FUEL was sold in the following flavors:
X360 (X-box 360) PS3 (Playstation 3) PC (CD / DVD) PC (Steam)
X360, PS3 & PC CD/DVD install should be straight-forward. (IE: Everything you need to install should already be on the disc). However, you may need to download/run some patch files to get the game up-to-date after install.
The game is playable in single-player / solo mode, but online / multi-player is basically screwed:
- PS3 version used GameSpy, and that's been discontinued
- X360 & PC used Games For Windows Live (GFWL), and that's also discontinued
There's no LAN support, so basically everyone's getting a nice taste of how it's like when someone else controls / hosts your online games; IE: they pull the plug, and you basically lose that functionality of your game. It's sort of a big middle finger to folks that paid good money for a full game, and are now finding out that part of their game is pulled out from under them. (And it was one of the best parts, because you could race with real, live people).
FUEL on PC (Steam) Install
Problem ... After installing FUEL from Steam, you can see the setup screen, but when you try to run the game either nothing happens or you get a pop-up saying:
The ordinal 43 could not be located in the dynamic link library C:\WINDOWS\SYSTEM32\xlive.dll
Cause ... When Codemasters listed and supported FUEL on Steam it would auto-install GFWL when you installed the game. But, when Microsoft announced GFWL was retiring Codemasters patched GFWL out of their popular games while simply delisting less popular ones ... like FUEL. This means titles like FUEL still need GFWL installed to play. Unfortunately, when you install FUEL from Steam now the GFWL won't auto-install.
Solution (Win 7 & Perhaps Win 8 / 8.1)
- Start the FUEL Launcher
- Click "Games For Windows Live" button
- GFWL should install itself
Solution (Win 10)
The GFWL client that shipped with FUEL doesn't work in Win 10, but the last version you can download from Microsoft's old GFWL site does. So, you'll need to download and install it from http://www.xbox.com/en-IE/Live/PC/DownloadClient.
Problem ... GFWL asks you to login when FUEL starts.
Solution ... You don't need an online account to play. You can create a local profile.
- Start game
- On GFWL pop-up, select "Create Profile"
- Scroll down, and click "create local profile" link
You can also set up GFWL to auto-login a profile. You can also log your profile out, and create other local profiles to either experiment around or let other family and friends run their own race career w/o screwing yours up.
FUEL's startup loader lets you set Video Options. Some work. Some don't.
- Resolution ... (works and is self-explanatory). Setting a higher resolution has a greater impact on FPS performance, but also has the greatest impact on visual appearance of any other option available.
- Anti-aliasing ... (doesn't work) The "fx.phl" shader file has code for anti-aliasing, but it doesn't work. (you can literally delete those functions out of the file, and the shaders will still compile). However, you can use your graphics card's control panel set some. (See "Advanced Setup" section below).
- Texture Quality ... (doesn't work). Texture quality is controlled via the shader files. There are high-res textures stored in the DPC archives. FUEL runs them through the shaders that have a compression routine. This effectively reduces texture size by 1/2 (lower-res). This code is branched to allow compression or not allow it. Seems on PC, FUEL forces compression on by default, and doesn't give the end-user a way to disable that. So, you're stuck with what you get.
- Anisotropic (Filtering) ... (doesn't work). Playing with the options in the setup loader does nothing. You can set this via your graphics card's control panel, though. (See "Advanced Setup" below)
- Advanced ... lets you select / deselect shader maps to use:
- Normal Maps ... Makes some textures better, eg: certain vehicles will have better tire textures (bump mapping), and show panel damage when banged around too much.
- Dirt Maps ... When enabled, your vehicle gets progressively muddier when running off-road, and cleaner when running through water. Your screen borders also get progressively caked in dirt and cleaned off (which can be annoying... see "Advanced Setup" section below for how to disable).
- (Ambient) Occlusion Maps ... should provide some extra shading around objects to give them more depth/realism. I don't really notice anything with this on or off. However, if it does work, Ambient Occlusion tends to have a pretty big FPS hit on older systems in some games. So, you might want to leave it off if running an older gfx card. Digging in the shader code, occlusion is used here and there, but doesn't seem to be some major thing (IE: no major calculations for it). So, either some precompiled thing is doing all the dirty work, or it's not as big of a deal in FUEL as it is in other games.
- Shadow Maps ... work, but look atrocious. They dynamically generate shadows from objects based on the movement of the sun, but they tend to be blocky, smudgy messes that crawl along the ground like a cluster of furry bugs. I've been playing in the shader files to see if I can make the shadows better, but so far there's no "easy switch" to magically make them better.