DOSBox on the iMac

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DOSBox on the iMac

Postby ayrehead » 2019-3-15 @ 12:59

I've been using DOSBox on my Windows computer and it works fine there, but now I'm trying to get it working on a iMac computer. I downloaded the version made for Mac of course, DOSBox-0.74-2_Universal-Mac.dmg.

DOSBox itself works but there is a problem running an old DOS game called Empire, Wargame of the Century. When I start it there is an error message from the game:
"Empire was unable to find file C:\EMPDAT\empiconr.cga".
Attached is screen shot.
dosbox-er.png


There are 2 problems. The game normally reads a file EMPICON1.EGA. It's in the EMPDAT directory with some other files such as EMPICON1.CGA. So somehow the game program is making a mistake and wants to use "r" instead of "1" and using cga instead of ega.

I renamed the file EMPICON1.CGA to make it EMPICONr.CGA. The game then runs and is operational but uses the ugly graphics of cga, not good.

I reinstalled DOSBox and the game several times in various ways, but the problem is always repeatable. I followed the instructions on the website for DOSBox.

The game empire.exe file has letters "MZ" at the beginning of the file in ASCII, so appears to be a 16-bit DOS MZ executable. There is a switch available:
"empire.exe /C" forces empire to use CGA graphics even if EGA is available, but I don't use the switch.

The imac is running macos 10.12 (Sierra). I don't think it's case sensitive generally. When installing DOSBox dmg the Disk Utility creates a volume for it. The .app file is in that volume.

The game is located in the directory ~/documents/dosbox

I launch dosbox and say
mount C ~/documents/dosbox

To run the game I say
empire.exe -fullscreen -userconf -conf "empire.conf"

empire.conf is:
[sdl]
fullresolution=1366x768
output=ddraw

Suggestions?
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Re: DOSBox on the iMac

Postby Dominus » 2019-3-15 @ 14:16

Your problem is with
empire.exe -fullscreen -userconf -conf "empire.conf"
^^^ that's not gonna work and is probably confusing empire. You are trying to pass Dosbox configurations to the empire exe.
Also, best put the game in a subfolder of ~/documents/dosbox and change directory after launching Dosbox.
Your empire.conf is mostly useless as you don't have ddraw on OSX and the fullscreen resolution can be way higher.
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Re: DOSBox on the iMac

Postby Dominus » 2019-3-15 @ 14:17

So in other words, run dosbox, then your mount command and then
cd empire (if you have put the game i to a subfolder called empire)
empire.exe
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Re: DOSBox on the iMac

Postby root42 » 2019-3-15 @ 14:34

For absolute newbies there is also Boxer. It lets you drag and drop package DOS games. Hoewever I think it uses an older DOSBOX version. But it might be good enough for many games. I used to use it before switching to vanilla DOSBOX.

http://boxerapp.com/
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Re: DOSBox on the iMac

Postby Dominus » 2019-3-15 @ 14:46

Yes, but in this case it's caused by the switches...
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Re: DOSBox on the iMac

Postby ayrehead » 2019-3-15 @ 17:23

Thanks Dominus. You're right, that command line for empire.exe is wrong, I should of known. I will do your suggestion.

I was reusing part of the method I used on my Windows machine, where I launched DOSBox from the command line in a bat file. I'm new to the iMac and I don't see a way to launch DOSBox from a command line, so I click the .app file and Open. Does the 0.74-2 Preferences file get loaded automatically?
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Re: DOSBox on the iMac

Postby ayrehead » 2019-3-15 @ 18:14

I now used simply this on the command line:
empire.exe

I still get the same problem. "Empire was unable to find file C:\EMPDAT\empiconr.cga".

