Making old games work on new PCs: Beyond Good and Evil

Sometimes, publishers don't bother updating old games before putting them up on your favourite digital distribution system. Here's how to make them play more nicely with your new machine.

Craig Simms Special to CNET News
Craig was sucked into the endless vortex of tech at an early age, only to be spat back out babbling things like "phase-locked-loop crystal oscillators!". Mostly this receives a pat on the head from the listener, followed closely by a question about what laptop they should buy.
Craig Simms
3 min read

The usual caveat folks: make sure your graphics and sound card drivers are up to date, and that you've installed the latest compatibility updates for Windows. These fixes have been tested on Windows 7 64-bit only, but may also work for other systems.

Jade does her best Michael and Alister Score impression. (Screenshot by Craig Simms/CBSi)

Ubisoft has a reputation of being hostile towards PC gamers — but it is far from the only publisher to put a broken version of an old game on Steam or GOG, in order to make a quick buck. Sadly, Beyond Good and Evil falls into this pile.

Thankfully, you can get it into a playable state, if you're willing to get your hands dirty — although, nothing you do will stop the game complaining about your graphics card drivers being out of date.

Audio desync

The easiest way to fix this is to ensure that the game is only running on a single core, running on multiple cores leads to confusion. The old method involved either alt-tabbing out each time you ran the game and setting affinity through task manager, or modifying the binary using a program called ImageCFG. We don't need such crude methods any more.

For Windows 7, you can download a compatibility shim here, which will ensure that the game always runs with single core affinity.

To install it, extract the contents of the RAR file and either run the batch file, or open a command prompt and navigate to the downloaded file, then type:

sdbinst "%cd%\bge.sdb"

Now, whenever bge.exe runs, it will be assigned to a single core only.

Note: this compatibility shim was created for the Steam version of the game. Please let us know if it doesn't work with other versions. You can test it by opening task manager (CTRL + Shift + Esc), going to the Processes tab, right clicking on the bge.exe entry and then choosing Set Affinity. Only one core should be selected.

Graphics flickering and performance issues

Our friend here is SettingsApplication.exe, found in your install directory. After you've set your resolution, head to the Advanced Settings tab. Check Manual compatibility settings and then turn off HW Vertex Processing, Multi vertex stream and Autogen mipmap. This will prevent user interface flickering issues, although, depending on how powerful your card is, you may need to turn down the water detail (if your card can handle the Main Canal section fine, then you'll be set for the whole game).

The settings you'll need to stop the UI flickering, and to keep your frame rate nice. (Screenshot by Craig Simms/CBSi)


You may also wish to turn off Anti-aliasing and apply it through your graphics card driver control panel instead. For AMD users, open Catalyst Control Center and expand the Gaming section, then click on 3D Application Settings. Set the Anti-Aliasing Mode to Override application setting, then adjust the settings to how you desire. When you're done, click the save button and then browse to where the bge.exe file is stored.

For Nvidia users, be aware that there's already a profile set up for bge.exe — and it's the wrong game! We can use this anyway; open the Nvidia Control Panel and select Manage 3D settings. Change the tab to Program Settings and uncheck Show only programs found on this computer. From the drop down menu, select BANG! - Gunship Elite(bge.exe), then set the anti-aliasing settings to how you would like it. Hit the Apply button when you're done.