26 Mar

Tex Murphy Overseer Install Guide


I remember walking into my new Software Etc store in the late 90’s and wondering where it would all end. Who and how were they going to top this one? The box on the rack that contained Tex Murphy Overseer had a little, flashing, red light to highlight the box art. Right at the top of the building in picture was a miniature LED driven by a watch battery. Definitely eye-catching.


And the MMX badge prominently displayed–it was Intel, in fact, that played a large role in financing this fifth entry into the Tex Murphy Universe. And if you read the interviews with Access muckity-mucks, the imposed development time-line necessary to get the game done at the same time the Pentium MMX processors shipped is somewhat to blame for Overseer’s rough edges. Ah, but the fond memories (of course, when I think about my Pentium 166MMX (with a Voodoo3d card), MDK comes to mind first for some reason…).

This game was also unique in that it shipped on 5 CDs, like it’s predecessors Under a Killing Moon (4 CDs) and Pandora Directive (6 CDs). However, it also included a single DVD version of the game with (supposedly) much higher quality video.

If you’re like me, you didn’t have a DVD drive in those days. Mainly because to do things right, one needed not only a DVD-ROM drive at the steep price of $300 or so, but also a Hardware MPEG card. These cards (like the REELMagic) also cost about $250-$300, but were almost required due to the relatively stodgy performance of even the fastest CPU of the day. So, I didn’t have one.

I played Overseer by swapping the CDROM disks, like most people. One leg at a time.

But, over the interceding years I would occasionally ponder the DVD version of the game. You and I are probably not too different in this. Perhaps you would find yourself considering the disk, lurking darkly in the game box in the deep recesses of the basement. Who knows what wonders would be revealed simply by installing it? And sooner or later, the temptation would become too great–great enough to root through the junk in the attic or whereever and find it.

The heady anticipation we felt as we popped that disk into the drive, thinking, “I was so lame back then–how could I have gotten along with just a silly CD drive?” And our chortling at ourselves would give way to a rapt excitement, as that autoplay we’ve been meaning to shut off decides to work with us for a change and we see:


Oh, the joy! My stupid old Pentium 166MMX wouldn’t be loading it that fast! No, sir! This is going to be great–WHAT?!?!


With an almost PC LOAD LETTER calmness, one small Windows message deflates our high hopes faster than a balloon animal made by Needles the Clown. Oh well, we told ourselves, it wasn’t that great a game. Maybe someday I’ll build a Windows 95 machine with which to play old games. We blinked back the tears and went on with our dull lives…

But not today. Today we’re going to beat it. We will play Overseer again!

Since Overseer has a much different architecture when compared to Under A Killing Moon and Pandora Directive, our options to play this game are substantially different. There may be variations, but they roughly break down like this:

  1. Option 1: Build a Windows 98SE PC. Seriously, you could buy all the stuff from Ebay (CPU/MBD/FAN), throw 256MB of RAM on it and Ebay an nVidia TNT AGP card, and a Sound Blaster ISA card. This would be a fun project–you could even buy a PC case that identical to the one you have and a $40 KVM switch to bounce your Monitor, Keyboard, and Mouse between them. Or, go out into the garage and dig up enough parts to build a machine 🙂
  2. Option 2: Full Virtualization, once again. Host Windows 9x in a VM session. With a really fast dual core CPU and gobs of memory, this may get you where you want to be…or it could end up performing slower than that Pentium 166 originally was…bleck.
  3. Option 3: Tweak–and enjoy 3D acceleration, smoothness, and breakneck performance. And best of all, “high quality DVD video”. Oh, did I mention, at the cost of MIDI music? Yeah, sorry, I’ll explain why this is apparently unavoidable in a minute.

Once again, my main goal is to be able to play these games on the road or on a Media PC. So, with those restrictions in mind, I am constrained to Option 3 with Windows XP or Vista. The only real prereq here is to have a DVD decoder codec installed. If you can watch Movie DVDs on your computer, you then you already have one. PowerDVD and WinDVD are good ones–versions of Windows Vista already come equipped.

First thing we need to do is install the game–mostly, anyway. Insert the DVD, browse to my computer, right-click on the DVD drive and select “Explore”.


