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Old 03-03-2010, 11:51 AM   #121
Dale
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Originally posted by Jim Sachs:
Anyway, I'm out of ideas. It looks like the only way to diagnose this would be for it to happen on my machine during a debug session. That would mean a new computer and W7, neither of which will be happening anytime soon.  

If I speculate that the bug is revealed with certain sound cards, then Terry (and garybebee) could test that by removing their sound card.

If MA3 bubbles and CanonGuitar play without the high-end sound card, and do not play with the high-end sound card installed, what would be the corrective measure in MA3?

================================
Please don't take offense at this. I think it's a legitimate question.

Windows 7 General Retail availability was October 22, 2009. Final RTM was July 22, 2009. 7 months ago.

The MA3 FAQ on serenescreen.com says:
"your computer must have:
(Windows) Windows 7, Windows Vista, Windows XP SP2. "

So, MA3 is "supported" on Windows 7.

Who is supporting it?
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Old 03-03-2010, 01:19 PM   #122
Jim Sachs
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Hey, you guys were the ones who reported that MA3 worked fine with W7. I've never even seen it.

I personally can't afford W7 at this time. Back when the Aquarium income was 10 times what it is now, sure. But not any more.

Actually, I'd have been happy to spend the rest of my life with XP. Works great for me, and DirectX 9c will probably be the last API I'll ever be able to develop on. DX10 and 11 use what's called Managed Resources, which is a nightmare. It needs an enormous DLL, which doesn't come with the Operating System.
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Old 03-03-2010, 01:50 PM   #123
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I don't blame anybody for sticking with XP. Many of the features that Vista and W7 have are available as third party freeware for XP if you feel you really need them, and it runs beautifully on even a modest computer. You really can't beat it with a stick.
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Old 03-03-2010, 01:53 PM   #124
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Originally posted by Jim Sachs:
Hey, you guys were the ones who reported that MA3 worked fine with W7.  
Sample size and diversity were small. I reported that it works fine on the seven Windows 7 hardware/software systems that I support - and most of those are of course fairly similar. There were perhaps another dozen reports of "works fine". And now two reports that it doesn't.

Let's call that for the moment "doesn't work on 10% of W7 systems".

I do (at least on the surface) understand how we all got to this place. And I'm not blaming you, Jim.

However, having discovered an apparent problem that is not understood, and not having a fix ---- (a problem fix that may perhaps require a change to MA3 code).
......

I personally believe that either (1) Prolific must figure out how to support MA3 on Windows 7; or (2) Quit advertising and selling it to work with Windows 7.

[There is some small similarity to Toyota's situation]
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Old 03-03-2010, 02:08 PM   #125
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The difference is that we encourage (insist, actually) that people download and make sure the program works on their computer before buying.
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Old 03-03-2010, 03:55 PM   #126
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Trying to get at the problem:

Originally posted by Dale:
If I speculate that the bug is revealed with certain sound cards, then Terry (and garybebee) could test that by removing their sound card.  
Alternatively, I could get a sound card like Terry's and test it that way. (I'm a bit reluctant to spend that kind of bucks on something I don't need, but...)

Originally posted by Dale:
If MA3 bubbles and CanonGuitar play without the high-end sound card, and do not play with the high-end sound card installed, what would be the corrective measure in MA3?  
Or, what would fix the problem regardless of the cause? Would it be worth just doing it (if it's relatively simple)?
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Old 03-03-2010, 04:13 PM   #127
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Dale, wouldn't temporarily uninstalling the drivers for an aftermarket sound card be a way of finding that out without having to physically pull the card? As long as the aftermarket card is not the same brand as the computers built in sound of course, and the original drivers are still in there. Even if the card was pulled the original drivers would need to be in there. Just thinking of ways to make testing easier.
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Old 03-03-2010, 05:22 PM   #128
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Originally posted by Vinz Clortho:
Dale, wouldn't temporarily uninstalling the drivers for an aftermarket sound card be a way of finding that out without having to physically pull the card? As long as the aftermarket card is not the same brand as the computers built in sound of course, and the original drivers are still in there. Even if the card was pulled the original drivers would need to be in there. Just thinking of ways to make testing easier.  
If they want to do it, I'll leave the method up to Terry and Garybebee. Whichever is easier for them.

If I were doing it, I would physically pull the card. Windows will then detect (and use the drivers for) the built-in sound chip. When the card is replaced, Windows will detect it and use it's proper drivers, without having to reinstall the drivers.

Another method would be to use Device Manager, and disable the sound card, followed by a reboot. (disable, rather than uninstall). If that works, it would be conclusive. I'm just never totally confident of that approach.
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Old 03-03-2010, 05:35 PM   #129
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Originally posted by Jim Sachs:
I personally can't afford W7 at this time. Back when the Aquarium income was 10 times what it is now, sure. But not any more.  
You can download a free 90-day trial of Windows 7 Enterprise directly from Microsoft. MS Technet members also have access to the other versions of Windows, along with license keys. Further, you have 30 days after installing any version of Windows 7 before you need to enter a license key.

