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Enjoying multiplayer games on LAN in DOSBox - IPX

By now, you have already discovered that I'm a bit of an old games fan. Using DOSBox is probably the simplest, most sensible way of enjoying your old favorites. But so far, I have only shown you the single player mode. DOSBox also allows you to setup multiplayer games.

If you have more than one computer and would like to enjoy a session of Doom, Warcraft or any other 90s classic, then read on.

This article will show you how to setup multiplayer games using IPX protocol. A follow-up article will demonstrate how to play even older games using direct serial connection.

DOSBox Local Network configuration

First, we must enable IPX networking emulation.

Find and open the dosbox.conf file (the configuration file for DOSBox); it should be located in the DOSBox directory.

Inside the file, search for an entry labeled [ipx]. Below the explanation comment (marked with #), change the configuration line from ipx=false to ipx=true as shown in the screenshot below.

Dosbox lan 01.jpg

You might find it hard to believe, but this is ALL of the tampering with the configuration files you will need.

Start IPX server

Power on DOSBox on all the computers that you want to participate in the LAN games. One of these computers will have to act as a server. The rest will be clients.

On the server machine, execute the following command:

ipxnet startserver

See screenshot below:

Dosbox lan 02.png

Start client(s)

On each one of the clients, run the following command to connect to the server:

ipxnet connect <IP >

Specifically, in my case:

ipxnet connect

See screenshot below:

Dosbox lan 03.png

You now have the network running.

Start your games

Yes, that's it! I have tested this setup on a network where both clients sit behind a router and run a personal firewall. Everything worked (and works) flawlessly. The one thing you may have to do is allow DOSBox network access in your firewall rules.