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Emulation on MS Windows 3.1x ?

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Reply 280 of 293, by Jo22

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Kahenraz wrote on 2022-12-18, 00:43:

The titlebars look a little messed up. I'm guessing they tried to customize them, but it was only ever hard coded for Windows 95 metrics.

Yes, I think you're right. That was a thing at the time! 😀
I remember that MOD4WIN also got a Windows 95 skin later on, it's noticable if the player is run on Windows 3.1x.

"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

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Reply 281 of 293, by Jo22

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Hello everyone and a late Merry Christmas to you! 🎄 ❤️

Here's something for you that I've intended to keep as a Christmas present for you!
- It's a Sharp X68000 emulator from the 90s that runs on Windows 3.1+Win32s, too.

All in all, it was a lot of work to discover, it took me weeks of searching the internet and testing executables.

The emulator itself is in an early stage, but already usable for visual novels, disk mags and puzzle games.
So definitely fun to toy with on your vintage PC ("Hey! Look! X68000 games on my 486 beige tower!"). ^^

Please note that some games require a joystick, which I think the emulator doesn't emulate.
So you need a real joystick attached to your Windows PC. On Windows 3.1, that IBM Joystick applet might be needed, not sure.

To actually run games, you must convert them to the XDF format by using a freeware utility.
Since the menu bar is somehow missing in Windows 3.1+Win32s, just edit the config file manually and run the emulator.

It looks like this:

EX68000 option setting.
4,1,0,2,1,1,1,1,0,1,1,1
little.xdf
no disk
no disk
no disk

Merry Christmas time to you
and a Happy New Year! ^^

Edit: Typos fixed.
PS: The Mew wallpaper was found on DA.. I'll add credits once I remember them again.

Edit: The format of the config file is like this, I believe:
4,fpu,speed,aspect,stick,adpcm,piority,vsync,palette,midi,2fdd,mouse
Maybe this is useful to you if you're on a pure Windows 3.1x PC and would like to edit the config manually.

Attachments

  • x68_little_dash_w32s.png
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    Game "Little Chinese Dash" (Win32s)
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    Fair use/fair dealing exception
  • x68_little_dash_xp.png
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    Game "Little Chinese Dash" (XP)
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  • Filename
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    14 downloads
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    EX68 v.007 (+v.006) incl. floppy format converter utility
    File license
    Fair use/fair dealing exception
Last edited by Jo22 on 2023-01-05, 09:57. 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 282 of 293, by Kahenraz

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That's super cool! The Sharp X68000 is very iconic. It's amazing to see an emulator running on Windows 3.1. Good job.

Do you know what the minimum requirements are for something like this to run properly on real hardware? Could it run on Windows 3.1 hardware of the time?

Also, does it require more than 256 colors to display properly?

Reply 283 of 293, by Jo22

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A Happy New Yeah! to everyone! 🥳 🎆

Kahenraz wrote on 2022-12-28, 11:19:

That's super cool! The Sharp X68000 is very iconic. It's amazing to see an emulator running on Windows 3.1. Good job.

I like the Sharp, too. My first computer also was from that company (Sharp MZ-731). ^^
I'm not a fan boy, by any means, though. I just think Sharp was one of the more serious computer manufacturers.

I often think the X68000 is a bit like a Japanese Amiga. Both are arcade systems with a keyboard+mouse, so to say.
They differ a bit to the rivals NEC PC-98 and IBM PC in this regards.

Edit: Come to think of it, maybe the term "workstation" perhaps fits the X68000 the most.

By western standards, it was maybe akin to a late 80s high-end graphical workstation system based on a 386 CPU, a math co-processor and SVGA, TIGA, or 8514/A graphics.

You know, something that ran AutoCAD, Autodesk Animator Pro or a PCB designer software (Eagle etc).

Edit: The Acorn Archimedes was a notable platform, too.
It's then-new RISC centered design and multimedia capabilities weren't too shaby, either! 😀

Kahenraz wrote on 2022-12-28, 11:19:

Do you know what the minimum requirements are for something like this to run properly on real hardware? Could it run on Windows 3.1 hardware of the time?

Um, do you wish for an optimistic answer or a honest one ? 😅

Kahenraz wrote on 2022-12-28, 11:19:

Also, does it require more than 256 colors to display properly?

No. Actually, it seems to require 256c. I haven't gotten it to work with a higher colour depth.

Last edited by Jo22 on 2023-01-02, 08:47. Edited 2 times 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 284 of 293, by Jo22

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Quick update. The X68k emulator works on Windows 3.10+Win32s, but you may not be able to use the keyboard.
If that happens to you, you can try to regain focus by using task list (double click the background).

Once open, choose the emulator and push the button labeled "cascade" (or "tile").
The emulator window will now be active again (be in foreground).

As a proof of concept, I've added a screenshot of the game Minami No Hiroshi No Eigo Kyoushitsu.
It's sort of a Hentai quizz game that tries to teach English lessons. Input is done via Enter key and number keys.

