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tempest
May 3rd, 2016, 05:30 AM
I asked this over on the PCjr forums, but I think it's also relevant to the 51510/XT since they use the same processor as the PCjr.

What's the general consensus on the last year for games to run at a reasonable speed on a 8088 based machine?? I tried a bunch of games that supported CGA graphics from 90-91 but they were way too slow to play (Castlevania was particularly funny to watch as Simon inched his way across the screen like he was a 90 year old man). I wasn't really expecting them to run well, but I was hoping they would at least be somewhat playable.

So based on my testing 88 is the last year where games can almost all be counted as playing well on an 8088 based machine (I'm sure there are exceptions) while 89 is hit and miss and 90 is almost always out of the question except for maybe non-action games like RPGs, Adventure, and Strategy games (I guess this is when ATs and 386s started to become the norm). Does this sound about right to everyone?

I'm basically looking for games that I can put on my 5150. Of course I also have the limitation of using a Hercules card so that narrows the list a little more (although there are CGA emulators for it).

Scali
May 3rd, 2016, 05:47 AM
What's the general consensus on the last year for games to run at a reasonable speed on a 8088 based machine??

I think there is some confusion in your question...
PCjr and 5150/5160 used a 4.77 MHz 8088.
There were clones with 8088 CPUs that ran at 10 MHz or more.
So there is a huge difference in performance between various 8088-based machines.
There are games that play well on fast 8088s, but not on the original IBMs.

Also, as you already touched upon, the video card can make a huge difference in performance as well. In some cases, a VGA card can improve performance quite a lot over CGA.
At around 1990 I had a 9.54 MHz 8088 clone with a Paradise VGA card. It ran games such as Prince of Persia quite acceptably. Even a flightsim such as F29 Retaliator was doable.

Trixter
May 3rd, 2016, 06:16 AM
I'm basically looking for games that I can put on my 5150.

I would start with http://www.mobygames.com/browse/games/dos/tic,11/ti,64/ and then check anything you want to run against MDA.

Most games that support Hercules are going to run on an 808x system, so it might be more prudent to check this: http://www.mobygames.com/browse/games/dos/tic,2/ti,4/

tempest
May 3rd, 2016, 06:29 AM
I think there is some confusion in your question...
PCjr and 5150/5160 used a 4.77 MHz 8088.
There were clones with 8088 CPUs that ran at 10 MHz or more.
So there is a huge difference in performance between various 8088-based machines.
There are games that play well on fast 8088s, but not on the original IBMs.

Also, as you already touched upon, the video card can make a huge difference in performance as well. In some cases, a VGA card can improve performance quite a lot over CGA.
At around 1990 I had a 9.54 MHz 8088 clone with a Paradise VGA card. It ran games such as Prince of Persia quite acceptably. Even a flightsim such as F29 Retaliator was doable.


Ah yes, I was talking about a 4.77 MHz system. A real XT, not a clone.



I would start with http://www.mobygames.com/browse/games/dos/tic,11/ti,64/ and then check anything you want to run against MDA.

Most games that support Hercules are going to run on an 808x system, so it might be more prudent to check this: http://www.mobygames.com/browse/games/dos/tic,2/ti,4/

Thanks for those links, that helps.

Great Hierophant
May 3rd, 2016, 06:49 AM
Sadly, Prince of Persia is not one of those games that will run very well on a true XT speed machine. It runs much better on an Apple II. It's playable, but the older machine is far more playable.

Xacalite
May 3rd, 2016, 07:27 AM
I would start with http://www.mobygames.com/browse/games/dos/tic,11/ti,64/ and then check anything you want to run against MDA.

Most games that support Hercules are going to run on an 808x system, so it might be more prudent to check this: http://www.mobygames.com/browse/games/dos/tic,2/ti,4/

BTW, does Mobygames support more advanced search?
Eg. I want to decide if it makes sense to put a GUS into a 286, so I do the following:
https://www.mobygames.com/browse/games/dos/tic,11/ti,65/tic,1/ti,20/
But it doesn't work.
Am I doing something wrong or it's simply impossible?

tempest
May 3rd, 2016, 07:28 AM
Sadly, Prince of Persia is not one of those games that will run very well on a true XT speed machine. It runs much better on an Apple II. It's playable, but the older machine is far more playable.

