Friday, October 29, 2010

How to Install System Shock to a Windows XP (32-bit) PC

System Shock 2, a sci-fi survival horror PC game released in 1999, has been widely acclaimed as one of the greatest games of all time. However, installing the video game to a Windows XP-powered PC can be scarier than parrying the mad swings of a cyborg-zombie. These are some of the horrors it throws at you:

  • A black screen whenever you press ESC to save your progress
  • A frozen title screen (mouse not moving on the main menu)
  • System Shock 2 moving too fast
  • Stuttering
  • The Shoot - Use Modes Bug --- your character looks up at the start of each game (unresponsive mouse)

The guide after the jump.

Note: It's plain impossible to guarantee that one PC procedure that worked for one will always work for others without hitches. DO THE PROCEDURE AT YOUR OWN RISK. I WILL NOT GIVE TECH SUPPORT NOR WILL CLAIM ANY RESPONSIBILITY IF SOMETHING ADVERSE WILL HAPPEN TO YOUR COMPUTER.

Here's the procedure on how to install System Shock 2 to a Windows XP-powered gaming PC (this guide has been made under the assumption that you have uninstalled System Shock 2 and have already cleaned all traces of the game from your registry):

1. Copy-paste the "Shock" folder in your System Shock 2 CD into a directory of your choice. (No need to install the survival horror game from the CD).

Stop here and you will, in all probability, still experience: the black screen bug in which every time you press ESC, you will be greeted with a black screen, making the game unplayable if you aren't fond of the PC game's quick save feature (alt + s).

2. Install the SS2Tool, which provides (among other fixes) the DDFix tool, another godsend of all SShock 2 fans. If you follow the instructions in the link provided, it should eliminate nearly all the bugs mentioned in the list above. However:

Stop here and you will, in all probability, still experience: a frozen title screen where your mouse will be unresponsive, making the PC game's main menu just an attractive wallpaper.

3. Locate ddfix.ini and CTRL+F for the line "MenuUpdateDelay=" (without the quotes). Change the value (the default is 14) to 25. The System Shock 2 "Title Screen Freezes" bug should be fixed. (Kudos to Kolya and Wef, who provided the fix.)


Stop here and you will, in all probability, still experience: 1.) The "Shoot and Use Modes" bug that renders the game unplayable; your character will still shoot his weapon even if you are in the PC game's Use Mode. 2.) Your character looking up at the start of each game, then freezing. You can walk around but your mouse will be unresponsive, making the survival horror video game unplayable.

4. Install the SS2 Modmanager, a freeware utility that lets you launch the sci-fi game's mods from a single UI. However, the utility comes with a nifty feature: under its "Tools" menu, you will find the fix for the System Shock 2 shoot-use modes glitch:

This eliminates the System Shock 2's "looking up" bug. However, this can be solved easily by ESCaping to the PC game's main menu and then going back to the game by pressing "Continue."

Hope this solves your problems. Have fun and good luck.


octillion369 said...

Looks good :)
Didn't know it'd be that complicated to play 1 game lol

Ildamos said...

Hello Octillion. Thanks for the visit! Yep, the game is ancient, hence the various bugs. It's awesome when you get it to run though. :D

MoleKingQ said...

Hey I followed all your steps and it got me further than ever before, I was actually playing the game although the textures were all messed up. But then when I did the last step with mod manager, now the game won't run at all...

Ildamos said...

Hello! Glad to know my guide helped you out.

About the mod manager, I only used because it fixes the shoot-use modes glitch. But judging from your:

"Hey I followed all your steps and it got me further than ever before, I was actually playing the game..."

comment, you do not have this bug (it's game-breaking; it won't allow you to play).

I would advise not to use the mod manager if everything's working for you.

You can visit the official forums if you want further assistance. (There's also a link there to the SHMUP project, a mod that provides hi-res textures.)

Happy gaming!

Anonymous said...

Tnx a lot. You are good friend.

Ildamos said...

I'm glad this guide helped!

Happy gaming!