VOGONS

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First post, by PhilsComputerLab

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What is this?

Digital platforms such as GOG, Steam and others sell digital copies of classic DOS retro games. This project is about documenting, if and how, these games can be played on a real DOS PC.

Often this is straight forward and you just need to copy the game folder onto your DOS PC, but often you got to jump through hoops. This could mean that SETUP files are missing, CD Audio tracks are compressed or other little issues.

So if you have spent some time getting such a digital release working on your DOS PC, please share your findings here so others can save precious time and focus on gaming.

If a game release is really bad, or doesn't run on a DOS PC at all, please also document this. At least it will be quick filling out the details. Just enter the game details and give it a E rating in the last column.

Where is the project

https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/ ... sp=sharing

A simple Good Docs spreadsheet all setup and ready to go 😀

What do I need to do?

I will briefly go over the sections of the sheet:

Game + Game information:

Firstly have a look if someone else has already covered the game. If not, enter the name of the game, the developer, the publisher, the year and the gaming store that sells the game (GOG, Steam, whoever...). I will sort the sheet by game name every now and then

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How is the game packaged?

Most games come packaged with DOSBox, others use ScummVM or a replacement game engine (interpreter or source port). GOG does package games with ScummVM, but sometimes also provides the DOS executable. Fate of Atlantis is such an example. Other games will simply not run on a DOS PC, but can be made to run by "sourcing" missing files.

So in this section the idea is to provide a little of technical info that helps others understand how the game was put together. DOSBox games come in various flavours. Often they run straight from a folder, other times an ISO or BIN/CUE CD/DVD image is mounted. Compressed CD Audio tracks also appear and those are a bit more work.

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How do I install the game on a DOS PC?

Here be brief, but also specific. What has to be done to get the game going on a DOS PC? Name specific files that need to be burned onto CD for example. Some games are hard-coded to install into a certain folder. Others have config files that when modified lets you run a CD game without a CD. This is the section that is the most useful, so invest some time and make it awesome and timeless 😀

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What DOS PC does the game run on?

There are many flavours of a DOS PC. It could be a 386 or 486, a Socket 7 machine with Cache disabling tricks or a high powered Pentium II or Pentium III.

If a game runs best on a specific type of processor, this is the section to mention it. Many games have issues on machines that are too fast. Does disabling the cache solve this? Doom for example will run fine on an i7 but Wing Commander is very picky about the speed and runs well on an average 386.

Memory configurations can make or break a game. Some games have issues with more than 16 MB. Others hate EMS or refuse to run with anything but conventional memory. So if you noticed something in this regard, make a note. This will save others lots of time and headaches.

Apply common sense here. If you're using an Athlon 64 with a PCI sound card, well that might not be the best machine to try these games on 😊

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How do I run and configure the game?

A simple question, but sometimes not so straight forward. Most games have an executable, but others you should run a batch file because it will set environment variables or command line options. Other games are launched from the CD instead of the game directory.

More important is "How do I configure my sound card?" Often there is an INSTALL or SETUP file, but many games use command line options and others have files missing (thanks GOG), but config files that can be edited (Sierra games or Wing Commander). If you know some tricks here, please document them!

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Rating of this release

This rating is about "How is this release for running it on my DOS PC". Things such as how it runs under Windows 10, does it contain extras are not what we're looking at.

A rating: A game that runs directly from the folder and has everything included, such as SETUP program, or a CD release that has the full installation CD. Basically everything is there and it's very easy to get going.

B rating: Something is missing, often the INSTALL or SETUP file. Examples are Wing Commander and some Sierra releases

C rating: Games that include everything but require quite some effort to get going. For example when you need to convert compressed audio files to WAV and burn a mixed mode CD or when the burnt image is not an installation CD and you also need to copy the game folder and the CD is purely necessary to play the game. Basically if the game includes everything but you got to jump through hoops to get it going.

D rating: Basically this is C with stuff missing.

E rating: When the game doesn't run on a DOS PC at all. 7th Guest for example, this game uses ScummVM and there are no executable required. Maybe you can "source" missing files and get it to run, but at this point you might just as well "source" the entire game. Contacting the game store or starting a petition might be something to consider.