Well the Apple II version was the original (and the one I played back in the day). It is funny how a 6502 running at 1MHz can play a game better than an 8088 running at 4.7Mhz. I've actually run into a few games so far where the Apple II version plays better than the DOS port.

Gabucino
May 3rd, 2016, 07:35 AM
Of course I also have the limitation of using a Hercules card so that narrows the list a little more (although there are CGA emulators for it).

Hercules is way slower than CGA even on a 10MHz 8088, at least that's what I saw with Sierra's AGI games. Probably due to the bigger resolution.

tempest
May 3rd, 2016, 07:56 AM
Hercules is way slower than CGA even on a 10MHz 8088, at least that's what I saw with Sierra's AGI games. Probably due to the bigger resolution.

Hercules emulating CGA or just Hercules in general?

Is is worth getting a NEC v20 chip? The speed increase for newer games would be nice but I don't want to make older games too fast.

Gabucino
May 3rd, 2016, 08:06 AM
Just Hercules. Emulation would be similarly slow IMHO because the resolution is still 720x348.

tempest
May 3rd, 2016, 08:11 AM
Good to know. I guess I'll stay away from games that already a little slow. Thankfully I'm more into RPGs and Adventure games where speed doesn't matter much.

Xacalite
May 3rd, 2016, 08:12 AM
CGA screen is 16000 Bytes, HGC in its native 720x348 mode - 31320 Bytes, so it must be slower.

CGA emulation is usually done by switching the HGC into a special, CGA-resembling mode, and pushing to the video memory the same data as with a real CGA - so it should be the same speed.

Some CGA emulators attempt at making the image look better by scaling up the CGA data to higher resolution - in this case it's of course slower than with a real CGA.

Xacalite
May 3rd, 2016, 09:40 AM
Is is worth getting a NEC v20 chip? The speed increase for newer games would be nice but I don't want to make older games too fast.
Don't expect too much, the speed increase is about 12%, according to Dhrystone benchmark.
Those who upgrade 8088->V20 most likely do it for the additional instruction set, not for the speed increase.

fs5500
May 3rd, 2016, 10:12 AM
I'm testing a lot of IBM PC software for IBM PC/PC XT on PCE emulator.
I think most of PCbooter games runs on IBM PC (4.77MHz) well with CGA graphics.
A few of early DOS games runs well on original IBM PC/PC XT/PCjr with 4.77Mhz.

kyodai
May 3rd, 2016, 10:56 AM
Many (late) adventure games still featured CGA support and due to mostly static graphics they were usually not too demanding on CPU.

Sierra (and their later subsidiaries like Coktel Vision, Dynamix) had CGA up to the 1990s. Some late games like "Heart of China" (1991) are a bit on the slow side when it comes to the animations but still playable.
Some Sierra titles did not come with a CGA driver but you could add one from other titles if you have the EGA version (Some later titles had seperate VGA and EGA releases) - examples would be Police Quest 3 and the VGA remakes of Leisure Suit Larry or Space Quest. About Coktel vision: Emmanuelle came with a CGA driver (1989) but although "fascination" was presumably available with CGA i never had a version i could get to work.

Quest for Glory 1 & 2 also run fine in CGA.

I think pretty much all games up to SCI1 can somehow be made to run in CGA even if they were not originally intended to work with it.

Lucasfilm games also had good support for CGA - the last game to support it was the "16 color" version of "The Secret of Monkey Island" (1990) which - despite the package sticker - also supported Hercules monochrome. All earlier games also work fine.



For me it all ended in 1991 with "heart of China" which was imho kinda farewell to CGA. There are some games that came out later and still support CGA - in 1992 we still some "Quite a few" but nothing i personally feel bad about for not mentioning.

vwestlife
May 3rd, 2016, 11:39 AM
If you count laptops, XT-class machines with CGA were on the market well into the 1990s -- Radio Shack sold the Tandy 1100HD laptop with a NEC V20 and CGA all the way until 1994. Palmtops like the HP 100LX & 200LX lasted even longer. Most PC games had moved onto 386+ systems with VGA by then, but some still only required CGA.

Trixter
May 3rd, 2016, 12:34 PM
BTW, does Mobygames support more advanced search?

