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Reply 80 of 192, by Jo22

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^Actually, I for one do use both the real thing and emulation/virtualizaton. They are no opposites to me.
I do have an XT compatible, some 286 systems, 386/486 spare parts (Hercules cards, early ISA VGAs, SB16s, PAS16, SB2s, a DB50XG, MT-32), a Pentium 133 and so on..

However, despite the real hardware, DOSBox is nice to have still.
I often use it on a modern PC or an Android device, so I can write programs in QB4.5 in a comfortable way.

Most of the "real stuff" is waiting to be assembled for testing purposes.
I saved a lot of it from flea markets, eBay and so on. Some of it needed repair and is now fixed.

My intention was/is to keep that stuff around so it can be used for comparison with emulators at some point.
That way, I hope, I can do some tests for authors of said emulators in the future, if needed.

That's also the reason why I do have a small S3 card collection (Trios and ViRGEs), by the way.
Trio32/64 and Trio64v+ were emulated by DOSBox and Virtual PC 200x due to their excellent compatibility and documentation.
So saving/collecting their BIOSes alone is a worthwhile project (some have VBE 2.x, for example). 😀

Edit: I originally used to run DOSBox at 2500 to 5000 fixed cycles in the mid 2000s, due to the performace limits of the time.
That's about the speed of a medium fast 286 PC, which is fine for WIndows 3.1 (if GDI was accelerated by the emulated S3 chip) and early VGA titles.
Of course, emulating a 486DX2-66 or a Pentium, speed wise, was out of question back then.
Unless some heavily overclocked Pentium IV cooled by liquid hydrogen was used at the time. 😉

"Time, it seems, doesn't flow. For some it's fast, for some it's slow.
In what to one race is no time at all, another race can rise and fall..." - The Minstrel

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Reply 81 of 192, by zyzzle

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Charleston wrote on 2021-07-13, 20:31:
I feel that the vast majority of people using DOSBox are using it for the exact perfect reasons. […]
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I feel that the vast majority of people using DOSBox are using it for the exact perfect reasons.

1) Hardware is wayyyy too prohibitively expensive now.
2) Said person never actually played these games in their time, so playing it on DOSBox doesn't affect their enjoyment / there is no nostalgia to be had.
3) Only own the full version through current means, some shareware and demo versions have too much content locked away and for some games there is no way to obtain that now. Obviously one could just copy the actual core files onto a floppy but in some cases that isn't possible, especially when specific files are too large to fit into one floppy by themselves. This is where you have to turn to cd-roms and the like but for most that's just too much work to play one game.

I think your #2 comes closest to the real truth as to why so many consider DOSBOX to be fine. These young kids didn't play the games back then; they weren't even born yet, so the experience and the zeitgeist is completely lost on them. Those DOS games are just "apps" to them, they don't care about DOS itself. It's a little like a fancy toy for those who don't like to tinker. But real DOS was *all* about tinkering and fiddling. I do remember playing all the old games, and running all the old DOS software on real hardware back in the day. (I still do today, in fact!). DOSBOX simply can't replicate the feel or look, or pixel-aspect ratio (ie, non-square pixels) that these old games used. You can't run DOSBOX in native 320x200 or 320x240 resolution, fixed to a 4:3 pixel aspect ratio. You're always compromising and / or scaling the picture -- a huge waste of bandwith, especially to 1920x1080 or 2560x1600 or above! That's insane and absurd. That's why I prefer real hardware and period-accurate for running DOS programs and games on bare metal.

Where DOSBOX does seem to do pretty well is in providing a pretty good sound emulation experience. So, that is its major plus, along with the fact that it is platform agnostic.

Reply 82 of 192, by Caluser2000

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zyzzle wrote on 2021-07-14, 04:35:
Charleston wrote on 2021-07-13, 20:31:
I feel that the vast majority of people using DOSBox are using it for the exact perfect reasons. […]
Show full quote

I feel that the vast majority of people using DOSBox are using it for the exact perfect reasons.

1) Hardware is wayyyy too prohibitively expensive now.
2) Said person never actually played these games in their time, so playing it on DOSBox doesn't affect their enjoyment / there is no nostalgia to be had.
3) Only own the full version through current means, some shareware and demo versions have too much content locked away and for some games there is no way to obtain that now. Obviously one could just copy the actual core files onto a floppy but in some cases that isn't possible, especially when specific files are too large to fit into one floppy by themselves. This is where you have to turn to cd-roms and the like but for most that's just too much work to play one game.

