NôÓbsletters: Moar games!Moar compatibility!

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Well, let's face it! Users love Games. Me too.

I still have some really great childhood memories, playing with those lovely old games.

Do you remember trying to save the poor Lemmings? Damn, they do seem predestined to fall! 

Or what about XWing? And Dangerous Dave (a blatant game copy of  inspired by Super Mario)? I still have nightmares with the Aliens from X-COM every once in a while !

Yes, they are not "Crysis V" but these games have some strange power to keep people me sitting for hours in front of odd-ugly graphics.

Some of the best adventure games are from that era: Day of the Tentacle, the first Monkey Islands, Sam & Max...

 

 

You would probably face tons of issues if you try to run these old games (DOS games) directly in Windows or Linux unless you use an app called DosBOX. For those who don't know about it, it is a (software) BOX where you can run DOS games.It's free, opensource and downlodable through ReactOS Apps Manager(rapps) !

But, no, this is not about DOSBox but about ReactOS...

 

 

But what if...what if...ReactOS would be able to run aaaall these apps without forcing you to download, install and #"$%&!? configure DosBOX?

Imagine something as easy peasy as copying the game to ReactOS and double clicking to launch it?

 

Wouldn't that be...really awesome ?!!

 

Aleksander Andrejevic, Hermès Bélusca-Maïto and V are currently working to achieve exactly that, and they're progressing quite nicely. David Quintana and Grégory Macario Herbs were helping a little too!

These guys are coding an equivalent of Ntvdm.exe, the NT Virtual DOS machine, along with the Fast486 library for emulating a 486 CPU. I won't go into the technical details because the official Newsletters will (hopefully) do so. To sum it up: when you run the Game, somehow, and thanks to Black Vodoo tricks, Ntvdm.exe, Fast486 and several other parts of ReactOS (like the Console) join together and as a result the game runs: A-we-some. 

A-we-some, because it is a "We" work, a team of devs working on a common goal, and also because it forced them to implement several Windows BIG undocumented functionalities and rework some others (don't miss this link to understand the heavy work behind it!). Speaking of which, I don't wanna miss the opportunity to thank V "The Testcaser". He's creating Testcases to prove that the implementation behaves wrong well wrong well...whatever. Testcasers are invaluable. Btw, V is trying to find someone with an x486 computer around. So if you have one, please, visit our IRC, say "hello!" and help us !

This team keeps working daily on Ntvdm, Fast486 and Console fixes, so ReactOS is becoming moar and moar compatible with these games,and well, they were so far able to make a "complex" game, Dangerous Dave, work. Here's the proof:

 

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There is a lot of work before Monkey Island and "big games" work in ReactOS, but ey! thanks to their work we're a little bit closer to enjoy them running in ReactOS. Some "Sound card" and "VGA" fixing is needed in order to increase the chances to running them. This development is not just about Games but also about Apps. DOS apps will be able to run in ReactOS too, and this is a big advantage compared to DosBox! A DOS app prefers to live in a native environment (aka ReactOS) than inside a "virtualizer" as DosBOX. I prefer to live in the Caribbean, but well, geek apps have their own odd preferences !

Some of the Demo DOS apps tested are XMAS(what a proper app! Jingle Bells!) and WIN_AT_HELL( Gore sense of humor).

Try to discover which is each one:

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Right now all this development is being done in a branch, so you won't be able to enjoy it until they decide to move their work into ReactOS trunk. Sorry guys ! You'll have to wait (unless you ask for a way to test it...)

In the meantime, you can enjoy their progress through this JIRA ticket. As always, ReactOS is open to new contributors, so if this project moves something inside you (nostalgia), and you want to contribute(somehow) then please feel free to visit us in our IRC Freenode Headquarters: #ReactOS. There is always something to be done!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Comments

For everybody curious to see NTVDM in action, you can download it from: https://jira.reactos.org/secure/attachment/23015/ntvdm.exe , or you can go to the bug-report http://jira.reactos.org/browse/CORE-7250 and download ntvdm.exe the latest one (i.e. the entry in blue amongst the list of various files and of previous versions of ntvdm that are in grey).

This is a quite different Newsletter, well written.

I played around with ntvdm:

Aaargh
Arkanoid
Barbarian

there is much work left to do, but this is already a big achievement. Thanks to everyone who is involved.

