First post, by PhilsComputerLab
What is this?
Digital platforms such as GOG, Steam and others sell digital copies of classic DOS retro games. This project is about documenting, if and how, these games can be played on a real DOS PC.
Often this is straight forward and you just need to copy the game folder onto your DOS PC, but often you got to jump through hoops. This could mean that SETUP files are missing, CD Audio tracks are compressed or other little issues.
So if you have spent some time getting such a digital release working on your DOS PC, please share your findings here so others can save precious time and focus on gaming.
If a game release is really bad, or doesn't run on a DOS PC at all, please also document this. At least it will be quick filling out the details. Just enter the game details and give it a E rating in the last column.
Where is the project
A simple Good Docs spreadsheet all setup and ready to go 😀
What do I need to do?
I will briefly go over the sections of the sheet:
Game + Game information:
Firstly have a look if someone else has already covered the game. If not, enter the name of the game, the developer, the publisher, the year and the gaming store that sells the game (GOG, Steam, whoever...). I will sort the sheet by game name every now and then
How is the game packaged?
Most games come packaged with DOSBox, others use ScummVM or a replacement game engine (interpreter or source port). GOG does package games with ScummVM, but sometimes also provides the DOS executable. Fate of Atlantis is such an example. Other games will simply not run on a DOS PC, but can be made to run by "sourcing" missing files.
So in this section the idea is to provide a little of technical info that helps others understand how the game was put together. DOSBox games come in various flavours. Often they run straight from a folder, other times an ISO or BIN/CUE CD/DVD image is mounted. Compressed CD Audio tracks also appear and those are a bit more work.
How do I install the game on a DOS PC?
Here be brief, but also specific. What has to be done to get the game going on a DOS PC? Name specific files that need to be burned onto CD for example. Some games are hard-coded to install into a certain folder. Others have config files that when modified lets you run a CD game without a CD. This is the section that is the most useful, so invest some time and make it awesome and timeless 😀
What DOS PC does the game run on?
There are many flavours of a DOS PC. It could be a 386 or 486, a Socket 7 machine with Cache disabling tricks or a high powered Pentium II or Pentium III.
If a game runs best on a specific type of processor, this is the section to mention it. Many games have issues on machines that are too fast. Does disabling the cache solve this? Doom for example will run fine on an i7 but Wing Commander is very picky about the speed and runs well on an average 386.
Memory configurations can make or break a game. Some games have issues with more than 16 MB. Others hate EMS or refuse to run with anything but conventional memory. So if you noticed something in this regard, make a note. This will save others lots of time and headaches.
Apply common sense here. If you're using an Athlon 64 with a PCI sound card, well that might not be the best machine to try these games on 😊
How do I run and configure the game?
A simple question, but sometimes not so straight forward. Most games have an executable, but others you should run a batch file because it will set environment variables or command line options. Other games are launched from the CD instead of the game directory.
More important is "How do I configure my sound card?" Often there is an INSTALL or SETUP file, but many games use command line options and others have files missing (thanks GOG), but config files that can be edited (Sierra games or Wing Commander). If you know some tricks here, please document them!
Rating of this release
This rating is about "How is this release for running it on my DOS PC". Things such as how it runs under Windows 10, does it contain extras are not what we're looking at.
A rating: A game that runs directly from the folder and has everything included, such as SETUP program, or a CD release that has the full installation CD. Basically everything is there and it's very easy to get going.
B rating: Something is missing, often the INSTALL or SETUP file. Examples are Wing Commander and some Sierra releases
C rating: Games that include everything but require quite some effort to get going. For example when you need to convert compressed audio files to WAV and burn a mixed mode CD or when the burnt image is not an installation CD and you also need to copy the game folder and the CD is purely necessary to play the game. Basically if the game includes everything but you got to jump through hoops to get it going.
D rating: Basically this is C with stuff missing.
E rating: When the game doesn't run on a DOS PC at all. 7th Guest for example, this game uses ScummVM and there are no executable required. Maybe you can "source" missing files and get it to run, but at this point you might just as well "source" the entire game. Contacting the game store or starting a petition might be something to consider.
- No need to sign up. It's meant to be accessible to everyone
- Use common sense
- If you think something could be improved you can right click onto a cell and add a comment to let that person know
- Use copy / paste for saying similar things to keep it consistent
- Have fun!