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Welcome to the Classic Gaming Arena! I'm sure you are wondering what this thing is all about and you have made it to section that should be able to answer all your questions. Below is an overview and a brief history of the CGA project. If you need more relavent help, choose from the topics to the right.

What is Classic Gaming Arena and what is the CGA Client?
Classic Gaming Arena is a website based portal to link up with friends, family or just random people to play DOS based IPX network games over the Internet via the use of DOSBox and out small client program, the CGA Client. The CGA Client is installed locally and the website uses it to launch DOSBox and get you connected to your networked game. The website essentially passes off all the required information about the game you want to launch and the person or server in which you will be connecting and does it all for you.

You may ask, "really? that easy huh?"...yes, it is that easy. The CGA website functions much like MPlayer.com or heat.net from the days of yore. The combination of CGA and DOSBox actually functions more like the software Kali, however we are providing dedicated server software so that the player community can host their own servers instead of all the servers being hosted by us.

The dedicated server software communicates with the website so that players can use it when setting up their games. Players will also be able to connect up via a peer-to-peer mechanism since DOSBox has a built-in server as well if they do not want to use a dedicated server. Players are required to create an account (for free of course) and through the website configure their DOSBox and game settings (ie: local paths and CD information if needed). Once that is all setup they will then be able to setup game rooms which will use either a dedicated server or themselves as the server and allow others to join the room and get connected.

We have tried to make the process as thin and streamlined as possible so as to create a great gaming experience for the players. (one of the things that killed the services of the past was bandwidth issues and lag) We have done quite a bit of testing over the past several months with different platforms (Windows and Linux) and network scenarios, including wireless, desktops and laptops and any combination there of. So far it has all been very successful.

The CGA Client and Server are publicly available for both Windows and Linux.

Have any questions, comments, suggestions or concerns let us know by contacting us here or via our forums. We hope you enjoy CGA as much as we enjoyed building it.

A Brief History
In late 2003 we started the CGA project as a pure/client server project, but designed to allow for the player community to run their own dedicated servers much like the TCP/IP games that eventually dominated the gaming market. At the time we were writing our own IPX tunneling code that would intercept IPX packets off of an IPX network for whatever game was being played. The downside to this approach was that the player had to be using Windows 98 or less and had to install real IPX network drivers for this to all work and by this time most gamers were running Windows 2000 or XP.

Needless to say the progress was slow for many reasons including doubt that this would even work well. Things changed dramatically around June 2004 when we discovered DOSBox in all its glory. It had built-in IPX tunneling and could run under Windows XP+, Linux as well as other platforms and it ran the old games amazingly well.

Some time went by, about 6 years, other projects took priority and then in late 2009 the focus then shifted to using DOSBox as the IPX tunneler and the platform to run the games after reading a post in the DOSBox forum by MasterM where he proposed putting together a dedicated server using the IPX tunneling server code that was already inside DOSBox. He even built one under Linux to prove it was possible. Using the source code he put together we started working on a Windows service version. Some things needed to be changed and code optimized to make it a true dedicated server, but we managed to get it all working and even ported the code to Linux as a daemon. The client came next and we decided to make it a simple middle man program to lanch DOSBox from a website to connect to a dedicated server or peer-to-peer server, the CGA Client was born. The client connects to our dedicated server software via TCP to synchronize the UDP connection required by DOSBox and maintains the connection state. For peer-to-peer games it simply launches DOSBox but has it connect to the player that is acting as the host.

The catch to it all was making all the pieces work together without having to modify the DOSBox source code. That goal was achieved and CGA works with the stock DOSBox build and should even work with its variants.

The rest is history.

Continue to Getting Started...

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