
    6. Save and exit the Editor.
    7. Next, make an AUTOEXEC.BAT file. Type EDIT A:\AUTOEXEC.BAT and hit the ENTER key.
    8. Put the following lines in the AUTOEXEC.BAT file:
      • @ECHO OFF
      • SET PATH=C:\;C:\DOS
      • C:
      • CD\GAMES\DESCENT (or the directory you put Descent in)
    To use the bootdisk, keep the disk in the A drive and reboot or turn on the computer. In the Descent Directory, type DESCENT -HELP for Descent options, SETUP to change sound card setting or to view the Help files, or DESCENT to start the game. When you are finished with Descent, remove the bootdisk and restart your system.

    NOTE: If you do not have any sound in the game with the boodisk, add your sound card drivers to your AUTOEXEC.BAT and CONFIG.SYS files.


    3. Problem: Trouble with your joystick being recognized correctly, including 'hat' problems, Gravis Game Pad and MS Sidewinder. Solution:

    Shareware version only - Make sure you have the 1.4 patch. The game may not work correctly with 1.0 and some joysticks or game ports. Make sure that you do not have a conflict with the address of your game card. Most cards default to address 0200H. Calibrate your joystick by pressing F4 when actually in the game. Go to the Options menu and make sure that Descent is configured for your joystick. For help with configuring Descent, refer to the readme file or the manual.

    For the Gravis Game Pad - Start Descent. In the Control menu, select Joystick (not Gamepad.) Calibrate the joystick. Go back to the Control menu and select Gamepad. Upgrade to version 1.4A.

    For the MS-Sidewinder - Descent predates the MS-Sidewinder and does not have any direct support for it. You may want to try the joystick's Thrustmaster emulation mode and select Thrustmaster as your joystick with the SPACEBAR in the Controls menu in Descent. If you are still having trouble, contact the tech support for the joystick, as they may see common problems and have a suggestion for you.


    4. Problem: Boss on level 7 is too difficult / Can't find the reactor Solution: The Big Brown Boss is the reactor. When you defeat him, the exit will open. We've found that the best way to defeat him is to shoot two homing missiles at the Vulcan guys before entering the room. Enter the room and do not stop circling. Use your slide and turn "strafing" to circle the room. Take out the last Vulcan guy with another homing missile. Ignore the red guys. As long as you keep flying and circling, they should not hit you. When the brown Boss uncloaks, shoot him with the highest level lasers you have. Never stop to shoot him. Keep circling.

    Upgrading to the 1.4A patch will lessen his difficulty by half. For the very desperate, the cheat codes are in the DESCENT.FAQ.


    5. Problem: Game locks up as soon as you start to move. Solution: This is a known problem with the shareware versions 1.0 and 1.1 on Cyrix DLC or SLC chips and some motherboards. Download and install the shareware version 1.4, but in the meantime run the game from Windows and it should work fine.


    6. Problem: Shareware gives you a message "Memory allocation error, cannot load Command.Com" Solution: Run a VESA driver such as UNIVESA or UNIVBE before running the game or upgrade to shareware version 1.2 or higher. This has been reported on some motherboards, but running the VESA driver should fix the problem.


    7. Problem: Game locks up or crashes at the same or different places. Diskette version only - Delete Descent from your hard drive, restart your machine with a clean boot. Using Dos version 6, reboot your machine. When you see the words, Starting MS-DOS..., hit the F5 key. Solution: It should quickly go to the C prompt if it was hit at the right time. Then, reinstall the game. Descent uses ARJ for the install, and ARJ can be sensitive to certain device drivers.

    A conflict of some sort may be happening. You can do some trial and error to pinpoint it. Try turning off all common conflicts. If this works, you can start trying to find what exactly caused it.

    Use the boot disk maker during this testing. After booting your machine with that disk, start Descent with the command:

    DESCENT -NOSOUND -NOJOYSTICK -NOMOUSE -NOSERIAL -NOMEMCHECK

    If this works, you can start using one less -option until it occurs again. That will pinpoint the cause.


    8. Problem: Message stating not enough memory. Solution: Try using the suggested bootdisk. You may also want to download our boot disk program.

    Make sure you have at least 4MB of actual memory (RAM) available. Make sure you have at least 10MB of disk space available for a swap file. Delete any existing *.SWP files in the Descent directory.

    If you are using OS/2, make sure that you have told OS/2 you need DPMI memory. See Question 18.


    9. Problem: The menus "flash" like someone is repeatedly pressing the ENTER key. Solution: There is most likely a conflict with the joystick port on your machine. This happens most frequently with machines that do not have joysticks. Run Descent by typing DESCENT -NOJOYSTICK and it should work fine.


