3-D Game runs in XP Home but not Xp Pro

Posted on 2004-10-28
Last Modified: 2013-12-26
I have a game made with the A5 3DGamestudio Engine that runs fine in Xp Home edition, but gives an error message and won't start in XP Pro. "Fatal engine error E356
Problem with WDL script." These newer PCs are nearly identical and have the same graphic cards in them.

What could possibly be the difference with Pro over Home in the way it handles the start up of a 3d games?

Firewalls and networking/security software all disabled.

Question by:macqueen
    LVL 17

    Expert Comment

    Nothing much really.  The differences between Home and Pro are in advanced networking features and multiple cpu support, for the most part.

    Double check you have the same driver versions, same directx, etc.

    Make sure you've installed the same 'stuff' you might need for A5 to run -- possible there's a component missing on the XP Pro machine.

    Have you run other programs/samples and they work on both machines?


    Author Comment

    Its baffling.
    Same version DirectX.
    Same game installed both places. No registering, it just runs from folder.
    We have various persons trying to play this game on XP Pro with different brands of computers, but to no avail. As mentioned, it works fine in every computer running XP Home.

    We've made sure all are running in the main admin acct. All other software disabled.
    This is why I need someone who knows the scut on Pro. What is it doing that Home isn't?
    LVL 17

    Expert Comment

    1. I assume you are using a released version of A6?  Not a beta or something...
    2. Have you contacted GameStudio tech support directly?  This is an issue they obviously should be looking at directly.
    3. What graphics chip.  What driver version.  This might be the key -- make sure they really are the same.

    Again, in this case, there really shouldn't be core differences between the OSes.  The difference between them is mainly in advanced networking functions, client/server functions, remote support, etc.  DirectX should be running the same on them both.

    It's more likely something with driver versions if it's actually DirectX problems.  I don't know what that error means, and the only reference I found to it on the net sounded like it was a specific graphics chipset having problems.

    Author Comment

    A5 Commercial version.
    Gamestudio tech support has merely said "update the engine by buying their newest version." But we know other A5 version games run fine in XP Pro.

    The driver/card/chip issue seems to be the focus of the problem.
    We have a few XP Pro computers that CAN run the game.
    Of the ones that can't, we know three of them are new Dells with chips, not cards.
    One person put in a card to bypass the chip and it worked. WHY would Dell have an oddball chip that is only affected by PRO which "should have core differences with Home" is beyond me.

    Still hoping one of you will stumble onto a solution.
    LVL 17

    Expert Comment

    Yes, running an old engine could be at issue.  Since the error sounds like it is within the engine setup, their old code might not be properly handling a new chip, and for some reason the initial setup of a home vs pro machine something in DirectX or the graphics driver must be configured differently -- OR they are improperly detecting the OS and doing something wacky.

    Can you try another A5-based demo, see the problem reproduces, and then do the same with an A6-based demo?

    What graphics chip specifically?  What driver version specifically?


    Author Comment

    I've been able to identify that this problem happens with integrated videochips, and goes away when a real videocard is installed.

    The integrated chips on two DELLS are Intel(R) 82845G/GL/GE/PE/GV Graphics Controller  -a pretty run of the mill chip. And we have one HP with an  Radeon IGP 145M. Another Dell has an nvidia chip. All four computers are running XP PRO.

    None of our XP HOME computers exhibit this error message. And those XP Home edition computer have a mix of various brands and integrated video chips.  Various ages of computers as well.

    I would not think that any of these chip manufacturers would issue a driver for Home and a driver for Pro.

    Is there something about the FILE structure in Pro that when the game goes to load a file into memory it couldn't find it by conventional means? (I had a problem with Quicktime in the past when Quicktime couldn't recognize a harddrive renamed "C:maindrive"  --something about Quicktime and naming conventions).
    LVL 17

    Accepted Solution

    No, there's no underlying differences except for additional power-user features, and a multi-cpu-supporting kernal.

    Again, you are running an older codebase.  It could be that their detection mechanism is somehow misdetecting things under XP Pro for some reason (maybe erroneous version numbering comparison or something).

    Also, when you say "real videocard", what video boards are you testing that then work?

    Reminder that most motherboard-down chipsets (aside from newer generation) don't have hardware transformation and lighting, something an older codebase could easily stumble over with newer flags and such in DirectX.  If you haven't tested a 'real videocard' that doesn't have hardware T&L, like a radeon 7000 (I think that drops T&L), you might not have hit the case of a real card with the same issue.

    I'm a little surprised that there's a motherboard-down NVidia chipset that doesn't have hardware T&L -- though I've been wrong before.

    Have you gone and tried running an A6-based demo of ANYTHING to verify that the problem reproduces?


    Author Comment

    Thanks Dave.
    I think your 'detection' comment is probably right.
    I don't have access to each of the Pro computer where the offense is occuring, so like you I can only know or do so much from a distance. We set the 3-D effects 'low' for use on slower/older computers so I don't think it's the chip or card capabilities because it's been running on all sorts of other machines, on XP back to 98, directx 8.1 and 9.

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