If you're on plain Windows 3.1, you can also install MS Mouse 9.x driver floppy (has Windows installer).
It includes a better Mouse/Keyboard driver combo for Windows that goes away with jumpy mouse problems.

Hope that helps! ^^

Edit: I forgot to mention. I'm also running Teclado here, the virtual keyboard.
It seems to fix the message loop issue (?) that goes along with the focus problem.
Once the X68000 emulator window is in foreground, the physical keyboard works.

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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 285 of 293, by Jo22

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Here's another example, a famous puzzle game. 😀

As you can see by the location of the blocks, the keyboard input really is working.

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    Game "Magical Block Carat"
    File license
    Fair use/fair dealing exception

"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 286 of 293, by Jo22

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Kahenraz wrote on 2022-12-28, 11:19:

Do you know what the minimum requirements are for something like this to run properly on real hardware? Could it run on Windows 3.1 hardware of the time?

Please excuse my response that I made earlier, it was meant to be funny. 🙂

Short answer - yes, it does run on Windows 3.1 hardware of the time.

Long answer: The emulator runs acceptable on hardware of the time of its creation, that'be '96/'97.

That's when both Windows 3.1 and Windows 95 were still in common use..

If I had to make an estimation, I would say that a 100 MHz PC (486/586) is the baseline setup for this emulator.

With this setup, you'll be able to play simple, slow paced games without a headache.
Shoot 'em ups and action games ala Space Harrier or Gradius aren't fun to play this way.

PCs with a Pentium 75 or 90 (P54C, released '94) weren't uncommon in the heyday of DOS gaming.
Many of them ran plain DOS and OS/2, too. Versions with 100 and 120 MHz existed, too.

Those 586 PCs weren't as pricey as the originals anymore, also.
486 CPUs with a high clock rate were going strong, too.
Many users still upgraded their beloved 486es at the time.

Personally, I'm using a Pentium 133 (pre-MMX) with an S3 ViRGE (PCI) for testing right now (both existed in '97).
And it runs smoother on the real thing than with PCem/86Box emulating the same configuration.

I'll do some more testing for you and the other visitors here, soon.

Stay tuned. ^^

Edit: Text edited.

Edit: Here's a video for you: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3Pn6ejlKImk

Edit: Tetris runs on real hardware (photo attached).

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Last edited by Jo22 on 2023-01-08, 17:29. 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 287 of 293, by Jo22

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Quick update. While playing Demon Slayer for the X68000, I noticed something interesting.
There's a glitch causing the Windows 3.1 "overlay" graphics to crash.

The crash doesn't happen with Windows XP (natively) or Windows 95 in DOSBox.
On Windows NT 3.x, it seems to be fine, too.

I'm not sure what exactly causes this problem.
Could be related to the S3 graphics driver, too, or the S3 graphics acceleration features.

I've attached some screenshots for you. 😀

PS: I'm amazed how toug this early emulator is, despite not being feature complete yet.
It's over 25 years old, after all. The game plays fine via numpad, by the way.

Attachments

  • demon_slayer_title.png
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    Demon Slayer! (EX68k on Windows 95)
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  • demon_slayer_glitch.png
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    The glitch that happens after the game executable is being executed
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  • demon_slayer_glitch31.png
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    demon_slayer_glitch31.png
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    The emulator loses output on Windows 3.1x (grayed out)
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    Fair use/fair dealing exception
  • demon_slayer_dungeon.png
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    Amazing mazes (no garbled graphics/text)
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  • demon_slayer.png
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    One of the, um, sparsely clothed opponents says "hi!"
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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 288 of 293, by Jo22

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Quick update. Here are a few screenshots of some playable games, taken in DOSBox (running Windows 3.1+Win32s)..

Break Down is a memory game from '89, it can be played with the numpad/space bar and requires no Kanji/Kana skills.
In case you're curious, you can compare the emulation with the real thing (X68k+CRT) over here.

By looking at both the emulation and the hardware, I wonder why CRT emulation is not a thing in the X68000 scene.
Many of the games for the Sharp X68000 do really shine on a CRT monitor! ❤️

Hm. Maybe the developers of the popular X68k emulators simply startet their projects in a time when CRTs were still all around ?
Could it be that simple ? Or is a true CRT monitor simply considered a "must-have" for serious X68000 gaming goodness ?

PS: I'm always trying to find appropiate backgrounds from the 80s/90s, to provide a proper ambience.
That's managable for the western hemisphere, thanks to old Shareware CD-ROMs which contain authentic JPEGs/GIFs/TGAs etc. from the past.
Unfortunately, Japanese culture is a bit.. different. The few CD-ROMs I found do contain pictures, too, but.. Um, well.. 😅

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  • human86kboot.png
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    Human68k system disk
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  • puckman.png
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    The game with the hungry pizza
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    Pinball
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  • break_down_title.png
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    Break Down (Slime Soft)
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  • break_down.png
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    Break Down (Slime Soft)
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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 289 of 293, by Jo22

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Quick update. I'm currently looking for more western games, something we can relate to.
I hope that's in our interest.

