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First post, by Zup

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I'm trying to run Command & Conquer (the first one) in DOSBox without CD. I've got original disks for both Command & Conquer and The Covert Operations, but I can't make it work.

My [autoexec] section on DOSBox contains this lines:

mount c: e:\datos\dosbox\
keyb sp
c:

Also, I've submitted this command to mount the CD:

mount d: f:\ -t cdrom -label GDI

Installation works fine.
I go through install and choose a Sound Blaster 16 as sound card (IRQ 5, DMA 1, DMA2 5 because I've configured DOSBox that way). The installation works and leaves me with Command & Conquer 1.07 installed.

Command & Conquer 1.07 with CD works fine. After that, I've done these steps:
- Copy every .MIX file from cdrom root directory to C&C directory.
- Restart DOSBox so the cdrom is not mounted anymore.
- Launch Command & Conquer using C&C -cdc:\c&c\

Command & Conquer 1.07 without CD fails quietly, without any error message.

Then, I install Command & Conquer 1.22p, doing this.
- Delete C&C directory.
- Mount the CD with the same parameters.
- Install C&C.
- Copy patch files into C&C directory
- Launch patch.

After patching, I launch again Command & Conquer.

Command & Conquer 1.22p runs right with CD mounted. After that, I copy every .MIX file from the CD root directory to C&C directory, restart DOXBox and launch it using c&c -cdc:\c&c\

Command & Conquer 1.22p fails with -cd parameter, saying that it can't find SCORES.MIX file (but it is present at current directory).

Starangely, after copying the MIX files, C&C refuses to run every time complaining about SCORES.MIX (even when running without parameters and original cd mounted).

Am I missing something? What is the correct procedure to make it run?

(BTW, I do NOT have a DOS machine around, so I can't check this under pure DOS)

Thanks in advance.

Last edited by Zup on 2016-07-20, 11:01. Edited 1 time in total.

I have traveled across the universe and through the years to find Her.
Sometimes going all the way is just a start...

I'm selling some stuff!

Reply 2 of 16, by Zup

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OK. It seems that if I put those MIX files in a different directory (i.e.: game in c:\c&c and mix files in c:\c&c\gdi) it works.

Now, it's time to try with Covert Operations. I've found no procedure to do this (maybe the same -cd switch will work?), and the CD has some audio tracks on it...

BTW, using the -cd switch may save some 400 megs that are repeated across both CDs. Most sources say that the MOVIES.MIX file is common to both CDs, but in my CDs the files are different.

I have traveled across the universe and through the years to find Her.
Sometimes going all the way is just a start...

I'm selling some stuff!

Reply 3 of 16, by GL1zdA

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You can try to merge the 2 mix files together - they are simple containers (custom Westwood format) with files inside. I don't think the CD Audio portion of the Covert Ops CD is used in-game - AFAIK it's just a bonus like on the Counterstrike and Aftermath CDs. Do you have the C&C: The First Decade DVD? Because the C&C and Covert Ops from that compilation run on Windows without the DVD in driver, so maybe you can use it as a base for your DOS version.

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Reply 4 of 16, by Jorpho

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For that matter, isn't there a completely, legally, we're-the-creators-and-we-are-explicitly-saying-this free version of C&C that is still downloadable? Or is that WIndows-only?

Reply 5 of 16, by Zup

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GL1zdA wrote:

You can try to merge the 2 mix files together - they are simple containers (custom Westwood format) with files inside. I don't think the CD Audio portion of the Covert Ops CD is used in-game - AFAIK it's just a bonus like on the Counterstrike and Aftermath CDs. Do you have the C&C: The First Decade DVD? Because the C&C and Covert Ops from that compilation run on Windows without the DVD in driver, so maybe you can use it as a base for your DOS version.

