My DOS Rig hates DOS Games

Discussion about old PC hardware.

My DOS Rig hates DOS Games

Postby Windows9566 » 2017-12-07 @ 23:24

My PC doesn't like DOS games, it might be that my motherboard doesn't like my soundblaster 16 isa card, Bio menace and Catacomb 3d and Commander Keen Goodbye Galaxy don't detect my sound card, Bio menace locks up the PC when i shoot an enemy, Star Wars X-Wing has garbled OPL audio, and some DOS edutainment games made by MECC hang or run slow, some work fine like Number Munchers and Museum Madness. Many other DOS games run just fine like Doom, Duke Nukem 3D, Star Wars Tie Fighter, Jill of the Jungle, etc. The mainboard is very finicky and many dos games like hanging, crashing, locking up the pc, not detecting the sound card, etc. it has 1 agp 2x, 5 pci, and 1 isa, it is the motherboard found in gateway gp7-450, essential, performance, etc lp minitower models, I used DOS 6.22 and Windows 98, same results. those games worked ok with a packard bell pentium 1 PC that i had which died unfortunately so i saved the power supply (lite on 204 watt AT power supply), cpu (pentium 133) and ram (24 mb 2x 4mb and 2x 8mb 72 pin EDO simms) and tossed that packard bell away. DOS games worked okay with PCI sound cards like the Ensoniq AudioPCI and Soundblaster Live on my current dos PC. OEM hardware is a hit or miss. Issues that is not related to DOS games is DOS 6.22 has memory issues, i tried tweaking the FILES, BUFFERS, STACKS, and making sure HIMEM and EMM386 is running, no luck, DOS 7 (Windows 98) i had better luck with.

Spec
Case: Generic Beige ATX Case
CPU: Intel Pentium III 500 MHZ
Power Supply: Antec Basiq BP350 350 Watt ATX Power Supply
Mainboard: Gateway OEM Intel WS440BX Slot 1 (1 AGP 2x, 5 PCI, 1 ISA 16 bit)
RAM: 256 MB (2x 128 MB) PC 100 SDRAM
Video Card: nVidia Geforce 2 MX 200 AGP 32MB
Sound Card: Creative Labs Sound Blaster 16 CT2830 ISA
Last edited by Windows9566 on 2017-12-08 @ 06:43, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: My DOS Rig hates DOS Games

Postby CkRtech » 2017-12-08 @ 00:22

CT2830 is... hybrid PnP, I think? IDE CD-ROM stuff is jumper-based and the sound is PnP? How do you have the resources configured for the card?

Also - what is your CPU speed? Have you slowed it down when running those games?

tossed that packard bell away

<grunt>
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Re: My DOS Rig hates DOS Games

Postby LSS10999 » 2017-12-08 @ 00:40

If you're using ISA PnP cards you need to make sure you have the necessary utilities (CTCM then DIAGNOSE) loaded to configure the sound card.

(Note: The CTCM and CTCU does not like the WinBootDir parameter in your MSDOS.SYS if you have Windows 9x installed, you need to use a modified version which I think can be found somewhere in this forum)

Windows9566 wrote:Bio menace locks up the PC when i shoot an enemy


This seemed to be a known issue that I used to encounter... possibly related to some TSR drivers. Try disabling one or two drivers that are not immediately essential (mouse, disk, etc.). Maybe your other issues are as commonly known as this one.

While many modern DOS TSRs consume less memory, allowing you to load more stuffs than before, some compilers of that era generate code that don't like the ways those TSRs do things and cause all kinds of misbehaviors.

