Showing posts with label DOSbox. Show all posts
Showing posts with label DOSbox. Show all posts


Dosbox video capturing how to

Hello, Masters of Orion.
I read this post recently and found out that it is out of date. So I decided to contribute a little to our community and write this post.

What I would like to share with you is that it is possible to capture video from the game without any auxiliary program, but using dosbox directly (starting from 0.65 version). To do that you need to open dosbox.conf file, find the string captures=capture and
replace it with path to any ‘EXISTING’ folder you like, where you want to place captured video, for example


If you don't change this, by default recorded video will be placed to

c:\program files\dosbox-0.72\capture folder.

After you have done this, you can simply launch dosbox and start capturing video by pressing ctrl+alt+f5 buttons simultaneously. When you press it, file named orion2_000.avi will be created in your folder. IF you press ctrl+alt+f5 buttons again, video capturing will stop. By pressing it again it will renew recording to orion2_001.avi file.
 I was amazed how easy it was to capture video, but the problem was later with program to watch recorded video.
The problem is that dosbox writes video with special ZMBV codec. This codec is not widespread, but it is perfect for capturing game video.

The Win 32 Release of DOSBox already includes the necessary CODEC and install scripts needed to allow Windows Media Player (or almost any other movie player in Windows). If you installed the Start Menu shortcuts simply select Install movie codec and it will perform installation of the needed codec automatically.

However you won’t be given any message of completion of the installation, so you’ll have to check whether it was installed manually - by trying to play your movie.
If you didn't installed Start menu shortcuts, or under Linux and MacOS X you can use MPlayer (a popular command line video player) and it should be able to play the captured video without any special configuration. Also it is able to increase( ] button ) and decrease ( [ button ) speed of replay.
That's the basics, everyone can read about it here and here.

The size of the captured video is about 1gb per 3 hours of game, but you can compress it with winrar and it would take about 300mb space.
Also, you can reduce video size by using mencoder(part of mplayer)
I have tried different codecs to reduce video size and found out, that zmbv codec, used by dosbox is probably the best in size/quality ratio with one exception that you have to entirely discard sound from video.
Here is an example of the script:

mencoder -nosound -ovc copy orion2_*.avi -o moo2.avi

If you have several files like orion2_000.avi, orion2_001.avi orion2_002.avi etc.
They will be united into one file - moo2.avi
1Gb video will become 210mb with no video quality loss, but without sound. The reason for this is that dosbox stores sound entirely uncompressed in pcm format. You could try to compress sound too, using the for example the mp3lame codec.
Here is an example of the script:

mencoder -oac mp3lame -ovc copy orion2_*.avi -o moo2.avi

However I had a problem viewing such videos.
(but ffmpeg results were much worse, with the same settings )
You can get common divx video with satisfactory quality and same size 300mb using following commands:
The first pass:

mencoder -nosound -ovc xvid -xvidencopts pass=1:par=vga11:threads=128 goodmap3_*.avi -o xvid1.avi

In result you receive about 500Mb file
The second pass:

mencoder -nosound -ovc xvid -xvidencopts pass=2:par=vga11:threads=128:bitrate=-300000 goodmap3_*.avi -o xvid2.avi

In result you receive the desired 300mb file.
But this operation takes about 2 hours on my core 2 duo 2ghz processor.
Additionally, you can add compressed sound to video file by using the mentioned mp3lame decoder
Here is an example of the script:
The first pass:

mencoder -oac mp3lame -ovc xvid -xvidencopts pass=1:par=vga11:threads=128 goodmap3_*.avi -o xvid1.avi

The second pass:

mencoder -oac mp3lame -ovc xvid -xvidencopts pass=2:par=vga11:threads=128:bitrate=-300000 goodmap3_*.avi -o xvid2.avi


DOSBox 0.72

The next month already the next release. Even before I updated the MOO2 related guide. Anyway, the default dosbox.conf settings should work on most new hardware now. Therefore just the autoexec part should be added. See the DOSBox Guide for details.


DOSBox 0.71 released

Try the latest version in their download section. The DOSBox Guide will be updated soon.

Monday, July 30th, 2007 - Qbix A bugfix release this time, but we couldn't resist adding a few new exciting features:
  • Added a new recompiling cpu core which is easier to port!

  • Added a x86_64 and a mipsel_32 recompiling core.

  • Fixed hangups on certain platforms after long gameplay of several games.

  • Fix several joystick bugs.

