Area 51 (2005)

From PCGamingWiki, the wiki about fixing PC games
Area 51
Area 51 cover
Developers
Midway Studios Austin
Publishers
Midway Games
Release dates
Windows June 8, 2005
Area 51 (2005) at Wikipedia

Warnings

GameSpy online services have been shut down (see Network for solutions).
Area 51
Area 51 (2005) 2005
BlackSite: Area 51 2007

Key points

This game is available as a free download.

Availability[edit]

Source DRM Notes Keys OS
Retail
Disc check (requires the CD/DVD in the drive to play)
StarForce 3 DRM (removed in the latest patch).
Windows
The installer on the retail version of the game does not function correctly on modern operating systems (Windows 7 and later). See Installing the CD/DVD version for a solution or install the free version.

Free version[edit]

This game was released as a free download sponsored by the US Air Force.[1]
It can be downloaded here. Install the latest patch to remove the online DRM.

Essential improvements[edit]

Skip intro videos[edit]

Delete/rename Midway_640x480_30.bik[2]
  1. Go to MOVIES in the installation folder.
  2. Delete or rename Midway_640x480_30.bik.

Patches[edit]

Install the latest patch(1.2) to remove copy protection and fix various issues.
Latest patch for German and European is version 1.1, it can be found in the above link or here and here.

Project Dreamland[edit]

Project Dreamland is a source port of Area 51, that comes bundled together with all of its content. It enables multiplayer and fixes many bugs of the original. However it requires online connection even to play single player campaign and the low FOV issue after some cut-scenes wasn't fixed.

Game data[edit]

Configuration file(s) location[edit]

System Location
Windows <path-to-game>\[Note 1]
UserVConfig.ini contains player video settings.
UserInputConfig.ini contains player input settings.
LangConfig.ini contains the game language settings.
InputConfig.ini and VConfig.ini contain default settings; these files do not need to be edited directly.

Save game data location[edit]

System Location
Windows <path-to-game>\SAVES\[Note 1]

Video settings[edit]

Video settings.
Video settings.
Graphics feature State WSGF Notes
Widescreen resolution
Image is Vert-. Very narrow FOV. See Field of view (FOV).
Multi-monitor
Image is Vert-. Extremely narrow FOV. See Field of view (FOV).
Ultra-widescreen
Image is Vert-. Extremely narrow FOV. See Field of view (FOV).
4K Ultra HD
Image is Vert-. Very narrow FOV. See Field of view (FOV). HUD elements and menu text are not scaled and are very small.
Field of view (FOV)
Default FOV is 60°. See Field of view (FOV).
Windowed
See Windowed.
Borderless fullscreen windowed
See Windowed.
Anisotropic filtering (AF)
Can be forced in the GPU control panel.
Anti-aliasing (AA)
Control panel hack causes glitches, see Anti-aliasing (AA).
Vertical sync (Vsync)
Enabled by default.
60 FPS
120+ FPS
At higher fps, jumping does not work correctly. See High frame rate breaks jump physics.

Field of view (FOV)[edit]

Use Area 51 FOV Patch[citation needed]
  1. Install Patch 1.2.
  2. Use Area 51 FOV Patch to set a custom FOV.

Notes

After certain in-game cut-scenes, the FOV changes to a very low value.[3]

Windowed[edit]

Set windowed in UserVConfig.ini[2]
  1. Go to the installation folder.
  2. Edit UserVConfig.ini.
  3. Change Window = FALSE to Window = TRUE
  4. Set your resolution if needed.
  5. For borderless mode set your desktop resolution and use a borderless tool.
  6. Save your changes and close the file.

Anti-aliasing (AA)[edit]

Forced AA causing white outlines.
Forced AA causing white outlines.
The game doesn't support AA natively and forcing it through GPU control panel causes white outlines around letters and objects in the game.
Use Virtual/Dynamic Super Resolution[4]
  1. Open your graphics card control panel.
  2. Turn on Virtual Super Resolution(AMD) or Dynamic Super Resolution(Nvidia)
  3. In the game video settings select resolution that is higher than the monitor's native resolution. If the game runs in a window change the desktop resolution first, so the game window fits on the screen.
Turn on morphological filtering in the graphics card control panel(AMD)[4]
This can be used in combination with Virtual Super Resolution.

