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My Journey


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Hello. Let me tell you a tale of utter failure and despair. First off, let me explain that though I am new to these forums, I am not new to Exile, or perhaps the modern rendering, Avernum. I have loved these games since the 90's, and spent many hours plumbing the deepest and darkest depths of the Pit. However, some years ago I forgot all about these games... Until the Steam sale. That reawakened the flames of Exile and I found myself once again scouring the Pit, killing demons, ogres, and bandits.


After completing Avernum: Escape from the Pit, my thoughts went back to the older games. I've attempted Avernum 2, and while it's enjoyable and much more solid... I missed the older incarnation. So, I set fourth to 'make it work!'. I have come to hate Windows 7. Intensely.


My first attempt to install the old games was short. Windows Compatibility never works for me, so I was unsurprised when it failed me this time. As i learned often in mechanics, the first and simplest solution is most likely wrong. It's never as easy as it should be. But I soldiered on.


My second attempt was installing a virtual machine. However, this failed. It turns out, you need to actually have a copy of the windows you want to install for it to work. Now, without being specific as to how I obtained it, I got a copy of Windows 3.1. I got the virtual machine to launch it... However, I was unable to ascertain how to actually put the Exile file into the virtual drive. After many-many hours of frustrated reading and watching, I scrapped this plan. Set a torch to my virtual drive and never looked back, except to curse it.


Then I learned that you can install Windows 3.1 using Dosbox. I figured out how to do so, and Windows 3.1 worked flawlessly! I managed to install Exile 2 and start it!! but there was just one problem.... Exile 2 doesn't look very good in 16 bit graphics. Not in the least. So my task was then to get Windows 3.1 to run in 256 color mode. As it turns out, none of the native video drivers that have 256 colors for windows 3.1 are supported on Dosbox. I would need to find a driver for one of the ancient relic video cards that Dosbox is compatible with.


The only driver links I was able to locate where broken. It seems that my desire to play the old Exile games will simply have to be fulfilled with Avernum. I believe I may have already wasted enough time typing this, as the Nephilim near Fort Ganrick grow passing bold. However, I feel I must share my history of this experience before I sally fourth and perhaps ride to my doom at the Nephilim Fort. I can only hope my next fore into the Pit is more successful than my attempts to get Exile to work.


To taste defeat when Victory was so close is bitter. Avernum 2 is my last hope of victory over the Empire!

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A few ideas:


1. 32 bit Linux + Wine. Wine version 1.4.1 or older can handle 16-bit Windows apps (they're bugged in current versions). In my experience this works quite well for the Exile trilogy; if you have any crashes, just turn off sound in the game, and things should be fine. This method has the advantage of being entirely free.


2. Windows XP under Virtualbox, VMWare Player, etc. Obviously a licensed copy of XP is required. This works better than Wine though, especially for ancient 16-bit applications.


I wouldn't bother with Windows 3.1; XP, or a facsimile thereof, should work.

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