Boxer levels up again, to 1.3! This version sports the volume controls I told you about last time: along with screenshotting and fast-forwarding, and a heaping helping of bugfixes. Full release notes are here, in HTML even this time.
I tried to make this release as boring as possible, but a couple of interesting improvements still snuck into it while I wasn't looking:
One of those why-didn’t-Boxer-always-do-this features: Gameboxes now remember all the drives you’ve added and queue them up next time you play, even drives that aren’t physically part of the gamebox.
Previously, Boxer would only ‘remember’ drives that were part of the gamebox you were playing. This meant that to get an outside drive to be mounted all the time, you either had to muck about with DOSBox mount commands or let Boxer physically import the drive into the gamebox. Which, you know, sucked.
So now: fire up a gamebox, add a new drive, and it’ll just be there every time you play the gamebox. You can rename or move the drive’s source folder or image, and the gamebox will still find it each time. Drag the drive out of the Drives panel and the gamebox will forget about it again. That’s that.
This finally makes it super-easy to share OSX documents with a DOS app, or share a bunch of utilities among several apps. It also frees you from having to do any drive-importing of your own: until and unless you want to share your gamebox with others.
I’m making this sound like a big fucking bright idea but seriously, why didn’t it always do this?
Boxer 1.3 now boasts the ability to paste text from OS X into any DOS program (as well as the DOS prompt, which was supported already in Boxer 1.2.2).
Pasting still has some limitations: only ASCII characters can be pasted at the moment, so accents get lost in translation. And of course, you can’t copy text back from DOS (at least, not yet.)
But it's still awesome, dammit, so I'm going to bore you about how it works:
MS-DOS has no idea what a clipboard is, so to get text into DOS, Boxer essentially has to type it in.
In MS-DOS, the characters you type start out as raw keyboard signals in the keyboard buffer: from here they're read out by the BIOS, combined and translated into BIOS keycodes (according to the current keyboard layout and state of the Shift/Alt/CapsLock keys), and stored in the BIOS key buffer.
Most DOS programs that deal with raw text (text editors, productivity apps, text-mode games) poll this BIOS key buffer regularly to check for new key input. When you paste text from OSX, Boxer takes over the BIOS key buffer: it translates each pasted character into its corresponding BIOS keycode and feeds them into the program as fast as it asks for them. This is reasonably fast and very accurate, so Boxer uses this approach when it can.
Most DOS games don’t do this though: they read keyboard signals directly from the keyboard’s own buffer, and bypass the BIOS and keyboard layout layers altogether, because they hate me. For these games, Boxer has to work out which combination of keys and modifiers would trigger each character you’re pasting, and literally type those keys into the emulated keyboard.
This is more laborious, among other things because Boxer has to carefully manage the state of the Shift key to match the case of the characters you’re pasting. It's also a lot slower: Boxer has to paste text in short, careful bursts to avoid ‘flooding’ the limited keyboard buffer, and to ensure the program has time to read each batch of typing. But it works.
Neither approach is instantaneous: it’ll take a while to paste large amounts of text, but you can cancel a long paste by pressing Esc in the middle.
OK, that’s all! Go back to what you were doing. (Downloading another awesome Boxer update, that is.)
Design by 40watt.