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VGA 640x480x16 emulation outside of DOSBox?


Tim50
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I hope this isn't too far off-topic for a DOSBox forum.

I have a load of old DOS programs that run in basic VGA mode, 640x480, 16 colours, using BIOS video mode 0x12. If I run one of these under DOSBox it changes to an emulated 640x480 graphics display inside of a window, just as I would like it. However, I need to be able to run the programs outside of the DOSBox sandbox environment to keep things simple.

I have set up a command box under Windows XP or Windows 7 (it might work in 8 or 10, I don't know) running FreeDOS, and my old DOS programs using text mode screens up to 80x50 characters seem to work fine, but when I try to run in VGA mode either it forces me into full screen mode (Windows XP) or refuses the video mode change altogether (Windows 7).

What I need is a free-standing version of something like the VGA 640x480 emulator from DOSBox, that can run in a normal command line window.

Does anyone know of a free-standing emulator that can do this, either the one used by DOSBox itself or something similar? Something which can run as a TSR under FreeDOS, trapping video mode 0x12, would be ideal.

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As you said, this is pretty far off-topic. This isn't a DOSBox question. Depending on what you're trying to do, I can probably help you do it in DOSBox; a standalone VGA emulator to be run from a native command-line in a modern OS... I've got nothing on that. You're going to be dealing with some form of emulator either way, so I'm not sure why you don't just use DOSBox.

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4 minutes ago, Zombeaver said:

As you said, this is pretty far off-topic. This isn't a DOSBox question. Depending on what you're trying to do, I can probably help you do it in DOSBox; a standalone VGA emulator to be run from a native command-line in a modern OS... I've got nothing on that. You're going to be dealing with some form of emulator either way, so I'm not sure why you don't just use DOSBox.

Thanks for the reply. Part of the reason to avoid DOSBox is to keep it simple. I need to give this stuff to customers who will want to have to do as little as possible to get it working. I've got that down to 3 files: a PIF, an AUTOEXEC.BAT file and an icon, plus a folder of FreeDOS programs and a folder of my programs. The other part of the reason is that the DOSBox serial port emulation doesn't seem to work with programs that drive the comms port hardware directly, including using hardware interrupts. At least I haven't been able to get it working so far, maybe I just need to add some drivers.

It's possible I could configure DOSBox to do all this, but it would be a lot easier if I could stick to FreeDOS and graft on the VGA support from DOSBox.

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You can create a .conf file with the appropriate autoexec commands so that it does everything you need it to do as soon as it starts (mount, change directories, start programs, etc.). You can direct .confs to DOSBox via command-line, which means they can be started with a Windows shortcut (editing the target path). It doesn't get a whole lot simpler than that. You double-click on a shortcut in Windows like any other program, DOSBox starts and runs all the commands, and starts the application, in fullscreen if you prefer.

I can't really comment on the serial port emulation issue, that might be a question for the DOSBox boards.

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