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Some guys opinion about DOSBox

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Reply 20 of 72, by Jo22

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henryVK wrote on 2020-02-06, 14:07:

I'm not necessarily a purist, but Doom is just a bad example because seeing as there's a source port for modern systems, there's no need to run it in dosbox in the first place.

Not only that, Doom is *generally* a bad example. Too much violence, too little brains. Exactly the opposite to DOSBox. 😉
On the other hand.. It perhaps is still kind of a fun variety to the omnipresent, overhyped SOMI.

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Reply 21 of 72, by Bruninho

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When I first met DOSBox I had found a GUI for macOS, named "Boxer". However, with the time I wanted to do more, and more... and then Boxer was quite limited to me. Then I found DOSBox-X, which works pretty well but requires some re-compiling and when patched with NE2000 only works with ethernet instead of wifi. So I moved to VMware Fusion and all is perfect now.

However, I still have a DOSBox port for iOS which I had found and compiled by myself - which still works quite broken on my iPad Pro after iOS 13 updates. Not my fault and nor the developer's fault (litchie hasn't updated it properly for years). Still, it kinda "works" and lets me do most of my basic things. A few headaches here and there but that's it.

I have no real issues with DOSBox - I was born in 1982 and most of my childhood was spent playing DOS games like Wolf3d, Karateka, Carmen Sandiego, Grand Prix Accolade and so on. First game I played when I was 7 or 6... was probably "Alley Cat". I however have a real problem with the "smartphone generation". They seriously want to do everything through their phones and forget about living the life out there. Christ, when I go to a shopping there is loads of people walking around with their faces on the phone without even looking where they are going. Annoying.

And when I see the current generation struggling to make a simple DOS game run on DOSBox, command prompt... oh dear. I laugh.

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Reply 22 of 72, by keenmaster486

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I first learned computers using DOS. This was in ~2005-ish so DOS was already obsolete, but that was what my dad made me learn on, fortunately.

So command line based things are second nature to me. I understand the DOSBox config file paradigm. I've been using DOSBox since 0.63. It's natural for me so I understand how to make it work the way it should. And I understand what it is and what it isn't, i.e. it's a very specialized emulator and not a general purpose one, etc.

Most people just want a "click and go" system, which DOSBox is not.

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Reply 23 of 72, by Almoststew1990

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Dosbox was my introduction to DOS gaming. Using the defaults it came with, the games I was trying just worked. Not perfectly, but I coud pick up and play Wolf3D, Descent etc. It certainly has its place and is a great tool to have on, for instance, my netbook for playing games on the train or when I am away from home. It made me want to explore DOS gaming further.

Considering it saves purchasing and building an entire DOS PC and all the issues that can present if you're not specifically into making PCs, DOSBox is brilliant.

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Reply 24 of 72, by Procyon

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Apparently I was one of the few people on earth which typed "INTRO" at the command prompt and read it.

But yeah, Dosbox is what it is. Can it be improved? Sure but at the moment it's still the best and most versatile Dos emulator.
Maybe the future is FPGA but that still remains to be seen as for later era Dos games like Doom you need a more powerful FPGA which doesn't exist at the moment.

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Reply 25 of 72, by dreamer_

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Procyon wrote on 2020-02-07, 12:49:

Apparently I was one of the few people on earth which typed "INTRO" at the command prompt and read it.

But yeah, Dosbox is what it is. Can it be improved? Sure but at the moment it's still the best and most versatile Dos emulator.

INTRO is not going to describe e.g. why MIDI port detection does not work in DOSBox on Linux, why config files are not portable and need to be written for every OS separately, why you need to manually rebind several DOSBox shortcuts on Linux, because they key combination is the same as changing tty, or why fullresolution=desktop is broken on multimonitor setups. Or the issue I'm struggling with right now - arrow keys do not work when running under XWayland (but it works fine with SDL2, so not that big of an issue for me personally).

Yeah, DOSBox "can" be improved, but the consensus amongst Vogons users in this thread seems to be: it doesn't need to be improved. Which I don't agree with.

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Reply 26 of 72, by Bruninho

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I didn't say it does not need to be improved, but I do believe it can be. And should be.

But it does not need to be "dumbed down" for the "smartphone generation".

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Reply 27 of 72, by dr_st

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DosFreak wrote on 2020-02-05, 23:40:

ttps://www.doomworld.com/forum/topic/110992-do ... e-my-mind/

Amazingly the thread wasn't that bad.

It was okay, until it deteriorated into yet another quarrel about the shittiness of the Build Engine.

canthearu wrote on 2020-02-06, 00:12:

All this is just the nature of the DOS gaming beast.

People who were there for it understand, those who weren't just won't understand why the experience is so weird and different, to say, the Playstation 4 experience. Or even the NES/SNES experience.