Sadly, no. You can only search on one major category at a time, but not multiple items in the same general category. This was something we always meant to implement, but other things got in the way. Still, you can get pretty far with stuff like platform + technical spec + year + genre if you're looking for something very specific.


Hercules is way slower than CGA even on a 10MHz 8088, at least that's what I saw with Sierra's AGI games. Probably due to the bigger resolution.

AGI games are some of the few that actually support the true Hercules resolution -- higher-res font, nicer fill patterns. However, that's twice the video memory to sling around, so that's why it can be painful.


Is is worth getting a NEC v20 chip? The speed increase for newer games would be nice but I don't want to make older games too fast.

This is one of the things TOPBENCH was created to answer, and the quick answer is that an NEC V20 provides a 15-20% speedup over most use cases. MUL/IMUL/DIV/IDIV benefit the most, so any game that is MUL-heavy (think 3-D graphics calculations) show the most speedup. An NEC V30 provides between a 20-30% average speedup.

That doesn't directly answer your question, but this next statement might: The CPU might be a little faster, but the video card's fill rate stays the same, so while 4.77MHz-only games are faster, they are still playable (if you are a fast player yourself!) I had an 8MHz NEC V30 growing up, and it was a challenge to play some games, but with a good joystick and quick reflexes, you can manage. Mostly I enjoyed the NEC V30, since it enabled playing some games meant for a 286.

TL;DR -- Go ahead and upgrade if you can do so cheaply, since it will expand the number of games you can run, or make some existing late-1980s games less painful to run.



Some late games like "Heart of China" (1991) are a bit on the slow side when it comes to the animations but still playable.
Some Sierra titles did not come with a CGA driver but you could add one from other titles if you have the EGA version (Some later titles had seperate VGA and EGA releases) - examples would be Police Quest 3 and the VGA remakes of Leisure Suit Larry or Space Quest.

The CGA driver would dither the 320x200 16-color EGA graphics down to 640x200 black-and-white CGA graphics, which is easier to manage than coming form the full 256-color sources, so that's why that driver only works with 16-color sources. That said, a few games managed to do this with 256-color sources too, and some are even are playable at 4.77MHz. Mean Streets and Chuck Yeager's Air Combat come to mind. Both talk through the speaker as well :-)


I think pretty much all games up to SCI1 can somehow be made to run in CGA even if they were not originally intended to work with it.

I think that's true, but they might not be solvable -- if they didn't test with CGA, there are likely screens where something that is visible in EGA is not visible in CGA, so you would miss things to click on :-)

AlexC
May 3rd, 2016, 12:48 PM
Games I've run on a 10MHz NEC V20 system with Hercules graphics (though in some cases with quite poor built-in CGA emulation, e.g. Grand Prix, Operation Wolf and Rack 'em):

A-Train
Blockout
Boulder (a Herc-only Boulderdash clone)
Chuck Yeager's Advanced Flight Simulator
Where in Europe is Carmen Sandiego?
D-Generation
Grand Prix Circuit
Operation Wolf
Prince of Persia
Psion Chess
Rack 'em
Space Quest
SimCity
Spacewar
Xenon 2

Some of them, such as Prince of Persia and Xenon 2, were a bit sluggish even at 10MHz. Many of the others were playable, though.

Plenty of CGA games up to 1990-ish work well with emulation: Popcorn, Elite, Galaxian, Arctic Adventure, Monuments of Mars, etc. Not brilliantly (there's usually ghosting) but well enough to be enjoyable. And then there's all the text adventure games, which I prefer on a mono MDA/Herc screen as there's usually less flicker.

tempest
May 3rd, 2016, 06:40 PM
So what CGA emulation program does everyone recommend? Would it work well with those Atarisoft games (I like those)? Is there a general rule of thumb for how well a CGA game will work on Hercules card with an emulation program?

SpidersWeb
May 3rd, 2016, 09:07 PM
SIMCGA
I wouldn't know if it's the best, but I regularly find it on machines with MDA, and the original author is a regular poster here [which earns it bonus points].

AlexC
May 3rd, 2016, 09:43 PM
I usually use SIMCGA except for games that switch in and out of text mode (e.g. Elite). Might just be a quirk of my machine, but it doesn't work well under those circumstances so I use HERCGA instead.

