View Full Version : Dungeon Keeper II - How I got it running with Hardware Acceleration turned on in win7

August 10th, 2010, 16:41
Before I move on, let me state this. I am NOT sure if this will work for others. All I know is that it worked for me, and it may be a possible solution for all involved to give a shot. If it works, fantastic, hopefully my pain and suffering in getting this running will benefit others. If this even helps one other person get DKII running, it was worth taking the time to register and put this up here.

I figured I would post this up for others to hopefully benefit, as I spent quite a great deal of time getting this working.

I like many had the black screen with nothing seen in Dungeon Keeper 2 when I got into the menu. All solutions provided NO help. Not any of the compatibility suggestions, shortcut suggestions, none of it.

All solutions led to Hardware Acceleration being turned off. Something I HATED and did not want whatsoever.

Remembering my struggles with Thief: The Dark Project a year or so back and getting it running led me to try something new.

My testing finally brought me to a working resolution. After I post this, I will reboot my system and see if it still works, but I believe it will.

In general, the problem with the Black Screen, at least on my system, was tied to two issues.

Video Card Settings, and the Z Buffer issue that some know about with DK2. For example, if I set in the shortcut -32bitzbuffer....I would have a world of problems.

Before I go further, my Specs:

Windows 7 Ultimate 64 Bit
12 Gigabytes of Triple Channel DDR3 Memory
Intel Core i7 930 CPU
Nvidia GTX 480 - Driver version 257.21

Thats the gist of the system specs. A pretty beefy and modern Gaming rig by any stretch.

As I stated, Thief the Dark Project had some issues which were resolved by tweaking some settings in the Nvidia Control Panel. So, remembering that, I decided to do some tweaking once more.

What I found out is this:

Dungeon Keeper II HATES HATES HATES HATES being told by Nvidia what to do. Meaning, in lamens terms, if you have the slider set to max everything, the game will give you the problem of the black screen and nothing else.

So what I did is create a profile in the Nvidia Control Panel under Manage 3d settings, and then the Program Settings tab.

I added the DKII.EXE to the list, and began my tweaking.

What I discovered was pretty amusing, and thankfully, a Fix.

What I found is that basically, DKII gave me the exact black screen problem when I set the following setting as such.

Antialiasing Mode - Override any application Settings.

Having that one option set, would cause the black screen 100% of the time, EVERY time.

Setting that mode to "Application Controlled" or Off or "Enhance the application setting" did NOT give me the same problem. Dungeon Keeper II ran fine. No black screen.

I found I could even set Anti Aliasing to Max settings, and zero issues were encountered.

The ONLY time I ran into an issue, is when I had Anti Aliasing override everything. Then the black screen cropped up.

Also, as a note, you WILL need to set Compatibility for Windows xp service pack 2.

I should note however, this was the ONLY compatibility setting I had to adjust. Nothing else, I literally mean NOTHING ELSE was required for Compat. The game ran fine on my rig.

Just to test things further, I set up a shortcut with -32bittextures and -32bitdisplay to see if those caused problems. No issues were encountered with those parameters.

The -32bitzbuffer however screwed up things massively, I had a huge black bar on the right side of my screen obscuring everything.

So....that, in a nutshell, is it. Everything else in my settings for the game on my Nvidia control panel tied to it, are maxed out.

So, that leads me to believe that somehow the Anti Aliasing overrides settings Dungeon Keeper II needs to set for itself to run properly, much as the z buffer is told to be an issue, which it is.

I sincerely hope all of you here on the site finds this information useful.

August 10th, 2010, 16:48

Reboot done. All things are working. Game has zero issues.

As a note, I am patched to the latest version of the official build, 1.7

Also, as a further note. Don't try and adjust the registry to do 1280 x 1024. The game crashed every single time I loaded a level in that Res.

Happy Slaughtering!

August 10th, 2010, 19:24
Yeah when I enable HW acceleration in 1600x1200 I get some weird clipping errors ingame.
With SW it's running fine (crashes in windowed mode though as soon as you get from the main menu to a game)

Ah you're right. The Z-Buffer is the problem.
I use "DKII.exe -softwarefilter -32bitdisplay -32bittextures -enablebumpmapping -enablebumpluminance" as the commandline options now.
Compatibility mode is set to XP, nothing else.

