X-Com Apocalypse

Getting old DOS games working on modern hardware. (DOSBox topics belong in DOSBox areas below, not here).

Postby Llewen » 2002-7-09 @ 20:16

I tried Display Doctor in both the 3D and 2D modes and both times X-Com froze before the intro started - a step backwards. The only other thing I could try is installing SciTech's generic display drivers, something I'm not entirely comfortable with. Any suggestions or advice in that direction? Are those drivers likely to be more stable and more generally compatible than ATI's drivers?
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Re: Re: Last Resort

Postby Nicht Sehr Gut » 2002-7-10 @ 00:43

Llewen wrote:I'm a little confused. I no longer own a copy of Win 9x or of DOS and at this point I can't afford them so I'm afraid I'm stuck with what I've got for now, which is Win XP.

Admin was probably trying to "catch up" on posts and zipped by that part before he posted...just a guess.

When I get a chance, I'll try FreeDOS and Dr-DOS (both available as freeware) and see how XP treats them. I know it works with DOS 6 (and newer) and PC-DOS 2000.

[B]Even if I did get a copy of Win 9x (preferrably Win98SE)...


Actually, since the primary reason for the install would be game compatibility, you would probably want a minimal install of the least resource(& money)-hungry OS.

Win95A uses the least and it's the cheapest, but it doesn't have FAT32 support.

Win95B is a good compromise (minimal resources,FAT32 support, and I found it at a Half-Price book store for about ).

Win98 has the USB support.

Win98SE...Not really sure what advantage this would have game-wise.

WinME...If someone gave it to me for free, I suppose...

I'm also going to check on the "After XP' dual-boot installs.
Seems pretty scary to me, but there are a lot of people who already have XP installed and don't want to start from scratch.
[B]I could set up a dual boot into DOS with a WinXP DOS disk but I would have to set up a FAT partition because my partitions are all NTFS at this point.

You would want at least one FAT/FAT32 (for DOS/Win9x), the rest should probably stay NTFS.
NOTE:Have heard stories that some old titles that bomb out on NTFS work ok on FAT drives. Rumor only, I have no personal experience with that.
[B]I probably could download a trial version of Partitionmagic or some such program...

There are freeware Partition tools out there, but I don't think they can handle XP's NTFS "flavor" (And the PM demo won't let you really partition...).
[B]However, that won't work in any event because my mouse is a USB mouse and I don't have the option for USB support in my BIOS.

To be on the safe side, always have a serial or PS/2 mouse around (cheap types, or maybe you can find one with a "free-bate"). That way your always covered (especially when one of them "dies" unexpectedly).
[B]Even if I did manage to set up that FAT partition and boot into DOS with the WinXP disk, .

Probably better to use one of the many custom "boot-disks" on the net based on Win9x. The XP version gives you little more than a command prompt.
[B]setting up the DOS drivers could prove to be tricky because the only DOS drivers I have available for my sound card were the ones that were included for DOS support under DOS 7.0 that came with Win 98SE. I'm not sure that they would work..

This (suprisingly) is true. I have 2 soundblaster cards where you simply _can't_ install DOS drivers. They are installed as part of the Win9x driver setup. However, once installed you may be able to copy the files manually for future use.

Usually, all you need is to set the proper parameters:
SET BLASTER=A220 I5 D1 H5 T4 (or something like that)

and sometimes the card must be "initialized" before use:
c:\UTILS\CREATIVE\SBLIVE\DOSDRV\SBEINIT.COM (for example)

If those two can be setup, the DOSgame setup usually will handle the rest.
[B]I'm also not sure that the DOS that you boot into with the WinXP DOS boot disk is a fully operational version of DOS.

Correct. It's the equivalent of typing FORMAT A: /S in DOS.
IOW, you get a command line and nothing else.
[B]I have been posting to two boards throughout this process, both here and the VDMS boards.


[B]...I thought that X-Com was SVGA (hence the patch). I also tried the VESA support option under VDMS and it didn't seem to do anything.

