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Old 11-16-2005, 06:39 AM   #1
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Default Lot's of DOS games, but no DOS computer

OK, as the title suggests I've got a lot of DOS-games on CD, that I've bought through Ebay. But I lack a DOS computer. So far I've managed with DOSBox, but running CD games (from an ISO on the HD) makes the sound stutter and I can't find a way to get rid of it. My computer has got enough power to handle the games so I don't think it's a problem in that area.

Specs:
1.4 GHz Pentium M
768 Mb DDR
290 Gb HD
Geforce 4 64 Mb
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Old 11-16-2005, 07:09 AM   #2
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You may have trouble running later DOS games under DOSBox with your config, which may explain that the sound stutters. Still, see my two posts there for tips on speeding up DOSBox.

Now, if you're really going to build an old DOS computer: good luck, you'll need it. I'd advise you to try and find an early Pentium (90-133 MHz); those usually have ways in the BIOS to disable turbo and/or the system cache; by using those options, you can make your machine as fast as an early Pentium or as slow as a 386 (and anything in between) without having to resort to MoSlo or something equally ugly.

The big problem will be the sound. This is when you'll really start regretting DOSBox. I think the ideal config is this:
- SB16 for AdLib FM synthesis and digital audio, up to 16-bit samples
- Sound Canvas or SCC for high quality General MIDI
- MT-32 or LAPC-1 for MT-32 music (a must for older games)
The SC and MT-32 are external modules, whereas SCC and LAPC-1 are cards; the best is probably to get one as a card and use its MIDI port to plug the other (as a module). Roland also made a card (or was it a module?) that included both MT-32 and GM, but I can't remember how it was called (and it's very rare anyway).
Stay away from the Gravis Ultrasound (good quality, but endless compatibility troubles), and basically anything not from Roland or Creative Labs.

And you'll have to get, some way or another, a fantastic programme called QEMM, which is an absolute must to avoid memory problems under DOS.

Once again: good luck!
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Old 11-16-2005, 07:16 AM   #3
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My newest DOS game is Bioforge... All the CD-games suffer from stuttering sound. It's not a LOT of stuttering, but enough for me to notice.

Thanks for the tip!
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Old 11-16-2005, 07:57 AM   #4
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Have you tried VDMSound? It fixes sound issues on a lot of old DOS games.
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Old 11-16-2005, 09:54 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fov
Have you tried VDMSound? It fixes sound issues on a lot of old DOS games.
Hmm, just tried it. But how do I make it recognize my mounted ISO's?
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Old 11-16-2005, 11:06 AM   #6
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Build a pc, sure.
MdaG why not try buying a cheap old PC on ebay, The last PC I bought on ebay was £2.20, with £18 for delivery. I also purchased a seperate sound card for £0.01, with £2.00 delivery. It isn't that hard to open the case and upgrade it. Then look online to download the files for free.

I was lucky enough to get one that already had a 5.1/4 floppy as well. And you can use ebay to source your dos and Win3.0 disks.

Have you tried playing some of your discs in XP with compatibility mode? And strangely some of the oldest games can play on XP with no tweaking at all & perfect sound.
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Old 11-16-2005, 11:53 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MdaG
Hmm, just tried it. But how do I make it recognize my mounted ISO's?
Err... I'm not sure, but I would think as long as the target you're running it from is pointing to the ISO and not at your CD drive, it would work fine. I always just run VDMSound by right-clicking the .exe (or shortcut) for the game and selecting Run with VDMSound. (In other words, how would you do this if you weren't using VDMSound?)

EDIT: Let's back up a sec... why are you having to run these games from an ISO on the hard drive and not from the CD? Do the CDs not work at all under Windows?
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Old 11-16-2005, 01:23 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fov
Err... I'm not sure, but I would think as long as the target you're running it from is pointing to the ISO and not at your CD drive, it would work fine. I always just run VDMSound by right-clicking the .exe (or shortcut) for the game and selecting Run with VDMSound. (In other words, how would you do this if you weren't using VDMSound?)