There are loads of others, though. I've just discovered two called 'mono.com' and 'scr.com' on a machine I picked up recently. Never used them before but both seem quite effective.

tempest
May 4th, 2016, 08:27 AM
Is Monochrome CGA the same as Hercules (or at least compatible)? I see some games like Journey, Shogun, and Arthur by Infocom say they require at least Monochrome CGA and I was wondering if my Hercules card would work with that.

Xacalite
May 4th, 2016, 08:48 AM
Is Monochrome CGA the same as Hercules (or at least compatible)? I see some games like Journey, Shogun, and Arthur by Infocom say they require at least Monochrome CGA and I was wondering if my Hercules card would work with that.
Monochrome CGA usually means the 640x200x2 mode of CGA, so it's not the same as Hercules.
But yes, CGA emulation on Hercules supports this mode as well.

tempest
May 4th, 2016, 08:49 AM
But I need to run that SIMCGA program first right?

Xacalite
May 4th, 2016, 08:51 AM
But I need to run that SIMCGA program first right?
Exactly, SIMCGA or any other CGA emulator.

tempest
May 4th, 2016, 08:54 AM
Where can I get those simcga files from?

Trixter
May 4th, 2016, 09:02 AM
Well, now you're just being lazy. :-) http://ftp.freenet.de/pub/ftp.simtel.net/pub/simtelnet/msdos/screen/

tempest
May 4th, 2016, 09:14 AM
Thank you so much, this helps. I guess I'll need to play around with it and see how good the emulation is. I imagine the less movement and stuff going on on the screen the better.

Half-Saint
May 4th, 2016, 09:23 AM
I played a lot of games on an 8Mhz V20 with hercules graphics:
- Police Quest I and 2
- Space Quest I and II
- Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade
- F-19 Stealth Fighter
- Popcorn
- Street Rod 1 and 2
- Leisure Suit Larry 1-3
- Zeliard
-Test Drive
- Tetris
- Prehistorik
..and more

tempest
May 4th, 2016, 10:25 AM
Well I'm used to Sierra games moving like molasses, I grew up playing them on an Apple IIe. I think that was the slowest platform they were ported to.

SpidersWeb
May 4th, 2016, 11:37 AM
Space Quest I was quite playable on my 5150 with Hercules/MDA and my IBM PC-JX (16 color).
Leisure Suit Larry felt a bit more painful though.

Elite should run quite nicely too, very small, lots of gameplay. Friend of mine used to play that for hours most days.

kyodai
May 6th, 2016, 01:34 AM
The CGA driver would dither the 320x200 16-color EGA graphics down to 640x200 black-and-white CGA graphics, which is easier to manage than coming form the full 256-color sources, so that's why that driver only works with 16-color sources. That said, a few games managed to do this with 256-color sources too, and some are even are playable at 4.77MHz. Mean Streets and Chuck Yeager's Air Combat come to mind. Both talk through the speaker as well :-)



I think that's true, but they might not be solvable -- if they didn't test with CGA, there are likely screens where something that is visible in EGA is not visible in CGA, so you would miss things to click on :-)

Actually - pretty surprising - i solved all games i played in "hacked" CGA. While this was for sure not the way they were intended to be played it was possible. Sierra never had "1 pixel hotspots", so even very small stuff like the elevator button is fairly easy to click.

But yeah especially for some late 256 color games it drives the presentation to a ridiculous level if you compare a bit.


Police Quest 3 as it was meant to look:

http://i.imgur.com/mpPHV5S.png


Police Quest 3 as it looked at the lowest possible standard (EGA):

http://i.imgur.com/qyhBYju.png



Police Quest 3 as it looked on my screen (Monochrome CGA on a HP 100LX):

http://i.imgur.com/J8kmleh.png

tempest
May 6th, 2016, 05:21 AM
Didn't PQ3 support Tandy graphics somehow? I thought it did. How did you hack the game to support CGA?

kyodai
May 6th, 2016, 08:10 AM
Didn't PQ3 support Tandy graphics somehow? I thought it did. How did you hack the game to support CGA?

Yeah the EGA versions (all of them i think) also supported Tandy. To use CGA you will need to copy the CGA driver from a different game, i think i got it from Kings Quest IV or so.

tempest
May 6th, 2016, 08:19 AM
Yeah the EGA versions (all of them i think) also supported Tandy. To use CGA you will need to copy the CGA driver from a different game, i think i got it from Kings Quest IV or so.

