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View Full Version : Brand new version of MS-DOS emulator DOSBox out!

05-03-2009, 12:02 AM
Unfortunately, lately, there was almost nothing to report on when it comes to gaming and running emulators on Windows Mobile – most game / emulator developers have switched to the iPhone. The latter sees several game releases a day (including really high-quality titles like UniWar, Wolf 3D and so on); in the meantime, WinMo is pretty much abandoned.

Therefore, I was really delighted to see famous n0p (still) developing for the platform. His excellent MS-DOS emulator port, DOSBox, has just (yesterday) been updated to the latest (0.72) core (please see THIS (http://www.smartphonemag.com/cms/blogs/3/the_definitive_guide_to_running_ms_dos_8_12) if you want to know what MS-DOS emulation is all about; why you may want to use it etc.). This has been a long-asked for update: the core has been out for quite long but, so far, n0p haven’t had the time to release it.

It’s available for download HERE (http://n0p.tonych.info/?DOSBox_PPC:DOSBox_0.72) (get the XScale build); note that you’ll need a 7z-compliant unpacker tool – for example, WinZip (http://www.winzip.com/); if you want to go with a free solution, use the official 7-zip tool (http://www.7-zip.org/) – to uncompress it. After that, just copy the uncompressed files to anywhere on your WinMo phone.

Using the new version is done in exactly the same way as the old, 0.63 one. (Nevertheless, the config file has changed a bit; for exaple, the MIDI / MT-32 / GUS emulation section has been completely taken out. (This is pretty much understandable: not even the much less demanding FM synthesis of the Adlib / Sound Blaster work at full speed in most games, let alone the much more CPU-demanding midi…) Therefore, you can just go on with the 0.63-specific sections in my definitive guide to running (MS-)DOS (80x86) programs under Windows Mobile (http://www.smartphonemag.com/cms/blogs/3/the_definitive_guide_to_running_ms_dos_8_12) on how the config file can be configured, what famous games the emulator is compatible with etc.

Speaking of compatibility (and speed), I’ve played quite a bit with the new version. I’ve tested Companions of Xanth (http://www.abandonia.com/games/en/449/CompanionsofXanth.htm), directly comparing it to how the old version (0.63) runs the title, to see whether there’s any speed increase. There is (the background music stuttered definitely less, particularly in the intro animation), but don’t expect miracles.

Also, there still are problems with the mouse emulation. While the latest version of the major alternative MS-DOS emulator, PocketDOS (as of the latest, 12.2 version), has absolutely no problems with titles like the above-mentioned Xanth and, among others, Where in the World is Carmen Sandiego (http://www.abandonia.com/en/games/13/Where+in+the+World+is+Carmen+Sandiego.html) when it comes to stylus-based control, both titles can only be operated with dragging in DOSBox. (Too bad PocketDOS is commercial and doesn’t have any kind of Adlib / Sound Blaster emulation.) Unfortunately, it seems DOSBox will always suffer from this problem.

There’s no VGA support either – that is, high-res (EGA / VGA) games will still be rendered in QVGA even on VGA Pocket PC’s. In this regard, PocketDOS is much better too.

In addition to the new core and the somewhat improved speed, there are some (subtle) improvements. For example, now, by default, four virtual keyboard rows are displayed, with the topmost blended into background: