Steam allows you to set custom images for all items in your library, including non-Steam games.
It was with some surprise that I revisited some old PC games on Windows 8.1 and found them working again for the first time since Windows XP.
Often you need fixed versions to remove copy protection that no longer works and if they are running from protected locations (like your system’s Program Files folder), they will need Run as Administrator set in the Compatibility properties page.
Here are some Steam custom images to integrate them into your Steam library.
Cannonball is a reassembly of the OutRun arcade machine and adds widescreen and 60 fps support to your MAME-compatible OutRun ROM.
Juiced is a game with ambition and ideas and lots to do but it never quite found a big audience. It runs in widescreen resolutions and has full controller support.
To get Juiced to run:
If you want to use a noCD patched version, copy the fixed Juiced.exe over the original.
For Juiced.exe, set Compatibility Mode to XP Service Pack 3.
To set up controls:
Copy diactfrm.dll, diamp.dll and Fix DInput.bat into Juiced folder (if this doesn’t work copy it to %windir%\SysWOW64 and run from there).
Open an Administrator command window (or Right-Shift Right-Click and Run as Administrator) and run Fix DInput.bat. This registers diactfrm.dll using the command: regsvr32.exe /s diactfrm.dll
Run JuicedConfig.exe and set Juiced to 640×480 Windowed Mode.
Run Juiced and select Controls from the Options menu. Now you can assign your controls using the old Direct Input controls editor.
In Juiced’s options, adjust steering sensitivity to a preferred value as it will be a bit too sensitive for a gamepad.
Then you can exit and set Juiced back to full screen using JuicedConfig.exe
Located in %appdata%\THQ
Le Mans 24 Hours aka Test Drive: Le Mans, the 2002 game from Melbourne House and Infogrames is one of the best racing games of all time.
It has full controller support and recognises all 4:3 ratio screen sizes registered to your display. (4:3 on a 1080P display is 1440×1080 pixels.) All controls are rebindable.
If you don’t want to see the intro movies you can rename or delete the Data/FMV folder.
You can force anti-aliasing and anisotropic filtering using your graphic card’s control panel.
Sega GT was Sega’s attempt to produce a Gran Turismo class game. It spawned a really good Xbox-exclusive double sequel (Sega GT 2002 and Sega GT Online) but the original game was let down by baffling handling. The game surrounding it was quite good but the core gameplay was not. The chance to race around original, non-real world tracks is worth it though and the tracks in the sequels are superb.
The Dreamcast version was good-looking but the PC version was not. With your graphics card control panel you can force anti-aliasing and anisotropic filtering but it will still only be 640×480.
To get Sega GT to run:
Set Compatibility Mode for SegaGT.exe to Windows 95.
If you don’t wish to see the intro movies which pop up in silly little ActiveMovie windows, simply delete or rename them. The game will then launch directly.
Sega Rally is the PC version of the original arcade game. It is surprisingly good, arguably better than Sega Rally 2 thanks to more consistent and understandable handling.
Codemasters’ TOCA Race Driver 3 (TRD3) is a good-looking, good-feeling racer that offers thrilling and highly satisfying action aswell as a very accessible and generally convincing driving model. It does works on Windows 8 but the StarForce protection drivers installed alongside it will stop Windows 8 from booting.
To be able to boot Windows 8 after installing TRD3, you need to Disable Driver Signature Enforcement. (Now here I think I was lucky. I had just recently set up my system to dual boot between 8 and XP and this gives me a boot menu where I can press F8 and select Disable Driver Signature Enforcement. If I didn’t, I do not know how to access that boot option because all the pages talking about it presume you can boot into Windows 8. If you’ve installed TRD3, you can’t.)
Download and run the StarForce pre 5.5 remove utility.
Your system should now reboot successfully.
To play the game on Windows 8:
Find (from a reliable source) a Fixed EXE and a no-CD patch. You may need to replace RD3.exe then run a CD-Check removal patcher.
Scan your Race Driver 3 folder with a virus, malware and spyware scanner, pray to your God, turn around three times and spit on the back of your hand before running any downloaded executable files, specifically the CD-Check removal patcher and TRD3.exe after running the CD-Check removal patcher.
Set XP SP3 compatibility option on HardwareSetup.exe to configure the game.
Set the Run as Administrator compatibility option on TRD3.exe to play the game.
I appreciate Microsoft’s efforts to keep my computer secure with the User Account Control (UAC) technology. However, it is annoying with it’s endless credentials or consent prompts nagging, nagging, nagging.
I can’t understand why it doesn’t learn when I’ve approved a program. I think that once I’ve approved a program, UAC should remember details of that program’s footprint and only ask me again if that footprint changes.
Nevertheless, it doesn’t and probably never will (because if Microsoft can do something, then so can those evil virus writers). Completely disabling UAC causes all sorts of other problems. So the next best thing is to diminish the nagging of UAC without actually turning it off.
WARNING: Fine-tuning UAC settings inherently makes it much less effective as a security tool.
Here are some registry settings that you can set to get UAC to behave with better manners. (HKLM refers to HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE.) The first setting has immediate effect. WARNING: Mistakes while manually editing the registry can reduce your machine to an unusable state. Proceed at your own risk. Mwahaha.
Or how about when you’re watching a video on one screen and tooling about on the other and the black screen completely kills your media player. The black screen is called your secure desktop and prevents a nasty program from sending fake key-presses to a UAC prompt and so is a good thing. But murderlising video applications is not. So…
Now if you set auto-elevate you get the Security Center popping up and telling you that you are about to start ‘global thermonuclear war.’ Now, frankly, like a lot of Microsoft balloons and prompts, this is a little alarming. Now it is actually fibbing a bit because it tells you UAC isn’t on, but it is on. It’s just running in gloriously silent mode.
Fortunately, you can politely ask Security Center to stop nagging and it will. Open Security Center and click “Change the way Security Center alerts me” (it’s on the left) and select the appropriate level of nagging.