Now, right-click on SETUP.EXE and select properties again. Switch to the compatibility tab and turn on Windows 95 compatibility mode. Click OK, then execute the setup program.

Have you ever noticed how people incorrectly use the phrases “capital punishment” and “execution” interchangeably? A criminal may have a death sentence “executed”, but they themselves cannot be “executed”. Kind of a pet peeve…sorry 🙂


The installation program should run fine now.


Place the files can be installed anywhere, I personally do not like to clutter the root of my C: drive. Now here’s two bigger deals: When prompted to install RSX and DirectX 5, respond with NO to both.


And it will finish up the install. Hey, cool, there’s an 800 number for registering our product! Bet they can help us with the MIDI issues!

Ring 1. Ring 2. Click. “Connect now with exciting local ladies! Call … blah blah blah…”

Guess not.


Now we have to do something about Intel RSX3D Audio Software. So as Unofficial Tex Murphy user marinedalek tells us, copy the RSX3D folder from the DVD to the root of your C: drive. Right click on the file called RSXSETUP.EXE and select Properties. Place it into Windows 95 Compatibility mode just as before. Click OK and run the file. It will only take a few seconds to install, and will present a configuration page. Go ahead and test it, just to make sure.


Next, go to the tab entitled Advanced Settings – Buffer Times and change it from the default to 240ms. This may not be entirely necessary, but it is recommended according to the readme file.

“Change the output audio device buffer from its default 120 milliseconds setting to a higher one. We suggest 240 milliseconds. 400 milliseconds is maximum.”

And we’re right here looking at it, so why not? I couldn’t tell any difference in the audio, and if it possibly saves a troubleshooting step later, then I’m all for it.


Now is the time on sprockets when we patch.

Simply download the Tex Murphy Overseer 1.04 Patch, and unzip it over the top of your game install directory. If prompted, tell it to overwrite existing files.

And the DVD Express Software must also be installed. This seems to be just another front end for your existing MPEG2 codec, but from back in the day. Therefore, it shouldn’t interfere with DVD decoding software. I tried doing some hacking on the Overseer setup files and registry settings, but wasn’t able to find a way around this step. Turns out that I was working hard for no reason–DVD Express is old, but didn’t cause any problems on my system.

So just run the DVDExpress install, and even though it may not be necessary: let the machine reboot.

Now, let’s give it a shot. But, before we forget, place the shortcut to Overseer into Windows 95 compatibility mode (right-click, properties, compatibility tab, win95 check box). Click OK, and launch Overseer. You will probably get an info box that looks something like this:


It was probably important back in the day–but a modern machine should suffer no real performance loss for a few applications running. Click the “Don’t show this window again” check box, and then Continue.

Then a Screen Saver warning will pop up. This one may be slightly more important, however, I clicked the “Don’t Show Again.” In Windows 95, task swapping between running applications and a game was usually somewhat catastrophic–but XP can handle it just fine.


Alright. We’ve got some tweaking to do, so escape out of any video the game may present, until you get a menu that looks like this:


After clicking on the CONFIG button, two display options instead of just one will appear on the video tab–IF the patch and DVDExpress are installed correctly. If there is only one drop-down line for display devices, exit and re/install the patch.


Drop the MPEG II Device combo down to Mediamatics DVD Express, and select the Preferences Tab.


The Basic Preferences default to 640X480 and medium walking…800×600 looks better, and each user can make up their own minds on the walking speed. Click on Advanced Preferences.


In this menu, setup the Hardware Rendering if there is supporting hardware (which is a pretty good bet). Personally, I turned on the Trilinear Filtering.

Now then, here’s were the make of Video Card can affect things. On my ATi video card, the screen would jumble up in a horizontal band where ever the mouse was…this happens on other video cards as well, evidently, so here ya go:

ATI – The quick fix for this is to edit the TEX.INI file in the installed game directory. On the boards of the Unofficial Tex Murphy site, user Adam tips us to simply change the lock video setting from the default to 1:


The funny thing is, I took a screen capture of the messed up video, but the shot was clear in the JPG. Oh well. Obviously, lockvideo has something to with refresh timing or something late in the rendering chain.

