What is the difference between Fantastic Worlds (FW), Multiplayer Gold Edition (MGE) and Test of Time (ToT)?
A table showing a comparison between these three versions can be found here. The emphasis is on scenario design.
Is there an official patch for Test of Time?
Yes, the latest version of the game is 1.1. The patch can be downloaded from the following locations:
Is there a no-CD crack for Test of Time?
How do I get the city screen and status bar arrangement the same as the older versions of Civilization 2?
In the View menu there are Map and City Layout options. Map Layout toggles the position of the status bar - horizontal-top or vertical-right-hand-side. City Layout toggles between the standard Test of Time city information screen and the style characteristic of earlier Civilization 2 versions.
Test of Time 1.0 is installed on my machine. I'm trying to apply the version 1.1 patch, but the installer tells me, 'You must have Civ II Test of Time installed in order to install this update.' What gives?
It seems that for some versions of Test of Time, particularly the one that ships with Civilization Chronicles (inexplicably released as version 1.0 in 2006), the game is not correctly installed in the registry and the patch installer can't detect the game. If you are using Civilization Chronicles, try updating the game with SanMadJack's patch installer. Alternatively, the missing registry entries can be patched in prior to running the official 1.1 patch installer. For this method, click on this link and follow Mercator's instructions.
Test of Time works fine until it attempts to play videos, at which point the program hangs/produces a black screen. How can I fix this?
Test of Time videos are encoded with the antiquated Indeo 5 codec. If you don't have it installed and registered on your system, the game can't play videos correctly. Here are three solutions in the order of my preference:
I have a 64-bit version of Windows. Test of Time installs and launches well enough, but whenever I try to build a city, it crashes. Is there a solution?
Test of Time (32-bit) is not fully compatible with 64-bit operating systems. Use of the edit control (eg, enter leader name, Build New City) will cause the game to crash. There are two 64-bit compatibility patches available for download:
When I play Test of Time my CPU runs at 100%, sending the fans into overdrive. Is there anything I can do to fix this?
Yes. The Civ2 executable typically uses 100% of the available CPU core 100% of the time. Remember, the original version of the game was released back in 1996 when this type of thing wasn't a concern. These days that's a lot of electricity and system fan activity for naught. There are two CPU usage patches available for download:
I just reloaded my saved game and the graphics look like a corrupted variety of those found in older versions of Civilization 2. What's going on?
When you save your Test of Time games, you must save them in the correct subfolder. This means that if you are playing the Original game, you must save your games in the Original folder. Likewise, Extended Original games must be saved in the ExtendedOriginal folder. The same goes for scenarios. The old-style graphics appear if you save your games in Test of Time's main folder. The game will read any resources located there, including obsolete graphics, when the saved game is reloaded.
I've downloaded a Test of Time scenario from the Internet, but when I try to play it, a dialogue box pops up displaying the following message: 'Failed to load game: file is in obsolete format.' Why is this happening?
Test of Time 1.1 is required to play scenarios created with version 1.1. You need to update your version of the game. See here.
I've downloaded a Test of Time scenario from the Internet. Unit and terrain resource graphics from the Original game are appearing in place of the scenario's custom icons. Why is this happening and what can I do to fix it?
It's happening simply because the author of the scenario failed to disable them. You need to do two things:
Disable the unit sprites: Open the rules.txt file in your scenario folder and go to the @UNITS_ADVANCED section. Change the 8th bit in column G (reverse programmer notation) to 1 for every entry in the table (see below, highlighted red).
11111111, 00000000, 0, 0000000000000000,0000000000000000,0000000000000000, 10000000
Disable the terrain resource sprites: Download this dummy resource sprite file (369 bytes unzipped) and place it in your scenario folder.
If the scenario is running, quit back to the main menu and reload the game. That will refresh the graphics and the offending sprites will be history. For more information on sprite management, see this guide.
I've downloaded a scenario from the Internet. It requires me to run a batch (.BAT) file to install/change various game files. When I double-click the file, the Command Prompt window flashes on the screen for less than a second and then disappears. How do I get these batch files to work?
These batch files use the obsolete Choice command for menu selection. To function, this command requires the file, choice.com. Choice.com shipped with Windows 9x systems, but is not supported on NT-based systems, eg, XP, Vista and 7. When choice.com is missing, the batch process terminates. To run these batch files successfully, download Choice.com (3 kB) and place it in your scenario folder, or better still, in your Windows\System32 folder.
