VOGONS


First post, by MrFlibble

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I just discovered a formerly shareware turned freeware Finnish DOS RPG of the first-person party based dungeon crawling variety (also known as "blobber" as far as I know), with the original shareware available here and freeware version here.

The game launches in DOSBox (I'm using v0.74, but not the recent take-two update, for Linux 64-bit) and I can start or load a game, but:

  • in both shareware v2.0 and freeware v2.1 starting a new game does not allow to generate a party. The character generation screen is shown briefly after which the game starts with this:
    glbykXY.png
    Evidently, this is a party completely devoid of characters. I can walk around the dungeon but as soon as I try to look up character stats I get this:
    qwQK1YR.png xCyOLKZ.png
  • luckily the game also ships with six pre-generated parties as saved games, and in shareware v2.0 I could play one party for a bit (walk around, fight monsters, read signs etc.) until I found a dagger on the floor. I clicked it with the mouse and the game apparently stopped responding to any key or mouse input although it did not exactly freeze because I could still move the cursor around.
  • in the freeware version I can load a party but the game seems to ignore keyboard input.

What I have tried (to absolutely no effect on the above):

  • run the game with and without any sound card configured
  • turn off either EMS or XMS emulation
  • run with normal core instead of dynamic
  • run with max cycles
  • run with a fixed amount of 7800 cycles
  • run with max limit to 26800 cycles (the game is in real mode)

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Reply 1 of 6, by ripsaw8080

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Run the game like this: LOADFIX -25 CBS

Can also do two separate commands, if preferred:
LOADFIX -25
CBS

FYI, LOADFIX allocations are something you should always try with broken games. It's not just about games that crash, although that can happen. There is no limit to the kinds of program misbehavior that can result from being loaded as low in memory as DOSBox does by default; although it's mostly real mode programs that might mess up.

Reply 2 of 6, by MrFlibble

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ripsaw8080, thanks a lot!

To my utter shame after so many years of using DOSBox this is the first time I learn about LOADFIX and its uses.

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Reply 3 of 6, by Rwolf

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As a side-note, LOADFIX is something I have trouble using in the D-Fend Reloaded frontend; if I enable it I get an 'illegal command' when the game executable is launched using the normal script; I can launch it ok from the command prompt and then the game, but it seems it is not recognized (as an internal command) during the more complex startup script created by the front-end, so as there is no explicit file for it I get the error. (Since it can be circumvented, it's a minor niggle)

Reply 4 of 6, by Dagar

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Is there any way to get audio in the full freeware v2.1 version of this game? I tried most everything with no success. Audio works in the shareware v2.0 version.
Also I can't get GUS audio to work at all.

Rwolf...you can use loadfix with D-Fend Reloaded as follows:

dfend.jpg

Reply 5 of 6, by ripsaw8080

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The full freeware version of the game has a bug where SETSOUND.EXE produces a SETSOUND.DAT file that is 85 bytes long, but CBS.EXE expects the file to be 86 bytes long and will not enable sound if the file is smaller. I can only guess how this situation came to be, but in any case there appear to be two options to work around the problem: 1) extend SETSOUND.DAT by one byte after every time SETSOUND.EXE is used to change sound settings, 2) modify the byte at offset CA17 in CBS.EXE from 56 to 55. I think option 2 is likely to be less aggravating in the long run. 😉

As for GUS, the setup offers only "high" DMA channels, so some care must be taken. First, I suggest using an SVN build of DOSBox because some fixes have been made regarding high DMA channels and 16-bit sound. Second, I suggest using DMA channel 5 in SETSOUND.EXE, gusdma=5 in DOSBox settings, gus=true, and sbtype=none to avoid possible conflicts -- this setup works in my testing. Note that gusdma=3 is the default, so you will have to change that no matter what DMA channel is selected in SETSOUND.EXE, but definitely stay away from DMA channel 4 because it can't be used for transfers and I have no idea why the setup even offers it.