DOS Demoscene Repository for DOSBox / D-Fend Reloaded

category: offtopic [glöplog]
Hello. I can't code, and when I organise parties shit is always late too. Anyway, as the 64-bit era marches onward, it can be a bit of a bummer setting up DOSBox for your classic DOS demoscene fix.

Hence, I have scraped Pouet and created a repository for D-Fend Reloaded, a DOSBox frontend typically used for games.

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For the moment I have just done DOS and DOS+GUS Demo productions only but I'll look to add more stuff and clean it up as time goes by.

Check the hastily put together page I've done here:

Remember to read the disclaimer. I know it's a bit sucky right now but I'll improve it if people are interested!
added on the 2013-03-08 03:32:45 by rc00 rc00
Disclaimer for the lazy:

For the moment this is just proof of concept and performed by doing a really clumsy scrape of Pouet.net.
Production and/or group names may be mangled with my ham-fisted mangling of Unicode.
Many productions are missing as my kludgy download script may have struggled with redirects, 404's and link rot.
All demos in this repo have had a quick check to see if they are valid zip files.
Yes, I'll add better metadata and stuff going forward. This repo might disappear or be reincarnated in a more elegant form.
Yes I'll probably do a single download bundle of all dos productions.
This only contains DOS and DOS + GUS demos only so far.
You might get virus warnings from over-zealous virus scanning software.
The demos you download might cause harm to your system. Probably not though but I'm just saying. To be explicit, I accept no responsibility for any damage caused by using this site / service.
Many demos might not work because they are too much for DOSBox to handle or they are just plain incompatible.
Yes, I'll work on making profiles for DOSBox to make running demos easier.
Yes, I'll talk with the developer(s) of D-Fend Reloaded about making it a bit more scene friendly.
Yes, I'm open for help with this and yes, I'll probably github some of the nasty scripts I used to generate the XML.
Yes, I'll make a proper web site too.
Yes, I realise this makes D-Fend Reloaded ache with the volume of XML it has to parse.
And also, I might consider doing some kind of thing to make the repository friendly to classic DOS machines where it can be copied as a whole to your dusty old PC.
Feel free to mail me at rc55 [at] rc55 (dot) com. Whoop!
added on the 2013-03-08 03:34:17 by rc00 rc00
nice work man!
added on the 2013-03-08 05:25:53 by psenough psenough
Yes, I'll work on making profiles for DOSBox to make running demos easier.
This would be awesome! =)
added on the 2013-03-08 09:29:42 by mog mog
Great initiative. Looking forward to the day where you have profiles for the demos because this is really where the gold is.
added on the 2013-03-08 09:32:26 by gloom gloom
Good work, but keep in mind that without the proper settings for DOSBox (EMS/XMS/GUS/SB/Bla...) you're not going to to able to run most of these demos. Can these values be set in the XML too?
added on the 2013-03-08 10:00:31 by raer raer
Great initiative indeed. It's a downer that d-fend is win only though - would the repository work with any other front ends? (I'm on mac here, but this is going to apply to anyone on linux too :)
added on the 2013-03-08 10:03:49 by psonice psonice
psonice: Boxer looks amazing for OS X and looks to be maintained pretty well... and it's open source! To top that, they also have a standalone compiler to wrap DOS games/demos into nice friendly packages.

Maybe some effort could go into wrapping demos into standalone packages, and then maybe those could be bundled together as a coherent thing.

I did find it quite funny that you can fit almost every DOS demo release ever (on pouet) into about 3GB (zipped)!
added on the 2013-03-08 10:57:06 by rc00 rc00
Been awesome rewatching some of these classic demos :-) Cheers!!
added on the 2013-03-08 11:04:43 by cTrix cTrix
ruari: ooh, i'll check that. I noticed some of the GOG games are just running in dosbox with a fancy wrapper. The same thing for demos would be cool :D

Not sure individual demo packages would be good though, the size of dosbox + wrapper would cause bloatage. Maybe it's time for the return of the demo pack?
added on the 2013-03-08 11:34:37 by psonice psonice
Im still dreaming of a windows gui that can launch prods directly or in an emulator or (if all else fails) play a video cap of it.
a one-tool-for-all if you like, complete with a nice prefilled database and buildin downloading (from scene.org for example).
well this is limited to dos-demos but hits the right spot (maybe the profiles can be reused as well).
Thanks Ruairi :)
added on the 2013-03-08 11:57:28 by wysiwtf wysiwtf
ah man, why did i never find boxer before? Last time i tried dosbox i tried to get hplus to play, and managed to get it running very slowly after much arsing around. Boxer: dragged hplus.exe in, launched it, hit full screen button. Perfect, other than a bit of screen tearing (any way to cut that down?)

