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Pharaoh: Widescreen and Windowed Mode
So it's the current year, we generally like to run our games without being forced into a low resolution fullscreen mode, right? Thankfully we still can, with a little bit of work.
The Widescreen Gaming Forum has entries for both Pharaoh and Cleopatra, you're going to want the Cleopatra version since this game came from a glorious era where some expansions were actually 100% backwards compatible. Head on over to the link below, scroll down, download "cleopatra.7z" and inside that file, select a version of Pharaoh.exe that corresponds with your desired resolution, then backup/replace the Pharaoh.exe in your Steam installation folder:
If for some reason the patch doesn't work and you forgot to backup Pharaoh.exe, just delete the Pharaoh.exe and verify the game cache, it'll restore it to its original state.
Of course this is a workaround to widescreen support, not an official patch. A few of the in-game menus and overlays will look odd, particularly your overseer screens, as they're still 1024x768 and haven't been scaled for anything higher. It'd be nice for Activision to consider a little fix or two. I mean, they didn't seem to mind shoving a link to their website onto the main menu, so how hard could a little dynamic upscaling be? lol, not gonna hold my breath for that one.
While the widescreen fix does look really good, it has a few issues, and I've personally found the game is quite acceptable when kept at 1024x768 in windowed mode. None of the in-game assets have scaling issues at that resolution and you can stretch/resize the window as you see fit. Problem is, for just about everyone, attempting to change the game to Windowed mode will fail. The reason for this, oddly enough, is that the game simply can't handle being a desktop window in a 32-bit color space. You could simply go into your monitor settings (Screen Resolution->Advanced Settings->Monitor if you're on Windows 7) prior to launching the game and set manually set it to 16-bit, however, switching back and forth can become tedious if you play often. A hero by the name of Exvel over on GOG forums made a little Launcher program that will automatically set your color mode to 16-bit while Pharaoh is running. Get it from the sixth post in the thread below:
The only downside to using the launcher is you'll have to make a shortcut to it instead of the game itself, thus Steam won't recognize the game is running. Hardly a big loss; it seems impossible to get the Steam in-game overlay working as of yet, so you're only really missing out on getting your hours played recorded. Oh well. Enjoy this classic title with a touch of modernization folks!