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Boxedwine (Wine on multiple platforms)

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First post, by danoon

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Boxedwine's goal is to be to Win 3.1/95/98 games as DosBox is to DOS games. I don't know how far it will get. But is coming along and thought I would share a new release. I put up some more demos that work in the browser using Emscripten.

http://boxedwine.org

I was hoping to release a dynamic recompiler with this release, but I think it is still a ways off. But so far performance is looking good. VideoDD measures pixels per second and its up on my demo page. The first part of the test ends with these numbers for my i7 6700.

3.1M pixels per second Emscripten
7.9M pixels per second Normal core windows
45M pixels per second x64 core

So as you can see, the x64 is a lot faster that the current normal core.

If you try it out, let me know what games work and don't work for you. On my status section of the web page I have 14 games I have tried so far.

http://www.boxedwine.org/

Reply 1 of 104, by Jo22

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Looks fine so far, good work! 😀

Here's my little report:

My PC w/ Win7 (and XP) was missing msvcr120.dll.
I also got two error messages about Mono and Gecko beeing missing,
and the status window complained: "wine: cannot find L"C:\\windows\\system32\\winemenubuilder.exe""

Winfile.exe from Win 3.1 did not start, but the MS-DOS Executive from Win 3.0 did.
It showed files, if the display was set to "long".

The only critique of mine is the typical case-sensitivesness of *nix systems.
In the Windows world, programs mixed lower/upper-case quite often (be it for aesthetics even).

Win16 compatibility was better than expected.
This version of Wine still recognizes early NE executables at least.

The Mark30 program runs, but can't find the directory path of c:\users\username\ .

As far as sound support goes, it would be cool if OPL2 and PC-Speaker would be supported somewhen in the future.
- Because a few of the Win16 free-/shareware games did use them directly. That's no issue, though. Most Win32 games didn't do that.

Games tested:

Solar Vengeance v2 [win16, vb3 runtime] = game crash
Jiji [Win16] = program crash/freeze
Klotz! [Win16, Win 2/3 binary) = works, but no menu
Lander3 [Win16] = works, but GDI glichtes
Adventures of MircoMan [Win16] = program crash (page fault)
Puyo Puyo tsu (2) for Win95 [Win32] = directdraw init. failed

EmPipe [Win16] = ok, no music/sfx
EmPipe [Win32] = ok, no music/sfx
WormWorld [Win16] = ok, no sfx
Wintrek [Win16] = ok, w/ sound, minor GDI glitches
Lemmings for Windows [Win32s] = ok. no sound (?)
Staccato [Win16, TPW/Pascal7Win] = ok, warning message, but no sound (?)
Taipei [Win16, Win3 version] = ok

Mod4WIN [Win16, TPW/Pascal7Win]= ok, no sound (?)

Sorry, I really wanted to give you a proper feedback,
but I'm not so familiar with commercial Windows titles. 🙁

Anyway, thanks for the program! I'm glad you're working on that project. 😀

Edit: A few youtube links with footage of the gameplay added.

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Last edited by Jo22 on 2018-02-18, 21:50. Edited 1 time in total.

"Time, it seems, doesn't flow. For some it's fast, for some it's slow.
In what to one race is no time at all, another race can rise and fall..." - The Minstrel

//My video channel//

Reply 2 of 104, by Jo22

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More pictures.

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"Time, it seems, doesn't flow. For some it's fast, for some it's slow.
In what to one race is no time at all, another race can rise and fall..." - The Minstrel

//My video channel//

Reply 3 of 104, by danoon

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My PC w/ Win7 (and XP) was missing msvcr120.dll.

Thanks for mentioning that, I forgot about that dependency. Perhaps I will look into static linking.

I also got two error messages about Mono and Gecko beeing missing,
and the status window complained: "wine: cannot find L"C:\\windows\\system32\\winemenubuilder.exe""

I removed winemenubuilder.exe from the root filesystem, Wine uses it to create the desktop links for Linux. It just slowed things down a little.
And Mono and Gecko are also normal Wine things. I believe there is a way to prevent Wine from asking for them. I will look into that.