NVIDIA – I’m sorry, can’t really test this solution, but it seems pretty well known. UOTM user i’m_melting_i’m_melting says:

“Uninstall the driver in ‘Add/Remove Programs’ (or whatever it is in XP) and then use this: http://www.drivercleaner.net/ to remove all elements of the previous driver. Then install this version: http://downloads.guru3d.com/download.php?det=966

Nonetheless, at this point one should have a very playable game running…


..with two small problems. One, this stupid error message that at first seems to (but really doesn’t) have something to do with accessing MPEG video from the DVDROM and then re-entering the VR world.


And secondly, the MIDI music. Sigh. Windows 9x used a technology called MCI (media control interface) to play MIDI music. That was changed in Windows 2000/XP to the new WDM (Windows Driver Model) format. In other words, the Overseer sound system is sending out messages addressed to an vacant lot. Nobody’s home. And it seems that there is a timing issue involved as well…

Turns out that this is the same issue. If one mutes the MIDI music on the Audio configuration tab, the message goes away. I suggest doing this. Furthermore, this isn’t necessarily a bad thing, as muting the MIDI seems to be the fix for crashing bugs in Gideon’s Gallery and the Anazasi Ruins sections of the game.

But the good news here is that I think there may be some surface to attack this issue. I’m running over some plans with some developers friends–it may be fixable.

The last unresolved issue, at least on my machine, is that the game will not exit cleanly the first time each reboot. This could be a Visual Studio issue, however, as the debugger pops up which may lock the application and prevent it from closing out. It’s a bit strange, if I go into the game once, exit out it brings up the VS debugger. I just use Task Manger and end the application. And it doesn’t happen again until I reboot–I can open and close the game 30 times without a hiccup.

I have been meaning to disable the debugger anyway, so this just gives me an excuse.

Grab up a copy of this essential game from Amazon:


That’s about it. I believe that I will continue this series of posts with guides for the other three games, and then distill them out as static article pages. So, up next would be Under a Killing Moon. See ya then!

50 thoughts on “Tex Murphy Overseer Install Guide

  1. bloody hell. i’ve been waiting to play this game since high school! i do wish i could get the MIDI to work. . .sweeeeeeeet

    • Under the ‘Audio’ tab I had two options, Microsoft GS Wavetable or Microsoft MIDI Mapper. I turned on the MIDI Mapper and the MIDI music worked. Not sure if it will cause problems later, but for now it seems ok.

  2. I own the original Overseer DVD and try to run it on WinXP with NVidia card (FW 93.71). I’ve followed your steps and installed the game, patch and DVDExpress.

    When I turn on Windows 95 compatibility, the game plays fine. MIDI works too if MIDI mapper is selected. The game menu and captions are OK only if lockvideo=1 (otherwise the control panels break up when you slide them in). The only problem is the MPEG2 video…

    Without W95 compatibility the video plays fine, but the game itself is broken… 🙁

    What MPEG2 codec you use (DVDExpress really call them)? I’ve tried these:
    NVidia Purevideo – W95 mode (nothing happens), native XP (plays fine)
    Elecard MPEG2 – Overseer crashes in W95 and hangs in XP

    Do you know about some MPEG2 codec that works fine in W95 mode? Thanx.

    • Yes, the DVDExpress software can be downloaded from a link in the blog post. I didn’t have much luck with Elecard either–although some people seem to use it with great success.

  3. You’re the best, pal! I just ordered this game not realizing it isn’t XP compatible – no longer, thanks to you. Runs fine.

  4. PERFECT!!! The only thing I had to do besides changing to compabillity mode was to change the lockvideo in tex.ini, and I have a GF8500GT256. I think the midi is working properly aswell. I run the CD version and it works fine with virtual disc. NO DISC SWAPPING!!! YIPPIE!!! Why is the patch needed???

    • Some of this I remember from the old days–the original reason I grabbed the patch had to do with my 3Dfx Voodoo II card. Supposedly it would enable some (or make better) 3D rendering in hardware. I don’t know if it did–I certainly couldn’t tell a difference.

      Overall, though, I think it was an attempt to fix some of the crashes. This game was really rushed out the door too soon.

