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The mystery of what happens to us all after death is one that has inspired the arts and literature for centuries. According to the post-death experience that this game predicts, some of us at least will end up as heaven and hells own planning officers. That’s right, it’s Sim City for the souls in this amusing take on the popular city building and planning genre.
Despite it’s age, the game should install just fine using the standard installation utility. By default the game will install to a folder called “ALIFE” on the root of your C: drive. You can change the installation folder if you wish, but we don’t recommend trying to place it in the “program files” or “program files (x86)” folders. During the installation process you will be asked what kind of installation you want to do, we recommend choosing “Large”. You will also be asked which resolution you want to run the game in. Choose whichever resolution most closely matches your monitor and don’t worry if you get this wrong as we will show you how to change it later.
There was just one patch released for the game. The version 1.1 patch fixed problems with certain sound cards. As usual we recommend downloading and installing this patch. If you have a later edition of the game you may find that your copy is already fully patched. You can tell by starting a new game and going to the “File” menu. If you see “Afterlife 1.1” you have the latest version already installed and you don’t need to patch.
If you do need the patch, you can download it here (link broken? Let me know here). The patch is downloaded as a zip file. Open the zip file and copy the PATCH1 program into your Afterlife directory and then run it. Patching should then be automatic.
There’s one further fix you need to apply before starting the game. Afterlife runs remarkably well on modern PCs, considering its age, but without this fix you will encounter problems with the speech and music in the game. All that you need to do is tell the program to run with just one CPU core. When the game was released, multi-core processors were unheard of in consumer PCs and so the game was probably never tested on such a machine. The easiest way to apply this fix is to download this simple batch file (link broken? Let me know here). Our hosts have now started demanding we store all batch files inside zip archives, so you will need to download the zip and extract the batch file from inside it. Once downloaded, place the batch file in the same directory as your Afterlife game and then simply click it to start the game.
Running the game
You can start the game by opening its installation folder and clicking on the “start-afterlife.bat” file. The games installer doesn’t create any shortcuts for you, so you may wish to create a shortcut to the start-afterlife.bat file yourself. For a tutorial on creating shortcuts, click here.
When you start the game it will warn you that you are running it in a colour depth greater than 256 and this might affect performance, you can safely ignore this warning.
Afterlife always runs in windowed mode, but it is possible to change the default window size to take up more of your monitor. Open the ALIFE folder on your PC and edit the alife.ini file. In this file is a value called “Resolution”. You can set this to the same resolution as your desktop, though to more comfortably fit the window on your desktop, you may want to take around 80 pixels off the screen height. So for example if your monitor runs at 1920×1080 resolution (1080p) try editing the Resolution in the ini file to “1920×1000”. For a tutorial on editing ini files, see this link.