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Reply 80 of 124, by BinaryDemon

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luckybob wrote:
So, Ive finally gotten over the flu and got my unit plugged in and turned on. […]
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So, Ive finally gotten over the flu and got my unit plugged in and turned on.

I want to preface this by saying the following. I hate dealing with software. And I know fuckall about linux. I also don't use dosbox often. So that will color my experience greatly.

The thin client hardware is really neat! I've never had a system quite like this, and it is a nice little box.

Initial impression, good. But any usb hard drives, cd drives, floppies I had did not appear as an option under the "mount" command. So that kneecapped me and I stopped for now.

try: mnthelp

Check out DOSBox Distro:

https://sites.google.com/site/dosboxdistro/ [*]

a lightweight Linux distro (tinycore) which boots off a usb flash drive and goes straight to DOSBox.

Make your dos retrogaming experience portable!

Reply 81 of 124, by AlaricD

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I used Phil's Computer Lab's "DOS Benchmarks" and tried a few of the benchmarks with the various SETSPEED.BAT presets. The Superscape tests were kindof hilarious in some ways, but I tried the Doom and Quake benchmarks on the 386-33 and higher settings.
315 cycles ~ 4.77MHz 8088
Superscape 1.0 0.6fps; Superscape 1.0c 1023fps; PC Player Benchmark 0.1fps; Landmark 6.0 3MHz AT, 15.00MHz 287, 625.74 chars/ms
Superscape took a LOOOONG time to run at this cycle setting.

2750 cycles ~ 12.5MHz 286
Superscape 1.0 6.0fps; Superscape 1.0c 350.0fps; PC Player Benchmark 1.4fps; Landmark 6.0 28MHz AT, 131.60MHz 287, 5491.84 chars/ms
Superscape still took a long time to run at this cycle setting, but not as bad as at 315 cycles.

7800 cycles ~ 33MHz 386
Superscape 1.0 17.5fps; Superscape 1.0c 17.2; PC Player Benchmark 4.1fps; Landmark 6.0 81MHz AT, 373.58Mhz 287, 15603.81 chars/ms; Doom (max details) 9972 Realtics/7.49fps; Quake 3.0fps

26800 cycles ~ 66MHz 486
Superscape 1.0 62.5fps; Superscape 1.0c 59.3fps; PC Player Benchmark 14.3fps; Landmark 6.0 277.78MHz AT, 1283.75MHz 287, 54613.33 chars/ms; Doom (max details) 2994 Realtics/24.95fps; Quake 10.4fps

38000 cycles ~ 66MHz Pentium
Superscape 1.0 90.9fps; Superscape 1.0c 84.1fps; PC Player Benchmark 20.2fps; Landmark 6.0 393.07MHz AT, 1820.27MHz 287, 81920.00 chars/ms; Doom (max details) 2155 Realtics/34.66fps; Quake 14.7fps

Option 6 (forgot to note cycles and equivalence)
Superscape 1.0 11.1fps; Superscape 1.0c 110.7fps; PC Player Benchmark 26.6fps; Landmark 6.0 518.25MHz AT, 2395.10MHz 287, 109266.67 chars/ms; Doom (max details) 1676 Realtics/44.56fps; Quake 19.3fps

77000 cycles (forgot to note equivalence)
Superscape 1.0 0.0fps; Superscape 1.0c 170.5fps; PC Player Benchmark 41fps; Landmark 6.0 798.12MHz AT, 3688.50MHz 287, 16384 chars/ms; Doom (max details) 1140 Realtics/65.62fps; Quake 29.5fps

200000 cycles ~ 300MHz P2
Superscape 1.0 0fps; Superscape 1.0c 443.2fps; PC Player Benchmark 106.7fps; Landmark 6.0 2073.6MHz AT,8000.00MHz 287, 419520.00 chars/ms; Doom (max details) 533 Realtics/140.13fps; Quake 74.6fps

The 386-33 benchmarked in Doom about what a 386DX-40 would, Quake ran quite a bit faster (must be the floating point performance).
On the 200000 cycles setting, the Superscape 1.0c ran really jerky with lots of missed frames, yet shows a high framerate. Doom showed lots and lots of tearing on the 720p TV I was using.
Not sure why the chars/ms in Landmark was an outlier at 77000 cycles. I need to rerun that, maybe I wrote the number down wrong.

