You can’t beat a bit of classic PC DOS gaming from time to time and thanks to amazing programs like DOSbox and FreeDOS you replay those fondly remembered games on a variety of modern platforms.
I still fire up the occasional game of Wing Commander, Doom, Duke Nuke’em and the Sierra adventure games from time to time on my netbook. Wouldn’t it be great if there was a portable DOS emulator for tablets?…Well, if your an Android user that theres a damn find port of Dosbox available. For iOS owners like myself there’s iDOS.
One snag though, iDOS has been pulled off the app store so many times and it looks to be permanently out for the count as far as this store is concerned. There is another (limited) DOS emulator out there but the In App store doesn’t contain many titles…Commander Keen makes an appearance though!
If you were lucky enough to install iDos when it first appeared then I bet you’ve already been enjoying the delights of this great app. For me who missed it the first time around, i’ve had to wait for the Absinthe Jailbreak and a visit to the wonderful Cydia store.
iDOS purchased and ready to rock. The app is shipped with six classic games with more coming available – although the app’s been out for a while now and nothing new has be released 😦
But the big question is, can you add your own games?…well the answer to that is a big fat Yes.
There’s two ways you can do this and both will require iExplorer http://www.macroplant.com/iexplorer/
If you’ve read some of my previous posts regarding the ios Commodore C64 and ZX Spectrum emulator then you’ll probably know your way around this great little app. If not, check out the iExplorer site and have a read through the documentation, it really is a simple app to use.
Right, we need a game. For this it’s a visit to my favourite DOS game emporium – Abandonia
This site has a huge collection of freely available old DOS games were the original publishers/IP owners given the software as free to distribute on public domain. Not all games are free (such as those IP’s that are still in circulation…for example, Lucasarts games).
For my example i’m going to use one of my favourites games from the Amiga days – Geoff Crammond’s Stunt Car Racer.
First method –
Download the folder/files and with your iDevice connected to your PC, use iExplorer to copy the files to /apps/idos/documents
If you already have the iDOS app running on your iDevice, you need to restart it for it to detect the new fles.
Start the app and go into DOS command mode by pressing the ‘C:’ icon.
Now you just need to browse and run the game .exe just like you did back in the of DOS. You do remember the old commands don’t you? 🙂
o.k so that’s the old fashioned way of launching a game and after all, it’s a DOS emulator and so it’s fun to play around with the the old commands again.
The games library within iDOS shows a mock bookshelf with nice box art covers for the games that are shipped with the app. No messing around with DOS commands, just click and play. Well, we can also add our own games to this library.
Download the game file (again, i’m going to use Stunt Car Racer).
Unzip the contents, if the original download was a .zip file.
Place all of the unzipped files/folders into one folder. For my example i’ve named this folder ‘SRC’
Using a suitable program (i’m using 7zip) rezip the folder SRC but change the extension name to .PKG. Your zipped file should now be called SRC.PKG. If it’s called SRC.PKG.zip then something isn’t right. I’m not sure if any other programs like Tugzip, Winzip allow you to change the archive extension type. If not, try 7Zip.
Next we need some boxart. One you have a suitable image downloaded, use MS Paint/Gimp to resize the image to 188×214 pixels and save as either a .jpg or .png. For this example i’ve used src.jpg
With your iDevice connected to your PC, use iExplorer to browse to apps/idos/iDOS.app/packages
Copy your SRC.PKG and src.jpg files to this location.
Whilst in this folder, drag a copy of one of the existing .CFG files to your PC desktop. In this example i’ve used DUKE.CFG.
Open the file with a text editor and change it to the following – (changing the pathname and .exe fie to suit your own if not using Stunt Car Racer.
# GamePad Key Bindings
Save the file at SCR.CFG
Also, take a copy of GAME.plist (also dump a backup copy of the original somewhere for safe keeping).
Edit and add the following line before the end line –
Again, you might need to exchange the word ‘SCR’ for your own game files.
Save the file and copy this and SCR.CFG back to your iDevice.
Go to the My Collection area.
Yay, Stunt Car Racer has appeared. Click the box art to install.
After installation the game will now show as available so click on it to start.
Virtual Keyboard, Virtual Joystick, Virtual D-Pad and touch screen mouse support. iDOS supports them all!
In landscape, full screen mode.
Another HUGE bonus with iDOS is that it supports Bluetooth keyboards too. One feature i’ll be checking out a lot! Now, to find my X-Wing floppies 🙂
Have fun and feel free to post any questions if you get stuck (this probably isn’ the best guide).