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Hi. I've been working on an all-in-one utility for making it easier for people to play Dark Forces. First of all, it's a launcher that greatly simplifies loading custom/downloaded missions (like Dark Frontend, but in a Windows utility) and even loading any of the original missions directly. In addition, in the game, it allows vertical mouse look and weapon cycling with the mouse wheel (like Dark Forces Plus and other GlovePIE/FreePIE scripts). It also allows for superimposing a crosshair over the screen, which I've seen at least one person ask about. Also, when you start to type a cheat code, a list of all of them is displayed to help you find and the complete the one that you want. There is more, but those are the main features.

I'm at the stage now where I'm not aware of any bugs or areas for improvement and need help testing to reveal any of either. If you're interested, try it and please give any feedback that you can.

http://s000.tinyupload.com/index.php?file_id=92799476135712917662

There's a Readme included, but here's a quick and dirty guide to get you started:

* Copy it to your Dark Forces folder and run it from there.

* While it's open, either run Dark Forces, click the Launch Dark Forces button to launch the game with the chosen settings or click on Create Shortcut to create a shortcut that runs the utility and the game (with the chosen settings) simultaneously.

* Put any custom/downloaded missions (both .GOB and .LFD files) in either the root Dark Forces folder or, preferably (for neatness sake), in a DARK subfolder. The launcher will read and load them from either.

* In the game, press the ~ (tilde) key (or ^ on non-English keyboards) to turn on the crosshair and/or switch between the three included crosshairs. You can also replace Crosshair1.png with your own crosshair image.

* In the game, press F11 and F12 to, respectively, decrease and increase the vertical mouse sensitivity.

* In the game, press L and then quickly press A to display the list of cheat codes.

Anyways, please give it a try and any feedback that you can. If I'm missing any bugs, I want to hear about them so that I can fix them before updating the utility to the final version and calling it a day. Thanks a lot for the help.
Post edited May 09, 2019 by jnisbet
This doesn't work at all. The game just crashes as soon as I hit the button to start the first mission.

EDIT: Ok please ignore what I wrote earlier. It does work now. For some reason the helper wasn't detecting the dosbox_DF.conf file before. Now it does and nothing is crashing anymore. :)

The helper works good so far but I noticed a few things:

1) Weapon switching with the mousewheel doesn't seem to work at all (at least for me it did absolutely nothing)
2) On the mission screens before starting the next level the text will move up or down all the time when moving the mouse which makes it hard to read it at all.
3) When running the vertical mouse sensivity seems to be a lot higher than when you just walk which makes aiming kinda hard.
Post edited May 01, 2019 by Berzerk2002
FYI, I've uploaded a new version and updated the link in the first post.

Berzerk2002, I'm sorry that I didn't see your reply until now. I was counting on GOG notifying me of a reply and it never happened. I really appreciate the feedback.

1) Someone else reported the same mouse wheel issue and he happened to be in Germany, as well. I made a change in the version that I just uploaded that may allow it to work for you now.

2) Yeah, that's because the game uses the PgUp and PgDn keys both for looking up and down in the game and for scrolling the mission briefings. The Dark Forces+ utility has the same issue. There's not much to be done about it, other than disable vertical mouse look or just keep your hand off of the mouse while you're reading. You don't need to use the mouse to scroll the briefing because, as I said, PgUp and PgDn can do it one page at a time and the up and down arrows can do it more incrementally.

3) I never really noticed, since I rarely run, but you're right. It seems like it's not just the vertical mouse sensitivity, though, because left and right panning is faster, too. Also, Dark Forces+ has the same issue, so it definitely looks like it's the game doing it. If I can think of some way to counter it, though, I'll try.
Post edited May 04, 2019 by jnisbet
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jnisbet: I made a change in the version that I just uploaded that may allow it to work for you now.
Nope unfortunately the mousewheel still doesn't do anything. Also now with this new version I can't use a and d anymore for strafing.
I've uploaded a new version and updated the link in the first post. The main change is a separate mouse look sensitivity for running, so that you can slow it down to make aiming easier. I also simplified the regular sensitivity to 9 steps, since 19 was a bit much. Because of that, you may need to adjust it again to your preference. Finally, a few bugs were fixed.

