HOW TO Play Baldur’s Gate 2, Icewind Dale and Icewind Dale 2 Multiplayer Co-Op over LAN, the Internet, or TCP/IP Without Crashes

by on August 1, 2012


Need help getting Baldur’s Gate 2, Icewind Dale, or Icewind Dale 2 to run in multiplayer mode on a modern PC? Well, fortunately, the Melting Pot staff have recently picked up these classics from Good Old Games aka GOG, and we’ve been fighting the same bugs you’re probably facing. So, whether you’re facing a black screen crash on Windows 7 or Vista, a “Cannot Connect” problem or port forwarding/NAT/UPnP woes that make you wish you had a degree in networking – we’ve been there, and we’ve fixed it.

Let’s get going.

Updated 1st August 2012

Fixing the Black Screen and Permissions problems with BG2 and IWD

GoG.com have done a great job of making these old games work well on modern operating systems, but it seems that networking may have been a little lower on their priorities. There are a couple of bugs in all three games that will make them lock up with a black screen if you don’t take steps to avoid that.

Fortunately, it’s pretty easy to fix the problem:

  • Find the Startup Menu link for your game, right-click it, and select “Properties”
  • Select the “Compatibility” tab.
  • Tick “Run This Program In Compatibility Mode” and “Run This Program As An Administrator”.

There’s one more thing you’ll need to do to avoid Nasty Crashes Of Doom, and that’s to never start the multiplayer portion of the game in full-screen. For some reason to do with the archaic resolutions these games run in, if you start a multiplayer game in fullscreen, the screen will go black, and never go back.

The simplest way to do this is to press ALT+ENTER when the game’s on its intro screen, before you hit “Load Game”, “New Game” or “Join Game”. That should put the game into windowed mode. From there, you can join or start your game, and then once you’re into the game proper, hit ALT+ENTER again to go fullscreen – which should happen without any problems.

There are apparently mods out there that will solve this problem, but it’s a simple enough issue that we haven’t bothered to test them yet. We’d be interested to hear about them if you know about them, though!

Getting Baldur’s Gate and Icewind Dale to network properly

Next problem: Getting all your PCs to talk to each other.

You’ll need to select the “TCP/IP” option for multiplayer if any of your PCs are running Vista or Windows 7 – these operating systems don’t support IPX by default.

Running BG2 or IWD over a LAN

If you’re on a LAN, things should be fairly straightforward from here. Firstly, you’ll need to get the IP address of the computer that is hosting the game. Don’t do this using any Internet “find your IP” service – that’ll give you the IP of your router, which is less useful.

Instead:

  • Go to the Control Panel, select Network And Internet, then select Network and Sharing Center.
  • Click on “Local Area Connection” if you’re on a wired LAN or Wireless Network Connection if you’re on wireless.
  • Click “Details”. You’re looking for the address next t0 “IPv4 Address” – it should be 4 numbers separated by dots, like 192.168.1.45, for example.

Have the Host Computer start the game, and tell the other players to connect using “Join Game” and that IP address.

There’s a good chance you’ll get the dreaded “Cannot Connect” response. Don’t panic! If you get that problem, it’s probably because your router is doing something more complicated than the aging Infinity Engine can understand.

Try the following steps:

  • Go into your router configuration and turn “UPnP” off. That’s the step that made our network suddenly cooperate! You’ll want to turn it back on when you’re done, as a lot of modern programs use it, but it can confuse older networking setups.
  • Connect the computers using wires rather than wireless connections – I’ve heard several reports of that working.
  • Try installing the IPX Wrapper program and using IPX rather than TCP/IP. We didn’t have much luck with this, but I’ve heard numerous other reports of success with this program.
  • If all else fails, buy a cheap network switch and some cables, disconnect your machines from the existing network, and network them using the switch and cables to form a non-Internet connected LAN. This is a bit of a hassle, but it’s the most reliable way to give the games a simple network they can understand!

Getting Baldur’s Gate 2 and Icewind Dale to work across the Internet

As you may be aware, getting pre-2005 or so games to work across the Internet can be an exercise in black magic. Fortunately, you don’t have to – several programs have been written to solve this problem.

First step – check you’ve got UPnP set up on your router if it supports it. Otherwise, you may need to do some port forwarding craziness.

Next, you’ll want to install the program GameRanger. It looks a bit primitive and dodgy, but it has actually been around forever, and is an excellent solution to the problem of playing older games online. Have everyone who wants to play with you install it too, and “friend” each other on GameRanger.

Now, have your host computer “Host” a game, have everyone else “Join” your game room in Game Ranger (by right-clicking your name on your GameRanger friends list) and start the game. Make sure to run in windowed mode as your game loads up – see above.

From here, joining the game should be fairly seamless.

