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A LAN Triumph – Dungeon Keeper multiplayer on Vista and XP using DOSBOX

A LAN Triumph – Dungeon Keeper multiplayer on Vista and XP using DOSBOX

Last weekend, I was at a friend’s house for a LAN party. After our usual Team Fortress 2 session and a quick break playing the board game “Attack!”, we found ourselves… Well, bored. In our boredom, we began thinking of games we’d always wanted to play in a multiplayer setting but, for whatever reason, never had the chance. We settled on Dungeon Keeper, a personal favorite of all involved. For the Windows XP users it won’t take much to get this game up and running on your system for some LAN party goodness. Vista owners will encounter some speed-bumps along the way, but we have a workaround for 32bit users. Unfortunately, 64bit Vista users will be out of luck. With that, lets take a look at what we’ll need to get this up and running.

Prep Work:

Before we install the game there are some precursory steps required to make the process a smooth one.


  • Download and install DOSBox (Get it: Here)

  • Make an ISO image of your Dungeon Keeper CD using MagicISO (Get it: Here)

  • Download and install the D.O.G. front end for DOSBox (Get it: Here)

  • Download and install DAEMON Tools or similar Virtual Device software (Get it: here)

For XP Users: You will also need to install the IPX protocol to your Ethernet device. Do this by clicking Start > Control Panel > Network Connections > Right click your Ethernet device > Select properties. Click “Install” and select protocol, then select “NWLink IPX/SPX/NetBIOS Compatible Transport Protocol.” Dungeon Keeper uses the IPX protocol to facilitate network play.

For Vista 32-bit Users: Go to starbase01 and follow the instructions to install IPX on Vista. Unfortunately, this workaround doesn’t work for the 64-bit version of Vista. While you will be able to get the game to run, you will be unable to do LAN play.

Installing Dungeon Keeper:

To install Dungeon Keeper, we will be using a program called DOSBox. DOSBox emulates a native DOS environment in today’s operating systems. Nearly anything you could run on Windows 95 or DOS you can run on DOSBox. When you use DOSBox, you will be operating in a virtual DOS machine. Although DOSBox does have a few unique commands, the commands are largely identical to the ones we used in the glory days of 16bit PC gaming. For this article, we used version 0.72 of DOSBox.

Configuring your PC for DOSBox and Dungeon Keeper


  1. Start up DOSbox and enter “mount D X:\”, where X:\ is the drive that has the ISO mounted to in Daemon Tools.
  2. Next, enter “mount C Y:\installpath”, where “Y:\installpath” is the drive and folder you want to install the game to. I recommend using something like “C:\DOSBox” so that you are able to keep all of your DOSbox games in one folder.
  3. Now DOSBox has a drive “C:” and “D:”. Drive “C:” is where you are going to install the game. Drive “D:” denotes the location of your Dungeon Keeper ISO.
  4. Type “D:” and press enter to switch to the D:\ drive. Type “setup” and press enter. Go through the prompts to install the game.
  5. Once the setup is complete, you should be able to play the game through DOSBox. To do so, type “C:” to switch to the C:\ drive and then type “keeper” and hit enter.

Note: If you exit DOSBox at any time you will have to re-mount the drives mentioned in steps 5 and 6. This is a real pain to do. Thankfully, though, we’re keeping your best interests in mind and have decided to use a front end to help. The front-end will automatically remount drives and folders of your choosing when it is launched, and is more intuitive than the old command line that DOSBox uses.

Setting up D.O.G.


  1. When you first run D.O.G., it will notify you it hasn’t been configured with a specific DOSBox version, yet. When prompted, click select and find the folder in which DOSBox is installed.
  2. Once that is completed, you can create a new profile by clicking on the “New Profile” button in the upper left corner.
  3. Fill in the “Profile name:” prompt. This has no bearing on the operation, so make it anything you wish.
  4. Next up, the “Exe FileName:” prompt. Click “Select” and browse to the .EXE file that runs Dungeon Keeper. You should not have to mess with any of the other fields on this page.
  5. Be sure to have your .ISO mounted in Daemon Tools for this next step. Click on the “Drives” category on the left hand side. Towards the bottom, click “Add CDROM” and select the drive with your mounted Dungeon Keeper .ISO. Select drive letter “D” in DOSbox.
  6. Now click “add a Harddrive”. Select the path to the folder you installed Dungeon Keeper to when you installed the game through DOSBox. (This should be the same place as step 3, and might be done already.)
  7. Now go to the “Data Communications” category. Select “Enable IPX” and determine which one of your buddies is going to be the host. Whomever is hosting should pick “Server” and enter their IP address. For everyone else at the party, select “Client” and enter the host’s IP into the given field.

