Building a vintage DOS gaming PC.

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Chip Hageman
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So, I'm in the process of building a DOS gaming rig. It's a 386SX/25 with a 387 math coprocessor (though I really don't need it). I'm still waiting on a few things to come in: I'm going to be using a 2 gig Compact Flash card as the hard drive but the CF-IDE adapter has not arrived yet. I also need a CMOS battery so I'm using a 3 AA cell battery pack with NiMH cells. This will give me my 3.6 volts since NiMH and NiCD cells normally clock in around 1.2 volts rather than 1.5... but, as with the CF-IDE adapter, I'm still waiting for it to come in.

So, to get in the mood for some DOS gaming goodness, I've watched all of the Matt Chat episodes, which I thoroughly enjoyed. I also found a few DOS game collection YouTube videos which are fun and nostalgic to watch.

I've included a couple for your viewing pleasure. BTW: any suggestions on DOS gaming or just general things to include in my system, I'd appreciate hearing them.


[Non-Embeddable: DOS Games Glory (YouTube Link)]

-Gandalf42

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Nathaniel Tolbert
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Got that...
ruthan wrote:

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Other great solution is some ultimate Dosbox build, now is dosbox capable - run networking, glide 3dfx graphics, even 95 and 98 with sound, 3dfx and networking (Half-life, Diablo etc, Dungeon Keeper everything works like a charm) with sound, networking, everything what you need for old games, event on android

I already have that, It's a Pentium III 1GHz (Katmai I believe) with a Voodoo 5 5500, 512 MB Ram, 80 GB Hard drive with a Sound Blaster Live! card with the midi interface that supposedly supports intelligent Midi Mode (don't know as I don't have mini-midi din to regular midi din cables) All wrapped up in a nice Mini mid tower. Runs Windows 98 SE for the OS.

-edit- Sorry it's called a Voodoo 5 5500 not Voodoo 3 5500. I guess I should read the box that is sitting on the shelf before I post, huh?

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ruthan
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Dont be lazy to think..

I for old games using latest Core 2 Duo + SATA real motherboard (such 775i65G, i have differen, but i dont find it right now) from Asrock + Dual Core celeren, 4 GB of memory and new SATA HDD linux FAT32 partitions, there also PCI slots for old Sound blaster card if you want, but universal SB emulator driver for Realteks, works without issues.

Asrock is single company what supports such wild combination.. Only important think is have HW, what is capable run Windows 98, if this runs, MS DOS 7.0, 6.22 and FreeDos will runs too. Windows 98 simply support every HW without PCI-E bus. Bonus is that such pc, could be also HTPC for movie etc with any modern OS in dual/multiboot (i personaly have DOS 7 + old style autoexec and config; Win 98 SE; WIn XP and Win Vista, Kubuntu 10.4 linux old games machine).

You can use older HW, but problem is noise level of old HDD, AT power supplies. There isnt passive cooled AT power supply, HDD noise could solved by used IDE to SD card adapter + memory card as hdd.

Windows 98 is capable without unofficial patch works with 512 MB (with patch it is a bit problematic, 512 is enough), but more memory isnt problem, you should only set some SW cap, in some conf file.

Important is only monitor:
- must be CRT 19-21 inches, trinitron idealy, LCD sucks with interpolation

There very few games which havent CPU cap, and runs for slowy, but this could by fixed through simple HW, becuase different games, has are too quick on different CPU, but dont very there are programs for slow CPU cycles for dos, im using they 18 years.

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Other great solution is some ultimate Dosbox build, now is dosbox capable - run networking, glide 3dfx graphics, even 95 and 98 with sound, 3dfx and networking (Half-life, Diablo etc, Dungeon Keeper everything works like a charm) with sound, networking, everything what you need for old games, event on android

There also Archos Gamepad + Dosbox Turbo and Dosbox Turbo Manager, which is great.
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So, there are lots of possibility, and dos / win 9x gaming never was such plesant experience.

Who: Brujah Zealot, the pimp of babylons bitch. / Location: Scorched heart of Europe. // Sorry for my moldavian sort of english, i have 2 possibilities, to be silent or try to say something +look like idiot..

Nathaniel Tolbert
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Been a while...