Nope, I've only got that disks. I bought Command & Conquer for Windows 95 when I had a DX2/66, and exchanged it for the DOS version after discovering that it didn't work on my computer (I don't remember if it had some incompatibilities with my Trident 9400CXi, or it was awfuly slow, or it didn't work on 8 megs). The release has english language and DOS only executables. I guess that The Covert Operations (being a patch over C&C) have both DOS and Windows binaries, but I haven't tested it on Windows 95.

I've got a DVD that came with a magazine (Micromanía) that includes Command & Conquer (it seems that's the Gold version), Red Alert and Tiberian Sun (+Firestorm). It has two ISOs with C&C for Windows 95, but no Covert Operations. Also the MIX files have different sizes.

BTW, I've explored both MOVIES.MIX files with Dragon Unpacker, and they have different contents. I guess they can be combined, but I'll check it later.

Jorpho wrote:

For that matter, isn't there a completely, legally, we're-the-creators-and-we-are-explicitly-saying-this free version of C&C that is still downloadable? Or is that WIndows-only?

I guess no. It's a strange situation, because EA was giving away that game.

If you can get those files I guess you can play freely (because the EULA will allow you to do so). But you should be unable to obtain those files because EA shut down the page that contained it. It's a strange situation, because other sites distributing those files (unless they have been permission to) are involved in piracy... because they're distributing some files EA was giving away for free.

I don't know if the files on my DVD are exactly the same freeware files, but I suspect that Micromanía obtained permission to distribute the free games from EA (and that's the reason to include only the first three games into the DVD, and leaving apart The Covert Operations that was not released as freeware).

Other thoughts:
- I remember that Command & Conquer for DOS had a lower resolution than C&C 95 (320*200 vs 640*480), but I'm not sure if that's better or worst. I vaguely remember that sprite size was the same, so you could see more terrain on C&C 95.
- Using C&C for DOS allows you to run via DOSBox (obviously) and use it on Linux, most virtual machines (some don't support earlier versions of DirectX) or take it away on a pendrive.
- DOSBox offers better compatibility than the "pure" Windows game. At least a patch (and some compatibility options fiddling) are needed to run it on modern OS. Also, there are some problems to run multiplayer games with C&C 95 versions.

I have traveled across the universe and through the years to find Her.
Sometimes going all the way is just a start...

I'm selling some stuff!

Reply 6 of 16, by Jorpho

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Zup wrote:
Other thoughts: - I remember that Command & Conquer for DOS had a lower resolution than C&C 95 (320*200 vs 640*480), but I'm not […]
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Other thoughts:
- I remember that Command & Conquer for DOS had a lower resolution than C&C 95 (320*200 vs 640*480), but I'm not sure if that's better or worst. I vaguely remember that sprite size was the same, so you could see more terrain on C&C 95.
- Using C&C for DOS allows you to run via DOSBox (obviously) and use it on Linux, most virtual machines (some don't support earlier versions of DirectX) or take it away on a pendrive.
- DOSBox offers better compatibility than the "pure" Windows game. At least a patch (and some compatibility options fiddling) are needed to run it on modern OS. Also, there are some problems to run multiplayer games with C&C 95 versions.

Well, for that matter, OpenRA is working now, isn't it?
http://kotaku.com/fans-remake-classic-rts-gam … er-r-1775451029

Reply 7 of 16, by leileilol

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OPENRA IS NOT EVEN THE SAME

it's a crufty reimplementation focused on muliplayer only and doesn't play the same. Single player isn't supported. also it's really jerky

also the free C&C release is the later Win95 release which has different (and cut down!) MIX files.

by the way, DOSBox is not for running Windows 9x

Reply 8 of 16, by Nyerguds2

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As far as I've been able to determine, DOS C&C fails on scores.mix because the file is a .mix archive that starts with "sc", just like the addon mixfiles read by the game as part of the updates system introduced for easily adding the Covert Ops files (in v1.18p, if I remember correctly).

Basically, this means that the file gets processed in the addon files reading system, and when the game later tries to read it again as "file to read from CD" from the same location, the file cannot be accessed because it already has a pointer open in it... or something like that.

There are two solutions for this. One, which is the simplest but least efficient since it'll make the game start up slower, is simply to rename scores.mix to something else, like "scores2.mix", so only the sc*.mix addon system will read it, and the attempt to read scores.mix itself will fail gracefully. I think the reason this is slower is because hard disk files somehow get opened more thoroughly than the quick-access-read CD files.

The better way, however, is related to the -cd command line parameter. The parameter is basically "-cd[path to act as CD]" (actually it's more advanced; it accepts a semicolon-separated list of paths). This means the whole trouble can be avoided simply by making a subfolder for the media, and putting everything in there, and then just adapting the -cd parameter accordingly (e.g. "-cdmedia"; it works on relative paths too.); it only reads the sc*.mix files from the game's root folder.

I got a test setup I made ages ago which probably work fine on DOSBox:
http://nyerguds.arsaneus-design.com/fullcnc/
You might need to rename the .dat files to .exe and run them directly, though.

The full scores.mix (the version from the Covert Ops, that is, which has the expansion tracks), and the full merged movies.mix (with all videos from both sides, and all common ones) can be found in the media folder, as cnc1_music_full.rar and cnc1_movies_full.rar

Jorpho wrote:

For that matter, isn't there a completely, legally, we're-the-creators-and-we-are-explicitly-saying-this free version of C&C that is still downloadable? Or is that WIndows-only?

Don't kid yourself. The creators of C&C were in no way involved in that. The last traces of Westwood all left long before EA made any C&C games freeware.

that aside... they basically stopped hosting it ("it" being the original C&C95 ISOs) saying there were enough sites already mirroring it:
http://nyerguds.arsaneus-design.com/junk/td_free_1.png
http://nyerguds.arsaneus-design.com/junk/td_free_2.png

The original packs can still be downloaded from the archive.org backup of their official download page though.
https://web.archive.org/web/20100214144634/ht … uer.com/classic
But, yes, they're only the Win95 versions. The DOS version was never released as freeware. In fact they never bothered with the Covert Ops or the RA1 expansions either; I released those ISOs myself knowing fully well no one at EA would mind.

Problem is, the C&C95 isos have a 16-bit Windows installer, so without a program to unpack the setup.z archive (there's a tool called WinPack that can do that) they're kind of useless from the moment you're running 64-bit Windows (and these days, who doesn't?). Which is why I made a full game installer version of my unofficial 1.06 patch of the game, of couse 😀

---

PS: My account ("Nyerguds") is apparently "inactive". It said to "contact a board administrator" about it, which, as far as I can see, is completely impossible without actually already having an account; no contact information is available publicly anywhere at all on the site. To complicate matters, I'm fairly sure the other account is registered on an ancient and long-dead email address, so password recovery is a no-go too. Anyone know who I'd have to contact about getting it back?

Heck, I don't even know if I ever posted on it. Just want to have my usual name here, without the daft number at the end.

Last edited by Nyerguds2 on 2016-08-17, 20:08. Edited 3 times in total.

Reply 9 of 16, by Nyerguds2

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Zup wrote:

Other thoughts:
- I remember that Command & Conquer for DOS had a lower resolution than C&C 95 (320*200 vs 640*480), but I'm not sure if that's better or worst. I vaguely remember that sprite size was the same, so you could see more terrain on C&C 95.

Exactly right. As shown by this showcase screenshot of my C&C95 v1.06 patch:

cncversions_sizes.png

Zup wrote:

- DOSBox offers better compatibility than the "pure" Windows game. At least a patch (and some compatibility options fiddling) are needed to run it on modern OS. Also, there are some problems to run multiplayer games with C&C 95 versions.

Eh. We fixed all of those compatibility problems, either by editing the game, or with external DLLs (like a ddraw and thipx32 override). And multiplayer has been fixed and revived by CnCNet.

