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Sunday, November 20, 2016

Play Digital Integration's Tornado on your iPad Air (and any DOS game, for that matter) and on any iOS device

Source: Nobbby. Pixabay CC0 Public Domain
https://pixabay.com/en/ipad-apple-silver-tablet-touch-1177347/

I just discovered how to play Digital Integration's venerable 23-year old DOS game Tornado on my iPad Air. I used iDOS 2 and the iExplore app. Check out these screenshots. The game runs well on my 2014 iPad Air. And it will also work on your beloved iPhone. Well, any device running iOS.

Screenshot 1: iDOS 2 when my iPad is held in portrait orientation

Screenshot 2: iDOS 2 when my iPad is held in landscape orientation
The problem here is no matter what opacity setting you choose for the virtual keyboard,
you can hardly make out the game's cockpit graphics because of the way the virtual
keyboard is overlaid on top of the game.



Screenshot 3: Operation Desert Storm in portrait orientation.
Rats! Where are the Home, PgDn and PgUp keys?

What does this mean? Well imagine introducing the classic DOS games and programs to a younger generation of gamers who have never touched DOS. Do you know of any educational DOS games that can be used in the classroom? Well, now you can play them on your iPad. Think of all the possibilities.

More details on my Tornado forum post at The Dogs Of War Virtual Unit. In future, I will provide a detailed screen-by-screen dummies guide how you too can sideload DOS games into iDOS 2 so that you can play and enjoy the classics of the 80s and the 90s.

The ideal way to play Tornado on the iPad!
(1) Virtual keypad is showing; (2) Screen is mini-fullscreen
(activate the mini-full screen by tapping that "arrow-inside-the-rectangle" icon
that is on the left of the CPU cycle green florescent numbers.
You hit the fn key (see bottom-left of the screen) to make the top row of keys alternate between
function keys (f1, f2, ... f12) and normal number keys (1. 2. 3, ...0)

What are the pros and cons of this 'madness'?

Pros: 

  1. Nostalgia! You can relive the glory days by playing your old DOS games;
  2. Many DOS games are now available for free from, ahem, abandonware sites;
  3. You can copy your GOG games over to your iPad and enjoy them on the run
  4. Your iPad's battery life will ensure a longer play than, let's say, you laptop without a power adaptor;
  5. You don't need to lug that laptop around with you anymore.

Cons: 

  1. Unless you have a large-screen giant iPad, the screens shown above are teeny in comparison to what you can enjoy using a PC and an external LCD monitor;
  2. With regards to simulating mouse clicks, iDOS 2 doesn't employ direct touch or absolute tracking. It uses relative tracking instead. It would be nice if iDOS could use the more natural 'where-I-tap-on-the-screen-there-the-mouse-is-left-clicked' method.
  3. The virtual joystick is no match for a physical joystick
  4. The virtual mouse is no match for a physical mouse

If you can't wait for my screen-by-screen post, you can always contact me via my E-mail address of boonsengkam at gmail dot com and I will be happy to share with you the 'secrets'.

Regards
Frankie Kam 

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