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DOSBox Staging has a rather large new release out with 0.76.0

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DOSBox Staging is the fork of the original emulator with an aim to modernize it and give it some more advanced features, with the latest release out now.

An important project because DOSBox itself is a vital bit of free and open source software, one that has enabled us not to lose out on thousands of classic games. Ensuring that it keeps working on modern systems using modern features with DOSBox Staging is awesome.

This release is a big one covering many parts of it enhancing "the quality of audio emulation (GUS, built-in MIDI, PC speaker), improved support for PowerPC and POWER8 architectures, and a healthy mix of usability, documentation, code quality improvements". They go into a lot more detail in the lengthy release notes, which make for an interesting read.

I'm a huge retro fan, which regular readers will know quite well by now. So with the inclusion of built-in GLSL shaders to emulate the visual look of an analog CRT monitor, I couldn't be happier with this release. Seems like it works quite well too:

Jazz Jackrabbit (Holiday Hare 1995 Edition) - showcasing crt-fakelottes-flat, source: DOSBox Staging

Even if I don't want to play it like that now, it's interesting for historical purposes. Perhaps more interestingly though, is that they've even added in integer scaling (pixel-perfect) option for OpenGL, which should make playing the classics just that little bit nicer especially on Linux as it allows for a resizable window now too.

The Lost Vikings (1993) with integer scaling, source: DOSBox Staging

Plenty of other exciting features included for retro gamers, worth taking a look.

See the release notes of 0.76.0 here and on GitHub. You can also grab it as a Snap.

Did you know you can use DOSBox with Steam Play on Linux? Thanks to Boxtron, another open source project, you can run almost any game on Steam that uses DOSBox quite easily. 

Article taken from GamingOnLinux.com.
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21 comments
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slaapliedje 5 Dec, 2020
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Quoting: legluondunet
Quoting: slaapliedjeDosBox-X does as well, but unfortunately you have to compile it yourself in Linux (unless maybe Arch has an PKGBUILD for it or something, I had to build it for Debian / Pop_OS) because the flatpak doesn't include some x11 libs, so menus don't work.

Dosbox ECE has far better 3DFX support than dosbox-x.
Nice, do they support Linux better? (As in not having a broken Flatpak?)
legluondunet 5 Dec, 2020
Quoting: slaapliedjeNice, do they support Linux better? (As in not having a broken Flatpak?)

I don't know as I prefer compile my own Dosbox builds to manage features.
Pit 5 Dec, 2020
Wow, just gave it a quick try (after compiling myself). The (for me) greatest thing is that it uses SDL2, and thus not suffers from the mess KDE/kwin creates with the window positions after a full screen resolution switch.
Running fine with the default configurations (from GOG) for the mainline dosbox, but I guess I'll have to read through the docs to figure out how to improve things...

whizse 5 Dec, 2020
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Quote2.7. Add LS command
Sometimes it's the little things...
slaapliedje 5 Dec, 2020
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I should try this out. Was playing Stonekeep on my laptop the other night. Got to ask, is there anyway to implement touch screen passthrough for DOS games? Would be incredibly awesome for games like that!
Guess I should look into it.
dreamer_ 5 Dec, 2020
Quoting: slaapliedjeI should try this out. Was playing Stonekeep on my laptop the other night. Got to ask, is there anyway to implement touch screen passthrough for DOS games? Would be incredibly awesome for games like that!
Guess I should look into it.
SDL2 handles this (SDL_TouchFingerEvent), but someone who owns a touchscreen would need to implement this and send us pull requests.
slaapliedje 6 Dec, 2020
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Quoting: dreamer_
Quoting: slaapliedjeI should try this out. Was playing Stonekeep on my laptop the other night. Got to ask, is there anyway to implement touch screen passthrough for DOS games? Would be incredibly awesome for games like that!
Guess I should look into it.
SDL2 handles this (SDL_TouchFingerEvent), but someone who owns a touchscreen would need to implement this and send us pull requests.
Damn, suppose I should learn whichever language it is written in... (C?). Ha, I can test at least!

Not sure if DOS is happy with any non absolute position cursor (I think that is what it is called, been a long time since I looked into how touch screens work)
sub 7 Dec, 2020
What I'd really like to see is an HLE-emulator/wrapper in DOSBox for old DOS VR games of the 90's like the Forte VFX1, which supported Magic Carpet 1+2, Dark Forces and some more classics!

The German Wikipedia article has a list of the supported games
https://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Forte_VFX1

The VFX1 VR headset came with an ISA card and requires a ribbon cable connected to the VESA-Feature-Connector port on the graphics card. Additionally, some controller device named cyber puck came with it.

I have no reverse-engineering experience so not sure I could do this, but some resources say,
the data streamed to the feature connector port is some interlaced quad-buffered-stereo format.
Nothing too exotic.
So it probably isn't too difficult to fake the presence of the VFX1-interface card, emulated the cyber-puck control stream and pass the transformed screen data to OpenVR or some other API supporting the new VR headsets.

To my knowledge so far no one attempted do this and I really wonder why?
Anyone else thinks this would be a great thing? :)


Last edited by sub on 7 December 2020 at 3:50 pm UTC
slaapliedje 8 Dec, 2020
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Quoting: subWhat I'd really like to see is an HLE-emulator/wrapper in DOSBox for old DOS VR games of the 90's like the Forte VFX1, which supported Magic Carpet 1+2, Dark Forces and some more classics!

The German Wikipedia article has a list of the supported games
https://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Forte_VFX1

The VFX1 VR headset came with an ISA card and requires a ribbon cable connected to the VESA-Feature-Connector port on the graphics card. Additionally, some controller device named cyber puck came with it.

I have no reverse-engineering experience so not sure I could do this, but some resources say,
the data streamed to the feature connector port is some interlaced quad-buffered-stereo format.
Nothing too exotic.
So it probably isn't too difficult to fake the presence of the VFX1-interface card, emulated the cyber-puck control stream and pass the transformed screen data to OpenVR or some other API supporting the new VR headsets.

To my knowledge so far no one attempted do this and I really wonder why?
Anyone else thinks this would be a great thing? :)
That would be pretty sweet. Wonder if anyone has made a similar attempt with WinUAE and emulating the old VR arcade machines, as they used A3000s in them.
Hamish 23 Dec, 2020
Just gave this a try and for Build Engine games it is so much better than mainline DOSBox. I was able to get a stable +60 FPS in Blood at 640x480 which looks glorious on my ViewSonic Q71 16" CRT. And the CD music loops properly now and has a working volume slider. Even 1280x1024 was achieving a playable +30 FPS in Blood. A massive improvement.


Last edited by Hamish on 28 December 2020 at 11:30 pm UTC
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