Old Dogs: Win 7 & 10 Compatibility Guides for Classic Wargames

By Zach Zimmerman 08 May 2018 3

Wargamers will have little difficulty naming some of their favourite titles. From decades of releases to choose from, there will always classics worth coming back to. However, those who have felt that itch to replay older titles will know that it can be a frustrating process to make them work with modern operating systems such as Windows 7, or Windows 10.

While some developers and digital distribution platforms such as GOG.com have put great effort into ensuring older titles are compatible with modern OSes, many can fall by the wayside. Where the official support of games may slacken in this regard, enter the efforts of the enthusiast to ensure that classic wargames are playable.

This article looks at classic/popular wargames and provides a step by step guide per game details on how best to get them to run. So, whether you have those older CDs buried away, or are curious about what digital options are out there we’ve got you covered.  

Act of War: Direct Action

2 Act of War cover
Developer/Publisher:
Eugen Systems/Atari
Tags: Modern, Real Time, War on Terror, Moddable
Purchase: Steam | GoG

Before Eugen System’s famous Wargame series, Eugen System was known for Act of War: Direct Action. Act of War followed the early 2000s trends of typical Techno-thriller plots. Conspiracies, shadowy groups, terrorism and irregular warfare were the drive behind this underrated RTS gem. Act of War’s popularity drove Eugen Systems to develop a spiritual successor as Act of Aggression. With three distinctive factions, and an incredible campaign (with live action cutscenes!), Act of War is still definitely worth a look today.   

GoG Version

Direct Action and its expansion pack, High Treason are bundled together under the title Act of War: Gold Edition. For those who are unwilling to dig deep to get their games to work, the GoG version offers the best version for Window 7 & 10 users. It is packaged with an easy installer and Direct Action specifically working without noticeable issues. Be sure to pickup the easily applicable resolution patch on ModDB here! The patch is a simple replace of the executable file.

Lastly, GoG user A.l.n.o.x. has compiled patches, manuals and mods for Act of War and uploaded them on the GoG forums, so be sure to check that out here, and to thank him for it!

Steam Version

Act of War: Direct Action on Steam is less fortunate with respects of support. Out of the digital box, the came has a large chance of crashing to desktop for Window 10 users. In order to get around this, users must go into the game’s Steam library files and edit the graphical settings of the executable. 

3 Act of War executable

  • Find the ActofWar executable (Application), right click and go all the way down to Properties.
  • Run the program in Windows XP (Service Pack 3) compatibility mode, and as an administrator

 4 Act of War Properties

  • Return to the game files folder, and right click on the ActofWar executable and if given the option change the graphics processor to Integrated graphics.

5 Act of War Graphics Check 

  • A prompt may come up delivering you to the Nvidia Control Panel or AMD Catalyst Control Center, where you can add the Act of War program and the graphics options.

6 Act of War Graphics Change

If there is no option to for integrated graphics, or even with these steps, the GoG version of Act of War is the most viable alternative. Similarly Steam users also have the ability to use  a resolution mod, which is found here.

Disc Version

With those who still have the CD version of Act of War, installation to Windows 7 and 10 should be straight forward. But for those on Windows 10, the problems found with the Steam version may occur, and following the steps may fix the instant crash to desktop issue.

Panzer General

7 Panzer General
Developer/Publisher: Strategic Simulations
Tags: Turn Based, Various Theatres, Strategy, WW2
Purchase: Free

1994’s Panzer General is an all time classic for wargamers. With large amounts of scenarios and content, Panzer General became an intuitive and addictive turned based strategy, of which is still seen today through spiritual successors such as Panzer Corps. But for those who have played Panzer General, or those who are curious, the game can be easily accessed and playable today.

Because Panzer General is considered Abandonware, it can be found on sites such as MyAbandonWare.com or on PanzerGeneralDownload.com among other General series titles. Files for MS-DOS, Windows and Mac can be found. But for Windows 7/10 users, the Windows version is the best choice and works great with both OSes.

Selecting Panzer General for Windows 95 version 1.2 (88.5 mb) from PanzerGeneralDownload, Panzer General comes in a quick and easy to use package. Extract to wherever you please and make sure to read the ReadMe first! First thing you need to do is run the first batch file, effectively named 1. SETUP THE GAME ONCE. After clicking on it, and seeing it run (if not otherwise prompted), immediately click on the second batch file named 2. START THE GAME for whenever you want to play the game. You can change the resolution by dragging the virtual window diagonally.

Voila! Panzer General is back and ready for you to take panzers where no other General has before. Vorwärts!

Silent Hunter 2

8 Silent Hunter II
Developer/Publisher: Ultimation / Ubisoft
Tags: WW2, Naval, Submarine, Atlantic Theatre, Moddable
Purchase: GoG / Uplay

Silent Hunter II is an excellent SubSim, in a series of great SubSim games. However, Silent Hunter II is overshadowed by its modern sequels. Commanding a U-Boat in the Atlantic, search for convoys or other fleet targets. Whereas the later installments had a focus on campaigns and simulation fidelity, Silent Hunter II stood out as a powerhouse for interesting and unique single missions.

Support for Silent Hunter II is almost absent and can be tricky getting to cooperate with modern operating systems, with frequent crashes cited and measly limiting 800x600 resolution cap. Otherwise, Silent Hunter II is compatible with Windows 7 and 10.

Make sure to click on the settings application prior to booting up the game, to prevent possible black screens or resolution flickering. Otherwise if Silent Hunter II fails to boot, refer to tricks established already, such as changing the graphic card settings or compatibility options for the program (a good habit to do for all games). 

Whereas the Uplay and GoG versions of Silent Hunter II are the most updated release versions, CD installers may be behind on versions and would want to look at Ubisoft for the v1.1 patch (found here). Others looking to expand their Silent Hunter 2 experience can look to SubSim’s patch and mod section, which includes a resolution mod, (which you must pay for) among other great mods which bring incredible depth and variety into this submarine classic. 

Additionally, for those who are experienced with Dos Box and want to look into the original Silent Hunter, head over to MyAbandonWare.com, or try playing off of the browser (Atchung - It will have no sound!)

What classic wargames would you like to see, and if they will place nice with modern operating systems? Let us know in the comments!

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