Magic DosBox system req?

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  • #4275
    Someone321Someone321
    Participant

    Hi, i tried using Magic DosBox to play Daggerfall, but it’s unplayable because of lag… What are system requirements to run Dos games smoothly? I don’t know is it because of this game or is my phone not good enough…

    #4278
    adminadmin
    Keymaster

    Hi,

    it depends on game. Daggerfall is one of latest MS-DOS games and needs more power. What is your device for?

    #4279
    Al exAl ex
    Keymaster

    Daggerfall doesn’t need that much power, a 486DX2 was enough back in the day. So I guess there are three possible reasons why it’s not running properly:

    1. Wrong configuration in mDosbox: you need to set cycles=max to get ideal performance

    2. old/weak hardware: I don’t think your phone is too old, even my old Galaxy Note 2 (S3 hardware) is easily capable of running Daggerfall.
    I strongly suspect you’re trying to run Dosbox on a Snapdragon chipset. As a rule of thumb, Snapdragon cpu’s are really bad for emulators in general.
    My Note 4 (Snapdragon 805 @2.7 GHz) was barely capable of running any demanding DOS games. Snapdragons are horrible when it comes to NEON instructions, which, unfortunately, are of extreme importance for fast Dosbox emulation.

    The Snapdragon 410 for example, which is “powering” recent phones like Galaxy A3 or A5, as well as many Huawei and HTC phones, is a good cpu in everyday use, but it only reaches a meagre 4100 realtics in the Doom Shareware timedemo. Even my Galaxy S1 was faster 6 years ago, with a 1 GHz single core Exynos cpu.

    3. Conservative kernel settings:
    Again, that’s mostly a Snapdragon thing. This is because of their bullshit cpu design, that requires them to downclock the cpu whenever possible, to prevent overheating. BUt it might affect other chipsets, too. If you are rooted, you can try to tweak your kernel settings. Ideally, you’ll set the cpu governor to “performance” prior to running Dosbox. Or you try different governors, and tweak their up- and downclock values. Beware that you can damage your phone, if you don’t know what you’re doing.

    If you want to do some testing, download the Doom Shareware v1.9 from here. Set cycles=max in mDosbox, leave everything else at default, and run Doom with these parameters:

    C:\>Doom -timedemo demo3

    The resulting score shows you exactly how fast your emulated DOS machine on your phone is. You can compair it with real PCs in this list: https://www.complang.tuwien.ac.at/misc/doombench.html

    For comparison:

    A5 stock kernel settings: 4100 realtics (486 33 MHz)
    A5 performance governor: 3600 realtics (486 40 MHz

    Note 4 stock kernel settings: 2100 realtics (Pentium 75 MHz)
    Note 4 performance governor: 1400 realtics (Pentium 90-100 MHz)

    S7 Edge stock kernel settings: 760 realtics (Pentium 166 / AMD K6 233 MHz)
    S7 Edge performance governor: 640 realtics (Pentium MMX 250 MHz)

    #4282
    Someone321Someone321
    Participant

    My device is Huawei Y625, it’s not so great but it runs every game i tried. I tried Doom now, cycles = max and frameskip 2 and 32mb ram, it ran perfectly.Daggerfall with cycles = max is still lagging… And about that -timedemo thing, what results? I ran Doom, am I just stupid or I did something wrong?

    #4283
    Al exAl ex
    Keymaster

    OK, that explains it, I guess. Your phone has a Snapdragon 200, which is very low end. Doom might sort of run, as well as any other 286/386 game. Wing Commander 1&2, Ultima 7, Ultima Underworld, there are many great you can run more or less well. But Daggerfall is too demanding, that sinply won’t work, sorry.

    But I’ll try it on my tablet, it’s pretty much in the same league: an entry-level quad core cpu @1.3 GHz. It scores ~3900 realtics in the Doom timedemo.

    Speaking of which: just follow my post above. Download the shareware version from here, unzip to your DOS game folder.
    Launch Magic Dosbox. Start the Doom shareware version with the following parameters:
    “doom -timedemo demo 3” (without the quotes, of course).
    This will start an automated demo, which will run in slow motion on your phone. At the end, you will be dropped back to the DOS prompt, and at the top, there’ll be your result: “Scored 2134 gametics in […] realtics”. The realtics value measures how fast your phone can run the demo. Lower values are better.

