Emulation Of Dos Classics


Sep 20, 2005
Can supercool game X from my wayback DOS machine be ported?

Short answer: Don't count on it.

Long answer: There are a few sides to this question:
  • Can the game itself be ported?
    Porting requires the game's original source code. Some companies have released the source to their classic games. Example: ID Software has released the source of such games as Wolfenstein 3D, Doom and Quake). If there's no source, the game can never be ported to run natively on any other system.
  • Does the game run on a dedicated engine?
    Some other games from that era are interpreted by a dedicated engine. In some special cases, this engine can be ported, or a compatible engine can be made from scratch. A prime example of this is of course LucasArt's adventure interpreter called SCUMM, and it's emulator called ScummVM. However, this is an exception to the rule! Most games are written to access the hardware directly, and do not run on some sort of virtual machine.
  • Is there an clone of the game being made?
    Clones may fall into two categories: a complete remake of the game, or a remake of the engine, using the data files of the original game. Both can probably be ported, because most clone projects are open source by design. However, first you'll have to find such a clone project, and it goes without saying that not every game you may want to run will be cloned somewhere. Usually, this is reserved for only the most popular games, such as Command & Conquer (FreeCNC) or Transport Tycoon (OpenTTD).
What about DOS emulation? I know there is such a thing as DOSbox!

Have you ever tried DOSbox? I have a Pentium 4 multiple-Ghz machine and One Must Fall 2097 runs like a slug in mud. I haven't tried Bochs but I assume it will be similar.

The reality is that a DOS emulator would have to emulate not only an x86 processor (which is a complicated little thing), but also the video card and the sound card to be anywhere near useful. This is just very expensive (computation-wise) to pull off.

DOS emulation is a tough cookie on any system, let alone an embedded device with limited processing power.

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(More information or links on this subject are always appreciated and will be added to the first post)
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Staff member
Mar 4, 2003
lintsniffer posted on May 10 2006 at 07:00 AM said:
Duke Nukem 3D...

I can dream, can't I?

Well, why don't you simply use the Duke3D port for the gp2x? ;)
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