This blog post provides a solution to the Age of Empires 2 multiplayer/LAN problem.
Microsoft’s Age of Empires series is one of my favourite collection of games, especially when played in multiplayer / LAN network mode. When I brought a new laptop with Microsoft Vista, all of a sudden I couldn’t player the multiplayer games, which for me represented a problem.
However I solved the problem and this page shares how I can now play Age of Empires 2 on Microsoft Vista. I’ve not tried this solution on Microsoft Windows 7, but it hopefully should work for Windows 7 users as well.
Age of Empires 2 graphics colour issue
Before I share the network solution, I quickly want to share the solution to the graphics problem of Age of Empires 2. When running the game the colours are wrong, but this is solvable as well. All I needed to do was the following:
- Right click on the Age of Empires 2 game icon in the start menu.
- Select ‘Properties’ from the options.
- Select the ‘Compatibility’ tab.
- Tell the application to run in ‘Windows XP (Service Pack 2) compatibility mode’, plus untick ‘Run in 256 colors’ and ‘Run in 640 x 480 screen resolution’.
How I solved the Vista network game problem
I believe the problem is the result of Vista no longer having IPX/SPX being available. I think there could be a Novell IPX/SPX protocol for Vista, but I could be wrong, and I didn’t go that route. Instead below are the steps I took to get it running in network mode, but you use any of these settings at your own risk!
Step 1 – Static IP addresses.
I had to give each computer a static IP address in the network. This was a pain, but you can do this via the control panel.
Step 2 – Configure the software firewall.
I had to setup firewall permissions for the empires2.exe application. I don’t know how safe it is to use the following settings, so you use them at your own risk.
For the application empires2.exe I allowed:
- All requests in and out for the IP protocol.
- TCP / UDP in and out for the destination port 6073.
- TCP / UDP in and out for the destination port range 2300 – 2400.
- TCP / UDP in and out for the destination port 47624.
Now I actual did the same the file Empires2.ICD. I presume either the empires2.exe or empires2.icd rules are redundant and I shouldn’t be using them. I’ve not got time to check today.
Step 3 – Configure the network firewall.
I also have a hardware network firewall box, which I configured. Again you use these settings at your own risk. I created the following rules:
- For both TCP / UDP external ports 2300 – 2400 for static IP address of computer 1, and then the same rule, but for computer 2’s static IP address.
- For both TCP / UDP external port 47624 for static IP address of computer 1, and then the same rule, but for computer 2’s static IP address.
- For both TCP / UDP external port 6073 for static IP address of computer 1, and then the same rule for the static IP address of computer 2.
Step 4 – The patches.
You need to make sure the Age of Empires 2 games on the individual networked computers, are all updated to the same version with the patches.
Step 5 – Selecting the right network option within Age of Empires 2.
When running the game I now need to select ‘Internet TCP/IP Connection for DirectPlay’, instead of ‘Local (LAN) TCP/IP Connection’. Then computer 1 creates the game, and the you tell computer 2 to search for games using computer 1’s static IP address.