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Sims and Age of Empires II



My system:

AMD XP 1900, 512 ram, Geforce4 440 MMX, SB Live 5.1, 2 40GB hd. Windows XP clean install. System has both ms intellimouse and a wacom graphire tablet.

Both Sims and AOE II (Kings) crash upon startup. Both install cleanly, and you can even get to the setup screens.

Nothing that I have done to date has changed the behavior:

- video modes (640x480, 800x600, 1024x768)
- depth (8, 16, 32)
- compatibility modes (win95,98, ect)
- safe mode drivers
- latest Gainward drivers
- reinstallation of DirectX 8.1
- running from Administrator account
- disabling video acceleration, sound acceleration

AOE supports all kinds of options - Nostartup, 800, Nosound, ect. None of them make any difference.

Other games seem to work just fine. Examples: BattleZone, Grim Fandango, Lego Creator, Mattel Constructor, Starcraft, and others.

Dxdiag shows no errors and seems to operate properly. All the tests pass.

The odd thing is that I could swear that these games worked at one time on this box.


If this were Unix/Linux, I'd have a core with a stack trace and some tools. Anybody know if there is such a thing as a system call tracer (trace, tusc) for Windows XP?


Stupid question, but did you download and install the newest patches for each game? I have both on my computer and haven't had problems running either of them.


Yeah, got 1.1 for the Sims and 1.04 for AOE.

Let me ask a question of your config. I found I had to disable BIOS shadowing (caching) in order to get XP stable on my MSI KT3 Ultra motherboard. Without setting turning off BIOS shadowing, the system was incredibly unstable. I would get instantaneous black screens and bizarre errors - mouse would fail - then work. IE world fail, then work. Things that were working would suddenly fail.

I wonder if these games - and DirectX - depend on the BIOS shadow feature for some reason. This is usually an option under Advanced BIOS Settings or Features.

If you haven't mucked with it, then it is probably the default for that board.


I haven't changed most of my BIOS settings, but I'll check and see what it is set at. The only thing I don't like about these Intel boards is that if I want to change the BIOS settings, I have to open the case and change a jumper. I honestly don't know what is causing your problems. I would make sure that you have the latest drivers. I would get the newest drivers from nVidia (I think they are version 29.42) instead of the Gainward drivers. Especially make sure that you have the newest VIA 4in1's. You might also try different compatibility modes (Win98, Win2K) if you haven't already. Lastly, you might check and see if there is a newer version of your BIOS. This has fixed many problems I have had in the past with non-Intel boards. I will play around with it over the weekend and see if there isn't anything else that I can find out.


I believe the problem to be a compatibility problem between XP and the Gforce4. I have had the same the problem since I got mine, CivIII and the sims open to the opening screens and then crash. I now have the whole thing stuck in an infinite loop and can't play any games at all. I guess its time to reformat the whole thing. BTW< I have gotten every patch known to mankind trying to right this problem. If it wasn't for the major cash I paid for the Gforce4 I'd smash it with a hammer.


SB Live perhaps?

I've installed the reference Nvidia drivers instead of the Gainward drivers with no change in behavior.

perhaps the problem isn't with the graphics but the sound card. I've got a SB Live! card in this.

Has anybody gotten AOE or Sims to work on XP with an SB Live card?


It can't be the Geforce 4. I have an MX440 as well on an AMD XP 1800 (512 DDRAM) and the Sims works fine for me. Runs very smoothly.

I'm not exactly sure what your problem is. You got all updated drivers. Did you get all the XP updates?


Yup, have the full list of updates from MS.

I'm starting to think that this problem has nothing to do with the NVidia card. What kind of sound card do you have?

Whatever the problem is, it is common enough that you can find complaints of this type scattered throughout newsgroups. The thing that is making me think that it is not a graphics issue is that these two games are not particularly graphics intensive. In face, they seem to be entirely 2D and have little or no graphics requirements.

What is odd is that both games will install with their splash screens and what not. The game itself dies when you try to run it - with or without the game CD in the drive.

I did some limited tracing with Windows debugging tools and remain convinced that the problem is somewhere within the main program itself and not in a dll. It is probably getting some value it doesn't like and choking on it.

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