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Hello! I was wondering if anyone got DOSBox games from GOG to work on the Steam Deck via the Heroic Games Launcher or something else like Lutris?

I can install a game in Heroic but the game won't start. One game I did get to work was Sam & Mx Hit the Road, but it had a native Linux version available on GOG, and even that one didn't work right away. I had to use ScummVM through Luxtorpeda to make it start and play. But no other DOS game has worked for me so far. Mind you, I'm completely new to Linux gaming.

Thanks for any and all replys!
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There was a topic about this the other day:-
https://www.gog.com/forum/general/anyone_manage_to_get_epic_pinball_working_on_steam_deck

I agree with the advice there, for Linux based PC's (which Steam Deck is) it's probably best to add your own native Linux DOSBox / ScummVM, then copy your game folder (from Windows install) over and add it to them. Then zip that up and that's future Steam Deck installer. I have had zero issues adding Sam & Max Hit The Road, Day Of The Tentacle, The Dig, Monkey Island, etc, to ScummVM for Linux without even using GOG's Linux installers just by copying the game folder over from Windows, click "Add Game" in ScummVM, point it to where you put the game folder and it should just work (also works for ScummVM for Android).

If you need to add a command line to Steam when adding it as an external game or something, the command line looks like:-

"location_of_scummvm_folder/scummvm" -f samnmax

Obviously putting in the location of where you installed scummvm, the -f is run fullscreen and the samnmax bit being the short name of the game you're trying to start directly. Full list of all short names for all ScummVM games is here.
Post edited June 04, 2022 by AB2012
Hello, I am also in the same boat. I hope maybe we can get the classics running like Homm 2, Castles 2, Diablo 1, Warcraft, etc. I bought the Steam Deck with these games in mind as well so hopefully we can work as a community to make the dream happen
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AB2012: There was a topic about this the other day:-
https://www.gog.com/forum/general/anyone_manage_to_get_epic_pinball_working_on_steam_deck

I agree with the advice there....
Thanks for the reply! I didn't try that guide yet, but I'll give it a try soon.
However, here's my current solution to getting DOS games to work:

- First of, let's look at DOS game bought from GOG and installed via the Heroic Games Launcher.

1) The first order of business is to install Heroic Games Launcher from the Discover software center and log in to GOG. Then install your game via the launcher and run the game one time in the launcher. The game probably won't work at this point.

2) Then make sure that the game's main folder has all of the required dosbox[gamename].conf files. The files probably aren't in the main folder, but there should a folder named Support in the game's folders that has these .conf files in it. Simply move the .conf files to the same folder as the game's main .EXE or .COM launcher file.
(For example with Ultima 7 the files are named dosboxULTIMA7.conf, dosboxULTIMA7_single.conf and dosboxULTIMA7_settings.conf)

3) After this the game should launch fine from the Heroic launcher. But the performance of GOG's Windows version of DOSBox that is being run via Proton is horrible, so you'll want use a native version of DOSbox.

- Using the native DOSBox:

1) Install DOSbox from the Discover software center. (I have only used the basic DOSBox, I haven't used DOSBox Staging or DOSBox-X yet)

2) You will probably also need to install Flatseal, and use it to give DOSBox the permission to access the folder where the game is installed at.

3) Now you can either use regular DOSBox command to manually mount the folders and files if you want, or you can write a little script to easily launch a DOS game in the Gaming Mode of Steam Deck.

- Making the launcher script:

I used this guide from Gaming on Linux to write the script: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_Aw-Hb-_3JE&t=156s

1) Create a new text file in a folder that's accessible when adding a new non-steam game to Steam. For example make it in the /Home/Deck/Games folder. Name the file after your game, but it can be named anything. Put it in the form [name].sh for it needs to be a .sh file.

2) Go to the properties of the new file and under the Permissions tab check a box Is Executable.

