Dosbox - play old DOS games

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Intro

Dosbox is a DOS-emulator pretty much complete with everything (one can even record screenshots and/or video ingame!).

Download and install

Download and install dosbox. On most linux systems it's most likely in your repository so a quick emerge og aptitude should fix that problem.

On Windows one can download the newest version off sourceforge (0.74 as of now).

dosbox download page Should lead you right there; select the Windows - win32 installer.

Setup config file

Firstly decide where you want to store your dos-applications and create that dir.. like /home/$user/dos or just \dos under windows.

Now start dosbox and once you have the prompt (Z:>), type:

Z:> config -writeconf "/path/to/dosbox.conf"

This will create a generic config file - edit it with your favorite editor; it's just a normal textfile.

I only had to add a few lines which would automatically mount my dosdrive and enter it. At the very end of the config file, add something like:

mount C "/path/to/dos-dir"
c:

Where one of course substitutes the path to the real path.. like /home/$user/dos on linux or \dos in windows.

I also had to change the keyboard layout to Swedish, since the default American keyboard doesn't really work for me.

In case you wonder why Swedish; there is no Danish layout atm, and the Swedish one is about 100% likewise to the Danish one.

I just changed the option keyboardlayout (in the dosbox.conf file) to use the Swedish charset instead (sv).

For explicit Danish keyboard add the @keyb DK 850 > null under autoexec bat like this:

keyboardlayout=sv

[ ... ]
[autoexec]
@keyb DK 850

Ubuntu 10.10 sound stuttering problem

If you have any sound stuttering problem and you're using Ubuntu 10.10 it's most likely because Ubuntu 10.10 developers removed all old OSS code/references.

So one has to install oss-emulators (for SDL since that's what dosbox is using). I've found the easiest way is to install the libsdl for all soundsystems:

sudo aptitude install libsdl1.2debian-all

ESD did the trick for me; others report ALSA does the job for them. At any rate, you can start/try with various soundbackends with (in same console):

export SDL_AUDIODRIVER=esd
dosbox

Lastly, one needs to update dosbox.conf to add the 128:0 config

[ midi ]
mididevice=default
midiconfig=128:0

Keyboard shortcuts

Should be worth noting some shortcuts can be used to make life easier

Shortcut Description
ALT-ENTER Full screen
CTRL-F5 Snapshot (define this dir in dosbox.conf!)
CTRL+ALT+F5 Start/stop Record video of the dosbox session
CTRL-F7 Decreases frameskip
CTRL-F8 Increases Frameskip
CTRL+F9 Stop (terminate) the dosbox session
CTRL-F11 Slows down the game
CTRL-F12 Speeds up the game

You can find much more about keyboard shortcuts here DosBox official FAQ

How to actually run games/applications

After starting dosbox you need to navigate to place, where you stored all your applications/games.

You can get a dir listing with

dir

Followed with

cd [dir]

You can just start to type a few letters of the dir you want to go into, and hit tab - it will then autocomplete the dirname for you.

Inside the dir, you'll most likely want to start any executable file; find these by

dir *.exe

In my case, playing Buck Rogers currently, there will be a file called START.EXE.

Just type st (without caps) and hit tab.. then it autocompletes it to start.exe and even gets the uppercase writing correct.

Download games (abandonware)

Now all you need to do is to find some games!

I host a few of my favorites myself you can grab if you want (docs/journals are included in the DOC dir in most of the files):

Else there are lots of abandonware sites flowing around the net - it's just looking for them.

I'll list a few here which I think is worthy of mentioning:

  1. Super nice site in Danish - just click in the Abandoned games section
  2. Very nice and clean site
  3. osel.sk - Dont have alot of games, but it's a nice site
  4. The House of Games - Okish site

Screenies

Lastly just a few quick screenshots I took of inganme contents:

Buck Rogers Moonstone Champ krynn.jpg

Special

File: Text
Exec=/usr/bin/gnome-session