Author Topic: Steam Link?  (Read 304 times)

Offline BikerMage

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Steam Link?
« on: October 27, 2017, 03:11:29 AM »
Forgive me if I'm the only person in the world trying this, but I would like to get OP2 running through my Steam Link. First time trying to open it, the Link side doesn't display the intro video or accept any input. I think part of the problem might be that the video technically runs in a different window, so maybe turning off the intro would help, but that might cause issues with the other videos (and I like the videos). I also wonder if the fact that it's not full screen might be hurting. I've got some things to try this afternoon, but I would appreciate any input from anyone else that has gotten OP2 to run in different environments.

Offline lordpalandus

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Re: Steam Link?
« Reply #1 on: October 27, 2017, 11:11:30 AM »
What is Steam Link? ... Just googled it... appears to allow playing steam games on your TV. Never heard of it till now though.

I don't think Outpost 2 is on Steam (nope, just checked). And if a game isn't on Steam, you can't play it through Steam. And as this Steam Link says that you can only play your steam games on a TV via Steam Link, that would be your problem.



Currently working on Cataclysm of Chaos.

Offline Hooman

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Re: Steam Link?
« Reply #2 on: October 27, 2017, 12:27:58 PM »
Yeah, I've never heard of Steam Link before.

Sounds like you were getting partial success with whatever you were doing.

Offline BikerMage

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Re: Steam Link?
« Reply #3 on: October 27, 2017, 01:17:22 PM »
Yeah, basically it streams PC games to a TV. I've got it in my master bedroom with a wireless Xbox 360 controller hooked up.
You can run non-Steam games, you just have to load a shortcut into the library. I've done it with a few others.
My only "success" so far is getting the shortcut into Steam and getting Steam to start the game.

Offline Vagabond

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Re: Steam Link?
« Reply #4 on: October 27, 2017, 04:25:34 PM »
BikerMage,

Welcome to the forum!

I'm not familiar with Steam Link. Do you know if Steam Link simply repeats your monitor's content onto the TV or does it somehow run the game separate from your PC's processor?

The video trouble may be coming from the arcane CODECs used to encode the Outpost 2 videos. Do you know which version of the videos you are using? The original in game videos required the Indeo Codec to run. If you are using the older videos, I would recommend replacing them with the ones listed at this link: https://www.outpost2.net/outpost2.html. They would probably play better with modern technology.

Let us know how it goes.

-Brett

Offline BikerMage

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Re: Steam Link?
« Reply #5 on: October 27, 2017, 06:46:15 PM »
BikerMage,

Welcome to the forum!

I'm not familiar with Steam Link. Do you know if Steam Link simply repeats your monitor's content onto the TV or does it somehow run the game separate from your PC's processor?

The video trouble may be coming from the arcane CODECs used to encode the Outpost 2 videos. Do you know which version of the videos you are using? The original in game videos required the Indeo Codec to run. If you are using the older videos, I would recommend replacing them with the ones listed at this link: https://www.outpost2.net/outpost2.html. They would probably play better with modern technology.

Let us know how it goes.

-Brett

Thanks for the help. The Link simply mirrors the screen and allows me to use a controller through it instead of plugged into the PC. I did the initial setup in my office next to my computer, I could watch either screen and there was no difference. It is not a computer by itself.

I'm using videos that were downloaded from here at some point (lost my original disc years ago), but if they've been updated, I can try replacing them. But given it's just a mirror (the original PC does the processing), I'm not sure how much it will help.

I tried it earlier after disabling the intro, still didn't work. It showed the Steam interface, but I couldn't see Outpost 2. When I looked at my computer, Outpost 2 was running, but behind Steam. Like 2 windows, but Steam had focus. If there was a way to force fullscreen...it might help.

Offline lordpalandus

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Re: Steam Link?
« Reply #6 on: October 27, 2017, 08:45:00 PM »
If the game is mirrored through Steam Link, to your screen... does outpost 2 work on the computer itself? Do the videos play ingame on your computer?

Also, I believe, that you can delete the movies, in case Steam doesn't like them.

I dunno how you would control the game though, as Outpost 2 was designed for mouse and keyboard, even if it did work on the game.

Its also possible that the game doesn't recognize the controller as a valid input device.

What OS are you running?
Currently working on Cataclysm of Chaos.

Offline BikerMage

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Re: Steam Link?
« Reply #7 on: October 28, 2017, 05:20:15 AM »
If the game is mirrored through Steam Link, to your screen... does outpost 2 work on the computer itself? Do the videos play ingame on your computer?