Solar Vengeance v2 [win16, vb3 runtime] = game crash Jiji [Win16] = program crash/freeze Klotz! [Win16, Win 2/3 binary) = works, […]
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Solar Vengeance v2 [win16, vb3 runtime] = game crash
Jiji [Win16] = program crash/freeze
Klotz! [Win16, Win 2/3 binary) = works, but no menu
Lander3 [Win16] = works, but GDI glichtes
Adventures of MircoMan [Win16] = program crash (page fault)
Puyo Puyo tsu (2) for Win95 [Win32] = directdraw init. failed

Thanks for all the testing, I started looking into these.
1) Solar Vengeance v2 - I was able to reproduce the issue and fixed the first crash. Now I get a VB Overflow error. So I guess that is progress
2) Jiji - I'm able to play for a couple of seconds, it crashes for me after the first meow sound
3) MicroMan - crashes after hitting ok for the first dialog

As far as sound support goes, it would be cool if OPL2 and PC-Speaker would be supported somewhen in the future.

That is a good idea, I added that to my todo list (http://www.boxedwine.org/wordpress/todo/)

http://www.boxedwine.org/

Reply 4 of 104, by Jo22

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danoon wrote:

My PC w/ Win7 (and XP) was missing msvcr120.dll.

Thanks for mentioning that, I forgot about that dependency. Perhaps I will look into static linking.

No problem. Copying that DLL into the directoy of Boxedwine made it run.
It also works quite well on the XP partition of my aged main PC, so dependencies shouldn't
be that of an issue for most users that -unlike me- have got a more or less modern PC.

danoon wrote:

I removed winemenubuilder.exe from the root filesystem, Wine uses it to create the desktop links for Linux.
It just slowed things down a little. And Mono and Gecko are also normal Wine things. I believe there is a way to prevent Wine from sking for them. I will look into that.

Ah, okay, that makes sense. I'm using an aged Athlon 64 X2 Dual Core here with 8GiB of RAM, by the way.
Boxedwine runs okay on both XP SP3 and Windows 7 x64. Without audio enabled, Pinball in demo mode runs smooth, too.

danoon wrote:
Thanks for all the testing, I started looking into these. 1) Solar Vengeance v2 - I was able to reproduce the issue and fixed th […]
Show full quote

Thanks for all the testing, I started looking into these.
1) Solar Vengeance v2 - I was able to reproduce the issue and fixed the first crash. Now I get a VB Overflow error. So I guess that is progress
2) Jiji - I'm able to play for a couple of seconds, it crashes for me after the first meow sound
3) MicroMan - crashes after hitting ok for the first dialog

You're welcome. And please don't worry about compatibility too much.
Wine has its focus on Win32/Mono since a while, so it is no surprise that a few of the really old games act a bit silly.
As I said in my initial reply, I'm positivley surprised about the overall compatibility so far.
And since quite a few games were written in VB 1-4 (VB3 was quite popular),
getting that stubborn vbrun300.dll runtime to work later on should make a lot of games work. 😉

danoon wrote:

As far as sound support goes, it would be cool if OPL2 and PC-Speaker would be supported somewhen in the future.

That is a good idea, I added that to my todo list (http://www.boxedwine.org/wordpress/todo/)

Wow, thanks! 😁 If you need a game for testing FM/OPL2, you may like to have a look at Warpath Classic.
It has an option for FM. Besides games, I remember there also was an organ program that used the AdLib/OPL2 chip.
For PC speaker, there were by far more games, of course. So a simple OPL2 implementation might be more than enough.

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"Time, it seems, doesn't flow. For some it's fast, for some it's slow.
In what to one race is no time at all, another race can rise and fall..." - The Minstrel

//My video channel//

Reply 5 of 104, by Expack3

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As a PC gamer who'd love to experience Windows 3.1 games on Windows with minimum hassle (yes, I include VirtualBox/VMWare Player/Hyper-V to be 'hassles' despite their simplicity), when can D3D support be expected? I've love to try out some actual, older D3D games, like Empire Earth, and see how they fare.

Reply 6 of 104, by danoon

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Expack3 wrote:

As a PC gamer who'd love to experience Windows 3.1 games on Windows with minimum hassle (yes, I include VirtualBox/VMWare Player/Hyper-V to be 'hassles' despite their simplicity), when can D3D support be expected? I've love to try out some actual, older D3D games, like Empire Earth, and see how they fare.

I looked up Empire Earth, that requires are a 350MHz computer. So far with my i7-6700 4GHz, I usually only test games meant for a Pentium 166MHz or less. F-16 Multirole Fighter was too slow on my computer, some sites said 166Mhz was the minimum, others said 233MHz.

