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AlexMax

A box!? What's in the box?

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Yesterday, DOSBox 0.70 was released to the world. Among the improvements listed, a couple of them is sure to catch the eye of the wary:

- Speed up the dynamic cpu core (certain games get much faster).
- Add a dynamic fpu on x86 hosts.
- Improve the cycle guessing code (and make it default).
- Speed up the screen drawing code.

What does this translate to? In a word, DOSBox is now tons faster when playing demanding games, and what's more it's configured out of the box for the best settings.

What does this have to do with Doom? Well, with all the improvements, doom.exe is now playable at Pentium speeds on modern computers, and it's no longer necessary to keep your 10+ year old Pentium around just to watch demos or play accurate multiplayer. Speaking of multiplayer, did I mention that DOSBox can pipe IPX and Null Modem protocol over the Internet? But don't just take my word for it, mosey on over to the download page and grab a copy for yourself.

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I prefer to use my old 486 over any emulator. But right now it's not up and running, so I'm using Dosbox...

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DIE-KNOW-MIGHT!

WHOO-HOO BABY! DOSBOX IS COOKING WITH PLASMA! NOW WE'RE IN THE BIG LEAGUES!

Seriously, that was a much needed upgrade, it was just weird that the best way to play vanilla over XP was to reduce a 3 GHz machine to sub-486 performance (actually, the result was comparable to a 486 with a super-fast hard disk, lots of RAM, fast graphics but a disproportionally weak CPU, more in the 486SX/25 and 386DX/40 leagues than a late 486 DX4/100.)

Anyway, DOSBOX 0.70 is here to kick some serious demonic butt :-D

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Ironically, certain MAME emulation cores, which are optimized for anything but speed pump out more "raw" emulated processing power and video processing for exotic types of GPUs and CPUs than DOSBOX does on Intel platform for programs that used purely the CPU itself.

Yeah, emulation is costly, but let's see...a 3 GHz Pentium 4 does minimum 1 instruction per cycle (usually more), while a 486 was "stuck" at one instruction per cycle (roughly 1 MIPS per MHz).

That means, for emulating a 100 Mhz Pentium, a clock cycles ratio of 30:1, which is more than enough. For comparison, there are 680x0 emulation cores that achieved an emulated speed of 8 Mhz for a 68000 CPU on a 486DX/40, by using dynamic recompilation. (That means 5:1 clock ratio, and for a non-Intel CPU with 32 bit registers).

DOSBOX needed a better core badly, that's it.

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The x86 ISA might have something to do with that. 68K is pretty small and simple from what I know, but x86 is quite the opposite. This isn't a stripped-down architecture designed specifically for games we're dealing with.

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Yes the x86 platform is insanely complex, and not nearly as easy to emulate. I'm sure if they could make it go 10 times faster due to a core rewrite, they would have allready.

That being said .. I have a AMD X2 4200+, and every game I've tried runs perfectly, and much faster than a Pentium MX would. The new dynamic core mode rocks!

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I've had 0.65 for a while now, and I can attest that this is quite an improvement.

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I got Blood up and running on my AMD X2 3800 with no problems now. It does say I have only 14 MB of Ram when starting up, though.

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I don't use it for doom (chocolate doom anyone?), but I'm really quite pleased about its release for some other games.

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I mainly use it for Syndicate, System Shock and Crusader aswell as golden old platformers like Lost Vikings and Halloween Harry :O~~.

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The latest dosbox is so great! But be carefull, or.. why does it happen to me that when I set it to cycles=automatic (as it originally is) the speed is around 3000 cycles even after running some things that need more speed and they go slow? I thought it would increase the speed to some good value automatically as the previous versions did. And so,. after I was puzzled why it wasn't as fast, I show the mistake and forgot the automatic cycles. Just gone the old way Ctrl+F11/12 and some cycles set. And I see it's much much faster even if I haven't tried Doom yet. What I tried is the demos from the demoscene, even the Pentium demos now can ran at something like 30fps with too much cycles up without sound loosing, when I remember them running 5-10fps at times (iirc). That's quite an improvement and I can finally enjoy huge piles of DOS demos from the scene!!! I guess, the same way I will be able to play Blood now =)

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But it was slow by any standard, or rather, there was a great asymmetry between video/memory and CPU emulation, so that especially in Doom screen redrawing was in general smooth and loading ultra-fast compared to a real 486, but it played as if it tried to render 35 fps on a machine that cannot do it, thus resulting in a "slow motion" effect. DOSBOX 0.70 is a great improvement in that sense.

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To all the fellas out there with geeks to impress
It's easy to do just follow these steps
1: Cut a hole in a box
2: Put your DOS in that box
3: Make 'em open the box
And that's the way you do it
It's my DOS in a box!

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Does that mean that my Stonekeep dosnt stumble anymore?!?
YAY!!!

And i can play Die Total Verr├╝ckte Rally and BattleIsle 3 again because it can run Win 3.11.
YAY^2!!! >^.^<

BTW:
What is DTVR called outside Germany?
Its from BlueByte and its some kind of boardgame simulation where you drive trough Europe and try to be the first at some random checkpoint.
The last player gets a dude called Dr Drago, who fucks around with that players money/buildings/etc...

EDIT:
Found it out myself, Wiki helps ;)
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dr._Drago%27s_Madcap_Chase

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One, cut a hole in the box
Two, put your junk in that box
Three, make her open the box
And thats the way you do it!

It's my dick in a box!

edit: beaten like a rented mule sorry guys

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I've been gone for a couple of days, but the day before, I tried a great number of games with DOSBox, all of which worked.

  • Doom Press Release Beta: I'll admit, this was the game that I actually tested on 0.70 to give it a "seal of approval" so to speak. Needless to say, it ran perfectly.
  • Tyrian: In 0.65, I could only run it in Low detail, and it ran like ass when any parallex came up. Now it runs perfectly on Insane, with only very very minor slowdown.
  • MDK: I dunno why I had this game lying around, but it didn't even run in DOSBox 0.65, due to DOSBox not emulating fast enough. It ran great in 0.70
  • Carmageddon: I tried this game on a whim, not having tried it in 0.65. It ran just like I remembered it running on my Pentium, music included. People seem to like Carmageddon 2 better than this game for some reason, but honestly I think that this game had better maps and better atmosphere.
  • One Must Fall: The only problem I ran into is that when put the game itself on full speed, it ran way too fast. Putting it on anything other than full speed fixed things
The main improvement was speed, mainly because DOSBox 0.65 could only do about 20000 cycles before it started stuttering. Having 0.70 handle cycles automatically improves things drastically.

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