Author Topic: Thief 1/Gold/2 - Windows VISTA technical FAQ  (Read 5231 times)

Offline Starfox

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Thief 1/Gold/2 - Windows VISTA technical FAQ
« on: August 10, 2009, 10:26:48 AM »
I decided to compile a short FAQ about the common problems that can be encountered with Thief games when run in WIndows Vista (since it's likely that more an more people will have to move to Vista or 7 in the future, abandoning our dear old XP). If a problem isn't listed here it's either because I don't know the solution or I never experienced the said problem; in this case try Through The Looking Glass. This FAQ will be updated whenever I find a way to solve a problem. Note: before reading further, the solutions described here only applies to Thief 1/Gold and Thief 2 installs that are already patched with DDFIX (link below).

After you applied ddfix (which solves both modern graphic drivers related problems and multi-core related freezes) you should be happy enough with your Thief 1/Gold and Thief 2 installations in Vista as long as you keep in mind some little things that have to do with Vista security scheme (mainly the infamous UAC or User Access Control -- UAC is like... well, just picture an heavily armed commando on a border control mission that shoots down everyone who doesn't have an appropriate passport and you'll have an idea of why it is such a pain in the ass for gamers).

Solutions below may also be applied to System Shock 2 that also needs to be patched with ddfix.

Versions of the games to which this FAQ applies:

Thief - The Dark Project: 1.33
Thief Gold: 1.37
Thief 2 - The Metal Age: 1.18
System Shock 2: 2.03

1) Help! Darkloader (or GarrettLoader) doesn't work anymore.

Never install Thief (nor any other game for that matter) in Program Files.

Although thief may run smoothly from the Program Files folder you'll eventually run into trouble along the road. Program Files is considered by Vista security as a highly sensitive folder. Anything happening in this folder is tightly monitored by UAC, especially modifications to files within it. When a game is installed there no other program (like Darkloader) will be able to modify it easily. In fact programs like Darkloader will be systematically opposed a no-go from UAC for any attempt at modification and the modification will be ignored. You'll have the impression that Darkloader doesn't work anymore because the UAC won't even give a warning stating why it did prevent modifications, where, on what files or by what program.

Known solutions: (these solutions are independent. You don't need to apply all of them, just one of them)

A) install Thief in another folder at the root of your HD (or on another HD or partition if you have more than one HD and/or partitions)

B) If Thief is installed in Program Files and you feel too lazy to move it out, grant to any program that needs to modify files within the game (ie Darkloader) administrative privilege. To run a program as administrator temporarily, right click on it or its shortcut and choose "Run as administrator". To permanently give a program administrative privilege right click on it's exe, click properties, go to the compatibility tab and check the box "Run as administrator".

C) Disable UAC altogether. Although this option of course is not approved by Microsoft since it opens a "security hole" (well, in the facts the level of protection without UAC goes back to the one of XP so if you can live with that...). To disable UAC, go to the Configuration Panel --> Users accounts, click on the link "Turn User Account Control (UAC) on or off" and uncheck the box "Use User Access Control (UAC) to help protect your computer". UAC will display a last warning box and you'll have to reboot the computer after what UAC will never bother you again (at least until you decide to turn it on again -- Turn it on oh-oh-on, Turn it on turn it on again; Oops, sorry.. got a little Genesis problem there  :lol: )

Despite the fact that there are 3 different ways to fix the problem, only the first one may be regarded as really viable. So just never install your games in the Program Files folder... period.

2) My thief movies don't play even though I installed ddfix with video fix enabled

UAC at work again. To make video works ddfix needs to perform a system change when Thief starts. This system change is prohibited by UAC but once again UAC doesn't give any warning or notice about blocking the action so even though you may have the impression that Thief works badly it is in fact an absolutely normal behavior considering how the UAC works.

Known solutions: (these solutions are independent. You don't need to apply all of them, just one of them)

A) Run Thief.exe or Thief2.exe as administrator (see the solutions to point #1 above). Running Thief as administrator may pose some problems though (it depends on how you like to play). Those who are using the extended capabilities of their mouse for example (extra buttons remapped to keys) may find that their mouse buttons have no effect in game any longer. That is because the game run as administrator and doesn't accept anymore weird inputs of programs deemed as "inferior" in privileges thanks to UAC. If this is your case then the only way to have the best of both worlds (both Thief movies and mouse buttons) is solution B below.

B) Disable UAC -- again... Wihout UAC Thief will be able to make the necessary system change to play movies even when not run as administrator.

3) Thief 2 (or System Shock 2) systematically crashes when attempting to play movies

For once UAC is not involved. Unlike Thief 1/Gold (go figure) Thief 2 (and System Shock 2) needs to run in Windows XP SP2 compatibility mode to avoid this crash.


Right-click on Thief2.exe (or SHOCK2.EXE for System Shock 2), properties, compatibility tab and check the box "Run this program in compatibility mode for" and make sure "Windows XP (Service Pack 2)" is selected in the list.

4) I can't turn on sound Hardware Acceleration in Thief options nor use EAX (all Thief games including Deadly Shadows). I have a Creative Audigy or X-Fi sound card.

Sound hardware acceleration doesn't exist anymore in Vista. Everything runs in software. The good side (because there is one) is that the new DirectX API avoid a lot of troubles in Vista that old games were experiencing with sound hardware acceleration in XP. The drawback for Creative sound cards is that these cards relies on hardware acceleration for advanced EAX effects so these effects don't work anymore.


Download Creative ALchemy. This program has been written specifically for Audigy and X-Fi cards (if you have a SBLive!, you're out of luck). It acts as a layer between the game, DirectX and the soundcard to restore in software via OpenAL what was done before in hardware. Surprisingly enough, the EAX effects sound better on Vista with ALchemy that they sound on XP with hardware acceleration (at least to my hear).

After the ALchemy installation and a necessary reboot of your computer, run ALchemy. It will attempt to find supported games installed on your system -- Thief Deadly Shadows is officially supported but it's likely that Thief 1 and 2 won't be listed so you'll have to create entries for them. Click the "Add" button. In the message box that opens indicate a game title (like "Thief Gold") then choose "Use Game Path" and indicate the folder where Thief is installed. Leave the other options at their default values for now (these values should work fine). Click OK. Do the same thing for thief 2 then select each of your new profiles from the left "Installed Games" list and move them to the right "ALchemy Enabled Games" list (with the arrow button). Close ALchemy.

Start Thief and go to the audio options... You should be able to turn on hardware acceleration and EAX now as ALchemy tricks the game in thinking that hardware acceleration is available. Same applies to Thief 2 and Deadly Shadows

If you experience distorted sound or repeating sound in game, quit the game, start ALchemy again, edit the profile you created and try to play with the value "Time". Lower the value in case of distorted sound. Increase it in case of repeating sound. The default values should be fine though if you select the maximum number of channels in the audio options of the game (12 for Thief 1/Gold and 24 for Thief 2)

A (non exhaustive) list of games that ALchemy is supporting (or not) with details is available there.
« Last Edit: August 10, 2009, 07:18:34 PM by Starfox »