New MS-DOS Games Launcher / Menu System App

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

New MS-DOS Games Launcher / Menu System App

Postby jasondavidcarr » 2018-1-31 @ 23:00

Hey all, it's been a long time since I've shown myself here, but wanted to say hi and drop this here if anyone was interested. I was crazy enough to code a native MS-DOS games launcher application recently:

https://forums.launchbox-app.com/files/file/934-launchbox-for-ms-dos-special-edition/

Basically, it's useful for managing your games collection on DOS 3.3 or later. It does require a 286 or later CPU.

Let me know if anyone ends up using it. :)

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Re: New MS-DOS Games Launcher / Menu System App

Postby keropi » 2018-1-31 @ 23:09

thanks for sharing I'll try it out!!!
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Re: New MS-DOS Games Launcher / Menu System App

Postby jasondavidcarr » 2018-1-31 @ 23:11

keropi wrote:thanks for sharing I'll try it out!!!


Awesome! Enjoy it! :)
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Re: New MS-DOS Games Launcher / Menu System App

Postby schmatzler » 2018-1-31 @ 23:13

Very nice. I will definitely use this, too.
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Re: New MS-DOS Games Launcher / Menu System App

Postby jasondavidcarr » 2018-1-31 @ 23:20

schmatzler wrote:Very nice. I will definitely use this, too.


Sweet! Great to hear. :)
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Re: New MS-DOS Games Launcher / Menu System App

Postby kixs » 2018-2-01 @ 00:18

I like the design ;)

Might just use it when I finally put my DOS gaming machine in order :lol:
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Re: New MS-DOS Games Launcher / Menu System App

Postby jasondavidcarr » 2018-2-01 @ 00:42

kixs wrote:I like the design ;)

Might just use it when I finally put my DOS gaming machine in order :lol:


Doooooo itttttttttt... :)
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Re: New MS-DOS Games Launcher / Menu System App

Postby KCompRoom2000 » 2018-2-01 @ 04:06

Very cool! I'm definitely going to load this program onto my DOS PCs. This will make managing our DOS game collections easier.
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Re: New MS-DOS Games Launcher / Menu System App

Postby jasondavidcarr » 2018-2-01 @ 04:20

KCompRoom2000 wrote:Very cool! I'm definitely going to load this program onto my DOS PCs. This will make managing our DOS game collections easier.


Great to hear! Let me know if you run into any issues.
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Re: New MS-DOS Games Launcher / Menu System App

Postby anderswk » 2018-2-01 @ 07:25

Nice! Could you share some details of how you made it? Programming language, etc.
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Re: New MS-DOS Games Launcher / Menu System App

Postby oerk » 2018-2-01 @ 07:30

anderswk wrote:Nice! Could you share some details of how you made it? Programming language, etc.


This.

Does ist use up any conventional memory? Any side effects when running programs directly from it.

That was my main issue with launchers back then.
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Re: New MS-DOS Games Launcher / Menu System App

Postby dr_st » 2018-2-01 @ 09:58

Looks great!

Does it have this "quick find" feature where you can start typing the first letters of the program name, and it will take you there? It's pretty important for a list-based text interface.
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Re: New MS-DOS Games Launcher / Menu System App

Postby Azarien » 2018-2-01 @ 10:01

You can't really avoid taking additional memory, but the program could minimize the usage: unload most of its payload leaving only a small stub that runs the game and then re-runs the launcher when the game exits.

This is what e.g. Norton Commander does.
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Re: New MS-DOS Games Launcher / Menu System App

Postby jasondavidcarr » 2018-2-01 @ 16:21

anderswk wrote:Nice! Could you share some details of how you made it? Programming language, etc.


It was built with Microsoft Visual Basic for MS-DOS 1.0, which is pretty much perfectly suited for this task. I knocked the initial version out in a weekend, and I have about three weekends into it now. It's actually pretty amazing that MS was able to build such a rapid development environment for DOS in 1992.
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Re: New MS-DOS Games Launcher / Menu System App

Postby jasondavidcarr » 2018-2-01 @ 16:23

oerk wrote:
anderswk wrote:Nice! Could you share some details of how you made it? Programming language, etc.


This.

Does ist use up any conventional memory? Any side effects when running programs directly from it.

That was my main issue with launchers back then.


The important thing is that it uses absolutely no memory at all while programs are run, which was an absolute necessity. It uses some batch file trickery to make sure that the *only* thing running while your programs are running is a simple batch file. Basically, the program starts up and shuts down between each application that is run (and performance really isn't an issue at all). So there is literally no additional memory that is used.
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Re: New MS-DOS Games Launcher / Menu System App

Postby jasondavidcarr » 2018-2-01 @ 16:25

Azarien wrote:You can't really avoid taking additional memory, but the program could minimize the usage: unload most of its payload leaving only a small stub that runs the game and then re-runs the launcher when the game exits.

This is what e.g. Norton Commander does.


Norton Commander / MS-DOS Shell have both given me many issues in the past with this method, so I chose to completely avoid it. There's no small stub or anything else running in the background, other than a batch file.
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Re: New MS-DOS Games Launcher / Menu System App

Postby trunk70 » 2018-3-04 @ 20:09

INCREDIBLE, thanks!!! I love it :blush:
Vous devriez voir ce que je vois.
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Re: New MS-DOS Games Launcher / Menu System App

Postby Dominus » 2018-3-04 @ 20:39

Neat! This reminds me of the old shareware CD menus!
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Re: New MS-DOS Games Launcher / Menu System App

Postby Azarien » 2018-3-07 @ 21:54

A minor bug: if the program is run from a write-protected floppy, trying to add a new menu item causes the program to crash: `Permission denied in module MAIN at address 0384:1309`.
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Re: New MS-DOS Games Launcher / Menu System App

Postby leileilol » 2018-3-10 @ 04:14

Trying this a bit:

- Would be nice to change colors, maybe perhaps via pushing some registers for VGA+ devices
- Games that have separate binaries for multiple episodes could be handled by a submenu maybe
- The drive selector's a bit unintuitive when adding games via the keyboard.
- Buttons could use accelerators in the program adding dialog
Voodoo2s aren't 100mhz stock
Geforce256 isn't released as a beta on New Years '99 under the Quadro brand
DOS gaming isn't a bilinear 320x200 16:10
DOS PCs aren't better than the Macintosh
DOSBox is not for running Windows 9x
SGL != Glide
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