Map Detectives: Data Files

A quick tour of the Map Detectives: Urban Mystery data files (SHA1 hashes). Let's see how this game is put together!

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Map Detectives: Quality of Life Improvements

One of the problems I encountered running Map Detectives: Urban Mystery on Windows 10 was that the game changed the screen resolution to 640×480 and did not restore it upon exiting. My laptop's natural resolution is 3240×2160 with 200% scaling, so having all my windows and icons rearranged to fit such a small screen size was very annoying. There are no display options within the game and the sherston.ini file located next to the game executable had no effect when edited. All is not lost, however — with a few small edits to the game's executable files these problems can be solved.

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The Map Detectives: Urban Mystery

"Map Detectives: Urban Mystery" was an educational game released by Sherston Software. It consists of two puzzle minigames based around an Ordnance Survey town map and the London Underground. Successfully navigating both maps will reveal clues that can be used to solve the mystery posed at the start of the game. I'm uncertain of the exact release date; some websites claim the system requirements are Windows 3.1 with an 80486 processor and a 2x CD-ROM drive. However it was clearly re-released since the version I have access to has executables that couldn't have been created before 2003. There's very little on the web about this game, so this post attempts to give an overview of the gameplay and mechanics of TMD:UM.

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AX-990 Regulator Replacement

As I was testing the new switch on my second AX-990 (with the cover removed) I happened to touch the heatsink and was surprised to find it was very hot. It's a piece of hardware literally designed to absorb and re-radiate heat, so perhaps I shouldn't have been too shocked at this. But it was very hot — almost untouchably so. That got me thinking: is it possible to replace the linear regulators with a modern equivalent that emits less heat? After all less heat is better, right? And electricity turned into heat is basically wasted energy.

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AX-990 Switch Replacement

One problem that's been apparent on both my AX-990s was the incredibly poor video quality. Colours would be distorted and sometimes the TV would lose the video signal entirely. The culprit is the toggle switch on the rear that changes between MSX and Sega modes. Often just touching it lightly was enough to make the video signal dance and flicker. With only a small amount of work this can be fixed and perfect composite video is the result!

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