  5. Nice of you to help us setup old games man. I have a big problem thou. I have played Overseer before and i had a huge problem with the game crashing after the ruins when entering the lab. This was solved using the newest patch thou. I played very far without problem but then… you might remember the laser field. After i pass it and do something the game crashes. And it does it everytime i try it. Any suggestions?

    • Yes, try the Music mute trick.

      Now, I had the same issue back when I was playing it on native hardware, Windows 95 style. And IIRC, I was able to get by it by turning all of the options in the game to the lowest setting. Made it a REAL pain to get through the lasers, but it didn’t crash.

      If that doesn’t work, you might try saving the game, exiting, switching back to the original executable, and reloading.

  6. After spending some hours researching in the internet (inlcuding this site) I found for my Overseer to work with this config (by the way, I use a Radeon ATI card):

    + Win95 compatibility mode in the .exe file
    + DVD Express installed and selected in the game
    + Patch 1.04
    + Elecard Codec

    Until now the game is very “playable”. It crashes if i try to change options, but when you restart the game is continues from the same point.

  7. I originally bought this game off the shelf, light still blinking and everything. I loaded it onto my Toshiba DESKTOP (no that’s not a typo, short lived as they were) and used the DVD-ROM, giving the cd’s to the guy i split the cost with. Played the game, loved it, then hated it when I couldn’t beat it.

    Fast forward 9 years, I’m not a computer network admin. and unable to fully get the game to play, until today when I found your site. After using VMware, Virtual PC, and loading it on WinXP, all it took was a little page, and a few directions…BRILLIANT! thanks much.

  8. I tried the above on Vista Home Premium….no luck. Game crashes on opening splash screen. However used the CD’s with Win95 compatibility and so far so well.

  9. First of all, thanks a lot for all the effort that you´re putting into this. It is so great to see there´s people keeping the series alive and you really deserve appreciation for this. My question is: I finally made Overseer (DVD) work on XP some months back. I made it work before but without the Midisound. And then suddenly with following a new installation manual it even worked with the Midi sound. I always wanted to play it again with the midi sound, because I think it adds so much to the atmosphere of the game it is hard to play the game without it.
    But then in the end of the first day suddenly the ,this error doesen´t indicate an error…, thing popped up and the midi Sound was gone again, which was pretty sad. The midi device that was chosen in the options before had disappeared and there was nothing I could do. Is there really no chance at all to get the midisound work?

    • Yes–it should be relatively easy to get the MIDI to work if you’re willing to setup a machine with Windows 95. Sadly, that is the conclusion that I came to–it’s that old MCI to WDM problem. There simply doesn’t seem to be a way around this…Maybe if VDMSound was more modular or something we could work out a hack.

      I am kinda sad about this as well–I view it as a bit of a defeat.

      NOW then that being said, if some bright person wants to make a widget that intercepts MCI calls and feeds them to a modern WDM library, we’d be in tall cotton. I’m not so sure that this could be included into DOSBox. It would probably have to be an applet that could be toggled on and off–to the point that your WDM MIDI in XP/Vista wouldn’t work while it on. Now, if it could be command-lined, we could just add it to our batch file.

      Sounds beautiful, but it would only be useful for a small audience. Therefore the likelihood of someone able to do this making it happen is pretty slim. 🙁

  10. Hey, thanks a lot for your install guide! Overseer (DVD version) runs fine using my Athlon 64 3000 PC + WinXp Pro. Didn’t know before that the Windows 95 compatibility mode works so fine. Even my Roland SC-55 is working (connected via gameport). First the midi music was muted after switching to DVDExpress codec. But after muting and unmuting it in the menue everything work fine now. Especially the DVD-Clips look great – not only for a game from 1996 – even today… Love this game! Now I can play it til the end – in the DVD version I always looked for (borrowed it from a friend now)

    BTW: I did install RSX (before a friend told me about your page)- perhaps Tex Murphy runs so well because of that? 😉

    Thanks again!


  11. Hey Tanstaafl!

    Yeah – Overseer sounds really really great using my SC-55.

    Here a SC-55 sound example from another game (Privateer). Turn up your volume!


    BTW: After playing Overseer for a while – I had a few problems to be solved again…

    Here my solutions – perhaps they’ll help someone else…




    Q: I feel like a leech sorta for posting this first, but, I do need help.

