Coding for DOS with an eye to multiplatform options

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Coding for DOS with an eye to multiplatform options

Postby xjas » 2018-7-05 @ 23:24

So as the title says... I want to do some more hobby coding projects. My main stomping grounds for such things is DOS, and I don't want to give that up, but I definitely want to get into other platforms too. The obvious "next step" would be Win95/98 but I'm thinking more along the lines of Wii / original Xbox / PowerPC Mac (/ 3DO??), and of course my daily driver PCs all run Linux. I tend to jump around from thing to thing.

What's a good way to go about doing this?

I'm not really an expert so I can't see re-writing low-level ASM sound & graphics code for every single system, plus there's interacting with the OS to deal with. SDL1.2 seems like it would be a surprisingly good choice, but rules out easy support for DOS.

Also it should be noted for DOS I'd be targetting (roughly) Pentium+ or K6 / Athlon with lots of RAM, not 8088+CGA, so there's some breathing room to play with higher level libraries. :)

I think the next big project I start will likely be in C (not ++), although I'm open to other languages too. I like Python but don't think it's practical for this kind of use. RapidEuphoria / OpenEuphoria are also interesting.

Just looking for some general pointers in the right direction.
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Re: Coding for DOS with an eye to multiplatform options

Postby leileilol » 2018-7-06 @ 00:11

Allegro maybe? :S
Voodoo2s aren't 100mhz stock
Geforce256 isn't released as a beta on New Years '99 under the Quadro brand
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DOS PCs aren't better than the Macintosh
Old PCs aren't 'aesthetic'
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Re: Coding for DOS with an eye to multiplatform options

Postby Gered » 2018-7-06 @ 00:32

I would agree that an older version of Allegro that still supports DOS is probably your best bet. Assuming that you don't want to write your own libraries to abstract the different platforms you want to support (EDIT: This maybe isn't so wild an idea. If I were to do this myself, I would probably use two platform #defines in my code, "DOS" and "SDL", and then write a basic wrapper over a framebuffer, input devices and audio with two implementations for DOS and SDL 1.2... but I've done something sorta similar before (not for DOS though) so maybe that's why it doesn't feel so wild to me).

Personally I'm just targeting DOS exclusively nowadays. All other platforms be damned. ;)
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Re: Coding for DOS with an eye to multiplatform options

Postby vvbee » 2018-7-06 @ 04:00

Hobby apps for dos means 0 userbase so you can ignore efficiency of implementation and modularize for platform. Not sure that you need full on assembly on many of them anyway?
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Re: Coding for DOS with an eye to multiplatform options

Postby keenmaster486 » 2018-7-06 @ 04:35

Zero userbase? I wonder what this forum is then.

FreeBasic might be an option, but DOS support only for 386 systems (32-bit protected mode). I have also looked into FreePascal as it supports a lot of systems including protected mode in DOS as well but apparently they recently also added support for 8086 real mode.
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Re: Coding for DOS with an eye to multiplatform options

Postby vvbee » 2018-7-06 @ 06:39

keenmaster486 wrote:Zero userbase? I wonder what this forum is then.

It's insistence on old software.
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Re: Coding for DOS with an eye to multiplatform options

Postby Jo22 » 2018-7-07 @ 07:16

Well, DOS software isn't completely dead yet. There's for sure some notable amount of old Clipper programs around.
A few year ago, I noticed PC stores had database-related DOS programs running on their PCs behind the counter.
That was quite a funny contrast to the brand new Windows 7/8 hot-rod gaming machines they had on sale.
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Re: Coding for DOS with an eye to multiplatform options

Postby oeuvre » 2018-7-07 @ 18:39

Everyone should stop using Windows 7/8/10, macOS, and Linux. Back to DOS, everyone.
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Re: Coding for DOS with an eye to multiplatform options

Postby keenmaster486 » 2018-7-07 @ 18:55

oeuvre wrote:Everyone should stop using Windows 7/8/10, macOS, and Linux. Back to DOS, everyone.

Hear, hear!
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Re: Coding for DOS with an eye to multiplatform options

Postby NJRoadfan » 2018-7-07 @ 21:48

Check out Burger Becky's BurgerLib, its multiplatform and supports OpenWatcom DOS/4GW as a target.

https://github.com/Olde-Skuul/burgerlib
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Re: Coding for DOS with an eye to multiplatform options

Postby Qjimbo » 2018-7-13 @ 20:44

You might enjoy this video from Brian Provinciano where he talked about back porting Retro City Rampage to DOS, and how he set up his development environment to build on a lot of different platforms
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kSKeWH4TY9Y
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Re: Coding for DOS with an eye to multiplatform options

Postby vladstamate » 2018-7-13 @ 23:45

NJRoadfan wrote:Check out Burger Becky's BurgerLib, its multiplatform and supports OpenWatcom DOS/4GW as a target.

https://github.com/Olde-Skuul/burgerlib


That is a good suggestion.

I used to work with her for a while, in her stint at Sony (SCEA).
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