  • Improved cdrom support. (fixes for audio, iso and detection.)

  • Improved SVGA and VESA. (detection and display)

  • Fixed a few textmodes and improved ansi emulation a bit.

  • Fixed pcspeaker and certain types of soundeffects.

  • Added undocumented mousebackdoor.

  • Made mount and imgmount a bit easier to use. (ioctl by default, support
    for ~ and ~username, auto size guessing for images)

  • Fix a few compilation problems on various hosts and a general code

  • Several small fixes that improve compatibility.
The compatibility should be the same as 0.70 aside from the games we fixed. (see the Changelog for details)


DOSBox 0.70

A new release of DOSBox was published a few weeks ago. Apparently, the new default settings of the dosbox.conf work quite nicely on new computers now. Lord Brazen proposes in this post the following fine tuning:

a) Change output from surface to overlay.
b) Change gus from true to false.
c) Change joysticktype from auto to none.
d) Change ipx from false to true. (for multiplayer games)

The other highlighted items were already my default settings. I don't have sufficient feedback yet, but I assume that you should adjust frameskip to 1 or 2 for old computers. Additionally, I am not sure how the auto core feature works for old computers. Feedback is appreciated.

I will update the DOSBox guide with the new dosbox.conf files in the next days.


DOSbox Fine Tuning

LordBrazen posted some info regarding the new build DOSBox 0.66rc1 CVS on his blog. Additionally, he now recommends to use the setsound.exe (the MOO2 folder or CD should contain this executable) to configure the sound (instead of editing the DIG.INI). Though on my PC the sound is slightly choppy (especially during screen changes) with the proposed settings in the DOSbox guide. Shadowlord assumed in this forum post that this might be caused by the experimental auto cycle feature and frameskip. With his settings the sound seems better. Or is it just my imagination?


Updated DOSbox Guide

I have updated the DOSbox Guide recently. I also added several screenshots to clarify a few issues.

Additionally, you can download my own dosbox.conf now. It works in combination with the default MOO2 directory: C:\MPS\ORION2

When you use this configuration you need just to read steps 1-4 and 8. The steps 5-7 explain the changes of my dosbox.conf file.


DosBox Guide

DOSBox supports IPX since version 0.65 and it improved significantly the efficiency of MOO2 MP Online Games. Keep in mind that by using DOSBox also Linux, 2k, Vista and even Mac users are now able to join our Multiplayer Games. Therefore, DOSBox is now considered as the de facto solution for multiplayer. In the meanwhile, the IRC channel (This link works for FF+chatzilla/Opera users. IE users should use the client at the top of the sidebar) is the new meeting point for MOO2 Online Games. It was introduced in August 2006 after most MOO2 players started to use the new DOSBox version.

Before the guide starts, I'd like to add a small FAQ section.

A) Why should I use the DOS version?

First of all, regarding multiplayer the DOS version orion2.exe is far superior to the WIN version orion95.exe. When you have ever tried to setup a MOO2 network game you may have observed this already: The orion95.exe lags extremely. Up to several minutes between the turns. You may ask for the reason, let me therefore quote the developer Rob Corell:

"It [MOO2] was definitely developed under DOS. I did the DOS network support, and don't even remember any Win95 testing for MOO2."

To sum it up: Network games under orion95.exe are considered unplayable but the orion2.exe provides appealing results.

B) I have installed the Windows version orion95.exe. Why should I read this guide?

First, most MOO2 CDs contain both versions, i.e. orion95.exe and orion2.exe. Second, even if you own just a "Windows only" release (e.g. the Atari Download version), you should take into account that there are just minor differences between Windows and DOS version. It is patchable with the last official 1.31. Proceed with step 1B in this case.

C) DOSBox is just too slow. Do I have to use DOSBox?

There are alternatives to DOSBox, but I don't recommend them any longer (there are far too many problems involved on modern hardware). Actually, the newest DOSBox version (with default settings) works pretty fast on modern computers. So you have probably just an old DOSBox version (just update DOSBox in this case) or an older computer. In the latter case you should read step 7 to speed up DOSBox.

DOSBox Guide for MOO2 Multiplayer:

1. There are two ways to "install" the DOS version orion2.exe. In any case I emphasize to use the default folder. Users with a different folder name should take notice of this important NOTE. This 8 character limit under DOS is the main error of most DOSBox users.

