Running original Bolo® in a DOS-Emulator

Since the original game is incompatible with modern operating systems, we need a DOS emulator in order to play it and revive our memories. Be warned that you will only have fun with it if you know the original game or if you are a true geek who is into old computer games 😉

My DOS emulator of choice is “DOSBox” together with “D-Fend Reloaded” as the graphical front-end which makes it relatively easy to use and supports many other old games too.
With DOSBox/D-Fend I was able to play the game smoothly though the graphics look a bit grainy nowadays and the sound lags. But then I’m happy to have any sound at all – which is not understood if you already tried emulating some of the old games you grew up with.

Now on to the instructions (related to D-Fend Reloaded v1.0.0):

  1. Get your hands on original Bolo. I assume you can find it on one of the “abandoned games” sites though you should notice that the game is still copyrighted by Dongleware and I don’t encourage you to break copyright laws.
  2. Put all Bolo files into folder where you have full write access as standard user. This is an important step since Bolo creates temp files in this directory.
  3. Download and install D-Fend Reloaded. It already brings the emulator DOSBox with it, so you don’t need to install DOSBox separately.
  4. Extract these D-Fend configurations files into the main program folder of Bolo. Replace file autoexec.bat.
  5. Start D-Fend Reloaded. Import the .conf file you have extracted in step 4.
  6. Edit the configuration by selecting the Bolo game entry and clicking “Edit” on the D-Fend toolbar.
    Go to the “Drives” tab and replace the path “E:GamesBolo” with the actual path were your Bolo folder is located.
  7. Click on the “Starting” tab to verify that it looks like this (if it contains a “mount….” line, remove the line):
  8. To start the game in the emulator, just double-click on the Bolo item in D-Fend. Bolo complains about “DOS 6.0” but that doesn’t matter. Just press any key on this screen to continue. You should see the main menu of Bolo then. From there on, anything should be pretty simple.
  9. Have fun playing this “oldie” game!

As I already mentioned, the sound lags severe. If you can find a better sound configuration in D-Fend for Bolo, please leave a comment on this post, so me and other Bolo fans can have more fun with this classic game.

EDIT (2010/09): I updated the steps for v1.0.0 of D-Fend Reloaded and also added a hint about required write access of the Bolo folder.

Categories: Original Bolo | 6 Comments

Prototype download

I’m proud to present the first playable prototype version of Rembolo (see screenshot of previous post).

This version allows you to select between 3 levels:
Level 1 – Remake of Bolo level 1
Level 2 – Testing of balls connected with rubber bands
Level 3 – Testing of various stone textures

In-game keys:
ESC – exit current level
R – restart current level
C – toggle chain reaction mode
D – toggle debug mode (slow!)

Please read the license agreement before you download the  prototype.

The game doesn’t need installation, just extract the contents of the ZIP file into an empty directory and start “Rembolo.exe”.

Update on July 13:
– fixed minor optical glitches (clipped stone shadows, pixelated explosions)
– synchronized game frame rate with display frame rate to reduce CPU-load and fix sound stuttering

Categories: Downloads | 6 Comments

Current State

This is a screenshot of the current prototype. Thanks to the open source ClanLib SDK and the Box2D physics engine, it was possible to rapidly develop a working prototyp.

The prototype can already be used to play the first level of Bolo. Stones can be destroyed, holes will attract and kill the ball. Rubber-bands are working too. Everything interacts nicely thanks to physics engine. There are even some of the original sounds to hear when objects collide.

Overall, it already makes for some good “Bolo-feeling”.

Currently I’m thinking about ways of making the graphics resolution-independent. A few years from now, monitor resolution has probably increased again and I don’t want to recreate all the bitmaps then.

One way could be to use a 3D-Engine like Irrlicht or Ogre. 3D engines get resolution-independence by using vector data to describe a scene. This could also open new possibilities for some nice graphics effects.

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