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There’s certainly no shortage of Star Wars games on computers or games consoles. It seems players can’t get enough of taking part in the endless imaginary intergalactic conflicts that exist within the Star Wars universe. Star Wars: Force Commander gives you yet another chance to take to the battlefield in George Lucas’ universe, this time as a battlefield commander for either the empire or the rebels. Star Wars: Force Commander divided the critics when it was released and still does to this day. Some label it as the worst Star Wars game on PC, while others find it entertaining and engrossing. If you love real time strategy games and you’re willing to get to grips with the games sometimes awkward controls, you should have many hours of fun in command of your star troopers.
Star Wars: Force Commander is particularly troublesome to install. The original installer is a 16 bit executable and therefore won’t run on 64 bit versions of Windows. Even if you have a 32 bit version of Windows, there are no guarantees the installer will work. Fortunately we were able to write a replacement installer that works much better on more modern versions of Windows. The replacement installer will perform the following tasks.
Install the game
Install the V1.1 update
Install the music and video fix
Set highest visual quality
Allow you to change the screen resolution
There was just one patch released for the game. Most of the fixes included in the patch were to do with multiplayer matches, but it’s still worth being on the latest version of the game anyway. If you installed the game using our replacement installer, this patch is already installed for you. If not, you can download it here.
Running the game
Star Wars: Force Commander runs well on modern hardware, but to avoid problems with videos stuttering and music getting stuck you should make sure to run the game using only one CPU core. If you used our replacement installer you should start the game using the “Play Star Wars Force Commander” shortcut. This will execute a simple batch file and ensure the game runs using only one of your computers processing cores. If you didn’t use the replacement installer you can download the batch file here. Our hosts have now started demanding we store all batch files inside zip archives, so you will need to download the zip file then extract the batch file from inside it into the “Resource” sub-folder in your Force Commander game folder. Then, just click on the batch file to run it.
Tweaking visual quality
Our replacement installer configures the game for the highest possible visual quality, so if you installed using that you can skip over the details here. The bulk of the visual quality settings can be configured from the games launcher. Start the game as an administrator (or use the “Configure Force Commander” shortcut if you installed with our replacement installer) and then select “Options” and then “Performance Options”. The following window will then appear.
Configure the settings as shown above. Do not select “Use Hardware Cursor”, if you do, you will most likely make your mouse cursor invisible in-game. Notice in the screenshot we are unable to set a screen resolution, this is a common problem on more recent graphics cards and is why our replacement installer has the option to set the resolution for you instead.
Finally there are three visual quality settings you can configure while playing the game. Start Force Commander and then start a new game. Press the Escape key to access the options menu and then choose “Options”. Now, choose “Video”. Set the LOD (level of detail) all the way to the right and the Fog all the way to the left. Finally, ensure Mipmapping is turned on. Again, our replacement installer has already set these options for you, so no need to change them unless you installed using the original installer.
The online infrastructure that supported Star Wars: Force Commander has long since shut down. However, it may still be possible to play the game with other players in your home or even across the internet using TCP/IP mode. We have not tested this however.
Audio or video stutters or freezes – Ensure you are running the game with one CPU core only. Use the “Play Star Wars Force Commander” shortcut that the replacement installer provides for you or download the batch file provided under “Running the game”.
Game cursor/pointer is invisible – Run the settings program and make sure that “Use Hardware Cursor” is turned off.
Game settings are not saved/applied after running the configuration tool – Firstly, make sure that you run the configuration tool as an administrator. If you still have problems, you may need to perform the following fix to clear out various registry keys that Windows may have cached for compatibility reasons.
Start the Windows registry editor (regedit) and browse to either of the following keys –
HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Classes\VirtualStore\MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Wow6432Node\LucasArts Entertainment Company LLC\Force Commander” (for 64 bit versions of Windows)
HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Classes\VirtualStore\MACHINE\SOFTWARE\LucasArts Entertainment Company LLC\Force Commander” (for 32 bit versions of Windows)
Delete the entire key you find here (and only here). If you need a beginners tutorial on using the registry editor, see this page. Now, check and configure the games settings again (making sure to run the configuration tool as an administrator). By deleting this registry key, you will force Windows to re-cache this key the next time the game is run, hopefully fixing any problems.
Problems saving games – Like many older games, Star Wars: Force Commander places its save game files and various configuration files in the same directory that it is installed to. This can cause problems on more modern versions of Windows as programs are not normally permitted to write to the program files directory. To avoid this problem, either install the game to an alternate location (our replacement installer will suggest c:\Games\ForceCommander) or manually edit the permissions on the “Force Commander” folder. A tutorial on how to edit folder permissions can be found here.