A lot of the crash problems C&C95 had weren't compatibility-related anyway, but were bugs that are also in the DOS version, but simply don't crash there. They crash on Windows now because modern windows OSes happen to have tighter memory management than DOS/Win95/98 had. But the bugs themselves were always there. My patch actually fixes them.

leileilol wrote:

OPENRA IS NOT EVEN THE SAME

Preach it! 😎

leileilol wrote:

also the free C&C release is the later Win95 release which has different (and cut down!) MIX files.

Well, that's debatable. Sure, they contain less files, but none of these files are normally used by the game anyway, unless you know some hidden switches in conquer.ini to activate them (like Scores=Remix). Basically they just cleaned them up.

Last edited by Nyerguds2 on 2017-02-02, 08:17. Edited 1 time in total.

Reply 10 of 16, by g0r3

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Hello Zup,

i made iso files and a batch to choose at start:
You can switch between the mounted isos by pressing CTRL+F4 ingame.
Haven't tried to mount all 3 Isos to different drive letters, maybe that works as well.

CNC.BAT

@echo off
cls
echo ===============================================================================
echo Disk 1 mounted: Command & Conquer - Tiberian Dawn - GDI
echo Disk 2 mounted: Command & Conquer - Tiberian Dawn - NOD
echo Disk 3 mounted: Command & Conquer - Tiberian Dawn - The Covert Operation
echo ===============================================================================
echo Change Disk by pressing CTRL + F4
echo ===============================================================================
pause
mount -u D
imgmount D E:\DosBox\Isos\C&C\GDI.CUE E:\DosBox\Isos\C&C\NOD.CUE E:\DosBox\Isos\C&C\OPERATION.CUE -t iso
cd c:\Games\C&C\
C&C.exe
mount -u D
mount D G:\ -t cdrom -usecd 1 -ioctl
cd\

Maybe helpful

Best regards,
g0r3

Reply 11 of 16, by Nyerguds2

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No, DOS C&C can only use the first CDROM it detects. Though IMO running a full hard disk setup with merged media is a lot cleaner, for C&C. The tools for doing the merging exist anyway.

Reply 12 of 16, by chinny22

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Hmm for me it was pretty easy, I use real dos but will work in dosbox as well.
Install C&C
Install Covert
Patch
Create a folder called c:\games\C&C\CD and copy in the following
Copy Aud.mix, Conquer.mix desert.mix, general.mix, scores.mix, sounds.mix, temperat.mix, movies.mix, setup.mix, zsounds.mix
create a sub folder called c:\games\C&C CD\Aud1 and copy speech.mix
run c&c -cdc:\games\c&c\cd

scores.mix I get from covert so it includes the extra tracks, I cant remember if any of the others were from the Covert CD, I just went with whichever had the bigger file size.

Nyerguds
If I replaced the standard movies.mix with your merged one is the game smart enough to play the correct cut scene?
At the moment I have to copy over the GDI or NOD one depending on which side I'm playing.

Good to see you here though! I always preferred DOS versions (big is beautiful!) but your patch for C&C to include the unused tracks and the extra missions, cut scenes, etc added to RA finally converted me over! 😀

Reply 13 of 16, by Nyerguds2

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chinny22 wrote:

Copy Aud.mix, Conquer.mix desert.mix, general.mix, scores.mix, sounds.mix, temperat.mix, movies.mix, setup.mix, zsounds.mix
create a sub folder called c:\games\C&C CD\Aud1 and copy speech.mix
run c&c -cdc:\games\c&c\cd

v1.22 has problems with scores.mix in the game folder though. But speech.mix can simply be put in the game folder.

The simplest way to do it is to put all the media in your game folder except scores.mix. You can either put that in a different folder and use -cdfolderpath to refer to it, or place it in the game folder but rename it to something else starting with "sc", like scores2.mix, to make the game read it as addon just like the sc-???.mix files.