Confusing, I know...
1) VESA generally refers to the SVGA screenmodes supported by your card. SVGA was a kind of made-up term for "our card has really high-res displays with lots of colors" (IOW, no standards).
VESA was an attempt at enforcing standards for SVGA displays.
Clear as mud? Good.

2) Vlad's VESA option is rather poorly labeled. What it really means is "Start up in Full-Screen mode instead of a DosBox window". The VESA support comes from the OS, not VDMSound. Also, to confuse things further; sometimes the VESA support won't work right unless you start in the window instead of full-screen.
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Re: Re: Re: Last Resort

Postby Snover » 2002-7-10 @ 01:41

[B]Win98SE...Not really sure what advantage this would have game-wise.

It had some adjustments and tweaks and other stuff...I can't remember them at the moment, but is really the OS of choice for gaming.

[B]To be on the safe side, always have a serial or PS/2 mouse around (cheap types, or maybe you can find one with a "free-bate"). That way your always covered (especially when one of them "dies" unexpectedly).

Microsoft IntelliMice come with a USB-to-PS/2 converter. (The mouse is USB, but this nifty little thing lets it plug into the PS/2 port -- and work :).)

[B]Usually, all you need is to set the proper parameters:
SET BLASTER=A220 I5 D1 H5 T4 (or something like that)

I really recommend using I7 instead of I5...while it's really a toss-up, I've found that I7 generally encounters fewer problems.

[B]and sometimes the card must be "initialized" before use:
c:\UTILS\CREATIVE\SBLIVE\DOSDRV\SBEINIT.COM (for example)

I point again to my 2DOSWIN batch file for moving between DOS and Windows. It has the SBEINIT.COM and everything you'll need to get a SB card running in DOS with CD-ROM in the default DOS AUTOEXEC.BAT.
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Re: Re: Re: Re: Last Resort

Postby Nicht Sehr Gut » 2002-7-10 @ 05:35

Snover wrote:It had some adjustments and tweaks and other stuff...I can't remember them at the moment, but is really the OS of choice for gaming.
Well, I'm going to be using it because I need it for Virtual PC (access point between the 2 OS's). But basic W98 has all you need.
[B]Microsoft IntelliMice come with a USB-to-PS/2 converter. (The mouse is USB, but this nifty little thing lets it plug into the PS/2 port -- and work :).)
True, but get the mouse anyway. Murphy's law of computing says when your mouse breaks, it will be at a bad time (much like breaking on the last bounce).
[B]I really recommend using I7 instead of I5...while it's really a toss-up, I've found that I7 generally encounters fewer problems.

The other Murphy's law of computing says, whatever IRQ you choose, the game prefers the other.
[B]I point again to my 2DOSWIN batch file for moving between DOS and Windows. It has the SBEINIT.COM and everything you'll need to get a SB card running in DOS with CD-ROM in the default DOS AUTOEXEC.BAT.

But that's only for SoundBlaster live series isn't it? I just tossed out the SBEINIT.COM as a reference. I'm presently dealing with multiple soundcards, each with it's own, unique "intialize" program.
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Postby Nicht Sehr Gut » 2002-7-10 @ 05:50

Llewen wrote:I tried Display Doctor in both the 3D and 2D modes and both times X-Com froze before the intro started - a step backwards.

Forgot to respond to this earlier. These are the kinds of stories I hear with the "Display Doctor". For every good one I hear a dozen really bad ones.

[B]The only other thing I could try is installing SciTech's generic display drivers, something I'm not entirely comfortable with. Any suggestions or advice in that direction?

Unless you're planning a full re-install, I would pass.

One thing you might try is the demo for "Virtual PC", you have just about everything the full version has, except with a time-limit.
(30 days, I believe). You can also try VMWare, but that's less likely to help as it's much less an emulator than "Virtual PC".
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Postby Snover » 2002-7-10 @ 05:54

basic W98 has all you need.
Does it? Really? I could've sworn that there was more and better stuff in SE. Just some Microsoft FUD?