Also, I believe, that you can delete the movies, in case Steam doesn't like them.

I dunno how you would control the game though, as Outpost 2 was designed for mouse and keyboard, even if it did work on the game.

Its also possible that the game doesn't recognize the controller as a valid input device.

What OS are you running?

Windows 10, everything works great on my PC. Control works through telling the controller to emulate mouse controls. A stick moves the pointer, buttons for clicks, a few keyboard shortcuts. Trying REAL hard not to delete the movies, but it's on the table.

And I...somewhat got it running. I was having other issues with the Link, though. But I eventually got to the point that the game was on my screen, and controllable.

Offline Hooman

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Re: Steam Link?
« Reply #8 on: October 28, 2017, 07:00:59 AM »
The window focus part sounds telling. I'm wondering if it's because Outpost 2 had the full screen DirectX option disabled due to issues with it, and is only playable in windowed mode. Maybe if the DirectX and full screen option was re-enabled, it might work. I wouldn't be surprised if the screen casting software somehow used DirectX bindings to capture the game output and relay it to the TV.

From what I remember, the DirectX option was really low resolution. Maybe we could find some way to up the resolution and re-enable it.


Edit: Seems the GDI/DirectDraw patch I was thinking of isn't currently active. Can't remember why now, as it's been years since it was relevant. I did notice the DirectDraw resolution was hardcoded to 640x480, and that it's definitely not using DirectDraw mode. Not sure why now.
« Last Edit: October 28, 2017, 07:38:44 AM by Hooman »

Offline BikerMage

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Re: Steam Link?
« Reply #9 on: October 28, 2017, 07:57:15 AM »
The window focus part sounds telling. I'm wondering if it's because Outpost 2 had the full screen DirectX option disabled due to issues with it, and is only playable in windowed mode. Maybe if the DirectX and full screen option was re-enabled, it might work. I wouldn't be surprised if the screen casting software somehow used DirectX bindings to capture the game output and relay it to the TV.

From what I remember, the DirectX option was really low resolution. Maybe we could find some way to up the resolution and re-enable it.


Edit: Seems the GDI/DirectDraw patch I was thinking of isn't currently active. Can't remember why now, as it's been years since it was relevant. I did notice the DirectDraw resolution was hardcoded to 640x480, and that it's definitely not using DirectDraw mode. Not sure why now.

Can someone who knows the programming a bit better than me drop a patch to enable that? Or at least give me a starting point. I do a little coding. There's got to be a way to get that all set back up, and even if the resolution has to be hard coded and not easy to change, I can just leave it at 1280x1024 and it will work in both places.

Offline Hooman

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Re: Steam Link?
« Reply #10 on: October 28, 2017, 08:21:45 AM »
Ahh, turns out the patch was still active. I was just reading it wrong. Seems the OllyDbg comment file was created after the patch was applied, so it looks like the patch is the original code.

I created a modified EXE with DirectDraw enabled, and the resolution bumped up to 1280x720. (My laptop has a tiny screen). I got some weird screen flickering, and a blank in-game screen, but I think that's caused by testing under Wine. Let me know what happens on your end.


Modified EXE attached.

Offline BikerMage

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Re: Steam Link?
« Reply #11 on: October 28, 2017, 09:25:48 AM »
Ahh, turns out the patch was still active. I was just reading it wrong. Seems the OllyDbg comment file was created after the patch was applied, so it looks like the patch is the original code.

I created a modified EXE with DirectDraw enabled, and the resolution bumped up to 1280x720. (My laptop has a tiny screen). I got some weird screen flickering, and a blank in-game screen, but I think that's caused by testing under Wine. Let me know what happens on your end.


Modified EXE attached.
First, my AVG antivirus didn't like it. Now, it says "Windows cannot access the specified device, path, or file. You may not have appropriate permissions to access the item." Are you pointing it to something Wine specific? Also, this is all testing on my PC, wanted to get it running here as a benchmark before trying the Link.

Offline Arklon

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Re: Steam Link?
« Reply #12 on: October 28, 2017, 10:30:14 AM »
First, my AVG antivirus didn't like it.
Frankly, don't use crappy free AVs, they will bombard you with false positives in situations like this. The error message you're getting is probably the result of AVG quarantining it, or at least messing with the file permissions. I have it running on Windows 7, albeit not in any way useful because it's flickery, shows up on the wrong monitor in a dual-monitor setup, and crashes after the intro video.

