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First post, by Pierre32

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Scenario: You have a couple of hundred games spanning 1990-2000, stored on a modern computer or server. You transfer these across to period hardware to play them, and of course you have several different machines for this purpose. How do you sort and file them? What does your directory structure look like on the storage side?

I've danced with several ideas, none of which are perfect because there is always some category crossover:

  • Sort by platform. Built a new 486? Just grab games from the 486 folder.
  • Sort by OS (DOS/3.1/9x)
  • Sort by genre. One of the most obvious routes to take, but one category can span multiple eras/OS
  • Sort by sound. All MT-32 games in one place, etc.
  • Sort by publisher

Obviously some kind of database or tag/filter system would be the best scenario, but this is outside the scope of the average file manager. I'm keen to hear about some of your approaches.

(Apologies if this has been done; I didn't nail the search terms if so.)

Reply 1 of 14, by chinny22

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This is what my server looks like.

Games\Dos
Games\Win
Games\Patches
Games\SaveGames

Any games that have both a dos and windows executable say like GTA1 just get put in the games folder
I tried splitting Windows into 9x and XP but the crossover period made that more trouble then it's worth for the 50 odd total games I have in that folder with some games like Age of Empires I install in both 9x and XP.
Much easier to just scroll down a single list and skip the games you know are for earlier/later OS's

This means the Games folders are pretty static and remain tidy. The savegame folder is also tidy but those zip files don't "pollute" the games list
Patches folder can get a bit messy as I try different NO-CD patches or whatever. Once I find a patch I know I'm going to stick with I'll usually just include it in the same archive as the iso that lives in the games folder.

Also as all my dos PC's have 4GB hard drives or larger space isn't really an issue so will usually simply copy the games folder off 1 dos pc to another, does mean the 486's have some games that I'll never really play as need a faster CPU but thats ok.
For duel boot systems I'll install windows games into a different partition or WinGames folder just to keep the 2 sperate

Reply 2 of 14, by Wanderer

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Pierre32 wrote on 2021-01-05, 02:11:

Obviously some kind of database or tag/filter system would be the best scenario, but this is outside the scope of the average file manager. I'm keen to hear about some of your approaches.

Hello,
my approach would be to make a list in MS Excel, sortable by any column/parameter, with a hyperlink to every game's location.

HTH

Reply 4 of 14, by appiah4

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GOG does a great job of sorting my collection across multiple storefronts (GOG/Steam/Origin/Uplay).

For locally installed stuff, there are some very good DOSBOX frontends.

Retronautics: A digital gallery of my retro computers, hardware and projects.

Reply 5 of 14, by creepingnet

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All my retro stuff is backed up to a 1TB SSD and only used when I need to put something on my retro-boxes via network or FTP. While there's more on there than just retro stuff, I have this folder structure

RETRO
- DOSGAMES - I have them by alphabet (mostly) with special subfolders for Ultima, Maxis, SCUMM, and Sierra stuff since most of my favorites are in those folders. Bigger stuff like the 7th Guest, Killing Moon, Lighthouse....etc....are stored as ISO & VCD files so I can run them without the CD on the go
- Win16 Games - I just have the installers doubled up in the working program folder so I can install if it has an installer, or just copy the folder and make a shortcut if it does'nt. Some games that require the CD have an ISO File and VCD File depending on if I'm using shsucdx in Win31 or Virtual CD ROM in Win9x.
- Win32 Games - Usually 2 CD images, ISO or VCD again, like before, and then the regular installer in a base directlry in case it does not require the CD on an actual CD-ROM drive.
- Emulators - This is all the old emulators for DOS/Win9x that I use, NESticle, GeneCyst, A26, Z26, MAME, and all that mess + ROM Hacking utilities for NES in the ROMHACK directory

When installed on the computer I structure my HDD this way...