Runs flawlessly in 1600x1200 on Win7 x64. Well, apart from that old bug that the menu which appears when you press Esc ingame is lacking text, it only shows the symbols :cool:

August 17th, 2010, 12:00
Thanks for the information. Tried many work arounds 'til I found this one, game runs fine. :)

One question though. How do I set custom resolutions for the game?

August 17th, 2010, 14:16
This needs to be changed in the registry.
But you can use a small tool named DK2Tweak: http://dungeon-keeper.net/index.php?option=com_kunena&Itemid=53&func=view&catid=25&id=9449

The bug with missing text I mentioned above seems to be related to all extra resolutions >= 1024.
Now I also got it to run in windowed mode, but not with hardware acceleration.

October 12th, 2010, 18:53
Hey everyone.

I want to know if anyone has tried (and succeeded) with this having an ATI card? I've got the HD3something and I'm killing myself getting the main menu screen to become anything else but BLACK! :(

A New Room
October 12th, 2010, 19:07
Hey everyone.

I want to know if anyone has tried (and succeeded) with this having an ATI card? I've got the HD3something and I'm killing myself getting the main menu screen to become anything else but BLACK! :(

I get the exact same thing, though I'm not really sure if it to do with the ATI HD cards :S

October 15th, 2010, 20:47
Okay, just as an update.

My latest idea was to set up a virtual machine with win98


it actually worked - almost

I installed the game, didn't twak anything. Just got into the game and tadaaa it worked. That was until I clicked fo the first time. For some F*cked up reason the mouse cursor is not traced correctly which results in the cursor jumping to the right side of the screen whenever I click. Until that point, the "hand" follows the mouse correctly. One click - gone. Sucks :(

Any ideas on this one?

October 20th, 2010, 18:07
Does the above fix allow to anti-aliasing in the game?

Also, is there any way yet to play at 1600x1200 (or, *gasp*, 1920x1200?)

November 30th, 2010, 00:22
Phew, okay. I have:

Windows 7 Home 64 bit
8 Gb of RAM
Intel Core i5 750
NVidia GeForce GT 220

I tried the exact same thing as above and it doesn't woooork!!! :mad:

Draconis, if you're still there, I would really like to tell me if there are other modifications you brought to make it work.

EDIT: I got it! The "Threaded Optimization" option must also be turned to "Off" to make it work! :) I also used WinXP SP3 compatibility mode and no command lines. I need to experiment much.

November 30th, 2010, 09:12
I tried the exact same thing as above and it doesn't woooork!!! :mad:
Well as I said "DKII.exe -softwarefilter -32bitdisplay -32bittextures -enablebumpmapping -enablebumpluminance" as the commandline options and compatibility mode set to XP worked flawlessly for me in 1600x1200 on Win7 x64.

I got it! The "Threaded Optimization" option must also be turned to "Off" to make it work! :)
What's that?

December 1st, 2010, 22:35
Finally, I thought it worked, but it doesn't. :(

Without a compatibility mode, the game simply refuses to launch. I have to use WinXP SP3 compatiblity mode to make it run. Then, once in game, everything is black. I have no choice to turn off "Hardware acceleration" to see something. I tried the tweakings as explained above when it is set to On, and nothing seems to work, even with "Antialiasing mode" turned to Off.

I wonder if there's a way to port the game to OpenGL instead of Direct3D...

Whatever, I really don't want to spend much time trying to figure out how to make it running without problems. I'm just totally fed up...

December 1st, 2010, 22:45
Hmm maybe you need to adjust your registry settings.

December 2nd, 2010, 16:57
I did. But even, what would be the things to alter?

December 22nd, 2010, 18:14
found a link on youtube. try searching "dungeon keeper windows 7" on youtube. you will find a post from EsotericArticles.

December 23rd, 2010, 22:00
Sorry, but we're talking about running the game WITH hardware acceleration turned on and in the video, it is WITHOUT.

I can play the game perfectly without hardware acceleration, there's no black areas but the game is somewhat uglier.

March 16th, 2011, 05:46
has anyone ever managed to get DK2 to run at anything higher then 1024*768 under win7, any res I tried the game CTD's...

March 16th, 2011, 08:29
Yes, I posted it several times in this thread.

