VOGONS


First post, by almeath

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I am seeking some help and/or suggestions to assist with playing multiple-CD games under Win9x in DOSBox.

Before I begin, can I just say, I fully realize DOSBox is not intended for Win9x era games. I am not asking here because I am demanding or expecting there to be a solution. For my own curiosity and other esoteric reasons, I am attempting to get as many Win9x games in my library working under DOSBox SVN as is technically feasible. I find it an interesting challenge, and it has been going very well so far. The biggest technical hurdle is the limitation relating to use of CD/DVD images, as DOSBox's built-in disc mounting and swapping functionality does not work in the Win9x environment. I realize DOSBox-X now supports this, but my preference is to try to find a solution compatible with DOSBox SVN.

For single disc games, it is sufficient to mount the image using Virtual Clone Drive. As part of this, I have converted a bunch of my multi-CD games to single images to avoid the necessity to swap images at all. Other games seemingly do not mind multiple virtual CD drives with a separate disc in each drive (but that is rare).

Some games (i.e. Phantasmagoria 2, Rama) will just not cooperate. They are seemingly impossible to turn into functioning single-images, and their in-game interfaces do not allow access back to the Windows desktop to allow me to switch discs from there. It also seems that there is no key command to swap images with Virtual Clone Drive, at least nothing that works in-game.

Are there other Win95-98 compatible image handling apps that might work better for this purpose?

As an aside, if anyone knows how Phantasmagoria 2 and Rama can be converted into single images, please let me know how you did it. I followed all the standard rules for making Sierra SCI games run off secondary drives or single images, but none of those methods seem to work for these ones.

Any suggestions for solutions or work-arounds would be appreciated.

Reply 1 of 8, by BitWrangler

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For some reason I thought there was floppy swapping ability with a hotkey for similar reasons, any way to abuse that? Or am I thinking of a different em?

2017: Basement full of ancient PC stuff, starting to go through it. 2021: Still starting, heh, many setbacks. So what's this BitWrangler guy's deal ??? >>> Taming the pile, specs to target?

Reply 2 of 8, by Jorpho

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BitWrangler wrote on 2021-05-31, 13:59:

For some reason I thought there was floppy swapping ability with a hotkey for similar reasons, any way to abuse that? Or am I thinking of a different em?

That features has been available in DOSBox SVN for a while, though it is not in the standard DOSBox release. Either way, I doubt it would help much here.

Reply 3 of 8, by almeath

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Jorpho wrote on 2021-05-31, 14:11:
BitWrangler wrote on 2021-05-31, 13:59:

For some reason I thought there was floppy swapping ability with a hotkey for similar reasons, any way to abuse that? Or am I thinking of a different em?

That features has been available in DOSBox SVN for a while, though it is not in the standard DOSBox release. Either way, I doubt it would help much here.

If only it was possible to "patch in" the DOSBox-X features that allow for the emulation of the IDE drive interfaces within Windows, but I imagine that involved a massive amount of re-work from the ground up. And of course, it is well outside the scope of regular DOSBox.

Reply 5 of 8, by kjliew

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DOSBox does not support Win9X.

You can use Daemon Tools/ Magicdisc to create multiple CD-ROM and mount all them at once. Most of the Win9x games are smart enough to scan through them and never prompt for CD again. Descent Freespace/Freespace 2/AvP1 are those that I had tested such way. I use the same trick on QEMU.

Reply 6 of 8, by almeath

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kjliew wrote on 2021-06-01, 05:19:

DOSBox does not support Win9X.

Yes, that is why I wrote a whole paragraph in my first post to try to head off such a comment. 😉

Thanks, I will try out Daemon Tools/ Magicdisc to see if that offers better functionality than Virtual Clone Drive.

I realize most games are fine with reading from multiple virtual drives, but as I pointed out above, I am attempting to find work-arounds for the very few games that do not. (i.e. Sierra SCI games)

Reply 7 of 8, by almeath

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The specific solution I found for Phantasmagoria 2 (which I mentioned above) is to set the Windows desktop resolution to 800x600, and then edit the Resource.win file to include the following line:

titleBarFixed=TRUE

This will cause the title bar (and the Windows taskbar) to be visible during gameplay, which allows for the swapping of CDs via the Virtual Clone Drive menu interface. Setting the screen resolution lower than 800x600 will result in some of the gameplay window being obscured by the Windows taskbar, even when it is minimized.

I presume this method would work for a number of Sierra games that are compatible with the above command.

EDIT: The same method works with Rama as well.

Reply 8 of 8, by almeath

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After all that, I only just realized that control-esc does work in Windows 95 and 98, so I can still use that to access the task bar in most instances (and hence swap the images using the Virtual Clone Drive menu bar icon). Not as quick or user-friendly as a key combination, but it gets the job done.