Input settings[edit]

Controls.
Controls.
Key mappings.
Key mappings.
Keyboard and mouse State Notes
Remapping
Mouse acceleration
Disabled by default.
Mouse sensitivity
Mouse input in menus
Mouse Y-axis inversion
Controller
Controller support
See the glossary page for potential workarounds.

Audio settings[edit]

Audio settings.
Audio settings.
Audio feature State Notes
Separate volume controls
Effects, music and speech.
Surround sound
Subtitles
Closed captions
Mute on focus lost

Localizations

Language UI Audio Sub Notes
English
German
Italian
Portuguese
French

Network[edit]

Multiplayer types

Type Native Notes
LAN play
Online play
GameSpy servers have been shut down. To play online download Project Dreamland.

Issues unresolved[edit]

FOV changes after some cutscenes[edit]

After certain in-game cut-scenes FOV changes to a very low value. It changes back automatically when a new level is started or if the player loads the game from the next checkpoint.[3]

Issues fixed[edit]

Problem installing the CD/DVD version[edit]

The installation process fails with the following message "The wizard was interrupted before Area 51(R) could be completely installed".
Start the installation manually using the command console[5]

Variant 1:

  1. Open the first CD or DVD in a new window to view its contents.
  2. Inside the new window while holding Shift press the right mouse button and select "Open command window here".
  3. In the command window type msiexec /i "Area 51(R).msi" /qb and press Enter.
  4. Apply the newest patch to remove DRM.

Variant 2:

  1. Copy all disc files in same folder, e.g.: C:\Area51Files.
  2. Open PowerShell by holding Shift pressing the right mouse button and select "Open PowerShell Here".
  3. In the command window type msiexec /i "Area 51(R).msi" /qb and press Enter.
  4. Apply the newest patch to remove DRM.

Notes

Default installation folder is C:\Program Files\Midway Games\Area 51\ for 32 bit systems and C:\Program Files (x86)\Midway Games\Area 51\ for 64 bit systems. You can change the installation folder by using the INSTALLDIR option. For example, to install the game on E: drive in Games folder type msiexec /i "Area 51(R).msi" INSTALLDIR="E:\Games\Midway Games\Area 51\" /qb.
For installing in other languages use the TRANSFORMS property (German and European version only). For German language e.g.: msiexec /i "Area 51(R).msi" TRANSFORMS=1031.mst /qb Other mst files for changing language are: 1033.mst, 1034.mst, 1036.mst, 1040.mst and 3084.mst.

"An internet connection is required to enjoy free, ad-supported game play" error[edit]

The advertising servers for the free US Air Force version are no longer running.
Install the latest patch[2]

Choppy cutscene playback[edit]

FMV cutscenes play incorrectly in fullscreen mode on modern systems.

High frame rate breaks jump physics[edit]

FPS >50 causes inability to jump while moving up sloped surfaces. FPS >100 breaks jumping mechanic entirely.[citation needed].
Jumping is not required for combat, and in most cases where jumping from one platform to another is required, there is an invisible scripted "jump assist" that allows the player to jump across gaps, even though normal jumping is prevented by high frame rate.
Video capture software such as FRAPS can be used to lower frame rate to 60 fps if jumping is required but there is not pre-scripted "jump assist", such as the section in the 2nd level where you are required to jump over moving beams of electricity[citation needed]
Alternatively, because the game has permanent v-sync, if your monitor has a manual refresh rate toggle button, switching the refresh rate to 60 hz will also cause the frame rate to be locked at 60[citation needed]

Other information[edit]

API[edit]

Technical specs Supported Notes
Direct3D 9
Executable 32-bit 64-bit Notes
Windows

Middleware[edit]

Middleware Notes
Audio Miles Sound System
Cutscenes Bink Video
Multiplayer GameSpy Servers have been shut down. To play online download Project Dreamland.

System requirements[edit]

Windows
Minimum
Operating system (OS) 2000, XP
Processor (CPU) Intel 1.4 GHz
AMD 1.2 GHz
System memory (RAM) 256 MB
Hard disk drive (HDD) 3 GB
Video card (GPU) ATI Radeon 9500
Nvidia GeForce FX 5200

Notes

  1. 1.0 1.1 When running this game without Administrator elevation, activity in %PROGRAMFILES%, %PROGRAMFILES(X86)%, and %WINDIR% might be redirected to %LOCALAPPDATA%\VirtualStore\ (more details).

References