DF-21 - Taking Dark Forces into the 21st Century Articles
Hall of Fame

Installing & Configuring Dark Forces

Having difficulty installing DF on your new PC? Many problems have been reported when trying to run the DF installation program, which seems to not like newer versions of Windows.

If you get the message "An error occured while trying to read jedi.cfg", try typing "d:\install -xd" at the DOS prompt, (where d is the letter of your CD-ROM drive).

If this still doesn't work, you can still get Dark Forces working perfectly by installing it "manually". Follow the instructions below! If you encounter any further problems, please let us know in the DF-21 forums stating what system you have, what OS it is running, and the text of any error messages you are getting.

  1. Copy all files, exactly as they are, from the Dark Forces CD to c:\dark. Files in the CD root should go in c:\dark, dark.exe and dark.gob should end up in c:\dark\dark, and so on.

  2. After copying the files from the CD to the HD, remove the "read only" tag from the file LOCAL.MSG. If you don't, DF will fail to start, claiming "Unable to load LOCAL.MSG".

  3. In c:\, make a batch file (paste the following in Notepad and save it as dfrun.bat):
    subst p: c:\dark
    cd dark
  4. Eject the CD.

  5. Run this batch file from a DOS prompt (type c:\dfrun, and then type dark to start Dark Forces!

    NOTE: You must run this file after every reboot and before playing DF.

  6. The first time, Dark will ask for the CD location. Press space to autodetect.

  7. Once this is done, you can set up the sound (run imuse.exe and choose "Custom" setup). For everything except WinXP, set it to whatever sound card you have. In XP, set up SoundBlaster Pro regardless of what you actually have. Make sure that the volume is set at least mid-way on all sliders. If your speakers have a volume control or switch, make sure they're turned on(!) and the volume is set high. Check the volume settings in Windows as well as on the speakers. If you can hear sound but not music then check the synthesizer (MIDI) volume.

    If you still can't get sound or music and you're running Windows NT, 2000 or XP, you need to install a suitable emulator, too. Good results have been obtained using VDMSound (freeware) or SoundFX 2000 (commercial).

    WinME may give choppy sound. Select each sound card in turn, leave everything else as the default, and test, and you should be able to hear sound eventually.

If you follow these steps exactly as shown, you can't do any damage to your system. Everything can be removed simply by deleting the files you have copied or created. (It is assumed that your hard disk is drive C, and that you are not using a drive P. Change the letters accordingly if this is not the case!)

To get a DOS prompt, go to Start > Run and type cmd. (If that doesn't work, type command). A DOS prompt will appear.

Llyren posted this on August 15 2002:

How to run Dark Forces without the CD

The following is an explanation of how to run Dark Forces without the CD. It works on all DOS and/or Windows systems (although I don't know about XP, which tends to dislike DOS programs). No patch is needed--just follow this procedure:

Install the complete install of Dark Forces. This will put every DF file from the CD on your hard drive.

Create a file in the root directory of your hard drive. This file should be named CD.ID and should contain the following text:

Dark Forces Version 1.0 (Build 1)

Next, edit the file DRIVE.CD in your Dark Forces directory. It should contain one letter, which is the letter assignment of your CD-ROM drive (usually D or E). Change this letter to the hard drive letter (usually C).

Now, Dark Forces will run without the CD.

Geoff Archer writes the following regarding VDMSound (added April 26, 2004):

Note: This tutorial was written for VDMSound 2.1.0 and Launchpad, although it will probably work with future versions as well.

1. Download VDMSound from here and install it: http://www.ece.mcgill.ca/~vromas/vdmsound/. VDMSound is an emulation layer that provides Soundblaster, MIDI, joystick, and VESA support to old DOS games. The Launchpad (a fancy term for the right-click configuration menu) is included in the release.

2. Right click on IMUSE.EXE in your DF directory (this is the sound setup utility), and choose "Run with VDMS". Use the default configuration and click Next. Uncheck "remember my settings" and click Finish to launch IMUSE.

3. Press "C" to enter a custom setup. Navigate to the Advanced menu. Configure it to use Adlib for music, and Soundblaster 16 for sound. Use the default options for port, IRQ, DMA channel, and stereo reverse. Don't worry if you clicked on "test" and the playback sounds too slow. (We will remedy this later). For now just quit and save your settings. Close the empty VDMSound window that remains.

4. Right click on DARK.EXE and choose "Run with VDMS". Choose to set up a custom configuration and click Next. Create a new configuration from scratch and click on Advanced. Under the Program tab, check "Close DOS window on exit". If you have preferred output devices for MIDI, Adlib, or Soundblaster, then select them under the appropriate tabs. Click OK followed by Next. Uncheck "remember my settings", but this time tell it to add a shortcut to your desktop. Click Finish and the game should launch (with working audio!)

5. Use your new desktop shortcut to run the game from now on. If you have any trouble, you can right click on it to access the VDMSound properties and change them as you wish. For example, if you found that the music works but performance is too slow, you may need to move the slider located under the Performance tab. Check "Try to reduce CPU usage" and push the slider some amount to the left. (Experimentation may be necessary). Good luck!

Contributors - japh, Stealth, Mattias Welander, JJ, Matthew Fisher.

If you have any other tips to contribute to this article, email scapegoat@df-21.net giving full details (working step-by-step if appropriate).