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Boxtron, a Steam compatibility tool to run games through a native Linux DOSBox

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Here's something that's awesome! Thanks to the new features in the Linux Steam client that came with Steam Play, you can add in other compatibility tools to run games through and Boxtron is one such tool.

Boxtron enables you to use a native Linux build of DOSBox, to run games with just like you would with Steam Play's Proton. This does give a number of benefits, as the developer listed:

  • Lower input lag (compared to DOSBox inside Proton)
  • Steam features working as expected (e.g. Steam Cloud, Controller settings or recording of time played)
  • Better fullscreen support, especially on multi-monitor setups*
  • Steam Overlay working out of the box*
  • More configuration options and better defaults*
  • Automatic detection of MIDI hardware, with software synthesiser used as fallback
  • Automatic MIDI setup for supported titles (click Play and enjoy pre-configured MIDI music)

* - compared to vanilla DOSBox

You simply install it with the very simple instructions on the GitHub, which is simply creating the "compatibilitytools.d" folder (if it doesn't already exist) in "/.local/share/Steam/" and then stick in a Boxtron release into a folder named "boxtron".

This will then enable you to select it as your choice tool, like my example here with X-COM: UFO Defense, a game that doesn't have Linux support officially:

Then when you run it, all is great and it's using a properly up to date Linux version of DOSBox:

Valve actually responded (and agreed) to a feature request from the developer, to add in support for a system-wide location to install extra compatibility tools. The idea, is that Steam will look inside some extra system directories, so you could in future install extra compatibility tools from your package manager which opens things up quite a lot. It would also simplify the experience, allowing you to download a single package to install instead of messing with adding folders, unpacking compressed folders and installing dependencies which sounds awesome

Find Boxtron on GitHub.

Additionally, the developer of Boxtron is also working on Luxtorpeda, another compatibility tool aimed at running certain games through native Linux game engines. Examples of this would be OpenXcom for X-COM: UFO Defense, ioquake3 for Quake III Arena and so on. This project is currently a work in progress, but also very exciting.

Article taken from GamingOnLinux.com.
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46 comments
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dreamer_ 28 August 2019 at 3:40 pm UTC
Stoney_FishLast Rites is working in Boxtron ( In Steamplay Dosbox it was just flashing the Dosbox logo and orange background)

Hey, I think no one has tested this game so far - thanks! Can you mention it in compatibility reports?
m2mg2 28 August 2019 at 3:47 pm UTC
I can't run any games through boxtron in Fedora 29. They all just crash immediately
dreamer_ 28 August 2019 at 5:39 pm UTC
m2mg2I can't run any games through boxtron in Fedora 29. They all just crash immediately

I need a bit more info than that in order to help you with this problem, can you join the Discord server or leave a bug report? You can also ping me on #luxtorpeda IRC channel on freenode.


Last edited by dreamer_ at 28 August 2019 at 5:39 pm UTC
Stoney_Fish 28 August 2019 at 8:53 pm UTC
dreamer_
Stoney_FishLast Rites is working in Boxtron ( In Steamplay Dosbox it was just flashing the Dosbox logo and orange background)

Hey, I think no one has tested this game so far - thanks! Can you mention it in compatibility reports?

Added to the list.

Also added Earthworm Jim in Boxtron it starts fullscreen (but square). In Steamplay Dosbox it was a small window.
Also added Earthworm Jim 2 in Boxtron it starts fullscreen (but square). In Steamplay Dosbox it was a small window and it locked up at the start.
Added Sleepwalker. Working in Boxtron ( In Steamplay Dosbox it was just flashing the Dosbox logo and the orange background)


Last edited by Stoney_Fish at 29 August 2019 at 5:59 am UTC
Stoney_Fish 29 August 2019 at 7:03 pm UTC
Tunnel B1 is also working with Boxtron
m2mg2 1 September 2019 at 2:30 pm UTC
m2mg2I can't run any games through boxtron in Fedora 29. They all just crash immediately
Dreamer helped identify and resolve this issue. It had to do with me starting Steam with a setting to prefer native libraries instead of the steam bundled libraries. I implemented this a year or more ago to address an issue with Feral launchers not working properly. Removing the option and starting Steam normally fixed the issue.


Last edited by m2mg2 at 1 September 2019 at 2:30 pm UTC
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