Dominant Species Patch

Posted on Posted in Announcement, Article, Game

This is something I’d been meaning to post for a while now but unfortunately didn’t quite get round to it, primarily because I wasn’t entirely sure if its content was right for this website. Having thought about it, this is a step towards helping preserve an old game that many otherwise may not have heard of before so it makes perfect sense to post it here.

Dominant Species was a game that was released in 1998, and it seems to me like a game that was somewhat lost in time with very little attention given to it as far as I’m aware but seems like a unique game for its time. It certainly has a charm about it.

If you’re not familiar with the game, it was developed by Red Storm Entertainment. The same guys that have developed countless Tom Clancy games. And it’s a 3D RTS, which according to Red Storm themselves, was one of the first 3D RTS games as well which definitely makes it quite significant.

On a whim I came across the game online and ordered myself a copy but I guess to no surprise the game struggled running on modern operating systems (such as Windows 7/8/10), in particular it failed to initialise a fullscreen instance of the game and it also fails at detecting the CD properly.

After spending a while poking and prodding the game though, I not only found a list of launch arguments for the game that allowed it to run in a windowed state, which worked around the issue initialising it in fullscreen, but I also managed to track down where the game attempted to check for its CD to ensure you had a valid copy of the game and disable it through the wonders of reverse engineering.

I did also experiment with a wrapper to try and get the game running in fullscreen but after discovering the launch arguments I didn’t go any further with this. It’s something I’d like to return to though at some point in time as it would be a wonderful learning experience.

Keep in mind that I’ve only done this for the singleplayer at this time, so right now the multiplayer menu will still ask you to insert the CD.

I guess you could probably consider this a crack? Maybe when I have some time I’ll get round to doing the multiplayer as well but this should be relatively easy to do. Unfortunately it’s been a long time since I did this so I don’t have my notes available right now but if anyone else makes an update to this then be sure to let me know and I’ll be happy to mirror it here.

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  • Gab daG

    https://youtu.be/b_haYppFRbg?t=5m43s This guy says it runs natively on his win10 machine and he actually is a part of it’s dev team

    • Neat, I was aware that one of the creators was on YouTube but didn’t realise he did a video looking at the game.

      On more modern systems that I’ve tested this on, the game will typically fail to detect the CD drive as is often the case with other games from this period. Understandably though, as the guy states in the comments of his video, incompatibilities may be more likely to do with hardware than the operating system itself but I don’t put it past both factors contributing to it.

      I haven’t really looked at this game much more since I wrote this article as the issues with the game starting itself in fullscreen has actually been working for me since, so I’m not too sure what to say about it.

      So otherwise he seems absolutely correct in that the game operates correctly on modern Windows providing you have the correct hardware.

      If anyone does find any further issues running the game on more modern systems, then I would be more than happy to take a look again regardless.