Suggestions?
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Re: DOSBox on the iMac

Postby Dominus » 2019-3-15 @ 18:17

Yes the 0.74-2 preference file (~/Library/preferences/DOSBox 0.74-2 Preferences gets loaded automatically. Command lines can be used by running in terminal.app
Code: Select all
open -a DOSBox --args -conf path/to/your-config.conf
for example. But you best copy the dosbpx.app from the dmg file to your Applications folder.
A more complicated but in the end very comfortable way to use AppleScript to launch different configs was written up by me some time ago: https://www.dosbox.com/wiki/Mac_OSX_Advanced
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Re: DOSBox on the iMac

Postby Dominus » 2019-3-15 @ 18:18

ayrehead wrote:I now used simply this on the command line:
empire.exe

I still get the same problem. "Empire was unable to find file C:\EMPDAT\empiconr.cga".

Suggestions?

Can you make a screenshot of the Dosbox window *before* you run empire.exe?
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Re: DOSBox on the iMac

Postby ayrehead » 2019-3-15 @ 18:42

Screen shots:
start1.png

start2.png
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Re: DOSBox on the iMac

Postby ayrehead » 2019-3-15 @ 20:00

Dominus, I received your private message and sent a reply with attached zip to the email address at gmail. The mail was rejected:

host gmail-smtp-in.l.google.com[173.194.205.26] said:
552-5.7.0 This message was blocked because its content presents a potential
552-5.7.0 security issue. Please visit 552-5.7.0

How should I send again?
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Re: DOSBox on the iMac

Postby Dominus » 2019-3-15 @ 20:01

Rename it to *.pdf
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Re: DOSBox on the iMac

Postby Dominus » 2019-3-15 @ 21:17

ok, very odd. it works for me without any problems regarding the file. And even though the start screen looks ugly CGA the in game menu is ega.
I only found that if I ran it once in cga (with the -c switch or by setting the Dosbox machine to cga) there was no way back, without copying the old empire.cfg back.
So, I'm stumped why this happens to you.
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Re: DOSBox on the iMac

Postby ayrehead » 2019-3-16 @ 14:40

in game menu is ega

But the problem is I get *icons* of ugly cga. The icons are not in a menu but appear in a map as the game is played. Since you see cga in the start screen, that means the icons will be cga too. I'm not usually fussy about graphics, but in this case the cga detracts from the usability. I will run the game on my Windows machine and get a screen shot of the ega icons on the map so you can see how it should be.

the old empire.cfg

I'm not using any specific config file, just the default Preferences file. The only change I put in my Preferences file is the mount command. Should I do anything else?
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Re: DOSBox on the iMac

Postby Dominus » 2019-3-16 @ 14:41

I'm talking about the empire.cfg that the game uses in the empdat folder
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Re: DOSBox on the iMac

Postby ayrehead » 2019-3-16 @ 14:52

Screen shot of EGA icons when using DOSBox on a Windows machine.
icons-empire.png
icons-empire.png (2.06 KiB) Viewed 143 times
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Re: DOSBox on the iMac

Postby Dominus » 2019-3-16 @ 19:25

empireega.png
looks the same to me. Not cga. I have no idea what is going wrong for you but your zip works fine here on my machine with Dosbox 0.74-2 and SVN of Dosbox
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Re: DOSBox on the iMac

Postby ayrehead » 2019-3-16 @ 20:21

I found the solution to my problem. What you said about file EMPIRE.CFG prompted me to investigate that. I dug up the original file from 1991 and it is slightly different than the file I've been using on my Windows system which is what I copied to the Mac. I've never before paid attention to the file, it never mattered, the documentation does not mention it. I have no idea what it does.

Now I copied the 1991 file to the Mac, and now all works fine!

There was nothing wrong with DOSBox. The problem was the files of the game.

For the benefit of someone else who may in future search this thread, here is the content of the good EMPIRE.CFG file. It is just 9 bytes in binary. Hex is
65 00 00 00 00 00 01 01 31

Thanks for your help Dominus. I will make a donation on the DOSBox website. Or do you get donations another way?
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Re: DOSBox on the iMac

Postby Dominus » 2019-3-16 @ 20:34

Yeah, the hex changed as soon as I started it once in cga mode and couldn't make it revert to ega without changing the hex or copying the one from the zip. I found that out because its file date changed.
Glad you got it working.
If you want to donate to the Dosbox team, please use the donate button. But my help is purely volumteer help, I'm not part of the team ;)
I just like to help
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