Exactly. DOSBox was clearly designed to give not just the ability to play DOS games but also give the DOS usage experience. Since this is what you get with the default DOSBox build, many users to whom this experience is foreign, will be put off. Such players will be better off buying their DOS games preconfigured from GOG (which was indeed mentioned in the Doomworld thread).

dreamer_ wrote on 2020-02-06, 01:52:

It was easier to play games on my old 486DX2 with 4MB of RAM on MS-DOS than it is to configure the same games to work properly in DOSBox.

No, it wasn't. You have nostalgia bias ("rosy retrospection") which is just as real as survivor bias. 😀

I say this with confidence because I still have a working pure DOS PC myself, which I sometimes tinker with and play games on.

dreamer_ wrote on 2020-02-06, 09:28:

Am I crazy to believe, that DOSBox for average users should be as easy to run as some SNES emulator?

Not crazy, no, but unrealistic. This is not the mindset that DOSBox was designed with (as I said above), and I don't think it could be designed in any other way. Consoles of that genres are closed systems - there is the BIOS, and then the ROM and that's it. A ROM was self-contained. DOS was a full-fledged (albeit limited) operating system, and games that were shipped for DOS did not contain all the code that needed to run it. So DOSBox has to emulate a lot of DOS behavior as well, and that includes a lot of flexibility and customization and tweaks, because DOS games often required different tweaks on real DOS systems as well.

It's possible that the default host settings in the DOSBox config are not optimal, maybe this is what you are referring to? However, I believe they were chosen to be the most compatible, even at the cost of performance. However, maybe I'm wrong, based on the examples you provide above. It's possible that DOSBox defaults are too tailored to Windows, since this is where most of the user base is?

Bruninho wrote on 2020-02-07, 20:38:

I didn't say it does not need to be improved, but I do believe it can be. And should be.

But it does not need to be "dumbed down" for the "smartphone generation".

Yes, well said.

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Reply 28 of 72, by Procyon

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dreamer_ wrote on 2020-02-07, 20:05:
Procyon wrote on 2020-02-07, 12:49:

Apparently I was one of the few people on earth which typed "INTRO" at the command prompt and read it.

But yeah, Dosbox is what it is. Can it be improved? Sure but at the moment it's still the best and most versatile Dos emulator.

INTRO is not going to describe e.g. why MIDI port detection does not work in DOSBox on Linux, why config files are not portable and need to be written for every OS separately, why you need to manually rebind several DOSBox shortcuts on Linux, because they key combination is the same as changing tty, or why fullresolution=desktop is broken on multimonitor setups. Or the issue I'm struggling with right now - arrow keys do not work when running under XWayland (but it works fine with SDL2, so not that big of an issue for me personally).

I have very little experience with Linux and never used dosbox on it, but it seems that on Linux it needs some bug fixing.
On the other hand if you can use Linux than making confs for Dosbox should be a piece of cake.

dreamer_ wrote on 2020-02-07, 20:05:

Yeah, DOSBox "can" be improved, but the consensus amongst Vogons users in this thread seems to be: it doesn't need to be improved. Which I don't agree with.

I was more under the impression that amongst Vogons users dosbox doesn't need to be improved as most run their games on contemporary hardware anyway. 😁

Reply 29 of 72, by dreamer_

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Procyon wrote on 2020-02-07, 20:47:

I have very little experience with Linux and never used dosbox on it, but it seems that on Linux it needs some bug fixing.

I spend almost all of my time on Linux so do most of my time testing on Linux, so I know about the issues affecting Linux. But judging by questions and complaints posted here and on other forums (e.g. reddit), Windows users are affected by various DOSBox papercuts just as much.

Procyon wrote on 2020-02-07, 20:47:

I was more under the impression that amongst Vogons users dosbox doesn't need to be improved as most run their games on contemporary hardware anyway. 😁

Fair point 😀

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Reply 30 of 72, by DracoNihil

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Most of the problems I apparently run into with DosBOX under Linux is due to me not using a i686 compile versus a x86_64 compile. I guess some of the code misbehaves really badly when compiled as 64-bit rather than 32-bit.

That's probably not the case anymore but I never gotten around to pulling together SVN and building it myself.

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Reply 31 of 72, by Tertz

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"DOSBox generally isn't optimal for running games in general as the performance isn't very good"

Is not optimal... Would be curious what emulators were significantly faster for DOS games, meanwhile having comparable accuracy and compatibility. Mb some of today VM and new emulators are good enough, but I doubt.

"Nearly every time I fire one up I am put off by how poorly the input is handled in these games."

In an action game I played, I needed to reduce the default sound prebuffer to get good keyboard delay. I used XP, CRT. There could be lesser delays than people get with modern OS, LCD, radio keyboards/mouses, background processes, power management, etc. Some input devices may get lesser delays with other drivers (for example, from a producer's instead of OS default) and settings. Video and sound drivers settings also may affect input delays in games.

