Installing and Playing Network Playable Games

Installing and Playing Network Capable Games

Software & Hardware Considerations
What you should know about the IPX Driver
How to installing the IPX Driver
Installing in Windows 95 and Windows 98


Most of the network cards in production today (and we are referring to the better quality network cards) allow you to take advantage of the newest features in multi-user interactive games that let you play across a network. Games like Doom, Marathon, and Duke Nukem can be networked together so that multiple users at different computers can “see” each other in the same virtual game space.

Most network capable games are IPX compatible, which means they are fully compatible with nearly all of the latest network cards. IPX is simply a common standard of communication that allows different computers to “talk” with each other. Before installing your network playable game, make sure that it is IPX compatible.

Below you will find our explanation on how to install and use the IPX driver with your game or games in Windows 95, Windows 98, DOS, Windows 3.x, and Windows for Workgroups.

Because these instructions are not specific to one particular adapter, you might need to do a little experimenting to find and install the right IPX driver from your particular operating system or network adapter’s software disk.

Hardware & Software Considerations

A faster computer is always better for smooth game play. A 486/66 with 16MB RAM and a sound card is the bare minimum, although a Pentium of any speed will help you go faster.

Your video display card should support at least 16 colors, although be aware that some games will not run with fewer than 256 colors. If you are using Windows 95 or Windows 98, you can check or change your display’s color mode: right-click anywhere on your desktop with your right mouse button, select Properties, and finally, the Settings tab. Be sure to save any changes you make.

Games typically use a lot of RAM memory when they are running. If you can, shut down as many other programs as possible before running your game.

What You Should Know About IPX Drivers

Most network capable games support IPX, which is a popular network communication protocol that was developed by Novell. IPX allows an installed copy of a game on one computer to “talk” with a second copy of the game on another computer somewhere else.

The IPX driver must be loaded into memory each time your start up your computer, and always before you run your IPX-compatible game.

If you are using Windows 95 or Windows 98, you can use the IPX driver that is built into either of them, which will load itself automatically each time you start up your computer. When you install your Windows 95 or Windows 98 network for the first time, simply choose to install the IPX protocol along with any other protocols that you need. If you’ve already installed your Windows 95/98 network software, you can always go back and add the IPX/SPX protocol.

If you are using DOS, Windows 3.x, or Windows for Workgroups, you will need to run the IPX drivers that came with your network card. They should be on the drivers disk in their own directory. All of the IPX files need to be run in the same order every time your computer is started up. If you want, you can make a batch file that runs the files in the right order. When you want to play a game, you just run the batch file, then launch your game. Some manufacturers such as Linksys include a working batch file called IPX.BAT which is included on the floppy drivers disk in the games directory. If you have questions or problems with the installation or use of a game, please don’t hesitate to contact the manufacturer.

How to Install the IPX Driver

Follow the steps below to get your network up and running with the appropriate IPX driver.

Windows 95/98

    If you are not using Windows 95/98 for networked game play, skip to the section below that covers DOS and Windows 3.x.


  1. Install your network card. See your Network Card User Guide for complete installation instructions. If you are using 10BaseT, make sure that cable is connected to a hub. If you are using thin coax, be sure that your cabling, T-connectors, and terminators are all in place.
  2. Configure the Network card hardware. Some network card versions may come with a setup program that allows to you to configure the card’s connector type, IRQ, I/O base, and other settings. If your User Guide doesn’t mention these things, skip this step.

  3. Follow the directions in your User Guide for installing your Windows 95/98 network drivers.

    When the time comes for you to choose the network protocols that you want to use, make sure to select the IPX/SPX protocol.

    If you have already installed your Network software but have not added the IPX/SPX protocols, follow these steps:

    1. start up Windows 95
    2. go to Control Panel -> Network -> Protocols
    3. click on the Add button
    4. select the IPX/SPX Compatible Transport
    5. follow any directions that appear on your screen
    6. restart your computer

    Remember, you must have File and Printer sharing enabled. This extremely important! See your User Guide for step-by-step instructions. The Windows 95/98 based games will not work without file and printer sharing enabled. You’ll find complete instructions in your User Guide.

    Repeat the above steps for all of the computers that you plan on networking together.

  4. Test your network. Each computer should be able to see the other computers files, hard drives, etc. If you have problems, check your cabling. If you need further help, refer to your User Guide.
  5. After the IPX/SPX Transport Protocol has been added, and your computers are able to see each other, you’re ready to install and use your game. With the IPX driver running transparently in Windows, your games will now be able to communicate with each other. Follow the installation and usage instructions that came with your game.

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