Important note: The server/host must load his/her copy up first before everyone else. If you have any issues, it’s usually tied into CD recognition. Vista has had problems with DOSBox in the area of CD recognition. It’s for this reason that I suggest creating an .iso and running it that way. At this time, .bin, .cue, and .iso file types seem to be the most compatible with Vista.

In Conclusion…

I have not tried to get the expansion “Deeper Dungeons” to work through this method. I doubt you’d have any trouble running it in the same way you would the original, though. Just repeat the above steps and you should be in business. D.O.G has numerous advanced options that can be useful, but experiment with caution.

That should be everything! Hopefully this guide added a new game to your LAN menu, while delivering a dash of nostalgia at the same time.

Expertly done, Keeper!

Shameless plug: To Brandon and Jeremy for being awesome guys to hang out with on a Friday night.

Comments

  1. Thrax
    Thrax As a note, following all the steps except for the ones related to CD images and drives will teach you how to run any DOS app in DOSBox. :) The process is the same for other games/progs.
  2. Hawk
    Hawk Nice write up Winfrey.:thumbsup:
    DOSBOX is pretty cool.
    I've been using it for about a yr now and it makes it pretty easy to play the old games.
    It ran DIG perfectly.
    With just a quick scan of features and game play.
    Dungeon Keeper seems a little like Travian, only you get to see the action.
    Is the game down loadable anywhere?
    Or do we still have to buy it?
  3. Winfrey
    Winfrey Thanks Hawk!

    Dungeon Keeper is not abandonware so you will have to purchase it. You can find it at a lot of places, especially online game stores. It was a unique game of its time because you are playing as the "bad guys" i.e. demons and imps and are trying to create a dungeon to defeat Heroes and other dungeon keepers.

    the Home of the Underdogs is probably has one of the largest selections of games that are now offered as abandonware and can be downloaded for free. Most of them are old 16-bit games that you can get to work on DOSBox.
  4. Orior
    Orior sup'

    there is no other way to make DK run on LAN? i mean, like hamachi or something?
    the DOSbox guide was amazing but is too boring write all that stuff everytime to play...


    greetings
  5. Winfrey
    Winfrey You don't have to rewrite that stuff everytime if you use D.O.G. as a frontend to run Dungeon Keeper. Besides, I don't think you can do LAN without using some kind of frontend to utilize IPX while running dosbox. I haven't tried hamatchi, but I don't see why it won't work as long as you use the correct IPs.
  6. Orior
    Orior nice one man, by the way, i told a friend to do this so we can play, but when he is starting DK, it crashes over and over again in the introduction movie or after cd check, what could that be?
  7. Winfrey
    Winfrey
    Orior said:
    nice one man, by the way, i told a friend to do this so we can play, but when he is starting DK, it crashes over and over again in the introduction movie or after cd check, what could that be?
    What OS do you have?
  8. Orior
    Orior XP like him, but i run it exelent
  9. Winfrey
    Winfrey Is it crashing to windows or is it just showing the loading screen and stops working? Make sure you haven't messed with video settings in D.O.G. or that the ISO is still mounted in daemon tools or whatever virtual drive software you use.
  10. Orior
    Orior it stops working, the dosbox screen just stops, and no, he dont mess up with the video settings on dog, yes, the image is mounted on daemon.
    in the instalation happened when he was in the sound selector or just for much time spent in the instalation, so i dont know what could that be........
  11. Winfrey
    Winfrey
    Orior said:
    in the instalation happened when he was in the sound selector or just for much time spent in the instalation, so i dont know what could that be........
    What?!:confused:
  12. Orior
    Orior in the setup, after completes, you have to select your sound card compatible with ur pc, after that it stops, i attached a picture showing the error, so in the game just happen the same thing
  13. Winfrey
    Winfrey I would try reinstalling the game to see if you get the same error during setup. You are installing through dosbox correct?
  14. Orior
    Orior yes, i'll try to reinstall, but if i get the same error, what could i do??
  15. Winfrey
    Winfrey Try installing into just Windows XP to see if there is a problem with the disc or not.
  16. Taso
    Taso I have been trying to make dungeon keeper work over two vista 32 bit computers but i can't seem to make the match appear on the list of ipx matches. I have followed all of the instructions except for the make one computer host and the a client becuase i failed to see the option in dog, could u please tell me how to do this in more depth
  17. Winfrey
    Winfrey You should see an option in D.O.G. in the Data Communications tab for IPX. And in that part you should see options for being either a client or host machine. If you don't you may have had a problem installing the IPX protocol onto your machine.

