older games question

TechnoChicken

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That depends 100% entirely on the game. AFAIK 16bit apps won't work in W10 x64. I'm a retro guy, so if you're trying a specific game I might know if it'll work or not, or how to get it to work.

Edit: Actually just checked, 16bit apps are not supported as x64 W10 lacks the subsystem. x86 W10 on the other hand you can add the 16bit subsystem back in.
https://www.groovypost.com/howto/enable-16-bit-application-support-windows-10/
I have never been able to get a 16bit app to work in windows 10 x64...
I have a collection of old games from the early 90s id like to run whenever I so desire without having to use any other program like dosbox.

Not sure why 16 bit subsystem is not in 64 bit versions of windows 10 except the normal obsolescence Microsoft is known for.

In fact the subsystem could be added but only used when a game requiring it is started and terminated when the game is terminated.
What do you play? Anything star wars, like jedi knight?
AFAIK it's a more native focus on 64bit rather than slapped together support from previous OS's. 32bit mode is emulated via WOW64 and the processes are isolated from the 64bit environment. 16bit would be an emulation on top of an emulation.

Some games can simply be run, the majority require work to get running. If you're not willing to put some work into getting the games going then I suggest sticking to an XP machine for these specific games. Some games have modern modifications to enable more modern features including run natively in a modern OS. One such example being Descent which a team has made a thing called DX Rebirth that enables native playing with modern resolutions. Games like Mechwarrior 2/3 require fiddling with programs like Dgvoodoo or Dxwnd. If you're looking for an install and go kind of situation then W10 is not the answer for these titles. Best I can say is try it and if it doesn't work then time to build a retro box like a lot of us have done.
You can run a lot of older games on a 32 bit version of windows 10 on almost any computer, i got some of mine working in 1080p until the PSU blew on my "retro" i3 560 rig (That thing was a piece of junk) now i just have to get around to installing 32 bit windows 10 on my "new" (i5 2xxx, GT 220) retro rig
 

ikonix360

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What do you play? Anything star wars, like jedi knight?

Can't remember them all but I'll list a few that I have.

Moraff's World
Snarf
Paganitzu
Wolfpack
Jetpack
Crystal Caves
Commander Keene Goodbye Galaxy
Red Baron
Bolo Ball
Wolfenstein 3D
Raptor Call of the Shadows
Pharaoh's Tomb
Secret Agent
Sim Ant
A-Train
Gorillas.BAS ran in Microsoft Q Basic
EGA Treck
Hugo’s House of Horrors
Avoid the Noid
6898 Attack Sub

I've played more, but cannot remember their names.

You can run a lot of older games on a 32 bit version of windows 10 on almost any computer, i got some of mine working in 1080p until the PSU blew on my "retro" i3 560 rig (That thing was a piece of junk) now i just have to get around to installing 32 bit windows 10 on my "new" (i5 2xxx, GT 220) retro rig

Nice.

I could do that, but I'd need a computer to use for that.
 

PP Mguire

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I agree there isn't a simple plug and play solution, but that's Microsoft's fault for not including it when it's easy to include the necessary files to enable it to run.

Since 32 bit is emulated by WOW64 why can't there be a version that does the same thing only for 16 bit games?
It's not their fault for ditching something that was defunct a decade on time of release of Windows 10, BUT it is included in 32bit. So, they didn't leave any body high and dry, you just have to use 32bit. What you're asking for is essentially double emulation. That's like emulating Windows XP to run a console emulator inside it, you just don't do it and why it wasn't done for x64. In fact being 2021 and having many major updates to the OS it's surprising how well some old games and programs still work despite all that's been said. I'm pretty sure if they had it their way we wouldn't even have any 32bit processes running and everything would just be native 64bit.
My point is I shouldn't have to use a third party program to play a game that is Windows compatible simply because Microsoft wants people to always use new software.
This mindset has held technology back quite a bit. IMO if it's strictly for games, I'd just build an XP machine. I have an XP box and a 98se box just for this because frankly some stuff is better run native on the hardware it was designed for in the era.
However I may have to use a third party program reluctantly.

I seem to remember having to use dosbox on my XP computer for a couple games that ran too fast.

