Ultima VII : Creating a Boot Disk by Copernican
Ultima VII: Part II, The Serpent Isle
System Configuration Info (includes
an updated buglist)
Walkthrough (coming soon)
System Configuration Info
Serpent Isle is one of the most memory-intensive Ultimas released
yet. It took me quite a while to free up enough memory to
run it properly. I installed it with a Soundblaster-compatible
sound card. I have Windows 95 on my machine. I tried
to create a shortcut to it from my desktop, so that my machine would
reboot, run the game, and then reboot back to Windows. However,
I had problems with this and eventually found it easier just to
make a boot disk. To do this, follow these steps.
Creating the Boot Disk
- Under Windows 95, choose Start>Programs>MS-DOS Prompt.
- Insert a blank floppy disk into your A: drive. Note:
this will not work with a floppy disk in your B: drive, if you
- The prompt should read 'C:\Windows'. Type 'cd command'.
- Type 'format a: /s'. This will format the blank disk in
the A: drive and transfer the necessary system files to the disk
to allow it to boot your operating system (in this case Windows
- After the format is complete, the program will ask you to give
the disk a label. You may call it whatever you like; I
- The program will then ask you if you want to format another
disk. Type 'n' for no.
- The program should have stopped running. Type 'exit'.
- Now go to My Computer on your desktop and open it. Double-click
on your C: drive.
- Find the files named 'autoexec.bat' and 'config.sys'.
Note: In order to see the config.sys file, you may have
to change the folder settings to allow you to see hidden files.
- Now, copy the autoexec.bat and config.sys files to your A: drive.
To do this, select the file, choose Edit>Copy. Then go
back to the My Computer screen and open your A: drive. Choose
Edit>Paste. Repeat this process for the other file.
Modifying the Startup Files
Go to Start>Programs>Accessories>Notepad. Choose
File>Open, and navigate to your A: drive. Select the config.sys
There should be a basic configuration already there. Delete
everything. You will define new settings for this particular
These are the lines that you need in your config.sys file:
- Device=C:\Windows\Himem.sys (assuming that the himem driver
is installed in this location).
Choose File>Save and save the file. Caution: Make
sure you are saving it to the A: drive; DO NOT overwrite the original
files on your C: drive.
Now, choose File>Open, and open the autoexec.bat file.
Again, you will see a basic configuration. It may be helpful
to copy some of this down before deleting it. You will also
define a new configuration here.
These are the lines that you need in your autoexec.bat file:
- SET PROMPT=$p$g
- SET SOUND=[your sound card settings, assuming you want to play
Serpent Isle with sound] Note: You may find the appropriate
I/O, IRQ, and DMA by going in Windows 95 to My Computer and right-clicking
on it; then choose Properties>Device Manager>Sound, video,
and game controllers. Then select the appropriate device
and choose Properties. Click the Resources tab. Locate
the Direct Memory Access, Interrupt Request, and Input/Output
Range settings. These are the numbers to place in this autoexec.bat
line. The format usually runs as: A220 I5 D1, where
you substitute the correct numbers.
- SET TEMP=C:\Windows\Temp
- C:\[location of your mouse driver] Note: This may
be located in C:\Mouse, C:\Windows, or some other directory.
Check with your computer manufacturer for the appropriate location.
Even though you may play Serpent Isle without mouse support, I
highly recommend that you do.
Rebooting Your Computer
Your boot disk should now be configured to load the correct files
to run Serpent Isle. Insert the disk into your A: drive.
Choose Start>Shut Down. Click 'Restart', and then OK.
Your computer will now reboot. When it begins to reload Windows
95, it will read the files from the disk you just created and boot
to an MS-DOS prompt.
From the A:\> prompt, type 'C:'. Navigate to the directory
where you installed Serpent Isle (usually C:\Serpent). If
you have not yet configured the sound settings, run 'install' from
this directory and choose the setting that you found in your System
properties for your sound card. Otherwise, just type 'serpent'
to begin the game.
Known Bugs and Problems
This buglist is by no means complete. If you have encountered
any bugs or problems not listed here, please let me know at email@example.com and I
will try to put them here.
Screen locks up when I try to begin the Silver Seed quest.
-- This problem I have personally encountered. When you double-click
the Amulet of Balance while standing on a Serpent Gate, a series
of video and sound effects follow as you are magically transported
to the Silver Seed quest. However, the earthquake effect seems
to lock up some systems. I have a Pentium II 450 Mhz. with
a Creative Labs Graphics Blaster Riva TNT 16MB AGP card. When
I follow this procedure, the screen shakes and freezes, although
sound continues. The only thing to do is reboot, as far as
Error message: 0 bytes extended memory and "serpent"
in large letters. -- This problem I have also personally seen.
This is due to incorrect sound configuration. When you try
to run the game, you get a message similar to the above and you
get back a prompt with huge letters. To fix this, just fix
the sound configuration by running "install" from the
directory where you installed the game. Many times, modern
sound cards may come with non-default settings. The most common
are IRQ 5, DMA 1, I/O 220. Also make sure that you have the
"No sound" option selected if you either do not have a
sound card or do not have appropriate DOS drivers for your card.
This is a problem in many new systems with PCI sound cards.
I myself have 2 separate cards, a newer PCI card and an older but
wonderful Creative Labs SoundBlaster AWE64.
I hope that this has helped any of you with Serpent Isle memory
problems. I have a Compaq Presario 4704, with a 133 Mhz. Pentium
processor and 16 MB RAM. I can run the game with no problems.
I know that there are many different configurations available, though,
so if you have any specific questions, drop me a note at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Also, if you notice any errors in this technical walkthrough, please
let me know so that I can fix them.
Gaseous Dragon also maintains an excellent technical questions
page for installation and configuration of Ultima VII: The
Black Gate and Ultima VII: Part II, The Serpent Isle.
[contact Copernican at email@example.com]