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Love your classic games? Have a lot of those classics on Steam? You need to grab Boxtron, the unofficial Steam Play tool that allows you to use a native DOSBox with Steam games even if they don't have a Linux build up.

As a quick refresher Boxtron improves the experience by giving lower input lag, better fullscreen support, Steam Overlay and other Steam feature support and so on. Compared to running games through Proton or messing about with a manual DOSBox configuration it makes things nice and simple.

The latest release of Boxtron v0.5.2 "Sating Box Dogs" was put out today which includes:

  • Add an option to disable games starting in fullscreen (with ♥ for tiling WM users)
  • Include several workarounds for broken or non-portable .cue files bundled with the games
  • Treat *.bat files as an executable for BOXTRON_RUN_EXE
  • Prepare for initial GameHub support

The install process is easy and the same as other such unofficial Steam Play tools. Close Steam, extract the folder from the boxtron.tar.xz download and place it into here:

~/.steam/root/compatibilitytools.d/

You should then able use the power of DOSBox with Boxtron. To do so, right click the game in your Steam library, go to Properties and then see this at the bottom:

Something else came with this release as well, as the developer has prepared an experimental DOSBox build from the dosbox-staging repo for those of you who feel brave to test. Compared to the current DOSBox release, the experimental build includes fixes for fullscreen and ALT+TAB issues, MP3 playback is fixed, OGG playback is improved, a more stable Steam Overlay and more. They also said Tomb Raider 1 (software rendering), Carmageddon (software rendering), Alone in the Dark 3, Megarace 2 and Stargunner should work better with it.

If you want to test the experimental build and see the full changelog all details are on GitHub.

Article taken from GamingOnLinux.com.
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11 comments
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noderunner 23 September 2019 at 10:46 am UTC
Congratulations to @dreamer_ for another great release!
raneon 23 September 2019 at 10:51 am UTC
Nice improvements, I've compiled dosbox with sdl2 on Arch Linux and it worked well too.
dreamer_ 23 September 2019 at 11:11 am UTC
raneonNice improvements, I've compiled dosbox with sdl2 on Arch Linux and it worked well too.
Most SDL2 patches out there remove support for loading cue sheets (because SDL_sound was never released with SDL2) - preventing music loading and sometimes completely preventing the game from loading - this dosbox-staging build fixes this issue; it also fixes the mp3 playback (on all distributions) - I found only 1 game on Steam that includes music as mp3 (Tomb Raider), but maybe there's more.


Last edited by dreamer_ at 23 September 2019 at 11:14 am UTC
levellord 23 September 2019 at 2:13 pm UTC
Added non-Steam game Warcraft II: Tides of Darkness and it is not working, while it is working fine with DOSBox. Is there some additional set up for non-Steam games?
dreamer_ 23 September 2019 at 4:44 pm UTC
levellordAdded non-Steam game Warcraft II: Tides of Darkness and it is not working, while it is working fine with DOSBox. Is there some additional set up for non-Steam games?
Do you mean GOG version of Warcraft II or some other release? It really depends on what is your launching command - Boxtron works by detecting that installation is trying to invoke dosbox.exe in one way or another (there are several scenarios) and is converting environment and redirecting launching arguments to work with Linux DOSBox instead.

edit: GOG version of Warcraft 2 is Windows-only version, so I'll assume you have some older release; I do not support it officially (and can't really test various scenarios people will try to use it with), but you can save your dosbox config in warcraft2.conf, create simple .bat file with single line: "dosbox.exe -conf warcraft2.conf" and add it as non-Steam game - Boxtron will be tricked into thinking you want to run Windows version of DOSBox and will take over. Also, you would need to place your game in ~/.local/share/games/warcraft_2/ directory (that's where install-gog-game script would put it).


