X-COM: UFO Defense Bug FAQ (DOS versions 1.2, 1.4, and Windows Collector's Edition (Gold/PCGamer))
26 August 2004
The most recent version of this FAQ can always be found here:
Quick and Simple Solutions:
Most of the problems people have with xcom can be solved in one of three ways:
If you are running the Collector's Edition of the game, skip to the next error, "Garbled video error..." or just download these two files: ldr_XCOM1.exe and patch.dll, put them in the xcom folder, and run ldr_XCOM1.exe to start the game. If your game crashes, consider using the patched executable created by max available here (in the post attachment) with details about the patch in the same place.
If you are running the DOS version of the game, download the MS-DOS emulator named dosbox. For detailed instructions on getting the DOS version of the game to run through this emulator, please visit this thread. The dosbox emulator is also capable of correcting game speed issues.
Garbled video error while running under Win98se/XP/ME/NT/2000
When attempting to run the Collector's Edition (CE) of UFO Defense under Windows 98se/XP/2000/ME/NT with a modern video card, you will probably get a garbled screen with about four game screen's worth of data squashed together near the top of the screen. This is caused by DirectDraw drivers the Collector's Edition uses to create compatibility with Windows. Unfortunately, the programmers did not take the pitch into consideration. You can bypass this problem manually through dxdiag.exe, but this is tedious, must be reversed to play newer games, and doesn't fix any additional problems. There is a file fixes the conflict caused by DirectDraw by automatically correcting the error in the game. It was written by F0dder. The file for UFO Defense is called ldr_XCOM1.exe. Place the file in the main UFO Defense folder and run the fix file instead of "UFO Defense.exe" to start the game. F0dder's full original v.91 archive, including the source code, can be found here.
There are two more solutions to this problem. The first is XCOMUTIL, written by Scott Jones, which uses F0dder's fix to correct the garbled video error and also fix a long list of small bugs that are present in UFO Defense. The second is Mok's patch (two-part download in the first two posts), which corrects the garbled video error in its own way and additionally corrects the alien death screams, fixes the game timer, plays music through DirectMusic, renders the game in 640x480x16mil(colors) (instead of the traditional 320x200x256), and adds sounds in the game intro, which are usually missing from the Collector's Edition.
If you are still unable to run the game after using f0dder's fix and Mok's patch, manually disable DirectDraw acceleration by following these instructions: From the Start Menu, click Run. Type in "dxdiag.exe" and click OK. After the data has finished loading, click the Display tab at the top of DxDiag. Look for the line that reads "DirectDraw Acceleration Enabled" and click disable. Click EXIT at the bottom and go play. Remember to re-enable it before running applications or games that require directx acceleration.
"Couldn't CreateProcess" error with ldr_XCOM1.exe or xcom1fix.exe
This error originates with older versions of f0dder's fix (ldr_XCOM1.exe or xcom1fix.exe) in which the fix can not find the UFO Defense.exe executable. The most common solution for this is to download the latest version of the fix, which looks for many different forms of the UFO Defense executable. If that does not work, make sure that the UFO Defense executable file is named "UFO Defense" with an .exe extension (making it an application). Also, make sure that the fix (xcom2fix.exe or ldr_xcom2.exe) is in the same directory as the game. If that does not work, consider re-installing the game again.
"Couldn't ReadProcessMemory" error with ldr_XCOM1.exe or xcom1fix.exe
This error will present itself if you try to use f0dder's fix with an old DOS version of the game. F0dder's fix only works with the Collector's Edition.
Game crash while creating first base or when stepping off the skyranger on the first mission
This is most often cause by trying to play an old DOS version in WinXP/ME/2k. There are two practical solutions. The easiest solution is to get a copy of the Collector's Edition. The better solution is to download the MS-DOS emulator named dosbox. For detailed instructions on getting the DOS version of the game to run through this emulator, please visit this thread. The dosbox emulator is also capable of correcting game speed issues.
Game runs too fast
If you are using the Collector's Edition, the first thing you should try is to slow down your computer using a program like Turbo or Mo'Slo (only the deluxe version of Mo'Slo will work for xcom). If they do not help enough, and if you're feeling adventurous, boot your computer into CMOS and turn off both "Internal Cache" and "External Cache" in the BIOS settings, then adjust mo'slo or turbo to slow the game down to acceptable levels. Please do not ask me how to disable the caches, as there are so many different CMOSes and motherboards that I can't tell you how exactly to do it on your system. Ask your local tech friend or consult the motherboard manual (exciting stuff).
If you are using the DOS version, I would suggest using the MS-DOS emulater called dosbox. For detailed instructions on getting the DOS version of the game to run through this emulator, please visit this thread.
