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DOS

This is where I had some control over how the Arcade was going to feel and look.  What I mean is if the Arcade was going to be "cheesy" or "professional" in appearance.  I think the start-up and shut-down routines give the game the most realistic feel next to the actual joysticks used. So, I spent some time figuring out how it was going to work and how I was going to maintain the software.

I started with DOS 7 which is part of WIndows98 installation. The reason for this is that DOS 7 will recognize larger than 2gig hard drives something DOS 6 (FAT32) can't do as well as some other memory issues. With a total of some 4,000 games it will take a lot of hard drive space to store them on your Arcade so instead of creating multiple partitions DOS 7 is recommended.

There are many DOS sites available that will help you in setting up a bootable DOS partition and show you how to maximize the memory usage,  just do some hunting on the web and tons of sites will pop-up.

So let's dive in and get started...

In order to get ArcadeOS to launch when starting up your computer just load the ArcadeOS.Exe line into your Autoexec.bat file like this - 

CD C:\MAME\ARCADEOS  (changes to the directory of ArcadeOS)
ArcadeOS.exe                               (launches ArcadeOS)

This will launch ArcadeOS assuming that you have made the necessary changes to the config files in ArcadeOS and MAME.

The Start-Up Menu

There is some creativity involved when making a start-up menu. I did this by using ASCII characters and developed a menu with a couple of options:  maintenance, ArcadeOS and shutting down. I can't take credit for the idea but it works great! 


(link: to a reprint of the article)

ScreenShot6.jpg (44898 bytes) 

Here is the concept. You create a menu look with ASCII characters (that is what gives you the lines and brackets) in your Autoexec.bat file, the Autoexec.bat allows you to make choices as it is going through the boot process.  The choices are made with your Control panel buttons,  I used Player 1 and Player 2 as my option buttons. This is essentially the same thing as using a separate batch file, or at least it  behaves like one. By allowing you to enter information or make choices (Player 1/Player 2) as the system launches you can control what processes will run such as maintenance/shutdown/ArcadeOS. You could potentially get crazy but you get the idea.

Here is a link to my Autoexec.bat. This file was edited in the DOS editor. As you'll notice you can't actually see the ASCII characters because they have been converted, you will need to edit it in the DOS EDIT.exe application. 

note: you will have to load the ANSI program in your config.sys to have the menu displayed. (c:\dos\ansi.sys)

The plus side to this setup is that launching ArcadeOS similar to this means that after you exit ArcadeOS the Autoexec.bat continues to read the file for further instructions.  In other words it branches off and runs ArcadeOS until you close it then finishes reading the Autoexec.bat file where it branched off from. This comes in handy when you want to shut down the system.

This is where the shutdown batch file comes in handy. This is a very simple concept,  you can shut DOS down by using the file Win.Com which I copied from my Windows directory to a folder on my C:\ drive called shutdown (c:\shutdown).  Win.Com is a software utility for shutting the system down. I placed Win.com and a batch file I created called shutdown.bat in that directory. I created shutdown.bat in notepad with only this simple line: (c:\shutdown\win /z) and that's all there is to it. By running this batch file from a DOS prompt or in the Autoexec.bat as an option,  I can shut the computer down from the control panel or automatically at any given time interval (see Autoexec.bat). 

So, I've shown you how to Start you Arcade and I've shown you how to shut down your Arcade here is a start up screen that I found on the web and if someone can tell me who made it I would be glad to give them credit.

ScreenShot7.jpg (48548 bytes)

I use this screen as an alternative to the Logo.sys file and it is located in my C:\. If the Logo.sys file is available it will be shown as the system is booting. This is a beautiful Start-up screen that replaces the Windows start up screen, it gives the Arcade a good feel and look.

DOS Networking

This is the last piece of the start up process that I haven't discussed. This was actually the hardest piece of the software setup that I had. Part of the problems stemmed from me wanting to be able to share files from the Arcade with the rest of my network. So, I figured simple install no sweatzky. Wrong! 

Notice I said "share" well it turns out that the normal client for DOS software Microsoft Network Client 3.0 will not allow you to "share" files only to view or read from the rest of the network (wrong direction).  But, you can also install the Microsoft Network Server for DOS software that will allow you to effectively setup a DOS based limited server for you network. Awesome! I can share...

You need to visit this website if you interested in DOS networking, this site has some awesome info. World of Windows Networking. There are step-by-step tutorials and all that other good stuff. They do a much better job of explaining Networking  than I could so visit if your interested.

The Network is only invoked from the startup menu from the Advanced Menu page. It essentially boots into DOS and loads the networking drivers at that time giving me access from the network. One note to mention is that I couldn't get to the Arcade from my Windows 2000 computers only from a Windows 98 machine. I don't know the reason for this and didn't want to waste the time finding out. 

Maintenance is a breeze...

 

next: FINISHED LOOKS !

 


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Last updated: 05/28/03.