Battlezone II: Combat Commander v1.3 Unofficial Patch Beta 2
Battlezone II version 1.3 Readme

The 1.3 patch has been in development since September/October 2001, headed by two programmers from the Battlezone II team: Ken Miller, Nathan Mates.

A number of tweaks and enhancements are planned for v1.3:

* Much greater MOD (game modification) support, allowing up to 26 total races to be active at once. Many MODders have been among 1.3 beta testers, and have been working to take advantage of the new features. [Their participation or nonparticipation is their own business; no support for 1.3 is implied or MODs promised by us.]
* Developed/Tested on Windows 2000/XP, DirectX 8.0-9.0b for much better compatability out of the box. Some testers are testing it on WinME.
* Many crashes/freezes fixed. Please note that not all bugs have enough details to figure out how they happened, and so it probably will be impossible to get all crashes fixed.
* Redone audio system that supports far more channels (up to 64) and DirectSound3D for a far more immersive experience. [Old Aureal code is gone; good riddance.] Note: not all sound cards on the market support that many channels; if the driver on your system notes a limit under 64, BZ2 will use that instead.
* Support for Ogg Vorbis compressed sounds - similar to mp3 files, but with higher quality.
* Some graphics tweaks: Maximum ingame resolution can be set much higher than 1280x1024 if your hardware supports it. Gamma (brightness) adjustment works on ATI cards.
* Enhancements to many parts of the game, including AI, craft handling, etc.
* Many more pregame options for IA, DM, Strat & MPI games (feature available to MODs to define custom options pages on a per-map basis)
* Bots in DM, and some additional DM gameplay modes.
* Strategy-CTF game mode -- capture a goal, tug it back to your recycler to win, on 6 classic maps. Finally a good use for tugs in MP!
* Over 50 additional Instant Action & Multiplayer maps by several mappakers within the BZ2 community, and tweaks to some existing maps to reduce bugs. As of 1.3PB2, there are 16 classic & additional IA maps, 98 classic & additional MP maps installed.
* Several additional security measures to make cheating in multiplayer much more difficult; deliberate remote crashing of games should be fixed.
* New BZ2 editor screen layout files contributed by testers to expose more functionality that was already there.
* Ability to rotate buildings (on 90-degree increments) for even more base-building fun
* Updates to the manual (located in the Extras folder where BZ2 is installed to) to give updated and more accurate information
* Includes an over 450Kb text file listing changes made since 1.2. This changelog contains our (minimalist) notes as to what changed for each version, and isn't guaranteed to be easily understood. But, it may be useful reading.

For now, this patch will be pretty much English-only. If you have a foreign (French or German) version of BZ2, this patch will replace a lot (but not all) of the files used to display text ingame with English. Voiceovers and other sound effects will remain in the installed language. A translated version of these text items may happen at a later time.

A special note: one of the bugs fixed is the infinite flying bug present in BZ2 1.0 - 1.2. This was removed because it is considered to be a bug by those of us who worked on BZ2 from the beginning. It is not due to complaints from "newbies" or the like. Certain people certainly feel strongly about this. Fine. Please realize that feelings are not an argument. Whining about this will not change anything-- we've heard such complaints for years, and your comments will only serve to harden our resolve in this.

Compatability w/ previous BZ2 versions

Some notes on compatability w/ previous versions:

* Like all other BZ2 patches, the 1.3 patch is not network compatible with any other version-- all players in the game must be running the exact same version (1.3)
* Maps & DLLs for BZ2 1.2 should load fine. However, any map/dll that depends on certain behavior in the AI, etc for scripting may need tweaking.
* Progress in Singleplayer missions, preferences should be read fine; where more options than 1.2 exist (especially the sound setup), users may need to adjust those new options if they don't like the defaults. 1.3 uses a new file format for pilots/prefs, and upgrades 1.2's files on reading them. Those new preferences files can not be read by 1.2.
* Mid-mission savegames from BZ2 1.0-1.2 can not be read, as the file formats changed too much. But, as noted above, progress in SP missions is left untouched.
* Missions created with the editor in 1.3 will not be readable in previous versions, same with savegames, etc.
* Many MODs for BZ2 will be uninstalled as part of the install of 1.3. Some broken MODs that installed themselves into the Data folder (which should *never* have happened, but some people refused to do things right and install to addon) may have to be manually deleted.
* MODs that replaced out large chunks of the BZ2 shell (aka FE) may need extensive tweaks before they can work with 1.3.

