Author Topic: DBGL: DOSBox Game Launcher An open-source, multi-platform frontend for DOSBox  (Read 3576 times)

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DBGL (DOSBox Game Launcher) is an open-source, free, multi-platform frontend for DOSBox.

Hi everybody,
DBGL is a Java frontend for DOSBox, based largely upon the proven interface of D-Fend.
DBGL serves as a frontend / Graphical User Interface to DOSBox (configuration). It tries to make creating DOSBox configuration files a little easier by offering a (relatively) simple interface, some shortcuts and a little bit of intelligence (DOSBox behavior). Once your DOS games are configured in DBGL, its very easy to setup or start them, or alter their configuration or associated DOSBox version.
Initial work for the frontend was done in 2006, and the product has gradually improved over the course of the years. Still, it is by no means finished, it's a work in progress. Source code for the complete program is available, please feel free to hack away.
To name some of its features:
  • Multi-platform: Windows, Mac OSX and Linux (both x86 and x64) are supported, and DBGL should be easily portable to other systems.
  • Multi-language support; Currently, English, Chinese, Danish, Dutch, French, German, Italian, Korean, Polish, Spanish, Swedish and Russian translations are available (although some are incomplete).
  • Highly portable: DBGL uses relative paths so that you can use the same DBGL installation on whatever disk/folder/location, and even multiple operating systems.
  • DBGL supports all of DOSBox' official configuration options, and allows the user to add their own option values (if applicable). Most unofficial/experimental options are supported as well, such as Glide, vsync, pixelshaders and the like.
  • Multiple DOSBox versions support. You can configure/manage multiple DOSBox versions (v0.74, v0.73, v0.72, v0.71, v0.70, v0.65, v0.63 or custom/SVN builds) inside DBGL and associate a specific version per profile. What's more, it is possible to change the association to another DOSBox version either by keeping all configuration settings, or just the alterations from the default.
  • Templates support. DBGL comes with an extensive collection of example templates to simplify setting up a game for a specific PC era. And you can create your own templates on which to base your profiles.
  • A simple, yet configurable interface which keeps track of dialog sizes, profile list column settings and ordering, the last selected profile and much more. It also tries to assist the user when entering profile data (for example by pointing out when some information is missing, by reusing directory locations, by implementing auto-completion, auto-mounting, browsing inside ISO/BIN/(7)zip-files, etc.).
  • Many fields in which to define meta information about your games, such as its developer, publisher, status, URLs, PDFs, etc. Also available are 10 extra fields for user-definable content.
  • The ability to create desktop shortcuts on both Windows and Linux (Gnome and KDE) environments.
  • Internet information querying! DBGL can contact MobyGames, or Pouet to receive information about a game or demo by using the profile's title. When multiple matches are found, DBGL will display a popup screen in which you may select the correct entry. Even cover-art and screenshots can be fetched and saved in DBGL.
  • Powerful multi-profile editing; selecting multiple profiles to edit will open the profiles editing dialog as usual, showing the common settings or greyed-out settings that differ among the profiles. You can then change the settings as you like (as you would normally do with a single profile). Whether its changing a DOSBox associations, querying MobyGames for information, creating desktop shortcuts or deleting certain profiles, its all possible in a single action.
  • Basic support for 'Windows system integration', meaning you can use the Windows Explorer, right-click on a game executable, and select Send To -> DBGL to add the game to DBGL's profiles list.
  • Easily create duplicates of existing profiles (ctrl-d).
  • Profile/Game Export: Just select the profiles that you want to export in the list, choose File->Export in the menu and go through the wizard to export your profile(s) or game(s).
  • Profile/Game Import: Click File->Import in the menu, and select a package (* to import. You will once again enter a wizard that leads you through the steps. Review package information, select the profiles or games that you want to import and off you go! Some example game packages to try out are available here.
  • Filter tabs; you can add a filter to the profiles list by typing ctrl-f. This creates an inner tab in the profiles list showing a certain subselection of your profiles. For example, you can create a filter to only display profiles with the string 'quest' in it's name, but (much) more complicated filtering is also possible. When multiple profiles in the list are selected upon filter creation, DBGL will keep that selection in a filter tab.
  • Support for so-called Booter games.
  • Has the ability to export your game-list to a file, such as a plain TXT file, a basic .CSV or a fancy HTML page.
  • (7)zip-file mounting support (using a dosbox version that has PhysFS integrated, for example Ykhwong's or Gulikoza's).
  • Performance: DBGL can easily handle thousands of profiles (using the Java HSQLDB database engine and SWT GUI library, caching game screenshots and by using lazy loading when possible)
  • Support for setting custom environment variables to globally override certain DOSBox settings (as explained here).
  • No data replication; all DOSBox profile information that can be stored in the .conf file is stored in there, and only in there. Extra information such as the profile's Title, developer name, status etc. is stored in a single human-readable database file (database.script). What this basically means is flexibility: you can start a profile without even using DBGL (dosbox -conf dosbox.conf -conf profiles\lemmings.conf), if you want.
  • D-Fend profiles importing (both for D-Fend Reloaded and the original but discontinued D-Fend from MabusRaeen)
  • Fully automated build system. Anyone who wants to contribute something codewise, should be able to build the DBGL packages by just downloading the source package and using Apache Ant.


