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    Microsoft Support....

    I know I probably shouldn’t have gone anywhere near them but curiosity got the better of me.
    The thing is that I’m having problems with is Microsoft’s Age of Empires II, it just doesn’t work and I get the error message: "Could not initialize graphics system. Make sure that your video card and driver are compatible with DirectDraw". The Graphics card is an ATI Fire GL 256p which has a 9700 chip and is full compatible with Direct X 9, it works with every other game I have, UT, UT2004, Stronghold, Unreal II, Pain Killer and Microsoft’s Age of Titans.

    Now they have a knowledge base article for that exact problem – 242902 and I have tried that to the letter, I have also tried command lines that disable things a clean install after a format, I have tried loads even down loading the demo to see if that works – no.

    So I send them a help request thinking who knows they might know a way to fix it that I haven’t had a go at, or at the very least let them know about the problem so they might do something about it, unlikely because of the age of the game but they are still selling a ‘Gold’ edition. SO I send them this:
    Problem Description: "Could not initialize graphics system. Make sure that your video card and driver are compatible with DirectDraw" error message when you start Age of Empires II

    I have tried everything from the Microsoft Knowledge Base Article - 242902 and I'm still haveing no luck.
    I have even tried all the command lines, nostartup, 1024, etc
    I have also tried turning off the second monitor (I use dual monitors) to no effect.
    All my drivers are up to date and I'm running Directx 9.0b
    Age of Mythology Works fine, as do all of the other games that I have installed.
    Simple but to the point and hopefully showing that I have some understanding of a computer and so avoiding the more simple replies.

    And I get this back:
    Thank you for using Microsoft Games Online Support. My name is Maqmoor and I will be helping you today with the game Age 2: The Conquerors Expansion.

    If I have understood correctly, occasionally while launching the game an error message saying “Could not initialize graphics system. Make sure that your video card and driver are compatible with DirectDraw” is received.

    Edward, I really appreciate the effort that you have taken to try troubleshooting the issue before contacting us.

    This behavior can occur if any of the following conditions are true:
    - The monitor is configured improperly.
    - The video driver for your video adapter limits the screen resolution to 640 x 480 pixels.
    NOTE: Age of Empires II requires a minimum screen resolution of 800 x 600 pixels.
    - The video display adapter does not have enough video memory to support a screen resolution of 800 x 600 pixels.
    - The system's refresh rate may need adjusting.

    In order to resolve the issue, try the following steps in the order in which they are presented. Check the game after each step.

    While checking the system information, I found that screen resolution is set to 1600 x 1200 x 60 hertz. Lets change the Screen Resolution to 800 x 600, which is very important to play the game.
    ‘Sigh’….

    If the issue still persists, we might need to contact your system vendor to get the driver, which is compatible with Directdraw.

    I found that, there is a known issue involving the card ATI Fire GL 8800. The drivers available for this video card are not compatible with DirectDraw.

    This is the reason for the error appearing. Unfortunately, there are no updates for the issue and ATI has not released any drivers that overcome this issue.

    For your convenience, I am including the following link where you can contact ATI support:
    <http://www.atitech.com/support/products/pc/index.html>

    For your convenience, I am including the following link where you can contact Sony support:
    <http://www.ita.sel.sony.com/B2B/support/index.htm>

    In case the issue persists, please let me know, were we able to play the game fine before? If so, let me know the software/hardware changes made to the system since the occurrence of the issue? Did you reinstall the game recently?

    If you are still experiencing same behavior, I would like have a look at your system information.

    Please send me the following reports after completing a DirectX test, which will provide detailed information about your computer's system configuration that will help us with this problem.
    I little better and it got my hopes up after all this is a problem that has occurred in the Fire GL range, I’m not alone! So I sent the Direct X and System info:
    Problem Description: Thanks for getting back to me, I've tried what you suggested and still no luck, I also downloaded the trial version installed it and that doesn't work either.
    Attached is the directx diag report all tests ran fine and the msinfo32 file.

    I've tried ATI's support before and they basically said that because the card works fine with my other games and only this one have the problem that I should contact you guys.

    Thanks again.
    Then I get this:
    Hi Edward,

    Thank you for the response.

    I gather that you are still unable to play online game.

    While checking the system information, I found that the video driver installed in the computer is still outdated and also found that screen resolution is set to 1280 x 1024 x 60 hertz.

    In order to resolve the issue, we need to update the video drivers and set the screen resolution to 800 x 600.

    Step 1: Reinstall video driver
    ‘SIGH’ is it me or are they obsessed with my monitor resolution? And as for the driver being out of date, the driver file in question is a driver file that covers about 12 different cards, in the last update there where probably no updates for the card I’m using, but still I update the driver just to be on the safe side and no difference and it definitely installed ok. So I reply still being polite but a little blunt:
    Problem Description: No it didn't fix it.
    The resolution (1240x1024) you gave is from the second monitor a Taxan 975TCO95, the first is running at 1600x1200 the optimal resolution for a Multisync LCD 2110.

    The drivers for the graphics card and monitors are up to date, installed and ceritfied and I have tried switching the monitors down to 800x600, turn the second monitor off and uninstalling the second monitor.
    The monitors are running off a dual head (one for each monitor) ATI Fire GL 256p Workstation card which is 100% compatable with Directx, I'm wondering if the dual head or the nature of the graphics card could be causing the issues.
    Trouble is ATI have told me that the issue is probably down to the game, because I have no other problems with using Directx.
    I know this is an old game and is unlikely to get any futher updates, but it is possible that it could be some issue with the game itself. The tech support from the creators Ensemble Studios points here so I thought I would try to see if there are likely to be any future updates that might address this possible issue or if it's a common issue that they know about and that can be solved in some way.

