This guide is aimed at Raspbian Linux (Stretch) on Raspberry PI, but should work on any Linux/UNIX like system DosBox supports.

Install Pre-Requisites

To compile DosBox, you will need SDL 1.2 and SDL-net in addition to the usual development toolchain. You will also need Subversion to get dosbox and patch to patch it.

sudo apt-get install build-essential libsdl1.2-dev libsdl-net1.2-dev subversion automake

Fetch DosBox

The most recent DosBox release has some issues with DOS doors, and the most recent Subversion code also has issues, so you will need a specific revision from the subversion repository. In my tests I have found r3933 to work well. Other revisions may work, but have not been tested.

svn checkout -r3933 svn:// dosbox-code-0

Compile DosBox

Compiling DosBox takes a long time on the Raspberry PI and will appear to have frozen a few times - particularly when compiling the render-scalers file - don’t worry, just leave it it will eventually move on.

sudo make install

These commands will compile and install DosBox into /usr/local/bin.

Create Configuration File

Next you will need to create a config file which enables the serial port in server mode, and also mounts drives so that DosBox can access both your doors and your BBS drop files.

In this example, drive C: is the location where my doors are stored, dropfiles will be copied to the door directory.

Be sure to change the port for each door. In this example the port is 9999.

Create Shell Script to Invoke DosBox

The shell script you need will vary from system to system, but basically, you want to:

  • Copy the dropfile to the door directory
  • make DosBox not use an X11 window,
  • launch DosBox with the command to start the batch file in the next section.

Here is an example script I use for Freshwater Fishing:

export SDL_VIDEODRIVER="dummy"

trap '' 2

cp /home/pi/MagickaBBS/node${NODE}/door.sys /home/pi/MagickaBBS/doors/ffs/
/usr/local/bin/dosbox -c "C:\ffs\ffs.bat ${NODE}" -conf /home/pi/MagickaBBS/doors/dosbox-ffs.conf > /dev/null 2>&1

trap 2

You will also need to make the bash script executable:

chmod +x

Create Shell Script to Invoke the DosBox Shim


if [ ! -e /home/pi/MagickaBBS/doors/ffs.inuse ]; then
    touch /home/pi/MagickaBBS/doors/ffs.inuse
    /home/pi/MagickaBBS/utils/dosbox_shim/shim 9999 $NODE /home/pi/MagickaBBS/doors/
    rm /home/pi/MagickaBBS/doors/ffs.inuse

This will just dump the user back to the BBS if the door is in use.

Again be sure to change the port to match the dosbox config for this door.

Create Batch File to Start Door

Please note, you will need to setup your doors using DosBox in the normal fashion, either you set them up on a machine where you have a monitor attached and transfer the files over, or you run DosBox directly from your PI with either remote X11 or a local monitor.

You will also most likely need a Fossil driver, BNU works well. (Get the stable release 1.70).

Different doors will need to be called in different ways, but the important thing to remember is that you end the batch file with “exit” else the door will stay stuck in DosBox.

Here is an example I use for freshwater fishing:

@echo off
bnu /L0=11520
fishing 2 C:\ffs\  /F

This loads BNU, then launches the door with the drop file.

Setup BBS

Finally, you will want to setup your BBS to call the dosbox shim script.

In doors.ini, something like

[Freshwater Fishing]
command = /home/pi/MagickaBBS/doors/
stdio = true
codepage = CP437

Then, add a command to your doors menu:

DATA Freshwater Fishing