The dynamic core I'm working on for x64 should handle games up to 1GHz. But that is just a guess, it it certainly much faster, but so far not many games work with it. Quake 2 640x480 software mode, the normal core gets 10 fps, x64 dynamic core gets 114.3 fps

According to The Ultimate 686 Benchmark Comparison This means the normal core is about a Pentium 166MHz and the x64 dynamic core is about 3-4x the speed of a Pentium 3 600MHz.

As far as Direct3D goes, everything is coded for it to work, it is just a question of bugs. Quake 2 works well with OpenGL and I can get some games to work with D3D if I disable some of the OpenGL extensions (which means I still have some bugs there).

When the x64 dynamic recompiler gets better I will probably start testing more games that required Direct3D.

http://www.boxedwine.org/

Reply 7 of 104, by Jo22

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danoon wrote:

The dynamic core I'm working on for x64 should handle games up to 1GHz. But that is just a guess, it it certainly much
faster, but so far not many games work with it. Quake 2 640x480 software mode, the normal core gets 10 fps, x64 dynamic core gets 114.3 fps

This sounds really good, do you keep the old core as a fall-back (maybe via parameter) ?
Some of the older games I just tested do work but might be speed-sensitive.

Speaking of games, I did a few more test for you.
I also took some pictures as a proof (kept them little and as few as possible).

So far these titles seem to work:

Hover (Win32)
works without sound

Hyperoid (Win32)
works

HoldOver (Win32)
works without "smooth" bgm
game runs, but is very cpu intensive=slow (uses GDI)
crashed if main menu was used (press "down" arrow key)

Wintrek 2 (JSOFT) (Win16)
Works

Win Trek (BFM) (Win16)
works, no sound (uses speaker)^
Video with speaker effects : https://youtu.be/EEMm0mT5DRU

Pikachu Volleyball JP (Win32)
works, with sound
no music (MIDI)

Pokedex (Win32)
works
requires msbvm50.dll, mci32.ocx

Space Exploration Mission Alpha (Win16)
works

Graditor (Win16)
works

Sheep (Win16)
an old desktop gadget (socalled "screen mate")
works, sound (?)

vb81 (Win32)
ZX81 emulator, uses GDI
installer works fine
works
needs msvbvm60.dll

wglgears (Win32)
Win32 port of the opengl sample glxgears.
works

-misc-
AForce (win16)
works

Neko v2 (Dara Khani) (Win16)
works

Bang! Bang! (Win16)
works

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Last edited by Jo22 on 2018-02-24, 00:39. Edited 1 time in total.

"Time, it seems, doesn't flow. For some it's fast, for some it's slow.
In what to one race is no time at all, another race can rise and fall..." - The Minstrel

//My video channel//

Reply 8 of 104, by Jo22

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continue..

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"Time, it seems, doesn't flow. For some it's fast, for some it's slow.
In what to one race is no time at all, another race can rise and fall..." - The Minstrel

//My video channel//

Reply 9 of 104, by Jo22

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Games that failed to run or were unplayable :

The Breakdown (Win32)
point&click adventure
installer works fine
fails to setup d3d/ddraw
Re: Could anyone recommend some pc games for girls?

Tales of Lemma
goes fullscreen
uses allegro
crashes

MewYou 2.0
surprisingly runs
needs more memory (tested -m 512)
fixme error "dmime:IDirectMusicAudioPathImpl_SetVolume <0x18e8f0, 0, 0> : stub"
d3d glitches

Sonic & Knuckles Collection (Win32)
launcher starts fine
uses sound effects, fm (opl2,3) and midi
main executable tries to setup d3d/ddraw
no-cd "patch" was used (really just an *.ini file with debug setting)
speed-patch available

Tower of Heaven (Win32)
old flash-based version
needs more memory (-m 256 ok)
uses d3d values not supported by opengl
decompresses ogg files for playback
d3d reports "Out of adapter memory"

eversion demo (Win32)
crashes

StarTraders (Win16)
crashes

Winroids (Win16)
uses midi and sounds
crashes

Win Trek Enhanced (Win32)
crashes

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"Time, it seems, doesn't flow. For some it's fast, for some it's slow.
In what to one race is no time at all, another race can rise and fall..." - The Minstrel

//My video channel//

Reply 10 of 104, by Expack3

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Just tried out the original MDK, in both its software and D3D Windows versions, and the game failed to run at all. Attached is the complete session log, including the parameters I used to run Boxedwine.

