A launcher for the Bitmap Brothers' 1995 game, Z.
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readme.txt

README.md

Z Launcher 1.0.1

REQUIREMENTS

  • Microsoft Windows
  • DOSBox (Version 0.72 Recommended)
  • Z (Installation & ISO)

FEATURES

  • Simple text based interface.
  • Easy access to video / sound setup.
  • Full networking & multiplayer support through IPX tunnelling in DOSBox.
  • Verification of DOSBox, game and any other required files.
  • Custom designed, easy to edit file formats.
  • Custom pseudo-scripting system for generating dynamic DOSBox scripts.
  • Platform-independent code design using Qt's Core library.

DESCRIPTION

A simple, easy to use launcher for the Bitmap Brothers' classic 1995 MS-DOS strategy game, Z, complete with DOSBox integration.

Features a basic text-based interface, multiplayer support, proram arguments for quick launching through shortcuts or scripts, easy to edit file formats and customizable DOSBox scripts.

If you happen to have any complaints, suggestions, bugs, comments or contributions, please feel free to submit an issue or pull request on the GitHub page!

Thank you!

HOW TO USE

Simply place the contents of this archive into a folder containing an installation of Z, along with an ISO image of the game disc in the same folder. Then simply open the launcher and play away! If there are any error messages, such as missing files - they will be displayed before the program displays the main menu.

A copy of DOSBox will also be required, default is set to a subdirectory named "DOSBox" within the current working directory. Tested with DOSBox 0.72, though other versions should work as well.

If you wish to have the game and ISO located in a parent folder (or any other folder for that matter), you can customize the paths and such once the initial settings file (Z Launcher.ini) has been generated. Use . for working directory and .. for parent directory. Game directory and DOSBox directories can also be changed in the generated settings file.

PROGRAM ARGUMENTS

  • -f "Settings.ini" - Specifies an alternate settings file to use.
  • -m DOSBox/Windows - Specifies launcher mode, default: DOSBox.
  • -t Game/Setup Sound/Setup Video/Client/Server - Specifies game type, default: Game.
  • -ip 127.0.0.1 - Specifies host IP address if running in client mode.
  • -port 1337 - Specifies server port when running in client or server mode.
  • -? - Displays a help message with argument information.

PROGRAM COMMANDS

  • z - Start Z in single player mode.
  • [r]un - ""
  • [g]o - ""
  • [l]aunch - ""
  • start - ""
  • [c]lient - Start Z in multiplayer client mode.
  • [s]erver - ""
  • [a]udio - Run sound setup.
  • sound - ""
  • [v]ideo - Run video setup.
  • connect - Obtains the IP address of the host server.
  • ip <args> - ""
  • [p]ort <args> - Obtains the port of the local or remote server depending on specified launcher mode.
  • [t]ype <args> - Change game type (Single / Multiplayer).
  • [m]ode <args> - Change launcher mode (Regular / DOSBox).
  • [b]ack - Returns to the previous menu (if applicable).
  • [h]elp - Displays a help message with command information.
  • ? - ""
  • [q]uit - Closes the launcher.
  • e[x]it - ""

NOTES

  • [x]yz - Means you can run this command by typing only "x" or the full "xyz".
    • ie. h or help to display help.
  • <args> - The area where you specify the arguments to this command. Arguments are usually optional and a prompt will be run instead, if no arguments are specified.
    • ie. ip 127.0.0.1 or m DOSBox

BUILDING

If you wish to re-compile the program using the provided source code, you are welcome to do so as long as you don't take credit for my hard work and keep it for personal use.

The source code was written using C++ with Microsoft Visual Studio 2017, and as such all Visual Studio project files are also provided. Other IDEs are not necessarily supported, but if you choose to try and make the project compile in a different IDE, this is your choice and I assume no responsibility.

You will also need to have Qt 5 installed (the project was compiled with Qt version 5.11.1), and you may need to update the project's include and library directories.

SCRIPT FILES

The scripting language used has two basic features:

  1. Variable Substitution
  • Will substitute each variable with the corresponding value as passed in with the argument list. If the value does not exist, it will simply omit the original variable, leaving it empty.
  • Variables are specified with the ':' character on each side of a variable name.
    • Variable names are not case sensitive.
    • ie. :Z: would be replaced with "ZED.EXE"
  1. Conditionals
  • Will substitute each conditional with the specified text if the variable name specified in the conditional statement exists and has a non-empty value, otherwise the whole conditional statement is omitted and will be left empty.
  • Conditionals are specified inside of '<' and '>' characters with a '|' character separating the variable name and the conditional text.
  • Variable names are not case sensitive.
  • Conditional replacement text supports both nested variables and other conditional statements.
    • ie. <GAMEPATH|CD :GAMEPATH:> would be replaced with "CD Z" if the variable "GAMEPATH" exists and has a non-empty value of "Z".

CHANGELOG

  • Version 1.0.1 (June 20, 2018)

    • Added support for specifying the server port.
    • Updated to Qt to version 5.11.1
    • Updated solution to use Visual Studio 2017
  • Version 1.0.0 (September 16, 2014)

    • Initial release!