It's been a while since you last spoke about this. How is the machine set up now? I'm curious to see how things are going for it.

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Nathaniel Tolbert
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That is correct
Catatonic wrote:

I've seen people recommend a Sound Blaster Pro for games of that era. Supposedly the SB 16 might sound a bit different or have bugs in the FM synthesis chip... I don't know... I never noticed such a problem when I had one.

You are correct, there was an issue with the Sound Blaster 16 when it was originally released. It was specifically with the DAC though which caused a lot of signal noise. As far as I know there was no problem with the OPL 3 FM synth chip, but you never know. Also the reason most people recommend the SB Pro or SB Pro 2 is because of it's compatibility range. An SB Pro will work with all games that support a Sound Blaster. An SB16 may or may not work. A good example would be all of the early VGA based Sierra games. To make them work with a SB16, you have to update the SB.drv file for the games otherwise you get hung sounds, rapid sounds, or the game crashes. For the hardcore gamers, I recommend getting a Sound Blaster 1.0 because it supports the CMS system as well, and it will let you hear pretty much any game out there as it supports Ad-lib, CMS, and Digital 8 bit audio (parsed through the CPU though, unlike the interpolated sound functions of the GUS which did it internal on the sound board.).

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Nathaniel Tolbert
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I have 2 486 systems, here,

I have 2 486 systems, here, one DX 33 and one DX2 66 system. i have another DX 2 66 system that needs some solder work done to remove the RTC Clock and replace it with a new one (I have the part info and a socket and replacement rtc lined up, I just cannot solder) so if someone is looking for an old basic DOS machine, I can supply one. I have also a Gateway 2000 4DX2 66 but it's broken (either the BIOS is corrupt and needs to be reflashed, or the built in Video card is dead) and I do not know what's wrong with it at all. If I could fix it, I would give that to anyone that wanted it as well.

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TripHamer
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Still got a win 98 box.

It's a 1 gig system and still running win 98 on it. I have an older computer (500mhz) and enough parts to make a 400mhz system, but nothing older than that. However my Win 98 box does still have a 5 1/4 drive on it and I got plenty of 5 1/4 game discs. Some games are even for an 8088. :)

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Nathaniel Tolbert
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I was looking around E-bay

I was looking around E-bay and I saw this - http://cgi.ebay.com/Roland-SCC-1-ISA-MIDI-MPU-sound-card-Wavetable-RARE-... - Now I hate when people use that stupid RARE tag, but for this item..... Well it's kinda accurate. There weren't a lot of these cards released so I was kinda surprised to see it. It would be super cool to have one as you can midi out to an MT-32 and have a full music set up for games. I don't remember where I read it, but I recall a game musician saying, that if you wanted to hear how the music was supposed to sound, you used a Roland Sound Canvas, MT-32, CM-64, or an SCC-1 as those were what was used to produce the music for the game originally. If only I had the money. I would so make an offer on that card.

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Nathaniel Tolbert
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Excellent, thank you for

Excellent, thank you for letting me know. I appreciate the update. You can find information about quest studios at http://www.queststudios.com The owner of the site is very informative with the various professional midi technologies that were used and are still used today in production. Very nice site. But I have to admit, I'm a Sierra fan. I pretty much have every point and click adventure game they released, on both PC and a fair chunk of the versions they released on Amiga, as that was my first computer.

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Bill Loguidice
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Feel free to post links to

Feel free to post links to relevant Websites, Nathaniel.

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Nathaniel Tolbert
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I'm trying to remember... I

I'm trying to remember... I found my MPU-IPC-T card on a forum for classic computer games. I am pretty certain it was attached to Quest Studios which deals almost exclusively with Classic Sierra music. The forum members are very good with classic sound cards and architecture, so I would recommend checking them out. It's a very nice website if you enjoy classic Sierra music too. Tom Lewandowski (The website creator) is a musician and he composed new music and re-arranged music for AGD Interactive's QFG2VGA release. I won't post a link to the website as I am not fully acclimated to the rules of the forum here and I do not wish to break any rules, but a quick google search will get you there just fine. Back on topic.. When I purchased my MPU-IPC-T card the gentleman had a Gravis Ultrasound card he was willing to sell it to me, but I already have a GUS card and didn't need one.

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