C:\ - O/S, major program files, internet applications, data xfer tools, etc...drivers...
D:\ - Utilities, Programs, Programming Development, Graphics, etc...
E:\ - An entire partition just for games and emulators
F:\ - Media - NSF Files, MP3s, MIDIs, OS ISO/VCD files, DRiver Disks/installers, PRogram Installers, and of course, the CD image Files for the games are stored here when using SHSUCDX or VCD

Usually when I do file copy over network, I just start a heaping mess - were talking GIGABYTES of data here - and let it run over night. FTP though I have to monitor because for some crazy reason FileZilla tries to copy over multiple files at once and causes some copies to fail. Most of the time though I just slap the HDD (if it can read it) into a modern PC and copy that way. I use huge HDD and sometimes I can make all partitions readable, especially if I use MaxBlast as my DDO and do all the partitioning within MaxBlast.

~The Creeping Network~
My Website - https://sites.google.com/site/thecreepingnetwork/home
My Youtube Channel - https://www.youtube.com/creepingnet

Reply 7 of 14, by Kreshna Aryaguna Nurzaman

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In what format do you store your game? I used to store them in Nero images (.NRG), but now I gradually convert them into CUE/BIN format. Well, ISO can work too, but ISO cannot contain games with mixed mode format (both Redbook and data in one media).

Never thought this thread would be that long, but now, for something different.....
Kreshna Aryaguna Nurzaman.

Reply 8 of 14, by Joseph_Joestar

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kolderman wrote on 2021-01-11, 23:44:

I obsessively download the offline installers for all my GOG games up through the winXP era.

Same. My fear is that the installers will be updated at some point and won't work on XP anymore.

On that note, I wish GOG would offer the original install media as an optional download (BIN/CUE format). They kinda do this for certain DOS games, but it would be nice if it was more widespread. That said, I imagine the demand for this is rather low and the extra storage space costs would probably make it hard for them to justify.

Using Audigy drivers with a Sound Blaster Live
Installing DOS drivers on an Audigy2 ZS
OPL3 vs. ESFM vs. CQM vs. SBLive
OPTi 82C930 review

Reply 9 of 14, by Pierre32

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Some good input and ideas around directory structures 😀

Wanderer wrote on 2021-01-05, 10:18:
Hello, my approach would be to make a list in MS Excel, sortable by any column/parameter, with a hyperlink to every game's locat […]
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Pierre32 wrote on 2021-01-05, 02:11:

Obviously some kind of database or tag/filter system would be the best scenario, but this is outside the scope of the average file manager. I'm keen to hear about some of your approaches.

Hello,
my approach would be to make a list in MS Excel, sortable by any column/parameter, with a hyperlink to every game's location.

HTH

I like this idea. Somewhat intensive to set up and maintain, but it would be very handy once up and running. That said I proabbly won't go down this path, because I know I'll end up spending more time spreadsheet tweaking than gaming!

Reply 10 of 14, by shamino

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I don't have a huge amount of PC games installed on anything, but I do keep an archive of installers.
In that archive, I have PC games sorted by genre, and I group sequels together in a subfolder for the game series. Sorting by genre is subjective, there's always gray areas when doing that.
Each game is in it's own folder, along with any other files I have for that game including patch files, maps, articles, text notes and whatever.
Console games are elsewhere, sorted by system.

I want to eventually start a project of making images of all my CDs and floppies. When I do that I'm going to have to rethink how things are organized.
I might make a directory full of disk images with no real organization, and then link to those files elsewhere. If I do it that way then the external links will be organized but the disk image files themselves would not be.
I'm not sure if it's a good idea, but the intent is that the hard drive storing the disk images will be static, which makes it work better with SnapRAID, and also keeps those huge files from bloating my general storage. The general storage will then get a conventional backup while the drive containing disk images will be part of the SnapRAID array.

I'm guessing that each disk image will get an ID number, and those numbers will be in a database. There will be some random disk images whose only reference will be in that database, because they won't be of any significance that any organized folder for them has to exist.

Reply 11 of 14, by chinny22

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Kreshna Aryaguna Nurzaman wrote on 2021-01-12, 10:03:

In what format do you store your game? I used to store them in Nero images (.NRG), but now I gradually convert them into CUE/BIN format. Well, ISO can work too, but ISO cannot contain games with mixed mode format (both Redbook and data in one media).