    Thanks.
    Then today I get this:
    Hi Edward,

    Thank you for writing in. I am sorry, as my previous suggestions did not help in resolving the issue. I really appreciate your efforts in this troubleshooting.

    Please note that, this is a known issue with the game and is documented in Microsoft Knowledgebase article. These are an excellent set of troubleshooting steps that would assist us in determining the cause of the issue and also resolving the issue.

    It is important that we try the steps in the exact manner as mentioned in the article. The article I am referring to is as follows:

    Please refer the following Microsoft Knowledgebase article and follow the steps mentioned in the same to troubleshoot the issue.

    "Could not initialize graphics system. Make sure that your video card and driver are compatible with DirectDraw" error message when you start Age of Empires II (242902)

    <http://support.microsoft.com/?id=242902>


    If the issue still persists, we might need to contact your system vendor to get the driver, which is compatible with Directdraw.

    I believe this helps and I am looking forward to your response. Thank you for using
    Microsoft Online Assisted Support.
    AARRGH! Is this a bot or something? I covered all that in the first message. Why! WHY! Bloody Muppets!

    I mean is that what you would call good tech support? I wouldn't: complete failing to understand a single word I've sent and going around in circles. Question is would you bother too reply and if you did would you just rip into them? (in a polite way)

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    Basically they don't know the answer and can't be bothered to come up with a solution that isn't on their checklist, so they'll send you around and around until you get bored and give up
    (\__/)
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    Talking

    Quote Originally Posted by Stoo
    Basically they don't know the answer and can't be bothered to come up with a solution that isn't on their checklist, so they'll send you around and around until you get bored and give up
    Hehe yeah! That's the best explanation I've ever heard, very good
    Love, Peace and Linux

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    hmm.. an idea

    I seemed to have had the same problem.. I decided to change my graphics card driver to an older version to see if it fixed it and it has

    Just a sugestion

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    erm you also havnt actaully tried his solution either have you?

    AOEII doesnt like large desktop resolutions - setting your desktop to 800x600 before launching might work...Also realise that your gfx card may be a 9700chip and be DX9 compatable but it is well known that the firegl cards have problems with games - especially older ones...Also what OS are you running - if its 2k then its just asking for trouble tbh. If its XP have you tried compatability mode?

    I really can't knock M$ for support, inspite of my general opinion of them all the tech support for both hardware and software that I have recieved off them has been top notch - best in the business in my experience. Eg my mouse breaks, I email them early tuesday morning, a few hours later i have a reply with suggestions on how to fix it. I reply saying they dont work, and before lunchtime i have a reply saying that they will send me a new mouse. Which arrives wednesday evening via courier. And the replacement is a newer version of the mouse, + a retail one whereas mine was an old OEM one. Great support there

    Similar story when i had sound issues with Age of Mythology, helpful, polite support technicians all the time.

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    I love they way your referred to as 'we'. Brilliant. I like to think Microsoft spent ten's of thousands of pounds on some external company to analyse ways to improve their customer support, probably consisting of a great many board meetings of upper management types, and much interdepartment squabbling after they analaysed thousands of records of customer contact, and the fruits of their labour was the idea that changing 'I' to 'we' creates a far more 'personal support experience' and have indeed probably coined a few additional cheesy catchphrases for it, and have weighed this greater personal experience against the irritating and presumptuous nature of this change, and came to a positive conclusion.





    Or it could just be me...


    Either that or they've outsourced to some pigeon-English East Asian country, so, much of the above is still applicable and consequently more or less the same final result is acheived.


    .....*gets coat*
    To err is human. To really foul things up ... you need a computer.

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    Smile i'm having the same problem

    your graphics card is even better then mine and I still can't use the darn game. Omg but thanks for the laugh, seriously. lmao

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    Dont let them close the ticket, re-send the first mail since they're running you in circles you should reciprocate! They will be running metrics to monitor their support ticket counts.
    What we share with everyone is glum, and dark...

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    Quote Originally Posted by zizi_monster View Post
    your graphics card is even better then mine and I still can't use the darn game. Omg but thanks for the laugh, seriously. lmao
    Welcome to HEXUS....and for bumping a 3 year old thread
    Quote Originally Posted by Saracen View Post
    And by trying to force me to like small pants, they've alienated me.

  10. #10
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    LOL, wonder if MS has fixed the problem yet

    TiG
    -- Hexus Meets Rock! --

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    Considering that it was/is an ATI problem..well not even that its a *feature*..I doubt MS will have fixed it

    FireGL is like Nvidia Quadro - not meant for gaming, and the drivers for these cards don't support everything that a mainstream card does...thats why they make different cards

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    Heh - didnt even notice the date on the OP! What a grave robber zizi is!
    What we share with everyone is glum, and dark...

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    Jeez, I just read through all of that.... all the while thinking AEOII? wtf? Why now?
    Quote Originally Posted by Dareos View Post
    "OH OOOOHH oOOHHHHHHHOOHHHHHHH FILL ME WITH YOUR.... eeww not the stuff from the lab"

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    lmao! Is this a late April Fool's Day joke?

    Good one zizi you really got me lmao

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    Red face lmao hi everyone

    thanks for welcoming me Agent

    I did see the date and didn't think anyone would respond. lol I topic while checking google for answers for the same problem that is driving me crazy because i've played the darn game before in a friend's computer that is way crappier and it worked. Sooo confusing.

    My notebook is vista, 512 ddr2 ram, 1.5 ghz processor, and 128 mb integrated graphics. Yeah I know integrated isn't great for games but come on, this is age of empires we're talking about here.

    I really don't think it's his video card that is the problem. I think that that game needs updates that microsoft just isn't bothering with anymore for newer systems.

    Vista might be a problem though because I could run it on my desktop computer which has lower specs but runs on xp and it works without saying that drawback dumb message.

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