Are the latest changes to the site good or bad?

Post suggestions, correct errors or omissions, or anything else about the site
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ThreeHeadedMonkey
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Game wishlist

Post by ThreeHeadedMonkey » December 12th, 2008, 10:47 am

Since you asked, I think the new overlay display method for screenshots is much better. Thumbs up!
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DOSGuy
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Are the latest changes to the site good or bad?

Post by DOSGuy » March 15th, 2009, 1:43 pm

Are the animated banners in the Classic DOS Games title awesome or distracting?

[Results from the poll]

Do you like the new animated title banners?
Yes 67% [ 4 ]
No 0% [ 0 ]
Meh 33% [ 2 ]
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ThreeHeadedMonkey
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Re: Animated banners: Good or bad?

Post by ThreeHeadedMonkey » March 16th, 2009, 12:52 am

Quite nice! I like them.
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Qbix
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Re: Animated banners: Good or bad?

Post by Qbix » March 17th, 2009, 4:31 am

Nice retro feel to it


that bombing thing is a bit overkill on my widescreen monitor though.

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Re: Animated banners: Good or bad?

Post by Calvero » April 7th, 2009, 5:09 am

How did you create those animated banners?

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Re: Animated banners: Good or bad?

Post by DOSGuy » April 8th, 2009, 6:04 pm

I recorded myself playing the games, then I used VirtualDub to select short sections and convert them to animated GIFs, then I used The GIMP to compress them. I was aiming for a hard limit of 60 KB for each file in order to keep the bandwidth usage reasonable and keep load times reasonable for dial-up users. I made some pretty good GIFs that ended up being in the 100 KB range and didn't make the cut. Maybe someday.
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leilei
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The new site design improvements

Post by leilei » December 23rd, 2010, 1:46 pm

SIZE 24 COMIC SANS MS OH HELL YEA!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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Re: Are the latest changes to the site good or bad?

Post by DOSGuy » March 6th, 2011, 2:41 am

A fundamental change to the site's philosophy is coming.
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MrFlibble
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Re: Are the latest changes to the site good or bad?

Post by MrFlibble » March 7th, 2011, 1:03 pm

How intriguing! :D I wonder what it could be :?:

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Re: Are the latest changes to the site good or bad?

Post by DOSGuy » March 14th, 2011, 2:52 am

This stuff was supposed to be announced on March 8, but my grandmother died that day. I'm prioritizing other matters at the moment, but I'll be slowly rolling out the new philosophy over the coming days and weeks.

One of the new pillars of the site philosophy is: RGB Classic Games is a resource.

For a taste of what that means, check out the new tutorial.
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MrFlibble
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Re: Are the latest changes to the site good or bad?

Post by MrFlibble » March 14th, 2011, 8:48 pm

DOSGuy wrote:This stuff was supposed to be announced on March 8, but my grandmother died that day.
Please accept my condolences to you and your family, DOSGuy.
DOSGuy wrote:For a taste of what that means, check out the new tutorial.
That's very impressive and detailed. So basically this is going to be a site dedicated to the history of computers and computer gaming?

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Re: Are the latest changes to the site good or bad?

Post by DOSGuy » April 12th, 2011, 10:12 am

MrFlibble wrote:So basically this is going to be a site dedicated to the history of computers and computer gaming?
That's part of it. The change in philosophy is that RGB Classic Games is no longer an archive of classic games, but a website that facilitates the playing of classic games.

Windows XP was the last version of Windows that had decent native support for DOS and Win16 games. 64-bit versions of Windows can't run 16-bit software, and many older DirectX games for Win9x often don't work, even in Compatibility Mode. Yes, a lot of people know how to use emulators and virtualization suites, but most people don't. To be worth archiving, people need to be playing, enjoying, and remembering these games. The change in philosophy is the difference between storing classic games and keeping them alive. Thus the change in motto to "Keeping the classics alive".

Facilitating the playing of games is accomplished in a number of different ways.
  • Every game page now links to the utilities page for each operating system that the game is available in
    • The utilities pages now have an introductory section that explains how to play any game for that operating system on a computer with every major operating system
      Free alternative operating systems are now hosted (i.e. ReactOS to facilitate playing Windows games) to allow people who don't own the OS that a game is for to play the game, and these alternative OSes will be made available in ready-to-run images for major emulators and virtualization suites
    Every game that can be played in a browser will be made available for online play
    • JPC has been replaced with jDosbox, which should allow almost every DOS game on the site to be playable online
      If a sufficiently lightweight version of Linux can be found that can install Wine and run at a decent speed in JPC, Win16 games will also be made available online
    For those who want to play the games on original hardware (without emulators), we will publish a series of guides and hardware lists to help gamers build, upgrade, and maintain classic PCs
The About page is being completely rewritten to reflect this new philosophy. All of this was supposed to have been done and announced around the site's 6th anniversary on March 7, but my grandmother died on the 8th, and I've been busy every weekend ever since (memorial services, execution of the Will, preparing the house for inspection so that it can be valued for the probate tax, and last weekend just a weekend getaway to Kingston to rest, relax, and get back to normal).

It's all slowly happening, but mostly in the all-too-brief moments of freedom after work, instead of on the weekend when I usually do most of the work on the site. Still, I'm happy with the way things are moving forward, and jDosbox was a pleasant surprise that really helped. I spent the entire weekend before last converting the site and online game images to work with jDosbox, so I have had one weekend to myself, and I'll have another one this coming weekend.
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Re: Are the latest changes to the site good or bad?