    Make sure you followed the IPX installation steps in the guide, let me know if that doesn't work.
  18. Taso
    Taso Instead of doing the automatic install i did the manual to see if that made a difference. I managed to get the ipx protocol to appear in the options tab of my network connection but still there is no option in D.O.G. to make me either a host or a client, all i can see is the enable ipx check box, the hint and which port ipx uses.
  19. Taso
    Taso After a bit of research I just ended up using dos box to create the ipx tunneling service by typing ipx=true on both machines then the server computer typing ipxnet startserver and the other client comps typing ipxnet connect then my ip address. This way seemed to work and i was able to start a multiplayer match over hamatachi
  20. belladonna
    belladonna thank you! his is the best guide/solution for solving that lame ipx problem i ever read!
    tiny problem, though: i tried it several times (up-to-date PCs, ethernet and/or lan, xp and/or vista, with/without patches) and it LAGS after some playing. painstakingly. Does anybody have an idea why this could be happening? please? it would be so very sweet to be able to multiplay DK!
  21. mike
    mike Whomever is hosting should pick “Server” and enter their IP address. For everyone else at the party, select “Client” and enter the host’s IP into the given field.

    where is this part i cant find it anywhere and i want to play dungeon keeper really bad. please help
  22. Winfrey
    Winfrey You can't find it in D.O.G.? Or in my guide? Make sure you have the IPX protocol installed on your machine
    Now go to the “Data Communications” category. Select “Enable IPX” and determine which one of your buddies is going to be the host. Whomever is hosting should pick “Server” and enter their IP address. For everyone else at the party, select “Client” and enter the host’s IP into the given field.
  23. leishi85
    leishi85 sweet, there is a os x version of dosbox, now i can play dungeon keeper even in os x.
  24. mike
    mike is it in the data communications tab because all that is in there is a checkbox to enable the ipx protocol. could the version i have be different then yours? i follow your links and it gives me version 1.53. can i run the original dungeon keeper or do i need to use gold? thankyou
  25. Winfrey
    Winfrey Dungeon Keeper Gold should work fine. Here is a pic of how my Data Communications tab looks in D.O.G.

    I notice that my version is not 1.53 but 1.54. I have been looking for 1.54. but have not been able to find a link. You can try Taso's fix through dosbox though. I will continue to search for a patch updated install. But it looks like D.O.G. creator has stopped hosting file versions beyond 1.53
    After a bit of research I just ended up using dos box to create the ipx tunneling service by typing ipx=true on both machines then the server computer typing ipxnet startserver and the other client comps typing ipxnet connect then my ip address. This way seemed to work and i was able to start a multiplayer match over hamatachi
    Edit// Looks like he is going to get things back rolling (Scroll to bottom post)
  26. georgeo
    georgeo Hi guys i just install dungeon keeper (gold) on my pc (Vista 32) and it doesnt work so i managed to install dk through the DOSbox.Everything works fine except that when i start new game and enter the first lvl it crush in about 2 seconds and i dont know why.i tried to figure out through the google and i didnt find any result on this problem.Does anybody know where is the problem ?:(

    ..Thanks (btw sorry for my english)
  27. floppybootstomp
    floppybootstomp How odd, I just picked up Dungeon Keeper 2 for a fiver after searching for a few years for it.

