Continuing in this series on porting Quake II to MS-DOS, we get to touch some of the fun stuff. The first big ‘fun’ thing is networking.
Now in my prior work with the MS-DOS version of Quake, I had used the WATTCP library to bring networking to the otherwise Windows/UNIX specific fun of network deathmatch back to MS-DOS. Quake by default had support for the Beame & Whiteside’s TCP/IP stack which for all intents and purposes has vanished from the face of the Earth (does anyone have a copy?!). So at the time, I thought it’d be cool to try to interface WATTCP with Quake, and it worked on the first attempt as WATTCP is a very competent TCP/IP stack.
So I took the Linux networking file net_udp, and compiled it, and I got an executable!
When it comes to testing WATTCP though, I prefer to use Qemu instead of DOSBox as it can not only emulate various network cards to which I can find packet drivers (yes even the evil PCI NE2000!) but it has a built in SLiRP network stack that let’s me NAT on my desktop without any crazy network configs.
And for the sake of testing, I setup a ‘null’ text mode server, figured out some flags, and I was able to connect!
Very exciting stuff indeed!
Now for some interesting stuff. First I noticed that MS-DOS 5.00 with himem.sys is almost unplayable because it is so slow. MS-DOS 4.01 without himem.sys is actually faster. No, I’m not kidding.
Next is that some levels LOVE to gobble up RAM. Maps like city1 will need at least 192MB of ram. I haven’t even tried playing with the virtual memory of DJGPP, and I really don’t want to. And let’s face if, if you even try to load Quake II on a MS-DOS machine, it better be a ‘big’ one. This means you should be using the ‘dos’ from Windows 98, or perhaps FreeDOS, although I haven’t tested that at all.
So far from our limited testing the networking seems to be pretty good. And at least that is one function we didn’t have to really pour a lot of effort into. Although the payoff of being able to connect to servers on the LAN and even the internet is a good thing.