I think your #2 comes closest to the real truth as to why so many consider DOSBOX to be fine. These young kids didn't play the games back then; they weren't even born yet, so the experience and the zeitgeist is completely lost on them. Those DOS games are just "apps" to them, they don't care about DOS itself. It's a little like a fancy toy for those who don't like to tinker. But real DOS was *all* about tinkering and fiddling. I do remember playing all the old games, and running all the old DOS software on real hardware back in the day. (I still do today, in fact!). DOSBOX simply can't replicate the feel or look, or pixel-aspect ratio (ie, non-square pixels) that these old games used. You can't run DOSBOX in native 320x200 or 320x240 resolution, fixed to a 4:3 pixel aspect ratio. You're always compromising and / or scaling the picture -- a huge waste of bandwith, especially to 1920x1080 or 2560x1600 or above! That's insane and absurd. That's why I prefer real hardware and period-accurate for running DOS programs and games on bare metal.

Where DOSBOX does seem to do pretty well is in providing a pretty good sound emulation experience. So, that is its major plus, along with the fact that it is platform agnostic.

Yip!! A BIG yesirebob on that post...😉

There's a glitch in the matrix.
A founding member of the 286 appreciation society.
Apparently 32-bit is dead and nobody likes P4s.
Of course, as always, I'm open to correction...😉

Reply 83 of 192, by dr_st

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zyzzle wrote on 2021-07-14, 04:35:

I think your #2 comes closest to the real truth as to why so many consider DOSBOX to be fine. These young kids didn't play the games back then; they weren't even born yet, so the experience and the zeitgeist is completely lost on them. Those DOS games are just "apps" to them, they don't care about DOS itself. It's a little like a fancy toy for those who don't like to tinker. But real DOS was *all* about tinkering and fiddling. I do remember playing all the old games, and running all the old DOS software on real hardware back in the day. (I still do today, in fact!). DOSBOX simply can't replicate the feel or look, or pixel-aspect ratio (ie, non-square pixels) that these old games used. You can't run DOSBOX in native 320x200 or 320x240 resolution, fixed to a 4:3 pixel aspect ratio. You're always compromising and / or scaling the picture -- a huge waste of bandwith, especially to 1920x1080 or 2560x1600 or above! That's insane and absurd. That's why I prefer real hardware and period-accurate for running DOS programs and games on bare metal.

Where DOSBOX does seem to do pretty well is in providing a pretty good sound emulation experience. So, that is its major plus, along with the fact that it is platform agnostic.

I disagree with your assessment, because I have been playing DOS games on real hardware back when they originally came out. In fact I still own a real DOS machine. And I don't feel anything like you.

So it's not just the young kiddies who weren't born that prefer DOSBox to real DOS. I think it's anyone who wants to play more than they want to tinker.

DOSBox is not "fine". It is "awesome". It is an amazing program that kept DOS gaming alive and available to the masses. DOS gaming would be dead without DOSBox, as no one other than a small group of enthusiasts with access to retro hardware and the knowledge of how to set it up would be able to experience it nowadays.

Thanks to the various sound emulation features you can nowadays experience DOS gaming with a variety of sound modes (and also some video modes, different CPU speeds), and easily switch between them on a single machine, in a hassle-free experience. Something that would be a nightmare on real hardware, and frequently not doable within a single physical setup.

The experience is better in other ways as well - like running two DOS games side-by-side, or using the DOSBox debugger which is far easier than actually debugging in DOS (although may not offer the same capabilities). There are even save-state enabled builds, though I personally stay away from that particular feature.

Nostalgia is the only thing real DOS has going for it.

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Reply 84 of 192, by xcomcmdr

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Having to deal with memory issues alone means DOS sucked balls. It sucked major balls back then, and it still sucks now. Thank God for DOSBox !
I have real hardware, I use it from time to time. But please, DOS was all about *suffering* not "tinkering".

Back then, you didn't copy or buy a game just so you could tinker with DOS settings. You bought it in order to enjoy it. But as always, DOS was in the way, and absolutely NO ONE enjoyed it.
Especially not people who were used to better systems (Amiga for example. Never had to deal with silly things such as "not enough conventionnal memory" on that !).

I did play games back then. DOSBox is superior in every way imaginable to that poor experience.

