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About Rainier

PC gamer, WorthPlaying EIC, globe-trotting couch potato, patriot, '80s headbanger, movie watcher, music lover, foodie and man in black -- squirrel!

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'Freelancer' - Demo Available NOW

by Rainier on Feb. 24, 2003 @ 9:29 p.m. PST

Microsoft has released a playable demo of Freelancer, allowing you to try this imminent 3D space combat by Digital Anvil. This demo "offers the chance to explore the entire Liberty System, giving access to more than a dozen bases and five flyable ships. Experience the trading system, sample the open-ended nature of the game and immerse yourself in the intense combat of Freelancer today". Unlike the exclusive Fileplanet demo a few days ago, this one is totally free! Read more for download links ...

Get the Freelancer demo off Worthplaying (146mb)

USA Link <--> European Link

Other Mirrors

Get the Freelancer demo off 3DGamers (146mb)

Get the Freelancer demo off MicroSoft (146mb)

I. System Requirements
Freelancer Trial Version requires DirectX® 9 or greater. (Download the most recent version of DirectX from )
System Recommendations
Minimum Configuration
• Windows® XP, Windows Me®, Windows 2000®, or Windows 98 SE®
o (Windows NT® and Windows 95® are not supported)
• 600 MHz processor
• 128 MB RAM
• 4x CD-ROM/DVD-ROM drive
• 1.3 GB free hard disk space plus space for saved games (additional space required for Windows swap-file and DirectX 9 installation)
• 16 MB video card with DirectX 9 compatible driver.
• DirectX 9 compatible sound card
• Keyboard
• Mouse
Recommended Configuration
• 1 GHz or faster processor
• 256 MB RAM
• 8x or faster CD-ROM/DVD-ROM drive
• 32 MB video card with DirectX 9 compatible driver

II. Hot Keys

Ship Controls
Accelerate W or mouse wheel forward
Decelerate S or mouse wheel backward
Engine Kill Z
Brake Reverse X
Cruise Engine Toggle Shift + W
Afterburners Tab
Strafe Left A
Strafe Right D
Fire Active Weapons Right-click
Fire Missiles Q
Drop Mine E
Fire Torpedo Shift + Q
Fire Cruise Disruptor Shift + E
Countermeasure C
Turret View H
Tractor Target Shift + B
Tractor All Loot B
Go To F2
Dock F3
Join Formation F4
Free Flight ESC
Toggle Mouse Flight On/Off Space Bar

User Interface
Select Object Left-click
Mouse Flight Left-click and Drag (toggle with SPACEBAR)
Pause Menu F1
Nanobot G
Shield Battery F
Closest Enemy R
Next Enemy Shift + R
Previous Enemy Shift + R
Next Target T
Previous Target Shift +T
Clear Target Ctrl + T
1st/3rd Person View Toggle Ctrl + V
Rear View V
Minimize HUD Backspace
Mission Objective N
Story Star F5
Nav Map F6
Inventory F7
Reputation F8
Information F9
Hail P
Scan Cargo O
Select Hardpoint 1 Shift + 1
Select Hardpoint 2 Shift + 2
Select Hardpoint 3 Shift + 3
Select Hardpoint 4 Shift + 4
Select Hardpoint 5 Shift + 5
Select Hardpoint 6 Shift + 6
Select Hardpoint 7 Shift + 7
Select Hardpoint 8 Shift + 8
Select Hardpoint 9 Shift + 9
Select Hardpoint 10 Shift + 0
Fire Hardpoint 1 1
Fire Hardpoint 2 2
Fire Hardpoint 3 3
Fire Hardpoint 4 4
Fire Hardpoint 5 5
Fire Hardpoint 6 6
Fire Hardpoint 7 7
Fire Hardpoint 8 8
Fire Hardpoint 9 9
Fire Hardpoint 10 0

III. Additions, Corrections and Known Issues

Known Issues

Performance Issue with ATI Radeon text display
Freelancer Trial Version can experience performance slow downs when a large amount of text is printed or updated on screen. The work around for this issue is to back off your Windows hardware acceleration settings by one notch in SettingsControl PanelDisplaySettingsAdvanced. Once in this menu, you will either see Performance tab or Troubleshoot tab. Future ATI drivers may fix this problem, as they are aware of this issue.

