On DOSBox, Mac OS port, engine remake, etc.

Home Forums Previous Months 21 – October 2018: Alone in the Dark On DOSBox, Mac OS port, engine remake, etc.

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  • kdrnic

    There is a Mac OS port from 1994 which seems to have several nice improvements over the MS-DOS original, including higher-res graphics and shift instead of double tap to run, however the music sounds overall a bit sillier, from that video. I tried setting up a Macintosh emulator called Basilisk II and went as far as installing System 7.5.3, however I couldn’t get any of the AITD files I got from macintoshrepository to work – they seem to be .img files which only work on some specific version of Mac OS.

    I may try emulating the 3DO or other ports due to the issues below.

    The MS-DOS version is plagued by being very sensitive to processor speed, the double tap to run controls and slow screen loading times. The music may fail to play if the processor is too fast. The double tap may be difficult or impossible, as you have to do it very quickly with a faster processor. I believe what the game expects is a 386. This video seems to be a faithful representation of what the game should actually be like. I am not sure whether the CD music suffers from this issue also. There is a fix for the double tap speed – mentioned in this post in the VOGONS forum.

    In DOSBox, “core = auto” and “cycles = 8000” together with the fix above seems to be a good configuration. I haven’t tested it on PCEm, which likely would emulate it closest.

    There is a engine remake written in C++ called “Free In The Dark” – it seems it was a quite advanced project, however has bugs which cause frequent crashes. It was to be included in ResidualVM also apparently. There is a Github repository and there is a compiled binary going around also, which I managed to run after hunting some .DLLs however I could only manage to go as far as the end of the introductory cutscene.

    There is also a very ambitious PICO-8 version.

    Overall the game is quite hurt by technical issues (nowadays – less relevant at the time) and clunky controls, the latter of which it may have influenced into a staple of the genre.

    Years later Call of the Cthulhu, also a Lovecraftian horror game, made me ragequit in a chase sequence where one has to open a locked door – but unless one is very precise with the aiming, it tries to interact with the door rather than the tiny lock, which is closed – totally kills the immersion, as one feels distanced from the idiot PC.

    It also gives me a bit of a desire to make a small game in similar vein – should not be too hard considering the simple interactions.


    Oooh, that Mac version does look interesting.

    I’m lucky I don’t seem to have too many problems on my Dosbox, I think. Although tbh I didn’t even know about the double-tap-to-run command 😀


    I tried emulating the 3DO port in RetroArch with the 4DO core, however unfortunately the sound is very poorly emulated, and sounded horrible. Attached is a comparison of MS-DOS and 3DO – there seems to be minor changes in art, like the shape of the car, the face of the character and some highlights on the chair. DOS screenshots are upscaled to 320×240 to give correct aspect ratio. 3DO screenshots have some artefacts from emulator scanlines.

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Home Forums Previous Months 21 – October 2018: Alone in the Dark On DOSBox, Mac OS port, engine remake, etc.