1.A Conventional Way (win95/98/ME/XP can use this way.)
Find the Install.exe on your Moo2 CD and double click it to start the DOS installer. For further details see step 1 and 2 in LordBrazen's guide. Note, that step 2 in LordBrazen's guide isn't optional! (I.e. without this step you will need to mount your CD drive, too.) And I recommend to use the default folder: C:\MPS\ORION2
Any trouble? Try it with 1.B then:

1.B Unconventional Way (Linux, MAC, Win2k users or users without install.exe/orion2.exe have to use this way.)
Just copy the entire CD onto the hard drive! Once again, I recommend to use the default folder: MPS\ORION2
If orion2.exe and/or file(s) are missing:
Unzip this file in your MOO2 directory and proceed. No worries about orion2.exe: The 1.31 zip patch in step 2 contains the exe file of the dos version.)
Once all the files are copied you will possibly need to edit the 'ORIONCD.INI' file within the C:\MPS\ORION2 folder. Change the top line in the file to C:\MPS\ORION2

2. Apply the patch. Important! 1.4 will only work with the ENGLISH 1.31 patch. (German or multilingual 1.31patch won't work. But German or other versions are no problem after applying the above mentioned patch.)

3. Apply the v1.40 patch (Latest version - 1.40b23 (MOO2v140 patch FAQ) You should follow these instructions and an 1.4 desktop shortcut is quite helpful (see step 6).

4. Download DosBox 0.72 and install it.

The steps 5-8 are related to the dosbox.conf file. The default location of this text file is:

5. Open your dosbox.conf file with an usual text editor and and enable IPX, i.e. edit the following entry
# ipx -- Enable ipx over UDP/IP emulation.

6. We need now the exact MS-DOS name of your MOO2 working directory. The above-mentioned 1.4 shortcut is now helpful, especially if you have a different folder than default. Therefore, right click the 1.4 desktop shortcut - Properties - Program tab and copy the entry of the Working field to the clipboard:

After following the steps under 1A or 1B, the default entry should be
Paste now (from the clipboard) this entry to the [autoexec] part of the dosbox.conf file. With the default entry the necessary lines are:
# Lines in this section will be run at startup.

mount c c:\MPS\ORION2

The first two bold lines represent the so called mounting, i.e. DOSbox will launch an exe file from this working directory now. The third line is the command to launch the orion2v140.exe in this folder.

NOTE: For those without this shortcut and/or different working directory: Keep in mind that the 8 character limit under MS-DOS truncates names. For example C:\Microprose\Masteroforion2 will be translated to C:\Microp~1\Master~1

This note is now slightly emphasized since ~95% of the problems are caused by incorrect mounting. Click now the DOSbox shortcut to test your setup:

MOO2 will be automatically launched inside DOSbox:

Use ALT+ENTER to play fullscreen. BTW there is also a DOSbox Status Window, which will list the incoming connections (see step 8 for details).

7. You will observe that DOSBox is a bit slower than usual Dos under Windows but you can speed it up by editing the dosbox.conf file. Following edits work nicely on my old computer:

But you should test these settings in singleplayer. Some players need a frameskip of 2 or 3. See also the comments: Some players report improved speed by output=ddraw.


The [autoexec] lines for a singleplayer game were explained in step 6. For an MP game you need a further command. And it is important that you add it above the orion2~1 line. I recommend to add the lines as they are mentioned under 8.C but let us first look at the default example separately:


# Lines in this section will be run at startup.

mount c c:\MPS\ORION2
ipxnet connect

You have to add the IP of the host behind the ipxnet connect command (for example: ipxnet connect Use to obtain your IP.)


# Lines in this section will be run at startup.

mount c c:\MPS\ORION2
ipxnet startserver

In this case you don't have to add an IP.

By playing against different players (different IPs!) you will have to change the DOSbox.conf quite a lot. I therefore strongly recommend to add a shortcut of your dosbox.conf file to your desktop:

8.C DOSbox.conf Fine Tuning

You may have noticed that the "#" is used for comments inside the dosbox.conf. It is a convenient way to disable unused lines inside your dosbox.conf. For example, my current dosbox.conf for singleplayer games looks like this:

When I am interested in an MP game I just enable one of the bold lines mentioned under 8.A or 8.B. BTW, I have also added further MOO2 Mods at the bottom which can coexist in the same folder with 1.31/1.40. Note, that there are also the so called switches (/nowh etc.) added. They are explained in the 1.40 FAQ.

