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Neat tech pet tricks for while travelling

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  • Neat tech pet tricks for while travelling

    Ok I am just hoping everyone will know what a USB storage device looks like.

    In this case I am talking about a Sandisk Cruzer USB drive (2 gig).

    We often have to go from here to there, and there often involves out of the home and somewhere where we might have computer access, but not full usage, just access.

    So you likely can't just go installing your game all over the place

    But here's a way to indulge "some" wargaming while on the move.
    I did a test today on a good wargame, but one of limited file size foot print.

    Strategic Command is a good game, yet small in file size. I was able to install it on my Sandisk Cruser and not end up with a full drive. I then made the ultimate test, I went and put it in my son's computer's USB port and his computer has never had contact with the game. I accessed the drive, and clicked on the exe on the drive and the game ran just fine. Saved the game fine as well.

    Presto, Strategic Command anywhere, anytime, I just need a system with a USB port essentially.

    Tried this first with Steel Panthers, but no go. I think I exceeded the file storing capacity somehow, but this might be a fluke of the install process. I do know that Steel Panthers can be fully installed on the computer, and then the fully installed complete folder can be then moved. You lose things like start menu associations, but the game still runs. I will need to attempt this before I give in.

    There are other small footprint wargames out there though.
    I plan to attempt the Panzer General line of games (will report back later).
    I am also hoping to check out my Commander Europe at War game.

    I suppose it will be a notion closed to the heavy hitting graphics intensive titles out there. But wargaming has a nice list of old school titles that might work here. It seems to be mostly about finding titles that stay small.

    Now in non gaming commentary, it should also be mentioned these Sandisk Cruser drives are designed intentionally to run programs from them. This post could be coming from my brower installed on it (Firefox 2). It will also run IM programs (I downloaded the Trillian program for it). And that's just the beginning, as there are a lot of other programs designed for this opportunity.

    It's basically like being able to take your computer with you, but not actually needing your computer with you. It allows any computer to become your computer. And it's also quite secure.

    Actually security is one of the better perks. They even thought to develop a program to let us atypical guys to browse adult sites, without leaving any evidence it was ever done. Actually, it's not a bad functionality. You can basically surf off the Sandisk Cruser, and what happens on it, is not happening on your system. Ultimately this goes a long way from letting the internet onto your computer.

    But there are also logical uses for it too. You can take your credit card info with you, and use it online, but never really put it on any of the systems you are using.

    I will be getting good use out of this neat doodad when I go visit family (which usually puts me out of the house for several days). I get to take my wargames with me, without needing to ask if I can install a game or not.
    And don't need to fret over not having my fav web browser and bookmarks and passwords with me. Plus I don't have to worry about leaving those behind either.

    And this item is as small as small needs to get. The average pencil eraser is larger
    Life is change. Built models for decades.
    Not sure anyone here actually knows the real me.
    I didn't for a long time either.

  • #2
    Yeah, USB flash drives are an amazing tool. I have a couple that I keep handy; I run a couple wargames and some other software (password manager). The down-side is games that still use a CD check to run. *coughNO-CDcrackcough*

    Here's a suite of programs that can be run right off a portable drive:

    DOSBox runs quite nicely off a USB drive. I've got a batch of old SSI wargames configured to run that way, only takes up around 50 megabytes.

    Also handy for moving save-games between computers. I use a program called SyncBack to keep different computers synchronized, also works with the USB drives. Good stuff.
    "I am not an atomic playboy."
    Vice Admiral William P. Blandy


    • #3
      Ok after much installing, moving verifying, fiddling etc etc etc.

      First observation, 2 gigs is smaller than it looks

      Second observation, most programs that would install, and would run, likely won't when some fiddly little detail likely lost in registry or something is not present.

      Third observation, it seems some programs simply need some element present, that isn't doable on the USB drive. Might be graphics (I couldn't tell).

      Found out that any game requiring serial numbers won't run on other systems from the USB drive. That killed basically my Matrix Games titles chances.

      Some titles crashed for entirely unknown reasons. In some cases I think the game was just too much data demand on limited space.

      So after trying almost every wargame from the mid 90's till today (quite a few didn't need to be individually verified, as for instance one HPS title will behave like all of their titles in a series) I was able to settle on (ie forced to accept this was it) SPCamo WinSPWW2 and Strategic Command.

      Both these games installed well, and run wherever I attempted to run them.
      So I get a tactical game and a grand strategy game that are quick and simple to play. Cost me 700 megs of data space.

      Closing thoughts. Well if you like Strategic Command and Steel Panthers ala SP Camo, you likely think cool not so bad. But I suppose in the end, a laptop is really needed for wargaming to go

      On the plus side, if you own a Nintendo DS, you won't be suffering a lack of wargaming to go.

      Games that went through the experiment (in no order).
      Commander Europe at War
      Steel Panthers WaW
      WinSteel Panthers WW2
      Strategic Command
      The Operational Art of War 3
      Battles in Normandy
      Battles in Italy
      Highway to the Reich
      Campaign Series from Matrix Games
      Anglo German War
      Panzer General
      Allied General
      Pacific General
      Panzer General 2
      Combat Command 2 Danger Forward Gold
      Battleship Chess
      Firefight 4.0
      101 Airborne in Normandy
      Squad Battles The Proud and the Few (was represntative of HPS as a whole)
      Tanks Construction set II
      Making History (won the award for most disagreeable experience of the bunch)
      Railroad Tycoon 2 Gold
      Age of Wonders
      Life is change. Built models for decades.
      Not sure anyone here actually knows the real me.
      I didn't for a long time either.


      • #4
        Nice test. Thanks for posting the results back.

        If you're feeling a bit ambitious, you could add a tweak that would allow games that need various registry keys to work. Install on your machine, then export the registry key(s) it uses to a file. Then, you could set up a batch file to run that would import the keys to whatever machine you're on, run the game, then delete them from the registry when you're done. (Obviously, if this needs dynamic info like a drive/path combo or hardware information it might not work anyway.)

        Can also confirm that HPS Campaign 1776 and Wargame Construction Set 3: Age of Rifles run fine off a flash drive.

        Paul, check your PMs. I sent you one a few days ago.
        "I am not an atomic playboy."
        Vice Admiral William P. Blandy


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