Interstate '76 FAQ
About this FAQ:
This seems like a mandatory section nowadays. This FAQ was created to answer some common I '76 questions at Local Ditch Gaming (http://www.localditch.com). This FAQ is to help out anyone still playing (or attempting to play) I '76. If you find this info helpful or useful, please send a link back.
- How can I buy/download/find Interstate '76/Nitro Pack/Gold Edition?
- I '76 will not install on XP or Vista. What should I do?
- How can I get I '76/Nitro/Gold Edition to run on Windows XP/Vista/7?
- How do I make the jumps? Why do AI cars drive so poorly?
- Why can I only set the resolution to 640x480?
- Why are the colors distorted in the cutscenes
- When I go to join an online game, no servers show up. What is going on?
- So, is there a way to play this thing online after all?
- When will Activision make another sequel to the Interstate series?
- Any good I '76 websites still around?
How can I buy/download/find Interstate '76/Nitro Pack/Gold Edition?
The easiest way to play the game is to head over to GOG.com. Sure, it'll cost a few bucks, but it'll be worth it.
If you're looking for a sealed box with a CD in it, good luck. Amazon, ebay or another auction site may have one pop up from time to time, but it's pretty rare. If you just need the game CD, the odds are a little better. My recommendation: start with Amazon, then head to ebay.
I '76 will not install on XP/Vista/7. What should I do?
The original Interstate '76 game used a 16-bit file for the install process. This made sense in the days of Windows 95. But, time and technology have come a ways in the time since I '76's initial release and many people are now running 64-bit systems that have since dropped support for older 16-bit applications.
If you're running a 32-bit version of Windows, the installer should be able to run. 32-bit versions of XP, Vista, 7 (and I'd assume 8) still maintain their backwards compatbility with 16-bit applications.
Others have suggested that there may be a glitch on some of the game discs that makes installation a little testy, though I've not really seen any evidence of this.
The Interstate '76 Arsenal (aka the one with Nitro Pack in it, too) comes with a 32-bit installer and should install correctly on 32 and 64-bit flavors of Windows.
If that doesn't work...
On any 64-bit flavors of XP, Vista and Windows 7, the installer will not run from the original I'76 game discs. There is hope, though. The game data for I '76 isn't compressed on the disk, which means that it can be copied directly from the CD over to your hard drive.
Start off by creating a new folder on your hard disk to hold all of the I '76 files (usually C:\Program Files\Activision\Interstate '76\). Now, throw the I '76 install CD into your computer, open it up, and copy everything except the "AVI", "Demo", and "Direct X" folders and place the data into the newly created I '76 folder.
Last step: Though I '76 should run just by doing the above, you won't be able to install any patches because Windows won't acknowledge that game has been installed.
To rectify this, modify the registry and add the key HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\App Paths\I76.exe. In here, add the following strings:
How can I get I '76/Nitro/Gold Edition to run on Windows XP/Vista/7?
In Windows XP, there are just a couple of sounds in the shell that cause the game to crash. If the links to those sound files are changed so that the game doesn't point to them, there will be no crashes. The end result: I '76 runs without having to disable the sound acceleration or use any other bizarre tricks.
Download the fix
I've already done it. Just download the database.mw2 file and unzip it in your I '76 directory (typically: C:\Program Files\Activision\Interstate76).
Do it yourself
To take care of this, open up the database.mw2 file in a hex editor and find the last two "RIFF" extensions. Change them to something else, such as "PIFF" and that should do the trick.
This is my favorite method. Set it once and forget it.
If that doesn't work, try the following
Before you install and run the game, be sure to turn the Windows Sound Hardware Acceleration all the way down. You can do this by going into Control Panel, click the Sound and Audio Devices icon, choosing the Audio tab, and clicking on the "Advanced" button in the Sound Playback category. Once here, choose the Performance tab and drag the top slider, "Hardware acceleration" all the way to the left.
If it still won't start, try this
First off, make sure you are attempting to run the game in Software mode.
Run the game in compatibility mode:
Create a shortcut to I76.exe or Nitro.exe, right click on the shortcut properties, choose the Compatibility tab and run the game in Windows 98 or Windows 95 mode.
Turn Sound Off Inside the game:
If you can get inside the games shell and you have set your Hardware Acceleration down, but it fails to load a mission, go into the game's settings and turn the Audio Channels down to Off.
Disable any USB Controllers.
If none of the above works, restart Windows in Safe Mode and run the game in a window.
Ok, I have the game running, but I can't hit any jumps and Taurus can't drive to save his life.
In Interstate '76, many components of the game are tied directly to its frame rate. I know this sounds like a horrible idea, but it's actually pretty common. John Carmack's technical wizardry still saw Quake 3 have issues if it ran over 60fps, which were eventually fixed in the browser-based Quake Live. Most console games use a frame rate cap and will time game events from there. Interstate '76 is no different... except that the frame cap is relatively low.
In I '76 running the game over 30 frames per second will cause issues. A few you may experience:
- Jump physics are out of whack and ramps are unjumpable
- Flamers will not fully extend and do not work correctly
- Mortar distance is shortened to the point they are suicide weapons
- AI cars will not travel faster than ~35 mph
- Enemy cars constantly brake and flutter their front wheels
- Game events happen too early or too late
The solution is to lock the frame rate. Most places have suggested throttling your CPU. I've suggested this in past Q&As as well, but this really isn't the best way to go about it. Some CPU throttling programs give your computer "busy" work and basically just overload your processer, causing needless heat and potential damage. Others work by limiting power, which is not nearly as bad. The end result, though, is that the CPU struggles with the game and becomes the limiting item for the frames that are generated, overall lowering the frames per scond.