Love how it "packages" the demos too. It creates a 'bundle' (special type of folder on a mac, where you see the folder as a file that can be launched - most mac apps have their .exe + resources in a bundle you just click to launch, keeps things nice and clean). Just click the hplus bundle and the demo launches fullscreen :D

Downside: the bundle is >500kb, for a 64k demo. After a quick check, it turns out that the bundle's icon is 450kb. Delete icon, bundle is 68kb. Win :)

For anyone else on mac, boxer is here and the hplus bundle I've just dumped here
added on the 2013-03-08 12:07:56 by psonice psonice
Wow, what I ever needed! Thanks!!!
added on the 2013-03-08 12:09:33 by Optimus Optimus
Let me fix the last link in psonice post:
There we go!
added on the 2013-03-08 12:11:06 by Tomoya Tomoya
psonice's link is broken (well, it looks broken here) this should work though:
added on the 2013-03-08 12:16:04 by rc00 rc00
added on the 2013-03-08 12:17:57 by Tomoya Tomoya
Tomoya: *snap* :)

raer: First I'm gonna work on the repository, then preset configurations etc (DOSBox by default has a pretty sane setup - 632kb conventional memory and 16mb of ems + xms). I'll try to see the best way of solving this particular problem, perhaps with a bit of help from the D-Fend Reloaded devs.

psonice: I'm guessing a lot of monitors these days work at 60hz, and VGA usually ran at 70hz, so I'm not sure vsync is possible. If you can sync your monitor to 70hz, maybe DOSBox can support vsync in that regard...I'm not sure. Trixter is the boss of this knowledge domain though, maybe he would know. The production notes from Mindcandy were pretty intense!
added on the 2013-03-08 12:22:04 by rc00 rc00
Takes too long to load/reload the list, seems almost like not responding, maybe it's a problem of d-fend with big lists though.
added on the 2013-03-08 12:25:05 by Optimus Optimus
Bugo the Cat: Yep, I agree it's a bit of a grind... something to work on I guess!
added on the 2013-03-08 12:28:14 by rc00 rc00
ruairi: yeah, i guessed it could be the 70hz thing. Just thought if vsync could be forced the dropped frames might be better than the tearing, guess it depends on how dosbox does the screen update.

And thanks ruairi + tomoya for the link fixage :)
added on the 2013-03-08 12:29:52 by psonice psonice
About the vsync issue: It's not that easy. I've had my fair share of problems with it when doing DOSBox captures. I talked to people on the forums (some unsuccessful attempts at fixing the problem had already been untertaken) and even tried patching DOSBox myself, but failed.
The tearing is already in the DOSBox output... The problem is that some demos (mostly in the 1998+ era) don't wait for vsync at the end of each frame at all, but try to time the vblank interval and then blit to screen using that interval time. Ok for the real machine. It would work all nicely in DOSBox when you'd crank up the cycles really high AND IF DOSBox had a timing method with a decent resolution. But it hasn't.
So for some demos there is no way around tearing afaik...

@ruairi: Some demos run ONLY when XMS is on, but not EMS (or the other way 'round), or the GUS replayer sounds like ass, but SB works fine...
Here's a DOSBox demo compatibility list btw.
I feel really bad now that I didn't document the process to get the demos running better when doing my captures :/

And <3 for your effort btw! Didn't want to be naggin' ;)

Sidenote: It is interesting what Trixter has to say about preserving digital art and capturing demos for Mindcandy.
added on the 2013-03-08 14:27:02 by raer raer
Great stuff ruari, this is really helpful :)
added on the 2013-03-08 14:32:22 by keito keito
Not sure if this somehow even possible to do for demos, but as we speak of old demos supposedly running on CRTs - reminded me on this article What a Wonder is a Terrible Monitor.
added on the 2013-03-08 14:33:07 by mog mog
Most demos using scanline-interleaving tricks probably make use of the fact that they run on a CRT...

Watch Trixters presentation. It is long, but worth it.
added on the 2013-03-08 14:38:25 by raer raer
fuckings to psonice for making me check out boxer and end up playing the old civilization for 4 hours straight.
added on the 2013-03-09 18:22:53 by psenough psenough