DOSBox reconnaissance (BYO DOSBox)

June 12, 2009
Posted by: gruso


Itching to know which of your DOS favourites will be playable on Pandora? Got an hour to kill? Let’s get to it. Pickle says:

Anyone can get an idea if something will run. From initial tests it appears the pandora does between 2000-3000 cycles. Try your game and see how many cycles it takes. If its more than 3000, expect it to be slow.

Yes, even running DOSBox on your PC/Mac/Penguin will give you a fair indication. As Pickle puts it, “a cycle is a cycle”. To simulate the Pandora DOSBox experience, just go into your DOSBox settings and cap the cycles at say, 3000. Then fire up your lost loves, see how well they run, and don’t be shy about reporting back with your findings. If you’re DOSBox deprived, name your favourites in the comments and someone just might test them for you.

Get DOSBox | Forum discussion



  1. I said it there, and I’ll say it here:

    Leisure Suit Larry


    Quarantine / Quarantine 2: Road Warrior

    Thats. What I want.

  2. Just tried some old games, Duke Nukem 1 and 2, Commander Keen and Cosmo’s Cosmic Adventure al run perfect on only 1000 cycles, so I guess they will run on the Pandora, won’t they?

    I also got a question, some games don’t display the cpu cycles, only the amount of CPU use in percent, how do you translate that in the amount of cycles?

  3. Wow… I got a ton of good old DOS games on disks and CDs. This weekend I’ll take some time to test what I can and post the results on the forum ;).

    I really do hope that 3000 is good enough… it’s been ages since I fired up DOSBox in my PC, so I can’t really tell :).

  4. Percentages indicate that DOSBox decided the game would best benefit from using as many cycles as it can possibly generate, which isn’t useful here.

    You can type the following to enforce limited cycles (which you can then adjust as usual):

    config -set “cpu cycles=2000”

    or else edit the [cpu] section of the .conf file (probably in your home directory. For the Windows installer, the start menu has an edit config option.)

  5. Ultima Underworld needs closer to 6000 cycles to run at all smoothly at high detail, sadly. Medium detail is pretty ugly (only walls are textured), but improves the frame rate to something I could probably deal with. Low detail is smooth, but even the walls are flat-shaded at that setting, which rather spoils the look.

  6. That was at 3000 cycles on Medium and Low detail, sorry.

  7. 3000 cycles also isn’t nearly enough for TIE Fighter (at 320×200 and lowest level).

  8. Just tried playing the point and click game called Discworld and it runs really good between 2000-3000.

  9. Treasure MathStorm! runs like a charm. That’s really all I need to be happy.

  10. Earthworm Jim runs in slow motion at 3000 cycles.

  11. Could someone try the First Age of Empires? Browsing forums I read that a windows game could run at about 100Mhz… and Wikipedia says AoE I requires 90 MHz… Could it be possible plllz?

  12. I was reading the GP32x forums and games such as OMF 2097 and Witchaven (loved the sequel) will definitely not run…Sad

    But how about point n click adventures like The Dig and Full Throttle? Never played Discworld but it looks nice. I find the Lucasarts one to look much better though, would 3000 cycles be enough?

  13. 2000 is more than enough for text based games I play. I still have dreams of playing FMV games like harvester

  14. Note that ScummVM, which supports many old adventure games (not just the Lucasarts ones), is already running on the Pandora. For those games, performance will be orders of magnitude better in ScummVM than through DOSBox.

  15. Another note. I wrote this on the forum:

    “Frontier Elite II runs, if I recall correctly, on Amiga 500. So with UAE4All it would be no problem because we’ve been told it will be running at 100% speed.

    Same thing goes with many games from that era. If it runs in DOS it maybe been ported from or to the Amiga.

    Just a tip”

  16. Frontier runs VERY SLOWLY on an Amiga 500, at least in some places (such as when looking at a city, even from a distance). You really want the equivalent of a 68030 or 68040 (running at 30-50MHz) to get decent performance, and I don’t know if Pandora’s UAE can manage that.

    But there is already a NATIVE port of Frontier for the GP2X (runs quite well), and I’d love to see it on the Pandora. In fact I’d probably pay to see it running…

  17. PoisonedV .. if you’re running text advents in dosbox, you’re nuts πŸ™‚

    Infocom style games (zmachine) can be run natively, for instance. As can most other text adventure engines (Scott Adams, you name it.)