EDIT: Let's back up a sec... why are you having to run these games from an ISO on the hard drive and not from the CD? Do the CDs not work at all under Windows?
Mainly because I want to speed up access time and my player is kind of noisy... I didn't think of running it straight from the CD though

*edit*
Tried it with my Gabriel Knight CD and is doesn't work at all. I get to see to logo and then it crashes back to the desktop. The same thing happens if try to run it without VDMsound (and using different compatibility modes). Oh well at least I know now that there's an option to DOSBox. VDMSound did however work with the Floppy version of Kings Quest VI

I would buy a DOS computer as suggested above, but today I have no room for one and I'm not sure I will have in the coming years :-(
And my girlfriend would kick my ass if I put an ugly old computer in the living room ;-)
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Old 11-16-2005, 02:11 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MdaG
Tried it with my Gabriel Knight CD and is doesn't work at all. I get to see to logo and then it crashes back to the desktop. The same thing happens if try to run it without VDMsound (and using different compatibility modes). Oh well at least I know now that there's an option to DOSBox. VDMSound did however work with the Floppy version of Kings Quest VI
Oh, I thought you meant really recent games. You know, The Riddle of Master Lu, The Pandora Directive, that sort of things. Building an old computer might be worth it for those (though you're free to set your priorities, of course ). But you should have no problem running Sierra games under DOSBox (except maybe KQ7) whatever your computer. Are you sure you don't have a conflict in your DOSBox config, between the SoundBlaster and the Gravis Ultrasound for instance (using the same address, IRQ, whatever)? There's no point at having both enabled at the same time anyway (eats up resources), so you should disable one of them (usually the GUS, except for those games which have 16-bit audio, for which it is faster than the SB16 emulation --- but that does not involve Sierra games). Also, make sure the games themselves are set up correctly; see my post here, though you probably know all of that already. (Yes, I know, I keep making cheap plugs for my previous posts... What can I say, that's the researcher in me: I'm obsessed with citations. )

But play with VDMSound if you wish. I personally hate it, but I know some love it. And with fov, you're in good hands.

Oh, and that was my 200th post. And it's talking about the exact same thing as my first one: Sierra games under DOSBox. Is that some weird coincidence, or am I just a complete monomaniac?
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Old 11-16-2005, 02:24 PM   #10
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Greetings MdaG,

it is either our way or the highway - she's gonna have to put up with it
Try wearing those boots, mate

Just follow Kurufinwe's advice on building and setting up a DOS comp.

Keep in mind, however, that there ARE problematic games even on the
ideal contemporary machine + DOS 6.22.

The one you mentioned - BIOFORGE - is a typical example. It needs a carefully set memory configuration and yet is buggy (save often and if you are stuck right at the beginning, look up the REAL DOOR code swhere not the one you see! Don't believe the log you find if you play on a Pentium - the infamous Pentium bug can mislead you !)

On emulation: Even if you have a shiny new, awesome 3.8 Ghz 2MB cache P4 the emulation speed in DosBox will be insufficient at some places in game.
After all, it is a protected mode game, pushing the limits of those DX2/66es...
But you CAN copy everything to HDD and run it from there !
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Old 11-16-2005, 02:55 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MdaG
I would buy a DOS computer as suggested above, but today I have no room for one and I'm not sure I will have in the coming years :-(
And my girlfriend would kick my ass if I put an ugly old computer in the living room ;-)

You could tell her it was a work of art. A newly discovered Dali.
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Old 11-16-2005, 05:01 PM   #12
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There are better solutions for some of these games than even DosBox.

Check out this patch for GK1. It uses the Windows version of the game, which is on the same CD as the DOS version (installed with setup.exe instead of install.exe).

The Windows version of KQ7 (which should be on the same CD with the DOS version, again use setup.exe instead of install.exe) ran fine for me in XP, I just had to change the screen resolution to 640x480 and color depth to 256 colors before launching.

What are the other games you're trying to run?
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Old 11-16-2005, 10:02 PM   #13
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The games I've aquired are :
  • Gabriel Knight
  • Kyrandia 1-3
  • Discworld
  • Bioforge
  • Kings Quest 1-6
  • Space Quest 1-6
  • 7th Guest
  • 11th Hour
  • Quivering
  • Star Trek - Judgement Rites
  • Star Trek - 25th Anniversary
  • Lighthouse
  • Traitor's Gate
  • Hopkins FBI
There are more, but those are either working in SCUMMVM or claiming to work in Windows 95,98 (example are Discworld Noir, Feeble Files, Longest Journey, RING and Faust). And I've been nowhere close to having the time to try them out :-/

*edit*
Thanks for the patch! :-)
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Old 11-16-2005, 11:01 PM   #14
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King's Quest 1-4 should be fine in DosBox, as should at least some of the Space Quest games. The early ones are not going to have voice so should just be able to run them off your hard drive. I think the Windows version of KQ5 runs in XP if you change your color depth to 256 and screen resolution to 640x480 before launching. Also be sure to check out NewRisingSun's patches for KQ1VGA (although I didn't need it on XP... in fact, I didn't even need DosBox) and the SQ games.

