Ancient DOS Games Webshow

Schedules and announcements about program releases.

Re: Ancient DOS Games Webshow

Postby leileilol » 2019-8-25 @ 02:47

Given the fandom for the forks i've seen at least on reddit for 0.74-3 release news, it could be fanning the flames with a lot of misunderstandings about DOSBox's goals and principles, seeing -X as a "superior emulator that should be the main" to the point it might as well be a hostile fork, possibly siphoning away potential contributors (testing, patches, etc) to the mainline DOSBox project.

Tread this "vs" topic with caution. Emulator preferences are subjective, and there is no one-size-fits-all.
by the way, DOSBox is not for running Windows 9x
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Re: Ancient DOS Games Webshow

Postby ripsaw8080 » 2019-8-25 @ 04:48

The latest release build of DOSBox-X includes numerous features/fixes backported from SVN, such as the fix for the default speed of PopCorn when using the CGA machine type, so it seems less than equitable to compare to 0.74-3 instead of SVN.
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Re: Ancient DOS Games Webshow

Postby Gemini000 » 2019-8-25 @ 12:46

ripsaw8080 wrote:The latest release build of DOSBox-X includes numerous features/fixes backported from SVN, such as the fix for the default speed of PopCorn when using the CGA machine type, so it seems less than equitable to compare to 0.74-3 instead of SVN.

Except the SVN builds are less than ideal for a casual person to pick up and use. I'll be repeating the comparisons when 0.75 comes out; don't worry about that. ;)

leileilol wrote:Given the fandom for the forks i've seen at least on reddit for 0.74-3 release news, it could be fanning the flames with a lot of misunderstandings about DOSBox's goals and principles, seeing -X as a "superior emulator that should be the main" to the point it might as well be a hostile fork, possibly siphoning away potential contributors (testing, patches, etc) to the mainline DOSBox project.

Tread this "vs" topic with caution. Emulator preferences are subjective, and there is no one-size-fits-all.

Which is basically the conclusion I came to in the video. ;)
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Re: Ancient DOS Games Webshow

Postby ripsaw8080 » 2019-8-25 @ 16:57

Gemini000 wrote:Except the SVN builds are less than ideal for a casual person to pick up and use. I'll be repeating the comparisons when 0.75 comes out; don't worry about that.

You go to the DOSBox-X GitHub page to download the latest release. You go the ECE build page to download the latest SVN build. How is the former more ideal than the latter? Perhaps it's your perception that is less than ideal.

You seem to miss the point that DOSBox-X is an SVN build because it incorporates SVN code, albeit a significantly modified one, but then so are the Daum and ECE builds. If the lopsided comparison you have made here is some kind of passive-aggressive approach to try to hurry the release of 0.75 then I assure you it won't work; don't worry about that.
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Re: Ancient DOS Games Webshow

Postby Gemini000 » 2019-8-26 @ 02:04

ripsaw8080 wrote:You go to the DOSBox-X GitHub page to download the latest release. You go the ECE build page to download the latest SVN build. How is the former more ideal than the latter? Perhaps it's your perception that is less than ideal.

You seem to miss the point that DOSBox-X is an SVN build because it incorporates SVN code, albeit a significantly modified one, but then so are the Daum and ECE builds. If the lopsided comparison you have made here is some kind of passive-aggressive approach to try to hurry the release of 0.75 then I assure you it won't work; don't worry about that.

...uhh... what? o_O

OK, so, firstly, if a casual person goes to the DOSBox-X website it's three clicks to get to a download for a Win32 installer.

If a casual person goes to the DOSBox website, actually FINDING that the SVN builds even exist is not easy. In fact, you pretty much have to either go to the forums, find a way into the Wiki, which doesn't have a direct link anywhere on the DOSBox website although there are links to non-main pages of the wiki, and even from there if you take the first trip you find to sourceforge, which there is a link to from the Links section, but the SVN section there is for 0.74-3. I couldn't, and still can't, figure out on my own how to even access the actual SVN code, nor do I have any idea if snapshot builds are made for people to download.

This is not me being passive-aggressive, it's me being genuinely confused as to how to access anything to do with SVN, which is going to be the same experience for the average person. Again, three clicks from the DOSBox-X homepage, and you're downloading the latest build.

Plus, on top of that, if you want people to actually USE the SVN builds, then that's what you should be advertising on the main page instead of official versioned builds. You can't expect the average person to dig into the SVN when it's already hidden away pretty darn well, whereas the average person looking into DOSBox-X will have a download of it just as fast as 0.74-3.

I mention the SVN in the video and that DOSBox-X does borrow some of the SVN updates for its own code. I'm not trying to rush 0.75 or anything, I've been told by someone else on the team that 0.75 isn't too far off, so I'm just telling everyone I plan to do the comparisons again. If that's tomorrow or two years from now, so be it.