Reply 85 of 192, by dr_st

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I don't even see the memory issues as the biggest hurdle in DOS. Possibly because on the systems I actually had, and the stuff that I needed to have as TSR, I could easily get 610K+ (624K was my best achievement, I think) + XMS + EMS using nothing but built-in DOS tools (HIMEM/EMM386). And it was a one-time setup. At some point I didn't even need a multi-boot menu.

Now if I had been changing hardware frequently, requiring fancy TSR drivers, etc... I might have faced more challenges.

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Reply 86 of 192, by Joseph_Joestar

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Never had any issues with getting 600 KB of conventional memory free on my DOS rigs. I do pick my hardware very carefully though.

That said, I can see how this could have been a problem for people who used sound cards that included TSR programs in their drivers back in the day.

PC#1: Pentium MMX 166 / Soyo SY-5BT / S3 Trio64V+ / Voodoo1 / OPTi 82C930 / AWE64 Gold / SC-155
PC#2: AthlonXP 1700+ / Abit KT7A / Voodoo3 / Audigy1 / Vortex2
PC#3: Athlon64 3400+ / Asus K8V-MX / 5900XT / Audigy1
PC#4: i5-3550P / MSI Z77A-G43 / GTX 650Ti / X-Fi

Reply 87 of 192, by GigAHerZ

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xcomcmdr wrote on 2021-07-14, 07:34:

Having to deal with memory issues alone means DOS sucked balls. It sucked major balls back then, and it still sucks now.

Dude, that's the beauty of DOS. When i have a rough day at work, i go to my 386 and meditate while loading different drivers to different upper memory regions to get best out of the machine. It's relaxing.

"640K ought to be enough for anybody." - And i intend to get every last bit out of it even after loading every damn driver!

Reply 88 of 192, by xcomcmdr

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Joseph_Joestar wrote on 2021-07-14, 07:52:

Never had any issues with getting 600 KB of conventional memory free on my DOS rigs. I do pick my hardware very carefully though.

That said, I can see how this could have been a problem for people who used sound cards that included TSR programs in their drivers back in the day.

Even 600 is not enough from some DOS games. Some are very demanding. DOSBox always has 640K free.

GigAHerZ wrote on 2021-07-14, 08:12:
xcomcmdr wrote on 2021-07-14, 07:34:

Having to deal with memory issues alone means DOS sucked balls. It sucked major balls back then, and it still sucks now.

Dude, that's the beauty of DOS. When i have a rough day at work, i go to my 386 and meditate while loading different drivers to different upper memory regions to get best out of the machine. It's relaxing.

I have a boot menu just for that, but the beauty of DOSBox is that boot menus are a thing of the past. And that's a good thing.

Reply 89 of 192, by Joseph_Joestar

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xcomcmdr wrote on 2021-07-14, 08:15:

Even 600 is not enough from some DOS games. Some are very demanding. DOSBox always has 640K free.

In my experience, such games are the exception, rather than the norm.

And they usually come with instructions on how to create a boot disk to maximize free memory.

PC#1: Pentium MMX 166 / Soyo SY-5BT / S3 Trio64V+ / Voodoo1 / OPTi 82C930 / AWE64 Gold / SC-155
PC#2: AthlonXP 1700+ / Abit KT7A / Voodoo3 / Audigy1 / Vortex2
PC#3: Athlon64 3400+ / Asus K8V-MX / 5900XT / Audigy1
PC#4: i5-3550P / MSI Z77A-G43 / GTX 650Ti / X-Fi

Reply 90 of 192, by Caluser2000

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Joseph_Joestar wrote on 2021-07-14, 08:23:
xcomcmdr wrote on 2021-07-14, 08:15:

Even 600 is not enough from some DOS games. Some are very demanding. DOSBox always has 640K free.

In my experience, such games are the exception, rather than the norm.

And they usually come with instructions on how to create a boot disk to maximize free memory.

^^^^^^^ What he said....😉

Some older games wouldn't even run with too much conventional memory 🤣.

Last edited by Caluser2000 on 2021-07-14, 08:36. Edited 1 time in total.

There's a glitch in the matrix.
A founding member of the 286 appreciation society.
Apparently 32-bit is dead and nobody likes P4s.
Of course, as always, I'm open to correction...😉

Reply 91 of 192, by xcomcmdr

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Joseph_Joestar wrote on 2021-07-14, 08:23:
xcomcmdr wrote on 2021-07-14, 08:15:

Even 600 is not enough from some DOS games. Some are very demanding. DOSBox always has 640K free.

