What's the latest version of DARKLANDS and what does it do?
The current version of DARKLANDS is 483.07. If you don't know what yours is, check out the file BANNER.DAT which should contain the number of the latest version. This is the file that appears as a grey screen when you first boot the game up. In my version 5, the file flashed by so rapidly that I couldn't tell which version it was, so I used a DOS utility like DR.EXE (you could also use WRITE or NOTEPAD from WINDOWS) to open the BANNER.DAT file and read the number. If you use a text editor, don't save afterwards. Just exit.
If you don't have ftp, you can reach the people at Microprose and they will send you an upgrade by snail mail. Be sure to tell them which version you currently have. As far as I know, version 7 was never available as a commercial game. It is therefore necessary to upgrade your current version to 7.
Technical and other considerations for version 483.07 (February 26, 1993) as quoted from the README.TXT that accompanies update v7.
This version is a major upgrade. Numerous problems and difficulties have been solved, thanks both to the many contributions and notes from users, and our own continuing testing. This version allows save-games during certain big battles, and makes both loading and saving much more reliable.
Games saved using earlier versions should still work. However, some fixes do not take effect unless you start a new game. These fixes are minor; for example, in one, it's easier to leave Graz. However, for the best possible version, start a new game.
HARD DISK SPACE
DARKLANDS requires about 17,500,000 bytes (17.5 MB) of hard disk space. This includes about 16 MB of files, plus approximately 1.5 MB of temporary storage, first for high speed installation, and then reused as temporary file storage during play, including a reasonable number of saved games. The exact amount of hard disk space may increase on very large hard disks. On one 600MB hard disk we've seen the game require 22 MB of space.
MEMORY (RAM) REQUIREMENTS
Currently DARKLANDS requires 595,000 bytes (581K) of main memory, plus 180,224 bytes (176K) of EMS memory. If you are uncertain of the memory in your machine use the DOS 5.0 command "MEM /C" to view the entire memory configuration of your computer.
DARKLANDS also requires FILES=20 (or more) in your CONFIG.SYS file.
FAST LOADING COMMANDS
The "DARKLAND /Q" command mentioned in the technical supplement disables ALL animation routines in the game, not just the initial animation. This command is intended for hardware configurations that have problems with the animations, but which can run the rest of the game (see Extended Animation Sequences, below, for details).
To preserve the animations, but quickly bypass the opening sequence, load normally with DARKLAND, then immediately tap the space bar. This bypasses the opening animation, while preserving the later defeat and victory animations.
SAVING THE GAME
The best places to save DARKLANDS are:Battlefields that allow save-games are indicated by a message saying "Battlefield save rules are in effect". The main "save rule" is simple: there must be no living enemies on the current floor or level. In addition, you can save any time the game leaves the battlefield for an interaction (i.e., a full-screen text/picture/menu combination). In general, if you can use group movement mode, you can save (on appropriate battlefields).
The only battlefields that allow saves are the largest: the various mines, the Templar's fortress monastery, and Baphomet's Citadel of the Apocalypse. In fact, we recommend you save frequently in these battles. This protects you from unexpected problems.
You can save the game at other times outside of battle. However, when you restore, you may sometimes be "set back" a bit in time because a lot of complex logic has not yet changed all data in the "permanent" areas yet.
You can have up to 100 saved games. To scroll through the list, use the up and down arrow keys on the keyboard.
FRANKFURT, FREIBURG and FREIBERG
Astute players will realize that some cities have similar names. Within the game, "Frankfurt am Main" is abbreviated as "Frankfurt M", while "Frankfurt an der Oder" is "Frankfurt O". Freiburg im Breisgau is misspelled "Freiberg im Breisgau" on the map. It is spelled correctly in the game, and abbreviated to "Freiburg B" for greater clarity. The other Freiberg, in the Wettin Lands, is spelled correctly and is just "Freiberg" in the game.
We very much regret that an extremely rare problem may cause a battlefield character to suffer some color changes in battle. However, you as a player won't notice the change until the next battle. The bad part is that the change is stored in the saved game file. You can fix up your characters by returning to an old saved game. For example, in battle #3 you notice Gretch has green hair (yuck). If you return to a game saved prior to battle #2, Gretch will be fine again. We apologize for this work-around. We've tried all sorts of tools and traps for this condition, and spent hundreds of hours testing for it. We'd be delighted to publicize the name of the first person who can tell us how to make it occur upon demand.
The SAVES subdirectory includes a file titled "DEFAULT." This file must be present in this subdirectory to permit character generation. If you use DOS commands to copy, clean out, etc. the SAVES files, be sure to not erase DEFAULT.
LOADING SAVED GAMES
This version supports the ability to load saved games while in the game, as described on page 18 of the manual. In addition, you can scroll through the list of saved games using the keyboard arrow keys. Loading is prohibited on certain information screens. Simply exit the information screen and loading is re-enabled.