    10. Problem: Modem connection problems Solution: We have a Descent Modem Troubleshooter that you will want to reference.


    11. Problem: Error: Can't open file...MOON01.BMM when loading save games. Solution: You will receive an error that Descent Cant Open File... because there are not enough files allocated in the CONFIG.SYS file. Edit your CONFIG.SYS and increase the number of files to 70 and buffers to 30. If you are running Descent on a clean boot (bypassing the AUTOEXEC.BAT and CONFIG.SYS) your files and buffers are defaulted to 8. In that case, you will need a bootdisk to set them to the appropriate values of 70 and 30. See Question 2 for bootdisk instructions.


    12. Problem: Game is missing some sounds (breaking glass, fan, flares) Solution: You will need to free up more conventional memory. This happens when DOS runs out of conventional memory for the sound driver. Try removing any device drivers in the CONFIG.SYS file and the AUTOEXEC.BAT file to bring the conventional memory above 560K. Also, try starting Descent with the DESCENT -NOMEMCHECK command.


    13. Problem: Game runs slowly or video is choppy. Solution: Start Descent with the command DESCENT -NOSOUND. If it speeds up considerably, check your sound card settings in SETUP. Incorrect settings can cause significant slowdown.

    The best thing to combat choppy or slow video (short of upgrading your system) is to use a bootdisk eliminating any other drivers that may be "stealing" some of the memory from Descent. In the game you can go to the detail settings and lower the object complexity and detail, the debris and sound channels to the lowest settings. During play, press the F3 key to change the pilot screen and press the - key to make the view smaller.


    14. Problem: Colors are distorted in Descent. Solution: Common in the GATEWAY 2000 P75. Do a hard reboot of your computer and enter the BIOS setup. Find the VGA Palette Snoop option and disable it. This should fix the problem.


    15. Problem: Descent locks up at the title screen. Solution: Turn off the Hidden Refresh option in your BIOS Advanced settings. Also make sure RAMBIOS.SYS does NOT appear in your CONFIG.SYS and that Hardware Video Shadowing is turned off in the BIOS.

    Also, see question number 7.


    16. Problem: Null modem play does not work Solution: In shareware v1.2 and registered Descent, CTS/RTS handshaking was added as the default. We have had several people report problems with modem/serial games after upgrading to shareware 1.2 or registered Descent, so we took it out and added it as a command-line option (-CtsRts). So, if shareware 1.2 and registered Descent worked fine for you, but registered version 1.4 doesn't, then try using the -CtsRts command line.


    17. Problem: "Strange" problems in modem/null modem cable play. Solution: This may be a result of dropped serial characters. Some examples of "strange" things: players not dropping powerups when killed, ships jumping from place to place on screen, or ships flying through doors that appear closed. If you get error messages during play or during the Waiting For Opponent screen, this could be the cause as well.

    These problems may occur for several reasons. Serial play adds an additional burden to the CPU when playing the game, so a computer capable of playing the game in single-player mode may have difficulties with modem or serial play. If you are using a 4-megabyte machine, the disk activity needed to run the program in a small memory space can cause lost characters. A lot of sound activity can also cause lost serial characters. Increasing the RAM for the game or reducing the number of sound channels in the detail settings menu can sometimes help. Of course you can also reduce the baud rate in the Com Settings menu to slow down the game somewhat while improving reliability. Also try setting your music volume slider to 0 in the Options menu.

    The best thing you can do to improve serial performance is to equip your machine with a 16550 UART. However, even with this UART 38.4k baud rate can still be problematic if you have the burden of low RAM or heavy sound activity, so don't be ashamed to run a 16550 UART at 19.2k baud if need be.


    18. Problem: Descent and OS/2 Solution: If you can not install from the CD-ROM while in OS/2, copy the DESCENT directory directly from the CD onto your hard drive.

    To get Descent to run under OS/2, just increase your DPMI_MEMORY_LIMIT to 8 megs or more. Descent should then run perfectly with full sound. If your joystick behaves strangely under OS/2 try using the -JoyPolled command line option. Keep in mind that Descent does not officially support OS/2.


    19. Problem: Receiving error: SOUND: (HMI) 'HMI*.386 File Open Failure' Solution: Make sure no shells are running in the backgroud while playing Descent. Exit Windows completely (do not use the dos prompt icon) and start Descent from plain DOS.

    Try running Descent on a bootdisk. See question 2.

    Hints:
    Manuals:
    Mission and levels:
    Patches:
    Playable Demos:
    Themes, wallpapers and screen savers: