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ASCII is not dead! 
03:56am 19/10/2006
Walk in 25 lines! ;)

Link: http://community.livejournal.com/ru_compcrazy/93840.html
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Top (insert # here) lists 
03:18pm 16/02/2006
  Yes, top (insert # here) lists are cheesy and overused, but they are fun. For the upcoming launch of a website, HSG and I are trying to put together top 10 lists. If you think we are missing genres, let us know. After you weigh in, I will add my favorite nominations in each genre.

The genres are:
Best graphics
Best RPG
Best 2D platformer
Best 3D gameplay
Best storyline
Best puzzle game
Best arcade-style game
Best port
Best music
Best shooter
Best first-person shooter
Best sports game
Best adventure game
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A DOS-based game console 
11:08am 04/02/2006
  I think a DOS based game console would be something extremely interesting to look into. My original inspiration was the 1991 DOS XBox. I think a DOS based console could be done economically and still cater to hobbyists.

Choice of DOS
The first is PTS-DOS, which is an embedded chip-based DOS compatible with MS-DOS 6.22. This means there could be storage up to 2 gigs. Alternately, DR-DOS is for sale or could be lisenced for use on this console. It supports hard drives up to 137 GB.

Motherboard and chipset
VIA Technologies is a Taiwanese company who does chipsets, memory, and motherboards. My dad has worked with them for chipsets before.

A simple serial, or even USB driver could provide the game controllers. Alternately, a keyboard or mouse could be used for more desktop based applications.

Flash ROM has come down in price in the last few years. Because of the widespread prevalence of CD burners, optical media would probably not be preferable. A memory card of 8 or 16 MB would be sufficient for game saves or personal settings. For the hobbyists, a programming cartridge could be available with development tools on it.

Development tools
There are some really great development tools available, like the DJGPP compiler and the Allegro game library. My only concern would be licensing open-source software could lead to problems, but on the other hand would also attract hobbyist programmers.

An ethernet port would be a valuable add-on for streaming media, playing games online with friends, or for something like a chat client or internet browser.

Target specifications
I think the target system would be 200 mhz with 64 MB of RAM. The target specifications would fit the needs of a high-end DOS machine and would also be very versatile.

I would love to hear any feedback or suggestions you may have. I think this could be done cheaply, be very versatile, and of course entertaining. :-)
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Your sound card and you 
03:36pm 29/01/2006
  (I don't want to sound like a 1950's gym class hygiene lesson, so for lack of a better title, this is how to configure your soundblaster card on the autoexec.bat). For brevity, Soundblaster will be abbreviated as SB throughout this document.

The first step to getting your sound card set up is to open your autoexec.bat with a text editor. You should see something like "SET BLASTER=A220 I5 D1 H5 P330 T6" (without the quotation marks)

If you don't see this line, let's discuss how to set this up. Programs look at the BLASTER environment variable to figure out where to send the sound output.

Even if you don't have a SoundBlaster card, this is used for configuration purposes as follows:

The specifications and suggestions of each parameter are behind the cutCollapse )

If it hits the proverbial fan . . .Collapse )

You can get SB sound drivers and more information at Easy MAME Cab HERE

DisclaimerCollapse )
Free alternatives to MS-DOS 
11:09pm 24/01/2006
  I have a copy of MS-DOS 6.22, but some folks aren't so lucky. Here are the 4 top compatible alternatives to run your DOS binaries. (This is by experience, and by no means scientific!)

DR-DOS is a dedicated DOS, and is only partially open-source, but that shouldn't stop you. It is the most compatible with MS-DOS as far as the binaries go. The later versions have improvements that the original didn't have.

2. DOSbox
This is it's own flavor of DOS that runs in Windows 2K, XP, and 2k3. It is partially compatible with about 85% of the apps I have tried (not just games like they intend).

3. DOSemu
DOSemu is for Linux. You should be comfortable compiling source to be able to use this. I would suggest using another flavor of DOS other than the included FreeDOS to run on this one for compatibility.

