. /../VNoctis virtualized Noctis IV.../ 12
doing pushups
written by Megagun on Jan 28, 2010 07:54
This got a bit buried in the logs there (blame Alex and lino2), so I thought that a seperate thread might prove useful..

VNoctis is a Virtualbox disk image containing Noctis IV, Noctis IV Plus, and Noctis IV CE, with FreeDOS as its base.

The latest release of VNoctis can be found at http://mooses.nl/nice/relatedprojects/vnoctis/

Currently, Noctis IV CE doesn't work (yay not enough conventional memory), yet Noctis IV and Noctis IV Plus work nicely.

Once you have booted up the Virtualbox disk image, use 'nivplus' to launch NIV Plus, 'noctis' to launch NIV, and 'nice' to launch NICE (which won't work )

What I'm interested in is how this thing performs on various hardware. It's running smoothly on my 2GHz Core2Duo. Furthermore, I'm interested in getting NICE to work on this, and getting the overall size of the disk image down (need some kind of 'zero free disk space' tool for DOS)

Getting screenshots out of the VM might prove to be a bit of a challenge, too...
r'lyeh sweet r'lyeh
written by Neuzd on Jan 28, 2010 14:16
An awesome job Megagun.

On my Mac with VirtualBox for OSX, it seems to run perfectly. Space, planets surface, everything was at a constant 18 fps.

So you're suggesting it could be difficult also to try putting my current.bin inside the VDI?
I'm having a look right now.

Hardware-wise, nothing to add, since I have your same chip but faster.

[EDIT]
It seems that to connect to shared folders (and hence having an easier way to transfer interesting files like pictures, outbox, starmap between host and guest) a program like netshare and probably related drivers is enough.
Can you see if it's the correct solution and eventually update the disk image?
└> last changed by Neuzd on January 28, 2010 at 15:26
doing pushups
written by Megagun on Jan 28, 2010 15:56
Getting stuff towards the VDI isn't too hard (it is what I had to do myself); network drivers and wget are already installed (just configure the network device of the VM correctly). The real problem I had was that I could never actually connect to the Internet; instead I had to locally run a simple webserver, put files on there, and then download those from within the VM using wget....

Getting stuff from the VDI to your local machine might be a lot more of a trouble, really...

EDIT: What works... somewhat well is creating a Floppy Disk Image with, say, MagicISO, mounting that to the Virtualbox VM, copying stuff over, unmounting it, and then opening the resulting disk image again in MagicISO to extract the files off of the floppy disk image.... Crazy and stupid, I know, but..

Another thing that could work is getting an FTP client on there and running an FTP server on your Host OS..
r'lyeh sweet r'lyeh
written by Neuzd on Jan 28, 2010 18:44
: |
Opposite experience: I can't connect to an http server on my host, but I successfully downloaded stuff from the internet using wget.

A two way data sharing is still the best scenario I wish for.
written by Cryoburner on Jan 28, 2010 19:08
I tested the VirtualBox image out, but it doesn't run any better than DOSBox on my system. On my Athlon64 3500+, I get around 4 fps on the drifter and a little over 2 fps on the surface. On the roof of the drifter, the frame rate is around full speed, as it was with DOSBox. I believe the source of the problem is my processor's lack of hardware virtualization, which can be found on many newer processors. It's likely necessary for Noctis IV to run at full speed in VirtualBox, otherwise it's probably using software emulation.

I was able to run NICE, or at least the Noctis00 variant of it from the modules folder, by freeing up some additional conventional memory. I did this by disabling networking from Settings > Network in VirtualBox. This took me from 588k free to 606k. I was able to bring that to 607k by disabling the virtual CD-ROM drive, though that doesn't seem necessary.

It might also be nice if you included Noctis I, II, and III in the package as well, since they're small, and likely run a lot better for anyone without hardware virtualization, if their performance in DOSBox is any indication.

Also, I imagine you could make the image a lot smaller just by making the size of the virtual disk smaller. I see little reason why you need a 2GB virtual partition. While the file is supposed to expand as needed, it's already 83MB to start, and I doubt FreeDOS and a few copies of Noctis use much more than 20MB of that space. Make the virtual disk something more reasonable, like 40MB, and there should still be plenty of room for things like screenshots.
doing pushups
written by Megagun on Jan 28, 2010 23:00
Hmm, yes, it would appear that running this VM will require VT-x/AMD-V to run smoothly; when I disable the hardware acceleration, Noctis IV Plus runs like crap here...

Regarding NI/II/III: probably will do.