Note that the Doom and Quake has sound off by default in Phil's benchmarks. I'm going to try again with sound on to see what happens to those framerates, and to see if the sound is OK. That may be why the Future Crew demos (particularly Panic) don't run right, they must use weird timing tricks to get the sound in there and there's some synchronization of the music to the effects itself. Timing is pretty critical.

Another thing I noticed is that Wing Commander runs pretty decently with setspeed emulating a 386-33; the opening sequence with the conductor runs about right and you get the fireworks and stuff. Too high a speed and the opening sequence is inexorably slow-- the conductor scarcely moves, and you never see the fireworks, and the animation when running out to the hangar bay is also very choppy and even parts missing.

Hopefully this data helps-- the benchmarks with sound should reveal more.

Reply 82 of 124, by AlaricD

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luckybob wrote:

But any usb hard drives, cd drives, floppies I had did not appear as an option under the "mount" command. So that kneecapped me and I stopped for now.

I'd made a folder "DOS" on a removable drive, and after I booted up the system with just that flash drive plugged in, I just typed mount d /mnt/sdb1/dos. That worked, so I added it to startup.bat. I think so long as you have just one flash drive plugged in, it'll be at /mnt/sdb1.

Reply 83 of 124, by DTBDeeRock

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Any chance to make the mounting process part of your startup.bat menu? Like putting in something to mount whatever you plug in? IE USB thumb drive and then have an option to mount as a cd rom or hdd or whatever?

I will attempt to do more testing and get the exact cycles I’m using for various games.

Reply 84 of 124, by AlaricD

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DTBDeeRock wrote:

Any chance to make the mounting process part of your startup.bat menu? Like putting in something to mount whatever you plug in? IE USB thumb drive and then have an option to mount as a cd rom or hdd or whatever?

My own mount command detailed in a post above seems to work reliably so long as I only have one flash drive inserted (and that must have a folder named DOS on it). Making something do it interactively/automagically upon flash drive insertion is another subject entirely.

Reply 85 of 124, by BinaryDemon

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DTBDeeRock wrote:

Any chance to make the mounting process part of your startup.bat menu? Like putting in something to mount whatever you plug in? IE USB thumb drive and then have an option to mount as a cd rom or hdd or whatever?

It would be clunky, because DOSBox can't detect a change external to it there has to be user interaction. I would have to do something like this:

You insert a new device, tinycore monitoring script detects it, modifies a batch file with the correct mount command (I'll need to learn how linux determines if it's an HDD or CDROM), sends an audible speech message "New device detected, run newmount.bat". Newmount.bat contains rescan (forcing DosBox to update its FileSystem) then calls another batchfile which is the one that contains the actual mount command. User runs newmount.bat and drive D: is mounted.

Check out DOSBox Distro:

https://sites.google.com/site/dosboxdistro/ [*]

a lightweight Linux distro (tinycore) which boots off a usb flash drive and goes straight to DOSBox.

Make your dos retrogaming experience portable!

Reply 86 of 124, by BinaryDemon

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Thanks for all the benchmarking everyone. AlricD, if you run Panic at 26800 cycles ~ 66MHz 486 , does it still take a while to load and stutters?

Check out DOSBox Distro:

https://sites.google.com/site/dosboxdistro/ [*]

a lightweight Linux distro (tinycore) which boots off a usb flash drive and goes straight to DOSBox.

Make your dos retrogaming experience portable!

Reply 87 of 124, by AlaricD

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BinaryDemon wrote:

Thanks for all the benchmarking everyone. AlricD, if you run Panic at 26800 cycles ~ 66MHz 486 , does it still take a while to load and stutters?

I did a little testing with Doom with sound on at the default setting (38000 cycles, ~66MHz Pentium) and got 2232 realtics/33.46fps and the sound was very stuttery. So while there was very little issue with the framerate, the sound really suffered. Maybe the sound drivers for tinycore need optimization or something.

