VOGONS


First post, by mothergoose729

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Does anybody know of a decent launcher/frontend for older versions of windows? It would be really nice to have a full screen menu where I can see (ideally) a description and some box art from which I can launch my games . I don't need it to do much more than run batch scripts.

I use launchbox for my modern windows machines but it requires later versions of .net, not to mention it is way too heavy for my slot 1 machine. So it needs to be light weight and performant in addition to compatible with older versions of windows.

Reply 1 of 12, by cyclone3d

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You should be able to make one yourself pretty quickly with an older version of AutoIT Script.
https://www.autoitscript.com/forum/topic/1086 … -on-windows-98/

To add games or other programs, you could set it up to read from a configuration file.
Each program would have a line for what to run and what image to display.

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Reply 3 of 12, by mothergoose729

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xcomcmdr wrote on 2021-03-30, 07:48:

DOSBox games or all kind of games ?

All kinds of games. No emulation but I might add that in later.

cyclone3d wrote on 2021-03-30, 06:03:
You should be able to make one yourself pretty quickly with an older version of AutoIT Script. https://www.autoitscript.com/foru […]
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You should be able to make one yourself pretty quickly with an older version of AutoIT Script.
https://www.autoitscript.com/forum/topic/1086 … -on-windows-98/

To add games or other programs, you could set it up to read from a configuration file.
Each program would have a line for what to run and what image to display.

I was hoping for something turn key but I can take a look. The release notes indicate it stopped supporting 98 in 2015 though.

Reply 4 of 12, by bofh.fromhell

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You could do it in HTML.
I think earlier IE versions have no problems running things locally.
Cant remember if they support kiosk mode tho for real fullscreen.
And hey, maybe a use for active desktop 🤣 =)

Reply 6 of 12, by mothergoose729

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bofh.fromhell wrote on 2021-03-31, 12:29:
You could do it in HTML. I think earlier IE versions have no problems running things locally. Cant remember if they support kios […]
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You could do it in HTML.
I think earlier IE versions have no problems running things locally.
Cant remember if they support kiosk mode tho for real fullscreen.
And hey, maybe a use for active desktop 🤣 =)

You know that isn't a bad idea! Once I get a good template I can just copy and paste. Plus I am a web developer by trade so it would take me less work than learning another scripting language.

xcomcmdr wrote on 2021-03-31, 12:32:

I might have a solution soon.
Is .NET 2.0 acceptable ?

Interesting! Yes of course! Are you already working on something?

Reply 8 of 12, by xcomcmdr

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Here it is :
https://github.com/maximilien-noal/AmpShell/r … ases/tag/v1.3.4

(just download AmpShell.zip and open the 'For Windows 98 users' folder for the .NET 2.0 version).

The regular version uses .NET 4.0 and works with XP or later.

If you don't have .NET 2.0 Framework for Windows 98, it's on OldApps.com (I don't know if it's allowed to link to it on VOGONS, probably not ?)
Keep in mind that .NET 2.0 needs Internet Explorer 5 (edit: or later) and Windows Installer 2.0.
(I have those too if you need them)

On first start up it will search for DOSBox, and upon not finding it, ask for it. Just say 'no' and it should run anyway.
Once the front-end is launched, you can go to Options -> Preferences -> Behavior and uncheck 'Use DOSBox to launch games'.

It should then A) Not use DOSBox to launch games and B) Not bug you about not finding DOSBox the next time you run it.

BTW, in the same Preferences window there is a tab where you can set a bigger size for the icons. Up to 256x256. Might be preferable for box art.

Last edited by xcomcmdr on 2021-04-02, 19:08. Edited 2 times in total.

Reply 9 of 12, by RandomStranger

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I don't know about 98, but I use Metropolis Launcher for XP. It's looks a little archaic and I found it to be slow (most likely slow database access, because it equally slow on a P4 and a Core2 Quad), but that's the only one I know that has all the features I need for XP.

sreq.png

Reply 10 of 12, by mothergoose729

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xcomcmdr wrote on 2021-03-31, 21:59:
Here it is : https://github.com/maximilien-noal/AmpShell/r … ases/tag/v1.3.2 […]
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Here it is :
https://github.com/maximilien-noal/AmpShell/r … ases/tag/v1.3.2

(just download AmpShell.zip and open the 'For Windows 98 users' folder for the .NET 2.0 version).

The regular version uses .NET 4.0 and works with XP or later.

If you don't have .NET 2.0 Framework for Windows 98, it's on OldApps.com (I don't know if it's allowed to link to it on VOGONS, probably not ?)
Keep in mind that .NET 2.0 needs Internet Explorer 5 (edit: or later) and Windows Installer 2.0.
(I have those too if you need them)

Or first start up it will search for DOSBox, and upon not finding it, ask for it. Just say 'no' and it should run anyway.
Once the front-end is launched, you can go to Options -> Preferences -> Behavior and uncheck 'Use DOSBox to launch games'.

It should then A) Not use DOSBox to launch games and B) Not bug you about not finding DOSBox the next time you run it.

BTW, in the same Preferences window there is a tab where you can set a bigger size for the icons. Up to 256x256. Might be preferable for box art.

Looks awesome! I'll give it a shot this weekend.

RandomStranger wrote on 2021-04-01, 12:40:

I don't know about 98, but I use Metropolis Launcher for XP. It's looks a little archaic and I found it to be slow (most likely slow database access, because it equally slow on a P4 and a Core2 Quad), but that's the only one I know that has all the features I need for XP.

That frontend looks very nice. It looks like it requires .net 4.0 but maybe that is a "soft" requirement and it will work under .net 2.0.

Reply 11 of 12, by RandomStranger

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mothergoose729 wrote on 2021-04-01, 13:38:
RandomStranger wrote on 2021-04-01, 12:40:

I don't know about 98, but I use Metropolis Launcher for XP. It's looks a little archaic and I found it to be slow (most likely slow database access, because it equally slow on a P4 and a Core2 Quad), but that's the only one I know that has all the features I need for XP.

That frontend looks very nice. It looks like it requires .net 4.0 but maybe that is a "soft" requirement and it will work under .net 2.0.

Nope. Once I forgot to install .net 4.0 before starting the Launcher. It's definitely a "hard" requirement.

sreq.png

Reply 12 of 12, by xcomcmdr

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I uploaded a release where the feature of "not using DOSBox globally or for a particular game" works even if no DOSBox.exe exists (oops!). I'm using it on a real Windows 98 machine. 😀
https://github.com/maximilien-noal/AmpShell/r … ases/tag/v1.3.4