4. FreeDOS
FreeDOS is another dedicated DOS. This is the runt of the litter, but has the dedication. It has the least compatibility of all of the flavors of DOS, but is fully open-source and has the force of several developers behind it. Don't get me wrong, it has the compatibility to flash the bios on a motherboard. It is even being included on several barebones systems since Microsoft set a precedent to not include OS's on computers. This is probably the most widely available DOS.
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Some links 
09:48pm 21/01/2006
  A list of (downloadable) DOOM total conversions
This is a comprehensive list of the best total conversions for DOOM. The only one I think they are missing is the Alien TC. I know the link says they are for GP32, but they work on any system.

Classic DOOM in DOOM 3
Those crazy modders recreated DOOM 1 for the DOOM 3 engine. All you need is the demo and a high end computer to play this.

Large disc support for Windows 98 for more than 137 GB
This is an odd find. Now there is a patch for Win98 that allows large disk support up to 2 TB. Your motherboard bios must support large discs for this to work.

This program allows read and write access to NTFS partitions in a DOS environment. This is a wonderful tool for system recovery. This is from the same guy who exposed the Sony audio CD rootkit.
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Using Google to search open directories 
02:18pm 11/01/2006
  People do silly things and leave their directories open on their web pages. This is good news, and we are going to use that in combination with Google to find media on the internet. By using this string in the google search box, we are going to search open directories for "Commander Keen" in zip format:

"Commander Keen" "index of" "parent directory" "last modified" -htm -html -jsp -asp zip

It also works for things like mp3's:

Ratatat "index of" "parent directory" "last modified" -htm -html -jsp -asp mp3

In this instance, we would be searching for the band Ratatat in mp3 format.

Google is powerful, so use it to your advantage!
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08:18pm 08/01/2006
  HSG and I got Windows 3.1 to run on DR-DOS!

(It works wonderfully, but I still prefer SEAL)

We have also been playing around with MPXPlay for playing and ripping audio.
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What keeps these old games fun? 
09:46pm 06/01/2006
  If you scoff at the flashy XBox 360 and would rather stay at home and play Sim City in a dark room rather than hang out with your girlfriend's family, do you ever question why?

Why do you keep playing these games when instead you can have the most polygons packed on your screen on bleeding edge hardware?

(Let's hear what you have to say and I will throw in why I think these games are still fun!)
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DOS compilers? 
03:51pm 31/12/2005
  I am (slowly) learning to code for DOS. The best compiler that I have found is DJGPP.

What are you currently using?
What have you used in the past?
What compilers have non-restrictive licenses that you can sell commercial software with?
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IBM bids OS/2 farewell 
11:04am 27/12/2005
I know this isn't exactly DOS news, but according to OSNews, IBM stopped selling OS/2 yesterday. Support will cease at the end of the year.

With IBM getting friendly with open source lately, there may be hope to keep support for this wonderful OS going. There are still several places with code bounties and wonderful user support at places like OS/2 World
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Bootable DOS or Win9x CD? 
10:08pm 23/12/2005
  I want to make a bootable DOS or Win9x CD full of drivers and games. I am searching my best, but can't find a definitive answer. Would anyone else have at least a place to look to make this happen?

There is lots of info in the comments in this post about bootable 9x discs
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Id Anthology 
07:53pm 23/12/2005
  For those of you who love Id's DOS games, there is a compilation of everything from the Softdisk days all the way up to Quake called Id Anthology. It comes with a t-shirt, pewter demon figure, and book, but the 4 discs are what totally made it for me.

CD 1 'Vintage' : Dangerous Dave, Slordax, Shadow Knights, The Catacomb, Rescue Rover, Rescue Rover 2, Hover Tank 3D, Catacombs 3D, Commander Keen: Invasion of the Vorticons, Commander Keen: Keen Dreams, Commander Keen: Goodbye Galaxy, Commander Keen: Aliens ate my Babysitter, Wolfenstein 3D, Wolfenstein: Spear of Destiny

CD 2 'Doom' : Ultimate Doom, Doom 2, Master Levels for Doom 2, Final Doom

CD 3 'Quake' : Quake

The 4th CD was for Mac and includes Wolfenstein 3D, Ultimate Doom, Doom 2, and Final Doom)

What I really enjoy is looking at the different technologies that John Carmack invented throughout the series like smooth scrolling to texture mapping to 3D that would earn him induction into the Academy of Interactive Arts and Sciences' Hall of Fame.