March 21st, 2011, 18:52
Yes, I posted it several times in this thread.

I would double check, but Im am failrly sure that none of your methods worked for me..

Metal Gear Rex
March 21st, 2011, 19:11
I would double check, but Im am failrly sure that none of your methods worked for me..

Considering how through a coincidential typo, you said "fail" somewhere in there, perhaps you should check again. Besides, being "fairly sure" doesn't sound sure enough. :/

May 16th, 2011, 20:46
I've put the game with "-softwarefilter", did everything as mentioned on first post, but funnily enough - game runs with HW acceleration and .. it crashes just as randomly as I want to pee after 20 beers.

I mean, the game ran fine when it was in total software acceleration only - no crashes, shitty graphics blablabla, but for some reason the game now runs fine with hardware acceleration, but keeps crashing whenever I try to save (or use the menu in general).

Is that something common with the game (using original CD + 1.7 patch) or just "my rig problems"? The rig is AMD Athlon X2 64 and GTX260 graphics card, running W7 64-bit.

Bought the game just because of you, guys - saw that there are still few active players left, which is why I just bought the game (with idea that will someday join you on MP games) :)

May 16th, 2011, 22:14
The crash bug with the menu is known. You must play the game in 800x600 of resolution to solve the problem.

May 16th, 2011, 22:28
Problem is that the game crashes NOT in the main menu, but randomly when in game .. Sometimes even mouse movement causes the crash to desktop. :(

May 17th, 2011, 00:12
Ok, I just gave this a try again and I still get a black screen, but surprisingly, the game screen seems to reappear after some seconds while on the main menu or in play, I have no idea why.

I didn't make any tweaks using the NVidia Control Panel. I just set the executable to be WinXP SP3 compatible and I also made it to run as an admin.

As for commandlines, like Draconis said, using -32bitzbuffer is not a good idea while hardware acceleration is ON, the right portion of the screen stays black all the time. Using -32bittextures and -32bitdisplay is good.

I'm just curious what causes the game to be black for a certain time, to finally magically reappears for no reason.

August 14th, 2011, 13:58
I'm just curious what causes the game to be black for a certain time, to finally magically reappears for no reason.

This happened to me to, I thought it worked but when I rechecked my settings it had disabled hardware acceleration.

August 15th, 2011, 16:15
I'm really surprised that DK2 is lagging so much with Direct3D HAL. Once I totally disabled "Hardware acceleration" through DirectX control panel, the game became so fluid. There was like NO lags at all on the main menu, but it also became very ugly, and it's a shame DK2 doesn't seem to handle today's video cards with multicore processors.

Crappy graphics for a crappy game? So be it.

October 7th, 2011, 01:02
Okay, I'm not very good with computes so I dunno what to do.
I tried all sorts of things and nothing seems to be working. The beginning cut scene and everything work perfectly..but when I get to the main menu, the flags waving in
the background cause black boxes to appear. Curious, I started a skirmish to see what else was screwy. Everything is fine. The dungeon heart explodes and all is well, but then I scroll to the side and THAT's when things get loopy. Black boxes show up as I scroll.
I dunno if this had to do with hardware acceleration or what.

This is how I have it set up. I dunno what that z buffer stuff is and that 32gig stuff is. Everything else seems to run fine except for those damn black boxes.

November 7th, 2011, 23:01
Hey guys.

Well, I found this thread whilst searching for a way to actually enable AA, and I saw that some folks were having problems getting Dk2 to run correctly under Win 7.

I am currently running it in Win 7 Ultimate 32bit, with 2GB DDR 2, 3.0GHz Pentium Dual Core E5700, Gefore 7300 LE, at a res of 1024x768 with hardware acceleration.

Basically, all I did was install the game, leaving my NVIDIA drivers at their defaults, and set compatibility mode to Windows 98. I used it on XP compatibility, and only managed to run it once, and after that it kept crashing. It's been running now the entire time without any problems with the Win 98 compatibility mode. So perhaps you can try that and see if you are successful. 1024x768 is the highest res that the game will run at for me, as every time that it loads a level at a higher res, the gamed crashes back to the desktop.

Also, I run it without any command line parameters. Another thing that I would suggest is that you have the latest drivers installed for you graphics card, make sure that you uninstall your old drivers first before installing the latest ones.