Instead though, it's best to cut straight to the source and limit the fps directly. If you're running an NVIDIA card, try this:
Use Adaptive V-sync
In the NVIDIA control panel, create a custom profile for Interstate '76. At the bottom, set the Vertical Sync to "Adaptive (half refresh rate)." Most of today's monitors operate at 60hz. Half of that will be 30hz, analagous with 30fps, and these issues will go away.
If you're running a monitor with a faster refresh rate, like a 120hz monitor, you'll still have issues. Although NVIDIA doesn't advertise it, or even make it accesible with their normal drivers, it's possible to set the frame rate with a driver setting. To do it, you'll need to download the NVIDIA Inspector (http://www.guru3d.com/files_details/nvidia_inspector_download.html). With it, you'll be able to modify the I'76 game profile and directly set its FPS cap. My recommendation: 30fps or 29fps. I've had better luck with 30.
Why can I only set the resolution to 640x480?
The software version will allow you to play in up to 1024x768, but if you play I '76 Gold Edition in Direct3D, it's locked at 640x480. If you want higher resolutions, you could switch back to software mode, or...
If you're adventurous, try using a glide wrapper for higher resolutions. This will let you emulate the 3dfx cards of the day, allowing I '76 to run in 3D-accelerated mode, as well as giving the options to run in a higher resolution. Another advantage is that the textures in the Glide-enhanced I '76 are clearer than its Direct3D counterparts.
Glide Wrapper and dgVoodoo are two popular choices. Mileage may vary, so if one isn't working as well as you'd like, try out the other. Be sure to make sure that the i76.exe, nitro.exe, and splash.exe files are to use the wrappers settings.
After installing your wrapper of choice, create a shortcut to I'76 and append it with "-glide" (no quotes). This will signal I '76 to use the glide-enhanced version of the game. Originally, the Gold Edition/Arsenal asked you to choose with flavor of 3D acceleration you wanted to run. This may not show up on modern systems.
If you experience texture corruption, where (typically) after explosions, all of the textures get scrambled, check the option to limit texture memory to 2mb in your wrapper of choice. Alternatively, just hit the "Esc" key twice during the game. Good luck.
Personally, I'm using Glide Wrapper. dgVoodoo is causing tearing issues for me on a Windows 7 box with Geforce 560TI.
The game is looking great, but why are the colors in the cutscenes distorted?
This seems to be an issue tied with monitor bit-depth and resolution settings. The solutions:
Open display properties
Seriously. Right-click on your Windows 7/8 desktop, go to "Screen Resolution" and leave the window open before you launch I '76. I have no idea why this works, but that will sometimes solve the problem. It works for me some days, yet it doesn't on others. It's quick and easy, so start with it first.
The other method involves killing the Windows Explorer process before running Nitro Pack. This seems to resolve the issue, too. Of course, doing so will shut down much of the Windows user interface, so we'll want it back after the game ends. Instead of doing all of this manually, it's easiest to just throw it into a batch file. Once you've got the batch file built, then you'll use it to launch the game.
Create a new text file and save it in the I '76 install folder. Make sure it's extenstion is ".bat" with no quotes. If I'm creating a batch file for the Nitro Pack, I might call it "nitro_start.bat" or something along those lines.
For Nitro Pack with Glide enabled, place the following contents in the batch file:
taskkill /f /IM explorer.exe start /w nitro.exe -glide start explorer.exe
Congrats, now use this new batch file to launch the game from now on.
Thanks to the I'76 GOG forum experts for the advice on this one.
When I go to join an online game, no servers show up. What is going on?
Originally, I '76 came set up to use Activision's Anet (Alink, Activelink, Activenet) servers. As the years have gone by, these servers have been shut down. Fortunately, Dan Kegel of Activision has released the source code, meaning anyone can run their own server.
I '76 games rarely run, but in order to connect to the server, you'll need to type in that server address.
The real downer, though, is that you'll need a direct internet connection to do this. Going through a router just won't do the trick. As a result, unless you're on dial-up, you can count this out.
So, is there a way to play this thing online after all?
Yes. Some fine folks have figured out a way to do it using Tunngle. In short, you need to do the following: Download and install Tunngle. Ensure that you're port forwarding port 11155. Then, game on.
Also, much to my surprise, Kali.net is still up and running and can be used, too.
When will Activision make another sequel to the Interstate series?
The simple answer: They won't. I '76 got some pretty good reviews, but sales weren't anything spectacular; it wasn't another Mechwarrior 2. It did warrant enough to create the Nitro Pack add-on. Unfortunately, Nitro didn't sell well at all, leading to the cancellation of even the patches and bug fixes for that game. I '82 came out, got poor reviews and sold just as badly, pretty much wiping out the possibilities of future Interstate games.
To top it all off, a few years after releasing I '76, Activision exited the game development business alltogether, opting to strictly publish games.
Any good I '76 websites still around?
GOG Interstate Series forums - Good Old Games' I '76 community; with lots of troubleshooting tips, this is likely the most active I'76 forum.
http://www.jeffwofford.com/i76_poems.html - All about I '76 Poetry with comments from Zach Norman himself.
http://www.interstate76.com - A place to start
http://www.interstateoutlaws.com - Fan community made game. Could be interesting.
11/14/14 - GOG link
5/18/13 - Anet servers