...

Those themes with a criticism can be useful to known what common issues people get with the software. Hardware and software environment, common peoples knowledges - it changes after a time. To update or create new manuals, FAQ, software settings mb useful in the future.

Last edited by Tertz on 2020-02-10, 19:41. Edited 1 time in total.

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Reply 32 of 72, by ZellSF

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Bruninho wrote on 2020-02-07, 20:38:

I didn't say it does not need to be improved, but I do believe it can be. And should be.

But it does not need to be "dumbed down" for the "smartphone generation".

This is vague nonsense. The user interface should be as simple as it can be, without compromising functionality.

If that gets the "smartphone generation" to start playing DOS games, I just see that as a positive.

Reply 33 of 72, by Bruninho

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ZellSF wrote on 2020-02-10, 10:22:
Bruninho wrote on 2020-02-07, 20:38:

I didn't say it does not need to be improved, but I do believe it can be. And should be.

But it does not need to be "dumbed down" for the "smartphone generation".

This is vague nonsense. The user interface should be as simple as it can be, without compromising functionality.

If that gets the "smartphone generation" to start playing DOS games, I just see that as a positive.

That's what Boxer is for.

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Reply 34 of 72, by ZellSF

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Bruninho wrote on 2020-02-10, 12:54:
ZellSF wrote on 2020-02-10, 10:22:
Bruninho wrote on 2020-02-07, 20:38:

I didn't say it does not need to be improved, but I do believe it can be. And should be.

But it does not need to be "dumbed down" for the "smartphone generation".

This is vague nonsense. The user interface should be as simple as it can be, without compromising functionality.

If that gets the "smartphone generation" to start playing DOS games, I just see that as a positive.

That's what Boxer is for.

Frontends are as already mentioned not an excuse to avoid any improvements to the stock DOSBox UI experience.

Also, frontends while meant to simplify, also complicates things.

Reply 35 of 72, by Bruninho

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Well, I firmly believe that anyone using DOSBox should get the full retro experience how it was. If the "smartphone generation" can't cope with it, give them a frontend for that. That's it. The stock DOSBox experience should be kept as is, because it's what we were used to do in the past.

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READ: Right to Repair sucks and is illegal!

Reply 36 of 72, by ZellSF

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Bruninho wrote on 2020-02-10, 13:05:

Well, I firmly believe that anyone using DOSBox should get the full retro experience how it was. If the "smartphone generation" can't cope with it, give them a frontend for that. That's it. The stock DOSBox experience should be kept as is, because it's what we were used to do in the past.

If you want what you're used to in the past, there's already a perfect solution; don't upgrade. That's not a good argument against making a better DOSBox.

Reply 37 of 72, by Dominus

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But is there a way to make Dosbox or any other Dos emulator more like a one click console emulator?
Leaving the technical things out of the equation (yes it could use a gui to set things up) I don't quite see it unless you provide the games.

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Reply 38 of 72, by Bruninho

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...

@ZellSF: Go get yourself a frontend then. DOSBox should always give you a command prompt like in the old days. If you want something else get GOG games or a frontend.

I have to admit that I do not care about the “smartphone generation” simply because they walk around like zombies with their faces stuck to the phone. It’s ridiculous. There is not a day on the street I don’t honk my car horn simply because these kids are driving with their face on the phone at 20kph infront of me. My God. These kids are lost.

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READ: Right to Repair sucks and is illegal!

Reply 39 of 72, by ZellSF

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Bruninho wrote on 2020-02-10, 13:54:

@ZellSF: Go get yourself a frontend then. DOSBox should always give you a command prompt like in the old days.

Why? There's no reasoning here.

Bruninho wrote on 2020-02-10, 13:54:

I have to admit that I do not care about the “smartphone generation” simply because they walk around like zombies with their faces stuck to the phone. It’s ridiculous. There is not a day on the street I don’t honk my car horn simply because these kids are driving with their face on the phone at 20kph infront of me. My God. These kids are lost.

Really off-topic, but I haven't seen any generational gap like this. Adults are just as obsessed with their phones as kids. I thought by "smartphone generation" you might mean people who've grown up with smartphones, but I wasn't sure, because as I said, your post read like vague nonsense and you're not getting any clearer.

Dominus wrote on 2020-02-10, 13:52:

But is there a way to make Dosbox or any other Dos emulator more like a one click console emulator?
Leaving the technical things out of the equation (yes it could use a gui to set things up) I don't quite see it unless you provide the games.

Directly loading executables with default settings is reliable for so many games I think it should be better accounted for personally. As dreamer_ said, drag and drop isn't intuitive to a lot of people, so maybe either just asking whether to open a exe or start a DOS prompt at launch, or maybe just replacing the initial screen with a "drop exe here or press enter to continue".