Something sparked in my brain the other day that I really wanted to play Land of Devastation again, and while I was at it, TradeWars 2002 and Legend of the Red Dragon might be a good idea too. So, off on my hunting I went, excercising my Google-Fu in the quest to find a BBS package that runs on Linux, and supports DOS door games. I ended up finding Synchronet BBS, and a fair bit of documentation on how to get all three games running.

Unfortunately, the documentation wasn’t all right, but it was enough to get LORD and TW2002 up. LOD was a bear – it runs fine in local mode, but refuses to run in door mode. Beeps twice as it tries to load, and then drops back to the Games menu in the BBS. I initially thought it was a FOSSIL problem, and edited game.ctl to use the internal I/O driver, but the problem persisted. Several hours later, having gone round and round and round with compilers (recompiling SBBS), dosemu settings and operating system changes, it occurred to me that LOD’s game.exe has a /P flag. I had been ignoring it, or pointing it to a Linux path. D’oh! Made it /PD: (D: being the virtual drive where SBBS was dropping the call file), and presto, it all works. Now to choose between RIPtel (which runs full screen, with large fonts) or SyncTerm.

I’m off to UberCon in the next few days, and we’re having a bit of a retro kick with the consoles, so I think I’ll help out on the LAN side, and make the BBS available on our gaming LAN for a bit of old-school BBS gaming. Need to get licenses for the software though, so that I can tune the number of turns per day etc – the con is short-lived, and most of these games were aimed at a week or more of playing (LORD in particular was closer to a month). The best part is that all of this is running on an 8 GB USB stick that has a Kubuntu installation on it, so I’ve got a PC on a stick with me that also doubles as a BBS server.

The other thing to sort out is whether to enable the full QWK part of Synchronet, along with the web interface, FTP interface and more. I suppose it depends whether I see a point in doing it other than nostalgia, and whether it would make sense to tie it to Avatar.

Nostalgia Revisited: Synchronet, LORD, TW2002, RIP, QWK
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