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First post, by Daniel3D

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I have a laptop that is to old to run a OS and DOSbox but doesn't support legacy stuff like DOS sound.
So to run DOS games I would need a OS layer to be able to run the libsdl.

Would it be possible to create a Linux base that only functions as foundation for DOSbox?

I ask this because I would like to have purpose for the hardware. I run DOSbox with a lot of fun on several other machines.

Daniel.

Reply 1 of 13, by BitWrangler

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You might want to look at a 32 bit x86 version of LibreElec, which is "Just enough to run Kodi" but seems like it may be just enough for DOSbox too.... otherwise, there's small linuxes like Puppy Linux to try.

Unicorn herding operations are proceeding, but all the totes of hens teeth and barrels of rocking horse poop give them plenty of hiding spots.

Reply 3 of 13, by BitWrangler

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DOSbox win32 also runs on top of Win98 by the way so I'd imagine you'd be okay on a 32MB system with that version. Plus later stuff ~95 and later is generally fine in the Win98 DOS mode.

Unicorn herding operations are proceeding, but all the totes of hens teeth and barrels of rocking horse poop give them plenty of hiding spots.

Reply 4 of 13, by Daniel3D

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I tried 98. But there were no sound drivers for the onboard soundcard. XP is a option but has a lot of stuff I don't need. And it's sluggish.

The most resource demanding game I run is 90/91 stunts. It runs in realmode. So far I only have been able to run it in a pure DOS machine (way back, when that was kinda normal) or in DOSbox.

Reply 6 of 13, by Daniel3D

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No. It can run XP just fine. But DOSbox is sluggish. That's why I try to cut away excess stuff.

Edit: Maybe it was just about settings. It's a long time ago.

Last edited by Daniel3D on 2022-03-08, 11:39. Edited 1 time in total.

Reply 7 of 13, by darry

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Daniel3D wrote on 2022-03-06, 14:38:

No. It can run XP just fine. But DOSbox is sluggish. That's why I try to cut away excess stuff.

Could you share some system specs and some game examples and maybe some details about the performance (idwally abenchmark or at least a subjective opinion)you are getting so that we can all have a better idea of what is actually possible ?

EDIT: For example, running Duke Nukem 3D at 1600x1200 at a framerate that most people would find usable is not going to happen in Dosbox running on a Pentium 4 at 1.6GHz no matter how much OS overhead can be eliminated .

Reply 8 of 13, by jmarsh

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Daniel3D wrote on 2022-03-06, 14:38:

No. It can run XP just fine. But DOSbox is sluggish. That's why I try to cut away excess stuff.

Then changing the OS won't matter. Most of DOSBox's time is spent emulating the CPU, with no calls to the OS.

Reply 10 of 13, by Daniel3D

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darry wrote on 2022-03-06, 19:15:
Daniel3D wrote on 2022-03-06, 14:38:

No. It can run XP just fine. But DOSbox is sluggish. That's why I try to cut away excess stuff.

Could you share some system specs and some game examples and maybe some details about the performance (idwally abenchmark or at least a subjective opinion)you are getting so that we can all have a better idea of what is actually possible ?

EDIT: For example, running Duke Nukem 3D at 1600x1200 at a framerate that most people would find usable is not going to happen in Dosbox running on a Pentium 4 at 1.6GHz no matter how much OS overhead can be eliminated .

The game I aim at is 1990/1991 STUNTS. It is not very demanding in itself, but it was at the time of its release.
(although it is sometimes still difficult to run on a real DOS machine because it is in real mode and therefore only uses the first 640k memory)
It is one of the first race games that is real 3D, DOSBox can run it fine at 5000 cycles, and it has a fixed 320x200 VGA resolution. It supports adlib, soundblaster and MT32.

The laptop was capable of running Windows 10 (at its official release. Windows has grown since then, so it's not the case anymore, at least not in a usable manner)

Reply 11 of 13, by Daniel3D

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verysaving wrote on 2022-03-07, 00:59:

I didn't try it but I was amazed to read that
you could run DOSBOX in DOS with HX DOS Extender.

https://www.japheth.de/HX.html

That sounds very promising. I tried adding sounds support to DOS, but the game doesn't use that. But with DOSBox in between it could work.
It will take some time to set up. I have quite a lot of time for internet, but a limited amount of it at home to try stuff.

Reply 12 of 13, by BitWrangler

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I think you're just gonna need to play with cycles or CPU type for DOSbox because I've got 1.6Ghz Atom Netbooks and 1.5 Ghz mobile celerons that do fine in everything up to early Pentium games, on top of XP, Windows 7 and 10 and Ubuntu, on 1-2GB RAM.... I'd guesstimate CPU would have to be under 600Mhz, before you'd have difficulty with a 1991 game.

Unicorn herding operations are proceeding, but all the totes of hens teeth and barrels of rocking horse poop give them plenty of hiding spots.

Reply 13 of 13, by Daniel3D

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BitWrangler wrote on 2022-03-07, 14:20:

I think you're just gonna need to play with cycles or CPU type for DOSbox because I've got 1.6Ghz Atom Netbooks and 1.5 Ghz mobile celerons that do fine in everything up to early Pentium games, on top of XP, Windows 7 and 10 and Ubuntu, on 1-2GB RAM.... I'd guesstimate CPU would have to be under 600Mhz, before you'd have difficulty with a 1991 game.

The minimum specs are indeed not that bad. But to drive it smooth in dosbox you need to be able to run it at least at 5000 cycles, 8000 to 12000 is notably better.

The official requirements.

HARDWARE Requirements (original/minimum):
Stunts requires an Intel 8086 processor (or compatibles) running with 8 MHz or faster.
You will also need a video card, such as Hercules, CGA, EGA, MCGA/VGA,
640K of memory and a 5.25" or 3.5" disk drive.
AdLib, SoundBlaster or Roland MT-32 sound cards and Joystick or Mouse are supported.

SOFTWARE Requirements (original/minimum):
Stunts requires MS DOS version 3.30 or later or any MS DOS compatible operating system
(IBM PC DOS, DR DOS, Novell DOS, Caldera DR OpenDOS, PTS DOS).

My original plan was to just run DOS, but that is not possible. That idea is still stuck in my mind and is difficult to shake.
It may be easy to just reinstall XP and dosbox, but I want the feeling of a DOS machine.

So the e current plan is.

  • Hardware -> OS -> Virtual machine (DOSBOX) -> DOS (DOSBox) ..

I think it is technically possible to cut some stuff there.
Like

  • Hardware -> virtualization layer -> DOS

But that does not exist in a way you can use the same machine as far as i know.