Age of Empires 2 LAN games do not work on Windows 7/Vista

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#1 Posted by matte3560 (1729 posts) -

I've had a LAN party with my friend this weekend and it's been great fun. We've got a regular rotation of games we usually play, most of which are coop games and such. In addition, we've got a few classics like AoE2. The problem is that they don't always work so well on newer OSes.

AoE2 was giving us hell trying to get it to work. Initially, we tried to use our gaming rigs, both of which are running Win7 64-bit. That was a total failure, we couldn't find each others games (Using both LAN search and IP search options) even after disabling all forms of antivirus and firewalls.

Getting a bit desperate, I tried downloading XP mode. When I realized it didn't fully support DirectDraw, I almost murdered a kitten (because my connection is slow and it had taken me 30 minutes to download). I figured I would have to resort to hooking up my school laptop which runs the real deal instead. This time around My friend could find my match, but I could not find his. In addition, he could not connect to me, despite being able to find the game. All AVs and firewalls were disabled on my laptop as well.

Really getting desperate now, my friend pulled up his Vista laptop to see if that would work. Same issues here. He can see my game, but not connect to it, and I don't see his at all. This was really weird, as We've had it work with two Vista machines before (although it was EXTREMELY unpredictable). We didn't take the time to try Vista on Vista, because I would have to get ATI drivers installed over the Nvidia ones on my Vista partition.

In the end, my friend had to use my server to play the game, because it runs XP. Not too surprisingly, this worked flawlessly. Connecting only took a split second, and there were no issues with the game appearing as "Age of Empires 2: Toxic Wasteland" (Messed up colors).

Getting all this stuff set up was a massive pain in the ass, as you can probably imagine. That's why I need some help getting the game to work on Windows 7, or at the very least, Vista.

Any help would be greatly appreciated!

NOTE: I wasn't sure where to put this topic, but I feel that I'm more likely to get helped out here, than in the PC games forum.

#2 Posted by markop2003 (29917 posts) -
Get virtual box and install XP in it then run it from there. It's far from perfect but it should solve any possible cause and you can use it for other games that don't work too.
#3 Posted by matte3560 (1729 posts) -
Get virtual box and install XP in it then run it from there. It's far from perfect but it should solve any possible cause and you can use it for other games that don't work too.markop2003
Will I be able to use the .vhd file XP mode uses, or do i need to actually install XP on it manually?
#5 Posted by matte3560 (1729 posts) -

I got the .vhd to work, but I can't get the game to connect to my real XP machine even though i can ping it using the CMD (game does not appear when searched for). I can see the game in W7, but not join it.

#6 Posted by markop2003 (29917 posts) -
The .vhd may work but i'ld be tempted to install a regular version on to it to avoid any possible changes
#7 Posted by Tannerr33 (896 posts) -

I've had similar problems with that game and to fix it I had to use a program called gameranger. I have no clue why gameranger fixed my problem, but once we started using it we had no problems with connecting to each other at all.

#8 Posted by matte3560 (1729 posts) -

I managed to figure it out guys. I found this, which pointed me in the right direction (see the bottom post).

Using TCPview I managed to find that the issue was W7/Vista was always sending the handshake packets to the external IP address, instead of the correct LAN address. I tried using an older router that wasn't hooked up to the internet for testing. However, it was configured for static IP, which meant that Vista/W7 was still trying to use the external IP.

I reset the router (changing it back to dynamic IP, or whatever you call it), which did the trick. Since the router wasn't getting an external IP address (stayed at 0.0.0.0) Vista/W7 managed to understand I wasn't trying to play online, and connected to the correct IP.

If you do have a dynamic IP, disconnecting the WAN cable from your router might do the trick, but this was not the case for me.

#10 Posted by markop2003 (29917 posts) -
some1 spends too much time trying to get old games to work.JigglyWiggly_
I spent hours trying to get Generals to work a while back, had to move .dll's and re-write part of a config to get it to run
#11 Posted by matte3560 (1729 posts) -
some1 spends too much time trying to get old games to work.JigglyWiggly_
It was worth it :P But seriously, I just hate it when I can't figure things out. I just had to clear this off my chest so I could do something else.
#13 Posted by fastnick22 (1 posts) -

I managed to figure it out guys. I found this, which pointed me in the right direction (see the bottom post).

Using TCPview I managed to find that the issue was W7/Vista was always sending the handshake packets to the external IP address, instead of the correct LAN address. I tried using an older router that wasn't hooked up to the internet for testing. However, it was configured for static IP, which meant that Vista/W7 was still trying to use the external IP.

I reset the router (changing it back to dynamic IP, or whatever you call it), which did the trick. Since the router wasn't getting an external IP address (stayed at 0.0.0.0) Vista/W7 managed to understand I wasn't trying to play online, and connected to the correct IP.

If you do have a dynamic IP, disconnecting the WAN cable from your router might do the trick, but this was not the case for me.

matte3560
LADIES AND GENTLEMENS, I'VE FOUND MUCH SIMPLER SOLUTION - DISABLE UPNP ON YOUR HOME ROUTER! That will prevent directplay to use external ip's for connectiong to someone who is on same side of nat as you ;)
#14 Posted by kraken2109 (13056 posts) -

I can't remember where i got it, but i have AOE2 modded to run in 1080p so i can see more. Also I fixed the messed up colours, if you close explorer it works.

#15 Posted by mattb2000 (1 posts) -
Disconnecting the WAN port did work for me, no fuss :)
#16 Posted by MonsieurX (30282 posts) -
Disconnecting the WAN port did work for me, no fuss :)mattb2000
Good job,now you bumped an old thread for nothing.
#17 Posted by JigglyWiggly_ (23567 posts) -
My posts actually have improved since 3 years ago. I am impressed.