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Gaming on Windows NT 3.51...

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Big Monstro
Post subject: Gaming on Windows NT 3.51...
Posted: 04 Jul 2014 23:01
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Retro PC: 80486 DX2/66, MS-DOS & Windows
 
Windows NT 3.51 was clearly not designed or intended for gaming: the DOS era games don't properly work and DirectX is not supported at all (whereas its successor - NT 4.0 - includes DirectX 2/3 and unofficially supports DirectX 5. Microsoft provides DirectX Media 6 for the video playback). Microsoft just developed a very limited variant of OpenGL for Windows NT 3.51, which is compliant to the first revision only...

Despite these limitations, we found some video games emulators which are actually compatible with that operation system!


DOS games
Due to restricted access, NTVDM cannot decently run most games. Fortunately, there exists a much better option: DOSBox.

Do you think I lie? Look at the following screenshot
[ img ]

The result is perfectly playable (if the processor is fast enough), especially with a hardware-accelerated graphic driver. That also works by using the generic VESA driver from Bearwindows and/or virtualization. In these cases, however, a even faster processor is required to offset the lack of hardware acceleration! Get a Creative Sound Blaster 16 or compatible for audio.

As for software requirements, DOSBox needs msvcrt.dll (not shipped with NT 3.51) and an updated opengl32.dll. I advise to install the first file in the system32 directory (to make it available to other programs) and the second one in the location of DOSBox (some Windows screensavers depend on older opengl32.dll). Please note I only tested on a system with the last Service Pack (SP5) installed.

Download links
msvcrt.dll 6.0.8397.0 from Visual Studio SP3 (Internet Archive)
opengl32.dll from Mesa 3D for Windows (2.6 MB) Hits : 497
DOSBox 0.65 (working on NT 3.51!) (1.2 MB) Hits : 327



Consoles games
The consoles emulators for PC have become popular since the second half of 1990s decade. The most significant example is Nesticle, formerly the reference to enjoy NES experience. The early emulators are DOS apps (running also in Windows 95/98 by extension), not Win16/32. The release of Windows Me (which restricts DOS access) and later Windows XP (based on NT technology) reverse that trend. What about the compatibility on Windows NT 3.51? Although Nesticle works surprisingly well, many other DOS emulators don't. The newer Win32 emulators are disappointing as most of them require DirectX :?. Even when there are OpenGL plugins (such as ePSXe and Project64), they don't work or barely.

Nevertheless, a handful of Windows emulators are reported to properly work on Windows NT 3.51...

BoycottAdvance
Tested by myself, it can render graphics by using GDI instead of DirectX or OpenGL
[ img ] [ img ]
[ img ] [ img ]
BoycottAdvance 0.28 (635 KB) Hits : 258
Famtasia and Yame
A NES, SNES, Game Boy and PC Engine emulators. Reported by tortipouss
Famtasia 5.1 (210 KB) Hits : 217
Yame 0.38 (227 KB) Hits : 229
NO$2K6, NO$NES, NO$SNS and VisualBoyAdvance
Some Atari 2600, NES, SNES and GBA emulators. Reported by SupaSonic
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Matthias
Post subject: Re: Gaming on Windows NT 3.51...
Posted: 05 Jul 2014 15:10
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Retro PC: MSI K7T Turbo2 avec Windows XP SP3
 
Technically, it's surprising (I didn't know there even exists a stable build of DOSBox working with Windows NT 3.51) but it's not actually very practical in the real world :mrgreen:


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Big Monstro
Post subject: Re: Gaming on Windows NT 3.51...
Posted: 15 Jul 2014 23:03
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Joined: 27 Jun 2003 15:15
Retro PC: 80486 DX2/66, MS-DOS & Windows
 
Personally, I think it's quite amusing and interesting to run entertainment softwares on Windows NT 3.51, in spite of the fact it's not all designed for games.


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