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DOSBox is an emulator that emulates an IBM PC compatible DOS environment. DOSBox is the principle means of running old MS-DOS games under modern platforms and many GOG games come packaged with it (see Category:Games packaged with DOSBox).
The latest DOSBox version is 0.74.
This article showcases a series of tweaks to DOSBox which can improve performance and enjoyment.
Before blindly engaging in DOSBox configuration, it may be helpful to peruse the official DOSBox Wiki to get an understanding of the program and how games run.
Each GOG comes pre-configured with settings which are playable on most computer systems. In general, GOG succeeds at getting their games to run. To get the games to run on the majority of computers, however, restraints are made in their configuration. With this as the case, there is still room for configuring which could make the various games perform better.
The important files with respect to GOG DOS games are the ones with the .CONF extension. Usually they are named "dosbox<GAME>.CONF" with <GAME> as the game's name.
Stay up to date
Always ensure you have the latest version of DOSBox. There is no particular reason to use legacy version of the program, as each version substantially improves upon earlier versions. Many GOG.com releases come with an outdated version of DOSBox (see Category:Games with an outdated version of DOSBox).
Roland MT-32 support
Several GOG games include MT-32 audio in addition to standard SoundBlaster and/or MIDI. DOSBox does not emulated the MT-32 directly yet but there are a few ways of getting it working with a real or emulated MT-32.
To get the MT-32 ready for use with with DOSBox follow these steps:
- For a real MT-32 or other compatible Roland device connect the device and install the associated drivers if applicable.
- For an emulated MT-32 you will need the MT32_Control.ROM and MT32_PCM.ROM files (you will need to acquire these yourself), as well as the Munt installer (for 64-bit Windows use this Munt installer instead).
- Run DOSBox directly (any version will do) and enter the command
MIXER /LISTMIDI. Take note of the number beside the entry for the MT-32 device (probably 1).
- Edit the game's configuration file (for Vista and newer right-click Notepad and run as an administrator, then open from within Notepad).
- Under the
[midi]heading, add a new entry
midiconfig=1(or whatever number was given at step 1).
- Save your changes and exit Notepad.
Configuring the games
Ultima Underworld 1 + 2 are already set up to use MT-32 by default, but for other games you will need to run the game's setup program manually. Refer to the game's wiki entry for instructions. Also note that not all games include MT-32 audio support. For a real Roland device choose your model if the game lists it, otherwise choose the MT-32 option (even if your model is different).
Now that you have set up both DOSBox and the game, launch the game. You should now hear MT-32 audio. The emulated MT-32 will be routed through your default audio output device while for a real MT-32 it will play through whatever is connected to your Roland hardware.
The above steps are the preferable method, but if they don't work for you there are a few other options.
Use an alternative DOSBox build (emulated MT-32 only)
- Replace the bundled DOSBox install with Taewoong's DOSBox SVN build, overwriting all files.
- Put MT32_Control.ROM and MT32_PCM.ROM in the DOSBox folder.
- When running the game switch to windowed mode (Alt+Enter), open the Sound menu and change MIDI>Device to MT-32.
- Still in windowed mode, open the Main menu and choose "Save the current settings", overwriting the existing configuration file.
- Restart the game to hear the changes take effect.
Make MT-32 the default for all games (real or emulated MT-32)
Another option is to make the MT-32 the default MIDI device for all games. While this is mostly compatible you may notice some strange results from games that aren't specifically configured for MT-32 support. After installing the real or emulated MT-32 follow these steps to make it the default MIDI device:
Vista and newer:
- Download Putzlowitsch's Vista MIDI Mapper Control Panel
- Extract it to %SystemRoot%\System32 for 32-bit Windows, or %SystemRoot%\SysWOW64 for 64-bit Windows
- Open the Control Panel and launch the new "Putzlowitschs Vista-MIDIMapper" entry.
- Select the appropriate MIDI device and click Apply.
- Open the Control Panel
- If in category view, choose Sounds, Speech, and Audio Devices; alternately, choose Sounds.
- Click on the Audio tab
- Change the MIDI device box to the appropriate MIDI device and click Apply.
Copy the "Target" and "Start in" sections of a start menu/desktop shortcut and paste it into the respective section of a Properties dialog in Steam. It doesn't matter which non-Steam program you add, just be sure to rename the program.
Some DOSBox GOG games are playable with other programs. One could use these programs to bypass DOSBox issues altogether. For some, source ports are available (such as eDuke32 for Duke Nukem 3D and WinROTT for Rise of the Triad). There are other emulation programs, such as ScummVM and Frotz, which play some GOG games. See this wiki's product pages for detailed information as to which games use which programs.