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Old 03-24-2009, 09:19 PM   #1
jrrtoken
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Dark Forces on DOSBox

Requirements:

Star Wars: Dark Forces CD-ROM
DOSBox v0.73
Missing Cutscene Patch
DOS/32 Advanced DOS Extender (Be sure to click on the one with the binaries)

You should also have a fairly recent computer. Since DOSBox emulates an entire operating system and its dependencies within another, it does take up a chunk of processing power.

Basic Installation
First, simply install DOSBox to the default location in Windows. After this is done we'll need to install Dark Forces itself. In your hard drive (C:\), create a folder named Games. This will be used as the install folder for Dark Forces. Put in your DF CD. If any autorun install program starts up, exit out immediately.

Start up the DOSBox executable, and you'll be greeted with a somewhat intimidating command prompt. Don't panic, this will be easy as pie! Type the following:
Code:
mount c c:\games
This tells DOSBox to treat that Games folder that you created earlier as its own hard drive. Next, we will tell DOSBox where the CD-ROM is. Usually, the default disc drive is D:, but if it is anything else, you might have to change the second letter after mounting d:
Code:
mount d d:\ -t cdrom -ioctl
Once both the hard drive and the disc drive have been mounted, type the following:
Code:
d:
install
The install program for Dark Forces starts. Select "Install", then "Custom Install". Keep the default install directory by pressing Enter, and you'll be greeted with a installation module directory. "Sounds" will be checked by default, but you need to check all of the other spaces, "Levels", "Textures", "Cutscenes", and "Sprites". Once all of these have been checked, select "Continue". Dark Forces will install to your hard drive.

The sound settings menu will now load. Once this appears, press E for the express settings, and a variety of sound tests will begin. Follow the instructions on all of these, and you'll be fine. If you want to "upgrade" to better quality music, go back to the sound settings, hit C for custom, and go down to the "Advanced Menu" option. Make sure that the Digital Sound card is "Sound Blaster 16", with "Port = 220", "IRQ = 7", "DMA Channel =1" and "Stereo Reverse = 0". Next, head over to the "Music" selection, and change the default "4-OP FM" to "General MIDI", with "Port = 330". Select "Test Music", and you'll hear a much more verbose and higher quality music. Quit out of this and save the options when prompted to.

Now that you're back to the main install menu, go to "Configure Controller Setup", and go to "Automatically Mount Weapon", and make sure that it is set to "Enable". You can also change the mouse and keyboard schemes from here.

Go back to the main menu, and head to "Change System Speed". Set the value to "Very Fast", save, and go back to the main menu. Go to "Set Number of Digital Channels", and make sure that it is set to "8 Digital Channels". Return to the main menu, and completely exit out.

Dark Forces Without the CD
To be honest, getting Dark Forces to run without the CD is extremely effortless, and surprisingly easy. Simply copy the file "CD.ID" from your main CD directory, and put into the DF folder on your hard drive (C:\Games\DARK). When you run DF for the first time, it will give a "CD-ROM ACCESS ERROR". Don't worry, simply press the C key, and it will detect your DF directory on your hard drive as a CD drive, tricking the system.

Restored Cutscene
Grab the Missing Cutscene Patch. It restores the cutscene with Kyle packing up his weapons in the title sequence. Extract the zip, and put the file "CUTSCENE.LST" into "C:\Games\DARK". Go into your DF CD, and copy the file "GEARUP.LFD", located at D:\LECDEMOS\DFDEMO\LFD. Paste this file into the game's cutscene directory on your hard drive (C:\Games\DARK\LFD).

DOS/32A
In the DARK directory, there's a certain executable named DOS4GW. This is a very old program used to handle DOS commands from the game to the external software. However, there is a more modern version designed to work with newer systems name DOS/32A. Since you've downloaded the zip, extract it, and copy the file DOS32A.EXE to the main Dark directory. Rename DOS4GW to something else, and rename DOS32A to DOS4GW.

DOSBox Configuration
Although Dark Forces is installed on your computer, it is not even remotely ready to run at its best. There are many optimizations, both in DOSBox, and in Dark Forces itself, that can be optimized with little effort.

The first thing to know about is the dosbox-0.73.conf file. This simple text file allows the control of DOS emulation, and therefore, allows you to modify the emulated DOS environment on your computer. It's located in an application folder which is hidden, so be sure to have all files and folders revealed, and navigate to the directory. (Default location is C:\Documents and Settings\YourNameHere\Local Settings\Application Data\DOSBox). To save time, you could also simply use the "Edit Configuration" shortcut of the start menu, as well

Open up dosbox-0.73.conf (Usually in Notepad in Windows), and you'll find a bunch of lines and equal signs. This might seem a bit intimidating at first, but it's really quite simple.

The config file is divided up into several categories, usually shown with brackets around the name of a category. The first one that you'll probably see is [sdl]. Go to the list of qith several lines of words, equal signs, and values. Find the one named "fullresolution=original". This tells what resolution to use when in fullscreen mode. As such, this should be set to your native desktop resolution, to avoid distortion. For example, mine is set to "fullresolution=1280x1024".

If you thought that that was quite easy, then you're in luck; you have a lot more to edit. In [sdl], find the "output" command. The default is set to "output=overlay", but change to "output=ddraw". Now find the "sensitivity" command, and change the default value of "100" to around "200", or so. This is really open to personal opinion, as this changes the mouse's total sensitivity, so be warned.

Moving down to [render], you'll find the command "aspect". This tells DOSBox whether or not to apply aspect ratio correction, i.e., to keep the picture in its original format, whilst conforming to the screen resolution. Set this from "false" to "true". The next command below is "scaler". You're presented with a variety of options with this, as this command tells DOSBox how to scale and to apply shaders to the textures. There are especially pronounced with fonts. Right now, the default "normal2x" is incredibly blocky and jagged. If you want it to look overall smoother, set it to "2xsai", however, this can also cause some undesired blurriness as well. If you want the absolute best look, set it to "hq2x" or "hq3x"; along with the general smoothing in 2xsai, it applies an anti-aliasing layer and texture filtering, however, I have found it to use a considerable amount of processes than 2xsai, so be wary.

Go down to [mixer], and change "rate=22050" to "rate=11025", "prebuffer=10" to "prebuffer=0" and "blocksize=2048" to "blocksize=512". This will eliminate a good amount of lag with the sound. Go to [midi] and change "mididevice=default" to "mididevice=win32". Go to [sblaster], change "mixer=true" to "mixer=false", "oplmode=auto" to "oplmode=opl3", "oplemu=default" to "oplemu=fast", and "oplrate=22050" to "oplrate=11025". Head to [gus] and make sure that "gus" is set to "false". At [speaker], change "pcspeaker" and "disney" to "false", and "tandy" to "off".

Head below to [joystick]. If you don't use a joystick, or any peripheral change the joysticktype setting to "none". Moving lower, we'll find the [ipx] section. This is for emulating network support, and since Dark Forces lacks a multiplayer mode, set ipx to "false".

Starting Up Dark Forces
To start up Dark Forces, open DOSBox, and mount the DARK directory:
Code:
mount c c:\games\dark
Now that the directory is mounted, type:
Code:
c:
dark
If you want to avoid the entire command line, add the following under the [autoexec] section in the configuration file:
Code:
mount c c:\games\dark
c:
dark
exit
Check to make sure that everything is working properly, and have fun!

Last edited by jrrtoken; 07-21-2009 at 01:25 PM. Reason: Added for support of DOSBox v0.73
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