Apparently HX DOS Extender seems to be able to mitigate some of those issues including this one, though I haven't tried myself.
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Re: My DOS Rig hates DOS Games

Postby clueless1 » 2017-12-08 @ 00:53

Yes, as CkRtech suggests, first thing I'd try is slowing the computer down. It's easiest and least intrusive to your system. Use SETMUL to disable L1 cache or disable it in the BIOS. Many old games either run too fast or have audio glitches when played on computers much faster than they were designed for. See: http://www.vogonswiki.com/index.php/Lis ... tive_games
The more I learn, the more I realize how much I don't know.
Let's benchmark our systems with cache disabled
DOS PCI Graphics Card Benchmarks
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Re: My DOS Rig hates DOS Games

Postby gdjacobs » 2017-12-08 @ 04:21

CkRtech wrote:<grunt>


To me, all Packard Bells taste like bad memories and unfulfilled promise.
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Re: My DOS Rig hates DOS Games

Postby Ampera » 2017-12-08 @ 04:28

gdjacobs wrote:
CkRtech wrote:<grunt>


To me, all Packard Bells taste like bad memories and unfulfilled promise.


Give them to me, I will happily take your trash.
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Re: My DOS Rig hates DOS Games

Postby Windows9566 » 2017-12-08 @ 06:42

The soundblaster 16 worked out of the box on my last DOS pc, didn't need any jumper config since i bought it from ebay, I bought the soundblaster 16 to replace the crappy Aztech AZT2320 Sound III 336SP that was in it. and about the demise of my packard bell, the packard bell stopped recognizing the cd rom drive a couple years ago like 2015 after i upgraded Windows for Workgroups 3.11 to Windows 95, i put the cd rom drive in another machine, swapped cd rom drives, no luck so i chucked the mainboard and left the rest of the parts, i have lost many of the pieces of the case and the motherboard tray got bent by sitting in my messy closet, It was a Packard Bell Legend Supreme 1600, i think it came from 1996 or so.
The specs of that PC was
CPU: Pentium 133
RAM: 24 MB RAM
Video Card: Onboard S3 Trio 64V+ 1MB (Used a PCI nVidia Riva TNT but returned to the onboard card)
Sound Card: Aztech Labs AZT2320 Sound III 336SP (Later replaced with a Sound Blaster 16)
OS: Originally Windows 95 filled with Bloatware and was messed up and BSODing frequently, had weatherbug and realplayer and other stuff, installed DOS 6.22 and Windows for Workgroups 3.11 at a later date. Tried Windows 98 SE but was slow.

and my main (Gateway OEM Board Pentium 3 PC) DOS config

Autoexec.bat
SET SOUND=C:\SB16
SET BLASTER=A220 I5 D1 H5 P330 T6
SET MIDI=SYNTH:1 MAP:E
C:\SB16\DIAGNOSE /S
C:\SB16\MIXERSET /P /Q
LH C:\WINDOWS\COMMAND\MSCDEX.EXE /E /D:OPTICAL
LH C:\DRIVERS\CTMOUSE.EXE /R2

Config.sys
DEVICEHIGH=C:\WINDOWS\HIMEM.SYS /TESTMEM:OFF
DEVICE=C:\WINDOWS\EMM386.EXE RAM
DOS=HIGH,UMB,AUTO
FILES=60
BUFFERS=11
STACKS=9,256
LASTDRIVE=Z
DEVICEHIGH=C:\DRIVERS\VIDECDD.SYS /D:OPTICAL

Games (MS-DOS):
Bio Menace (Same thing as Catacomb and Keen 4-6 but with lock up when killing enemy (dos mode) and crash to desktop (Windows 98)
Catacomb 3d (Doesn't detect sound card most of the time or hangs on Initializing . . . Please Wait, i exit and run it over and over and get it to work eventually like bio menace above)
Champ Arcade
Commander Keen: Keen Dreams (Doesn't detect Sound Card at all unlike Keen Goodbye Galaxy, Catacomb 3d, and Bio Menace )
Doom
Doom 2
Final Doom
Duke Nukem 3D
Epic Pinball
Fatty Bear's Birthday Surprise
Holiday Lemmings
Commander Keen Invasion of the Vorticons 1-3
Commander Keen Goodbye Galaxy 4-6 (1.0 has the sound issue but 1.4 fixes the issues)
Grand Theft Auto (hangs when running GTADOS.bin but works when i run the versions (GTA8.exe, GTA24.exe) in the GTADOS folder)
Museum Madness
Number Munchers
Putt Putt Joins the Parade
Putt Putt Goes to the Moon
Quake (Runs too fast under Windows 98, Hangs upon quitting in DOS Mode)
Super Munchers
Star Wars Dark Forces
Star Wars Tie Fighter
Star Wars X-Wing (OPL3 outputs garbage but with patch it works fine)
Wolfenstein 3D
Wolfenstein 3D Spear of Destiny

