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Linguica

Steam DOSBox Stuff

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If you're wondering why the Steam versions of Doom use DOSBox and doom*.exe instead of some nice friendly Windows version, wonder no more. I emailed John Carmack about it and he replied:

It all comes down to resources -- re-qualifying a release of anything takes a lot of time, money, and support, while just shipping the exact same executables was fairly straightforward. While Doom and Quake might be able to justify the work, there is no way a lot of the titles could, so the decision was pretty obvious.

I strongly urge people with a little initiative to go look at the various high quality source ports, because they are better in essentially every aspect than the original sources, but we aren't going to make any of them official.

So there you go. If you're not finding yourself a huge fan of the emulated DOSBox experience, we have a forum thread with some simple instructions on how to update the game for the current millennium.

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printz said:

No matter what, vanilla Doom will stay the best! Thanks id/Carmack!

True. And DOSBox emulates DOOM just fine now.

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I don't get this. How is it easier to choose and bundle a stable build of a DOS emulator than a stable build of a windows compatible source port? And if it's only justifiable for Doom and Quake then only do it for Doom and Quake. I guess it doesn't really matter since anyone who buys through Steam can easily get a windows port as well, but it just seems a rather lazy attitude.

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They needed something like DOSBox for all the DOS games, not just Doom and Quake. If they were just releasing those two it might have been different.

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@Jonathan (edit; damn fast replies): I don't care. If I need a source port (either for midi quality or map technology), I just download it. No need for formalities. I think id is well aware of download ease here, that's why they act lazy.

Another edit: big thx for title.

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Maybe somebody should e-mail Gabe and tell him to make it easier for the Doom games on Steam to use a source port. It'd take a little GUI change and some lines of code, heh.

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RazTK said:

True. And DOSBox emulates DOOM just fine now.

Does it? I tried playing Steamified Doom on my (middle of the road) laptop and the sound was lagged half a second, making it pretty much unplayable.

Not to mention, what are the minimum specs for DOSBoxed Doom?

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Linguica said:

Does it? I tried playing Steamified Doom on my (middle of the road) laptop and the sound was lagged half a second, making it pretty much unplayable.

Not to mention, what are the minimum specs for DOSBoxed Doom?

The sound lags a bit (but not for half a second, heh), but besides that, it's all okay.

I'm guessing the most important stuff in emulation is the processor (mine is Athlon 64 3200+ 2.02GHz) and memory (1GB for me).

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Linguica said:
Not to mention, what are the minimum specs for DOSBoxed Doom?

Most people using Steam play Half-life 2 and the like, so they have powerful systems that should run DOSBoxed DOOM well.

Jonathan said:
How is it easier to choose and bundle a stable build of a DOS emulator than a stable build of a windows compatible source port?

The port is replacing a component of the actual game, a piece that was made by id, while the emulator is only an added component that allows it to function on today's expected machine and OS. As it is (in the package), the game works on the systems that it was originally released for, plus modern or state of the art ones emulating it.

As far as a stable build of a port is concerned, that would be for now, supposedly, but how long that lasts also depends on it being supported so that it remains stable, something they can't guarantee without an effort (now and later).

I think that what he says at the end counts, as well. That they aren't going to make any of them official. Carmack knows there are many engines people use, with different features and aims, and (especially without putting work onto it) doesn't want to present one as backed by them. Otherwise some developers would be discouraged because people would say stuff like "uh, Port-A sucks, id sanctioned Port-B as the engine to use!"

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I think Carmack is just a cheap lazy piece of shit. He is saying fix it yourself, but we still want our money. They should either repackage it with a WORKING XP/Vista port or make it freeware.

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I sent an e-mail to Gabe Newell (he usually responds when I e-mail him) :

Hi Gabe,

With the release of id's catalogue on Steam, Doomers have taken an interest in the fact that Doom (and the other Doom-engine games, Heretic and Hexen) are obviously amongst this collection. As you're probably aware, Doom is open source and as such, modern engines have been created from the Doom code-base (commonly known as a "source port") to enhance the playing experience. Right now, using one of these modern engines with Doom on Steam is esoteric. We were hoping that it would be possible for a future update to allow Doom, Heretic and Hexen to launch an external engine. The modern engines today can play mods and maps that are simply not possible to play in the original engine, due to either effects not present in the Doom engine or because it requires a removal of some limits in the original engine like visplane overflow. This allows people that buy Doom on Steam to play thousands of user-created mods and keep the game alive and thriving.


We'll see what he says.

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Erp said:

He is saying fix it yourself, but we still want our money.

That "fixing" is free, unless we count the Internet-like costs.

Chocolate Doom would've been a valid choice, but it were worse if they didn't ship doom.exe as well. The big ports, however, are nonstandard and shouldn't be made official. It would become a sentimental war (alas, no money anywhere :( ).

For those where DosBOX w/ Doom FAILS, as well as DOS based progs, there must be a readme!.first which sends them here so they attempt to register and KABOOM very plain-looking HTML giving them proper direction.