3) Now edit your [name].sh file and add in this script:

flatpak run com.dosbox.DOSBox "/Path/To/Game/GAME.EXE"

(or GAME.COM if the exe doesn't work) I think the folder path is case sensitive. And there need to be "double quotes" for it to work.
(for example with Ultima 7 the path was "/home/deck/Games/Heroic/Ultima 7/ULTIMA7.COM")

4) If everything is in order you should be able to launch the game by running the .sh file in Steam. So add the new file as a non-steam game (ADD A GAME in the lower left corner in Steam in the desktop mode and then browse for the file). Test it in the desktop mode.

5) Now you should be able to launch the game in Steam Gaming Mode by starting the [name].sh file!
Post edited June 11, 2022 by Moshe-koira
If there's any game specific issues, then regular DOSBox guides should apply. For example Ultima 7 requires you to fiddle with a config file of DOSBox itself.
Regarding DOS games installed via Steam itself, I have had to kinds of experiences.

- Case study: Commander Keen Complete Pack

1) The game runs with regular proton but performance is awful (something like 25 fps or lower).

2) Install ProtonUp-Qt from the Discover software center.

3) Launch ProtonUp-Qt and install Luxtorpeda from Add Version.

4) Go back to Gaming Mode and go to the properties of the game and in Compatibility tab choose Luxtorpeda as the forced compatibility tool.

5) Launch the game and Luxtorpeda will start. Choose DOSbox Staging from the list and the game should start with a smooth 60 fps and working options etc.

- Case study: Star Wars Dark Forces

1) The game should start if you use Proton 7.0-2 but the performance will be bad.

2) For some reason Luxtorpeda doesn't work for this game. So instead of running it straight from Steam, follow the same steps as with the GOG DOS guide above.

3) You probably will need to use Flatseal to give DOSBox permission to access the Steam folders.

4) Don't put the [name].sh file in the Steam folders, because when adding a new non-steam game you can't browse the steam folders for some reason.
I know that you could probably do other fancy things with the script or use another version of DOSBox, but this all of the information I have for now. I'm a total newbie with Linux so I really don't know how it all works. :D
Post edited June 11, 2022 by Moshe-koira
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Moshe-koira: - Case study: Commander Keen Complete Pack

1) The game runs with regular proton but performance is awful (something like 25 fps or lower).
It might be worth trying Commander Genius (source port for Commander Keen with native Linux build).
avatar
samnite: Hello, I am also in the same boat. I hope maybe we can get the classics running like Homm 2, Castles 2, Diablo 1, Warcraft, etc. I bought the Steam Deck with these games in mind as well so hopefully we can work as a community to make the dream happen
Likewise for Diablo try DevilutionX.
Post edited June 11, 2022 by AB2012
avatar
Moshe-koira: - Case study: Commander Keen Complete Pack

1) The game runs with regular proton but performance is awful (something like 25 fps or lower).
avatar
AB2012: It might be worth trying Commander Genius (source port for Commander Keen with native Linux build).
avatar
samnite: Hello, I am also in the same boat. I hope maybe we can get the classics running like Homm 2, Castles 2, Diablo 1, Warcraft, etc. I bought the Steam Deck with these games in mind as well so hopefully we can work as a community to make the dream happen
avatar
AB2012: Likewise for Diablo try DevilutionX.
Hi! Thanks for the suggestion. How do you install Linux programs that aren't flatpak? I'd love to use Exult for Ultima 7, and I know it has a Linux version, but I have no idea how to install it on the Steam Deck.

https://forums.linuxmint.com/viewtopic.php?t=306177
https://github.com/exult/exult
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Moshe-koira: Hi! Thanks for the suggestion. How do you install Linux programs that aren't flatpak? I'd love to use Exult for Ultima 7, and I know it has a Linux version, but I have no idea how to install it on the Steam Deck.
Sorry, I have no experience installing things onto a Steam Deck or with Ultima 7, and I'm not sure that has a pre-made binary for Linux or if you have to compile it yourself. For awkward stuff like that personally I'd just stick with DOSBox for Linux.
avatar
Moshe-koira: However, here's my current solution to getting DOS games to work:

- First of, let's look at DOS game bought from GOG and installed via the Heroic Games Launcher.

