IRE - Frequently Asked Questions


IT-HE Roleplaying Game Engine


  1. The DOS version
    1. It doesn't work.. the screen flickers..
    2. Changing video driver
    3. What are the hardware requirements?
  2. The LINUX version
    1. It's incredibly slow!
    2. What are the software requirements?
  3. The BeOS version
    1. It doesn't work.. the screen goes haywire (0.04 and 0.05)
    2. What version of BeOS does it support?
  4. The Windows version
    1. It displays everything in yellow and blue
    2. The buttons don't work in the editor
  5. Openness
    1. What platforms does it support?
    2. What is the current license?
  6. General
    1. What are VRMs? !Changed in 0.041!

The DOS version


It doesn't work.. the screen flickers..

Certain Cirrus Logic cards don't support VESA bankswitching properly.
The solutions are:

  1. Use univbe/display doctor, this will correct the fault, bypassing the buggy BIOS code.
  2. Try using linear framebuffer mode instead of bankswitching.
    Univbe can help here as well.
  3. Use the special Cirrus Logic drivers
For 2 and 3, you'll need to change the video driver IRE uses.

If you still can't get it to work, email me...


Changing video driver

First, find out what video drivers are available.

To do this, start IRE using the parameter -showmodes

e.g.

    ire -showmodes
You should get a list like this:

Available video modes:

 0 15bpp VESA video driver
 1 16bpp VESA video driver
 2 15bpp Linear video driver
 3 16bpp Linear video driver
 4 15bpp CIRRUS LOGIC video driver
 5 16bpp CIRRUS LOGIC video driver
Choose the one which you think is most suitable (or try them all!), by default the program will use driver 0 (VESA, 15bpp)

15bpp and 16bpp is the number of colours the program can use, 32k or 64k.
You won't notice much difference in quality, but some cards only support one of these, so I allow both.

(16bpp takes an extra 2MB of memory in order to run).

You can try them out using the -videomode parameter

e.g.

    ire -videomode 4

..will use the 15bpp CIRRUS LOGIC driver
When you've got the mode you prefer, edit the file GAME.INI and look for the -videomode line.
Change it to the number for the mode you want to use instead.


What the hardware requirements?

Processor

486 processor or higher. Faster processor is better.

The program has been tested on a UMC super33 (~40Mhz 486) but it ran like sh*t.
I recommend a Pentium-class machine something around 200MHz at least.

If it's too horrible, use the -nolight switch, which disables the lighting.

Video

Requires a VESA video card, capable of 640x480x15 (32k colours), or 16 (64k colours).
Linear framebuffer preferred, but not essential.

In 0.06 two fallback modes have been added, 640x480x8 and 320x200x8.
One of these WILL work, unless you have an EGA display or worse ;-).

Memory

0.03 needs 16MB of memory, and even then it needs to boot clean.
Memory is cheap, and it needs a lot (especially to make it run better on slow CPUs)

0.04 and above have not been tested on 16MB machines AT ALL and I have no idea if it will work!

Misc

A mouse is needed for the editor.

A soundcard is preferable, but you can choose NONE if you wish.
The sound driver is MIDAS 1.1.2 and it supports the following chipsets:

Gravis Ultrasound (Hardware/Software/PNP)
Pro Audio Spectrum (Original/Plus/16)
Windows Sound System (Crystal Codec)
Soundblaster (1.0/1.5/2.0/Pro/16)
Nothing

(Most systems will pretend to be a Soundblaster)


The LINUX version


It's incredibly slow!

Yes, it's running under X-Windows and that isn't good for games.

To make sure it's running at maximum speed, set your X11 server to run at 16bpp. How this is done varies wildly so you're on your own here...

Once you've set to 16bpp, set IRE to use the same colour mode.

If you don't, it will run VERY SLOW as it converts to the current X11 colour mode.

First, find out what video drivers are available.

To do this, start IRE using the parameter -showmodes

e.g.

    ./ire -showmodes
You should get a list like this:

Available video modes:

 0 16bpp Linux SDL driver
 1 15bpp Linux SDL driver
You can try them out using the -videomode parameter

e.g.

    ./ire -videomode 1

..will use the 15bpp driver (not recommended)
Choose the one which you think is most suitable (or try them all!), by default the program will use driver 0 (16bpp)

When you've got the mode you prefer, edit the file GAME.INI and look for the -videomode line.
Change it to the number for the mode you want to use instead.

Software Requirements

The linux version has been written and tested using RedHat 5.1.

In order to use the pre-compiled binary you'll need a glibc2-based Linux.