This is a great DOS comp. If you can pick it up, I would highly suggest it.
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Swapping out your DOS? 
02:49pm 10/12/2005
  I have heard of folks "Swapping out their DOS" for better performance.

1) What GUI were you using? SEAL? DOSShell? Win 3.1? Win 95?
2) What flavor of DOS did you change it to?
3) How were the results?

In other news, FreeDOS can run Windows 3.1 with only sporadic crashes. They are making leaps and bounds as far as compatiblity. I had an old junk motherboard I was able to flash the bios on using FreeDOS. I am impressed by their work.

One more thing, if I use a front end like SEAL over DOS 7, is it still pure DOS?
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DOS drivers? 
02:15pm 04/12/2005
  So I can't write a device driver for the life of me. White sheets can be hard to find with older esoteric hardware.

I have perused driverguide.com. Next, I am going to look to the Linux kernel and see if I can't hack something together.

Where the heck is a guy supposed to get drivers for old hardware these days?
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A rad GUI, links, and proof Bill Gates wants to seduce your daughter 
03:52pm 26/11/2005
  When I get home from work today, I am going to check out SEAL, a GUI for DOS. The screenshots are absolutely amazing.

I have a couple of questions, though.
1) Will it run on top of FreeDOS without weird crashes? If this runs on top of FreeDOS, we have a free and complete approachable system for DOS nostalgia.
2) How the heck are they doing multitasking in the screen shots? I can't wait to take a peek at the source code.

DOS links:
Free software for DOS
DOS ain't done till Lotus won't run (from both sides of the argument)
FreeDOS links
Beyond Castle Wolfenstein re-released

*Bonus* pictures of Bill Gates from Teen BeatCollapse )
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Civilization 2 now abandonware 
10:01am 26/11/2005
  (cross posted in DOSGames community, FYI)

I don't know if Sid is cool with this, but Civ 2 is now abandonware.

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The similarities between DOS and Linux 
08:56am 26/11/2005
  If you are fond of the command line, which I am sure most any reader of this community is, you should try linux. It is command line driven just the same. If you don't believe me, check out a sampling of the commands. (The first is DOS, the second is Linux)

cd, cd
mkdir, mkdir
cd\, cd ~
dir, ls
copy, cp
move, mv
del, rm
find, find

I started using Linux before the 1.0 kernel (Slackware, baby!) when the GUI was a new phenomenon. There is a lot of crossover, even these days. If you like DOS, you may just love Linux.
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DOS puzzle game: Mosaic 
11:14am 20/11/2005
  An old DOS puzzle game, written by Joshua Klayman, Mosaic was a fun and easily approachable game.

Your task is to place 81 tiles onto a 24x24 game board. Each tile is a 2x2 grid of coloured squares, with each quadrant being one of three colours. (in CGA days, when it came out, this would be bright teal, magenta, and white, but let's just use red, green, and blue for this discussion). A tile might look like this:


You try to place like colours next to like colours. The score of any block of adjacent colours (horizonal and vertical, not diagonal) is the square of the number of squares of that colour. So you really want to make the largest contiguous area of one colour that you can, perhaps choosing one colour over another.

To further demonstrate scoring, consider this game board:

Red: one region with five squares, 25 points. Green: three regions, one with three (9pts), one two (4pts), one one (1pt). Blue: two regions, one four (16pts), one one (1pt). Total score: 56 points.

Average scores in the game were 12,000-14,000. High scores were around 17,000.

In theory this is a solvable (maximum high score) game. 81 tiles, known scoring, it could be brute-forced. But that's a lot of tiles. As far as I know it has not been solved.

And I apologize for not making it sound like a fun game. It really is. Simple, abstract, and fast, with onlookers and others willing to try, it can become quite the competition.

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More modern ports! 
11:27am 17/11/2005
I love being able to play those old games on a modern computer. A lot of these have enhancements to the original. And being able to see the source code that makes them tick isn't too bad either.

Misc. source ports

Ports of Heretic, Hexen, Wolf3d, Descent, Duke3d
Dave Gnukem, a Duke Nuken 1 port
Keen Clone

Duke Nukem 3d

Win32 Duke


QuakeWorld Client
Quake source code


KDX, a DOOM engine front end
DOOM WAD station
The DUMB engine

And finally:

DOS DOOM, the original open source DOS client ported from the linux source!