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Sign_of_Evil

Vanilla IPX Multiplayer

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Howdy all,

 

With all the source ports and modern ways to play Doom online, I've been experimenting with using DOSBox's ability to tunnel IPX/SPX traffic over UDP. When testing on my own, it doesn't work too badly at all assuming the latency is low (sub 100ms seems fine). With that, I'm experimenting with a dedicated tunneling server. This dedicated tunneling server allows DOSBox clients to connect and play over the Internet. The server overcomes the issue present in DOSBox whereas DOSBox has a limit of concurrent connections, which by itself isn't a problem, but the issue comes from DOSBox not housekeeping 'dead' connections after a player disconnects / closes DOSBox. The Java-based code I found online does well at tearing down unused connections. I've tweaked it a bit to remove unused client sessions after 300 seconds of inactivity. Activity is determined by keepalive from server to client. 

 

Now that I've described a bit of what I'm working on, would anyone be interested in playing on a server like this? IDK how many old-school vanilla DOS client players are out there but I figured it would be a good question to ask the community.

 

Hoping for some great responses. Thanks in advance.

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Probably not a lot of people using DOSBox, but I suppose for the purest of the purists, it might be a good idea. Otherwise people wanting a near-vanilla experience might do netplay via Chocolate Doom.

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1 hour ago, Sign_of_Evil said:

The Java-based code I found online does well at tearing down unused connections. I've tweaked it a bit to remove unused client sessions after 300 seconds of inactivity. Activity is determined by keepalive from server to client. 

This is awesome. Living in Australia makes it so that net games on Vanilla and Chocolate can be almost impossible to control, but there is definitely a small dedicated group of Vanilla and Choco players in the Choc Doom discord (don’t have the link on hand sadly)

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Hi! I've done a bunch of work in this space recently. Check out:

  • ipxbox - A dedicated packet server that speaks the DOSbox IPX protocol. It's written in Go and can be run on fairly low-spec systems like a Raspberry Pi or a cheap VPS. It also supports network bridging, so you can feasibly use it to let DOSbox clients connect to a physical network - for example so that you can play Doom games between DOSbox and real vintage DOS machines (though I haven't been able to actually try this yet)

    ipxbox already has timeouts for inactive clients and also sends periodic keepalive pings, something that DOSbox itself doesn't do, and is necessary to keep connections open when passing through NAT gateways, otherwise you can lose connection.
     
  • Chocolate Doom's vanilla-net branch adds IPX protocol support that will allow it to play against DOSbox clients (video below). Combined with ipxbox you should be able to run a game between Choco, DOSbox and real DOS machines.

 

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14 minutes ago, fraggle said:

Hi! I've done a bunch of work in this space recently. Check out:

  • ipxbox - A dedicated packet server that speaks the DOSbox IPX protocol. It's written in Go and can be run on fairly low-spec systems like a Raspberry Pi or a cheap VPS. It also supports network bridging, so you can feasibly use it to let DOSbox clients connect to a physical network - for example so that you can play Doom games between DOSbox and real vintage DOS machines (though I haven't been able to actually try this yet)

    ipxbox already has timeouts for inactive clients and also sends periodic keepalive pings, something that DOSbox itself doesn't do, and is necessary to keep connections open when passing through NAT gateways, otherwise you can lose connection.
     
  • Chocolate Doom's vanilla-net branch adds IPX protocol support that will allow it to play against DOSbox clients (video below). Combined with ipxbox you should be able to run a game between Choco, DOSbox and real DOS machines.

 

That looks really similar to the Java code I'm working with. Thanks!

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I guess what I'm looking for is an opinion as to "If I host this, what are the odds that anyone may use it?"

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1 hour ago, Sign_of_Evil said:

I guess what I'm looking for is an opinion as to "If I host this, what are the odds that anyone may use it?"

Not sure, but I'd suggest that the best place to look may be the Chocolate Doomslayers Discord where some players are playing Chocolate Doom regularly and I think have experimented with DOSbox a bit.

 

You might also try asking on vogons.org where there are DOS gaming enthusiasts playing other games besides just Doom.

 

I personally had some vague ideas about potentially setting up a bunch of dedicated IPX servers running in different geographical regions but it costs money to run servers (albeit not much nowadays) and really depends if anyone would want to use them.

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Posted (edited)

Not meaning to bump a month old thread but...

 

In my opinion about the old-school multiplayer, Playing MS-DOS (DOSBox) & Chocolate Doom multiplayer felt like if I was playing Doom II Deathmatch somewhere in 1996 except with high speed internet and modern technology :P

 

To be honest, Finding a DOS/Chocolate Doom network game could rather be like, instead of hoping into a random server with people like some do in ZDaemon/Zandronum, etc, You just basically ask someone if they are up for a game. (I think it was like that for DWANGO or other methods at the time.)

 

As for finding people to ask, I've only found a couple of people from the group and played DOOM II (sometimes Ultimate DOOM) with them, and it was worth the ask after having a lot of fun with old-school Doom II DM.

 

Also...

 

@Sign_of_Evil When you join in the Chocolate Doomslayers discord (I'm in the group too as, ForateiSIX), You can also get the Chocolate Doomslayers role to get notified when people are looking for people to play Chocolate Doom with.

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Thanks for linking that discord, I meant to ages ago and simply forgot.. Time Zone is the main reason I'm never there to DM at this point, the few times I've done it I really enjoyed it, especially with a fairly low ping connection.

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