Phil’s Wacky Wheels Site


This page describes some problems you might experience trying to run Wacky Wheels under Windows. If you have another operating system, you have two options: you can boot DOS or FreeDOS (see the section below on Making a DOS boot disk), or use a DOS emulator. You need a faster computer to be able to run a DOS emulator, but the advantage is you won’t need to reboot your computer or find DOS drivers for your sound card. Probably the most popular DOS emulator is DOSBox, which runs on multiple operating systems including Windows, Linux, and Mac OS X. If you have Linux, you can also try DOSEMU, a program that loads MS-DOS or FreeDOS in a window while you’re running Linux.

Starting a multiplayer game

There are three ways to do a multiplayer game in Wacky Wheels. The easiest is to do a two player race, with both players using the same computer. If you want to connect two computers to play Wacky Wheels (the Comm-bat play option), you can connect the computers by using a phone line and modems, or by using a null-modem cable. There is no way to make Wacky Wheels work over an Internet connection or a LAN. Regular modem play requires the computers to be on separate phone lines. If the computers are in the same room, you can connect a null-modem cable to both of the computers’ COM ports. For more information about using a null-modem cable, see this thread on the 3D Realms forums.

Installation problems

If you have an old Wacky Wheels install program, it won’t run on faster computers, and it will give you a runtime error. If you have the shareware version of Wacky Wheels, use this shareware version instead. If you are trying to install the registered version, download Mo’Slo or CPU Kill 2.0. Running one of those programs will slow down your computer, so the install program will not crash. Alternatively, try using DOSBox, a DOS emulator which will probably slow down your computer enough. After you get Wacky Wheels installed, the game will run without having to be slowed down.

Running Wacky Wheels in Windows

If you’re using Windows 3.1, just exit to DOS before you play Wacky Wheels. Wacky Wheels will probably run under newer versions of Windows. There are two ways to do this. The first way is to run Wacky Wheels directly by double clicking ww.exe or typing ww at a command prompt. Two problems you may experience are using sound and a joystick (see the two sections below). Also, if you jump outside the walls, your game will probably crash if you’re running Wacky Wheels using Windows.

The second way to get Wacky Wheels to work under Windows is to use DOSBox, a free DOS emulator. This method requires a faster computer but it might work better (possibly fixing any problems with getting sound, for example), and the game probably won’t crash if you jump outside the walls.

Sound effects and music

If you use SETUP.EXE to configure Wacky Wheels to use a Sound Blaster for sound effects, it should work. Using a sound blaster for the music might work. I can’t make the Wacky Wheels music play through my sound card, so I selected General MIDI for playing music. That outputs the sound to your game port, and if you connect something that can recognize MIDI signals (such as a keyboard) to your game port, you can play music that way.

You can also try a program called VDMSound. I haven’t used it, but it might make sound work if you’re using Windows NT 4 SP3, 2000, or XP. This program hasn’t been updated since August 2001. An alternative would be to use a DOS emulator to get sound to work (see the section below).

You might also experience problems if you have the wrong value set for your BLASTER environment variable. If the game crashes or you get an error message saying “sound blaster type not set,” try changing the last two characters of blaster to T4. You can display the variable by typing echo $blaster. See this thread and this thread on the 3D Realms forums for more information.

Using a joystick

Wacky Wheels may not recognize your joystick. I don’t know how to fix this under Windows, but there is a way that can work around it. You can download software that emulates a keyboard when you use your joystick. For example, when you move your joystick to the left, the software tells the computer that you just pressed the left arrow on your keyboard. Gravis and Logitech (and probably some other joystick manufacturers) have software that does this, and you can also check this site. I use the Logitech Profiler software with my joystick, and it works very well. If you want to assign a button to a key combination that requires multiple keys, be sure to record a short amount of time between each key press. For a right hand brake turn, I set one of my buttons to send Num 6 Press, Num 0 Press, Num 6 Release, Num 0 Release, with a pause of 0.1 seconds between each signal. Otherwise, Wacky Wheels may not catch every key press.

Making a DOS boot disk

If you can’t (or don’t want to) get Wacky Wheels running in Windows or in an emulator, you can try using a boot disk to run DOS on your computer, and start Wacky Wheels that way. I haven’t figured out all the details of making a boot disk, but any DOS boot disk should make it possible to run Wacky Wheels, even if all you have is COMMAND.COM. If you want to use sound (other than through your internal PC speaker) or a joystick, you’ll need to get DOS drivers. However, some sound cards don’t have DOS drivers. If you have a regular analog joystick, a generic joystick driver should work for it. For more information about making boot disks, see

Another option is to boot to FreeDOS, a free operating system designed to be compatible with DOS. If you don’t have a copy of MS-DOS, you can try booting to FreeDOS instead.

More help

Wacky Wheels tech support at 3D Realms
Answers to a few problems and a link to e-mail tech support if you have questions.
3D Realms forums
Has an “Other Apogee/3D Realms Games” forum where you can post questions about Wacky Wheels.
Information on making a boot disk, and files you can download to make a boot disk.