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Other thoughts

- No need to sign up. It's meant to be accessible to everyone
- Use common sense
- If you think something could be improved you can right click onto a cell and add a comment to let that person know
- Use copy / paste for saying similar things to keep it consistent
- Have fun!

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Reply 2 of 133, by clueless1

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Thanks, Phil. This'll be a nice resource for the community. I added Lands of Lore CD. Will add more as I have time. 😀

The more I learn, the more I realize how much I don't know.
OPL3 FM vs. Roland MT-32 vs. General MIDI DOS Game Comparison
Let's benchmark our systems with cache disabled
DOS PCI Graphics Card Benchmarks

Reply 3 of 133, by PhilsComputerLab

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clueless1 wrote:

Thanks, Phil. This'll be a nice resource for the community. I added Lands of Lore CD. Will add more as I have time. 😀

That's the idea 😀

I will also add things every now and then, but this was another project I started and then got "distracted" with other work 😊

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Reply 5 of 133, by dr.zeissler

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Very good idea phil, I thought about that too. I opend a Disc-Thread at GOG a while ago, because
I wanted to know if old win9x realeses would run on a real win9x retro-pc. sometimes gog uses
addon tools to provide cd-audio with tools that do not run under win9x. therefore the compatibility
is shown as win-xp an above.

CPU: PII 133-333 MOBO: SNI-D981 RAM: 512- FDD: Dualfloppy 3,5"HD/5,25"HD - 3,5"HD - 5,25"DD ISA-Catweasel HDD: 2x40GB - DVD
ISA(3): Audician32-S2Dreamblaster - GusACE PCI(3): Monster3D- Intel NW AGP(1): 3dfx V3-3000

Reply 6 of 133, by PhilsComputerLab

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Good idea. Something I want to do is install all my GOG DOS games into an archive that is ready to go. I started at some point, but always get side-tracked with projects like this 😊

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Reply 7 of 133, by leileilol

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I used to innosetup my installed games as such (convenient mass clean uninstalling FTW). Finding good icons for the dos games is the most timeconsuming part X_X

by the way, DOSBox is not for running Windows 9x

Reply 8 of 133, by gdjacobs

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Icons? Pfah!

In DOS, the only icons you need were implemented by the software developer. For graphics, use something more worthy -- like a ray tracer, or directly poking the framebuffer.

All hail the Great Capacitor Brand Finder

Reply 9 of 133, by PhilsComputerLab

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Trying to get Prehistoric 1 and 2 to run.

Weird way of packing the game. It mounts a folder as CD in DOSBox.

In TITUS.BAT it launches the game this way:

CD PREH2
..\CDRUN PRE2.SQZ

I think they got the games from TITUS / TELSTAR 10 GAMES CD ROM which launches all the games from the CD.

CDRUN seems to only work off a CD, likely a copy protection of some sort.

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Reply 10 of 133, by skitters

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PhilsComputerLab wrote:

E rating: When the game doesn't run on a DOS PC at all. 7th Guest for example, this game uses ScummVM and there are no executable required. Maybe you can "source" missing files and get it to run, but at this point you might just as well "source" the entire game.

Is this true of all GOG games that use ScummVM? -- that none of them include the game exe or configuration files that are needed to run the game in real DOS?

Are there any GOG games where the GOG download originally used DOSBox but was later changed to a download that used ScummVM? -- so the original download from years ago would be more adaptable to real DOS than the current one?

Reply 11 of 133, by Calvero

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PhilsComputerLab wrote:
Show quote

Trying to get Prehistoric 1 and 2 to run.

Weird way of packing the game. It mounts a folder as CD in DOSBox.

In TITUS.BAT it launches the game this way:

CD PREH2
..\CDRUN PRE2.SQZ

I think they got the games from TITUS / TELSTAR 10 GAMES CD ROM which launches all the games from the CD.

CDRUN seems to only work off a CD, likely a copy protection of some sort.

Maybe this helps: www.vogons.org/viewtopic.php?t=36061#p312698

Reply 12 of 133, by PhilsComputerLab

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skitters wrote:
PhilsComputerLab wrote:

E rating: When the game doesn't run on a DOS PC at all. 7th Guest for example, this game uses ScummVM and there are no executable required. Maybe you can "source" missing files and get it to run, but at this point you might just as well "source" the entire game.