The IP in this screenshot is just an example. When you try to connect to this IP you will get this error message inside the DOSbox Status Window:

9. The host needs to forward PORT 213 UDP (default), if he uses a router/firewall.

10. Inside Moo2 you have to click the following buttons:
Join Game (only the host has to click Start New Game)

11. Run the setsound.exe and choose the soundblaster compatible option there. See this post for details and further fine tuning.

12. need opponents? Join (This link works for FF/Opera users. IE users should use the client at the top of the sidebar) and you will find some DOSBox players there. See also this post for further IRC clients.

13. Popular Settings/Abbreviations (click it to enlarge)

Don't forget to enable ship initiative (default in Online Games). It is the last entry in this menu:


How to play -=UniTol=- !?

How to play UniTol !?
-Tutorial Movie-

I made an UniTol Tutorial Movie, with the following commando line :
/nobh /nosplint /planets=4 /minstart /nowh /noreport
in a "large avrg orgarich norandom noants" galaxy.

U can download the movie in 2 parts + turn0 and turn39 save (1-3), or just all in one (4).

TURN 0 :
In turn 0 I checked my planets in HW, then I scrapped the starbase to receive 200BC and to save 2BC maintenance each turn. Scrapping Starbase isn't always a good idea, but I won´t tell about in this guide.
Then I put all my 5 workers on prod to get ((5 x 4)+50% government bonus) = 30pp each turn.
Now I checked how much stars I could fly to, I decided to fly with 1scout & 1cship to the orange star in 2 turns and with the other to the red star.
Production order:
Cbase -> Freighter fleet -> Cbase -> Cbase -> Freighter -> Cship.

TURN 1 :
Now I had choosen research labs on my tech field. I scrapped my marine barracks to save 1 maintenance each turn and to get 30BC.

TURN 2 - 4 :
My Scout was shot down by a monster, so my cship retreated back to HW system. My other scout was on his way to a white star. Further I bought colonybase on t4, 80pp for 160BC.

TURN 5 :
I put my colobase on the best planet selectable in my HW. On that new colobase I put the worker to prod and choose housing to increase my popgrowth.

TURN 6 - 7 :
I found a good system with 1 rich and 1 huge urich/HG. I settled the huge urich/HG, cos he makes same prod as the rich one, but the planet had a greater size, which increases a bit the basicpopgrowth. On that new planet I choose housing again, to let the pop grow.

TURN 8 - 13 :
I build another cbase, and made housing with 1 pop on it. On t13 I got 1 new pop on my huge urich/HG, which I put to prod too, to increase groth more. Further I got, in my HW, on a cbase 1 new pop too, which I put to my homeplanet to increase production there.

TURN 14 - 20 :
I build another cbase, and made housing with 1 pop on it. After all cbases were build I build another freighter and put my pop to research on homeplanet. Further I send 1 pop to that urich/HG planet to get there fast a cbase too.

TURN 21 - 26 :
I build a cbase on my urich/HG to settle the rich ng. I researched further to rlabs.

TURN 27 :
After I got rlabs, I took reinforced hull as next tech. I build rlabs on my homeplanet and on that rich ng.

TURN 28 - 31 :
I build some further rlabs on my cbases, as u can see in the movie.

Rlabs have 60pp, try to save 30pp to a planet, the last 30pp can be bought for 60BC. While u buy PP on a planet let ur pop there to save the next 30pp for auto factories.

TURN 32 :
I got rhull and next tech was automated factory.

TURN 33 - 34 :
I saved some prod for auto factories.

TURN 35 :
I got breakthrough in autofacs tech. I was able to build/buy autofacs on most of my planets in 1 turn, cos I saved prod on planets.

TURN 36 - 39 :
I build the last autofacs, and techd further to bios. On that urich/HG I build a cship further. After bios the next tech is soil enrichment.

I really dont know if this is the best way to play, there r many ways to build an empire. Instead of researching rhull u could choose fighters to conquer the system, which was protected by a hydra. But I think, this tutorial will help new players, who played a lot LAN or singleplayer, to be able to compete faster with the vets on KALI.

I used a lot shortcuts, but I think its understandable for someone who know MoO2.

If u found another or better way to play or if u have ideas or if u have suggestions, I would be glad about any feedback.
Please post ur feedback on LBs Forum, I made already a thread UniTol_tutorial_movie

Thanks for reading !



Hypercam, DosBox and the new way of "How to..."