Graphics issue with Matrox Parhelia
When using the Matrox Parhelia, black boxes appear around menu-items, in-game HUD objects and text, etc. This occurs on both the retail drivers and the latest drivers from Matrox. 3D artwork and game play is not affected. Future Matrox drivers may fix this problem, as they are aware of this issue.

Graphics issue with Matrox Millenium G-550 on Windows2000 or Windows XP
When using the latest drivers on Win2K or XP, the user will experience graphic corruption when switching video resolutions. The work around for this is to exit the game and restart after making any changes to this setting. Future Matrox drivers may fix this problem, as they are aware of this issue.

Graphics issue with Matrox Millenium G-400 on Windows XP
Characters appear to be floating in air with retail drivers on Matrox Millennium G-400 In Win XP. Sometimes you will also get texture corruption on the characters animation as well, especially during the cut scenes. This problem is not happening in Win 2000 and Win ME.

Win2k Crash when using the Lock Computer feature
When the game is at one of the menu screens (Main Menu or Server Selection, for example), and the computer is locked (Ctrl-Alt-Del, Lock Computer), the game may crash.

Static sound issues while playing Freelancer Trial Version on a Sound Blaster Live
There are known issues with older audio drivers and some MP3 codecs. In order to correct this problem, please make sure that you update to the latest sound card drivers and make sure that the Fraunhofer codec is installed.

Clock speed detection errors of many laptop computers
Our setup program performs a CPU clock speed test before the installer is run in order to warn users of possible issues with running the game on poor performing hardware. Many laptops have processors that report their clock speeds differently then desktop computers and as a result, you may receive a warning that your CPU is below our game requirements. You can still go forward with the install and run the game fine.

Hardware conflict with an Aureal Vortex/Aureal Vortex 2 and some video cards in Windows98.
Using this combination of hardware and OS will result in the user experiencing a hang during game play. The work around for this issue is to disable 3D sound and reboot your computer.

IV. DirectX Troubleshooting

DirectX® 9 or later must be installed on your computer before you can play Freelancer Trial Version. If you do not have DirectX® 9 installed on your computer, you may have issues that could cause you not to be able to play Freelancer Trial Version. You may download DirectX® 9 form this location: http://www.microsoft.com/directx

If you experience sound or video problems using DirectX, go to for the latest troubleshooting information.

You should also check with your video or sound card manufacturer for the latest DirectX-compatible drivers.

V. Video Troubleshooting

• Latest Drivers - Having out-dated drivers is the largest cause of issues within any computer game. Ensure that you have the latest drivers from your video card manufacturer or check Windows Update () for the latest drivers. Users of motherboards with non-Intel chipsets should upgrade to the latest miniport drivers available from their motherboard manufacturer. For a more detailed listing of all known video issues with Freelancer Trial Version, please visit .

1 Support Video Resolutions - Freelancer Trial Version only supports 4x3 aspect ratios. Please note that not all video cards support all video resolutions in all bit depths. Here are the supported video resolutions:
1600x1200
1280x960
1152x864(not all cards support this one)
1024x768
800x600

2 Freelancer Trial Version does not support or has issues with the following video cards:

3D Labs Permedia 1 - 4
Glint - all versions
Oxygen Series (various)

3Dfx Voodoo Rush
3Dfx Voodoo Banshee
3Dfx Voodoo
3Dfx Voodoo 2
3Dfx Voodoo 3

Cirrus Logic - all versions

Diamond Monster Fusion (Voodoo Banshee)
Diamond Viper II Z-200 (Savage 3)

Matrox G100
Matrox Millennium
Matrox Millennium II
Matrox Mystique

Maxi Gamer Phoenix (Voodoo Banshee)

nVidia Riva 128
nVidia Riva 128 zx

S3 Virge_VX
S3 Virge_MX/MV
S3 Virge_MX+
S3 Virge_MX
S3 Virge_GX2
S3 Virge_DX/GX
S3 Trio64V2_DX/GX
S3 Trio64UV+
S3 Aurora64V+
S3 Aurora 128
S3 Savage 2000
S3 Savage 3D - all versions

Intel 82810-DC100
Intel 815
Intel 810e
Intel 810
Intel i740
Intel 752

Rendition - all versions
Number9 - all versions
Oak Technologies - all versions
Chromatic Research - all versions
Tseng Labs - all versions
Neo-magic - all versions
Digital - all versions
Compaq QVision - all versions
Weitek - all versions
Silicon Motion - all versions

VI. CD-ROM Drive Troubleshooting

1 Matshita UJDA710 DVD/CD-RW - this drive (common in many new laptops) sets a flag whenever a gold disc is used but does not reset, causing Safedisc to reject a valid CD. Cold booting the computer will reset this flag. Gold discs are user-created discs that are made outside of normal CD replication procedures.

