Error: 'Failed to initialize DirectX' appears and the game doesn't load.
Or, a message like 'cannot find DDraw.DLL' or something similar.
Solution: first, check if you have DirectX installed. If so, you may
need an upgrade; the latest version is 9.1, which you can download from
Second, your computer must support sVGA modes, though I doubt any computer
nowadays wouldn't. Third, the game does not officially support Windows 95 or
Windows XP, though it tends to work on most systems. SubTerra definitely doesn't
run on Windows 3.1 or earlier.
Error: The game shows the Crystal Shard logo, then crashes somewhat later.
Solution: You need to upgrade your DirectX to the latest version. Click
the link in the question above.
Error: 'Error reading library file' appears and the game doesn't load.
Solution: Redownload a fresh copy of SubTerra and reinstall. Also, make
sure you have several megabytes of free space on your hard drive.
Error: When task switching (by pressing alt-tab), the game hangs or
causes your computer to behave strangely.
Solution: Like some other games, SubTerra does not respond well to multitasking.
Sorry. Try doing one thing at a time.
Error: The game is way too fast, or too slow.
Solution: From the SubTerra main menu, select
configuration, then change speed. Adjust speed to your liking. Also, disabling
'details' will cause the game to speed up.
Also, if you have other applications running in the background this may slow down
your system. Try turning off heavy-duty applications like disk optimizers, MP3
players and SETI@home before playing SubTerra.
Error: I did use the 'change speed' menu, but the game is still way too
Solution: This is usually a problem with windows
optimizations. From the windows start menu, select configuration, then control
panel. Then go to the settings tab and press the advanced button. The menus you'll
get now will depend on your graphics card so I can't tell you what exactly they
look like, but in general you should find anything labeled 'optimization' and set
that to maximum.
Error: The middle mouse button doesn't work.
Solution: For some reason that eludes me, Windows doesn't actually inform
an application of the middle mouse button. Instead, you can set it to all sorts
of behaviours like context menus or scroll bars, in the mouse control panel. Most
of this isn't really helpful to SubTerra, but setting it to 'double-click' tends
Error: The game controls to grab and push things
(shift) and drop a bomb (control) do not respond properly.
Solution: Remember that you must always press a
direction button as well! Pressing shift by itself isn't going to do anything.
If that doesn't help, it may be the problem that you're
using a non-standard non-English keyboard. This is a matter of windows
compatibility. Usually, the combinations alt + shift (for grabbing and pushing)
and alt + control (for bombs) will work instead. Also you can contact your
keyboard vendor to see if they have a patch or a driver for you.
Error: I can't hear music and/or sound
Solution: Make sure your speakers are on. Also, sometimes the sound and
music channels are in use by another application. For instance an MP3-player. Quit
SubTerra, quit any naughty applications that use sound, then start SubTerra
Error: The game displays a screen full of strangely
distorted and flashing black and white lines, or something similar to a test
Solution: Your graphics card supports the resolution
used by SubTerra, but your monitor does not. This means you have a really old
monitor. The only viable solution would be to buy a new monitor.
Error: The game hangs, crashes, and/or displays
Solution: Read the rest of this file for a solution. If the solution to
the problem is not here, please notify us and we will start working on it.
Please include some details about your system and what exactly you were doing
when the problem appeared; just the message 'the game crashed' isn't going to
help us much (or at all).
Error: You said the game had 500 levels, but there are only 102 in the
Solution: There's this nifty feature called 'secret levels'. Good luck
searching! The first one is near the end of the tutorials. That should cover
the missing six from the basic set.
The other levels will appear if you look in the expansion packs!
Error: One of the other levels is impossible
Solution: Upgrade your brain :) as all levels currently in the game have
been tested and are indeed possible (if a bit difficult). Yes, this includes
the 'hard' difficulty setting. Keep at it! (or, ask for help on the forum, the
link is at the top of this document)
Question: How large is the game?
Answer: roughly 18000 lines of code, adding up to 900 kilobytes. Also
3000 lines of help files, adding up to 130 kilobytes. Finally 6.7 megabytes of
graphics, 1200 kilobytes of sounds and 1.5 megabytes of levels. A full
compilation takes four minutes on my 400 MHz machine.
Question: How do I make room-based levels such as the tutorial?
Answer: You don't. This is hard-coded into the game, and in general
I disapprove of puzzles that rely on part of the puzzle being invisible.
Question: How do I make my own levelset?
Answer: You can't, really, but you can send levels to me and I can
compile them into a levelset. I will only do so if 1) I receive at least
fifty levels, and 2) the levels are of good enough quality to make an
interesting levelset. One fan-made levelset exists, created by Isi and Zozo.