Reply 88 of 124, by BinaryDemon

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AlaricD wrote:
BinaryDemon wrote:

Thanks for all the benchmarking everyone. AlricD, if you run Panic at 26800 cycles ~ 66MHz 486 , does it still take a while to load and stutters?

I did a little testing with Doom with sound on at the default setting (38000 cycles, ~66MHz Pentium) and got 2232 realtics/33.46fps and the sound was very stuttery. So while there was very little issue with the framerate, the sound really suffered. Maybe the sound drivers for tinycore need optimization or something.

Im thinking it's just that 38000 is too fast.

Check out DOSBox Distro:

https://sites.google.com/site/dosboxdistro/ [*]

a lightweight Linux distro (tinycore) which boots off a usb flash drive and goes straight to DOSBox.

Make your dos retrogaming experience portable!

Reply 89 of 124, by AlaricD

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I'll see if through multiple runs of the timedemo (with sound), and fine-tuning the cycle settings, I can get an acceptable sound rate and frame rate.

I haven't gone in the backend to see what other DOSBox.conf entries I could fiddle with, but that would mean a slightly less turnkey setup. Maybe a .BAT to call new settings before launching the game would be useful.

I also need to test Wing Commander 3 and 4; I don't have extremely high hopes for 4, though. WC3 runs on a real 8MB Am386DX40/Cx387DX-40 so it *should* run in DOSBox but again, all that abstraction going on...

Reply 90 of 124, by BinaryDemon

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I did some of my own testing with Future Crew's Unreal - same thing as Panic. Sound doesnt start to smooth out until running the 7800 cycles. Tried a bunch of different config settings - like prebuffer and blocksize but nothing seemed to help. 🙁

Check out DOSBox Distro:

https://sites.google.com/site/dosboxdistro/ [*]

a lightweight Linux distro (tinycore) which boots off a usb flash drive and goes straight to DOSBox.

Make your dos retrogaming experience portable!

Reply 91 of 124, by AlaricD

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BinaryDemon wrote:

I did some of my own testing with Future Crew's Unreal - same thing as Panic. Sound doesnt start to smooth out until running the 7800 cycles. Tried a bunch of different config settings - like prebuffer and blocksize but nothing seemed to help. 🙁

Future Crew were so close to the hardware writing demos that emulators have a hard time with them, and in a way it's not really fair to ask this device and DOSBox to run it properly. But it seems the sound handling seems to be a weak spot with DOSBox; I get great FPS and horrible sound in Doom and Quake at high cycle settings.

The Ultima series of games is another thing I'll be testing soon, I hope.

Reply 92 of 124, by Delphius

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Still working on getting a good time to start digging in to this box. I have been working on a lot of original hardware right now so its been hard to keep up with all the projects im working through right now. Trying to finish up some things today so I can play around with it tonight.

Reply 93 of 124, by BinaryDemon

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I came across a bug and was wondering if anyone else has seen similar. Keyboard stopped working in Webbrowser after 1st use. It worked once, I returned to dosbox, the launched webrowser again. Mouse worked but keyboard did nothing. Like keyboard focus stuck with dosbox.

Check out DOSBox Distro:

https://sites.google.com/site/dosboxdistro/ [*]

a lightweight Linux distro (tinycore) which boots off a usb flash drive and goes straight to DOSBox.

Make your dos retrogaming experience portable!

Reply 94 of 124, by AlaricD

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One thing I noticed is that if I Alt+Enter to exit fullscreen, the performance improves (since it then goes to a smaller view in the upper-left corner of the TV). So, maybe setting the window system resolution to something smaller, so that the DOSBox full screen is still only 640x480, and letting the TV do the stretching to fit the screen size would help a lot. I was going to mess with this some but got caught up in other projects this weekend. Just a musing, since I don't know if the TV (some 32" Westinghouse , 720p) would support that. I suppose I could try it with a real computer monitor instead.

Reply 95 of 124, by BinaryDemon

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I could try that. Although going lower than 1024x768 might introduce a ton of compatibility issues with modern displays.

