Ok, fair warning. DOS games are some of the games I'm most nostalgic for. So imagine my elation when I realized that the OpenDingux firmware for the RS-97 had a DOSBox version!
Yeah. Unfortunately, the port didn't play well with the screwy 320x480 screen of the RS-97. On top of that, it's really slow. I did manage to configure that instance to mostly fill the screen, but text mode became unusable. Some of the old shareware games would run, but almost all of them felt slow.
I did see there was an experimental patch in the extras directory. I don't know if it needs to be reconfigured or something, but it didn't work for me? So I finally broke down, got a toolchain going, and have started hacking DOSBox into shape:
compiled for uClibc (old firmware)https://github.com/jbanes/rs97-dosbox
compiled for musl (new useless firmware)http://s000.tinyupload.com/index.php?file_id=85056583877776278681
My version has the following enhancements (so far):
Games correctly fill the screen
Keyboard is no longer squished on the screen
Performance enhancements to the blitters means faster games
Power button now forcibly exits DOSBox (good for games like Ultima that have no way to exit)
I'm continuing to hack at it in my "fun time", so feel free to try it out and offer feedback. Note that I'm stripping the source code down to be RS-97 specific, so don't expect to merge this back into the mainline. This is mostly being done so I can hack the heck out of it without worrying about cross-platform capability. I might merge the changes back into the mainline later if I feel it's reached a sufficiently stable state. (Don't count on it though.)
My goal is to continue to improve usability and performance. I suspect at some point I'm going to need to get a MIPS core going as I really want to be able to play One Must Fall on this.
Even without that, there are quite a few games in a playable state now. Please note that if a game is running too slow, you may need to turn off the music to get it up to speed. Music seems to add quite a bit to the processing time and thus turning it off is the easiest win you can get. And to be honest, most of the DOS games are improved by not having music. Except for One Must Fall. One Must Fall must have music. No exceptions!
Replace the dosbox executable on your RS-97 with the downloaded executable. The easiest way to do this is to plug your RS-97 into your computer using the USB cable. On the "ROMs" drive, navigate to "emus/dosbox" folder and drag/drop to replace the "dosbox" file.
Copy your favorite DOS game on to your RS-97. You can load it onto an SD Card or copy it into the "roms" folder when you have the USB cable plugged in.
Unplug your RS-97 from your computer and make sure it's turned on
Navigate to the Emulation tab and start DOSBox using the standard icon
You're going to need to mount a directory for DOSBox. Which means typing some commands on the virtual keyboard. Click the left shoulder button to bring up the keyboard. Pressing "A" will type a key, while "B" will lock a key down. You only want to use "B" on the Shift key. Otherwise you'll have some runway typing going on.
If you copied the game to an external sd card, type "mount c /mnt/ext_sd/<mygame>" and enter, replacing <mygame> with your DOS game's directory.
If you copied the game to the "roms" folder, type "mount c /mnt/int_sd/roms/<mygame>" and enter, replacing <mygame> with your DOS game's directory.
Type "c:" and hit enter
Type the name of the game's executable, hit enter, and you should be off to the races!
Some fun tips for a better experience:
The start button is the enter key, select is the escape button, Y is space, and Right shoulder is the backspace. You can use these to speed up your command-line typing.
DOSBox supports tab completion. So if I have a directory called "EPIC" I can type "cd e" and then click the tab key to get "cd EPIC". This saves a LOT of typing.
You can either type "exit" from the DOS prompt to get out of the program, or you can hit the power button.
If a game is running slow, try going into the game's configuration and disabling the music.
If you hold Y while the keyboard is on the screen, you can move the keyboard around the screen with the D-Pad