Correcting Alien Death Screams in Collector's Edition
For anyone who remembers the excellent death screams that were in the DOS version of the game and misses having them in the Collector's Edition, there is a patch file that will correct them for you. It is Mok's patch (two-part download in the first two posts), which corrects the alien death screams, and additionally corrects the garbled video error, fixes the game timer, plays music through DirectMusic, and adds sounds in the game intro, which are usually missing from the Collector's Edition. The topic referring to the patch can be found here.
Click-pause sound error
I don't know what causes this problem, but I probably know how to fix it. Download the latest version of F0dder's loader: ldr_XCOM1.exe and the accompanying patch.dll, and place them in the main UFO Defense folder. Now run ldr_XCOM1.exe and the click-pauses 'should' be eliminated.
Blank screen or "VGA Mode Not Supported"
Using an LCD monitor? Can you hear sound and music? You probably can, but no video? You might get an error message saying "VGA Mode not supported." More than likely, your problem originates in the LCD monitor's current refresh rate. Open dxdiag.exe from the Start Menu, Run box. Click on the "More Help" tab, click on Override, click the dot next to Override Value, and then enter 60. Click okay and do whatever the program tells you to do, then try the game. If 60 doesn't work, try raising or lowering it by increments of 1.
There is also a patch which, among other things, makes the game run as a 640x480x16mil application instead of the traditional 320x200x256 size. You can find this patch here (two-part download in the first two posts).
Game picture runs off of the screen
Adjust the controls for horizontal and vertical display/stretching on the front of your monitor. Some monitor's are not designed to and therefore are incapable of displaying xcom's 320x200 screen resolution, so you may be out of luck. Consult your monitor manual for further information.
Game crash, program quits to desktop - random
Lots of reasons and solutions:
This can also be caused by a corrupt saved game. Some time within the past two months (of game time) when you saved your game, the files became corrupted. This is a bug that has been in the game since the beginning and never fixed because it is somewhat unusual. The only way around this bug is to delete the files in the corrupted save's folder, load an older saved game (that hopefully is not corrupted) and save over the now-blank spot. To check to see if an older saved game is corrupted, use the 1 Day button to speed up the game to the time when the crash occurred in the first saved game. If the saved game gets past that designated crash time, the files are good. Two tips to avoid this bug in the future: Save often and in alternating save spots, and DO NOT save while an interception window is minimized.
There is a bug in UFO Defense that is caused by researching the floater medic. When the research of this alien is completed, the results are shown and when you click any button, the game crashes. Reload your most recent saved game and cancel the floater medic research. Do not research it again (unless you want your game to crash again....)
If you are using the Collector's Edition, consider using the patched executable available here. For an explanation of what this executable does, read this post (but disregard the errors about scientists - that has been fixed)
Game crash on transfers
If you are playing the game in a language other that English (i.e. German) start the game in English and proceed with the transfer.
Remember to re-enable it before running application or games that require directx acceleration.
Game crash with scrolled large font text (typically green), unknown battle results shown or old battlescape game loaded
This is a common DOS version bug that cannot be worked around. Quit the game and reload your last save game. You might need to start a new game and try to save your game often and in alternating save spots.
Saved Game Disappears
Make sure that in the xcom directory, there is a folder called "game_1". If it does not, you will need to create a folder with this name. Then create "game_2" .... "game_10" for the rest of the save game folders.
Screenshots - DOS Versions 1.2 and 1.4
(this information was originally posted by NKF)
Printscreen or alt+printscreen. You can even minimize and select the region of the screen to copy - but let's not get into that archaic method over a more effective archaic method. In any case, the screen will be stored as a device independent bitmap (or something) in your Windows clipboard.
Note, this method of taking screenshots effectively doubles the pixel size of the image for some inexplicable reason. So, instead of pasting a 320x200 pixel image into the image editor of your choice, it'll paste a 640x400 pixel image. Also note, this method will only work if you're running Windows - not in a pure dos environment (i.e. booting with a boot disk, or running a Dos 5 or 6 partition). In pure dos, you'll probably just cause your PC to print the screen on your printer (that's what it was used for way back in the old days! ).
F12 - not implemented. In the Geoscape, it'll probably toggle the text overlays.
Screenshots - Collector's Edition
(this information was originally posted by NKF)
Printscreen, Alt+Printscreen: It works, but the palette information is NOT SAVED. So when you paste the image, the colors indexes of the individual pixels are ruined. So even if you import the proper palette, the image will still be ruined. Thus - this does not work quite the way you want it to.
F12 - Saves the screen as a .tga file in the game's directory. The only way to save the image and the palette at the same time in the CE.
Undocumented Errors and Additional Help
If you have encountered a problem not in this FAQ, please visit the xcomufo.com forums and post your problem in this forum:
13 August 2004