Sharoma Red Alert Guide Technical support

Technical support

This section of the Guide deals mostly with issues you may encounter when trying to run Red Alert on operating systems other than DOS, Windows 95 and 98.

Red Alert with Windows XP

If you attempt to install and run Red Alert on XP, you'll probably get a message like the following: "Windows 5.1 detected... please use some other version...". However, the game will work fine under XP with both the Counterstrike and Aftermath addons. Here's how:

  1. Insert your Red Alert disc (Allied or Soviet).
  2. Go into Windows Explorer and "explore" the CD.
  3. Right click on "autorun.exe" and click "properties".
  4. Select the compatibility tab and select Windows 95. Tick the box.
  5. Execute "autorun.exe" and install the game as normal.
  6. Download and install the 1.08 update patch.
  7. Execute the .exe and move the resultant files into your Red Alert directory (you can omit the text file).
  8. Execute "patch.exe"
  9. Set the compatibility mode on the RA95.exe in your Red Alert directory to Windows 95 (as above)
  10. The game will now run fine. You can now also install Counterstrike and Aftermath, making sure to do the same thing to each autorun.exe compatibility tab.

If you wish to install the 3.03 patch, do it before you install Counterstrike or Aftermath. You'd probably be best not installing those anyway.

What about Network play though?

Disastrously, it is as yet impossible to play Red Alert over a Local Area Network on Windows XP [1]. The best idea is to do what I do and have a dual boot setup with WinXP and Win98. Anyway, the problem is something to do with the IPX protocol, and if you really want to be able to play LAN games on XP (and probably future Windows versions) you should sign the petition to Westwood for a patch.

For Windows 95/98/ME users who are wondering how to get Network play going here is a brief run through. Go into the Control Panel and open Network. Now go to install and select protocol. Select the IPX one and it should ask for your Windows disc. When it's installed, restart and the Network option in the Multiplayer menu should have appeared. Do the same on the other computers you also wish to play with.

If you're looking for the latest version of Westwood Chat you can also download that here > wc4221u.exe

[1] This may not be the case. Someone on the RA Forum explains how he managed it:

What I did was install the 3.03e patch (you can get this from the Red Alert Archive), made sure I had ipx/spx protocol(s), and screwed around with the settings in the protocol. To get to the settings, right click on 'My Network Places', right click on the ipx/spx nwlink protocol to get to the settings. Change them as follows...

Set the frame type to ethernet 802.2. Set the first computers network numbers (internal and the 802.2 one) to 000000001. Do the same for the other computers on the LAN who want to play but set the network numbers to 100000000 on one, and then 20000000 on the next, then 30000000 one the next and so on... (I think this will work, but I've only played with two computers.)

Network play on XP now possible!

Thanks to Jason for this information:

Actually, I got it to work on two XP systems. I had to install the v3.03 patch, and then set the Ra95.exe on both to run as Win95 compatible. I also made sure the IPX protocol was installed on both machines. (Was on mine, but not my friends.) Hooked up via LAN cable and voila!

How to take screenshots in Red Alert

You'll notice that the oft used method of pressing 'print screen' within the game, then exiting to Windows and pasting it in a graphics program doesn't work, as the pic shows up as a black mess. The way to rectify this is as follows. (Thanks to Stuart Wilson for informing me how to do this.)

  1. Download this Red Alert Palette file, prepared earlier, and unzip somewhere.
  2. Open your screenshot into Paint Shop Pro (not sure what other programs you can do this in).
  3. Go to "Colors" and "Load Palette". Use the ra.pal file, and select the bottom option "maintain indexes".
  4. Your screenshot should now burst into life. The best format to save them in is .png, which is better than .gif as it's smaller and also has no quality loss. Jpeg is not recommended since the quality loss can look quite bad.

Applying the palette.

Enabling the two other Aftermath units

The Aftermath addon for Red Alert contained lots of new units for the game, as you are aware. All but two of these you can normally play with in Skirmish mode, and one that you can't, yet is in the missions, is the Phase Transport. There is also an extra totally hidden unit that is neither in the missions nor available in the skirmish mode, and this is the Helicarrier.

To "unlock" these two units and make them available for use in your Aftermath skirmishes, please download and use the file, which comes courtesy of the Red Alert Archive.

All you need to do is rename this file "aftrmath.ini" and put it into your Red Alert directory. The units then become available and can be used for multiplayer gaming, providing both players have Aftermath and the file.

So what of the units? Well, the Phase Transport you probably know about. It's like a stealth tank from the original C&C, except it's an APC. It cloaks, moves around unseen and can also fire rockets. Nothing too special really. The Helicarrier is, however. It's like the carrier you get in Red Alert 2 - you can move it near an enemy base and have 5 helicopters launch from it all at once to attack. They can return to the nearby carrier to reload and then attack again. It's a really useful unit, though having to buy five helicopters does make it expensive. To use these two units I suggest you play at tech level 10. The prerequisites: Phase Transport requires a War Factory and a Tech Centre. Helicarrier requires a Helipad, Tech Centre and a Naval Yard/Subpen.

Now you're probably wanting to see the units in action, so I have taken some screenshots of them:

Here you can see the Phase Transport firing (it has to reveal itself to fire) its rockets, and three helicopters from a Helicarrier (which you can see in the water) also firing. Note the Helicarrier icon in the sidebar.

Here the Phase Transport is cloaked - see if you can spot it. And while that is happening a fresh helicopter has just been built at the helipad and is preparing to board the Helicarrier.

(I had to land one of the helicopters here to get all five on screen.) Here a Helicarrier, supported by a cruiser (a formidable team), attacks an enemy base. The constant flow of Helicopters as they each fire and reload means that unless the enemy has plenty of anti aircraft defences, they are pretty much doomed. Such close landing and reloading facilites make air attacks with helicopters devastating. The Helicarrier proves its worth as a unit.