Tuesday, June 28, 2011

How NOT to install StarCraft

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 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 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 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/, noticed they now offer digital downloads in the store for new purchases and decided to sign up for a new 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 to do the upgrade and now receive error "Unable to identify Application Version"
    • Try another few times just to be sure.
  • ::Search::
  • 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?


  1. Funny enough, I feel as if SC2 was not a huge departure from the original. Like you, I was around to play the original StarCraft (on my Dad's office LAN, no less), and had some very fond memories of playing the game with friends.

    Because of those memories, I was anxiously awaiting the time when I would be able to play Starcraft 2, and rekindle that old feeling. I have enjoyed it, and the graphical upgrades are fun, but SC2 is not a huge revolution. It is definitely engaging, and the campaign is well-paced and interesting, but it won't fundamentally redefine how you think of RTS's.

    Thanks for the good memories, IG!


  2. @BitNick! Welcome back to the world. I was afraid academia had steamrolled you over the past month.

    From reading reviews I'm getting that same impression and it pains me to say that I'm not in any rush to get SC2. The hype was insurmountable and perhaps it wouldn't have been so bad if there weren't 12 years between releases.

    The graphics do look amazing if you have a rig that can handle them. I also suspect the inclusion of so many new units adds to the variety and complexity, though that's just speculation.

    I've nerded out a few times this past week with SC and am still very impressed with the quality. It does show it's age on multiple levels, but hey, I'm still playing Metroid and Kid Icarus so of course it looks great! :)

    Have also been looking into some virtual LAN options (hamachi) to game with people I know without messing with

    Thanks for commenting and good to see you out in the wild again.

  3. I have long but lost or given up on most of my old CD's - I think I lost my SC disc about 5 years or so ago. :P

    SC2 is more of the same - but better. I mean the audio and visuals are obviously improved, and the overall presentation is certainly more polished as well, but not having touched SC in years, I was surprised at how quickly I could pick up SC2 and just play

  4. "Are any of you StarCraft players and/or have any thoughts on resurrecting your old CD's?"

    Nope, I have never played the series, though I know it has a lot of fans.

    The only "RTS" I've really ever played was Star Wars: Galactic Battlegrounds, and I really enjoyed it...even more than I was thinking I would at the time.