November 9th, 2011, 00:03
I did everything you mentioned and guess what? I still got a black screen.

As for uninstalling my old drivers first, that's somewhat too late since I already have the latest version. Anyway, I don't see how keeping just the latest drivers and not the older ones would affect the problem.

February 23rd, 2012, 04:56
can i get a none lammens terms on what you did i don't understand it well enough for the simple and vague description you gave
i also don't get a black screen persay i get a pixlated black "fog" over everything i believe its the same problem. how do i fix haven't tried to play this game since XP was new and it worked fine on the comp i had back them

February 24th, 2012, 16:54
You'Re talking to me or to Draconis? 'cause if it's Draconis, it doesn't seem to be there anymore.

April 21st, 2012, 14:46
Apologies that any replies are so late.

When I first did this, I believe it was with the patch up to 1.6

Subsequently, 1.7 killed it.

After a reinstall of my OS recently to an SSD I found this to still be the case. 1.7 Kills the game's ability to run for me on Windows 7 Ultimate 64 bit. No compatibility fixes work. The windows compatibility program that some recommend you download also does not work.

The unofficial patch 1.73 does not work either. I have not tried 1.80

Thus far, I have only gotten the game to work, period, with hardware acceleration turned on, up to 1.6. Nothing else will function. So those of you who are having issues, please try that.

As a further note. Go to gamecopyworld and grab the cracked exe. Do not use the unsafedisc program. Once I used that, my system and fresh reinstall was subsequently screwed. I was trying to test everything for the community here to see what worked and what did not. After using unsafedisc, I literally could not get DK 2 to run on even the base install.

Whereas before I used the unsafedisc program, it worked just fine. After it though, I got nothing but constant DKII.icd has stopped working errors.

To be blunt, I nuked my progress of the reinstall up to that point and went back to an image checkpoint for the OS. After that, not a problem. DK II would reinstall properly.

Now, as to WHY 1.7 kills everything. I don't have an answer. But bluntly, I cannot get this game to work under 1.7.

I was able to install the bonus packs, 1, 2, and 3 just fine. Unfortunately, not having 1.7 means not being able to get the Maiden or the Jack in the Box.

So, if anyone knows how to get 1.7 working PERIOD, let me know. I'll dig into it and see if I can find a way to make it work on my system with hardware acceleration turned on. But as of right now, only 1.6 works, and nothing else.

The moment I start 1.7 and higher, it crashes. Instantly. No matter what I do to try and get it functioning. Cracks, Compatibility, nada. Nothing works.

So, for those of you have asked. It's a matter of weighing choices. Personally, I'd rather play the game period. So 1.6 is fine with me. Higher resolutions also work if you hack the registry keys in the video folder for DK2 under Hkey current user/software/bullfrog etc

However, as others have noted, once you go above 1024 x 768, text for options in the menus disappear.

Who knows. Maybe someone can take 1.6 and compare it to 1.7. Find out why the frick it doesn't work.

Hope this helps everyone, apologies for such a late reply to any of this. I work IT managing a data center, so free time = practically NIL.

---------- Post added at 09:46 ---------- Previous post was at 09:41 ----------


try setting a command line parameter option of -32bitdisplay and -32bittextures to the game. See if that works.

Otherwise, I'd set any Video Card options to something akin to "Let the application decide"

A lot of the problems with older games nowadays tends to be due to the newer video cards passing down instructions that the older games just don't translate well basically. So, the best option is to dummy our graphics down and just let the game options try and handle it.

I am not sure if this will resolve your problem, but, it's worth a shot.

May 28th, 2012, 02:23
So has anyone found any new fixes for this game? I have all the issues with black boxes etc, but any time I try any of the suggested fixes, the game proceeds to crash after the intro movie.

-Intel i5 2.3GHz
-Intel HD Graphics 3000

April 27th, 2013, 06:19
Yes, I have it working in 1920 x 1200 with hardware acceleration using the GOG edition of the game. And by editing the gog.ini file and the registry


January 18th, 2016, 13:30
Hey, you should also check a smiliar thread on GOG Forum:

>>> Dungeon Keeper 2 hardware acceleration fix is now live <<< (http://www.gog.com/forum/dungeon_keeper_series/dungeon_keeper_2_hardware_acceleration_fix_is_now_ live)