First, let me apologize for the slow pace of work on CBoxRun in 2011. Opportunities to work on the program have been few and far between for the past year, but I’m pleased to report that work has resumed and is going well.
The next version should include a good number of the items on the to-do list, and I’m also planning several other large changes:
- Migration of the program list and most other XML lists to a SQL Server Compact database to improve performance and reliability, especially for those of you with hundreds of games. A conversion utility will be included so that your old lists can be imported.
- An offline mode for users who run DOSBox on a computer without an always-on network connection
- A setup program / installer (back by popular demand!)
If possible, I’d also like to add some sort of bulk game import feature. This would be useful for people who already have large numbers of DOS games on their machines. The idea would be that CBoxRun would walk a directory tree and import games found in any subdirectory of that tree, probably by showing a list of executable files in a particular subdirectory tree and asking the user to pick the “real” program executable . Then the normal “add a game” steps would be taken, or some subset of them anyway, for each game. Any thoughts or suggestions about this would be appreciated.
Again, thanks for your patience and support! There’s not much new to show right now – most of the changes so far are under the covers, such as migrating the XML data to SQL – but as I make changes to the UI I’ll post screenshots to show the progress. Your comments are always welcome, so please let me know if you have any ideas for the next version.
Since it’s been pretty quiet here lately, I thought I would drop a note about CBoxRun 0.6. Work is slowly progressing on this release, but unfortunately my free time has been very limited for the past few months due to a greatly increased workload and several other commitments. It will likely be several more months before I can put the finishing touches on an 0.6 release – if I had to guess right now, I would say we’re looking at July or thereabouts.
Of course, dates are always subject to change, but rest assured that I do intend to continue building and improving CBoxRun, and I will post a more comprehensive preview of 0.6 as soon as possible. As always, any comments or suggestions are appreciated!
If you’re like me (and I hope for your sake that you’re not, but that’s another topic entirely), you probably have several computers and would like to share your awesome DOSBox setup on each of them with a minimum of fuss. In this post, I’ll show how you can use CBoxRun’s relative path support, along with Windows Live Mesh, to synchronize your DOSBox game environment across multiple computers.
Step One – Set up your DOSBox environment to support relative paths
The first step in doing this is to install all of your DOSBox related items in a single folder path. For example, I have a directory called DOS which contains CBoxRun, DOSBox, and Games folders, as shown here:
In my setup, each DOS game lives in a separate folder under the games directory.
Next, you will need to configure CBoxRun to use relative paths for the DOSBox and programs directories, and most importantly, you will need to move your dosbox.conf file into a folder under your DOS folder. (It’s stored in your local user AppPath by default.)
For example, my CBoxRun setup looks like this:
With this setup, it doesn’t matter where the DOS directory is actually located. As long as the DOSBox, CBoxRun, and programs folders are all in the same top-level folder along with dosbox.conf, CBoxRun will be able to find everything that it needs.
Step Two – Set up Windows Live Mesh
Next, you’ll need to set up Windows Live Mesh. Mesh is a fantastic product that more people should know about. It has several features, including the ability to remotely access any of your machines running the Mesh software, but the feature that we’re interested in for this post is one that allows you to automatically and transparently synchronize an entire folder tree between multiple machines. Mesh gives you up to 5GB of online space that can be used as a sync point for these folders.
To get started, download and install Windows Live Mesh on every computer where you want to run DOSBox. Set each machine to log into Windows Live automatically using the same username and password.
Then, from the machine that has your DOS folder, right-click on the Mesh icon in the system tray and select “Open Windows Live Mesh”. In the status screen that follows, select “sync a folder” and choose your DOS folder. You will be prompted for a list of machines to use when syncing the folder, as shown here:
It’s possible to sync between two machines without using the SkyDrive storage, but both machines will have to be powered on at the same time for the syncing to occur. I prefer to sync to SkyDrive – this will sync your files to the cloud, and the other machines can get them whenever they power on. Another advantage is that the files will be backed up for you.
Step Three – There is no Step Three
A few minutes after this is done, you should be able to see your DOS folder on each machine. Any subsequent changes made to your games collection or your DOSBox/CBoxRun settings will appear on all machines. Just start up CBoxRun and go!
CBoxRun 0.51 is now ready for download. This version fixes all known bugs and adds extra error handling to a few areas where problems have been identified. Onward to version 0.6!
CBoxRun 0.51 can be downloaded here. If you’re already running version 0.5, just unzip this version into your current CBoxRun directory and replace all files.
Thanks to those of you that have provided bug reports. We have updated the FAQ/Support page to include information about the most commonly-reported issues.
We’re currently working on an 0.51 release that will fix all known bugs and add more error handling. We hope to have this version available by the end of January. In the meantime, thanks again for your support and let us know on the forum if you’re having any problems.
Happy New Year, everyone! We’re looking into a couple of errors that have been emailed to the support account. It looks as if there may be a scenario that causes CBoxRun to crash when the first program is added. If you have seen this, please let us know, either by email (cboxrun.gmail.com) or through the support forum at http://cboxrun.forumotion.com.
Also, if you have any other problems, please contact us! We can’t fix ’em if we don’t know about ’em. :)
If we can find the source of this bug, we’ll roll out an 0.51 version in the next few days.