Reply To: MS-DOS 6.22, BBS/Telnet server, SHARE.EXE?


Yes, I’m so glad you noticed! (It’s very frustrating to be looking for solutions & getting responses for all the wrong platforms.) Especially thanks for clarifying what you meant by WFC; that makes perfect sense in context, now! (More on that later.)

The whole point of this project is to bring all the classic MS-DOS based BBS Door games to SysOps using Android mobile devices.

The high latency tolerance, minimal bandwidth usage, & stately pace of multiplayer gameplay in those ancient dial-in games seem ideally suited to re-deployment on modern cellular phones, which are (almost) always online (whereas most people turn their laptops & desktops off a lot) & feature plenty of screen resolution for color ANSI/ASCII graphics, with space left over for touchscreen keyboards (much less the standard USB keyboard support offered by most models). By running the BBS server on their mobile phone, SysOps could get mobile text, gaming & even limited file transfer support (silly, but possible) on their very own BBS which they are free to tweak & customize with all the classic mods that helped make games like TradeWars 2002 & L.O.R.D. so interesting & memorable.

Unfortunately, many of the premier BBS games do not have un-obfuscated source code available to port them directly to Android; This means that emulation is required.

Unfortunately, neither QEMU nor DOSbox provide developer support for emulating original MS-DOS or Windows on Android (they both use FreeDOS by default, which doesn’t work for BBS software); This means that users will need their own original licensed copies of MS-DOS or Windows 95, as well as the (usually free) BBS software itself, PLUS the game & mods they want to run. THIS IS NOT as insurmountable as it may sound, since many of the BBS fans interested in these games may already have these apps lying around, & Microsoft will even give you a fresh copy of MS-DOS if you’re clever enough to find the link. So even though it can’t be distributed as a single package, the necessary licenses are available.

Unfortunately, I haven’t been able to find ANYBODY who can help get this running, even in a single test instance!

In theory, emulating Windows is total overkill, as both QEMU & DOSbox have methods for emulating modem activity from the host’s TCP/IP communication triggers (UDP would be nice too!) & the games themselves were almost all released for DOS anyway, not Windows. The BBS itself could ideally be run natively in Android, launching Doors in emulation. The resource usage of emulating text-only DOS apps on a modern Android mobile device is minimal, contrasted to the demands of, say Diablo II (arguably the most popular x86 application to be emulated on Android).

Frankly Android does much more with ARM than Pi does, but it’s all been rebuilt from scratch: Pi has a large number of (originally x86) project sources which have been converted/optimized for Pi Linux, whereas Android has a bunch of new code made without any intention of backward compatibility.

Unfortunately, while Mystic has been ported to run natively on Pi (Linux on ARM), the code does not currently compile cleanly for Android. I have spoken to the developer about this, but they need Android devices for testing.

If GameSrv could be ported to Android, that would be ideal! I’m not aware of any current development on that app though.

So I’m still looking for help: Anyone familiar with running Magic DOSbox on Android, please let me know if you have any advice for getting TW2002, LORD, or any of these other classic game (servers) to run.