In my experience, such games are the exception, rather than the norm.

It doesn't help when it's THE game that you want to play, does it ? 😀

Joseph_Joestar wrote on 2021-07-14, 08:23:

And they usually come with instructions on how to create a boot disk to maximize free memory.

Not everyone has a floppy disk drive, or a reliable floppy at hand. Also, boot disks are slow.
Yet another reason why DOS sucked balls. Those freakin' slow, useless, wonky, and unreliable floppies !

This thread is trigerring PTSD from us ol' people, I swear ! 😁

Reply 92 of 192, by Joseph_Joestar

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xcomcmdr wrote on 2021-07-14, 08:36:

Not everyone has a floppy disk drive, or a reliable floppy at hand. Also, boot disks are slow.

If someone is building a dedicated DOS machine, it's likely that they will at least have a 3.5" floppy drive. It just comes with the territory.

But if that's too old/unreliable for people, they can always use a GoTek floppy emulator.

PC#1: Pentium MMX 166 / Soyo SY-5BT / S3 Trio64V+ / Voodoo1 / OPTi 82C930 / AWE64 Gold / SC-155
PC#2: AthlonXP 1700+ / Abit KT7A / Voodoo3 / Audigy1 / Vortex2
PC#3: Athlon64 3400+ / Asus K8V-MX / 5900XT / Audigy1
PC#4: i5-3550P / MSI Z77A-G43 / GTX 650Ti / X-Fi

Reply 93 of 192, by xcomcmdr

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Joseph_Joestar wrote:

If someone is building a dedicated DOS machine, it's likely that they will at least have a 3.5" floppy drive. It just comes with the territory.

Nah. I have a dedicated DOS machine (several in fact), and they rarely have one.
I ditched them the very instant Windows 98 came out.

To install Windows, just boot from the CD. It's faster.
Instead of a boot floppy, use a boot menu. It's faster.

Reply 94 of 192, by Joseph_Joestar

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That makes you the exception I guess.

Most DOS software and games come on floppy disks. It's only natural to want a floppy drive in a dedicated DOS machine, especially if someone owns original games from that time. If you can get by without a floppy drive, that's great, but other people might have different use cases.

PC#1: Pentium MMX 166 / Soyo SY-5BT / S3 Trio64V+ / Voodoo1 / OPTi 82C930 / AWE64 Gold / SC-155
PC#2: AthlonXP 1700+ / Abit KT7A / Voodoo3 / Audigy1 / Vortex2
PC#3: Athlon64 3400+ / Asus K8V-MX / 5900XT / Audigy1
PC#4: i5-3550P / MSI Z77A-G43 / GTX 650Ti / X-Fi

Reply 95 of 192, by xcomcmdr

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Most of my DOS games are on CDs, or from digital online stores. If I get one on a floppy disk (like UFO: Enemy Unknown), I instantly make a backup of it on a CD so I don't have to deal with it more than once.

Reply 96 of 192, by appiah4

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Joseph_Joestar wrote on 2021-07-14, 07:52:

Never had any issues with getting 600 KB of conventional memory free on my DOS rigs. I do pick my hardware very carefully though.

That said, I can see how this could have been a problem for people who used sound cards that included TSR programs in their drivers back in the day.

This was easy post MS-DOS 6.0 but as someone who got into DOS gaming seriously with 5.0 (I had an XT with 3.x earlier for a while though) I can say that memory management was a nightmare for me before I found (a pirate copy of) QEMM.

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Reply 97 of 192, by dr_st

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@xcomcmdr
Really, which games do you have that require >600K conventional memory? I know they must exist, but just can't remember a single one. And what about >610K?

In any case you don't need a boot disk for games like this at all. If your DOS is semi-modern, it will supports boot menus, and F5/F8 for skip / step by step through startup files.

@Joseph_Joestar
I do share the sentiment that a 3.5" floppy "comes with the territory" for DOS systems, so to speak. With that said, floppies are so fragile, that if I had any software of value on them, I would transfer it to the hard drive and run it from there, even if it means looking for cracked versions.

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Reply 99 of 192, by appiah4

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dr_st wrote on 2021-07-14, 10:02:

@xcomcmdr
Really, which games do you have that require >600K conventional memory? I know they must exist, but just can't remember a single one. And what about >610K?

I remember having to sacrfice goats to the devil to get Serpent Isle to run with my sound setup and required memory.

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