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LaunchBox for MS-DOS Special Edition 2.0

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About This File

Native Launcher for MS-DOS

LaunchBox for MS-DOS 2.0 is here! If you run MS-DOS (or the DOS console in Windows 95/98), this should be very much enjoyed. It allows you to easily sort through and manage your games/apps within DOS, without taking any extra memory from your apps or introducing any compatibility issues at all. This is done via a simple batch file that starts up and shuts down the launcher as needed.

LaunchBox for MS-DOS also works very well with DOSBox if you'd like to use a menu system inside of DOSBox.

System Requirements

MS-DOS 3.30 or higher
286 or higher CPU (uses 286 CPU instructions)

Installation

Unzip the zip file and place the contents onto a floppy disk or other media. Copy the four files into a folder on your hard disk (or just keep it on the floppy, it runs from the floppy as well). Navigate to the folder with the files and run LAUNCH.BAT.

LAUNCH.BAT can also be called from your AUTOEXEC.BAT file if you'd like LaunchBox to start on boot. You can then add Windows 3.1 or 95/98 to LaunchBox in order to optionally start up Windows by just browsing for WIN.COM.

Change Log

Version 2.0 - Released Sunday, January 29, 2018
- Many new fields are available for each item: Genre, Series, Developer, Publisher, Release Year, Status, and Favorite
- Can now sort items by Title, Favorite, Release Date, and Status
- Can now filter items by Genre, Series, Developer, Publisher, Release Year, or Status
- LaunchBox now remembers your last selection
- List titles and counts have been added

Version 1.1 - Released Tuesday, January 17, 2017
- New "Move to Top" and "Move to Bottom" options are available under the Edit menu
- New "Insert Separator" option available under the Edit menu
- Each application can now have a separate set of commands for configuring the application
- New explicit "Run Selected" and "Configure Selected" options are available under the File menu
- New "Browse and Run" option is available under the File menu
- New "Lock" option is available under the File menu to help prevent accidental changes
- Changed the batch file process to better support DOSBox and older versions of MS-DOS

Version 1.0 - Released Friday, January 13, 2017
- Initial Release

Easter Eggs

There are several incredibly stupid easter eggs in the program.

Hint: What is the second most popular cheat code ever?

Version 1.0 Announcement Video

Screenshots

20180128_095459.thumb.jpg.9dde844c804d98790e18e810fedf5b09.jpglaunchbx_000.thumb.png.cf9a5a4725fce30039a470e3c2a0f82c.pnglaunchbx_002.thumb.png.f3b1f5174f3024eefdcf311caf6e1802.pnglaunchbx_003.thumb.png.ab4a12e09628c127672d0e6c81ac01ae.pnglaunchbx_004.thumb.png.7b17bcdc6a05fda70ea9d4555ae51caa.pnglaunchbx_005.thumb.png.952de7632a6b3092f3deb395fe45c922.pnglaunchbx_006.thumb.png.d33ccf87d9c23363d3a7d10a68cd9c75.png

launchbx_001.png


What's New in Version 2.0   See changelog

Released

No changelog available for this version.

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LOL

Took me so long to figure out what this was.

Did you seriously write software for DOS in 2018? What a beast.

Edited by JRPGod
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Funny I am building an old 486 PC out of old parts, I know the first thing going on it now!

Edited by GuroDragon
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58 minutes ago, GuroDragon said:

Funny I am building an old 486 PC out of old parts, I know the first thing going on it now!

Awesome, enjoy it!

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I'm wondering if a collection like TDC or eXoDos could be packed and ready to play with this. I'm guessing the main hassle would be making the different CDs accessible, thjhough that may be doable with WinISO and some launch batchfiles.

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9 minutes ago, irghen said:

I'm wondering if a collection like TDC or eXoDos could be packed and ready to play with this. I'm guessing the main hassle would be making the different CDs accessible, thjhough that may be doable with WinISO and some launch batchfiles.

Are you aware LaunchBox is already bundled and set to go with the latest eXoDos packs?

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Oh no, I am, I guess I wasn't very clear with the completely dumb idea I was having, sorry.

So, I was watching this LGR video where he built a 486 PC to play old DOS games and when I later found this I thought maybe I could build one myself and have a full eXoDos library running on it.

I'm guessing there must be a ton of technical difficulties with that idea (having DOS recognize a big hard drive and accessing all the CD games comes to mind), but maybe on a Raspberry PI running DosBox it could be viable?