Once you copy the driver file how do you get the game to recognize it? I imagine it must be a command line thing since the game shouldn't even know CGA exists.

Looking in my KQ4 (SCI version) director I see two driver files for CGA: CGA320BW.DRV and CGA320C.DRV. I imagine one is CGA monochrome and one is CGA color. Which do I want? I'd be using this with a Hercules card and SIMCGA (which I'm sure will make it too slow to be playable, but I want to see this work!).

Trixter
May 6th, 2016, 08:37 AM
I see two driver files for CGA: CGA320BW.DRV and CGA320C.DRV. I imagine one is CGA monochrome and one is CGA color. Which do I want? I'd be using this with a Hercules card and SIMCGA (which I'm sure will make it too slow to be playable, but I want to see this work!).

You want the monochrome one, because of the SIMCGA/Hercules requirement -- you will get better visual results rendering a 16-color SCI game to B&W that then gets translated to more B&W.

fs5500
May 6th, 2016, 09:02 AM
I run shareware (nearly freeware) game of Clone Invader (1986).
It supports CGA graphics and works on 8088 CPU over 8Mhz, but it is slow on 8088CPU 4.77MHz.

Clone Invader was updated as 4.0 in 1989.
It supports CGA/EGA/VGA and works wel on 8088 4.77MHz with VGA card.
The speed is improved on v4.0.

*Original version (1986)
http://i.imgur.com/gkKH4cd.png
http://i.imgur.com/agyK3PX.png
http://i.imgur.com/CvGSyAO.png
http://i.imgur.com/opLNQ9N.png
http://i.imgur.com/bXZECUD.png

*version 4.0 (1989)
http://i.imgur.com/Bet2uiy.png
http://i.imgur.com/kTyg18v.png
http://i.imgur.com/OBTGTyI.png
http://i.imgur.com/GNQVhMA.png
http://i.imgur.com/zQ6AcoS.png

tempest
May 6th, 2016, 09:02 AM
You want the monochrome one, because of the SIMCGA/Hercules requirement -- you will get better visual results rendering a 16-color SCI game to B&W that then gets translated to more B&W.

You mean I want the color one then right?

So how do I get the game to use the CGA driver?

fs5500
May 6th, 2016, 09:13 AM
*Invaders 1978 (1996)(James Eibisch) [Action]

This is also freeware and first version was released in 1996.
It doesn't work on 8086/8088 CPU. (It works on 80286 or higher)
I think this game was for 80286 CPU or higher with VGA graphic card.
(No support CGA/EGA)

But the upldated version 02 supports to run 8086/8088 CPU and runs well with 4.77Mhz.

I don't know the fact that original version in 1996 was bug or not considered to run on 8086/8088 CPU.
Anyway updated version 02 (in 2000) runs IBM PC/PC XT with VGA card.


(Original release 1996)
http://i.imgur.com/sWFdKLu.png
http://i.imgur.com/xdCuUuW.png
http://i.imgur.com/MMvuhcz.png
http://i.imgur.com/5rUzLh1.png

(v02 update 2000)
http://i.imgur.com/J9cEYQz.png
http://i.imgur.com/slE24mX.png
http://i.imgur.com/nIj0ezy.png
http://i.imgur.com/DqEQ4CC.png

Trixter
May 6th, 2016, 10:57 AM
You mean I want the color one then right?


You want the monochrome one

:confused:

kyodai
May 6th, 2016, 11:11 AM
You mean I want the color one then right?

So how do I get the game to use the CGA driver?

Edit "RESOURCE.CFG"

The video driver line should be edited to look like this:

"videoDrv = CGA320M.DRV"

obviously the file "CGA320M.DRV" must be in the game directory.

tempest
May 6th, 2016, 11:12 AM
:confused:

Ok I was misreading what you said somehow.


you will get better visual results rendering a 16-color SCI game to B&W that then gets translated to more B&W.

I read this as "You will get better results rendering a 16 color game to B&W than a B&W game to more B&W", but now I see I missread 'that then' as 'than'. I guess I was skimming.

So how do you invoke the CGA driver?