VOGONS


First post, by leenew

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Hi there,
this is my first post so go easy on me!
I have a love of old computers, but have concentrated on the BBC Micro / BBC Master until now, as they are my childhood computers.
I also have a love of old graphic adventures such as the Lucas Arts point and click "Maniac Mansion" "Secret of Monkey Island" "Day of the Tentacle" and "Grim Fandango" etc.
I am interested in building a system that could show these games off.
The games range from 1987's Maniac mansion to the year 2000's Grim Fandango.
Most other adventures that I like from rival companies also fall within this age range. eg Broken Sword..
Instinctively, I was thinking of building a system from around the late 90s to 2000.
Would this be right? would it be able to play the old DOS games as well as the newer stuff? how about sound cards?
Or is a one size fits all approach not the way to go?
Any help pointing me in the right direction would be appreciated.
I have heard good things (on here) about the 440BX chipset.
Something reliable and easy-ish to set up would be great!

ps I know about DOSBOX and SCUMMVM but I want the *FUN* of building an old system.....

Lee.

Reply 1 of 35, by Jorpho

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None of those games have particularly unusual system requirements. (Even Maniac Mansion runs quite smoothly without having to resort to an ancient system.) You should be just fine with any old 440BX system and probably an ISA Sound Blaster card. Just pick what you can find, and what you can afford.

Reply 2 of 35, by clueless1

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A lot of the Lucas Arts and Sierra adventure games have sound issues on fast systems.
http://www.vogonswiki.com/index.php/List_of_C … sensitive_games

I think the sweet spot is a slow 486. Trouble with Pentium 2/3 is when you disable cache to slow them down, they slow down to 286 speeds, which might be a little too sluggish.

The more I learn, the more I realize how much I don't know.
OPL3 FM vs. Roland MT-32 vs. General MIDI DOS Game Comparison
Let's benchmark our systems with cache disabled
DOS PCI Graphics Card Benchmarks

Reply 3 of 35, by nforce4max

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I recommend building a socket 7 system but you lose on some of the performance in late titles from around 2000 or so and it is likely to be expensive as some people out there with too much money pushed the prices up on Super Socket 7 boards. The reason is that you can tweak for slower speeds so older games will run without having to use dodgy software slow downs plus you get more ISA slots while at the same time still have the use of an agp slot which makes for cheaper graphics cards. Personally a single system will never do it and having a proper 386/486 system is a big deal plus it is fun. Not very many people will be able to afford a period correct dos system from the early 90s before too long.

On a far away planet reading your posts in the year 10,191.

Reply 4 of 35, by gdjacobs

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nforce4max wrote:

I recommend building a socket 7 system but you lose on some of the performance in late titles from around 2000 or so and it is likely to be expensive as some people out there with too much money pushed the prices up on Super Socket 7 boards. The reason is that you can tweak for slower speeds so older games will run without having to use dodgy software slow downs plus you get more ISA slots while at the same time still have the use of an agp slot which makes for cheaper graphics cards. Personally a single system will never do it and having a proper 386/486 system is a big deal plus it is fun. Not very many people will be able to afford a period correct dos system from the early 90s before too long.

Some socket 7 boards can be found for reasonable prices because they don't support a 100mhz FSB, have less expansion slots, or are missing an AGP slot. You can also look at a socket 370 system with ISA slots and a VIA C3 processor.

All hail the Great Capacitor Brand Finder

Reply 5 of 35, by nforce4max

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gdjacobs wrote:
nforce4max wrote:

I recommend building a socket 7 system but you lose on some of the performance in late titles from around 2000 or so and it is likely to be expensive as some people out there with too much money pushed the prices up on Super Socket 7 boards. The reason is that you can tweak for slower speeds so older games will run without having to use dodgy software slow downs plus you get more ISA slots while at the same time still have the use of an agp slot which makes for cheaper graphics cards. Personally a single system will never do it and having a proper 386/486 system is a big deal plus it is fun. Not very many people will be able to afford a period correct dos system from the early 90s before too long.