ISO for the majority, Cue/Bin for mixed mode CD's as you mentioned.
Disk based games I usually simply copy the disk, not create image files.

Everything is in a zip or rar file. File compression aside it also means games that are more then a single file are in a nice self contained file. I'll also add a comment on version number to the archive.

I've also got a spreadsheet, no hyperlinks I'm not that advanced. Just a simple 2 sheet file on google drive with info I may want to find out quick for me that's
Windows sheet has year and version of Direct X it needs
Dos sheet has year, Sound/Midi devices supported and if it has split screen or network support.

Reply 12 of 14, by creepingnet

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Kreshna Aryaguna Nurzaman wrote on 2021-01-12, 10:03:

In what format do you store your game? I used to store them in Nero images (.NRG), but now I gradually convert them into CUE/BIN format. Well, ISO can work too, but ISO cannot contain games with mixed mode format (both Redbook and data in one media).

ISO or working install in a directory so I can just drag n' drop via FTP. Sometimes I store as ZIP but usually that's for old shareware/shovelware that's rare/hard to get that I post online to download.

~The Creeping Network~
My Website - https://sites.google.com/site/thecreepingnetwork/home
My Youtube Channel - https://www.youtube.com/creepingnet

Reply 13 of 14, by Kreshna Aryaguna Nurzaman

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chinny22 wrote on 2021-01-12, 15:28:
ISO for the majority, Cue/Bin for mixed mode CD's as you mentioned. Disk based games I usually simply copy the disk, not create […]
Show full quote
Kreshna Aryaguna Nurzaman wrote on 2021-01-12, 10:03:

In what format do you store your game? I used to store them in Nero images (.NRG), but now I gradually convert them into CUE/BIN format. Well, ISO can work too, but ISO cannot contain games with mixed mode format (both Redbook and data in one media).

ISO for the majority, Cue/Bin for mixed mode CD's as you mentioned.
Disk based games I usually simply copy the disk, not create image files.

Everything is in a zip or rar file. File compression aside it also means games that are more then a single file are in a nice self contained file. I'll also add a comment on version number to the archive.

I've also got a spreadsheet, no hyperlinks I'm not that advanced. Just a simple 2 sheet file on google drive with info I may want to find out quick for me that's
Windows sheet has year and version of Direct X it needs
Dos sheet has year, Sound/Midi devices supported and if it has split screen or network support.

Whoa, not me though. I'm not diligent enough to make spreadsheet.

creepingnet wrote on 2021-01-13, 17:04:
Kreshna Aryaguna Nurzaman wrote on 2021-01-12, 10:03:

In what format do you store your game? I used to store them in Nero images (.NRG), but now I gradually convert them into CUE/BIN format. Well, ISO can work too, but ISO cannot contain games with mixed mode format (both Redbook and data in one media).

ISO or working install in a directory so I can just drag n' drop via FTP. Sometimes I store as ZIP but usually that's for old shareware/shovelware that's rare/hard to get that I post online to download.

Working install in a directory could work, but I'd like to preserve the game bit-by-bit, hence, the CUE/BIN format. Since storage is getting cheaper, I usually keep both.

Never thought this thread would be that long, but now, for something different.....
Kreshna Aryaguna Nurzaman.

Reply 14 of 14, by Nexxen

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I have an "archive" directory to store everything. Like an original to press vinyls.
Next is the decompressed folder, if that's enough to launch otherwise I'll install the game and save the directory with the installed game.

If a cd is required to play I'll try to find if there is a patch to avoid having a disc, if not I'll just mount the image.

I'd like to have a dedicated server but that would be overkill, so I use an external HD to install games and move it from pc to pc - and that means Windows Usb capable pc 😀
Dos I just copy everything as there are no issues, no files installed in hidden directories or other extravaganza some recent games are happy to annoy us with. 🤣

I usually try to stick to a system for a game, let's say that if I install on a W98 I'm not going to see if it's better on Xp (unless it is designed for).