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Old 29 March 2005, 14:28   #1
buckrogers
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PC DOS setup - plain english please

OK. I admit it. I have ventured to the dask side of PC DOS gaming. Problem is, in trying to get together a suitable system, one is bamboozled by all sorts of x86 jargon on those PC DOS forums. Those people are freaks.

Just what do I need to play DOS games ranging from Wasteland to Ultima VII, to System Shock 2? Do I need to different setups? What sound and video cards are recommended?

Note that I am playing almost exclusively RPG's, hence sometimes the extra speed due to inappropriately fast CPU is actually welcomed. Any ideas Keropi?
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Old 29 March 2005, 15:05   #2
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Nice
First get a copy of IBM's PC-DOS 7.x
there is extensive info on the net on how to make a multi-config config.sys/autoexec.bat in order to skip using bootdisks for different memory requirements. A menu will be displayed on startup, which will allow you to select the configs u make...
I recommend PCDOS over MSDOS, because of its better tools, and better memory management.
As for sound, go for an ISA sound card, preferably a SoundBlaster AWE64. You need ISA, as some older games poll for interrupts there...
For VGA, just get a pci one, or if u can get , a PCI voodoo3 card... no probs there
ask me, I am a DOS-kid
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Old 29 March 2005, 15:34   #3
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BTW system shock 2 is running on winxp without problems, also If you have strong machine you can use DOSBOX program to run older games in winxp. It is very simple, and if you read readme file you can setup everything : page : http://dosbox.sourceforge.net/
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Old 29 March 2005, 15:50   #4
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Thanks very much fellas. Keropi, you are DOS-kid and a PPC accelerator lover!?! wlcina, that's good news - I'll leave the current gen PC to run system shock 2 and have a dedicated retro rig for older DOS, win95 games.

I'll try a Pentium 133 and see if the late 80's dos games work. If not I'll bang together a 486.

Will a SoundBlaster AWE64 support older DOS rpg games or do I need an SB pro, or 16?

The most confusing thing (other than doing bat files etc.) is knowing which period of games will work with which period of hardware. I'll have a hunt around to pin down compatibility for particular games on a machine of the specs I mentioned.

I will update in a couple of weeks when I have something running.

Last edited by buckrogers; 29 March 2005 at 15:59.
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Old 29 March 2005, 17:49   #5
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@wlcina
You have System Shock 2 running under XP?
I cannot persuade it to run at all - always gives an illegal operation during the CD check. Did you do anything special to make it run?

@buckrogers
VMDSound (sourceforge.net/projects/vdmsound/) is also nice for running some games that won't work with DOSBox. It lets your DirectX sound card appear as a SoundBlaster 16, AdLib, etc. Mainly useful for early Win95/98 games in my experience.
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Old 29 March 2005, 18:53   #6
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THread moved, Hardware forum is for AMIGA hardware subjects.
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Old 29 March 2005, 19:04   #7
Mr Creosote
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I wrote a little guide about configuring MS-DOS many years ago. Probably helpful, probably not.
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Old 29 March 2005, 19:11   #8
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I cannot believe you have not tried Dosbox, the superb DOS emulator...
or have you?

http://dosbox.sourceforge.net/news.php?show_news=1
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Old 29 March 2005, 19:16   #9
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Yes Fred, am using at the moment in lieu of a retro hardware setup. Don't mind it all. But I'd like to see the real thing first, and then compare. Besides, I am a sucker for hardware, as you are for bread crumbs.
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Old 29 March 2005, 20:22   #10
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yes, SS2 is running under winxp, try to find ss2 windows 2000 fix (that is executable (cracked I think))
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Old 29 March 2005, 20:44   #11
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OK. So I need an ISA card. But do I need a midi daughter card? Should I get a Yamaha DB50XG or Roland. What about a Gravis Ultrasound? What difference does it make?
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Old 30 March 2005, 11:56   #12
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hmm for 80s games, may be best to use DosBox on a new fast PC, or the old 80s games, may spit up errors about ram, need XMS or EMS, or some jargon, like that.

Man I had to be the hell geek to get old games running on my 486/66.

although demos/shareware struggle to run on my PIV-1.5ghz under XP damnit (warcraft 2), ie VEISA error ?? (some screen bullshit) and under dosbox, the cpu ain't fast enough. Also can't play some Terminator 3d game, I think it's system shock under XP, and cpu is to slow for DOSBOX. grrh.

I wish some one could code like a 'killaga' for win xp that redirects screen/audio output to directx for old dos games.

oh well i'll just wait another 3 years for a faster cpu to dosbox it :/
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Old 30 March 2005, 12:06   #13
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heheheh Buck..you know i prefer wet hot dog buns
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Old 30 March 2005, 12:56   #14
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@redblade
Try VDMSound - it redirects sound to DirectX and also has some basic VESA options.
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Old 30 March 2005, 13:15   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by buckrogers
OK. So I need an ISA card. But do I need a midi daughter card? Should I get a Yamaha DB50XG or Roland. What about a Gravis Ultrasound? What difference does it make?
It all depends how old the games you want to play are. Up until 1990, only FM music is usually supported. Getting a Soundblaster / Adlib compatible card is essential for these games. Then, for about two or three years, Roland synthesizers got popular with the developers. Keep in mind that these are only good for music, though, not for sound effects. After that, General Midi was supported most (again, only for music - Soundblaster still remained the de facto standard for effects). Soundblaster AWE* has a software emulation mode of General Midi, but that driver is huge and quite frankly sucks badly. That card is natively supported by games made in 1995 and later. If that's your focus, it's a very good choice as it offers excellent quality if used right, and it's also compatible to the original Soundblaster as well as Soundblaster 16 by hardware, so no trouble with any older games. Another good choice would be to get a real Soundblaster 16 (not the 'Value Edition') to which you can add a Midi daughterboard (but you don't have to as that card offers some of the best FM music of the competition).

What I'd advise against is any solution which requires software drivers to emulate compatibility to said (pseudo) standards. It never works well enough. No matter how impressive a sound cards technical capabilities might be, they're no use if the games don't support them natively.
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Old 30 March 2005, 14:17   #16
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The best is to get an ISA SB AWE64
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Old 30 March 2005, 15:06   #17
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Dosbox gets my vote. Great stuff.

If you don't know how to configure DOS, then I suggest you take a look at dosbox without even considering autoexec.bat and config.sys tuning. :-)

(Says the man running dual boot DOS7.1 / WinXP on his laptop.. I tuned the himem load areas manually since memmaker or qemm couldn't handle the Latitude C640 without crashing. :-D)
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Old 30 March 2005, 15:30   #18
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jope, you should really try PC-DOS... HIMEM can make UMB available and load DOS there, no need to use EMM386 for that.... that easily gives 615 kb free mem
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Old 30 March 2005, 16:38   #19
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"Then, for about two or three years, Roland synthesizers got popular with the developers. Keep in mind that these are only good for music, though, not for sound effects. After that, General Midi was supported most..."

Evil mastermind, during the "Roland years", what was the specific format that was in by games? GS? Since the Roland daughtercards are General Midi, surely it was GM that was supported, and perhaps later Roland's own GS spec?
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Old 31 March 2005, 08:22   #20
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I used mainly a YAMAHA SW20PC back then, some games work with either one Roland spec or another... I remember there where 2 options for Roland, maybe GS and SC , both work, but only one sounds correct, due to instrument mapping...
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