    It's been modified to run in Vista (it doesn't) but it does run nicely in XP. And yes, I've tried all the settings, it still won't work in Vista (Home Premium).

    After all these years I've forgotten what you supposed to do, I just got soundly thrashed by some lord or other in level 4. Dig, get gold, cast spells, I guess.

    This DOS_Box - could I run Little Big Adventure 2 in it? LBA2 was made for Win 95 and I used to love that game but never did finish it.
  28. Emsarrev
    Emsarrev Hey Winfrey, my friend and me can connect and stuff using the "fix" provided by Taso, but when we have chosen a level and it's about to start the secondary DOSBox windows goes crazy with "Illegal Read : followed by alot of numbers or Illegal Write: followed by alot of numbers. This happens when it displays the CD read screen. We have both tried hosting but that didn't fix our issue. Any clue what's going on? Bad .ISO file?
  29. Winfrey
    Winfrey Does it work fine when you do not play networked? Have you or your friend messed with any other settings in D.O.G.?
  30. Joel
    Joel Cheers for the tips, I used them to get Doom and Star Control 3 working last Christmas. Strangely Doom caused the serving machine to slow down significantly despite the machines having identical specifications (same laptop make and model except the server had 1gb more ram). Have you experienced this?
  31. Emsarrev
    Emsarrev It does work when we play not networked, however it's still a bit laggy even in non-full screen mode :/
  32. Winfrey
    Winfrey I am not sure why you would get an "Illegal read" error. The ISO could be bad, but since you can play it single player that kind of rules it out. You could try to reinstall to see if that makes a difference.

    Joel: I have not experienced a noticeable slowdown when running Dungeon Keeper through dosbox, nor any other game. It could be you are experiencing lag due to dosbox not getting enough cpu cycles or you have a high frameskip which may be more noticeable in an fps. Try hitting ctrl+f12 to increase your cycles or use a frontend like D.O.G. to manage this for you. If that doesn't work then maybe you should free up system resources by closing programs you may have running in the background.
  33. Onsympatico
    Onsympatico Dudes, you can play dungeon keeper without cd! Just copy the directories DATA, LDATA, LEVELS and SOUND from the cd and change the keeper.cfg file to read INSTALL_PATH=C:\KEEPER\ (or wherever you installed dk).

    That D.O.G. thing is also not required. Go in the config file of dosbox and change "IPX=false" in "IPX=true". The host should type "ipxnet startserver" and the clients "ipxnet connect ***.***.***.***" where the * is the IP of the host (computername works to)

    DOS DUNGEON KEEPER MP ROCKS!!!!
  34. Onsympatico
    Onsympatico Oh, for a higher resolution in DOS DK pres alt+r ingame. And set your keys to wasd instead of the arrow keys for some deathmatch goodness :p.
  35. gumibear
    gumibear Well i tried this, never got an option to be a host or client so I gave up after 4 hrs of work, then i wiki'ed IPX, just do whats on this link
    (http://www.enigmasoftwaredevelopments.com/ipx.html)

    dont have to waste time with dosbox, just install the game and set it to run in windows 98/ME compatibility or 256bit color if needed, takes about 1 minute to set up I regret ever reading ur tread, nice effort though the game is worth it. just thought id save others thoughts of suicide.
  36. JOE
    JOE Hey quike question. how do you speed the game up, it lags when we play, i could not get DOg to work on vista. it just crashes all the time i try to download it. so i did that ipxnet thing. works awesome just lags after a while.
  37. Shadow_Prince
    Shadow_Prince Does anyone even play it anymore?