True, but get the mouse anyway. Murphy's law of computing says when your mouse breaks, it will be at a bad time (much like breaking on the last bounce).
I remember my first laser mouse. It was nice. Then, I'm not sure what happened, but it died. Now I've got this "Model 2" laser IntelliMouse (uni, err, -hand) which has this ugly red light on the back end of it that, for whatever reason, doesn't shut off even when my computer shuts down. (And it's connected to the PS/2. Go figure.)

But that's only for SoundBlaster live series isn't it? I just tossed out the SBEINIT.COM as a reference.
Aye, it is for the SBLive! series, but it may also work on other lines of SB -- I just don't know. I've never really used any other sound cards in DOS. (I've got an Audigy now, with the world's worst drivers, in Windows 2000.) In any case, I will be modifying the batch at some point to help facilitate easier creation of the AUTOEXEC.DOS file, including simply having people select their soundcard and having the program do all the writing of the AUTOEXEC.DOS file based on their input.
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Postby DosFreak » 2002-7-10 @ 06:10

Difference between 98 & 98SE.

You can download all of the updates from Microsoft for Windows 98 and it will be 98SE...except it will be missing one little feature ICS (Internet Connection Sharing). This came with 98SE. Everything else could be downloaded.
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What, from Windows Update?

Postby Snover » 2002-7-10 @ 06:35

Which now doesn't support ANY of the Windows 9x series of OSs?
...
Good luck.

'Sides, how much more would SE cost? Not much, I imagine. (Can you even GET plain 98 anymore?)
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Postby Llewen » 2002-7-10 @ 13:02

I guess the final verdict here is that I am not going to get X-Com Apocalypse working without some way of being able to boot directly into DOS or Win9x/Me (I wouldn't touch Me with a 10 foot pole, but I will keep the Win95B in mind once I have some discretionary funds available again). The choice really is between installing a hardware emulator like Virtual PC, or setting up a separate FAT partition and booting into that when I want to play the game. Right now the only things I would be using all this for would be X-Com Apocalypse and possibly Chessmaster 5500, if I go the Win9x route. I will have a month or two to think about whether all this is worth the aggravation. Of course one thing it definitely would be, and has been, is a learning experience.

Thanks for the batch file Snover, I've dutifully filed that away for future reference. I'm embarrassed to admit that I already have at least one back up mouse, and I have the Microsoft Wheel Mouse Optical so I have that nifty little USB to PS2 gizmo. I guess I'm just not too keen on having to crawl underneath my desk every time I want to boot into DOS. I suppose the benefits of my mouse being purely USB aren't all that stunning, so I should just suck it up and stick it in the PS2 plug.

If ever any of you happen across a simple XP solution to my little X-Com crisis, feel free to drop me a note at ostairs@nospamrogers.com (take out the "nospam" of course) if you think of it and are so inclined. Thanks again for everything. I'm more than a little pissed at myself for giving away my copies of DOS 6.22 and Win98SE (come to think of it I also owned Win95 at one point, I may have even owned Win 3.1).

Cheers

P.S.: Thanks also for clearing up my VESA confusion. Perhaps all this will be solved if VESA support is added to VDMS.

P.P.S.: My sound card is an SBLive Snover, so your batch file should fit the bill admirably if I get to the place where I wish to use it. I have wondered whether the Audigy drivers were any better than the Live drivers used to be. The Live drivers for XP are pretty decent, but they truly chewed much guano under Win 9x.
Last edited by Llewen on 2002-7-10 @ 13:12, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: What, from Windows Update?

Postby Nicht Sehr Gut » 2002-7-10 @ 17:31

Snover wrote:Which now doesn't support ANY of the Windows 9x series of OSs?

Fortunately, that's not true...yet.
Windows 95 updates have come to an end, but the auto-update for Win98 is still active, but requires IE v5.0 (SP2 I believe) or higher. Download and update IE 5 SP2 (the minimal option works fine 8.4 meg) and you're good to go.

