What causes some older games not to work on newer hardware/drivers

Soldato
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Hi all

I love playing Dungeon Keeper 2. However, in the persuit of upgrading my hardware to also be able to play modern games at decent resolutions, I seem to completely lose the ability to play older games. It was a few months ago when I upgraded from an 8800GT to 5850 and in the process it has completely broken Dungeon Keeper 2 (it can't be played unless I switch to software rendering and even then it crashes very frequently). I rolled back to the earliest possible driver available for my 5850 but no luck.

My other half now has the 8800GT and with the latest nVidia drivers, the game won't work. However, roll back to the 197 driver and it's fine. So I've removed the 5850 from my PC and popped in an older 9400GT and installed the 197 driver, and lo and behold, DK2 now works fine.

I understand the need to add new features and functions, but what is it inherently about the process that even a simple driver update manages to completely break an older game? Why is it that I need to roll back to an older graphics card and an older driver to play an older game? Surely the newer graphics and newer drivers should just make everything better?

I'm now left with the rather irritating situation of physically having to change graphics cards depending on what game I want to play.

Surely there is a better way than this?

M.
 
Man of Honour
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First of all one thing to remember is that the people producing the drivers will understandably be focusing their development and testing on newer games. DK2 came out in the last millenium so was essentially a "Win9x" game - I'd be surprised if Nvidia even supply Win9x drivers for modern cards like the 8800GT. So essentially you are probably playing it the game on an unsupported platform.

To answer your question, the reason that a driver upgrade breaks games is because in order to drive forwards and optimise for newer titles, at some point it may be necessary to rework code that may have been used back in the day for different rendering processes. I'm guessing DK2 is a DX6(?) game?

I understand your frustration about wanting newer drivers to make everything better, but it is not a Pareto efficient process - sometimes things get broken to develop for newer games which is where the priority should be - in an ideal world with infinite resources they would do more legacy testing but it simply isn't worth it because it won't cost them much in sales if a 20th century game stops working.

One solution you could look at is messing about with the options in the Nvidia drivers, there's quite a few 'compatibility' type settings that may help.

Have you raised the bug with Nvidia?
 
Soldato
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First of all one thing to remember is that the people producing the drivers will understandably be focusing their development and testing on newer games. DK2 came out in the last millenium so was essentially a "Win9x" game - I'd be surprised if Nvidia even supply Win9x drivers for modern cards like the 8800GT. So essentially you are probably playing it the game on an unsupported platform.

To answer your question, the reason that a driver upgrade breaks games is because in order to drive forwards and optimise for newer titles, at some point it may be necessary to rework code that may have been used back in the day for different rendering processes. I'm guessing DK2 is a DX6(?) game?

I understand your frustration about wanting newer drivers to make everything better, but it is not a Pareto efficient process - sometimes things get broken to develop for newer games which is where the priority should be - in an ideal world with infinite resources they would do more legacy testing but it simply isn't worth it because it won't cost them much in sales if a 20th century game stops working.

One solution you could look at is messing about with the options in the Nvidia drivers, there's quite a few 'compatibility' type settings that may help.

Have you raised the bug with Nvidia?

Hi thanks for the reply. However, my main card is actually a Radeon 5850, which is completely broken in DK2 no matter what settings or drivers I use. Is there any sort of compatibility or fix I could implement with this card to make the game work? The game needs DX 6.1
 
Man of Honour
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ATI cards have even worse legacy support than Nvidia in my experience I'm afraid.
Might be worth trying assigning the cpu affinity to only cpu 0.
 
Soldato
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I don't know if this is any help to you, or unique to the Good Old Games version of DK2. They have a file on first post to improve ATI operation.
 
Soldato
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I don't know if this is any help to you, or unique to the Good Old Games version of DK2. They have a file on first post to improve ATI operation.

Hi thanks, I've tried that one already. All it seems to do is force software rendering over hardware.

The best solution I can think of is to get myself a mini displayport to displayport cable to connect the laptop to my monitor and play it that way. Unless anyone can think of any reason why that wouldn't work?
 
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Soldato
Joined
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Things like Z-buffering are handled differently by newer cards, and they don't support legacy texture formats (eg 8-bit). It's often a fundamental hardware change that can't be fixed. Strangely enough the integrated HD4290 graphics I use runs old games in hardware mode fine (even TIE Fighter).
 
Associate
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3 Nov 2009
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just grab an old rig for £30 and use that.. I have my old system , geforce 4.. 600mhz.. 512 meg of ram.. plays all my old stuff.
 
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