It would be nice if there was a program one could run that adds the necessary subsystems to use 16 bit and older programs.
There is, technically. It's called PCem and it emulates machines at the hardware level. A Pentium 2 machine with Voodoo graphics takes a considerable amount of CPU power though.
I have never been able to get a 16bit app to work in windows 10 x64...
Yup, said it wouldn't work.
You can run a lot of older games on a 32 bit version of windows 10 on almost any computer, i got some of mine working in 1080p until the PSU blew on my "retro" i3 560 rig (That thing was a piece of junk) now i just have to get around to installing 32 bit windows 10 on my "new" (i5 2xxx, GT 220) retro rig
x86 W10 has a software layer to run 16bit apps, so makes sense. I now actually want to try that, but my XP machine runs so good with the latest Integral version that I don't really want to mess with it.


I'm not trying to rain on anybody's parade here, I mean I prefer retro hardware and games to modern, but this stuff really should be left to older machines. It honestly saves a lot on headaches trying to find patches, API wrappers, workarounds, etc.
 

ikonix360

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I tend to agree but given Microsoft has the layer to run 16 bit apps in 32 bit windows 10, why can't someone make something like wow64 only for 16 bit apps.

I suppose there isn't enough demand for it.

would be nice if there was something better than dosbox that would be menu driven and allow one to run any game 16 bit and older and would be able to emulate pretty much any hardware configurations available back then.

I think of the arcade machine emulator MAME how good and easy to use it is and think why can't there be a 16 bit and older program emulator just as easy to use.

You'll have to forgive me. I can tend to be quite stubborn sometimes.
 

PP Mguire

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I tend to agree but given Microsoft has the layer to run 16 bit apps in 32 bit windows 10, why can't someone make something like wow64 only for 16 bit apps.
I already answered that. The 64bit layer would need 32bit emulated, then the 16bit layer emulated inside of that. Nobody is doing it (natively) because of that reason.
would be nice if there was something better than dosbox that would be menu driven and allow one to run any game 16 bit and older and would be able to emulate pretty much any hardware configurations available back then.

I think of the arcade machine emulator MAME how good and easy to use it is and think why can't there be a 16 bit and older program emulator just as easy to use.
They kinda do. You have Retroarch with that fork of Dosbox that Carnage mentioned, Dosbox really isn't that bad in terms of setup, and setting up games manually to run from rips or other form of hacks is a ton more difficult and time consuming with testing than either of those. In a lot of cases setting these pieces of software up to run is actually easier than doing it natively simply because it wasn't exactly easy back then. I have a very streamlined process when it comes to my older machines but they can still sometimes be a pain in the ass when my main machine just works.
 

TechnoChicken

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The problem is often performance, with a retro rig you ofter get very poor performance, and i stinks play in 800x600 when you could be playing in 1080p (Although some of those games only went up to 1600x900 (which was pretty darn good for the time))
 

ikonix360

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Ill look into that.

I guess I dont know enough about windows and programming to know why a program can't be written to natively support 16 bit directly when there's one to emulate 32 bit already.
 

PP Mguire

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The problem is often performance, with a retro rig you ofter get very poor performance, and i stinks play in 800x600 when you could be playing in 1080p (Although some of those games only went up to 1600x900 (which was pretty darn good for the time))
Depends on the hardware and game really. Some games get nutty when you go above a certain framerate like Mechwarrior 3. I get rather solid performance in my retro rigs and I hook them directly up to my 1440p monitor running 1080p 75hz.
Ill look into that.

I guess I dont know enough about windows and programming to know why a program can't be written to natively support 16 bit directly when there's one to emulate 32 bit already.
Well like I said, 32bit applications are already emulated within a 64bit OS. To use 16bit you would need to emulate that within the 32bit emulation, you can't just emulate it off 64bit. Mainly it's restricting what can and can't be done on a hardware level due to the constraints of the architecture you're trying to run. Memory addressing is the biggest key, where a 16bit system would have to use segment registers to operate outside 64k (yes, 64k of memory chunk). The hardware is fully backwards compatible but on the software side it becomes way more complicated because 32bit introduced protected mode addressing. Multitasking is a big deal in modern OS, and 16bit addressing without protected mode means that programs can overwrite other bits from programs in memory. This leads to an instant crash. When you pair this with 16bit needing to use bank switching and segmenting to access a chunk of memory over 64k you can have a lot of issues, that is then added to emulation over emulation on hardware 2 decades newer than a 286. Somebody can correct me if I'm wrong, but I also believe the segmenting and bank switching was done on a per chip basis due to the very small amounts of RAM on 286 and pre-286 machines. Considering modern machines can have up to like 512GB on one NAND flash chip and the OS is used to essentially "skimming through pages like a book" throughout RAM it gets even further complicated.
 

ikonix360

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Another option is to use a virtual machine and have XP SP3 installed, but might not be as easy as the option presented here.
 
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