Some socket 7 boards can be found for reasonable prices because they don't support a 100mhz FSB, have less expansion slots, or are missing an AGP slot. You can also look at a socket 370 system with ISA slots and a VIA C3 processor.

Yea I am well aware of that but there is only so much that I can say before it hurts my wallet through inflated prices.

On a far away planet reading your posts in the year 10,191.

Reply 6 of 35, by gdjacobs

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I think you underestimate the zeal with which speculators will buy boards that you might possibly be interested in. Builds requiring a bit of creativity will always be an option.

All hail the Great Capacitor Brand Finder

Reply 8 of 35, by Deksor

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clueless1 wrote:

A lot of the Lucas Arts and Sierra adventure games have sound issues on fast systems.
http://www.vogonswiki.com/index.php/List_of_C … sensitive_games

I think the sweet spot is a slow 486. Trouble with Pentium 2/3 is when you disable cache to slow them down, they slow down to 286 speeds, which might be a little too sluggish.

Only the early LucasArts games have sound issues due to speed so slowing down to 286 speed isn't a problem at all ! Day of the tentacle works fine on my pentium 3 450

Trying to identify old hardware ? Visit The retro web - Project's thread The Retro Web project - a stason.org/TH99 alternative

Reply 9 of 35, by jheronimus

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leenew wrote:

Would this be right? would it be able to play the old DOS games as well as the newer stuff? how about sound cards?

When it comes to earlier LA games (like Secret of Monkey Island, Indiana Jones: Fate of Atlantis, etc), there are several options.

The easiest one is to get a SoundBlaster or any of its clones for an ISA bus. That way you get the so called OPL3/AdLib sound.

The more expensive and tricky one is to get a Roland MT-32/CM-32L. This way you get to hear music from those games on the device that it was composed for. You can hear the difference here.

Later DOS games (like Full Throttle or The Dig) use CD audio, so they don't require any specific sound card. Same goes for Windows games, like Monkey Island 3-4 or Grim Fandango.

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Reply 10 of 35, by Jorpho

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jheronimus wrote:

The more expensive and tricky one is to get a Roland MT-32/CM-32L. This way you get to hear music from those games on the device that it was composed for. You can hear the difference here.

While I can definitely believe the Sierra games were written with the MT-32 in mind (since Sierra was in the business of selling MT-32 cards), would that really be the case for the Lucasarts games?

It is also probably worth noting the considerably more cost-effective work that has been done in MT-32 emulation.
Emulating MT-32 on an RPi2

Reply 11 of 35, by jheronimus

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Jorpho wrote:

While I can definitely believe the Sierra games were written with the MT-32 in mind (since Sierra was in the business of selling MT-32 cards), would that really be the case for the Lucasarts games?

Frankly, I just assumed that, but I don't have an actual source to back the claim up 🤣

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Reply 12 of 35, by clueless1

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Deksor wrote:
clueless1 wrote:

A lot of the Lucas Arts and Sierra adventure games have sound issues on fast systems.
http://www.vogonswiki.com/index.php/List_of_C … sensitive_games

I think the sweet spot is a slow 486. Trouble with Pentium 2/3 is when you disable cache to slow them down, they slow down to 286 speeds, which might be a little too sluggish.

Only the early LucasArts games have sound issues due to speed so slowing down to 286 speed isn't a problem at all ! Day of the tentacle works fine on my pentium 3 450

Not in my experience. Games like Fate of Atlantis, QFG3, SQ5 and DOTT all give me garbled music even on a Pentium MMX. Disabling caches fixes the issues. I'm not the only one who's experienced this, it's been mentioned many times on these boards over the years, so I think OP at least needs to be aware that the issue exists and could effect him if he settles on a faster system when adventure games are his primary focus.