Please do not misinterpret what I'm trying to say; it's really distressing when people try to read between the lines with what I say because I never intend there to be any hidden meanings; What I say is what I mean. When I say not to worry about me making a new video when 0.75 is out, that is ALL I mean. It's not an attempt to rush, it's not me being condescending, it's just me assuring you that I intend to do the comparisons again in the future for sake of fairness.
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Re: Ancient DOS Games Webshow

Postby ripsaw8080 » 2019-8-26 @ 02:49

Gemini000 wrote:If a casual person goes to the DOSBox website, actually FINDING that the SVN builds even exist is not easy.

DOSBox-X isn't referenced on the official DOSBox site, so how do you (or the casual person) FIND that it even exists? It's no different than the ways you could find the DOSBox ECE build site where you can download a build of current SVN source.
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Re: Ancient DOS Games Webshow

Postby Gemini000 » 2019-8-26 @ 03:07

ripsaw8080 wrote:
Gemini000 wrote:If a casual person goes to the DOSBox website, actually FINDING that the SVN builds even exist is not easy.

DOSBox-X isn't referenced on the official DOSBox site, so how did you FIND that it even exists? It's no different than the ways you could find the DOSBox ECE build site where you can download a build of current SVN source.

A sizable number of people kept asking me to consider switching to it over 0.74. I did a Google search, comes up quickly.

Your post here is actually the first time I ever heard the term "ECE", and looking through my video comments I see someone made a reference to "Enhanced Community Edition", which I assume is what "ECE" stands for... but the first website I come to for ECE is in German and there's no language switch, plus all of its downloads are from file shares, while the next is a site which hasn't updated its main page since 2018 and links back to the German site for file share downloads, so to me, this doesn't smack of an official build of DOSBox. How was I supposed to know the ECE build is actually the proper SVN build when it appears as just a different branch just like X is?

This may be blatantly obvious for people who are well versed in this or an active part of DOSBox development, be it the main branch or a offshoot, but to me, this is incredibly confusing. If people were bugging me to check out DOSBox ECE then I totally would've... but again, this is the first I've heard of it, whereas I got LOTS of requests to check out X. (And two requests to check out Daum, but that was a long time ago when it was still being worked on.)

My video was in response to all the people badgering me to switch entirely to DOSBox-X, but even in the video, I ultimately point out it's better to have both 0.74 and X on hand as they serve different purposes. I'm just trying really, really hard to ensure I'm not ignoring my fans while at the same time not ignoring the fact that DOSBox wouldn't even EXIST if not for you and the other devs working on it.

You ask how I even found out that DOSBox-X exists? Well, quite frankly, if no one made any requests for it, I never would have. ;)
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Re: Ancient DOS Games Webshow

Postby TheGreatCodeholio » 2019-8-26 @ 03:17

I'd like to point out that the main DOSBox project is free to port code from DOSBox-X just as DOSBox-X ports from SVN and other branches where appropriate.

I also want to point out that I consider DOSBox-X a fork with different goals and interests that complements the main project. I do not consider DOSBox-X "at war" with DOSBox SVN.
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Re: Ancient DOS Games Webshow

Postby SquallStrife » 2019-8-26 @ 03:18

ripsaw8080 wrote:If the lopsided comparison you have made here is some kind of passive-aggressive approach to try to hurry the release of 0.75 then I assure you it won't work; don't worry about that.


I appreciate that you guys must cop a lot of pressure from the public over DOSBox's release cycle, but I feel enthusiasm might have been mistaken for impatience in this case.

It does appear that some of the enhancements/fixes mentioned were implicitly attributed to the fork maintainers, when they were in fact backported from SVN, but that's certainly not been done out of malice.
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Re: Ancient DOS Games Webshow

Postby TheGreatCodeholio » 2019-8-26 @ 03:19

On a related note, I've seen some code inbound from SVN that reduces accuracy for speed, such as the patch for the Gravis Ultrasound emulation that disables interpolation if the sample playback speed is >= 1.0 (which is NOT what the actual hardware does!)

The patch from SVN made it's way into DOSBox-X then needed correction:

https://github.com/joncampbell123/dosbo ... dc357d19b4
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Re: Ancient DOS Games Webshow

Postby ripsaw8080 » 2019-8-26 @ 03:25

In the DOSBox wiki under SVN builds there is a link to an ECE page that is in English (the page seems to be missing at the moment, but perhaps it will be back soon). It may not be clear that one can get a vanilla build of SVN source there in addition to the enhanced build, but it is there.