Something like this:
Raspberry PI -> DosBox -> Launchbox for MS-Dos -> full eXoDos library

Sorry if I'm not making a lot of sense, English isn't my 1st language and this is a weird idea.

Edited by irghen

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10 hours ago, irghen said:

Oh no, I am, I guess I wasn't very clear with the completely dumb idea I was having, sorry.

So, I was watching this LGR video where he built a 486 PC to play old DOS games and when I later found this I thought maybe I could build one myself and have a full eXoDos library running on it.

I'm guessing there must be a ton of technical difficulties with that idea (having DOS recognize a big hard drive and accessing all the CD games comes to mind), but maybe on a Raspberry PI running DosBox it could be viable?

Something like this:
Raspberry PI -> DosBox -> Launchbox for MS-Dos -> full eXoDos library

Sorry if I'm not making a lot of sense, English isn't my 1st language and this is a weird idea.

LGR is one of my absolute favorite YouTubers. ;)

Yes, I don't think it would really be feasible to put a collection the size of eXoDOS onto a physical DOS machine, but it would be a fun project. The most I've gotten onto DOS machines successfully is 8 GB (spread across 4 different partitions). The other issue is that the eXoDOS collection is fairly heavily tweaked for DOSBox, so there may be some issues with some of the games on physical machines. I'd love to have that all put together though. ;)

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I know it's silly but it would be so awesome to launch your Steam games from something like this. Too bad game files call for the client it self. God i hate the look of that client.

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Hi Jason, great job, I use your application to launch a hundred games on my pentium 90!

Is it possible to have the source to do some improvement? It would be nice, for example, to give the possibility to start a screensaver after a few minutes to avoid ruining the screen of vintage laptops!

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Amazing! Great job Jason. 

I was wondering if there was an option to turn on full screen within the client? I know this can be done through DOSBOX, but it would be nice to have an option within the client window to do this.

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On 9/21/2019 at 11:17 AM, terrornoize said:

Hi Jason, great job, I use your application to launch a hundred games on my pentium 90!

Is it possible to have the source to do some improvement? It would be nice, for example, to give the possibility to start a screensaver after a few minutes to avoid ruining the screen of vintage laptops!

Sorry for the late reply here @terrornoize. I may release the source here soon; I'll github it if/when I do. I'll probably want to tweak it a bit before I do though.

1 hour ago, freerunner said:

Amazing! Great job Jason. 

I was wondering if there was an option to turn on full screen within the client? I know this can be done through DOSBOX, but it would be nice to have an option within the client window to do this.

Not quite following here @freerunner. This is an MS-DOS app, and already runs fullscreen. If you're referring to making DOSBox fullscreen from within an MS-DOS app, that is basically impossible.

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@Jason Carr

Gotcha. I know that we can call for the DOSBOX to be full screen from the starting of DOSBOX using "dosbox.conf" file with the line of code "fullscreen=true". Is there no way to call this within the MS-DOS app while it is running?

Thanks

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2 minutes ago, freerunner said:

@Jason Carr

Gotcha. I know that we can call for the DOSBOX to be full screen from the starting of DOSBOX using "dosbox.conf" file with the line of code "fullscreen=true". Is there no way to call this within the MS-DOS app while it is running?

Thanks

I believe there is a DOSBox keyboard shortcut to make it fullscreen. Maybe F11? Or Alt+Enter? Either way though, that keyboard shortcut is intercepted by DOSBox, so the actual MS-DOS code can't do anything with it.

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On 10/15/2019 at 8:08 PM, Jason Carr said:

Sorry for the late reply here @terrornoize. I may release the source here soon; I'll github it if/when I do. I'll probably want to tweak it a bit before I do though.

Can't wait for it!

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Hey there! I can't thank you enough for this, to be honest. I have been building a bunch of dos gaming machines lately, both physical as well as dosbox based, and this launcher has saved me so much time and energy getting everything automatically configured! Keep up the great work.

I do have an issue I'm currently experiencing, though. I have about 320 games in my txt file but if I try to add any more games, or try to add any more info to any existing games, I get the following message when trying to launch the app:

Out of string space in module MAIN at address 01B7:0423 

My guess is the app is reaching its mem limit while trying to process the info. Hopefully this is an issue that can be easily remedied, as my goal is to have autoconfigs set up for every dos game I own (and I own...a lot.) 

Please let me know if you need me to provide any additional info or testing, I will happily send you my txt file I'm currently using for the app. 