Programs (MS-DOS)
Dr. Sbaitso (Locks up in MS-DOS Mode but runs flawlessly under Windows 98)
Adlib Tracker 2
AdPlay (Hangs upon quitting in DOS mode)

Next time i get a DOS pc, i will steer clear of the OEM name brand PCs and go with non OEM ones, even if it has a high price ($100 and over), like i said before, OEM PCs are a hit or miss. They have bad things like proprietary things like riser cards, proprietary connectors, etc. and the bios setup not having as many options as a non OEM board (ASUS, Abit, Biostar, Gigabyte, MSI, etc.)
Last edited by Windows9566 on 2017-12-08 @ 07:15, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: My DOS Rig hates DOS Games

Postby Cyberdyne » 2017-12-08 @ 06:49

Biomenace DOSBox fix fixes a lot of real computer problems also.
I am aroused about any X86 stuff that has full functional ISA stuff. I think i have problem.
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Re: My DOS Rig hates DOS Games

Postby dr.zeissler » 2017-12-08 @ 07:34

Real frustrating dependencies:
Biomenace requires "Stacks=9,256" in config.sys otherwise mostly lockup.
My A2286 requires "stacks=0,0" otherwise no mouse-detection for the amiga-mouse :(

The SB sounddetection in biomenace and other early apogee titles works right
up to PII/300 (no celeron!) if your machine is faster then that use "cpucache off"
or other slowdown utils before starting the game. then it will just work fine.

But! if you have a real fast machine and need to slowdown very much, then you
get stuttering effects "dangerouse dave 4" or "keen" that a most likely not there
if you run the games on a 286/386/486 or a slower pentium.

I have begun to combine things.

I love my powermac 7300. it has a fast G3/500(1MB) upgrade and a fantastic
village tronic banshee. I can play a lot 68K mac stuff and lot's of PPC (OS8.6) stuff,
but the best thin is, I have a Pentium166 PC-Card in it, so I can play lot's
of dos-stuff as well and the hardfiles are much more performant and very
flexible as on the amiga2000. https://www.tradera.com/item/340854/285 ... sh-windows

I am planning to install the 386/486 nubus pc-cards in my Quadra700 too.

Mostly I will not have to install or build a PC for DOS. I simply use my mac :)
Last edited by dr.zeissler on 2017-12-08 @ 07:49, edited 3 times in total.
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
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Re: My DOS Rig hates DOS Games

Postby dr.zeissler » 2017-12-08 @ 07:36

BTW:
A real Dos-Machine should have a none PNP soundcard, a midi-card or a soundcard with no hanging note bug,
a gravis ultrasound and about 486/66 or a pentium not much higher then 133 mhz.

btw:
star wars dark forces is HIGHRES in MacOS (640x240) widesceen. NICE!
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
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Re: My DOS Rig hates DOS Games

Postby Windows9566 » 2017-12-19 @ 04:21

too bad 486, Pentium, Pentium 2, Pentium 3 (Slot 1) class machines and hardware are too expensive on ebay. PCem v13 which just came this week works just fine with bio menace and i am having no trouble with it on my main rig

Main Rig Specs
ASUS ROG Strix B350-F Gaming Mainboard
AMD Ryzen 5 1600 6 core 3.2 ghz
16 GB RAM
nVidia Geforce GTX 1060 6GB
Windows 10 Home
Corsair Strafe Cherry MX Blue
Generic Logitech Optical Mouse
Dell 2005FPW Monitor

PCem Specs
Intel Advanced EV emulated mainboard because Award 430VX PCI doesn't post and outputs 3 beeps no matter what hardware im using.
Intel Pentium 75 MHZ
16MB RAM
S3 Virge DX 4MB
Creative SoundBlaster 16
Fast VLB/PCI
420MB Emulated HDD
Windows 3.1/DOS 6.22
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