    I suppose it would have to be planned dates now as it not as popular.
  38. max
    max i'd love to play with someone online through gameranger or whatever email me at baldytch@yahoo.com the AI is retarted
  39. Winfrey
    Winfrey I haven't played this game online, only on a LAN. If you do play online, hopefully you have a good experience with it. Let us know how it goes.
  40. Rakhartike
    Rakhartike Hey i tried all, i use D.O.G and use the commands ipxnet startserver for the host and the ipxnet connect xxx.xxx.x.xxx for the client obviously.. once in game all runs slowly, ctrl+f8 and ctrl+ f12 doesnt help, someone know how to fix it?
  41. [FMJ]Replica
    [FMJ]Replica Hi,

    Nice article.
    I play this game with a friend over the internet I am in the UK and he is in the USA ping around 130ms.

    I tested Dosbox but without D.O.G. it runs ok over LAN. But notice very strange issue maybe it's if screen dosbox screen gets minimized and even if open it again the game remains to be slowed down a bit when it started off fast even trying the settings to skip frames or change cpu cycles. Me and my friend have tried over Dosbox maybe will see if D.O.G. makes any difference but over Dosbox so far over internet has been to slow to play with him, this might not be same for every player. Runs fine in single player but as soon as ipx connection starts in dosbox and connect into Dungeon Keeper it becomes slow. We use Windows XP. IPX works for Dungeon Keeper and Deeper Dungeons on XP without Dosbox for me without problems. Our games over the internet are fine and we use Kali to play over the internet together. The game can be added to Kali under custom add games. Don't get the major slowdown reason on Dosbox but on Kali it's fine over the internet for us. But we have successful games over internet on just XP and Kali. We are also running the windows executable's. Keeper95.exe and Deeper95.exe so other ops like Linux this might not be ideal, and every time we play we disable Graphics Acceleration to prevent a crash that usually happens on maps with Lava in it by going to our Start button then Run and dxdiag.exe we run this click on the Display tab and from there we disable the acceleration forgot what one it was so we just disable them all only for graphics and this resolves our crash problem we had once. Kali is not free but is not much to buy a serial for lifetime use. You might get the same results on other software that's free though such as Tunngle but I have not tried this. By the way Dungeon Keeper 2 also worked fine on XP over Kali with graphics acceleration disabled in Directx Diagnostic Tool settings but also for DK 2 we needed to change properties to run the EXE with compatibility mode as Win98/Windows ME compatibility ticked will solve out of sync issue in DK 2 multiplayer games. As extra precaution we run exe on 1 core only. Seems then we play multiplayer games successfully. These two games :-). We use 32bit have not tested on other ops except Windows 98 SE.
  42. WCdan59
    WCdan59 i am by no means good with these things, but its becoming painfully frustrating that each time i put in E:\ into dosbox, after i've mounted the .iso image file to that drive it keeps saying "Drive E does not exist!", even though it evidently does. What is the cause of this? and how do i fix it? would appreciate some help :)
  43. Winfrey
    Winfrey What says "Drive E does not exist!", is it DOSBox?

    You are probably missing a step somewhere, remember Dosbox is separate from your machine, you assign a drive letter in DOSbox for that drive that has Dungeon Keeper in it. You may have picked a different letter than what Windows says it is.

    Go back to the "Configuring your PC for DOSBox and Dungeon Keeper" part of the guide to make sure you didn't miss anything.
  44. WCdan59
    WCdan59 wohoo!! i got it working, thanks so much for your help mate. The only thing which has confused me a bit is the last bit of the very last step:

    Whomever is hosting should pick “Server” and enter their IP address. For everyone else at the party, select “Client” and enter the host’s IP into the given field.

    where do you pick "server"? i couldnt find it. Thanks again mate
  45. WCdan59
    WCdan59 I owe my mistakes before to carelessness btw, and yes it was Dosbox which said that
  46. WCdan59
    WCdan59 to be more specific, the problem I'm having now is i can get into the IPX and have it all installed and all that but when i create a game on one computer, i cant see it on the other...and i couldnt find out how to pick 'server' and enter my ip address, so i assume that is the problem.
  47. Winfrey
    Winfrey You can try to skip D.O.G. and just set up IPX in DOSbox. You can do this with what Taso said earlier in this discussion.
    After a bit of research I just ended up using dos box to create the ipx tunneling service by typing ipx=true on both machines then the server computer typing ipxnet startserver and the other client comps typing ipxnet connect then my ip address. This way seemed to work and i was able to start a multiplayer match
    The only problem with this is that you will either have to set this up each time you run DOSbox or manually edit the config file for DOSbox to make these changes permanent. This is why I use the D.O.G. frontend which makes DOSbox a little less clunky to work with.