The more I learn, the more I realize how much I don't know.
OPL3 FM vs. Roland MT-32 vs. General MIDI DOS Game Comparison
Let's benchmark our systems with cache disabled
DOS PCI Graphics Card Benchmarks

Reply 13 of 35, by leenew

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Wow so much info! thanks for that.
I started dipping my toe in the water yesterday, and today I am already thinking of building 2 systems.
Maybe something simple based around the early 2000s to start with, and then, as and when I get to know the market, I could keep my eyes open for an early DOS setup.
It looks as if the adventure has just begun..... 😀

Lee.

Reply 14 of 35, by Deksor

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For an early 2000 machine, a slot 1, a socket 370 or a socket A machine should be perfectly fine

Trying to identify old hardware ? Visit The retro web - Project's thread The Retro Web project - a stason.org/TH99 alternative

Reply 15 of 35, by gdjacobs

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You can go high/low. In other words, put together a fast system based on a P4, Athlon, or Athlon64 capable of running Win98 and high spec DOS games. Also, put together a system which covers the majority of DOS gaming, like a Pentium, PMMX, K6-2+ or -III+, or a VIA C3.

All hail the Great Capacitor Brand Finder

Reply 16 of 35, by 95DosBox

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clueless1 wrote:
Deksor wrote:
clueless1 wrote:

A lot of the Lucas Arts and Sierra adventure games have sound issues on fast systems.
http://www.vogonswiki.com/index.php/List_of_C … sensitive_games

I think the sweet spot is a slow 486. Trouble with Pentium 2/3 is when you disable cache to slow them down, they slow down to 286 speeds, which might be a little too sluggish.

Only the early LucasArts games have sound issues due to speed so slowing down to 286 speed isn't a problem at all ! Day of the tentacle works fine on my pentium 3 450

Not in my experience. Games like Fate of Atlantis, QFG3, SQ5 and DOTT all give me garbled music even on a Pentium MMX. Disabling caches fixes the issues. I'm not the only one who's experienced this, it's been mentioned many times on these boards over the years, so I think OP at least needs to be aware that the issue exists and could effect him if he settles on a faster system when adventure games are his primary focus.

What was the speed of your Pentium MMX? Which sound card were you using that caused the garbled music issue? I've only played most of these back on a 486 33MHz at most so I never noticed these problems. I did have a P1 133MHz but I usually played MK1 and MK2 on it and the sound was never garbled on those games.

Reply 17 of 35, by clueless1

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95DosBox wrote:

What was the speed of your Pentium MMX? Which sound card were you using that caused the garbled music issue? I've only played most of these back on a 486 33MHz at most so I never noticed these problems. I did have a P1 133MHz but I usually played MK1 and MK2 on it and the sound was never garbled on those games.

200Mhz. Sound card was Audician 32 Plus with DreamBlaster S1.

The more I learn, the more I realize how much I don't know.
OPL3 FM vs. Roland MT-32 vs. General MIDI DOS Game Comparison
Let's benchmark our systems with cache disabled
DOS PCI Graphics Card Benchmarks

Reply 18 of 35, by 95DosBox

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clueless1 wrote:
95DosBox wrote:

What was the speed of your Pentium MMX? Which sound card were you using that caused the garbled music issue? I've only played most of these back on a 486 33MHz at most so I never noticed these problems. I did have a P1 133MHz but I usually played MK1 and MK2 on it and the sound was never garbled on those games.

200Mhz. Sound card was Audician 32 Plus with DreamBlaster S1.

See if you have time to try these games again that had garbled sound using a SB AWE 64 ISA sound card. I think this could possibly be sound card related. Although during that time I used both the original Sound Blaster 8-bit which had physical jumpers on it for certain games if I didn't want to deal with the DOS TSR.

Reply 19 of 35, by Deksor

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I have sometimes garbled music on MK1 on my 486 DX33 using sound blaster pro 2 for some reason. However like I said, I never had any issues running DOTT on my pentium 2 with my YMF744 sound card

Trying to identify old hardware ? Visit The retro web - Project's thread The Retro Web project - a stason.org/TH99 alternative