Finding SVN builds isn't supposed to be easy for the casual person. I think Qbix likes it that way -- where the casual people generally use the well-tested release builds and the less-than-casual people can search for development or enhanced builds.
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Re: Ancient DOS Games Webshow

Postby SquallStrife » 2019-8-26 @ 03:28

Gemini000 wrote:.. but the first website I come to for ECE is in German and there's no language switch, plus all of its downloads are from file shares, while the next is a site which hasn't updated its main page since 2018 and links back to the German site for file share downloads, so to me, this doesn't smack of an official build of DOSBox. How was I supposed to know the ECE build is actually the proper SVN build when it appears as just a different branch just like X is?


This took me a little while too. ECE is a patch on top of official SVN.

There is a "View the page in your language" link, but that opens it in a Google Translate session, which breaks some of the formatting for me. YMMV.

Anyway, on their homepage is a blurb:

"Da ich DOSBox oft und gerne nutze erstelle ich meist zeitnah nach Veröffentlichung einer neuen Version auf SourceForge eine unangetastete Version und eine, die diverse Patches mit Verbesserungen enthält, die von verschiedenen Usern im DOSBox-Forum auf vogons.org erstellt wurden."

Translated:

"Since I use DOSBox often and often I create a new version soon after release of a new version on SourceForge an untouched version and one that contains various patches with improvements that have been created by various users in the DOSBox forum on vogons.org."

It's a machine translation, so the phrasing is a bit weird, but this is the only mention of the "official" SVN build being available here.

So you click Download, and the two WIndows builds are:

DOSBox ECE r4253.7z
DOSBox r42523.7z

The latter being the official SVN build.

So... yeah, it's easy when you already know what you're looking for, but for someone who's used to just using 0.74 from dosbox.com, you can see how the process can be a little opaque. As ripsaw says, from a support perspective it's probably better that way, frustrating as it may be in some circumstances.
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Re: Ancient DOS Games Webshow

Postby krcroft » 2019-9-03 @ 02:30

On the topic of code differences needed to properly support various games, an archival release (that happens to rhyme with Ultima III's name) comprised of pre-configured DOS-only games has been revised to version four. Previously this came as five separated genre packs, however now it's been combined into a single archive. Version four adds 700 new games to the existing 7,000. All games have been manually play-tested, which is an incredible undertaking for that team.

The project changelog mentions:
Multiple versions of DOSBox are used to make these games playable. This includes 0.74, ECE, SVN Daum, X, and a dozen or more custom builds built to support specific games.


From what I gather, these aren't light-hearted nice to haves (like save/restore), but are pretty fundamental to either to make the game playable or notably correct graphics or sound.

I know personally, I would love to see SVN alone have full coverage across these titles; to run them with reasonable accuracy. Ideally we can mine this release's metadata and discover those titles that have unique needs beyond SVN. From there, the core DOSDox developers can decide if the modification is worth it or not (ie: detrimental or would cause a performance or functional regression).
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Re: Ancient DOS Games Webshow

Postby DosFreak » 2019-9-03 @ 02:44

No one cares what people say on reddit or the Internets in general.

Nothing needs to be mined.

If eXo has tested the games with the latest official version of DOSBox and SVN and there is a bug and not a game hack/rip issue and not a personal preference or some patch that isn't compatible with all supported operating systems then it should be submitted to the DOSBox Sourceforge site. AFAIK, The only work done on fixing actual game compatibility (not counting DOSBox-X specific things) is the DOSBox project. All the forks just add non compatibility related patches.

If an official SVN is needed for testing purposes for non-testers then start a topic discussing it. Qbix already has a "private" build that has been available for years that could be shared.

Gemini000 PM Qbix for the link if you want to test the latest vanilla SVN.

Considering how vocal the ignorant DOSBox detractors are about speed when they want to play late 90's DOS games at 60fps on their P4 or atom processors I'd imagine it's always going to be a struggle balancing accuracy vs speed.

Also is there any reason why this topic has been taken over with this discussion?

/EDIT
It looks like exo is using the forks for 1. An updated version of DOSBox 2. MT-32, Nuked OPL3, Pixel Perfect, and Glide patches, none of these patches make the games "playable" unless you are OCD.
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Re: Ancient DOS Games Webshow

Postby krcroft » 2019-9-03 @ 03:07

DosFreak wrote: ...
If eXo has tested the games with the latest official version of DOSBox and SVN and there is a bug and not a game hack/rip issue and not a personal preference or some patch that isn't compatible with all supported operating systems then it should be submitted to the DOSBox Sourceforge site.

Couldn't agree more! Unfortunately I haven't see a wave of bugs submitted to sourceforge.

DosFreak wrote:Also is there any reason why this topic has been taken over with this discussion

Yes; we are talking about OP's last posted video: viewtopic.php?f=24&t=25994&start=3020#p779607
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Re: Ancient DOS Games Webshow

Postby mothergoose729 » 2019-9-03 @ 04:01

Hey Gemini, I just found your channel and I really appreciate your content! I watched the (seemingly) controversial video on dosbox X and found it very helpful.