If that doesn’t work properly:

  • Check your router’s set up correctly for GameRanger. They have an excellent support page to help with this.
  • You can also try setting up a “Virtual LAN” using Hamatchi. We haven’t tried this, I’m afraid, but many people recommend it as a way to play Infinity Engine games online. You can find out more in this excellent forum post. However, I’ve heard Hamatchi is decidedly finicky, so I’d definitely recommend this as a last resort.

Tips for Infinity Engine Multiplayer

And that’s it! You should now be up and running.

All of these games date to well before cooperative multiplayer was common in RPGs, and they’ve got some quirks that can make them a bit irritating to play multiplayer. Here are a few tips:

  • If you’ve got less than 5 players, we recommend one player controls 2 characters – otherwise the game’s likely to be too hard. This is particularly true if no-one wanted to play the cleric, and so you don’t have enough healing. Learn from our ressurrection bills!
  • Only one person can shop at a time, as shopkeepers start a dialogue, which cancels what anyone else is doing. If you’re on a LAN, we found it best to designate one person (the person with the biggest screen or the person with the highest-Charisma character – ideally both) to be the “shopper”, and everyone else to crowd around their screen.
  • Remember, party funds are shared! Don’t spend them all on yourself or you’ll be unpopular…
  • In combat, having multiple people pausing and unpausing can be confusing. It’s best to designate one person as the “pauser”.

Have fun! These games might be old, but they’re still an amazing multiplayer experience.

Do you have any tips for multiplayer on Baldur’s Gate 2 or the Icewind Dale series?

If you enjoyed this article, check out our other posts from these categories: Archives

{ 24 comments… read them below or add one }

Guy Schafer August 16, 2012 at 4:19 am

Your advice to run BG/BGII WITH multiplayer on TCP/IP worked like a charm. Only recently I dusted off the old disks and decided to give another run through the games because it has been so long since I last played, but now have a PC with an i7 processor running with Windows 7. Was able to start and run on single player fine, but ran into crashes on multiplayer. I would get a dialogue box about Windows diagnosing the problem, the I would have to close the screen. No idea what to do next. I use multiplayer as I like to run 2 of my own characters, and use the NPC’s encountered throughout the games for storylines. Your final bit about minimizing at intro screen with ALT+ENTER, start multiplayer, then ALT+ENTER back to full screen once game is joined was the final step needed. Doesn’t make sense since this is not needed when starting in single player mode, but I’m a noob on such matters. Thanks again for the advice and hope this helps others with the same problem running the old BG disks on newer PC’s.

Reply

Hugh Hancock August 16, 2012 at 9:50 am

Awesome! Glad it was helpful. I know figuring out multiplayer was a bit of a nightmare for us, so I hoped I could remove the pain for other people!

Reply

Rick September 13, 2012 at 4:17 am

The window trick worked for me too! I am playing this great classic game with my son, thank you!

Reply

Thane October 23, 2012 at 7:00 pm

Just started up as well. Willing to hop into a game if youve got one available

Reply

Crowlee August 16, 2012 at 10:35 pm

Disabling the “UPnP” did the trick for me, thanks! However it isn’t the end of my problems. Every time me (win 7) and my two mates (2x win xp) start IWD2, the first ingame pause (autosave) hangs the whole game. When one of us (usually me) disconnects, the other two can play again. Any ideas?

Reply

Finlay May August 25, 2012 at 9:08 pm

Hey, I have had BG II for an age. I recently redownloaded it and GameRanger.
However every time I try to join a match it black screens me, I hear the noise like when you click the play button and I crash, I have done everything you have said, running in compat mode and running as admin, windowed mode as well but to no avail.
Would love some help.

Reply

oman May 12, 2013 at 6:59 am

Go into your router configuration and turn “UPnP” off. (I did this first) and it
still didn’t help, or at least I don’t think it did.

http://www.gog.com/forum/baldurs_gate_series/how_to_play_baldurs_gate_12_multiplayer_over_tcpip_without_getting_stuck_on_black_screen

THAT post helped me. I basically had that black screen. I
“Tick ‘Use 3D Acceleration’ in configuration” I then had to make sure we had the exact same version of the game, so I had to download the latest patch and we installed it on all computers. After that it worked like a charm. We just had a router that wasn’t even connected to the internet at all. We were connected through ethernet cables to the router. – If you get the black screen that is the solution. For the game creator we got his IP adress (via ipconfig) and used that for the “host” and joined his game.

Reply

William June 10, 2013 at 2:31 am

All I’ve been doing it wrong, until I try GameRanger; its work! My test game is Baldur’s Game II; I test it with 2 of my computer in the same room, one desktop and a laptop. Both using wireless, no Lan connect. I can’t get it work with Hamachi. But GameRanger work! Thank you Mr. HUGH HANCOCK!!!

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Nick Green September 14, 2013 at 4:31 pm

I’m trying to work the multiplayer with my little bro (I’m on Win XP and hes on 7)
and we cannot get it to work!
We’ve done the alt-enter thingy, got the same patches and turned off our UPnPs and it still doesn’t work! :(
Any ideas?

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