VOGONS


First post, by kjliew

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I whipped up a version of IPXEMU that enables QEMU to connect to DOSBox IPXNET. It enables playing legacy Windows IPX multiplayer games over Internet. At the moment, I had only tested the following games, but I expected games already supported by IPXEMU should work out-of-the-box. It is technically possible for QEMU to play against DOSBox if the game has compatible DOS and Windows IPX clients but not QEMU DOS to DOSBox, because IPXEMU is a Windows DLL for guest environment. While I have been testing with QEMU, it should also be possible for IPXEMU to work with real machines. However, getting online with Win98 retro-box could be insecure nowadays and most people would avoid the risks. So making QEMU VM connect makes sense, and for ANET/WIPX2 clients, they even work with QEMU slirp user-mode networking backend that (unlike tuntap) requires no root privilege with additional layer of NAT isolation between the host and guest network.

  • MW2 Netmech/3Dfx (DirectPlay 1.0) - All Win95 Netmech clients (Pentium edition, 3Dfx, ATI, S3, PowerVR etc.) are claimed to be compatible, but perhaps only Pentium edition and 3Dfx are more likely to work on modern system with QEMU.
  • MW2 Mercenaries 1.1 D3D Mercsnet (ANET/WIPX2)
  • Titanium MW2 Netmech D3D/Glide (ANET/WPIX2)
  • Titanium Mercenaries D3D/Glide MercsNet (ANET/WIPX2)
  • Heavy Gear 1.2 D3D (ANET/WIPX2)
  • Heavy Gear 2 D3D (ANET/WIPX2)

I have been testing with:

  • IPXNET from mech2.org
  • Local IPXRELAY hosted on Linux VM. It requires patch to be truly compatible with DOSBox IPXNET server behaviors.
  • Local DOSBox as IPXNET server

Other implementation of DOSBox dedicated IPX servers would hopefully work, but untested.
A major milestone for "Very Old Games On Virtual Machine" 😉 for Win9x games.

And, rejoice Mechwarriors! All MW2 games series fully restored with QEMU, including multiplayers over the Internet without intermediary game server providers. There is nothing better than preserving the games with open-source and portable emulation software for modern Windows and Linux.

Use the following configure file to connect to mech2.org
Place WIPXEMU.CFG in the game installed location
1,1,0,49002,mech2.org
Disclaimer

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  • Filename
    wipxemu-20201120.zip
    File size
    72.99 KiB
    Downloads
    1 download
    File comment
    WIPXEMU
    File license
    Fair use/fair dealing exception
Last edited by kjliew on 2020-11-21, 11:08. Edited 7 times in total.

Reply 1 of 8, by kjliew

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Heavy Gear 1.2 also works!
Heavy Gear multiplayer supports cooperative games against AI, an improvement from MW2 Netmech/MercsNet.

Hvg1-ipx.png
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Hvg1-ipx.png
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File comment
HG1 IPX
File license
Fair use/fair dealing exception

Reply 2 of 8, by kjliew

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Heavy Gear 2 works, too! 😉 The game does not ship with ANET IPX support, but dropping in the same WIPX2.DLL from Heavy Gear 1.2 the IPX option will show up for multiplayer. It was connected to IPXNET from mech2.org from two QEMU sessions with user-mode network backend, on the same host machine.

One of the best Windows Mecha games from the late 90's with advanced graphics.

hg2-ipx.png
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hg2-ipx.png
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227.47 KiB
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File comment
Heavy Gear 2 IPX
File license
Fair use/fair dealing exception

Reply 6 of 8, by wadrasil

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This is nice, thanks!

You could have the AI fight itself in Herzog Zwei and Jane's US Navy fighters. It might be time to watch the heavy Gear 2 AI fight a massive war with itself.

I lost my HG 1&2 disks and could never find them. The closest I could do to make up for it was to make people mad in table-top battletech with micro mech destroyers..

Reply 7 of 8, by kjliew

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I am really a noob in network programming, sockets and routing stuffs. I think I picked the right platform to focus. QEMU network backends are really solid, there is nothing hacky to deal with host-side networking and I just focused on guest side implementation. It took me a while to really understand what IPX tunneling really is. While DOSBox IPX still remains as the greatest gem for DOS multiplayers, the implementation is very specific to DOS system architecture. The NE2000 patch is, unfortunately, disappointing if it even works at all.

The good thing about pure guest-side implementation, it is more likely to work with real machines, or other virtual machines such as VirtualBox and VMware with similar enterprise-grade network backends. This makes QEMU great for legacy Win9x games from the 90's, not just for single-player missions but multiplayers, too, and much more secure to hook up through the Internet. It is a significant breakthrough for PC games on emulation. A great productivity killer that the QEMU community has never signed up for 😜

Reply 8 of 8, by kjliew

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WIPXEMU dll wrapper available in 1st post.

First, a word of warning: the DOSBox IPX protocol is completely insecure. There's no encryption or authentication supported.
I will not be held responsible if your private network happened to leak to the outside world.
Use at your own risk.