Ah, StarCraft, a classic RTS, no sorry, the classic RTS that's still great fun to play today. I purchased it on launch day back in 1998 and have put in countless hours. Some of my fondest multiplayer memories are with StarCraft whether it was on Battle.net in a team melee match with a good friend (on the phone nonetheless to discuss strategy), LAN or even modem. (that's right kids, before broadband was in my area it was easier to use a direct dial-up modem connection)
At some point in 2010 I installed it on my laptop so I could pack the CD's away in storage in preparation to move. (along with 3 GTA titles, HL, HL2,ep1,ep2, etc..) You know, have some great gaming without having to futz with the media. That was cool until 2011 hit and I formatted and installed Windows 7. Being that I haven't moved yet all my junk is in storage and I decided to dig out StarCraft and BroodWar the other day and give'em a spin.
I've gone through the installs many times and since I'm supposed to be an IT geek I should probably know what I'm doing. Little did I know that my clever factor was running low and I was about to waste a bunch of time.
Read on for the sad tale...
Approximate order of events:
- Install StarCraft
- Launch game and poke around some
- Access Battle.net and let it upgrade to v1.16.1
- Copy install.exe from the CD to StarCraft.mpq to eliminate the need for the CD
- Install BroodWar
- Launch and access battle.net again to upgrade as Brood from the CD was a downgrade (doh)
- Copy install.exe to BroodWar.mpq
- Launched and now the colors are all wonky (doh!)
- Applied DirectX registry patch to fix
- *Woo, it works and looks right*
Awesome, so now it's installed, updated and playable without the CD's. I didn't have time to play any, but it's ready to go when I do. Then I start thinking about being able to easily re-install if I don't have access to my CD's. You know, when I need to format and re-install Win7 again..
I suppose I could copy the CD contents, but that doesn't always work with some copy protection. Time to go create a disk image with IsoBuster. So now what format do I use? I remember certain ISO's from my GTA CD's not working (lacking the special tracks), though for the life of me I don't remember what format I used. So I wasted some time creating ibp/ibq files, created a raw ISO then a user-data ISO.
Onto Storage! I created a new backup set in CrashPlan and configured it to only backup to my other LAN PC's. It seemed like a waste of time to push 1.2GB up to their servers when it wasn't critical... After a few minutes the first iso is backed up.
Before creating the BroodWar ISO I started looking at Blizzard/Battle.net, noticed they now offer digital downloads in the store for new purchases and decided to sign up for a new Battle.net account for some reason. It turns out I can register my old-style CD-key with my account, have it upgrade the key to the new 26-chr version and download the new installer. Not that I need it now, but might as well let it finish the download and see if that would be a better solution than the ISO's.
I've wasted plenty of time already and might as well give the new installer a run through and see how that goes. Time to uninstall/re-install.. Besides being an older version (1.15.2), it worked well and was easier than using the CD's. Why they didn't provide the most recent version I have no idea.
Back to the list of problems:
- Access Battle.net to do the upgrade and now receive error "Unable to identify Application Version"
- Try another few times just to be sure.
- Looks like in Vista/Win7 it must be run as administrator for the BN update to work. Great..
- I think on my previous install it somehow got stuck or set to run as admin.
- Run-as and the update works
tl;dr / Conclusion:
While most games of that era have long been out of support I really should have checked Blizzard's website to see if anything had changed. Finally it seems they have some Steam-esque features and continue to support their classic games.
Are any of you StarCraft players and/or have any thoughts on resurrecting your old CD's? Have you been playing SC2 and how does that compare to the original?