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RazTK said:

True. And DOSBox emulates DOOM just fine now.

Perhaps it emulates it "just fine" after tweaking DOSBox, but the configuration that Steam ships with doesn't feel optimal to me. And I don't really want to bother reconfiguring it, either. I agree with Printz that Chocolate Doom could have been a great alternative.

Yanking the wads out of the steamapps folder and putting them where gzdoom/Doomsday/prboom could find them was much easier. Same thing goes with Wolf3d (which ran surprisingly crappy on my P4 3.2Ghz system).

Performance aside, it is interesting to go back and try to actually play these games from a control perspective. I used to be great at playing Doom and Wolf3d with just the keyboard, but this isn't the case anymore. The way the mouse was utilized in those days vs. how it is now was much different, and I'm sure this will be something gamers won't necessarily like.

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How fucking hard is it to find/use a source port? Carmack's no dummy which is why no extra effort was made to ship with anything but dosboxes. You're essentially just paying $ for the Iwads. Executables be damned. You need internet for steam so there's no excuse at not being able to come across a sourceport if teh DOSbox upsets your existance.

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Naked Snake said:
We'll see what he says.

Expect something like: "Hey, I'm glad Half-life's dad is doing well! You should talk to the id guys about that, as all we do is provide the service other developers can use to furnish their games to users".

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DJ_Haruko said:

Same thing goes with Wolf3d (which ran surprisingly crappy on my P4 3.2Ghz system).

Are you using the latest version of DOSBox (which is 0.71 right now)?

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ATTENTION DUMBFUCKS BLAMING CARMACK

Do you really think that John Carmack, programmer extraordinaire, is in charge of silly marketing decisions like this? During his developer speech at quakecon someone asked about the steam releases, and he wasn't aware that it was happening.

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I think I remember something about John Carmack trying to make Boom the official source port in the late 90s... does anyone remember what I'm talking about?

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I have recieved a two word reply from Valve (Gabe forwarded my e-mail to Erik Johnson) :

"Good suggestion."

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RazTK said:

Are you using the latest version of DOSBox (which is 0.71 right now)?

Nah, the 0.70 that came with Steam. I'm sure this is part of it, but I still expected slightly better performance than what I got. I haven't bothered keeping up with DOSBox much since the most I ever use it for is writing QBasic programs for work.

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MikeRS said:
I think I remember something about John Carmack trying to make Boom the official source port in the late 90s... does anyone remember what I'm talking about?

This should be placed in one of those "false rumors" sites, and it's one of the things that came to mind when I mentioned above how they wouldn't want to make an official engine, people being so sensitive to what he might say, or what they might do. Fraggle made a similar statement recently in another thread; in my reply there I linked to the .plan entry that I'm pretty sure spawned the idea.

It's clear Carmack favors community developed engines, since he released the source so that they would exist, and is sure to be proud to see them grow, not being shy to point out anything cool he hears about or checks out, but I doubt he'd want to meddle with that development by making any "official", especially considering the way he's always appreciated community based efforts that go alongside his games.

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I wish I still had all my emails from the early days of Doomworld because I swear that I had an email from John Carmack saying something about maybe doing a "Doom2000" with new levels and Boom as the engine.

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Linguica said:
I wish I still had all my emails from the early days of Doomworld because I swear that I had an email from John Carmack saying something about maybe doing a "Doom2000" with new levels and Boom as the engine.

There was OGRE, where the main source coders tried to get associated to develop a conjunct engine, and Carmack was part of the mailing list. I had see a page about it but I think it's gone, but Quasar also described it in the piece he wrote for the 10 years event. It's mentioned in the old news at the Team TNT site. Weren't you part of that?

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DJ_Haruko said:

Same thing goes with Wolf3d (which ran surprisingly crappy on my P4 3.2Ghz system).


Since Wolf3d is a real mode game you'll have to manually configure cycles (preferably to 'max')

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myk said:

This should be placed in one of those "false rumors" sites, and it's one of the things that came to mind when I mentioned above how they wouldn't want to make an official engine, people being so sensitive to what he might say, or what they might do. Fraggle made a similar statement recently in another thread; in my reply there I linked to the .plan entry that I'm pretty sure spawned the idea.

Heh; I didn't see the .plan article (or whatever; I don't have Flash), but I was fairly sure I read it on some site a few years go (predating the thread by far). I'm probably wrong at any rate.

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I strongly urge people with a little initiative to go look at the various high quality source ports, because they are better in essentially every aspect than the original sources, but we aren't going to make any of them official.

In my opinion, that's probably the best stance he can take. There are a dozen widely-used source ports, but dividing them by making one official would be a disservice to the community. Of course, at least giving us the option to USE one through Steam would be nice...

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myk said:

There was OGRE, where the main source coders tried to get associated to develop a conjunct engine, and Carmack was part of the mailing list. I had see a page about it but I think it's gone, but Quasar also described it in the piece he wrote for the 10 years event. It's mentioned in the old news at the Team TNT site. Weren't you part of that?

Believe it or not, I have emails from John Carmack that were addressed to me personally.

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