Post by MrFlibble » April 15th, 2011, 11:05 am

I like the change in (or maybe, more accurately, the adjustment of) your philosophy, and I hope it will not interfere with the original idea of archiving various game versions :)

Since the new focus is on playing, perhaps it is a worthy idea to give some kind of "playability ratings" to games that are featured on the site. Quite obviously, not all demo and shareware products have the same playing potential - some have multiplayer support and a number of single-player levels tied into a consistent storyline, while others have no MP option at all, and the playable part is limited to a single level or even only a few locations or screens of a level. Perhaps it's also a good idea to provide info on the total number of levels offered in each demo/shareware version, the presence of multiplayer mode, the ability to save your progress, and other possible limitations or lack thereof.

BTW, maybe you'll be interested, recently I've run into a little site called The DOS Multiplayer Archives, which is focused on playing old DOS games online. They offer game demo/shareware downloads already bundled with DOSBox to facilitate play. It is interesting that most games featured on the site are the less popular and well-known ones, like Eradicator or Amulets & Armor. The community seems to be rather small, but their initiative is quite commendable.

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Re: Are the latest changes to the site good or bad?

Post by DOSGuy » April 15th, 2011, 11:52 am

The mandate to archive every version of each game hasn't changed.

As you say, it's an adjustment in focus. Before, there was a bunch of files and people were on their own to figure out how to play them. In the XP era, it was often a simple matter of running the executable file. Unfortunately, there is no Virtual 8086 mode when a CPU is in 64-bit long mode, so there's no native support for DOS and Win16 in Win64. People are going to need an emulator or a virtualization suite, and even an operating system to play the games on this site now! So to keep the games playable, I have to make them playable online, or provide a link to the tools that people need. I'm just trying to make it as easy as possible for people to play these games.
MrFlibble wrote:Since the new focus is on playing, perhaps it is a worthy idea to give some kind of "playability ratings" to games that are featured on the site. Quite obviously, not all demo and shareware products have the same playing potential - some have multiplayer support and a number of single-player levels tied into a consistent storyline, while others have no MP option at all, and the playable part is limited to a single level or even only a few locations or screens of a level. Perhaps it's also a good idea to provide info on the total number of levels offered in each demo/shareware version, the presence of multiplayer mode, the ability to save your progress, and other possible limitations or lack thereof.
I already do most of that. Shareware games are categorized as either partial games or fully playable, and I always end the review with a statement like "there are 3 episodes in this game, with only the first episode playable in the shareware version" or "there are 20 levels in this game, with only the first 5 playable in the shareware demo". I often include statements like "you can play against one human or the computer". I don't usually list whether you can save your game or not, though I think that almost every game supports saving. Since PC games could always count on a writable media like a floppy/hard disk, they have pretty much always supported saving your progress.

Now, I fully support facilitating the playing of multiplayer games online. Some console emulators allow multi-players games to be played online through, for example, kiara. The emulator takes a game where two or more players are supposed to be in the same room, and accepts input for the other players through the internet. This is way easier for console emulators, because all the emulator has to do is take the input it receives over the internet and send it to Controller Port 2/3/4. PC games that expect you to be in the same room expect you to be using the same keyboard!

So, clearly not every multiplayer game is going to be readily playable online, but many FPS and RTS games support multiplayer via modem or LAN. I think that DOSBox supports IPX over IP, so it should be possible to set up online DOS multiplayer games. I would certainly be interested in setting up a system to allow gamers to find partners to play these games online, although I suspect that it won't see much use unless the site gets a lot more popular than it is now. If you want opponents/partners other than your own friends, you'll have to promote the service on Reddit and Stumpleupon and such. Heck, see if you can Slashdot me. I've always wondered what would happen if a million people came to the site at the same time.
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Re: Are the latest changes to the site good or bad?

Post by MrFlibble » April 15th, 2011, 1:37 pm

DOSGuy wrote:Shareware games are categorized as either partial games or fully playable, and I always end the review with a statement like "there are 3 episodes in this game, with only the first episode playable in the shareware version" or "there are 20 levels in this game, with only the first 5 playable in the shareware demo". I often include statements like "you can play against one human or the computer".
I mentioned this 'cause I have an idea on my mind of compiling a kind of comparison table to list various features like the number of single- and multiplayer levels, weapons, enemies and so on in various demo and shareware titles, to serve as a guide of sorts. Many shareware episodes are like stand-alone games in their own right, opposed to stuff like one-level demos, but there is also plenty of in-between cases.
DOSGuy wrote:I don't usually list whether you can save your game or not, though I think that almost every game supports saving. Since PC games could always count on a writable media like a floppy/hard disk, they have pretty much always supported saving your progress.
I was actually referring to situations where a full game allows saving, but this option is deliberately turned off in the demo to limit playability. For example, you can't save your progress in both Warlords and Warlords II demos, in addition to being limited to 40 turns only. The save game option is also absent from an early demo of Knights and Merchants, and from the demo of The Settlers (which also has a one hour play limit). There are other examples too, and such limitations obviously reduce overall playability of a demo. This is not to be confused with cases when game saving option is entirely absent from the game, or is limited to saving at checkpoints or between levels.
DOSGuy wrote:I think that DOSBox supports IPX over IP, so it should be possible to set up online DOS multiplayer games.
Yep, this is how it's done, although I've never tried it myself.

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