In order to use IRE at all, you will also need the SDL graphics library, which is available from http://www.devolution.com/~slouken/SDL
0.06 was compiled with SDL 1.0.0.

To recompile IRE, you'll need a C++ compiler installed, and also NASM, the net-wide assembler, which can be found on Simtel and other popular utility sites.
You will probably need DOS2UNIX as well, to remove the linefeeds.

To compile the editor, you will need GTK+ 1.2.0 or better. I use 1.2.3
Version 1.0.6 as supplied with Redhat 5.x does NOT work.


The BeOS version


It doesn't work.. the screen goes haywire!

That's a problem with BeOS itself.
When you run the game full-screen it sets the screen to refresh at 72Hz.

Some cheaper monitors don't like that and lose sync, which is what you're seeing.

DOOM also has this problem, so it's not my fault.

Getting out of the mess

To bring the picture back, hold down the following keys on the LEFT hand side of the keyboard:
SHIFT-CTRL-ALT and F12.

The picture will return to normal, and like DOOM, IRE will now die for your benefit. To play the game properly you will need to run it in windowed mode.

Running in windowed-mode

You started the game by typing ire, didn't you?

In future, type ire -videomode 1 and it will work, but in a window and a bit more slowly.

To make IRE start in windowed-mode automatically, edit the file GAME.INI so that it uses videomode 1 instead of 0.

Requirements

IRE for BeOS was written on BeOS R4.5 for Intel.
It should work on R4.0 without modification, but this has not been tried.

It won't work on R3 without recompiling, and it will require substantial changes to run on non-x86 hardware.
To recompile IRE, you'll need NASM, the net-wide assembler, which can be found on Simtel and other popular utility sites.
You will have to compile it yourself, though.

You will also need something like DOS2UNIX to remove the linefeeds from the source code.


The Windows version


It displays everything in yellow and blue

This is a known problem, usually it happens when DirectX doesn't work and the game uses the DIB mechanism instead.

It doesn't happen on all video cards, and it seems to be largely caused by anomalies inside Windows itself.

First, install DirectX 7. This fixes it on my (Matrox-based) systems.

Secondly, try downloading the latest version (0.061).
This has 8 video modes numbered 0-7.
Start the game using either the command prompt or the Start->Run control in the start bar. Change to the game directory and enter each of the following in turn:

ire -videomode 0

ire -videomode 1

ire -videomode 2

(and so on)
If you find one that works, edit the file game.ini in the game directory and set the video mode to the number that worked.

An easier setup program should appear in 0.07

If you can't find a video mode to appease Windows, you'll have to use the DOS version.

The mouse buttons don't work in the Editor

The mouse buttons sometimes stick after use. Wait a few seconds and try again later.


Openness


What platforms does IRE support?

DOS, Linux, Windows 95 and BeOS R4.x (x86 only)!

At the moment, it will run in DOS, or a DOS-compatible environment such as Win95, or DOSEMU.
It has also been tested once under NT 3.51 (A Winframe server, actually) and it worked surprisingly well. It has not worked on the NT 4 machines at University, but this is probably due to rampant mis-configuration.

A Win95/NT version has been developed by Michael Rich, who reports it works correctly under Windows 2000 (the NT-based version).
Mike has also compiled the game for Windows NT on the DEC Alpha, and this version is now available for download.

At present the game editors work best in DOS, fairly well in Linux and also in Windows 95, but you may have problems getting it to start.
The BeOS version runs in windowed mode. The Fullscreen mode has been disabled for 0.06 as it tended to crash much more than it worked
Windowed mode is slower but is more reliable.


What's the current license agreement?

License
=======

The IT-HE role-playing-game Engine is copyright (C) 1999 Joseph P Morris.

It is free and you can do anything you like as long as you retain my copyright
notice.

If you use parts of it in another program, put 'Portions copyright (C) 1999 Joseph P Morris'
or something like that.

The program and source code are provided in good faith, but there is no warranty of any form or kind.  Use at your own risk.


General


What are VRMs?

VRM stands for Virtual Runtime Module.

In 0.01 through to 0.040, they are a bit like a DLLs, and they are used to write scripts to drive the game.

Starting from 0.041, they are now interpreted code like QuakeC or LiSP in Abuse.
The VRMs are written in SeeR-C, and compiled using the SEERC program provided.

On the systems I have tested with I have not found a measurable decrease in speed since switching from the native code system I used before.

Because the VRMs are interpreted, the same compiled script will run on both DOS and Linux versions of the programs!

You can find out how to make VRMs by reading the documentation.


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