Last edited by dreamer_ at 23 September 2019 at 4:58 pm UTC
slaapliedje 23 September 2019 at 5:16 pm UTC
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levellordAdded non-Steam game Warcraft II: Tides of Darkness and it is not working, while it is working fine with DOSBox. Is there some additional set up for non-Steam games?
This needs to be easier. I have seen some things for it (can't remember, but I think the name was called Ice stream or something to do with ice), but to have a script that adds in non-steam games into your library would be sweet.
dreamer_ 23 September 2019 at 6:16 pm UTC
slaapliedje
levellordAdded non-Steam game Warcraft II: Tides of Darkness and it is not working, while it is working fine with DOSBox. Is there some additional set up for non-Steam games?
This needs to be easier. I have seen some things for it (can't remember, but I think the name was called Ice stream or something to do with ice), but to have a script that adds in non-steam games into your library would be sweet.
For GOG games, Boxtron includes a script "install-gog-game", as for non-Steam, non-GOG games… there are no magic solutions - someone needs to write .conf file describing autoexec procedure for DOS game, there's no way around it. Some games can get away with invoking old exe file (which is translated by DOSBox into 4-line autoexec script), but only tiny minority of games properly works this way

It *would* be cool to have dosbox database of supported games detected via e.g. checksum on exe file (like ScummVM does it), but it would require pretty massive community crowdsourcing effort.


Last edited by dreamer_ at 23 September 2019 at 6:17 pm UTC
levellord 24 September 2019 at 8:20 am UTC
dreamer_GOG version of Warcraft 2 is Windows-only version, so I'll assume you have some older release; I do not support it officially (and can't really test various scenarios people will try to use it with), but you can save your dosbox config in warcraft2.conf, create simple .bat file with single line: "dosbox.exe -conf warcraft2.conf" and add it as non-Steam game - Boxtron will be tricked into thinking you want to run Windows version of DOSBox and will take over. Also, you would need to place your game in ~/.local/share/games/warcraft_2/ directory (that's where install-gog-game script would put it).

Hi dreamer_, thanks so much for your reply. This! I just got back from work, but will try to test this asap. Yes, you are correct, the version I have is a DOS version of WC2. It was in the back of my head that I need to do something with the config, and forgot about it later. Thanks again!
slaapliedje 25 September 2019 at 9:22 pm UTC
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dreamer_
slaapliedje
levellordAdded non-Steam game Warcraft II: Tides of Darkness and it is not working, while it is working fine with DOSBox. Is there some additional set up for non-Steam games?
This needs to be easier. I have seen some things for it (can't remember, but I think the name was called Ice stream or something to do with ice), but to have a script that adds in non-steam games into your library would be sweet.
For GOG games, Boxtron includes a script "install-gog-game", as for non-Steam, non-GOG games… there are no magic solutions - someone needs to write .conf file describing autoexec procedure for DOS game, there's no way around it. Some games can get away with invoking old exe file (which is translated by DOSBox into 4-line autoexec script), but only tiny minority of games properly works this way

It *would* be cool to have dosbox database of supported games detected via e.g. checksum on exe file (like ScummVM does it), but it would require pretty massive community crowdsourcing effort.
Isn't there something like GamesDB that does this for DOS? I know there is for practically every other platform out there. Definitely would be useful, but man there are a lot of DOS games and a lot that require anything from CGA 8086 to SVGA Pentium 3.
dreamer_ 26 September 2019 at 6:09 am UTC
slaapliedjeIsn't there something like GamesDB that does this for DOS? I know there is for practically every other platform out there. Definitely would be useful, but man there are a lot of DOS games and a lot that require anything from CGA 8086 to SVGA Pentium 3.

If you know any, let me know The closest I got was DOSBox wiki (but it's closed off and contains outdated info) and PCGW (but it's inappropriate for turning into machine-readable configs, and contains windows-specific - non-portable - info).

And yeah, there are a lot of DOS games out there, but it's "fixed target" - there were only 2 new (real) DOS games released in last ~20 years, and I think there's fewer than 1000 (maybe fewer than 500) DOS games that are culturally relevant - it would be ok to focus on these games first.


Last edited by dreamer_ at 26 September 2019 at 6:10 am UTC
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