@Berserk2002 You asked for reduced sensitivity while running, so I tried to oblige. Please note that it's not a very good solution because slowing down the game's high sensitivity while running makes looking up and down less smooth (i.e. it's choppy). It's the best that I could do. I hope that it's better than nothing. Oh, also, I think that whatever was happening with your a and d keys should be fixed, as well.
Post edited May 09, 2019 by jnisbet
I somehow got stuck with mouse look constantly scrolling up or down (not letting me keep looking straight ahead). I think when I hit the L key. I'm gonna try again without the cheat thingy (I don't think it worked?) Output was set to openglnb instead of opengl so I'll try that too.
@charles82 The openglnb and opengl modes are functionally identical as far as my utility is concerned, so it doesn't matter which you choose. As for the view getting stuck, that can often happen when you Alt+Enter to switch between fullscreen and windowed modes. If that happens, try switching another time or two. If that's not a cause of what you're experiencing, try launching the game a few more times to see if it was just a fluke. BTW, you're using the latest, v0.9.6 version, right? If not, please update and see if it still happens.
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jnisbet: @charles82 The openglnb and opengl modes are functionally identical as far as my utility is concerned, so it doesn't matter which you choose. As for the view getting stuck, that can often happen when you Alt+Enter to switch between fullscreen and windowed modes. If that happens, try switching another time or two. If that's not a cause of what you're experiencing, try launching the game a few more times to see if it was just a fluke. BTW, you're using the latest, v0.9.6 version, right? If not, please update and see if it still happens.
Yeah, seems like it happens if you task switch or anything takes focus away from the window. Yes 0.9.6.
Yeah it is also sometimes when you type in a cheat. I think maybe if you mistype it and go to start again?
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charles82: Yeah it is also sometimes when you type in a cheat. I think maybe if you mistype it and go to start again?
Hmm. That's never happened to me and I can't duplicate it. I think that I might've fixed the greater problem of mouse look getting stuck, though, so it may not matter. I'll upload a new version in the next few days and you can see if it solves your issues.
Post edited May 13, 2019 by jnisbet
With the current version almost nothing works now. No A and D controls, no mousewheel for weapon switching and new to the list of problems: no mouselook. I did a fresh install of the game. No idea why this is not working.
charles and Berserk, you're welcome to see if this version solves any of your issues:

http://s000.tinyupload.com/index.php?file_id=09563170201722347155

Berserk, go into the game's Setup (via the button on the helper's Configure window) and make sure that Strafe Left and Strafe Right are set to the < and > keys, respectively. Maybe they somehow got set to something else. If they're already set to that and A and D still don't work, then I guess that you'll have to just set Strafe Left to A and Strafe Right to D. After all, the helper's WASD mapping is just a convenience so that you don't have to go into Setup and there's nothing about it that simply setting those keys in Setup can't do just as well.
Post edited May 15, 2019 by jnisbet
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jnisbet: you're welcome to see if this version solves any of your issues: ...
Nope it solves nothing. Things are only getting worse and worse with every new version. Now I Have mouselook back but can't move at all (wasd not working). I set wasd for movement in the DOSBox setup and also in the DFHelper (map wasd set to active) but nothing works. Also the mousewheel still doesn't do anything. I think for now I'm done with trying to get this turt of a game run well. This is a prime example why remastered versions are a good thing.
Berserk, I think that I know one of the problems. I found a bug in that test version whereby none of the keys work the first time that you run it after a Windows boot up. If you just exit and run it and the game again, they should work. I don't blame you for giving up, though. I appreciate your willingness to test as much as you did. Thanks.

If you just want the game to "run well," you should check out DarkXL. It's not exactly a remastered version, but it does away with DOSBox and natively adds mouse look, mouse wheel and crosshair support. It's not without its own quirks, since it has a few major bugs and missing features, but it's playable. I played through the game with it a few years ago.
Post edited May 19, 2019 by jnisbet
A flawed, but nevertheless noble effort. Doesn't seem to work properly for me. On my third launch it just stopped doing the mouselook. The wheel never worked in the first place and neither did ther WASD remappings.