Old blog is gone, new blog is here. What better way to kick things off than with a post about a war game from 1997?
I recently picked up Panzer General 2 from Good Old Games, going off the seemingly omnipresent comments that it’s “one of the best strategy games ever made” and is still considered by many to remain the best in the series.
Good Old Games, public relations gaffes notwithstanding, fills an important niche and allows players to easily play older computer games on modern systems. Panzer General 2 installed and ran flawlessly on my Windows 7 64 system, but there was one glaring problem: the game always ran in full screen mode. Not only does this blow up the game to giant proportions on my 23″ monitor, but the 1920 x 180 resolution and 16:9 screen ratio give everything that Fat Albert squash.
I looked high and low for a simple fix to this problem. Alas, there was no config file I could edit or easy tweak to make the game run in windowed mode. ”It shouldn’t be this hard,” I said. ”Surely, someone has come up against this problem in the past and resolved it.” My quest took me on a whirlwind tour of the darker, more Geocities-esque corners of the internet where strategy grognards talk about games from 1997 and how they can be modded. Animated flags gifs were abundant.
Modding brings up an interesting side note – there is still a huge fanbase that plays and modifies Panzer General 2. I found several mods that ran the game at higher resolutions, added new graphics and new scenarios, and generally gussied up the game. OpenPG2 is as good a place to start as any, if mods and updates are what ye seek. What me be seeking, er, what I was looking for, however, was the original Panzer General 2 experience. Just in a window.
Finally, I got a tip on some software from one of the forums I frequent (thanks, spelk!). My informant directed me to another forum where old strategy games are discussed, specifically Steel Panthers World at War. Over there they’ve been using a not-really-translated-into-English Japanese program called D3Windower to run SPWaW in windowed mode.
Skip Down to Me If You Just Care About Windowed PG2
The software in question is D3Windower, and has been used with some success on other older yet still awesome war games. There’s no full English translation for the software, but the package linked above has enough translated that you can get the game you want running to work. Here’s the step-by-step instructions:
- Download and unpack D3Windower. It will come as a .rar file, which you will need to unpack using 7-Zip or similar.
- Launch D3Windower. The main window will contain a list of whatever games you want to run in windowed mode. To add a game, click the “+” button. Browse to the PG2 executable (C:\Program Files (x86)\GOGcom\Panzer General 2) and click okay. PG2 will now be listed in the main window.
- Highlight the PG2 executable and enter the Settings screen by clicking on the folder icon with the tools on it. (Hovering over said icon will reveal that is is indeed Settings.)
- Enter 1200 and 800 for the screen width and height, respectively.
- Switch to the Window Mode tab.
- Uncheck the Direct X 1-7 button. This is important! Leaving this checked will cause PG2 to crash at launch.
- Verify the settings, and then click on the Computer icon to launch the game.
That’s all there is to it. It’s not complicated by any means, but considering how long it took me to track down the solution I hope this post will be helpful to those who come after me, or didn’t see my post in the GOG.com Panzer General forum.