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
Reception
IGDB 77
Taxonomy
Monetization Freeware
Series Area 51
Area 51 (2005) on IGDB
Area 51 (2005) on MobyGames
Area 51 (2005) on Wikipedia
Area 51
Area 51 1995
Area 51 (2005) 2005
BlackSite: Area 51 2007

Warnings

GameSpy online services have been shut down (see Network for solutions).

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.

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[edit]

Video settings.
Video settings.

Graphics feature State WSGF Notes
Widescreen resolution
The game is Vert- by default. Use Area 51 HOR+ FOV fix.
Multi-monitor
Use Area 51 HOR+ FOV fix.
Ultra-widescreen
Use Area 51 HOR+ FOV fix.
4K Ultra HD
Use Area 51 HOR+ FOV fix. HUD elements and menu text are not scaled and are very small.
Field of view (FOV)
Default FOV is 60°. Use Area 51 HOR+ FOV fix.
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.

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.
Game doesn't support AA natively and forcing it through GPU control panel causes white outlines around letters and some objects.
Use any injector that has FXAA (like ReShade)
Turn on morphological filtering in the graphics card control panel(AMD)[3]
Use Virtual/Dynamic Super Resolution[3]
  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.

Input[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[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
French
German
Italian
Portuguese
Spanish

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.[4]

Issues fixed[edit]

Problem installing the CD/DVD version[edit]

The installation process fails with the message "The wizard was interrupted before Area 51(R) could be completely installed".
Start the installation manually using the command console[5]
  1. Open the first CD or DVD in a new window to view its contents.
  2. Inside the window while holding Shift press the right mouse button and select "Open command window here" or "Open PowerShell Here".
  3. In the command console 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.

Broken textures and lighting[edit]

On some systems lighting will be broken and all textures will be black. This is a DirectX 11 issue and can be solved with a DirectX 9 wrapper.
Use WineD3D for Windows[6]
  1. Download WineD3D for Windows.
  2. Follow the included instructions for DirectX 9 games.
Use DgVoodoo 2 for Windows[7]
  1. Download DgVoodoo 2 for Windows.
  2. Follow the included instructions for DirectX 9 games.

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 elevated privileges (Run as administrator option), write operations against a location below %PROGRAMFILES%, %PROGRAMDATA%, or %WINDIR% might be redirected to %LOCALAPPDATA%\VirtualStore on Windows Vista and later (more details).

References

  1. Game Bundle Download Sponsored by Air Force
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 Verified by User:Garrett on 2014-07-25
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 Verified by User:Antrad on September 1, 2017
  4. Area 51 FOV issues
  5. Problems Installing Midway Games Area 51
  6. Broken textures and lighting - last accessed on 2020-04-27
  7. Broken textures and lighting - last accessed on 2020-08-8