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New MS-DOS Games Launcher / Menu System App

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First post, by jasondavidcarr

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Hey all, it's been a long time since I've shown myself here, but wanted to say hi and drop this here if anyone was interested. I was crazy enough to code a native MS-DOS games launcher application recently:

https://forums.launchbox-app.com/files/file/9 … pecial-edition/

Basically, it's useful for managing your games collection on DOS 3.3 or later. It does require a 286 or later CPU.

Let me know if anyone ends up using it. 😀

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Reply 7 of 71, by KCompRoom2000

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Very cool! I'm definitely going to load this program onto my DOS PCs. This will make managing our DOS game collections easier.

I still post here, but only occasionally.

Reply 8 of 71, by jasondavidcarr

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KCompRoom2000 wrote:

Very cool! I'm definitely going to load this program onto my DOS PCs. This will make managing our DOS game collections easier.

Great to hear! Let me know if you run into any issues.

Reply 10 of 71, by oerk

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anderswk wrote:

Nice! Could you share some details of how you made it? Programming language, etc.

This.

Does ist use up any conventional memory? Any side effects when running programs directly from it.

That was my main issue with launchers back then.

Reply 11 of 71, by dr_st

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Looks great!

Does it have this "quick find" feature where you can start typing the first letters of the program name, and it will take you there? It's pretty important for a list-based text interface.

https://cloakedthargoid.wordpress.com/ - Random content on hardware, software, games and toys

Reply 12 of 71, by Azarien

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You can't really avoid taking additional memory, but the program could minimize the usage: unload most of its payload leaving only a small stub that runs the game and then re-runs the launcher when the game exits.

This is what e.g. Norton Commander does.

Reply 13 of 71, by jasondavidcarr

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anderswk wrote:

Nice! Could you share some details of how you made it? Programming language, etc.

It was built with Microsoft Visual Basic for MS-DOS 1.0, which is pretty much perfectly suited for this task. I knocked the initial version out in a weekend, and I have about three weekends into it now. It's actually pretty amazing that MS was able to build such a rapid development environment for DOS in 1992.

Reply 14 of 71, by jasondavidcarr

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oerk wrote:
This. […]
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anderswk wrote:

Nice! Could you share some details of how you made it? Programming language, etc.

This.

Does ist use up any conventional memory? Any side effects when running programs directly from it.

That was my main issue with launchers back then.

The important thing is that it uses absolutely no memory at all while programs are run, which was an absolute necessity. It uses some batch file trickery to make sure that the *only* thing running while your programs are running is a simple batch file. Basically, the program starts up and shuts down between each application that is run (and performance really isn't an issue at all). So there is literally no additional memory that is used.

Reply 15 of 71, by jasondavidcarr

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Azarien wrote:

You can't really avoid taking additional memory, but the program could minimize the usage: unload most of its payload leaving only a small stub that runs the game and then re-runs the launcher when the game exits.

This is what e.g. Norton Commander does.

Norton Commander / MS-DOS Shell have both given me many issues in the past with this method, so I chose to completely avoid it. There's no small stub or anything else running in the background, other than a batch file.

Reply 19 of 71, by leileilol

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Trying this a bit:

- Would be nice to change colors, maybe perhaps via pushing some registers for VGA+ devices
- Games that have separate binaries for multiple episodes could be handled by a submenu maybe
- The drive selector's a bit unintuitive when adding games via the keyboard.
- Buttons could use accelerators in the program adding dialog

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