    #4284
    Someone321Someone321
    Participant

    Oh, Doom is it then. 2134 gametics and 5045 realtics. Well I now learned how to use this thing, so i will try to play some other games. 😀 Thanks for helping.

    #4285
    Al exAl ex
    Keymaster

    No problem, you’re welcome.?
    5045 is really slow, I’m sure there can be done something about it.
    – as mentioned above, set governor=performance, if your phone is rooted
    – try fixed cycles. Start e.g. with cycles=12000, and increase the value in increments of 1000 until the sound becomes choppy.

    The SD 410 in the Galaxy A5 is very comparable to your cpu, and identically clocked. So you should be able to achieve at least something around 4000 realtics.

    For future reference: should you plan to buy a new phone, and intend to use Dosbox or any other demanding emulator (Snapdragons are terrible for PPSSPP, too), look for either a Tegra K1 device, or a Samsung phone which uses their own Exynos chipset. Samsung also build Snapdragon devices, so look carefully. Both Exynos and Tegra chips are easily twice as fast as their Snapdragon equivalents at identical clock rates.

    #4290
    adminadmin
    Keymaster

    I must add that Daggerfall is expensive, or something is not correct with this game.. or emulation?:). Event on my strong tablet are situation when this game is laggy. I have troubles mostly indoors when I turn around.

    But Alex is right. For emulation I recommend Nvidia shield tablet(touchscreen) or nvidia shield TV (console). This device has inbuilt overclocking option. But I don’t need it – only by win95 emulation. This device is strong.

    Then I own phone honor c5. Daggerfall runs almost fine. It gives me timedemo score 1800 realtics.

    And you can try sound blaster 2.0 instead sound blaster 16. This adds more performance.

    #4294
    Al exAl ex
    Keymaster

    You’re right, Daggerfall is a demanding DOS game. But on the other hand, it’s not demanding enough to challenge modern high-end or even mid-range smartphones. As you say, your mid-range Honor 5C can run it fine, and with 1800 Doom realtics, it’s about as fast as a former high end Note 2 from 2012. ?

    #4308
    Someone321Someone321
    Participant

    Now, this is interesting. I set cycles to 11000 and game looked fine. But in the test it was almost 6000 realtics! But when I set it to 12000 cycles, it scored 4187 realtics! It looks smoother with just 1000 cycles more… Should I try to achieve better results or just go with this setting?

    #4309
    Al exAl ex
    Keymaster

    Just keep trying. Some games run with higher cycles tham others. At some point, you’ll notice sound crackling/skipping. That’s when you’ve reached your device’s limit.
    You could also try some more sophisticated cycle settings, to be more flexible, like this:

    cycles=auto 12000 105% limit 30000

    This will run Dosbox at a minimum of 12000 cycles, with the “max 105%” parameter, and allow up to 30000 cycles (which your device can’t reach anyway, so it’s sort of an open-end value).

    #4310
    Someone321Someone321
    Participant

    Thank you, finally!! I achieved 4187 realtics that time and after that only 5500-6000! Now it’s back to around 4000 with your cycle command, also switching from SoundBlaster 2.0 to 16 helped a lot too!

    #4311
    Al exAl ex
    Keymaster

    No problem. ~4000 is what I had expected from my experience with the Snapdragon 410. If your phone can keep up that performance, you should be able to play Ultima Underworld, or Warcraft II. ?

    #4312
    Someone321Someone321
    Participant

    4057 realtics right now. I actually don’t need sound, so disabling it may help too. I will try Dune 2 and C&C Red Alert. Thanks again!

    #4315
    Al exAl ex
    Keymaster

    Ok, seems we’re getting there.? Here’s another tweak: set these values in the [mixer] section:

    blocksize=512
    prebuffer=0

    This helped a lot on my Note 4, compared to the default 10 (15?).

    And you can set vmemsize=8 in the [dosbox] section, which might also give a tiny speed boost.

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