Regarding disk size: The 2GBness of it all wouldn't really matter much regarding the 83MB the VM claims to be, I think..
written by Cryoburner on Jan 31, 2010 00:16
I was able to free up enough memory to get NICE to start normally. In addition to disabling the network adapter in VirtualBox as mentioned before, select option 1 when starting FreeDOS. You'll end up with 619k free, and NICE should be able to load normally. Though still slowly, if you lack hardware virtualization. : P

About the only real issue I see with this setup is that getting files into or out of the virtual drive seems to be rather cumbersome. You would think there would be built-in support for common file systems, or at least some freeware utilities for that purpose. Also, anyone on a slow connection might not want to wait for the 90MB download for VirtualBox and the Noctis disk image.

Megagun said:
Regarding disk size: The 2GBness of it all wouldn't really matter much regarding the 83MB the VM claims to be, I think..
Except, if the disk size were limited to less than 83MB, I imagine it wouldn't be able to waste that much space. : )
written by Eurysilas on Jan 31, 2010 02:29
Hopefully, someone will solve the cumbersome file transfer problem someday. If so, count me a reborn Noctis player.
written by Cryoburner on Jan 31, 2010 05:46
To get files in, you can use most CD burning programs to save an iso image of the files, then access them using the virtual CD drive in VirtualBox. You can then use the DOS copy command to move the files to the virtual hard disk. Getting files out could be less convenient though. One option would be to use a physical floppy disk, though floppy drives are becoming less common on newer computers, and are painfully slow.

Another option is to use a virtual floppy drive. I just tried this utility, and it works rather well. You can create and format a virtual floppy that exists in memory and can be accessed as a drive in Windows. You don't even have to mess with writing interim disk images to transfer the files. Just be sure to disable booting from floppy in VirtualBox's settings for the Noctis disk, so that it doesn't try to boot off the virtual floppy at startup, and also set it to the right host drive. Once in, you can copy files to and from the disk as if it were a real floppy, only much faster. Of course, you'll likely need something else (if it exists) for Linux or OSX.
r'lyeh sweet r'lyeh
written by Neuzd on Jan 31, 2010 14:10
Sorry to say it again, but the correct way to transfer files is via shared folders.

I tried to watch the freedos documentation about NET.EXE, which in MSDOS would be the key to access shared folders as they were drives, but it doesn't seem to be even described.
Of course it isn't MS-DOS but I still expect it to work the same way since it's supposed to be 100% MSDOS compatible.
doing pushups
written by Megagun on Jan 31, 2010 15:28
Cryoburner said:
Megagun said:
Regarding disk size: The 2GBness of it all wouldn't really matter much regarding the 83MB the VM claims to be, I think..
Except, if the disk size were limited to less than 83MB, I imagine it wouldn't be able to waste that much space. : )
One cannot resize a Virtualbox Disk Image. Also, the 'wasted space' can be reclaimed by using a 'zero free disk space' tool, but I can't find such a tool for DOS.
written by Cryoburner on Feb 01, 2010 00:22
Megagun said:
One cannot resize a Virtualbox Disk Image. Also, the 'wasted space' can be reclaimed by using a 'zero free disk space' tool, but I can't find such a tool for DOS.
I wasn't implying to resize the existing virtual disk, but to simply make a new, smaller one loaded with the same files.

Neuzd said:
Sorry to say it again, but the correct way to transfer files is via shared folders.
Transferring files via a floppy (or virtual floppy) drive doesn't seem any less 'correct'. As long as a file can fit on a floppy disk, it can be transferred in or out relatively easily. Granted, guide.bin wouldn't be able to fit using that method,unless it were compressed first. : )
doing pushups
written by Megagun on Feb 01, 2010 13:53
Cryoburner said:
Megagun said:
One cannot resize a Virtualbox Disk Image. Also, the 'wasted space' can be reclaimed by using a 'zero free disk space' tool, but I can't find such a tool for DOS.
I wasn't implying to resize the existing virtual disk, but to simply make a new, smaller one loaded with the same files.
I understood, but the reason why I choose for a 2GB image is precisely because you can't resize it, and I remember my Noctis IV CE 'movies' folder being about 400MB in size a while ago.

Either way, if you wish to experiment with this yourself, I used FreeDos's 'full cd' as an insallation base. It's quite easy and has gazillions of optional packages to install, and I'm guessing that I might've missed a few things that could be of great use; my DOS-fu isn't very high.
ah didn't learn anything!
written by Selbio on Feb 01, 2010 23:02
Eurysilas said:
Hopefully, someone will solve the cumbersome file transfer problem someday. If so, count me a reborn Noctis player.
Preparing a floppy image:
$ dd if=/dev/zero of=floppy.img bs=1474560 count=1
$ mkfs.msdos floppy.img
$ mkdir floppy
Putting files on or taking them off:
$ sudo mount -o loop floppy.img floppy
*add files to the floppy directory or copy them out*
$ sudo umount 
Just don't use the floppy image in VirtualBox while it's mounted in Linux.
written by Eurysilas on Feb 01, 2010 23:43
I use OS X now. ;p
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