    In the anasazi ruins, when I go to cross the chasm, it plays a video of tex noticing that there is no indiana jones style invisible bridge, and then he goes back. at which point, every time, the game crashes to windows for no apparent reason.

    any ideas?

    A: Temporarily change the VR Rendering from Hardware to Software then exit and restart the game. You should now be able to continue beyond the point where you experienced the crash. Now save your game, then change the VR Rendering back to Hardware and exit – restart the game again from your last save.


    That worked for me, almost. I also had to switch the video renderer temp. back from DVD Express to default. The rest worked like mentioned above.

    Midi issues:

    Several times after videos the midi music was muted. Solution (like mentioned above). Mute Midi -> OK. Unmute Midi ->OK

    Ok – gotta go – Tex is waiting for me…


  12. That worked for me, almost. Cause now the game freezes before the video
    starts. So I switched the video renderer
    temp. back from DVD Express to default. Voila! The rest worked like

    Midi issues:

    Several times after videos the midi music was muted. Solution (like
    mentioned above). Mute Midi -> OK. Unmute Midi ->OK

    Ok – gotta go – Tex is waiting for me…


  13. I don’t know what i’m doing wrong..i got the CD version and when i open it up it goes to the microsoft problem popup..no idea why i done all that you said tho..

    • Have to know more about it–sound like there may be two video players fighting? If you are running DVDExpress, you might try to the Elecard player. It is definitely my “second” choice, but some people seem to get better results from it. ACTUALLY, this may be an ATi vs. nVidia thing!

      DVDExpress worked the best on my mobile ATi chipset–I wonder if that is the differentiator. Elecard can be found here: http://www.elecard.com/download/

      You might want to get the codec…unfortunately, it appears to still be for sale 🙁

  14. Great ! The game works fine on Vista Business… had no MIDI problem yet. I just had to install the game, use the Windows 95 Compatibility with DVDExpress installed, and it all seems perfect !

    Now that I finished Pandora Directive yesterday, I can get back ton Tex’s business !

    • I talked too fast.

      Well after playing up to some ruins, I can tell the game still has problems. You can play it without compatibility mode, with Windows XP mode or with Windows 95 mode, either way, the game WILL crash for me, just totally randomy, which is no big issue because I save very often and the game is fast to launch.

      However, I had no MIDI music and was not able to pass the snake trick at the ruins: each time, the game WILL crash after the video, no matter which configuration tweaks I use. I am now setting up a Windows 95 virtual computer using Virtual PC (had to uninstall Virtual Server though I use it a lot for work because it has no sound support).

      I hop my computer will be good enough for virtual gaming… (Core 2 Duo E6600 with hardware virtualization, Gefoce 8600 GT and 2Gb RAM)

      I’ll keep you informed…

      • Please do!

        The problem with VM and VPC is that the video drivers are not accelerated. This is what keeps the framerate so low… I understand VMWare is working on this and their new Fusion product for the Mac has a DirectX capable video driver. Hope they get it over to the PC side soon!

  15. I have tried your guide to try playing Overseer on Win xp sp3. But on my e4300, 4GB ram and 8800gt i only get : An unhandled win32 error occured in overseer.exe and it looks up. Tried disabling one core on my cpu thinking it was the same error as the hypertreading i read people had problems with. Still no luck. Guess i have to try it on one of my other computers then :/

  16. Now i can start the game, and see the videos(had to make the tex.ini file. Game did not do it by it self.. but now it crashes as soon as i try to see on things in the game.

      • Ok. Let’s see if the two issues are similar. Arne had to create a TEX.INI file–mosdl, is yours present? Arne, does it work on another computer? Are you both using XP SP3 and or dual cores?

        • Hi, I’m having the same problem. Every time I try to examine or interact with anything the game crashes. Also the video is in black and white? What is up with that?

  17. Hi, did any one else have a problem with the video in the game being all black and white? Also it crashes as soon as I try to examine something.