A more conventional method for creating batch file menus on modern operating systems is to use SET /P instead, as explained by Mercator in this post. This is especially relevant as 64-bit versions of Microsoft Windows are becoming standard and Choice.com is incompatible with these systems. For more information on creating 64-bit-compatible batch files for Civilization 2 scenarios, see this thread.
Editing and Design
Does Test of Time have a map editor?
No, it doesn't. The readme file states the following:
With regret, we must announce that we can no longer support a map editor with this product. Test of Time will accept maps made by a map editor included in any of the other Civ II products, however.
This isn't a problem because Mercator adapted the official map editor that shipped with earlier versions of Civilization 2 for use with Test of Time. It is available on his site. Unlike the original, this one also supports gigamaps, ie, maps larger than 10 922 tiles (to a maximum of 32 767). If you have a 64-bit version of Windows, run MastermindX's 64-bit Windows Compatibility Patcher on the Civ2map.exe file to prevent edit control crashes.
What graphical format does Test of Time use?
Test of Time renders most of its graphics in 15-bit Highcolor (that's 2 bytes); for some it uses various 8-bit palettes. The last (16th) bit of the 2 bytes is used as a mask indicator, ie, for team colours. This gives you 5 bits per colour channel (RGB) or 25 x 25 x 25 = 32 768 colours, as opposed to the 192 available colours (out of 256) in the standard 8-bit Civilization 2 palette. The official Test of Time bitmaps are saved as Highcolor graphics, but many editors don't support this format. That's no problem because the game can read 24-bit (Truecolor) bitmaps. Simply save your Test of Time graphics as 24-bit BMP files.
What sound format does Test of Time use?
Sounds for Test of Time must be saved as 8-bit, 22 kHz, PCM format WAV files. Stereo and mono are supported.
Where can I find a list of Test of Time's additions to the macro language for events?
Test of Time's macro language for events is explained in the macro.txt file, located in the main Test of Time folder. This file has been reported as missing from some of the non-English versions of the game, so I'll host it here.
How do I get all of the units in my scenario to appear in the Civilopedia?
By default, only the first 62 units listed in your rules.txt file will appear in the Civilopedia. To make additional units (63-80) appear, you will need to include a describe.txt file with your scenario. You will more than likely also need to edit the @@UNIT_INDEX section of this file. For a scenario that uses the full compliment of 80 units, the list requires 80 entries. If you don't want to write a description for each unit, simply enter index values of -1 (this disables the item's description button). Remember, unit numbering begins at zero and the list must be terminated with a value of -2. To make things easier I'll provide a describe.txt template for download. The principle is the same for the other sections of the Civilopedia, eg, additional terrain types for a multi-map scenario will only appear if extra indices are added to the @@TERRAIN_INDEX list.
Your scenario may also contain unbuildable units, ie, 'no' prerequisites. If you want them to appear in the Civilopedia, the procedure is simple (none of that once-removed-tech nonsense of earlier versions of Civ2). Give these units a prerequisite of 'nil' or in fact, any technology you deem appropriate. Once a unit has been defined as unbuildable in column A of the @UNITS_ADVANCED section (rules.txt), its prerequisite technology becomes redundant. Only units with a 'no' prerequisite will fail to appear in the Civilopedia.
How does the 'Tribe May Build' mask work in the Advanced Units section of the Rules file?
This is pretty straightforward, with most of the confusion stemming from the game's use of reverse programmer notation and tribe order. All of the masks in the @UNITS_ADVANCED table (rules.txt) use reverse programmer notation. This means that the bit values in each mask are read from right to left. In the 'Tribe May Build' mask (column A) there are 8 bits, one for each tribe slot, starting with tribe 0 (Barbarians). A value of 1 indicates the tribe can build the unit; a value of 0 indicates the tribe can't build the unit. In the example below, only tribes 0, 6 and 7 would be able to build that unit, even if all tribes possessed its prerequisite technology.
If the human player can't build a particular unit you will see a red 'You cannot build this unit' displayed in the Civilopedia entry. Look in the Original game rules and you can see that everyone can build everything, as you'd expect.