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Reply 11 of 104, by danoon

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Jo22: Thanks for all the testing. I'm currently going over all those games. I remember WinRoids. I don't think I've played since I last had a Win 3.11 machine back in the 90s. It seems to run pretty well except for when the sound is turned on, then it crashes. I added an online demo for it.

http://www.boxedwine.org/app/winroids/

Expack3: MDK was one of my favorites. I looked at Wine's App DB, https://appdb.winehq.org/objectManager.php?sC … rsion&iId=33960, and it seems like its a know problem where MDK95.EXE will run the game with a black screen. As for getting Direct3D working, that is on my list of things to do but for now it is a lower priority because there aren't too many Direct3D games that have a Pentium 166 MHz system requirement or lower. P166 is my current target until I get the dynamic recompiler working.

http://www.boxedwine.org/

Reply 12 of 104, by Serious Callers Only

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Does this work with the host filesystem? And does it allow WINEPREFIX and winetricks (sometimes necessary to install prerequisites)?

Basically, i think a emulator like this could benefit from at least some inbuilt commands to manipulate the wine environment in a 'pre-boot' fashion, much like DOSBox can with the autoexec section.
Since you already need a mini linux (right?) to run this, i'd suggest : winetricks, someway to have multiple prefixes per game, winepath, wine reg add and regedit, probably sed and awk (to replace paths in stubborn games config files).

Another (maybe more elegant) alternative to scripting stuff like this is to make a equivalent of dosbox 'mount' that actually 'mounts' a prefix that can then be prepared with needed libraries and registry entries by the games install, as long as that prefix can be moved around, that should work to make the games portable by creating a prefix per game.

Who knows, maybe we'll see GOG selling emulated windows 95 games soon with your and wine linux devs hard work too *smirk*

Reply 13 of 104, by danoon

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Serious Callers Only wrote:
Does this work with the host filesystem? And does it allow WINEPREFIX and winetricks (sometimes necessary to install prerequisit […]
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Does this work with the host filesystem? And does it allow WINEPREFIX and winetricks (sometimes necessary to install prerequisites)?

Basically, i think a emulator like this could benefit from at least some inbuilt commands to manipulate the wine environment in a 'pre-boot' fashion, much like DOSBox can with the autoexec section.
Since you already need a mini linux (right?) to run this, i'd suggest : winetricks, someway to have multiple prefixes per game, winepath, wine reg add and regedit, probably sed and awk (to replace paths in stubborn games config files).

Another (maybe more elegant) alternative to scripting stuff like this is to make a equivalent of dosbox 'mount' that actually 'mounts' a prefix that can then be prepared with needed libraries and registry entries by the games install, as long as that prefix can be moved around, that should work to make the games portable by creating a prefix per game.

Who knows, maybe we'll see GOG selling emulated windows 95 games soon with your and wine linux devs hard work too *smirk*

yes, Boxedwine uses the file system. It reads its files from a zip file and writes changes to a directory you specify on the command line

BoxedWine -root c:\root -zip wine.zip /bin/wine notepad

This allows you do use the same zip file but put different games into different folders, like a wine prefix.

For modifying the registry before launching a game, that can be done with a script/.bat file on the host to run regedit first.

BoxedWine.exe -root c:\games\diablo -zip c:\games\wine17.zip /bin/wine regedit /gdi.reg

As for sed and awk, I have tested those before and they work, but in order to keep the file system as small as possible they currently aren't included.

I haven't tested winetricks yet, but that is on my list of things to do. Boxedwine doesn't have a problem running shell scripts, its just a matter of making sure the filesystem has the necessary dependencies.

http://www.boxedwine.org/

Reply 14 of 104, by Serious Callers Only

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This is all pretty good. i wouldn't be surprised if you got a job at GoG for this sooner or later. Anyway, why the old (2 years old?) wine?

And might i suggest using the intel and ARM x86 virtualization extensions when possible? It might be a even better alternative to a JIT for more recent CPUs. I guess you don't have GPU passthrough yet either.

