Windowed Mode

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LEGO Island does not officially have a Windowed Mode, however one can be enabled with the use of registry tweaks. The mode is somewhat limited, it seems the feature was either never completed or perhaps only intended for testing during development. Regardless, the game is fully playable in it with only a few graphical compromises.

Limitations

While LEGO Island is fully playable in windowed mode, it requires a specific configuration to work properly.

LEGO Island will refuse to run windowed if the graphical mode selected is Direct3D HAL (hardware mode). Instead you'll have to select a software mode (RGB/MMX/Ramp) in CONFIG.EXE. Software modes are inherently slower since the CPU is used to render graphics without any involvement of the GPU, however this is only noticeable on older computers since modern CPUs are fast enough to render LEGO Island at its maximum frame rate. Using a software mode will also disable dgVoodoo and any of its features.

LEGO Island is designed to run at particular bit depths (either 8-bit or 16-bit) and will ordinarily switch into an appropriate mode on startup automatically. However in windowed mode, LEGO Island naturally makes no change to the display mode whatsoever. Since it was never intended to run at any bit depth over 16-bit color (most modern computers run at 32-bit color), its graphics are not correctly initialized in this state, and as a result, all of the game's bitmaps (2D backgrounds/sprites) will be missing. While this doesn't affect the outside 3D island gameplay, it does affect any indoors rooms including all build sequences. This issue is particularly obstructive for the opening registration book sequence that predominantly uses 2D sprites, making it extremely difficult to even start playing the game. To work around this, LEGO Island must be run at a lower bit depth so that its graphics initialize correctly (see below for instructions on setting LEGO Island's or your system's bit depth to a lower one).

Enabling Windowed Mode (Recommended)

Use the LEGO Island Rebuilder tool. It does everything below automatically with one setting and requires no administrator privileges or registry editing to do so.

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Enabling Windowed Mode (Manually)

Firstly, you must have registry write access.

  1. In the Lego Island configuration, set your Direct3D device to Ramp Emulation (Lego Island will crash on launch if it's set to `Direct3D HAL` and windowed mode).
  2. Using regedit.exe, browse to Computer\HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\WOW6432Node\Mindscape\LEGO Island (64-bit) or Computer\HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Mindscape\LEGO Island (32-bit)
  3. Set value Full Screen to NO.
  4. Lego Island will now run in a window next time you run it.

NOTE: Lego Island Configuration will automatically set "Full Screen" back to YES

In windowed mode, the background textures are missing and everything is blue

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Solution: Run LEGO Island in 16-bit or 8-bit (256 color) mode.

Explanation: "Ramp Emulation", which we had to enable in step 1 for windowed mode to work in the first place, is limited to 16-bit or 8-bit color mode. For reference, a modern computer will usually be running in 32-bit color mode (also known as "True Color" or "Millions of Colors"). When running in full screen, Lego Island will automatically change the display mode to the color mode set in CONFIG.EXE, but it doesn't in windowed mode which causes this issue.

Tutorial: Starting with Windows XP, applications can be individually set to run at a different bit depth. To do so, right click LEGO Island and click Properties in the context menu. Then switch to the "Compatibility" tab.

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Prior to Windows 8, the only available mode is "256 color" mode and your whole system will be temporarily set to this mode until the application quits. LEGO Island will run perfectly fine in 256 color mode, but you may see some color banding or other artifacts.

From Windows 8 onwards, 16-bit mode is also available providing much more color and the mode is only set for the application rather than the whole system. This is strongly recommended for playing LEGO Island windowed.

Alternatively, you can manually set the bit depth yourself to 16-bit in Display properties (pre-Vista) or Screen Resolution (post-Vista).