VOGONS


First post, by cloverskull

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Hey friends,

I have an XP rig and a W98 rig for period correct gaming but was wondering what might make sense for a period correct Sierra gaming platform. I grew up playing the original EGA and VGA Sierra titles and would like to recreate that experience with as high as possible performance for those games.

I also have an MT-32 and would like to interface with that from this computer as well.

I don't have any big need for 3d games here, my other retro builds can handle that type of thing just fine 😀

My thoughts were basically a platform for 486dx2/66 with PS2 mouse (for ease of my desktop KVM switching) and ideally a coin battery RTC. Beyond that I'm a bit lost. Anyone have any thoughts here on a satisfying build plan?

Thanks!

Reply 1 of 8, by Shponglefan

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For 80's and early 90's era of Sierra games (EGA to VGA), you don't need anything faster than a 286. A 486 DX2/66 is overkill, as these were games built to run on early 8088/8086 or 286 processors (early 90's).

The early EGA Sierra games were also designed to be processor limited. Anything over ~8 MHz or so is actually too fast for those games (when set to the fastest setting). Tandy 1000's are arguably the best for those games since they also allow the 3-channel Tandy sound, which is better than the PC Speaker back in the day.

You can use faster machines, but you might to use something like MoSlo to speed limit the games accordingly.

For anything beyond that a 486 DX2/66 would run everything up to and including the CD/SVGA Sierra adventures (Gabriel Knight, Phantasmagoria, etc.).

My YouTube channel (retro game music)

Reply 2 of 8, by RetroGamer4Ever

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DOSBOX/SCUMMVM paired with MUNT, S-YXG50, and VSC-MP1 for MIDI will check the boxes for the classic Sierra adventure games and those from others. You can certainly get those working well on a solid XP build. I can't speak for how well they would currently work on your 98 build.

Reply 4 of 8, by cyclone3d

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You will want to have an intelligent mode MIDI card for use with the MT-32 if you are using it on an older system.
On a fast enough system you can get by with using SoftMPU.

Yamaha YMF modified setupds and drivers
Yamaha XG resource repository - updated November 27, 2018
Yamaha YMF7x4 Guide
AW744L II - YMF744 - AOpen Cobra Sound Card - Install SB-Link Header

Reply 5 of 8, by cloverskull

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Ok so I guess reading through this, is there any reason my W98 computer would be a bad choice? Maybe I could run a TSR like MoSlo to slow things down? Maybe this makes more sense than investing in yet more hardware.

Reply 6 of 8, by Shponglefan

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cloverskull wrote on 2022-05-08, 22:59:

Ok so I guess reading through this, is there any reason my W98 computer would be a bad choice? Maybe I could run a TSR like MoSlo to slow things down? Maybe this makes more sense than investing in yet more hardware.

Both your Win 98 rig and XP rig (via Dosbox) could run them just fine.

It all comes down to what your goal is. If the goal is just to play the games regardless of the system they are running on, then anything from a classic 8086 machine to a modern Windows 10 system can do that.

Alternatively, if the goal is to run them on period-specific hardware, that's only reason to invest in a system or two from that era.

My YouTube channel (retro game music)

Reply 7 of 8, by Anonymous Coward

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If you're talking early Sierra, then you mean games using AGI. Those are technically CGA (or whatever you call the PCjr mode), though I think there were patches or re-releases to make them work on EGA/VGA with the 16 colours. For those you want an 808x or slow 286. For me the best way to enjoy them s in DOSbox, especially for the titles that only do 16 colour graphics in composite mode so you don't need to look at an old flickery TV monitor. The DOSbox composite emulation is really nice because it gives you colours that EGA can't reproduce, and you also get filters for stuff like scanlines or edge smoothing. Back in the olden days I was never happy playing the early titles because they looked like ass in CGA colours on my 486.

"Will the highways on the internets become more few?" -Gee Dubya
V'Ger XT|Upgraded AT|Ultimate 386|Super VL/EISA 486|SMP VL/EISA Pentium

Reply 8 of 8, by cloverskull

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Cool cool. Thanks everyone. I think this makes up my mind for me. There is a part of me that would be interested in figuring out the best possible performance 486, but maybe that's for totally unrelated reasons to Sierra games. I think I'll probably be in good shape with all of this for now 😀