2 Sanyo CRD-256P, Firmware 1.01 - The drive enters a not ready state after several executions of a protected game. Ejecting the CD restores it. This is unlikely to be seen, unless the game is reloaded several times in one session.

3 Sony CDU77E 2X, Firmware 1.0e - The early 1.0 firmware versions of this drive fail with SafeDisc if configured as a slave on the IDE bus. The drive will work if reconfigured as a master.

4 Acer CD-624a - This drive fails when used with read mode drivers. Installing protected mode drivers resolves the problem.

5 Memorex CD-RW2224 24X, Firmware 2.27 - You may experience problems with these drives. There are no known solutions.

6 Yamaha 2216E, 4416SX, CDR641S-VK - If you experience problems with these drives, check the firmware upgrade available from the Yamaha Web site

7 Cybermedia 204 Pan International 204 - You may experience problems with these drives. There are no known solutions.

8 Liteon 4265 - You may experience problems with this drive appearing to hang and not authenticate. There are no known solutions.

VII. Audio Troubleshooting

• For a more detailed listing of all known audio issues with Freelancer Trial Version, please visit .

1 DirectX - If you experience audio problems using DirectX, connect to the DirectX Web site for the latest troubleshooting information, as explained in DirectX Troubleshooting. If this occurs, ensure that you have the latest drivers from your sound card manufacturer or check Windows Update () for the latest drivers.
• Sound Skipping or Stuttering - Often this problem can be fixed by installing the latest sound drivers for your sound card and/or adjusting the hardware acceleration settings in the control panel. Setting hardware acceleration to a lower setting usually resolves these issues (and a few others), but sacrifices some performance.
• Missing Game Sounds
If you experience missing game sounds throughout Freelancer Trial Version then a different audio codec is probably being used rather than the one provided by Freelancer Trial Version.

• Please follow these steps if some sounds and speech are still missing after installation:
• Uninstall any 3rd party codec pack or the Nimo Codec pack from your system.
• Uninstall Freelancer Trial Version.
• Go to the following directory, C:WINDOWSsystem32 and delete the file “l3codecp.acm”. If there happens to be another file named “l3codeca.acm”, delete this too.
• If your system is Windows 98 or ME, open the system.ini file located in your system folder; C:WINDOWSSYSTEM. Delete ONLY the line that starts with “msacm.l3acm=”. In the case of the Nimo codec pack, this will read “msacm.l3acm=l3codecp.acm”
• If your system is Windows 2000 or XP, open the system registry editor (regedit) from the RUN command window.
• Locate and delete the following key: HKLMSOFTWAREMicrosoftWindowsNTCurrentVersionDrivers32msacm.l3acm
• Load the Freelancer Trial Version installation CD and locate the REDIST folder. Within the REDIST folder, double click on the file named “WMFADist.exe” and follow on-screen instructions.
• Install Freelancer Trial Version.

VIII. Performance Troubleshooting

There are several ways to improve the game's performance. For example, the game will run faster if you use the least demanding game settings. These include:
• Setting the screen resolution to 800 x 600 x 16
• Setting the detail of graphics to Low
• Turning music off

Most of these improvements can be made from within the game (Press F1 and click Options).

We also recommend:
• Shut down as many other applications running on your system as possible in order to free
memory and processing
• De-fragment your hard drive
• Activate DMA (on appropriate hard drives)
• Reboot your system before starting Freelancer Trial Version
• Turn your virus scanner settings down while playing Freelancer Trial Version

Lastly, ensure that you have the latest drivers from your video and sound card manufacturer or check Windows Update () for the latest drivers. Users of motherboards with non-Intel chipsets should upgrade to the latest miniport drivers available from their motherboard manufacturer.


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