Battlefield 1942 is another classic PC game that spawned a popular franchise that’s still around today. With it’s focus clearly on multiplayer and teamwork, Battlefield 1942 was an instant hit with the PC multiplayer and LAN gaming communities when it was launched back in 2002. More than ten years on, a community of dedicated fans still take to the original World War 2 themed battlefields for multiplayer showdowns.
Play for free on Origin
Origin, Electronic Art’s digital distribution network for the PC, gives anyone who signs up access to a complimentary copy of Battlefield 1942. This is a slightly tweaked version of the game which offers multiplayer through EA’s Origin servers. The caveat here is that for some reason, the Origin version of the game does not include the two expansion packs. If you want to play those, you’ll need to find a copy either as part of the World War 2 Anthology box-set or separately. Note that you cannot use the retail boxed expansion packs with the Origin version of the game, and players playing on Origin cannot play against those using a retail copy.
Battlefield 1942 – World War 2 Anthology should install without any issues on a modern PC. Simply insert the first disc and follow the on-screen prompts. If installation does not begin automatically, browse to the CD in Windows Explorer (or File Explorer on Windows 8) and manually run the Autorun.exe file. If you plan to install in the default directory (i.e program files or program files (x86)), see the troubleshooting section regarding save games first.
During installation you will be asked if you want to install the Gamespy Arcade component. You can skip this part as the Gamespy Arcade utility is now obsolete. We will cover multiplayer options later in the article.
Tweaking video settings
Basic video settings for Battlefield 1942 can be set from within the game. Start the game and open the Options menu, then select video. The screenshot below shows the options that are available.
Generally you can turn all the options on or to their highest setting, with the exception of Alternative Spawn Interface, which is only needed if you find the mouse pointer stuttering while you’re trying to select a spawn point. If you’re running the game on an older PC, there’s an extensive tweak guide available here, that will let you get extra performance on older machines.
You will notice that you aren’t able to select a widescreen screen mode from this menu. If you want to play the game in widescreen we will need to do some manual alterations to some configuration files.
It is possible to play Battlefield 1942 in widescreen, however to do so you will need to edit a number of settings files. First of all, locate the games directory, typically this is at C:\Program Files (x86)\EA Games\Battlefield 1942\. Open this folder in Windows Explorer/File Explorer. Now, navigate to Mods\bf1942\Settings\Profiles\Custom from within the game folder. In this folder, you should find a file called “Video.con”. Open this file with Notepad or your favourite text editor. find the line that begins “game.setGameDisplayMode” (without quotes). Change the line according to the screen resolution you want to use, according to the examples below:-
game.setGameDisplayMode 1920 1080 32 60 (for 1080p mode)
game.setGameDisplayMode 1280 720 32 60 (for 720p mode)
For other resolutions, substitute the first two values on the line with the width and height of your desired resolution. When you are done, save your changes. Before you leave this folder, right click on the Video.con file, choose “Properties” from the context menu then, in the window that appears, tick or check the “Read-only” attribute box, then click “OK”.
Next, go up one directory so that you are in the “Profiles” folder again. Open the folder for your profile and if there is a Video.con file present here, edit this file in the same way as before, remembering to make it read-only when you are done.
Finally, we need to navigate to the \Mods\bf1942\Settings directory from within the games folder. In this folder, there should be a file called “VideoDefault.con”. Again, open this up with Notepad. Locate the line that reads “renderer.fieldOfView” (without the quotes). Change the number on this line from 1 to 1.33333 (or 1.2 if you set a 16:10 aspect ratio screen-mode). Save the file and again set it to read-only.
You’re now done tweaking and can report to the front lines on your widescreen monitor or TV. Some users have reported that widescreen screen modes simply don’t work for them, in that case the only choice is to play with a standard 4:3 aspect ratio screenmode.
Battlefield 1942 was designed as a multiplayer game and is best played with groups of several players. Although the Gamespy multiplayer service that the game originally used has now shut down, you can still use the popular GameRanger to find and organize multiplayer matches. If you’re lucky enough to have several connected PC’s in your home, you can also create multiplayer matches on your home LAN. You will, however, need a copy of the game for each PC you use in multiplayer.
Problems with saved games/profiles:- Like many older games, Battlefield 1942 saves user data to the same folder it is installed to, rather than the users documents folder. This can cause problems on modern PC’s because the game doesn’t have permission to write to it’s saved game folder. There are a number of workarounds for this. First of all, you can install the game to an alternate location (such as c:\games). Secondly, you can run the game as Administrator each time you start it, though for security reasons this isn’t recommended. Finally, you can change the read/write permissions on the game folder to allow write access. For a tutorial on how to do this, click here.