1) The first order of business is to install Heroic Games Launcher from the Discover software center and log in to GOG. Then install your game via the launcher and run the game one time in the launcher. The game probably won't work at this point.

2) Then make sure that the game's main folder has all of the required dosbox[gamename].conf files. The files probably aren't in the main folder, but there should a folder named Support in the game's folders that has these .conf files in it. Simply move the .conf files to the same folder as the game's main .EXE or .COM launcher file.
(For example with Ultima 7 the files are named dosboxULTIMA7.conf, dosboxULTIMA7_single.conf and dosboxULTIMA7_settings.conf)

3) After this the game should launch fine from the Heroic launcher. But the performance of GOG's Windows version of DOSBox that is being run via Proton is horrible, so you'll want use a native version of DOSbox.

- Using the native DOSBox:

1) Install DOSbox from the Discover software center. (I have only used the basic DOSBox, I haven't used DOSBox Staging or DOSBox-X yet)

2) You will probably also need to install Flatseal, and use it to give DOSBox the permission to access the folder where the game is installed at.

3) Now you can either use regular DOSBox command to manually mount the folders and files if you want, or you can write a little script to easily launch a DOS game in the Gaming Mode of Steam Deck.

- Making the launcher script:

I used this guide from Gaming on Linux to write the script: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_Aw-Hb-_3JE&t=156s

1) Create a new text file in a folder that's accessible when adding a new non-steam game to Steam. For example make it in the /Home/Deck/Games folder. Name the file after your game, but it can be named anything. Put it in the form [name].sh for it needs to be a .sh file.

2) Go to the properties of the new file and under the Permissions tab check a box Is Executable.

3) Now edit your [name].sh file and add in this script:

flatpak run com.dosbox.DOSBox "/Path/To/Game/GAME.EXE"

(or GAME.COM if the exe doesn't work) I think the folder path is case sensitive. And there need to be "double quotes" for it to work.
(for example with Ultima 7 the path was "/home/deck/Games/Heroic/Ultima 7/ULTIMA7.COM")

4) If everything is in order you should be able to launch the game by running the .sh file in Steam. So add the new file as a non-steam game (ADD A GAME in the lower left corner in Steam in the desktop mode and then browse for the file). Test it in the desktop mode.

5) Now you should be able to launch the game in Steam Gaming Mode by starting the [name].sh file!
You have at least made it so I can run the games using the "copy config" files method. Unfortunately, I ironically can not get the Linux versions of these old games to work. They are missing the "libcaca.so.0" libraries. I randomly googled this and installed it in a folder with other libraries for one of my games. Unfortunately it then said I was missing "libslang.so.2". I download that and then it said I am missing "libsncurses" libraries. I at this point just gave up because this is probably beyond my scope and I don't want to screw anything up lol.

For whatever reason, the old Windows games run into random issues (directdraw for Panzer General 2, Interstate 82 doesn't like the display, Interstate 76 opens up a window of files and it asks for the disc 2 when I click the executable).

I REALLY wish GOG would come to their senses and support these games to run on this device. They are losing customers to STEAM with this attitude even faster. The catalog of GOG exclusive games being updated to function on the Steam Deck will only serve to make GOG more money in sales as those games are not monetizable by Steam.
avatar
Moshe-koira: - Case study: Commander Keen Complete Pack

1) The game runs with regular proton but performance is awful (something like 25 fps or lower).
avatar
AB2012: It might be worth trying Commander Genius (source port for Commander Keen with native Linux build).
avatar
samnite: Hello, I am also in the same boat. I hope maybe we can get the classics running like Homm 2, Castles 2, Diablo 1, Warcraft, etc. I bought the Steam Deck with these games in mind as well so hopefully we can work as a community to make the dream happen
avatar
AB2012: Likewise for Diablo try DevilutionX.
Thanks. I was able to get Diablo and Hellfire running through that project at least.
Post edited June 12, 2022 by samnite