What I got out of the video is that probably the main benefit of dosbox X is more accurate PC speaker emulation and perhaps more accurate timing (although the benefits of that aren't exactly clear). Are these improvement unique to dosbox X or were they ported from the SVN builds? Can we expect dosbox 0.75 to perform the same?
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Re: Ancient DOS Games Webshow

Postby TheGreatCodeholio » 2019-9-03 @ 04:43

mothergoose729 wrote:Hey Gemini, I just found your channel and I really appreciate your content! I watched the (seemingly) controversial video on dosbox X and found it very helpful.

What I got out of the video is that probably the main benefit of dosbox X is more accurate PC speaker emulation and perhaps more accurate timing (although the benefits of that aren't exactly clear). Are these improvement unique to dosbox X or were they ported from the SVN builds? Can we expect dosbox 0.75 to perform the same?


DOSBox-X developer here: DOSBox-X focuses on more general emulation and accuracy. That focus goes beyond games, and currently also includes NEC PC-98 emulation as well as IBM PC emulation. I work on DOSBox-X as a hobby as well as an interest in MS-DOS retro development where emulation shortcuts can give developers the wrong idea about what PC hardware is actually like.

Sometimes fixes are pulled in from SVN, either by myself or by another user on Github who likes to cherry pick SVN commits to incorporate.

Going the other way, if SVN ever wants to borrow from DOSBox-X I am perfectly OK with that though it probably won't happen unless it affects DOS games.

Speaking of which, one dosbox.conf option that SVN might want to incorporate is one that controls whether the VESA BIOS functions that return structures zero the entire 256 or 512 byte block as it seems the graphics library behind "Get Saddam!" mentioned by a Shovelware Diggers episode will use VBE with a buffer that's too small (< 256 bytes) because it expects only the non-reserved VBE structure portion to be filled in, which is why it crashes when VESA BIOS extensions are enabled. Would SVN like to incorporate that option?
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Re: Ancient DOS Games Webshow

Postby Gemini000 » 2019-9-07 @ 09:06

Just one last thing on the topic of DOSBox before moving on: It was never my intention to fuel any kind of divide between users of different branches of DOSBox. Heck, DOSBox wouldn't EXIST without those of you here who're developing it! I was just being badgered into using X specifically over 0.74 and didn't want to blindly switch DOSBox branches, so made the video mostly as a means to show that I'm not going to make arbitrary decisions about stuff like that and ultimately decided to keep both 0.74 and X on hand to use whichever seems to work best for each specific game I play... and if I knew about ECE then yeah, I would've included that in the video too, but I didn't find out about ECE until after releasing the video.

I'll be doing another of these comparisons in the future and will clarify some of that in said video once getting around to it. As for now though, the next episode of Ancient DOS Games, Episode 259 - Transland is online!

This is something I'd been wanting to cover for quite some time now as I had seen it once before, but I had completely forgotten the name of it until earlier this year, not helped by so few sites actually having any idea this even exists! :o

Basically, it's an unfinished prototype game that was meant as an internal development exercise and it's really interesting to see just how much went into this for something that was never intended to be fully developed into a completed, commercial title. However, as I looked into this, I found some neat things further locked away inside it thanks to its relative obscurity and I'm hoping now that I've been able to, at the very least, reveal that they exist, others more technically inclined at this stuff than I am might be able to take a stab at getting those locked away features working!
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Re: Ancient DOS Games Webshow

Postby leileilol » 2019-9-07 @ 23:15

The thing is, Youtube's a very powerful tool, and as a showrunner, you bear the responsibility of having an opinion that many younger fans would find and treat as the authority. I've had situations where my first-hand experiences were disputed by someone parroting misinformation from a DFRetro video before.

apples and oranges. also hopefully you won't make ridiculous win95-in-dosbox videos. or pcem vs / mame vs / qemu vs "better" forks videos
by the way, DOSBox is not for running Windows 9x
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Re: Ancient DOS Games Webshow

Postby krcroft » 2019-9-08 @ 01:34

leileilol wrote:The thing is, Youtube's a very powerful tool, and as a showrunner, you bear the responsibility of having an opinion that many younger fans would find and treat as the authority. I've had situations where my first-hand experiences were disputed by someone parroting misinformation from a DFRetro video before.

apples and oranges. also hopefully you won't make ridiculous win95-in-dosbox videos. or pcem vs / mame vs / qemu vs "better" forks videos

Rediculous disputable opinions are certainly more harm than good.

But I value anyone willing to put the legwork into a fair, bog-standard objective comparison of available options at an explicitly stated point in time.

Given the feedback, I suspect Kris would additionally coordinate with the various build authors regarding common or recommended settings as well.

(unless someone is already keeping a tabulated list of running functional differences against a large cross-section of DOS games between 0.74x, SVN, -X, -ECE, ... others?)
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