2006-02-17

DosBox for the GP2X

Most work in the open-source world is done by developers scratching their own itches. This is another example of that.

As my prior blog posts attest, my current favorite toy is the GP2X handheld. One of the things I want to do with it is to play an old DOS game that I loved seventeen years ago (yikes!), BlockOut. This was a fantastic 3-D variant on the Tetris theme.

I looked into various options: porting one of its clones, running it under the already-ported Bochs emulator, rewriting from scratch... I finally had some success by porting DosBox to the GP2X platform. It's similar to Bochs in that it is a software emulation of the Intel CPU, but it also directly provides the DOS infrastructure, and is designed primarily for DOS games.

Well, it works well enough for me to play BlockOut, so I'm making what I've done so far available for download here. It's definitely for people who like to fiddle, since you really have to rewrite obscure text configuration files for every game you want to play, and you have to creatively map the GP2X buttons to enough keys to make the game playable.

If you've got an old DOS game working on the GP2X using this, please let me know!

PS: The source for the GP2X kernel is still missing in action, although a new version of the binary has been released today. My self-imposed grace period may be expiring soon. UPDATE: It looks like there was a source release today to coincide with the updated kernel. I'm checking it out of the Subversion repository right now to see what we've got.

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23 comments:

Anonymous said...

big smiles, :)

wild_eyed

Anonymous said...

Neat!
Thanks

Quiest said...

Cool!
Good thing that no one told you there is a really well working Genesis port of BlockOut, that runs wonderful in DRMDx.

Thanks!

Anonymous said...

Great!

My Dosbox awaits Ultima IV!!! hahah :D

Cu

Anonymous said...

Congratulations, you're going to make all of us (retro gamers) happy :)

Regards,
dshaman

Anonymous said...

Great, :D
Cant wait to get a gp2x...

aapje89

Anonymous said...

Hi,

I managed to run Alone In The Dark. It's slow, but at least it works.

I don't see your email to send you the files, sorry

bjimba said...

It's bjimba@jimr.us -- one of these days I'll update the template for this site to add it.

Anonymous said...

I am running a Chinese version RPG game with VGA on it. It seems quit slow but anyway it works. The problem now is to find out the right keyboard map to walk around the game.

Anonymous said...

Sir, I want you to make DOSBox for GP2X faster, because Commander Keen 4 has speed issues, less than half the speed of what it would be on a conventional PC.

bjimba said...

Oh, do you, now? Would you like me to get you a cuppa tea after that?

Anonymous said...

Hi, where can we report bugs and send the dosbox.conf and mapper.txt ?

pelle said...

Nice! As soon as I found this I created a configuration for playing The Ancient Art of War (original CGA version), and it works great. Mapping about 25 different keys to the GP2X was difficult until I realised I could use L and R as modifiers. I will need to document the controls with some screenshots before sharing if anyone is going to be able to understand what all the key combos does.

starpause said...

number munchers is playable with the default mapper.txt and settings that you have included! AWESOME, THANK YOU!!! it isn't full speed but still fun to hack at this blast from the past!

Kcar said...

You can also check / add game configurations on http://wiki.gp2x.org/wiki/DosBox

Anonymous said...

Hi I've been playing around with this on my GP2x (Mk2 FW2) for the past few days. I've Managed DN1 and Keen. But so far, no luck with tyrian (reported working on the wiki), *ahem* ega trek and Nukem2. What puzzles me for tyrian is that I'm not even seeing the dosbox stuff appear, before the game drive is mounted and the exe run. Seems like its not seeing the config file or something. I used the working config for DN1 which in theory would at least get me that far, but no. Any thoughts? Thanks for DN1 and Keen, at least, the first and most favoured games I played on PC.

-random person

predatorramboxxx said...

yo i wanna say that dosbox for the gp2x is amazing i got warcarft to run quest for glory 3 to run great and raptor call of shadows to run and many more. My question is how do you adjust the speed of the emulator and how do you decidate more memory becuase iam trying to run chasm the rift and etc.. and i want to play games like quest for glory and warcraft at full speed i know if you adjust the speed to about 240 it will run ful speed so can you please help me. Thanks to contact me email me at predatorramboxxx@gmail.com also very soon i will be puting these games ont he gp2x archive using dosbox and inculding the free shareware of games like warcraft with all the config. files to run the gams with dosbox and of course i will give you credit for making this happen becuase of dosbox. thanks

Christopher said...

cant get it to work on firmware 3.0? what firmware was this tested on?

dghnfgj said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Glenn Scrima said...

Very cool post thanks for the info!

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
aggaz said...

Hello, I would like to download your patch/work but the link is broken. Can you update it?

aggaz said...

I just found it on you google site, sorry but it was invisible to me some day ago.