    Only a few ‘one off’ type games are harder to do, but then use a emu .. ie: ST emu, Amiga emu etc. No way they could be slow even in DosBox though, but for most.. go native.

    Also, someone mentioned Rogue and needs a slap, or else they were being sarcastic. Only a loon would run a Rogue variation on a unix platform using a DOS emulator πŸ™‚ (Rogue started on Unix. Sure, there is Rogue for ST and such which have a GUI frontend.. there are better roguelikes for modern Unix with GUIUs, but evne then.. ST emu and such no problem πŸ™‚


  18. UFO – is playable at 3000 cycles. It’s noticeably slow (especially when moving or zooming the Geoscape) but not unacceptably so. In the tactical mode, the screen scrolls at a decent speed, and responsiveness is pretty good. Everything is a bit sluggish, but definitely playable.

    Warcraft 2 – also sluggish but playable at 3000 cycles. At least, at the start of the first mission. I’ve no idea whether it will deteriorate with more activity going on. (The original Warcraft would presumably run better).

    Cannon Fodder – runs very nicely at 3000 cycles πŸ™‚ (Probably better to play the Amiga version, though?)

    Chuck Yeager’s Air Combat – runs smoothly at 3000 cycles, with several planes in the air! Runs pretty smooth at 2000 cycles if all details are set to minimum.

    Red Baron – runs decently at 3000 cycles if there’s not too much activity. Dogfighting an Ace was fine, but four enemy planes up close really killed the frame-rate.

  19. The DOS port of Epyx Rogue (1.49) is one of the best.
    It is extended character based, with color and better ‘graphics’ than the standard text versions.

    Using DOSBox the game play is acceptable down to 400 cycles, playable all the way down to 100 cycles but the stage transition effects are visibly slow.

  20. Remember, leave Amiga games for the Amiga emulator, that will do a lot better.

    So UFO, Cannon Fodder and Red Baron can be ommited from that list.

  21. Sadly Settlers 2 Gold is unplayable at 3000 cycles, Though i guess i had my expectations set way too high considering S2G recommended requirements are a P75 and 16mb ram.

    Excellent job though Pickle, As i will definitely be using dosbox on Pandora to play the classics that were not available for the Amiga.

    Fingers crossed we get to see a port of Settlers 2.5 rttr to the Pandora.


  22. Probably obvious to most of you, but I just tested Tomb Raider and it appears unplayable at 2000-3000 cycles.

    On the bright side, this means I can finish it on my computer instead of saving it for the Pandora.

  23. This is my first post…very interested in where this is going πŸ™‚ ….Anyways, I have tested the following games on my PSP with dosbox installed:

    KEEN 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, KEEN Dreams – All ran perfectly.

    Duke Nukem 1 – Ran perfectly

    Wolfenstein 3D – Ran very slowly

    Catacomb Abyss – Slighly slower than usual, but hardly noticeable πŸ™‚

    Im sure that If the PSP can run theses games, then the pandora will be able to do so with ease πŸ˜€

  24. Descent plays decently. Minor graphics error here or there, maybe.

  25. A lot of these games also have SDL-based remakes that were ported to GP2X and Wiz and will most likely end up on the Pandora as well. Descent is one of those. Also:

    Out of this World / Another World
    Wolfenstein 3D
    Commander Keen
    Jazz Jackrabbit
    Transport Tycoon Deluxe…where zodttd’s name comes from i think πŸ˜€

    etc. I think where DOSBox is going to shine is games that (to my knowledge) were DOS-only and never got huge but have the nostalgia factor and were too much for the GP2X…like Skyroads, Krypton Egg, Gateworld, Turoid, hopefully Xargon, Electro Man, Heartlight PC…and I know I’m going to have a lot of fun playing stuff that used a keyboard like Mindshadow and Tass Times in Tonetown.

    Tass is like the Earthbound of hybrid text/gfx adventure games…highly recommended…

  26. Oh it looks like Tass was released for just about everything πŸ™‚

  27. very very thank you

  28. If I recall well, the GP2X version of dosbox already done well around 1800 cycles. I was expecting more in Pandora, something like 4000 or 6000. 3000 is still not much. Although the GP2X had stuttering sound even with 400 cycles. Games on PC dosbox that run great in 500 and with good sound still stuttered in GP2X. If 3000 cycles in Pandora are the ones with good sound then it might be probably good. I would like to try Eye of the Beholder with 3000 cycles and see how well it goes. Usually I play it in 8000 cycles but I know it might be playable with less.

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