So, other than the time to download, this shouldn't cost you anything.
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Old 03-03-2010, 09:39 PM   #130
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Anyone else running it on an 8-year-old P4 machine?
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Old 03-03-2010, 10:30 PM   #131
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Originally posted by Jim Sachs:
Anyone else running it on an 8-year-old P4 machine?  
Since you asked....

I don't have a P4 machine that old (but almost).

However, I'm running Windows 7 (32-bit) on a P3-1000 system, SE440-BX2 Motherboard, 768 MB of memory.

Yes, Pentium 3.

I think that motherboard was made in 1999 - or possibly 2000.

It runs just fine, and yes, MA3 runs on it (not a fantastic frame rate), and bubbles and CanonGuitar play properly.

Obviously, this is the low-end of my seven Windows 7 systems. But you did ask.
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Old 03-03-2010, 10:40 PM   #132
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Maybe I'll try that free trial. I'm a bit worried about losing all my stuff, though.
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Old 03-03-2010, 11:41 PM   #133
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Originally posted by Jim Sachs:
Maybe I'll try that free trial. I'm a bit worried about losing all my stuff, though.  
Do you have a spare hard drive? Probably the best thing to do would be to shut down your Windows whatever system, swap in the spare drive, and do a clean install of Windows 7. When you're done, just swap the old drive back in and everything's back to the way it was.

The only issue with an old P4 is that if the problem is 64-bit specific, you'd only be able to install the 32-bit version on it.
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Old 03-04-2010, 01:21 AM   #134
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I would absolutely install Window 7 on a separate hard drive and try it out.

I hated Vista. Yet I actually like Windows 7.

If I am setting up a new machine, I decide between XP and Windows 7. It depends what applications I'm doing.

I have to agree with Jim about which to use for development, I'd stick with XP for developing the Aquarium. Switching to Windows 7 as a develoment environment could add all kinds of variables and changes.
"Journalism is printing what someone else does not want printed. Everything else is public relations." - George Orwell
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Old 03-04-2010, 03:44 AM   #135
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Interesting test results

I found a solution to the sound problem on one of my PCs. I had never set up Windows Media Center on the PC - no need as I use other players, and all other audio / video I have plays just fine. Just for grins, I went through the WMC setup and started MA3, and I have bubbles and music.

On the second PC that didn't have sound, this didn't change things. However, when setting up the speakers in WMC, if I select "2 channel" (which is what is connected), I get a very low audio level from WMC's test (despite the sound being normal in other applications). If I select "5.1 channel" in WMC, I get good audio level for all 5.1 channels (though of course they only play from the 2 main speakers and the subwoofer).

If I enable the on-board audio in the BIOS on that system and restart Windows (with the speakers plugged in there), the MA3 sounds are fine. WMC still has audio level problems in 2-channel mode, even with the on-board audio.

The only difference between the 2 systems is the sound card (2 versions of the same card - the working one is a PCI ASUS Xonar D2/PM with 5.1 digital output into a home theater, and the non-working one is a PCI Express ASUS Xonar DX with analog 2-channel output). If I had to bet on one not working, it would be the wrong one - the one that does work has the more unusual sound setup.

It is still odd that MA3 can play .wav and .mp3 files, but not bubbles or the .sgt file, on the second system and could do the same on the first one even before configuring WMC.

Can other people who have the "no sound" problem try configuring Windows Media Center and see if that changes things?
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Old 03-04-2010, 07:22 AM   #136
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Seems like some vital drivers did not get installed until WMC was set up.
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Old 03-04-2010, 09:09 AM   #137
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Thanks for testing, Terry. Unfortunately, the only other person reporting the problem was garybebee - and we haven't heard from him in a while.

Jim, note that Windows Media Center is not included in the low-end versions of Windows 7.
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Old 03-04-2010, 10:11 AM   #138
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That would explain a lot. If that's the case, I'll have to find out what drivers get installed with WMC, and publish a link on where to get them.
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Old 03-06-2010, 01:46 PM   #139
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I'm running on a P4 with 4GB Ram and a six year old machine upgraded to Win7 and I get a fantastic frame rate. I have an older ATI X600 video card if that makes a difference.

Jim, couldn't you download VMware or VirtualBox and run a copy of Win 7 within a virtual machine on your XP machine? It may not be as true a test of Win 7 as installing it as a main OS on your machine, but it's one way to easily test the OS and then toss it out without having to modify your system.
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Old 03-06-2010, 02:55 PM   #140
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Sounds difficult and time-consuming. Anyway, I doubt if the problem would even show up, as my machine has the proper drivers.
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