Developer diary: plans and progress reports.

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The Hills Are Alive With the Sound of Music Monday 31st October 2011

Trick or treat everyone! Boxer 1.2 is out now with a laundry list of new features and fixes.

The tentpole feature for this release is Roland MT-32/CM-32L emulation, possible thanks to the sterling work of the Munt project. Boxer switches on the emulation whenever a game is playing MIDI music intended for the MT-32. Put on some early-90s Sierra or Origin games and you’ll hear some of the best music ever composed for the DOS era.

Insert Buckazoid

Something you may not know is that some games sent cheeky messages to the MT-32’s LCD display when they started up. Boxer shows these in a nifty overlay bezel while you’re playing.

And not only is there MT-32 emulation, but Boxer’s pre-existing support for real MT-32s just got a whole lot better too. Boxer now detects if you have a real MT-32 plugged in, and will pipe MT-32 music to it automatically: no configuration-file hackery needed.

This Halloween I’m going as Roland’s lawyers

MT-32 emulation requires ROMs that are not quite legal, so Boxer doesn’t come with these out-of-the-box. You’ll have to download the ROMs yourself, and drop them onto Boxer’s Audio Preferences to activate the emulation. But you guys are no strangers to Google I’m sure.

Boxer also supports CM-32L/LAPC-I ROMs: these have an extra bank of sound effect samples, providing better sound in games that can make use of them.

GOG customers rejoice

Boxer 1.2’s Good Old Game importing has been much improved, fixing import problems with a slew of releases — including recent ones like Ultima Underworld and Wing Commander III.

Boxer now respects the GOG game’s DOSBox configuration file: it extracts necessary emulation settings and startup commands, and uses them to set up drives and default programs automatically. This means Boxer 1.2 should Just Work with almost every DOS game from GOG. (Previous versions of Boxer would ignore the configuration file, and just guess at the drive layout: which meant a lot of the time Boxer would get things wrong, especially with newer releases.)

There are undoubtedly exceptions however, and I could use some help tracking down GOG games that Boxer still doesn’t import correctly. See this thread for details.

Note that Boxer cannot open GOG’s Windows-only installers yet: you’ll still need Windows to extract the game files themselves. I hope to nail this one in an upcoming release.

The ole switcheroo

Boxer 1.2 now makes CD swapping easy for multi-CD games, removing another longstanding irritation.

When the game asks you for the next CD, just insert it into the DVD drive (if it's a real disc) or drag it into the DOS window (if it’s a disc image), and it’ll replace the previous disc at the same drive letter. No more dicking around removing and re-adding drives — it just Does the Right Thing.

You can then switch back and forth between the new CD and the old one with CmdShift/ — or pick a CD directly from the newly redesigned Drives Inspector.

You can also import extra CDs into the gamebox with the Drives Inspector — this makes them always available to swap between.


That pretty much covers it I think. So get downloading and get playing!

Design by 40watt.