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COMPASS For Windows
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Revision History: 99-21
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CaveX makes use of a new Microsoft technology called DirectX. This technology is relatively new and so you may have trouble making it work properly on with certain computer systems and with certain video cards. This is because the manufacturers are stilling learning how to write drivers that work properly with DirectX.

Here are some suggestions that may help you solve any DirectX problems you may be having:

1. WINDOWS 98. Windows 98 comes with DirectX Version 5 installed. Although CaveX was written to be compatible with Version 5, there appear to be bugs in the version that cause the screen freeze after drawing just one image. If you are using Windows 98 you should install DirectX 6 or 7.

2. Microsoft's Trouble Shooting Wizard. Microsoft has a problem solving wizard for DirectX on their web page. It attempt to solve your DirectX problems by walking you through a series of tests and adjustments that are designed to fix the problem. The web page address is:

3. Re-Installing DirectX. Some people who have had problems with DirectX have been able to fix it by re-downloading and reinstalling the DirectX package from Microsoft. I don't know if this is caused by DirectX needing two installation to get it right or where there were fixed programs in the new download. Here is a letter I got from a european caver who solved his problem this way. He had some interesting experiences:

Well, at first I didn't download anything because I was already on WIN98. Since it didn't work, I followed the link that you supplied in your page to DirectX and downloaded DirectX (a file named 'enduser.exe', about 4.4MB). But, as I said, installing this didn't give the wanted result either. After your mail I read the troubleshouting pages of MS. They talked about a file named 'dxdiag.exe' while I only found 'dxinfo.exe' .

So, I surfed around a bit on Micosoft's site until I got on a "WIN98 Update" page were I also found DirectX . Strange thing was, by the way, that while using my default Netscape 4.5 browser, I did'n get this page at all!! Apparantly, it only works with IE, which I used finally. It does a smart update, after examining your system first. In this case, the download was also 4.4 MB but it installed automatically after having downloaded. After this install, the 'dxinfo.exe' was gone, I had the 'dxdiag.exe' and everything worked great!

4. Video Cards and Video Drivers. DirectX gets its name from its ability to "directly" access the video card. This is what gives it its speed. For this reason, every video card needs a special DirectX driver. When you download the DirectX installation package, it is supposed to have drivers for the most common video cards. If it doesn't have a driver, it will use something called the Reference Graphic Driver. It is supposed to work with any video card, but it may not work with every card.

It is very important that you use the latest drivers for your video card. I have a brand new video card and it did not work correctly under DirectX until I loaded the latest drivers. Microsoft and the DirectX installation package doesn't necessarily have the latest drivers for you video card. You must go directly to the manufacturer's web page.

If your video card is old or an off-brand you may not be able to find a video driver that works properly. In this case, it may make sense to upgrade your video card. There are lots of inexpensive video cards available and they usually have recently upgraded DirectX drivers.

5. PCI and AGP Video Cards. If you are using a PCI or AGP based video card, you may want to make sure it is being clocked at the correct speed. Some of the newer Pentium class computers allow you to adjust the CPU, Buss Clock, and PCI/AGP port clocks. If you run the PCI or AGP clock to fast, it will cause the video card to fail when you try to run DirectX. The tricky part is that can change this clock without knowing it. This is because the adjusting of another clock like the CPU clock can change the the PCI/AGP clock. These clocks can be set via jumpers on the motherboard or changing setting in BIOS. Refer to your motherboard manual for more information.

6. Memory. I have found that DirectX requires a lot of memory to operate. DirectX has to store the whole image in memory because it has to display the image many times per second. Windows has two kinds of memory, hardware and virtual memory. With virtual memory, Windows keeps part of the information on disk and only loads it into hardware memory when it really needs it. With most programs, this works just fine because most programs only need to access the data periodically. On the other hand, DirectX has to redraw the image many times per second, so it can't wait for the information to come from the disk. For this reason, DirectX needs to keep everything in hardward memory.

Windows always locks a certain amount of hardware memory for its own uses. On my system, it about 25 megabytes. The left over memory is available to CaveX. If you select "Cave|Process Cave File," the dialog box will show the amount of hardware memory available. I have 56 megabytes of memory on my computer and Windows leaves about 31 megabytes for CaveX. If the dialog box shows that you have just a few megabytes available for CaveX, adding more memory to your system may solve the problem.

7. Speed Issues. If you load a cave that is too large for the system, you may have problems. If the cave is too large, it may take many seconds or even minutes for the program to redraw the cave. This will make it appear as though the screen is frozen.

You can get an idea of the problem by examining two numbers on the tool bar. The first is the number of frames per second that are being displayed. This number normally should be greater than one. If the number is less than one, it indications that either the cave is too large or the computer too slow for the particular cave.

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