Beware that once you commit to loading a game while playing, you MUST select a game to load. You cannot escape back to the game you were playing. We apologize for this inconvenience.
HALL OF FAME
The manual incorrectly states that DARKLANDS has a Hall of Fame. The game does not. However, for your information, we expect that moderately successful parties will achieve fame in the low hundreds, while very successful ones will reach the high hundreds.
DARKLANDS has no specific ending -- you can play forever. However, if you have defeated Raubritters, dragons, the three different kinds of problems in mines, and ultimately Baphomet, you have encountered all the major challenges. Good luck and good adventuring!
EXTENDED ANIMATION SEQUENCES
The opening sequence and two other animations during the game may have problems with a few hard disk drive controllers. Generally, if the opening animation runs without problem three or four times, you should not have any difficulties.
If, however, you do have difficulties, we suggest you load with DARKLAND /Q. This will bypass all the animation sequences, thus avoiding any chance of trouble.
SIMULTANEOUS ROLAND & SOUND BLASTER SUPPORT
It is possible to have both Roland MT-32/LAPC-1 sound and digital speech in DARKLANDS. However, it requires that you rename certain files (described below) and then use INSTALL to set the game's sound to whatever NON-Roland board you are using. These boards include:
Covox Sound Master II, Sound Blaster, Sound Blaster Pro,
Pro Audio Spectrum (including + and 16 versions),
Thunderboard, ATI F/X
To rename the files to support both boards, go to MPS\DARKLAND (or whatever subdirectory you installed the game into) and type the following DOS commands:
COPY PSOUND.DLC PSOUND.DC
COPY PSOUND.DLB PSOUND.DB
COPY ASOUND.DLC ASOUND.DC
COPY ASOUND.DLB ASOUND.DB
COPY RSOUND.DLC PSOUND.DLC
COPY RSOUND.DLB PSOUND.DLB
COPY RSOUND.DLC ASOUND.DLC
COPY RSOUND.DLB ASOUND.DLB
Later, if you wish to restore the game to its normal configuration, type the following DOS commands:
COPY PSOUND.DC PSOUND.DLC
COPY PSOUND.DB PSOUND.DLB
COPY ASOUND.DC ASOUND.DLC
COPY ASOUND.DB ASOUND.DLB
If you have any of the GUS cards, you can use megaem.exe rev. 3.03 beta to increase the quality of the tunes in Darklands. First copy the sound files under the paragraph in this FAQ called Simultaneous Roland & Sound Blaster Support. Then load megaem.exe. Finally, run the install program in your DARKLAND directory. You should be able to select the Roland choice now. To do this automatically every time you run Darklands, make a batch file as follows:
A clue book full of numerical data of all sorts, not to mention outlines
of the quests, hints and answers to puzzles, and much more is available
now from MicroProse. It is available either with or without a special disk.
The special disk contains a music player, a picture viewer, and a character
--Contributed by AvL--
When I saw a couple of postings in the comp.sys.ibm.pc.games.rpg concerning DARKLANDS, one more thing to mention came to my mind. Has anyone noticed that annoying bug in ver7 ? It happens when you're travelling on the map. In the old version, I was able to walk on without getting interrupted (beside game issues of course). Now, in ver7, there's often some strange hard drive activity which results in nothing, in the best case. I travel and the screen freezes as if engaging in some action. But then, the map shows up again, and my 'walker' stands there and waits for new clicks. In the worst case, the screen starts to scroll madly, I mean, my travelling-character stays around and the map scrolls in all directions and ends in the sea eventually. Has anyone encountered that as well ? Seems like a bug to me. Even though I wouldn't call this a major bug, it can cause some mess, if you haven't saved often enough (after landing in the sea, the machine hangs up).
--Contributed by DA--
That's a new one to me, but it reminded me of a bug (rev 7) that I encounter every once in a while.
Sometimes when a battle in the wilderness is about to begin (doesn't seem to matter with whom), there are no enemies anywhere on the battle map. I have found that the only way to "jump start" the battle is to move my characters around a little; after a bit, the hard drive starts up and the battle begins.
NOTE: Anyone with any other strange behaviour by the program is encouraged to describe it in gory detail and e-mail to one of the authors. It stands a chance of being added (with appropriate credit) to this document. Also, feel free to substantiate these two bugs if you can.
NOTE (AvL): I installed DARKLANDS once again recently and haven't encountered the bug, described by me above, again. This leaves two possibilities: a) It used to be a matter of my particular machine, or b) DARKLANDS has been coded so lousy, anything can happen at every new installation. Furthermore, I encountered another bug: In the mine, when engaging problem iii) (see 4), after meeting the human leader of the kobolds, you can entertain the option to parley with the leader. This ends up in an empty screen (i.e. background with no text showing up). Your characters are still accessible as well as the Control Menu on top. However, re-loading a previously saved game or quitting are the only options to go ahead.