Is this true of all GOG games that use ScummVM? -- that none of them include the game exe or configuration files that are needed to run the game in real DOS?

Are there any GOG games where the GOG download originally used DOSBox but was later changed to a download that used ScummVM? -- so the original download from years ago would be more adaptable to real DOS than the current one?

Good question! It turns out that The 7th Guest DOES run from DOS 😀 The executables for running the game and changing sound options are included. An INI file needs to be edited to point to the game folder. Only thing that doesn't work yet are the 2 CD Audio tracks. One plays during the intro on the first CD, the second one from the second CD.

Indiana Jones and the Fate of Atlantis also comes with ScummVM but has the executable in a sub-folder. So it seems that GOG is improving things. They also had the MONSTER.SOU speech file compressed previously, this isn't the case any-more.

But so far I haven't come across a game that had stuff removed, it was always the other way round, that they added things. So with ScummVM games, I think every game needs to be checked out individually, which hopefully we will 😀

Calvero wrote:
PhilsComputerLab wrote:
Show quote

Trying to get Prehistoric 1 and 2 to run.

Weird way of packing the game. It mounts a folder as CD in DOSBox.

In TITUS.BAT it launches the game this way:

CD PREH2
..\CDRUN PRE2.SQZ

I think they got the games from TITUS / TELSTAR 10 GAMES CD ROM which launches all the games from the CD.

CDRUN seems to only work off a CD, likely a copy protection of some sort.

Maybe this helps: www.vogons.org/viewtopic.php?t=36061#p312698

Oh that is sweet! Thank you 😀

EDIT: That fixed it 😀

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Reply 13 of 133, by clueless1

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Added:
Shadow Warrior
Blood
Dark Sun 2
Magic Carpet Plus
Magic Carpet 2
Betrayal at Krondor

The more I learn, the more I realize how much I don't know.
OPL3 FM vs. Roland MT-32 vs. General MIDI DOS Game Comparison
Let's benchmark our systems with cache disabled
DOS PCI Graphics Card Benchmarks

Reply 15 of 133, by clueless1

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PhilsComputerLab wrote:

E rating: When the game doesn't run on a DOS PC at all.

What is your take on games that came in both DOS and Windows versions, but GOG's is the Windows version? Better to leave off the list, or put on with an E rating? For example, Fallout.

The more I learn, the more I realize how much I don't know.
OPL3 FM vs. Roland MT-32 vs. General MIDI DOS Game Comparison
Let's benchmark our systems with cache disabled
DOS PCI Graphics Card Benchmarks

Reply 17 of 133, by clueless1

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zerker wrote:

Personally, I would ask the related question: Can you still run the GOG version on a retro Windows 95/98 PC?

I wouldn't be surprised if Phil made another list (or another tab on this list) for Win9x games. 😀 I do know that some GOG games can be made to work in 9x. Eventually, I plan on having my 98SE machine connected for testing/playing on, but ATM I just have room for DOS and XP. 🙁

The more I learn, the more I realize how much I don't know.
OPL3 FM vs. Roland MT-32 vs. General MIDI DOS Game Comparison
Let's benchmark our systems with cache disabled
DOS PCI Graphics Card Benchmarks

Reply 18 of 133, by PhilsComputerLab

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Yea that's for another sheet 😀

I think let's see how this project develops over the next few months before we start anything new.

Good question about games that come in the Windows version. On the one hand it's worth adding them, but on the other hand you don't want to many games on there that don't actually work. So I think DOSBox and ScummVM games should be the focus.

Or we could just decide to only list games that at least run on a DOS PC. For example 7th guest will run, but with issues with the CD Audio track, but 11th hour won't run at all.

We could also add another tab / sheet and just name and shame any such releases. That saves us time and typing too much?

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Reply 19 of 133, by clueless1

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I was looking at it from the perspective of a gamer who wants Fallout on his DOS PC. He wants to know if it will work if he buys the GOG version. So if we put it on your list, he can look it up and see it's the Windows version. Then he can decide if he still wants to buy it since he knows it won't work in DOS. 😀

The more I learn, the more I realize how much I don't know.
OPL3 FM vs. Roland MT-32 vs. General MIDI DOS Game Comparison
Let's benchmark our systems with cache disabled
DOS PCI Graphics Card Benchmarks