Just extract the archive to any dir (*) and start launch.exe (Windows), or ./dbgl (Linux). Mac users can simply drag the DBGL icon into their Applications folder and start it. Please note that you MUST have the Java Runtime Environment 1.5 (or higher) installed, it will not work without the JRE1.5, or with an older version.
(*) Due to certain restrictions imposed by DBGL's envisioned portability in combination with Windows' UAC, it is currently not advised to store DBGL in a folder below "C:\Program Files" or "C:\Program Files (x86)". A better location would be C:\DBGL or %USERPROFILE%\DBGL where UAC does not apply.
The archive contains DBGL with some pre-configured templates and the latest DOSBox release, so you can get going instantly.
Since the frontend was written in Java, it should be relatively easy to port to another platform. If anybody is interested in another build, please let me know.


First-time installationUpgrading an existing installation
Download the appropriate archive for your operation system and extract it to a directory of your choice.Just download the JAR and overwrite the single file in this zip archive. It is always a good idea to make backups of your profile information when upgrading; this means the /profiles, /captures, /db and /templates folders.
 Special note for users upgrading to DBGL 0.74: Some additional library files are necessary. Besides updating DBGL.jar, just put commons-lang3-3.1.jar and commons-io-2.2.jar in your DBGL/lib folder.
 Special note for users upgrading to DBGL 0.76: One additional library file is necessary. Besides updating DBGL.jar, just put gallery-0.5.3.jar in your DBGL/lib folder.
 Special note for users upgrading to DBGL 0.77: Two additional files are necessary. Besides updating DBGL.jar, just put gallery-0.6.0.jar in your DBGL/lib folder, and default.xml in your DBGL/templates directory.

Legacy builds

Note 1: Java version 1.5(or higher) is required to run this application. Using a JVM version below 1.5 will most likely result in a DBGL crash as soon as you try to open the mount dialog box.
Note 2: On DBGL startup, Windows may or may not ask whether or not to allow the program to establish connections to other machines. You can choose 'Block' since DBGL doesn't need to connect to other computers, communication takes place on localhost only. In case you don't want to use the 'Send To' functionality, you can choose to disable it in the Settings dialog window, that will also get rid of the Windows popup.
Note 3: Some users have reported problems starting up DBGL. Please make sure you're using the right package for the right environment, and you have your JAVA_HOME environment setting properly configured.
Attention Linux users: Make sure you have the packages 'libsdl-sound' and 'libsdl-net' installed (sudo apt-get install libsdl-sound1.2 libsdl-net1.2), because otherwise the included DOSBox build will NOT run. /usr/bin/java should be (a symbolic link) pointing to the 1.5+ JVM (sudo apt-get install openjdk-6-jre). If you're having problems starting up DOSBox inside DBGL (some error message saying "Can't init SDL DirectFBCreate: Initialization error!") chances are you're using the GNU Interpreter for Java. It seems this Java distribution has a problem in the ProcessBuilder implementation. Please use openJDK or Oracle's Java Runtime as a workaround.


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