My understanding is that Lighthouse is hard to get going on XP, I think, but you could try following the instructions here.

I was able to run 7th Guest on XP with no tweaking at all, using VDMSound. But I think how easy it is to run has to do with which version of the game you have.

I'm not sure about some of these others. I don't think Feeble Files works on WinXP, and I feel like maybe Discworld Noir doesn't either.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Kurufinwe
Oh, and that was my 200th post. And it's talking about the exact same thing as my first one: Sierra games under DOSBox. Is that some weird coincidence, or am I just a complete monomaniac?
Look on the bright side - at least it wasn't your 5,436th post about running Sierra games under DOSBox.
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Old 11-16-2005, 11:18 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fov
There are better solutions for some of these games than even DosBox.

Check out this patch for GK1. It uses the Windows version of the game, which is on the same CD as the DOS version (installed with setup.exe instead of install.exe).

The Windows version of KQ7 (which should be on the same CD with the DOS version, again use setup.exe instead of install.exe) ran fine for me in XP, I just had to change the screen resolution to 640x480 and color depth to 256 colors before launching.
Yes, but using the windows version of GK1 you don't have DOSBox's scalers (=> ugly pixellated graphics, esp. on my laptop) and you get ugly black and white cursors instead of the beautiful coloured ones. More importantly, you get very low quality videos instead of the much more beautiful ones of the DOS version.

I completely agree with you for KQ7, though (and even more for GK2, mentioned in some other thread); if the game runs just as well under Windows, there's no point in slowing it down with DOSBox.

Quote:
Originally Posted by MdaG
The games I've aquired are :
  • Gabriel Knight
  • Kyrandia 1-3
  • Discworld
  • Kings Quest 1-6
  • Space Quest 1-6
  • 7th Guest
All those run fine under DOSBox.

Quote:
  • 11th Hour
Can't help you with that one. I think it might be possible to run it under DOSBox with some experimental patch compiled in (to get 16/24-bit graphics to run), but I haven't really tried recently.

Quote:
  • Lighthouse
Should run fine under Windows. Though I'd advise you to put the discs to a better use, like playing frisbee with you dog or something. It's an absolutely terrible game --- I still have nightmares of the endless conversation with that half-broken mechanical girl...
EDIT: I've just seen fov's post. She's probably right, actually. Another reason to throw that piece of garbage away.

Quote:
  • Quivering
  • Star Trek - Judgement Rites
  • Star Trek - 25th Anniversary
  • Bioforge
  • Traitor's Gate
  • Hopkins FBI
Dunno about those.

Discworld Noir, TLJ and Faust run fine under XP (possibly with compatibility modes). The Feeble Files only run on 95/98/Me (and hopefully in ScummVM soon).

Quote:
Originally Posted by fov
Look on the bright side - at least it wasn't your 5,436th post about running Sierra games under DOSBox.
Shoot me if I ever get there.
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Old 11-16-2005, 11:23 PM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kurufinwe
Shoot me if I ever get there.
I don't think I'll be around to do the honors. My head will have long since exploded.
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Old 11-17-2005, 12:50 AM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kurufinwe
Shoot me if I ever get there.
"the last man to leave the planet please switch off the lights" (Graffiti)

Kurufinwe, I somehow know that you will not be shot in the end...
you will be slain by Gothmog the Balrog after the Battle under the Stars
and your body consumed by spontaneous self-ignition (although a guy
called Tolkien used more eloquent terms )

Last edited by Jolaes; 11-17-2005 at 01:26 AM.
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Old 11-17-2005, 05:00 AM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jolaes
"the last man to leave the planet please switch off the lights" (Graffiti)

Kurufinwe, I somehow know that you will not be shot in the end...
you will be slain by Gothmog the Balrog after the Battle under the Stars
and your body consumed by spontaneous self-ignition (although a guy
called Tolkien used more eloquent terms )
*Tries to picture fov as a balrog, Tolkien style*
*Tries to picture fov as a balrog, Peter Jackson style*
*Auto-ignites*
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Old 11-17-2005, 07:01 AM   #19
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It's funny. It seems like every week somebody is giving me their old windows 95/98 based computers. I have one back home that I keep for games that I can't get to run with DOSbox or Scummvm or whatever. Just go to any flea market or yard sale and you can usually find one for about $10 or $20.
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Old 11-17-2005, 10:24 PM   #20
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This thread has been bookmarked.
Thanks all!

Quote:
Though I'd advise you to put the discs to a better use, like playing frisbee with you dog or something.
It only cost me around $3 so it's no biggie
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