Setting up LEGO Island is generally straightforward on PCs of its era, however some extra effort and considerations are sometimes required depending on how modern your system is.
The stock installer located at
\INSTALL.EXE should run fine on any version of Windows (ignore
\SETUP.EXE as it's a 16-bit application that won't run on any 64-bit version of Windows). This will provide a fairly standard install of LEGO Island authentic to the era, with the obvious caveat that it doesn't take into account some extra steps required on modern versions of Windows:
Main article: Direct3D Retained Mode
From Vista onwards, D3DRM.DLL - a DLL required to run LEGO Island - was removed from Windows itself and has to be manually restored. While the DLL is on the LEGO Island CD (located at
\redist\directx\d3drm.dll), it's recommended to use a newer version that was released with Windows XP for better compatibility. You'll want to place D3DRM.DLL into LEGO Island's install folder (usually
C:\Program Files (x86)\LEGO Island).
Main article: NOCD.SI
If you want LEGO Island to run without a CD, it's as simple as copying the
\Lego folder from the CD to LEGO Island's install folder (usually
C:\Program Files (x86)\LEGO Island). You'll want to merge with the
LEGO folder that already exists and don't worry about replacing the file
NOCD.SI (it's the same file so skipping or replacing it makes no difference).
For unknown reasons, the Japanese LEGO Island installer features a version check that fails if the version of Windows you're using is not 4.x (e.g. 95, 98, or Me). This means the installer will fail on any Windows version newer (starting with Windows 2000). As such, for this version you should probably use the LEGO Island Alternative Installer.
A community alternative installer exists to make up for the shortcomings of the stock installer. It will automatically copy D3DRM.DLL from the CD as well as the LEGO folder if you select a "Full" install. This is generally a much easier and more fool-proof option than the stock installer.
Playing LEGO Island
Persistent save data
Main article: Compatibility Issues
LEGO Island stores its save data in its program folder, which in modern software is a big no-no due to inherent security risks involved. From Windows Vista, access to the Program Files folder was restricted to administrator access only, preventing LEGO Island from saving game data. The solutions are generally as follows:
- Using LEGO Island Rebuilder. Rebuilder functions as a launcher that automatically redirects save data to a safe location so that administrator privileges are not required. This is the simplest and most recommended solution.
- Run LEGO Island as administrator. Relatively simple by right clicking LEGO Island and selecting "Run as Administrator" or opening "Properties", navigating to the "Compatibility" and selecting "Run as Administrator" so that the game is always run as administrator.
- Re-installing LEGO Island to a non-restricted location. Often this is a second drive on your PC or somewhere in your home folder. This will work, but may get complicated depending on where you choose to install it.
Main article: Turn Speed
LEGO Island infamously ties the turn speed to the frame rate, meaning the much faster computers of the day heavily impact the game's controls and playability. It's recommended to use LEGO Island Rebuilder which has parameters for separating the turn speed from the frame rate as well as changing the turn and walk speeds in general.
"To configure LEGO Island" doesn't save
This issue is similar to the save data not saving correctly but a slightly different presentation. In this scenario, the data is not being saved to the game's program folder, but rather the registry's
HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE hive - another section of Windows that has become more restricted in over time due to inherent security risks.
For some reason, running
CONFIG.EXE as administrator doesn't seem to address this issue. It seems the only way to make it save configuration data is to set its compatibility mode to "Windows 95" (right click > Properties > Compatibility tab).
General graphical glitches
Main article: Compatibility Issues
LEGO Island relies on various dated DirectX APIs that have seen numerous changes over the decades since its release. As such, using Direct3D HAL can result in various graphical glitches and crashes that impact the game's playability. To address this, it's recommended to either use a software mode instead ("Ramp Emulation", "RGB Emulation", or "MMX Emulation") as those are CPU-based and have therefore been largely unaffected by the changes to the Direct3D API, or to use dgVoodoo which translates LEGO Island's outdated DirectX 5 calls to modern DirectX 11 calls. This has the advantage of allowing other graphical tweaks too, such as increasing the resolution, adding anti-aliasing, overriding texture filtering, and more.
Main article: dgVoodoo
LEGO Island was only ever designed to run at 640x480 which was relatively standard at the time. Given the much larger variety of resolution available today, it may be desirable to run the game at a higher resolution. Currently, the best way to do this is with dgVoodoo, which allows users to override the resolution to one of their choosing. Note that this is unfortunately not a true widescreen patch, the game will still have a 4:3 aspect ratio that will get stretched to whatever resolution you choose. As such, it's recommended to use a 4:3 resolution to maintain LEGO Island's native aspect ratio (e.g. 1440x1080 instead of 1920x1080). Currently LEGO Island Rebuilder is working on a true widescreen patch to address this issue.