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What files are available for DARKLANDS from Microprose and elsewhere?
There are quite a few kinds of files for DARKLANDS: upgrades, animated unplayable demo, a press release and some save game editors. The section that follows explains where to get the material, or, if you have WWW access, you can just point to the site to receive the file. Please note that I have not been able to find DARKSND.ZIP at the Microprose site although it is listed as being there.
UPGRADES (available here)
You can get the following upgrades of DARKLANDS:
|DARK6-7 ZIP||614K DARKLANDS Version 06 to 07 Update|
|DK4_6 ZIP||812K DARKLANDS Update Version 04 to Version 06|
|DK5_6 ZIP||831K DARKLANDS Version 05/051 to Version 06|
|DKV06 ZIP||1214K DARKLANDS Version 06|
|DRKSND ZIP||108K DARKLANDS Sound Drivers for Roland, SB and Gold|
ANIMATED DEMO (available here)
You can get the DARKLANDS animated demo:
|DARK1 ZIP||755K DARKLANDS VGA Animated Demo 1 of 2|
|DARK2 ZIP||606K DARKLANDS VGA Animated Demo 2 of 2|
This non-playable demo shows some screens from a game, using the default characters (Gretchen, Gunther, Hans and Ebhard). Never having seen the early versions of the game I cannot say for sure which this one intends to demonstrate. I can say that it is different in some appearance to versions 5 and 7, so I can only surmise it is a view of an earlier version. Given the nature of demos, I would suspect it shows a version somewhere between beta and 483.01. Differences are: characters not as graphically clear, lettering in character screens different as well as the character representations, equipped objects were marked with a + and a different colour (something I feel they should have kept [also an object sorter would be nice]), dead remain on screen as a body (not just a spot of blood). There may be other differences.
Sections of the press release are quoted in this FAQ. Unfortunately, Microprose has removed the DARKPR.TXT file that was on their site.
I didn't see listed the review of Darklands on the GamesDomain site Review section. It is a decent review of the overall gameplay for someone who has never played it before.
|DLED11.ZIP||63K DARKLANDS Save Game Editor v1.1 + doc|
Other programs that have been developed but are no longer readily available:
|DLEDIT ZIP||60K DARKLANDS Save Game Editor v1.1|
|DKQUEST ZIP||21K Lists all current quests in DARKLANDS|
|DRKLND ZIP||15K UGE module for DARKLANDS. Must have UGE (see below).|
All downloads are available from Matt Wirkkala's Darklands Stuff Page.
Here are excerpts from the DOCs from DLED, DKQUEST and UGE (DRKLND)
DLED.ZIP (63Kb) - a character and party editor for DARKLANDS (excerpt)
**** DLED Version 1.1 New Features ****
Now you can edit any character in the saved game. In addition to editing
the skills and attributes, you can now edit equipment, and knowledge of
saints and formulas. Edit party wealth, PStone and Fame (although I
haven't found much advantage to increasing party fame this way).
Print individual characters or the party as a group. Print to printer or
file of your choice.
Seamless transfer of party between saved games, no hassles.
DLED is a utility that allows you to display and modify the attributes,
skills, equipment, saints and formulas of all the characters in your
saved game. It will also print a report of attributes, skills, equipment,
saints and formulas each character or all characters in your party.
Output can be directed to the printer or a file. DLED also allows you
to transfer the current party from one saved game to another (different
DKQUEST.ZIP (20Kb) - program that lists pending quests (excerpt)
DKQUE is a utility program that lists all pending quests. Run DKQUE
before starting the game (you may want to redirect output to the printer
lpt1). Tells you where to go, what to get and who to give it
to. Often (for quests not in a city) it will specify a location near a
city different than what you were told in the game, as a rule DKQUE
provides a closer city than the game did. If you took notes when the
quest was given to you, you'll have an excellent set of directions to
triangulate. When questing for a Raubitter, it also tells you the name
of the Keep.
Questions or comments may be directed to
Steven J. Cotellesse
DRKLND.ZIP (14Kb) - Universal Game Editor module for DARKLANDS (excerpt)
YOU MUST HAVE UNIVERSAL GAME EDITOR TO USE THIS MODULE.Back to Table of Contents
This module will allow you to change money, philosopher stone,
attributes, skills and more. You may create ANY item in the game!
UNIVERSAL GAME EDITOR
Universal Game Editor is an editor created specifically for editing saved
game files. UGE is available on Compuserve, GEnie and America Online.
The filename is UGExx.ZIP, where xx is the version number. UGE may
also be uploaded to bulletin boards around the country.NOTE (CMB): UGE comes with save files for Master of Orion, Civilization, Betrayal at Krondor and Lands of Lore. The save files for DARKLANDS are available here. At last notice, a shareware version of UGE can be obtained from the author, Jack Hartman at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Coming soon: Running Darklands under WIN95.
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On to section 3: Game considerations (early game)