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To Hack the Hacker

Anyone who has ever played System Shock 2 has loved it- FACT. Woken out of hyper sleep on the starship Von Braun something has gone very very wrong. The ship has been taken over and the crew infected with mind altering works and turned to violent monsters. Your only hope is the one crew member left alive- Paleto and her plan for getting off the ship. System shock 2 was the foreruner to Bioshock so is very similar in many ways- down to the audio logs and hacking systems, but seemed so much deper as a role playing game aswell.The game is a little Gem in an otherwise sea of dust and baked bean cans. Problem is now as the years roll on the game grows older- and the machines we attempt to run them on don’t work as they used to back in the day. So it falls to the fan community to fix what big conglomerates have broken. System shock 2 runs on the “Dark” engine which was created for “Thief- The Dark Project” in the mid 90’s. A little rough around the edges when compared to modern standards but as an “edgy” charm to it. On modern machines it can look a little patch, or simply crash all together. Having recently had a bitch of a time getting thief 2 to work on windows vista (which is the same process as getting system shock 2 to work) I thought i would share how to do it. I must stress that there is no definite instant fix but one or more of the methods bellow should work just fine.
“Safe texture manager”
-The incorrect handeling of textures by modern graphics cards will halt System shock right in it’s tracks. You will know if you have this problem f you launch the game and it reports and error referencing the “texture”s. to fix this:
-Open your USR.cfg file in notepad
-Find the line ;Safe texture manager
-Remove the ; at the start of it and save.
That should be it. If you don’t have safe texture manager anywhere in your list then just add it at the end without the; and it will do just fine.
Sometimes the problem can be a little more deep seated than just the textures- I wold run this patch anyway as its damn fine! What this will do is replace certain parts of the System Shock files to update their properties for new machines. On mine it helped the textured to turn from 8 bit back to thier 32 bit glory. It also gives support for widescreen resolutions.
You can download it here:

It was days before I discovered that new Nvidia cards can completely break the dark engine. I couldn’t find any specific way to fix this when I searched online but I managed to find one myself (after a lot of trial and error). The best way I found to fix it was as follows:
Set up a custom set of options for the SShock2.exe (you can do this in the nvida control panel)
Set the monitor set up to prepare for “single monitor display”.
That worked for me!
“Dual core Processors”
Something else that will freak out any dark engine game is the thought that any computer could have more than one processor. Dark engine prefers to think of the days when all computers were run by steam and sticks- it was a happier time. If you run the game odds are it will freeze a few seconds in and you wont even be able to ctrl+alt+delete your way out of the merry cycle that the game has stuck itself in. To fix this:
At the menu of the game use ctrl+alt+delete to bring up the processes
Find SShock2.exe and right click
Choose “set affinity”
uncheck one of the processors boxes leaving just one ticked.
Then you can go back in the game. You shouldn’t need to do this however if you have installed the DDFix patch as it does it for you.
And that should see you right. Its taken me about 2 years to collate all these little fixes thanks to members of various forums and I list them here now not only because i received a tweet about it but also to be a reference for myself the next time i feck it all up.
Enjoy the game- go play!
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Owner and lord high chancellor of the borough known as quiteenjoy. Loves fishing, hedge trimming, football and none of the above.

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