BTW: There are many test cases on abandonia.com

Hehe...I see you found a way to test DOS games :)
Thanks for giving it an opportunity...The work is ongoing so..for sure,and after those VGA and Sound fixes, we will be able to lose some time...erhh...to have great time alphatesting them. :D

I don't have a 486, but I do think I've still got a 386 laying around somewhere. That any good? That said, I'm not sure if it still works. It's been...ages...since I last used him. Maybe 1995, or 1996? Or was that the Tandy 1000TX? Anyay, must be longer than ten years, at the least.

Sadly seems they need a 486,just reasked, :(... I don't know which Museum will have one...but if you have a 386, I bet someone will have a 486.
Thanks anyway!Keep it around, maybe they will need it for FAST386 library..who knows? :)

Haha, when I just saw the new blog entry on the homepage of ReactOS. I really thought "oh no, the site has been hacked on the new servers". But then I noticed the "Noobsletters" and remembered that you wanted to call your blog posts that.

It was fun reading this! News to me!

Yup, looks really odd compared to the seriousness of the whole site :)
I dont enjoy creating too serious blogposts or let's say I prefer to have my own way(probably that's the reason they will never let me write official newsletters or maybe my pretty bad Engrish):).
Maybe I have to add a Disclaimer saying that these posts under "Noobsletters" section are totally unofficial. But well...I bet the WTF! face is part of the sense of the blog post. :)
Moar "hacked" noobsletters soon ;)

Good post!
I've never tried out NTVDM myself(I have no clue how to use it!) but it is good to see that there is an alternative to DOSBox.

There is a clear difference in newsletter writing styles - between the former ones (written by Z98) and this one!

You deserve a medal guys: \0/! And now...keep them coming...I love the smell of Broken Sword early at the morning. :p

It appears that the website takes quite long to "confirm" that posts are submitted, and clicking several times on "Save" makes those multi-post problems.

It happened to me too. Sometimes it throws me a Server error. Aggh. Anyway..I have delete access so I will fix the mess :)

Because of the fact that the current build of NTVDM we're featuring (rev61111) is not integrated into the OS as the Windows' equivalent is, you have to use the following command-line to test it:
ntvdm.exe
(.exe and .com are both supported)

ntvdm.exe my_DOS_program.exe

of course :)
(looks like adding some chevrons to the text doesn't work...)

Sadly, I've only got 386 here, I had (a pretty decent) one at a time, but I got robbed :(
However, I saw an auction in my countries equivalent to ebay, so I might try to buy it for cheap and donate it. Only thing, I want to know how should I send it. I don't have too much space to have it running here, so having it here and helping with the testing (if that's the point of having a real 486) is sadly not an option.
Also, I have some scrap computers, I think I'll check first to make sure I don't have a functional 486 here already.

I already told z98 in his newsletter: this comment-thingy is unstable. Most of the time, when I press 'save', it just hangs, and hangs, and ultimatily gives an error. One is hard pressed to believe it worked, then, so people naturally post it again. Yet, while you don't see it and there's an error, the comment *actually* went through (you can see that if you start afresh on the site). So people who have tried it more than once, thinking it didn't work (due to the hanging and error), actually place their comment twice or more.

One should really look into this...

Are you still looking for the 486?

I have a nice 486 Laptop that would be very glad to donate.

Just tell me where do you want it and I will send it! (well, once I test it is still working)

Are you still looking for the 486?

I have a nice 486 Laptop that would be very glad to donate.

Just tell me where do you want it and I will send it! (well, once I test it is still working)

Is moar a word in Alternative English or am I missing something?

Please give me editor access and let me correct the extra newlines and any spelling/grammaticoal (sic) errors. Someone has been writing content using a Microsoft product...

It is refreshing to have a new style though.

Is moar a word in Alternative English or am I missing something?

Please give me editor access and let me correct the extra newlines and any spelling/grammaticoal (sic) errors. Someone has been writing content using a Microsoft product...

It is refreshing to have a new style though.

...and could fit well to this wish over at gog.com. http://www.gog.com/wishlist/site/add_reactos_as_third_supported_platform...

Did you guys ever tried to get in contact with the nice gog.com folks? As explained in in the link, could be helpful for both sides...

NTVDM revision 61451: http://jira.reactos.org/secure/attachment/23309/ntvdm.exe
Few APIs for VDDs are implemented (as well as VDD registering/unregistering).
What doesn't work: MMIO for VDDs, TSRs, launching another DOS app from a DOS app... (the last two points need tight integration with the OS, in particular in kernel32.dll and in basesrv.dll, which is totally undocumented).
See http://svn.reactos.org/svn/reactos/branches/ntvdm/?view=log for commit logs.

This blog post represents the personal opinion of the author and is not representative of the position of the ReactOS Project.