  18. From Merriam-Webster:
    Main Entry:
    Inflected Form(s):
    ex·e·cut·ed; ex·e·cut·ing
    Middle English, from Anglo-French executer, from execucion execution
    14th century
    transitive verb
    1 : to carry out fully : put completely into effect
    2 : to do what is provided or required by
    3 : to put to death especially in compliance with a legal sentence
    4 : to make or produce (as a work of art) especially by carrying out a design
    5 : to perform what is required to give validity to
    6 : play
    intransitive verb
    1 : to perform properly or skillfully the fundamentals of a sport or of a particular play
    2 : to perform indicated tasks according to encoded instructions —used of a computer program or routine

  19. Hello, first of all thanx for the great work.

    First i’m playing the dvd version.
    I’m experiencing two problems. In the interactive scenes, when the conversation choices appears i can’t see tex image and i’m getting a black screen, but i can select an option and continue playing through the scene
    Secondly i can’t hear midi music.

    p.s I’m using win xp, i’ve done everything mentioned in the post.


  20. Hi, I can’t wait to install Overseer. I love the Tex Murphy Series. I just purchased the software, but the DVD was not included. I do have the 4 cd-rom discs (new) but need help with the install. I tried to install as described with the dvd instructions, and am having video issues. Wheneven I pick up an item in Tex’ office, the cd-rom spins, but no audio (which has been working fine) no change. Video is scrambled intermittently when attempting to navigate.

    Is there instructions on how I might be able to install everything into the hard drive so I don’t have to swap discs. I’d love to give it a try, but am happy to swap discs if nothing else. This looks like a great game!

    Thanks in advance for any consideration to a solution.


  21. Any chance you know of a workaround for Vista 64? The setup exe on the disk is not able to run in a 64bit environment, even with windows95 compatibility. 🙁

  22. Nomad – no, I don’t have any information on that yet…Sorry. If you arrive at a solution, please let me know!

  23. Am extremely anxious to play this game (again) but on Windows XP
    have loaded following this great guide and it runs ok until I try to interact with the mouse in the office scenario, when it immediatly crashes. Is there a solution available.
    My Computer 3.2duo, 4Gb ram, Nividia 8600T

  24. I found that the DVDExpress link on this page had a corrupt file and the patch too. I went to the official tex Murphy site and found everything needed to get the game working. You have to register to get all the downloads. Now game is perfect.

  25. This would solve all your problems.
    A german guy has made a patch that wil configure the game to play under windows.
    He even placed a dvd codec whitin the code.

  26. Wow, what a comprehensive install guide. Thanks a lot! I really can’t wait to play this. I missed all these games back in the day, so I’m going through and playing them now. Talk about behing behind the times.

    I only have one problem with running the game. But it is a major one.

    The sound won’t play at all during each and every movie. The sound in-game plays just fine however (aside from the midi music which I haven’t gotten to yet)

    I haven’t found any reerences to a problem with audio during the movies, so I thought I’d try here. I have Windows XP, and an nvidia gefore go 6150. I haven’t had any trouble playing any other audio that I know of, and I’m pretty sure I followed the steps to install this game to a T. I also tried the patch linked to above, and that didn’t help at all unortunately. Does anyone have any ideas? Any help would be greatly appreciated.


  27. This is really cool! Thanks so much for writing all of this up. I’m trying to get this to work for my dad.

    Have tried it on his and my XP machine following the instructions with a DVD installation with the same results. When launching the game, I select start a new game, add a new user and then start game. When the game begins, all I see is a dark screen with three options (as if i’m in the middle the game already): 1) Flat refusal 2) A classic excuse 3) Give fair warning

    If I select one of the options, I get another screen of 3 options. If click through all the screens with 3 options, I end up in the Tex’s office. Everything seems to function, but I get no intro, ever. Since I’m not familiar with what I should be seeing, it’s pretty mysterious.

    I never see any of the intro or start of the storyline/game. Exact same thing on both computers…

    Can someone help with this please?


  28. More info – i realized i forgot 2 items that must be crucial: I get only 1 drop down box in the config video setup screen.

    On both computers, I could not unzip the 104 patch…? Tried a couple of unzip utilities.


  29. For mikey
    To unzip a file double left clik to open it and on the folder LHS you will see folder tasks _Extract all files.
    Hope you get it runnig mine still crashes

  30. I can’t download the patches or DVDExpress from this site. It just tells me ‘The compressed folder in invalid or corrupted’.

    Can anyone help please? I don’t know where else I can get this DVDExpress from.


Comments are closed.