How to make movies of Moo2:
At first I want to say something about the story and how it is finally possible to take screenshots from the Dos-Version of Master of Orion II. Well when I found out that it is still possible to play moo2 online via Kali, I was surprised. I was surprised how different playing against humans is. There were much things I had to learn, and also several things I had to forget. The first months in Multiplayer Moo were hard, and today it is still hard for me. There is so much I still have to learn. But this is whats the fun of moo2 in my opinion, the first time you win, the progress with every game and of course the wonderful moo2 kali-community. One day I had an idea, I remembered hypercam which was normally used to convert "3D Movie Maker films" by me. I thought it would be an amazing help for new players to learn the new things via "Moo2 Movies". So I talked with Siron about it, he was very pleased of my idea. The problem was, that in the beginning it was only possible to capture moo95.exe ( The windows version of moo) and furthermore the colors were wrong. Siron had the idea to use DosBox, a Dos Emulator. After I read several DosBox guides I finally managed it, so that it is now possible to capture the Dos-Version of moo2. Unfortunately it is not possible to run the patched 1.40 or 1.31 versions. Dunno why...
The longer the speech, the less thought. Here is the how to:

  • Download Hypercam
  • Download DosBox (choose the location closest to you)
  • Install both
  • Run DosBox
  • Type "mount c c:/your moo2 directory" without "" ;) with "c" and "c:" replace the drive letter where moo2 is installed at your system, this will emulate a hard drive with the moo2 folder in it. Nothing will be damaged
  • Type "c:"
  • Type "orion2"
  • Moo should start, don't wonder if it's slow, remember it's an emulation.
  • Run Hypercam
  • Click at "Select Window"
  • Click at the DosBox Window
  • Click at "Start Rec."
  • The rest is up to you
I hope this helped you! Any Questions? Post here or contact me: / ICQ#: 168210250

AlexD made a movie using this technique I wanted to comment on, for those who can't follow all the steps so far.
At first, we'll take a look at his race:
As you can see (i hope so ;) ) AlexD picked a UniTol race (Unification, Tolerant, Repulsive,Large HW,Industrial Production +1, Ship Defense -20, Ground Combat -10), a Production Race which means that it's recommenced to get much Population as fast as possible. So let us go on to see what is done to do so...

The first step is to transfer all of your scientists to work to have the colony bases built fast enough. Be sure to leave the farmers where they are!

Prepare the Production Queue as followed:
Colony Base
Freighter Fleet
Colony Base
Colony Base
Freighter Fleet
(Colony Base, if possible)
Colony Ship
It's also possible to build the freighter at first!
Meanwhile it is important to discover the environment to be able to colonize the best system. Start scouting at the first turn. If you discovered all systems in reach use the 'Planet' button to colonize the best planet.

Researching Research Labs is absolutely necessary! Else you will be outteched immediately. When you finished ReLabs, pick Reinforced Hull and then Automated Factories! This will give you an important industrial advantage. Without AutoFacs it would be senseless to play.

To get a small financial support it is useful to destroy the marine barracks. As long as you are not playing in a small galaxy their not needed so early anyway.

'Oh no, the hydra destroyed my scout! It'd be stupid to go on playing' - STOP. This is not right, don't worry losing a scout, be happy having a high quality-system in reach. Remember monsterkilling is quite easy. But it's better to comment on monsterkilling another time.

As its said before: If you are able to buy 1 production point with 2BC, do it! Especially the first turns are the best to take some small production-advantages.

When you colonized a new planet transfer the farmer to work and build housing! (If you got no AutoFacs)

Having native-planets in reach is very good luck (though they were defended by monsters). This food bonus makes them very attractive to colonize, so if you got the possibility to colonize them do it!

Shuffle every produced pop in your homeworld to the mainplanet to have the most possible production.

Finally if you got all colony bases, shuffle all workers on science leaving one at work to do housing.

I think if you go on watching, you will wonder why Alex shuffled some pop to the new planet. Well he did that to be able to build all colonybases at the new planet faster. And thus is needing production. So he transferred some pop there and shuffled the restworkers to science.

What was new to me:
As a relativ new player there were some steps new to me, for example that it is usual to crush the marine barracks or even the star base. I also did not know that it is possible to see the saved production by clicking on "buy", I buy a lot but I did not noticed it ;). Then I did not know the best production queue. And it seems better to build a freighter fleet after the first colobase.
Hmm I think thats it.

Have Fun,