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There’s a stranger in Diamondback, and that stranger is you partner. In this western themed adventure game you must make your fortune and get revenge on “The Kid”, who cheated against you during a high stakes poker game, leaving you without a gun or a buck to your name.
We were not able to get Dust: A Tale of the Wired West to work natively on our modern PCs. The only way to run the game reliably on a modern PC is to use DOSBox and a copy of Windows 3.1. Setup DOSBox and Windows 3.1 according to our tutorials here.
To install the game in Windows 3.1, insert your Dust CD-ROM into your computers optical drive then Start DOSBox and Windows 3.1, making sure that your optical drive is mounted in DOSBox. Open the Main group and start File Manager. Click on the CD icon at the top of the window and then run the Setup.exe file in the list of files on the right. Installation should then begin automatically. When asked what components you wish to install, you can select all options.
On our test machine, the installer failed to properly detect how much hard drive space we had and refused to install the game claiming that there wasn’t enough free space. If this happens, exit the game and run “setup.exe” again. A message should appear that says “Are you having trouble installing DUST?”. Click “Yes”. and then “Yes” again. This will launch an alternative installer. Simply follow all the on-screen prompts and choose “Large” install when asked what type of installation you want to perform.
When installation is complete, the installer will prompt you to install two “enhancements”, namely the WinG and Win32s components. if you followed our Windows 3.1 setup tutorials, these components should already be installed.
For those of you wanting to try the game on more modern versions of Windows, note that the game uses a 16 bit installation program meaning it cannot be installed on 64 bit versions of Windows. By installing the game on an older computer and then copying the files and registry keys manually, the game can be made to launch on 64 bit operating systems. Writing a replacement installer would be possible but since we weren’t able to get the game to work correctly in this situation we have not produced one. For reference, the game stores its registry keys under HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Cyberflix\Dust
Playing the game
Before starting the game, you may want to change the screen resolution in Windows 3.1 to 640×480 with 256 colours. See this tutorial if you don’t know how to do that. You can start the game by opening the Cyberflix group and then clicking on the “Dust” icon.
Below are the notes we compiled when trying to get the game working directly on a more modern version of Windows.
Running the game in Windows 8 was the most problematic. The game would only run once, then require a complete reboot of the PC before it ran again. While running the game, certain areas on the screen were missing. This affected the menus and made navigating to save and load impossible, for instance. None of the compatibility mode options were able to fix this problem.
Running the game in Windows 7 was significantly more successful. By setting the game to Windows 95 compatibility mode and by using a batch file that shut down Windows Explorer before starting the game (the same method we used with Titanic – Adventure out of Time) we were able to get the game to start. Navigating around and talking to characters then worked fine, with no graphical corruption. Sadly, when we tried to save or load a game, the game just crashed back to desktop.
Windows XP Virtual Machine
In our tests Dust: A Tale of the Wired West did NOT work on a Windows XP virtual machine. The game simply crashed immediately upon launching.
Can you submit a fix?
Know how to get this game working without the need for DOSBox and Windows 3.1? Help the community by submitting a comment and letting us know!
Click on any screenshot to see a bigger version.