By the way, -cd accepts relative paths, so if you want to use a CD folder, you can just make it use a subfolder in your game folder and paste its name directly behind the -cd parameter. So for a folder called GAMEDISC you can just start the game as "C&C -CDGAMEDISC"

chinny22 wrote:

If I replaced the standard movies.mix with your merged one is the game smart enough to play the correct cut scene?
At the moment I have to copy over the GDI or NOD one depending on which side I'm playing.

Actually, the game is dumb enough to play the correct cutscene. Once you're either in no-cd mode, or the mix file is in the game folder, the game doesn't care where it comes from, only what it contains. Mix files have no special properties; they are simply file archives, like zip files or something (only not compressed). The videos were just separated into 2 archives to fit on the 2 CDs. Since the format is fully known, it wasn't hard to just make one containing all videos (including the 6 new ones of the Covert Ops disk, btw). The game doesn't care; it just reads the mix archive and looks for the file it needs.

Also, do make sure to take scores.mix from the Covert Ops CD; that one is the most complete version, including both all original music and all expansion music.

On the subject of scores... there's a bunch of hidden options in the game, including one that unlocks the special remixes, but sadly, it seems they disabled/broke that option in v1.22 (no clue why). There's 2 tools available that can do the same thing with some small byte hacks in the exe, though. You can read everything about them on this page.

chinny22 wrote:

Good to see you here though! I always preferred DOS versions (big is beautiful!) but your patch for C&C to include the unused tracks and the extra missions, cut scenes, etc added to RA finally converted me over! 😀

Thanks! All I did for RA was converting those PSX expansion cutscenes, though.

Reply 14 of 16, by chinny22

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Ahh cool, haven't messed round with mix files since the 90's. Was worried they gave it simple names, e.g. mission1, mission2, etc but thinking about it now that would of meant cut scenes would of still played no matter which side I played, just the wrong one.

Even better news about the scores! There was a way you could extract them I think and play them in the game, but haven't bothered with that for years so don't really remember and then your patch came along. But now I can listen to C&C 80's while playing on my original 486, just like I did back in the mid 90's! Thanks again!

Reply 15 of 16, by Nyerguds2

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Yeah, the music files have .aud extensions, and the alternates have .var extensions, so it's really not hard to just extract them and rename them to .aud to make them override the originals.

The alternates are in fact the originals; apparently Quality Control thought the many voices used in these tracks (which occasionally include the EVA voice) would be confusing to the players, and that's why they put in voice-stripped ones instead. However, the PSX and Sega Saturn versions of the game (and the soundtrack CD, for that matter) have the original tracks, and even include a couple which were not added as .var file in the PC version. My C&C95 patch adds all of those too.

Of course, I went a lot further in my C&C95 patch; I actually added an extra setting to the music information to specify the correct playlist length for the alternates. These lengths aren't calculated from the file but just stored internally, and since the alternates' lengths are rarely identical to the normal ones, they're obviously wrong once you replace the tracks, even through the original hidden options.

(In fact, in C&C95, I made those settings editable from an ini file; the start of a full ini rules project to un-hardcode all internal game data that sadly never really went anywhere. The music was my proof of concept 😒 )

Reply 16 of 16, by Nyerguds2

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Old topic, I know, but I just noticed this...

chinny22 wrote:

Copy Aud.mix, Conquer.mix desert.mix, general.mix, scores.mix, sounds.mix, temperat.mix, movies.mix, setup.mix, zsounds.mix
create a sub folder called c:\games\C&C CD\Aud1 and copy speech.mix
run c&c -cdc:\games\c&c\cd

The general.mix files of the two CDs are different; that's the archive containing the missions, and besides mission 1, they only contain the missions of that CD's side. So these need to be combined or extracted to work right, or the -cd stuff needs to be set up so you have a specific launcher for GDI and for Nod, each loading a folder with its own correct general.mix file.