So just to be clear, we have: tribe 0 (rightmost, barbarians), tribe 1 (2nd from the right, Romans/Russians/Celts),... tribe 7 (leftmost, Indians/Mongols/Sioux).
How does the 'Not Allowed On Map' mask work in the Advanced Units section of the Rules file?
Column B in the @UNITS_ADVANCED table (rules.txt) has two effects. Firstly, it prevents a unit from being built on the specified map/s. Secondly, it is supposed to prevent a unit from accessing such maps via the native transport ability (column F). The second function is buggy, as explained by TheNamelessOne here. The bug was fixed in version 0.7 of his Test of Time Patch Project. Column B does not prevent a unit from using a transporter to enter the specified map/s (column E handles that). As with all bitmasks, it uses reverse programmer notation, so values are read from right to left. Each bit represents one of the 4 possible maps (numbered 0-3); the last 4 bits in the mask are not used. In the example below, you would not be allowed to build the specified unit on maps 0 and 2; the unit would also be unable to enter either of these maps using its native transport ability (if it possessed one).
; A B
11111111, 00000101, ...
How do I set the colours for each tribe?
Tribe colours are determined by two pixels above each flag icon in cities.bmp, as illustrated below. The in-game effect is shown on the right.
The colour of the city name text.
The colour of the city size box, diplomacy screen trim, unit key (shield) and team colour masks for sprites. In the game, the colour on the unit key is a darker version of this pixel (approximately half the RGB value). Note that the Test of Time Patch Project allows you to control the brightness of the unit key with a setting (UnitShieldColor) in rules.txt.
What is improvements.bmp used for? I make changes to the file, but they are not reflected in the Civilopedia.
You might think that the 72 x 40 pixel icons in improvements.bmp are used by the game's Civilopedia screens, where you can find both 72 x 40 and 54 x 30 pixel icons for wonders and city improvements. Not so. The Civilopedia uses the smaller 36 x 20 pixel icons from the icons.bmp file, resulting in a somewhat clunky, pixellated appearance. Don't ask me why. Anyway, the larger icons from improvements.bmp are used in the city screen (the standard one for Test of Time, not the classic one - toggled via City Layout in the View menu) and in various message boxes from game.txt, eg, @HOCKTHIS, @NOTRANSPORTER and @BATTERY (shown below).
Why are my wonder graphics in the Civilopedia corrupt?
You've just gone and pasted an image into one of your XXimp.bmp files and then loaded up the game to see how it checks out in the Civilopedia. You find that the picture is marred by dark lines or that large patches are missing. This is because the colour of the pixel in the top left corner of the image defines a transparency mask. All like pixels will become transparent, revealing boarder1.bmp behind. This phenomenon only occurs in the wonder graphics (40imp.bmp - 67imp.bmp), not the city improvement graphics (01imp.bmp - 39imp.bmp). It seems that Microprose's own art team was unaware of the fact, as a number of the official wonder graphics have been corrupted in this manner (see below).
Solution: make sure that the pixel in the top left corner is of a different colour to the remainder in the image. Magenta (#FF00FF) is a good choice, as it's rarely found in graphics and stands out like a sore thumb. If you don't like the effect of one missing pixel in the top left corner, you could create a one-pixel wide border down the left hand side or across the top of the image.
Transparent colour markers like these can be found all over the place in Test of Time: cities.bmp, units.bmp, people.bmp, terrainX.bmp, icons.bmp, city.bmp and dialog.bmp.
I have just saved my game as a scenario and now all my tribe-specific leader titles (@LEADERS table in rules.txt) are ignored. The default titles for each government type (@GOVERNMENTS table) are loaded instead. How do I fix this?
This happens once the scenario flag is set, ie, in SCN files, or SAV files derived from them. If a tribe's plural name (column 6 in the @LEADERS table) matches the one stored in the SAV/SCN file, then the game only reads leader titles from the @GOVERNMENTS table and ignores those from @LEADERS.
Solution: after saving a game as a scenario, change the plural names in @LEADERS to something different. You should find that the game now reads the custom titles at the end of each leader entry. This workaround isn't perfect. To work for the human player it requires the game to be saved and reloaded. Tribe-specific titles for the AI tribes will be loaded correctly when the scenario is begun.
Are you ever going to release that War of the Ring scenario?
It's right here, you clown. Quit your nagging.
(Last updated 08/09/2015. Update to entry for Indeo video playback.)