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"Portable" Campaign Series

 
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"Portable" Campaign Series - 1/6/2013 8:48:43 PM   
promethean

 

Posts: 23
Joined: 5/31/2011
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Hello Folks,

I thought I'd share this possibility with you: I have been using an Android app "Dosbox Turbo" with a Kindle Fire HD (7 inch) to play a bunch of old PC games in a portable fashion. It's even possible to run Windows 95 and a variety of games are playable therein. I just found a demo of the original Talonsoft West Front, and was very pleased when it successfully installed and played at sufficient speed to be enjoyable. (The updated version I have from Matrix won't play... too many updates I suppose that require newer Win versions)

So, I just found a few cheap copies of the Talonsoft originals of East Front, East Front II, West Front, and Rising Sun. Given that the demo works, I'm confident these will as well, and thought other enthusiasts of the series might be interested in this possibility. If the Fire HD is fast enough, it's likely that other new Android tablets would be as well, though I can confirm that the port of dosbox for the iPad does NOT run fast enough to make most games playable.
Post #: 1
RE: "Portable" Campaign Series - 1/8/2013 3:02:40 PM   
Crossroads


Posts: 2156
Joined: 7/5/2009
Status: online
Ahh, playing JTCS while commuting... That'd be nice...

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Gott Mit Uns! (Breitenfeld 1631)

Blitz callsign Battle Kat


(in reply to promethean)
Post #: 2
RE: "Portable" Campaign Series - 1/12/2013 2:38:27 AM   
promethean

 

Posts: 23
Joined: 5/31/2011
Status: offline
My physical copies of the original talonsoft version arrived in the mail, so I thought I'd update this with the details of my efforts to get these running in a portable fashion: Unfortunately, the full versions do not work as well as the West Front demo did.

In short, it comes down the requirement for the CD to be present. This is difficult to emulate on a 7" android tablet running Windows 95 through Dosbox. An older version of a program called Daemon Tools will let you mount ISO images in Win 95 if you do a bit of updating and patching of Win 95. Problematically, it then causes Win95 to completely freeze when running on Dosbox Android.

After a bunch of work trying to fix or find a way around this, I found that there is a single "No CD" patch for West Front that allows you to run the game without a CD, but there is no such patch for Rising Sun or East Front II. This patch, however, still requires the presence of a CD drive. This means I still needed to install, but then fully disable, Daemon Tools.

This configuration does produce a workable & playable installation of West Front. However, for some reason if I run the game in 16k Color mode as intended a whole bunch of "could not create bitmap surface" errors occur. If I run the game in 256 color mode then everything loads fine, though there are some minor graphic artifacts, nothing too big or annoying though. Jason, I know you've worked on the updating of the series pretty extensively-- any insight on why the bitmap surfaces might have problems in 16k but not 256? I don't expect to solve the problem of a 15 year old game running on a even older OS in emulation, I'm just curious.

Anyway, it's really unfortunate that DRM prevents enjoying the other entries in this series on a tablet, although at least West Front is playable. Maybe when Bochs or Qemu on android comes further in development and the hardware gets faster I'll be able to run more of these in a stable fashion.

(in reply to Crossroads)
Post #: 3
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