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3 hours ago, stevosoangry said:

Hey there! I can't thank you enough for this, to be honest. I have been building a bunch of dos gaming machines lately, both physical as well as dosbox based, and this launcher has saved me so much time and energy getting everything automatically configured! Keep up the great work.

I do have an issue I'm currently experiencing, though. I have about 320 games in my txt file but if I try to add any more games, or try to add any more info to any existing games, I get the following message when trying to launch the app:

Out of string space in module MAIN at address 01B7:0423 

My guess is the app is reaching its mem limit while trying to process the info. Hopefully this is an issue that can be easily remedied, as my goal is to have autoconfigs set up for every dos game I own (and I own...a lot.) 

Please let me know if you need me to provide any additional info or testing, I will happily send you my txt file I'm currently using for the app. 

Sadly yes, it's hitting it's memory limit. Feel free to PM me your text file. I've been working on a new version written in assembly for quite a while now, but of course that's taking a long time. The previous version's memory limit is due to the fact that it's written in Visual Basic for MS-DOS 1.0.

For now, the only thing I can suggest is using separate instances. You can use one instance to filter and launch other instances to artificially remove the limit. Removing some metadata may help as well.

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5 hours ago, breech said:

Are we getting a 2020 annual update? :D

I actually have a rewrite in development, written from scratch in 8086 assembly. I have it working even on the original IBM 5150 PC. Development is slow-going though and I'm only doing it in my free time, so it'll be a while yet. :)

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Awesome, I'm more exited about this than the main app xD 

Could you look into mode 80 support? Thanks!

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8 minutes ago, breech said:

Awesome, I'm more exited about this than the main app xD 

Could you look into mode 80 support? Thanks!

What do you mean by mode 80 support? I'm currently testing all the way down to a CGA graphics card and monitor.

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Sorry, I meant VGA 50 line mode which some apps use natively - Xtree gold for example. 
image.thumb.png.99b0e7c47b1036bb80401bfdd5d08461.png
 

Edited by breech
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Hello. I'm a huge fan of this program. I think it's awesome that people are developing new DOS apps in 2020! Recently, I was inspired to try and get the program running on a PlayStation Portable after seeing this video of Android-based emulation device using the program as a launcher for DOS games: https://youtu.be/ErBAszD3NBo?t=432.

I'm able to get the program to run with PSP DosBox. However, every time I try and add a game, I get an error message: "File access error in module MAIN at address 01DO:15F1."

If I enter the game path directly into launchbx.txt, then launch the game from the app, I get the same error message, but for address 01D8:4874.

Does anyone know what might be causing this? I wonder if perhaps it's because the latest version of DosBox available on PSP is 0.71?

Hoping this new version under development will work on PSP! Or that I simply need to adjust some setting in dosbox.conf...

Edited by ABF
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8 hours ago, breech said:

Sorry, I meant 50 line mode. Apps can apparently use it natively - xtree gold viewer shown below.
image.thumb.png.99b0e7c47b1036bb80401bfdd5d08461.png
 

Gotcha. I'll see if I can't get that in there at some point. :)

1 hour ago, ABF said:

Hello. I'm a huge fan of this program. I think it's awesome that people are developing new DOS apps in 2020! Recently, I was inspired to try and get the program running on a PlayStation Portable after seeing this video of Android-based emulation device using the program as a launcher for DOS games: https://youtu.be/ErBAszD3NBo?t=432.

I'm able to get the program to run with PSP DosBox. However, every time I try and add a game, I get an error message: "File access error in module MAIN at address 01DO:15F1."

If I enter the game path directly into launchbx.txt, then launch the game from the app, I get the same error message, but for address 01D8:4874.

Does anyone know what might be causing this? I wonder if perhaps it's because the latest version of DosBox available on PSP is 0.71?

Hoping this new version under development will work on PSP! Or that I simply need to adjust some setting in dosbox.conf...

Sorry to hear about those errors; I'm honestly lost on why they would be happening, but the errors appear to be errors with Visual Basic for DOS itself, which the old version was developed with. For that reason it seems like it's an issue with that version of DOSBox, though I can't for sure.

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9 hours ago, fandenivoldsk said:

Any LaunchBox for MS-DOS 3.0 news? How about custom colors?

Development is in progress, but it's currently a hobby app for me to develop, so it may still be a very long time before it comes out. I can't devote significant time to it, and since it's being developed in x86 assembly, it's also a learning experience for me. It will come out eventually, but it may be a year out yet.

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