Would be nice to have an all-in-one kind of archive that I could burn to a CD for future installs though, cause the update function _will_ go away.

Snover wrote:'Sides, how much more would SE cost? Not much, I imagine. (Can you even GET plain 98 anymore?)

I recently spotted a Windows 95 update CD for sale in a retail store. Obviously, nobody's in a hurry to buy it.

Since I'm a cheapskate, price makes a big difference. Found WinME for $30, but it's ...ech.. ME, so I passed on it. Also getting/keeping older OS's has other benefits.

Found at Half-Price books:
DOS 5 $1
Windows 3.1 $3
Win98SE Upgrade (from Win3.1 up) $20
Translates to a Full, legitimate Win98SE for $24

My point earlier was that I knew of no actual benefits "game-wise" for 98SE as opposed to 98. I know 1394 Firewire support, Internet connection sharing, and such were added.
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Postby Llewen » 2002-7-12 @ 23:15

Well Nicht, I live in a pretty small city in an out-of-the-way corner of the planet. I have seen a copy of DOS 5.0 for sale at a pawn shop, along with a copy of Win 3.1, but neither were as cheap as I would expect them to be. There is one used book store that I know of here and I don't think it sells software, but I will double check that.

I expect that when the I have some money to spend on setting up a dual boot or the hardware emulation, I will be going the ebay route. The whole mess will be significantly more expensive than what you found I expect. I wouldn't be surprised if it will be around the same price as it would be for me to buy an old computer. The difference will be that it won't take up as much room.
Last edited by Llewen on 2002-7-14 @ 12:02, edited 1 time in total.
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Postby Snover » 2002-7-14 @ 08:51

Llewen, there's no benefit from having a mouse hooked up to USB as opposed to PS/2. Keyboards, yes, (koz there are lots of buttons and pressing more than three at a time makes the computer beep and do nothing, which is bad for gaming) but mice, no. There really is no reason. Besides, you might want to use that USB port in the future for, say, a scanner, a Palm, a game controller, a digital camera, a webcam, or any of the multitudes of USB devices out there.
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The Latest News

Postby Llewen » 2002-7-15 @ 00:14

I have discovered that I have a hardware conflict that is affecting DOS emulation in Windows XP. There is a good chance that this is the problem, or at least part of the problem I was having with X-Com Apocalypse. The other person who was trying to get the game running, Fisu, should probably try VDMSound, it may work for him (or her, but I suspect he's a him :).

The problem I have is that, apparrently, my Promise hard drive controller is interfering with the extended memory in my DOS emulation. As a result I am going to complain bitterly to Microsoft, and try DOSBox and see if that will solve my problems.

I will report back with the results.
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Postby Llewen » 2002-7-15 @ 00:39

Oddly enough DosBox has the same problem. Oh well, for now, I give.
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Postby Snover » 2002-7-15 @ 07:48

Try looking for firmware updates for your Promise controller.
Curiously, what are you using?
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Postby Llewen » 2002-7-15 @ 13:54

Snover wrote:Try looking for firmware updates for your Promise controller.
Curiously, what are you using?


Its a Promise Ultra IDE controller. Its actually a Promise RAID controller, but I have it set to the Ultra mode. It is an integrated peripheral on my Soyo SY-K7V Dragon Plus motherboard. I have two hard drives a RW CD-ROM and a DVD-ROM. My two hard drives are connected to the controller. I have all the latest drivers for my hardware, including the controller.

I'm pretty much self taught when it comes to computers, what exactly does "firmware" mean? :)
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Postby Stiletto » 2002-7-15 @ 17:08

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do the Fandango!" - Queen

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Postby Llewen » 2002-7-15 @ 18:01

Thanks Stiletto, I thought that the name for that was BIOS. However I see from the definition that the BIOS is always(?) firmware, but firmware isn't limited to BIOS.

Regardless, I do have the most recent firmware available, as far as I know. I will however double check that.
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