And, it would be nice if upstream wine could 'use' your 'ROM' archives, in order not to create fragmentation on linux, if GoG does end up selling this. You don't need to (and definitely not without assurances that a PR is welcome) but it would be nice for linux users to be able to use latest wine to run this. You probably should define a 'real' fileformat instead of just zip if you go this route (because OS prefer to know what to use to run files). If it was more portable, instead of zip i'd suggest squashfs with a wine-related extension or magic byte. Squashfs behaves better than zip for reading and seeking -- though it's a read-only filesystem and that could be troublesome for 'casual use'.

From your response i *think* that the WINEPREFIX is still outside the zips right? I can see a case for putting at least some dependencies inside the zip for game distribution (such as registry values and game libraries like physX). I understand that it's better that wine created dlls get updated apart, but some games unfortunately require installation of additional libraries and adding them to the PATH or similar. The less additional config the users have to do, the more popular this will be.

Reply 15 of 104, by danoon

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In my default file system, the WINEPREFIX is inside the zip file, but changes will be written to the host file system. The zip file is actually optional, I just like it because its easy to start over by deleted the change directory. Anything can be put in the zip file, when the kernel tries to find a file it looks in the change directory (host file system) first and if its not found then it looks in the zip file, if there is one.

As for hardware virtualization, I think something like that could work in the future. As for GPU stuff, Boxedwine does not do pass thru low level hardware commands. But I do allow OpenGL calls to be passed though to the host OS. It still needs a lot of work, but Unreal and Quake 2 both work using hardware accelerated OpenGL.

I guess I just haven't update Wine because there hasn't been a reason to yet. If I found out a particular version of Wine fixed the black screen problem of MDK then I would probably make it a high priority to upgrade. The eventual goal is to have something like play on linux where the user can easily switch between Wine versions.

http://www.boxedwine.org/

Reply 16 of 104, by Serious Callers Only

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I recommend 'creating' (not really) your own format to make the OSes know that 'this file is for boxedwine' much like they can do with java and execs and mono. This depends on 'signature bytes' used by BINFMT_MISC (and extension in lesser OSes).

Besides this, real advantage comes if you can manage upstream to pull a PR for this because it would make games archives usable by either and have wine have a optional COW which is very good for game distribution (aka gog). I actually know COW can be used 'bare', but i was always intrigued about its use to make compressed, readonly archives 'writable'.

I do wonder if they'd accept a PR that just archives the whole prefix (if they would accept the PR otherwise). Prefix updating on new wine versions means that those files are going to get certainly outdated. The alternative is to separate the modifications the game needs (somehow) and apply them at prefix creation.

Reply 17 of 104, by danoon

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What you are describing reminds me of thinstall/thinapp where it will snap shot the differences between a fresh windows install and after a game/app install. All the registry entries, game files, etc will be gathered and stored in a single file/.exe

If a particular wine version is stored in the file, that could take care of the prefix problem. At least you wouldn't have to worry about future Wine version breaking game. But then it bloats the game files and it wouldn't be compatible with Wine as a save state file.

http://www.boxedwine.org/

Reply 18 of 104, by Serious Callers Only

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I think wine breaking programs (ie: regressions) are unusual, and since your own program bundles wine, not relevant if a entity like GoG starts selling it with games. From that perspective you're fine, i just wish that upstream had a inbuilt COW itself so i was trying to work out what would they disagree on.

Though just the fact someone finally joined wine to a emulator is great (because of the filesystem reliability advantages of wine over emulated windows). I just want 'the next step' of stable game archives because i'm greedy for the performance of using upstream where possible and i think it will help it be popular, not because i think COW+unzipped WINEPREFIX is bad (i use a similar setup for a dosbox launcher).

Reply 19 of 104, by Jo22

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l33t

I think wine breaking programs (ie: regressions) are unusual

Not really related, but years ago the Linux kernal (v.3.14) had broken 16-bit PM support (got fixed by Linus ?),
As far as WINE compatibility is concerened.. well..

Windows 1.x and 2.x NE executables are nolonger recognized properly since quite a while,
as I mentioned briefly in an older thread years ago.

I know, sounds like nitpicking, haha. 😅

In reality, there aren't that many fans of KLOTZ,
Tetris for Windows, Modem Chess, Taipei or Starbase anymore I suppose. 😉

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In what to one race is no time at all, another race can rise and fall..." - The Minstrel

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