Requirements for this patch:

The 1.3 patch is currently about a 30MB download, with the bulk of that coming from additional maps. The 1.3 download is designed to upgrade any previous version of BZ2 (1.0-1.2) to 1.3. Approximately 67MB free HD space is required to install this patch over and above the disk usage of your existing BZ2 install. So, at least 100MB free HD space is required to install, 200-250MB really recommended.

If you're under 100MB free HD space, it is highly recommended that you get another HD. BZ2, like all Windows apps, uses your HD as swap (pagefile) space if your physical RAM is exhausted. You should have at least 50MB free (250MB recommended) on your HD before starting BZ2. The 1.3 installer can be deleted (or archived to another system, CD backup, etc) before running 1.3 to get a bit more space.

Battlezone II v1.3 requires DirectX 8.0 or higher (tested w/ 8.0-9.0b), Windows 98/ME/2000/XP. A x86-compatible processor with MMX is required (i.e. original Pentium, Pentium Pro are out, as is the AMD K5). At least 128MB of RAM is required-- 192MB may be a better value-- for 2000/XP (see below). Note: I don't believe any testing has been done with Windows95, and as MS has long-since discontinued support for it, it may not be the best choice of OSs anymore. If 1.3 works on Win95, great. If not, you may be out of luck.

Please note that some video boards originally supported by BZ2 may not have proper DirectX 8.x/9.x drivers for Windows 2000/XP. If this is the case, you may not be able to use them. Please ensure that your video board has DirectX 8.x/9.x drivers for Windows 2000/XP.

BZ2 also requires a audio output device (sound card, motherboard audio, etc) that supports DirectX 8.x. 3D positional audio is supported, but not required.

Recommendations for this patch

With Windows 2000/XP requiring much more memory and CPU than 98, BZ2's box specs must be adjusted. Win98 box specs say 16MB required, BZ2's box specs (as only Win98/98SE was released) is 64MB. Thus, BZ2 requires at least 48MB over and above Windows minimum. MS says that Windows XP Home requires 64MB (but would be crippled), 128MB recommended. Adding 48MB to XP's usage translates to 112-176MB required to run BZ2 on Windows XP. If you have 3D video integrated onto your motherboard, additional RAM is required-- at least 192MB is probably going to be a usable minimum, as motherboard 3D video can use up to 64MB. [See manual for your motherboard for exact usage, and do the math yourself.]

Most testing and development of 1.3 has taken place on machines with at least a 500Mhz processor, 256MB ram, and a GeForce or better video card. This may be a good baseline.

What uninstalling 1.3?

Sorry, there is no uninstaller for 1.3 specifically. For this reason, it is recommended that you reinstall BZ2 into a separate directory specifically for 1.3, and apply the 1.3 patch to that directory. There is no need to install any other patches (e.g. 1.2) before installing 1.3 -- there is only a cumulative patch able to upgrade any 1.x release of BZ2 to 1.3.

A sepatate 1.3 directory is the preferred method of installing 1.3, as it helps get rid of any debris left over from broken MODs that installed themselves into the data directory, doesn't have any compatability issues with MODs not yet updated for 1.3, and gives you a clean slate to begin with.

If you take this route, probably 500-600MB of free HD space before starting the separate install is required.

Will I get a bajillion FPS with 1.3 like I do with game XYZ

Almost certainly not. The way BZ2 was programmed, it handles most of the Transformation & Lighting (commonly abbreviated 'T&L') code on the CPU. Shortly after BZ2 came out, graphics cards progressed well enough that they could handle the T&L on them. However, rewriting BZ2's graphics code would be a massive undertaking, not least of which doing an extensive round of compatability testing with all of the various combinations of graphics cards and drivers. Thus, 1.3 will still use the same basic graphics code, mainly on your CPU.

1.3 has a few speed optimizations in place, most of them not in the graphics code-- AI overbuild can cripple your FPS, but isn't graphics code related. At the same time, 1.3 also has a lot more sanity checks in the code to reduce crashes. Those sanity checks aren't free, but may not be noticeable. Some testers have noted 1.3 runs a little better for them than 1.2 did, some say a little slower.

What about my overclocked system?

As noted above BZ2 puts much more work on your CPU than some other games. That amount of stress may expose faults in your overclocked setup far earlier than other games may do. If you are experiencing problems, then please try temporarily undoing your overclocking, and rerun BZ2. If the problem goes away, then the problem has been isolated to the overclocking, and not BZ2. No two applications use the same parts of the CPU, memory, etc, and "stability" in one application does not guarantee it being in all applications.