I could add different options to the boot menu and have it default to 1024x768 after 5 seconds. Still I can’t image most displays supporting 640x480 nowadays.

Check out DOSBox Distro:

https://sites.google.com/site/dosboxdistro/ [*]

a lightweight Linux distro (tinycore) which boots off a usb flash drive and goes straight to DOSBox.

Make your dos retrogaming experience portable!

Reply 96 of 124, by Delphius

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Just a quick note after playing around with the thin client a bit. I was able to get into the bios with the password 10ZIG (case sensitive).

Im curious what method for file transfer / data storage people are preferring so far?

Reply 97 of 124, by Delphius

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Alright so I had sometime to do some initial testing. It has been interesting to see where this thing sits.

I found that most of the default cycle speeds in the menu are pretty off from running anything correctly. Even running things like Keen 2 were lagging pretty bad at the supposed Pentium 300MHz speeds listed. I saw a previous post mention 80000 cycles so I tried that out. This made pretty much everything run decently, with only minor slow downs similar to what I have experienced on raspberry pi 3. However everything seems pretty stable, and maybe a bit better than the raspberry pi. Duke 3d seems to run pretty good, with a little lag. However Shadow Warrior suffered with similar artifacts and slow downs I have found in many emulations like this. It seems to be a pretty difficult game to get right so I like to use it as a standard. I was able to get it playable at around 100000 cycles, but it feels laggy and the sound glitches a lot. Not a huge things for me, but I enjoy having this game running correctly. I also tried Warcraft II, which seemed to also prefer higher cycle counts but worked well.

I will also note that CD-ROM support does not seem to be working. This is required for some games, so I was able to test things like Loom CD with GOG images embedded for Dosbox. I also want to get something figured out for music and general midi in general.

I think I will try to spend some time trying out other things like retro arch, and loading on other linux OS so I am able to compare how other applications handle the load as well. I also noticed that the GPU memory can be increased in the BIOS so it might be worth testing to see if there is any improvement by tweaking that. If there is any update on getting in to terminal, that would be great. I think I can tinker and figure out a way, but if there is an already known method it would be nice to know.

Reply 98 of 124, by BinaryDemon

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Ok thanks for the testing, the default values in speedset are mostly pulled from ‘dosbox performance’ wiki. I would guess 80000 cycles is far too high at that point you might as well be using frameskip. When you add the usb cdrom does mnthelp see a new device?

I don’t think changing video memory setting will do anything other than make less memory available to the system because If I understand it correctly Xvesa really isn’t using any GPU acceleration. It’s probably possible to make some Linux tweaks for this specific hardware, but I’d also like to keep Dosbox Distro as compatible as possible. I think ALaricD is onto something with screen size / scaling since basically the cpu is doing all the work scaling 320x200 up to 1024x768 but at two different points (dosbox normal2x, then xvesa scaling 640x400 to 1024x768).

I haven’t tested hacking to terminal, but I think if you modify one of the script files to just launch terminal it might work. Try mounting a drive to ~/.local/bin/ then I would guess you could modify almost any of the script files to run xterm/aterm. bbs.sh is basically a terminal (just checking if window title is telnet), I would guess you could modify that, the alt-enter to the terminal after it goes back to dosbox. If you end up fighting with the window switching maybe modify something designed to run in background.

Check out DOSBox Distro:

https://sites.google.com/site/dosboxdistro/ [*]

a lightweight Linux distro (tinycore) which boots off a usb flash drive and goes straight to DOSBox.

Make your dos retrogaming experience portable!

Reply 99 of 124, by AlaricD

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Delphius wrote:

I was able to get into the bios with the password 10ZIG (case sensitive).

Last week I went in there just to see what all the defaults were. I considered turning off hyperthreading just to see what would happen, but I figured "not much" so I didn't. I took photos of every page just so if I decided to change things I'd know what was what. Also didn't find any overclocking options ;)

Im curious what method for file transfer / data storage people are preferring so far?

I just use a USB flash drive with a folder named DOS so my STARTUP.BAT automatically maps it as D: