March 20, 2013 12:00 AM | Staff
Porting your game to multiple platforms makes much financial sense, allowing you to hit as many different markets and players as possible. One platform you might not have considered is MS-DOS.
Yes, you read that right: MS-DOS, the operating system that dominated the PC market in the 80s and early 90s.
It might sound crazy to consider DOS as a viable platform for a port -- and that's because, well, it is crazy. But that hasn't stopped developer Bryan Lunduke from porting his game Linux Tycoon to the age-old system.
Linux Tycoon is a Linux Distro Building game. You create a build full of software packages, fix as many bugs as possible, then ship it out to the online world to battle against the various other Linux offerings out there.
Purchase a copy of Linux Tycoon and you'll not only get copies for Windows, Mac and Linux -- you'll also now receive the newly-released DOS version.
"I did it just to make Richard Stallman's [founder of the GNU Project] head explode," laughs Lunduke. "A closed-source game about building Linux... running on DOS? I don't think something like that can exist in our universe at the same time as Stallman. I'm sure, at the very least, a temporal rift opened up somewhere."
Lunduke says that part of the reason why he ported the game to DOS was because so many people had asked for versions on other platforms, and this was an easy way to make that happen fast.
By making a DOS version, he reasons, players can now use free programs like DOSBox and VirtualBox to run Linux Tycoon on Android, iOS, OS/2 and more. "I've gotten requests for ports to everything from Android and iOS to HaikuOS and FreeBSD," he adds. "So I made a DOS version."
He continues, "Truth be told, it was actually pretty damned easy. I tend to do most of my coding in a terminal or simple text editor already, so coding in DOS wasn't much of a stretch."
Ironically, Lunduke is calling the DOS version "the most cutting edge" edition of the game. This is because he plans to implement any new features or updates in the DOS version first, essentially using it as a test-bed.
"Linux Tycoon isn't pushing any technological boundaries," he notes. "Hell, the
only real 'graphics' in the game come in the form of an 8-bit styled version of me, who simply stands there -- quietly judging you. So the DOS version is, in all reality, just as technically advanced as the Windows, Mac or Linux versions."
"Besides," Lunduke adds, "how awesome is it to have the 'test bed' version be the DOS version? I toyed with calling it Linux Tycoon EXTREME Deluxe Edition for DOS."
[Mike Rose wrote this article originally for sister site Gamasutra]