The library of X68000 games is impressive, ranging from puzzle games to complex simulations.

On my journey, however, I'm not seldomly confronted with material that's, well, quite explicit.
It's not as if it's somehow traumatic to me, whatsoever. Personally, I don't mind nudity, either.
I mean, if there's no violence/sadism involved and/or if humor is present..
Or if these graphics have elegance or class, at least.

Normally, I'm rather good-natured and understanding, as well.
But sometimes, certain material makes me wish to wash my eyes with turpentine afterwards. Haha. 😅 😿
Last but not least, it's merely hand drawn material in general, gratefully. 🙏

Anyway, I originally thought that merely was a PC-98 thing, by the way.
The more I look, however, the more I realize that even PC-88 is (or was) not safe from this genre.
And FM-7, too. (Lolita Syndrome comes to mind. Blood.. Chainsaw.. *gasping for air*)

I suppose that's because popular/successful titles of the time were ported to other Japanese platforms, too.
Independent to the genre these platforms were popular for (in case of the X68k that be arcade games, MIDI and simulations, I assume).
Or maybe because Doujinshi somewhat was a phenomenon at the time, in general?
(^There are two meanings of Doujin, btw. Self-distribution - the original meaning and a reference to H*ntai.)

Anyway, I just wanted to let you know why there's so "much" Manga art shown (by comparison).
It's really hard to find something interesting from Japan that doesn't try to be, um, graphically arousing in some way. 😉

Unfortunately, the fighting/shmups games which are less cutesy-looking don't really work so well in early emulators.
They do use a lot of graphical tricks. Sprites, collision-detecting, parallax scrolling, multiple graphic layers etc.

Edit: Text edited. Text re-formatted.

Edit: Some screenshots added.

Edit: These games aren't exactly "western" games, but they're rather familiar.

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Last edited by Jo22 on 2023-01-09, 22:39. Edited 2 times 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 290 of 293, by Jo22

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Quick update. I have found something out!

The graphical glitches are related, at least partially, to the S3 graphics that I use both in DOSBox and on the Pentium 133 PC.
My gut feelings weren't so wrong, after all. As it turns out, EX68k itself is perfectly fine with the Super VGA drivers that come with Windows for Workgroups.

Even the ancient 16 colour Super VGA driver from Windows 3.10 ('92) is okay, depending on what the game demands!

Now isn't that awesome!? 😁
Even with a bog standard ISA VGA card (a simple frame buffer), EX68k was usable in the 90s! 😎
- The fact that Windows 95 was likely used instead in practice doesn't change that.

Screenshots attached.

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  • asteroids_svga31.png
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    Game "Asteroids" (supervga.drv; Super VGA 800x600 16c)
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  • demon_slayer_win31.png
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    Game "Demon Slayer", Windows 3.1+Win32s (svga256.drv; Super VGA 1024x768 256c)
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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 291 of 293, by Jo22

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Quick Update. If you ever need to extract files from Japanese floppy images or vice versa, please have a look at Disk Explorer.

https://hp.vector.co.jp/authors/VA013937/edit … sk/index_e.html

Description
DiskExplorer is a tool which import/export file to/from a disk image.
It works for a disk image formatted by DOS or Human68k.
It faciliates to manage the disk images used in PC emulators such as PC9801, X68000, MSX, and Bochs.

It supports these formats:

(various) General disk image
(none) PC98E HD
DAT vmware2.0 plain disk data
HDD Virtual98 HD
NHD T98-Next HD
THD T98 HD
FDI Anex86 FD
HDI Anex86 HD
HDF EX68 HD

"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 292 of 293, by Jo22

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Quick update. I'm currently trying to backport some stuff to Win32s.
Some things already work. More information within the next couple of weeks or months.
- Anyway, I just want to let you know that this isn't the end of the road. 🙂👍
There are some more frontends left, too.

Btw, is there anything that you guys/gals may wish to see running on the X68000 emulator?
I can try finding it and trying it out. Please tell, any feedback is highly welcome. 😃

"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 293 of 293, by dontbugster

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Jo22 wrote on 2023-01-21, 14:00:
Quick update. I'm currently trying to backport some stuff to Win32s. Some things already work. More information within the next […]
Show full quote

Quick update. I'm currently trying to backport some stuff to Win32s.
Some things already work. More information within the next couple of weeks or months.
- Anyway, I just want to let you know that this isn't the end of the road. 🙂👍
There are some more frontends left, too.

Btw, is there anything that you guys/gals may wish to see running on the X68000 emulator?
I can try finding it and trying it out. Please tell, any feedback is highly welcome. 😃

Final fight, maybe?