    Make sure both computers have IPX installed and that they are connected in a LAN (local area network). You really only want to connect through a hub or a switch to get this to work. If you are trying to connect over the internet then you are probably going to have to get some kind of virtual LAN like Hamatchi to make things work.
  48. WCdan59
    WCdan59 Doing it that way I've been able to play a match but my final problem is that when playing DK in either single or multiplayer it lags very badly. I've put the CPU cycles on max and quit as many programs as there was still horrible lag. any known fixes for this?
  49. Winfrey
    Winfrey No fixes that I know of. I don't know if it was because if I got D.O.G. to setup a client/server situation or not, but I played with 2 of my friends with no lag problems on a LAN. Sorry if this makes all that work you just did worthless, there should be a way to get D.O.G. to show all the stuff (refer to my pic) to allow that to happen. I don't know why so many people have had problems with IPX settings showing up in D.O.G. because it worked fine for us in our first go around.

    That's really the only idea I have as to why you are having lag problems.
  50. Nanadel
    Nanadel Tried to play the multiplayer game with osmone connecting through ip addresses. anyone know if this wont work for 7 and xp for some reason? we have correct ip addresses and made sure firewall isnt blocking us but still cant find each other games.
  51. Replica
    Replica Both of you try type

    ipx=true
    ipxnet connect 91.121.201.21

    That will connect to my dedicated ipx tunnel server. It may help as don't need to forward port.

    Or
    ipx=true
    ipxnet connect 87.98.179.135
  52. bakaohki
    bakaohki We tried to play in dosbox via dosbox ipx, but the speed was terrible: both machines are pretty recent and can run the game at full speed alone and the network isn't bad either, but the networked play was just plain unbearable :((

    We're back to Age of Mythology, another long time favourite.
  53. bakaohki
    bakaohki btw your captcha doesn't work with all caps (HUMAN).
  54. Replica
    Replica Oh glad you got it working.
    But yes I also found it was slow over Dosbox thru internet however it was allot better using Windows version executable and over Kali.net when playing online you can set it up as custom game and it seems to be faster over internet than Dosbox.
  55. Replica
    Replica Also maybe someone can try http://www.tunngle.net/
    As it's free but don't know if it would work.
  56. Replica
  57. Replica
    Replica Tested over the internet using TCP-Com program like in that video but without Tunngle and it worked nicely using UDP and virtual com port when doing serial multiplayer in the game using Windows EXE... much more playable over net. But had to be latest TCP-Com version.
  58. Andyo
    Andyo I can't get these 2 files. help?
    # Make an ISO image of your Dungeon Keeper CD using MagicISO (Get it: Here)
    # Download and install DAEMON Tools or similar Virtual Device software (Get it: here)
  59. Bob
    Bob You don't even need Dosbox. Just download the patches, install IPX on your network connection and it worked for us as a straight Windows 95 install in XP.
  60. Zanthian
    Zanthian I wish they would remake this already...
  61. Vick
    Vick i agree, this game is one of my all time favorites
  62. Jeff
    Jeff I dont understand how to get DK to work without dog (everytime I run dog I get a error no matter which one I download). Do I have to install the game each time making me start from the beginning?
  63. theloadeddragon
    theloadeddragon Im running dungeon keeper through DosBox and would really like to find someone to play with. I am not technologically or software savy. So if you have done it before and want to play me, please help me through it step by step so we can play. Im a fast learner. Im running windows 7 and everything works fine as far as original game play. I want to play multiplayer though. I have the IPX patch installed so that shouldnt be problem. I have Hamatchi installed but no idea how to get this set up. Help please.... and LETS PLAY!!!
  64. theloadeddragon
    theloadeddragon If you would like to play but arent sure how to get the multiplayer to work I would like to try this-

    http://www.gog.com/en/forum/dungeon_keeper_series/dungeon_keeper_multiplayer_tutorial

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