Sunday, 26 April 2009

Who ever says windows "just works" can sod off..

I have recently got the orange box. I love it. Well that's a lie. I love the copies of the games I've played on other people's machines as mine it seems to have a grudge against.

I can play 'counter-strike' and anything up to and including 'Half life 2: episode one' but beyond that it stops working. As in no error messages (not even a crash) it just stops. It sets up the loading screen and sits there, filling up my primary screen with hazy boxes (I'm trying to play portal).

I'm not sure what it is (as if windows was ever helpful with methods to interrogate start up of programs or even useful error messages) and I can't close it because it fills my primary screen where pop-ups appear. I can open the task manager and see that nothing much is happening and its not responding but if I try to close process it just sits there.

For anyone with a similar problem here is an exact run down of whats happening.

I'm running a Windows XP system
AMD 3500+ processor
MSI AM2 motherboard
Nvidia GeForce 7600 GS with a 24" (1920x1200) Dell as primary and a 17" (1200x1024) samsung as secondary
I have the latest driver (Nvidia 182.something)

I can run 'counter-strike'; 'counter strike-source'; 'half-life 2'; 'half-life 2:episode one'

but with 'half life 2:episode two'; or 'portal' it will run the valve video get to the hazy loading screen (ie the menu but out of focus with 'loading' in bottom right) and stop. I can move the mouse around, although when I move it over the loading screen I get an hour glass I can move it to the secondary screen (where I'm typing this) and work normally.

In fact it just seems as though it locks down that part of the screen and stops.

I have tried manually setting the width and height of the game with the:
'-width 1920 -height 1200'

launch options in case it was something to do with loss of the actual menu or weird graphics problems (none of the half-life games auto-detect my resolution). I have also tried:
'+mat_forcehardwaresync 0 +snd_async_prefetch_priority 1'

which should force the game to use the monitor's defaults. Neither have worked and I'm about to try the

command to (hopefully) bring up just the menu options with out real graphics controls.

I will update with whether it works - or if I go mad....

UPDATE 01:52 26-04-09: well '-console' failed....

UPDATE 02:13 26-04-09: GAHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH *~$£*%"£$%"$£% WINDOWS turns out that portal had been going full screen. This meant that when steam bounced stuff off a server somewhere zone alarm froze the game and wouldn't allow further loading until I clicked something in a pop-up. This pop-up was cunningly underneath the full screen window. GAHHHHHH. Those that are interested the useful launch command was

I hate windows.... wine + ubuntu can't be much harder than this...

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