If we're going to go down some rabbit hole to hack away at to make this work, I honestly think we'd be better off rewriting op2shell.dll, which BlackBox looked at and said it wouldn't actually be that bad. DirectDraw is a long since deprecated API, so I'm not surprised it's blowing up. Even GDI(+) support isn't all that robust anymore these days, with a lot less HW acceleration being enabled. You would think that we don't need all that HW acceleration these days, but when you're running Outpost 2 in a VM, the lack of HW accel makes the game appear noticeably laggy - though a lot of that is on the part of the VM software itself, OP2 seems to run better in older versions of VMware (very old, like 6.x) than newer versions.

I think the reason we disabled it was just because we disabled the 16-bit color check that gated if you could use the GDI path that was amazingly coded to check if bit depth == 16 rather than >=. That was years ago back when everyone still used Windows XP. DirectDraw has long since been deprecated so I'm not too surprised it's broken.
« Last Edit: October 28, 2017, 10:32:59 AM by Arklon »

Offline Hooman

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Re: Steam Link?
« Reply #13 on: October 28, 2017, 12:11:26 PM »
Quote
First, my AVG antivirus didn't like it.

Heh, it is an executable file being downloaded off the internet. Certainly something to be cautious about. Any detailed messages from AVG about it? I assume the error message you quoted was from Windows itself, sometime after an AVG warning.

Arklon may be right about the file being quarantined, or having had execute permission removed. I've seen that error message when I try to run setup files from a network drive. I had to copy files to a local folder before they would run, or at least before I could run them in Administrator mode.

If Arklon is also seeing flickering, than the cause is probably not related to Wine. Maybe there was another part to the patch I forgot about. I suspect there was no code to restore a DirectDraw context after a screen mode switch, so alt tabbing out of the game, or other flickering in and out of the set mode, could cause problems, likely resulting in a crash.

There shouldn't be anything Wine specific about the executable file. It's just the usual Windows binary, with a few bytes changes concerning the patch and the resolution.


I don't have any next steps in mind. If this isn't working, I'm not sure what to suggest.
« Last Edit: October 29, 2017, 05:19:08 AM by Hooman »

Offline BikerMage

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Re: Steam Link?
« Reply #14 on: October 28, 2017, 03:37:43 PM »
I overrode the antivirus and manually allowed it, so I think the problem goes deeper. Maybe I'll take a look at op2shell.dll at some point, get a fresh pair of eyes in. I did correct 2 engineers at work yesterday...

If it's DirectDraw, maybe some type of compatibility mode might help. Steam allows some of the same options as Windows Compatibility, just manually typed.

Apologies if this is asking a lot. I don't give up on problems easily.

Offline Hooman

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Re: Steam Link?
« Reply #15 on: October 29, 2017, 05:30:22 AM »
At this point, there's really no telling what the problem is. The DirectDraw patch was a bit of a wild guess. Being unfamiliar with Steam Link, and not having a good feel for the problem, I don't see a systematic way of finding a solution.

Is there perhaps some documentation for Steam Link that explains its limitations? Or perhaps something that hints at how it works? Maybe some technology it was built on?

Offline lordpalandus

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Re: Steam Link?
« Reply #16 on: October 29, 2017, 09:10:50 AM »
Does the game accept command-line parameters? Specificially:
-useddblit
-blitmovietobackground

I ask because, back when Majesty Gold HD was released (the original Majesty was released in 2000), you needed to use those two command lines to work when playing it on Steam. Since Steam Link goes through Steam, in theory they should work for Outpost 2. With Majesty, the intro video would cause the game to freeze, and thus (blitmovietobackground) was used to modify the video in some way that caused it to be able to play properly and not freeze the game. I believe the other command line had something to do with the mouse pointer.

Since with Majesty, when it froze when the video played, it was a black screen; these two commands might fix your issue. I didn't want to say anything until I could find them again as Majesty Gold HD has been updated to DX9 and no longer needs those command lines.

EDIT: Man that is some bad sentence structure. My apologies.

EDIT2: Link to the steam discussion on Majesty Gold HD issues and how they fixed them = http://steamcommunity.com/app/73230/discussions/0/613938693125249954/?ctp=3
« Last Edit: October 29, 2017, 09:12:44 AM by lordpalandus »
Currently working on Cataclysm of Chaos.

Offline Arklon

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Re: Steam Link?
« Reply #17 on: October 29, 2017, 10:19:28 AM »
Command line switches are entirely app-specific. OP2 does take command line parameters but nothing like that.