Q. What is VDMSound?
Q. What's the difference between VDMSound and DOSBox?
Q. Where can I obtain VDMSound?
Q. Downloaded and installed it, what next?
Q. What if my game won't run with the defaults?
A. It just so happens that a very bright and indubitably curious lad named
Vlad Romascanu was discouraged by the fact that old DOS games could never
work in Windows NT/2000 (this was even before the days of XP). The reason for
this is that most of these games assume that they are running in DOS (as
they would), and interact directly with the sound hardware, chiefly for
performance reasons. Unfortunately, this manner of direct interaction between
software and hardware generates a 'protection fault' in modern operating systems.
In other words: your game crashes and burns, usually before it even gets a chance
to put anything on your screen. And what is XP but only a cousin of NT/2000?
So... Vlad knuckled down and wrote a nice little utility that eventually grew
into a very solid piece of open source (read: FREE) software called VDMSound.
What VDMSound essentially does is emulate SoundBlaster and MIDI hardware
in software, redirecting the wayward DOS programme's output to your
modern Windows hardware.
A. VDMSound only tackles the problem of sound, whereas DOSBox actually mimics an
entire 386 PC in software. Therefore, VDMSound is a lot less demanding on your
processor's resources, and can be used with lower speed processors. For instance,
to run a 3D DOS game like Pandora Directive or System Shock in DOSBox, you need at
least a 2GHZ or preferably 3GHZ processor. VDMSound can do it with a 1GHZ processor,
though getting the game to work is usually much tricker than with DOSBox.
A. Here's a step-by-step guide to downloading and installing VDMSound:
- Launch your web browser and go to the
VDMSound project site.
- Click on the 'Download VDMSound-2.0.4-WinNT-i386.msi' link to download (note:
this was the version at the time of writing). Select a mirror, and put the downloaded
VDMSound-2.0.4-WinNT-i386.msi file in a folder called
- Double-click on the
VDMSound-2.0.4-WinNT-i386.msi file that you just
downloaded in order to install VDMSound. We'll assume that you install it to the default
- VDMSound is now installed and ready for use :-)
A. When you right-click on a DOS game's executable (
.exe) file or batch
.bat) file, you now have a menu option to 'Run with VDMS'. If the game
in question will run with the VDMSound defaults (like Realms of the Haunting), then
you're instantly up and running!
A. The default settings for VDMSound are a SoundBlaster 16 (version 4.15) using
IRQ 7. The manual for the DOS game you are trying to run should tell you if these
settings need to be different. If they do, then no need to panic. We just have to
jump through a few more hoops to get the game to run. For instance, Space Quest 5
uses IRQ 5. What we need to do is create a custom
VDMS.INI file for
games like this. Here is how you do it:
- Using Windows Explorer, navigate to the folder where you installed VDMSound (should
c:\Program Files\VDMSound). Copy the
VDMS.INI file from
there, and paste it to the installation folder of the game you are trying to run
- Using a text eitor like Notepad, open the
VDMS.INI file that you just
copied. The only section you ever need to change is this one:
version = 4.15 ; 1.05 for SB1.x, 2.01 for SB2, 3.02 for SBPro, 4.05 for SB16
port = 0x220 ; usually 0x220 (can also be 210, 230, 240, 250, 260 or 280)
IRQ = 7 ; usually 5 or 7
DMA8 = 1 ; usually 1
DMA16 = 5 ; usually 5
Either change the IRQ, and/or the SoundBlaster version according to what your game
- Then, to run the game with this custom
VDMS.INI file, you first
start up a Command Prompt via:
Start -> All Programs -> Accessories -> Command Prompt
Then go to the folder where your DOS game is installed, like:
And finally, you enter (obviously, substituting the name of your DOS game's installation
folder in the place of 'sq5'):
This installs VDMSound with the custom
VDMS.INI file. Then just type
the name of the (
.exe) file or batch (
.bat) file to run your
game, and you're away!