Building DOSBox with MinGW

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Building your own version of DOSBox

MinGW is the development environment that this page will show you how to use, an alternative is to use Microsoft Visual Studio

This page will guide you through setting up MinGW to compile a current (SVN/CVS) version of DOSBox. Because of updates to compilers and libraries, this guide will not work with the 0.74 (the last official release, which is currently over 4 years old) source files.

Installing MinGW

  • Download mingw-get-setup.exe from
  • Run the installer, choosing the defaults
  • Once the MinGW Installation Manager application starts, select
    • mingw-developer-toolkit (msys-base should be automatically added)
    • mingw32-base
    • mingw32-gcc-g++
  • On the installation menu, apply changes, and confirm that you want to apply the changes

The installation manager is going to download a bunch of files, and at the end, start installing them. Once this is done, you can close the dialog box as well as the installation manager.

Well done, MinGW is now installed! Let's start it up.

  • Browse to C:\MinGW\msys\1.0
  • Run MSYS.BAT

This will start up a DOS prompt like screen, lets mount the base path

 mount 'c:\MinGW' /mingw

You have now completed this section, lets move on to adding the SDL libraries to MinGW.

Adding the SDL libraries to MinGW

  • Download the pre compiled SDL development libraries from here
  • Copy the downloaded file to your MSYS home folder, it's going to be something like C:\MinGW\msys\1.0\home\Administrator
  • Switch back to the MSYS command prompt we started earlier
  • Lets extract the downloaded files
 tar xvf SDL-devel-1.2.15-mingw32.tar.gz
  • And now add the files to MinGW
 cd SDL-1.2.15
 make install-sdl --prefix=/mingw
 cd ..

Cool, the SDL libraries have been added to MinGW, onto the next section.

Adding Direct Draw support to DOSBox (Optional)

If you want to give DOSBox the option to use the DDRAW output option, then we need to add a couple of extra libraries to MinGW

 tar xvf directx-devel.tar.gz -C /mingw

Adding SDL_net libraries to MinGW (Optional)

SDL_net gives DOSBox networking support, if you aren't going to be using DOSBox for multi player games, then you can probably skip this step.

 tar xvf SDL_net-1.2.8.tar.gz
  • Lets configure the libraries
 cd SDL_net-1.2.8
 ./configure --prefix=/mingw
  • And now compile them
  • And then install them (copy the files)
 make install
 cd ..

Adding screenshot support (Optional)

This one is a bit tricky because it relies on two libraries, zlib (libpng needs these libraries), and libpng. We are also going to be compiling the libraries statically to keep external DLL's to a minimum.

 tar xvf zlib-1.2.8.tar.gz
  • Lets build the static library
 cd zlib-1.2.8
 make -f win32/Makefile.gcc
  • And now copy the files to /mingw
 cp libz.a /mingw/lib/
 cp zlib.h zconf.h /mingw/include/
 cd ..

Cool, that wasn't too hard, onto libpng

 tar xvf libpng-1.6.13.tar.gz
  • Configure the library
 cd libpng-1.6.13
 ./configure --disable-shared --prefix=/mingw
  • And now to compile and install the files
 make install
 cd ..

Compiling DOSBox

 tar xvf dosboxsvn.tgz
  • Let's configure it
 cd dosbox
 ./configure LDFLAGS="-static-libgcc -static-libstdc++ -s"
  • And now for compiling DOSBox
  • The last step is to gather all the files together in a folder
    • Create a folder with a name of your choosing
    • Copy the dosbox.exe file located under the dosbox\src folder, e.g. C:\MinGW\msys\1.0\home\Administrator\dosbox\src to the folder you created
    • Copy the SDL.dll file located under SDL-1.2.15\bin, e.g. C:\MinGW\msys\1.0\home\Administrator\SDL-1.2.15\bin to the folder you created
    • Optionally, copy the SDL_net.dll file located under SDL_net-1.2.8\.libs, e.g. C:\MinGW\msys\1.0\home\Administrator\SDL_net-1.2.8\.libs to the folder you created

Start up DOSBox, and see if it works.