This document is intended to be a rough guide to assist sysops with getting the door game Yankee Trader running on their BBSes.
Portions of the information on this page came from http://dosbox.bbsdev.net.
Information may change as more facts are known.
Several different modded and unmodded versions are available from YT.StarFlt.com. Look for YT36.ZIP if you want the original author's latest version in its original, unmodded form.
Be sure to completely read through the YTSYSOP.DOC file that comes with the door. In contains important, basic info for running the game, including the setup program and running nightly maintenance, which are not covered on this page.
"It is a period of great instability." - First sentence in YTSYSOP.DOC.
Yankee Trader (abbreviated "YT") is a BBS door game known for intermittent instability (i.e.: random crashes) while running on any BBS software.
Under modern BBS software (e.g.: Synchronet) on modern systems, YT crashes most typically come in the form of:
Either scenario can result in the user having to hang-up on the BBS while in-game.
FOSSIL drivers cannot run the game very long, if at all. In the section labeled "Problems?" of YTSYSOP.DOC, the author notes intermittent trouble with the door crashing seemingly randomly for no apparent reason even on DOS computers in 1990.
Here are some ways to run YT reliably:
It has been found that YT runs exceptionally well in DOSBox, able to withstand the scripted repetitive play styles typically expected from expert players without crashing.
However, do not use DOSBox 0.74 (the latest official version as of this writing). Socket inheritance, the feature that makes running door games possible over telnet, is broken in the latest official DOSBox build.
There are various versions of DOSBox with working socket inheritance:
|Advantages||- Fast||- Lightweight||- Stable
- Share & File-locking
- Regularly updated *
|Disadvantages||- High CPU usage
|- Speed limited to 115200 baud
|- Speed limited to 115200 baud
- Somewhat bloated
|Works with Synchronet||✅||✅||✅|
|Works with Mystic||✅||❌||❌|
|Works with Other BBSes||❔||❔||❔|
This is the first known version of DOSBox that had working socket inheritance patched in by H-A-L-9000. The directions in the link above outline the tried-and-true method of using DOXBox to get non-FOSSIL doors working in both Synchronet and Mystic. However, this is a very old and outdated version of DOSBox from 2004.
Even though it offers fast speeds over telnet, those speeds come at a high CPU cost.
This is the last known official DOSBox release that came with working socket inheritance out-of-the-box, however it's outdated, being from 2009.
Speed is limited to 9600 baud by default, but can be increased to 115200 baud via the MODE.COM utility. This speed is very fast and usable, but can be at times noticeably slower than modern telnet speeds.
Unfortunately, it does not seem to accept the socket handle passed by Mystic, but works with Synchronet just fine.
This is probably the best DOSBox version to use, being regularly updated * and feature-rich. Runs stably with very little demand for resources by default.
Speed is still limited to 115200 baud with the MODE.COM.
As with 0.73, DOSBox-X does not seem to want to pick up Mystic's socket handle, but runs great with Synchronet.
Also worth mentioning DOSBox-X adds support for file-locking, which, in theory, allows doors to be ran as multi-node. However, YTSYSOP.DOC is unclear as to whether multi-node use is supported. YT was written during a time when most BBSes ran on single-line systems on single-tasking operating systems, which means YT is probably best ran as a single-node door, therefore this feature may be of little benefit.
Steps for setting up DOSBox-X with Synchronet (3.18 and later) on Windows:
(Many other nonessential settings are disabled entirely [sound emulation, video scaling, etc.].)
1: Name Yankee Trader 3.6 2: Internal Code YT 3: Start-up Directory ../xtrn/dosdoors 4: Command Line rundosdoor.cmd %h yt yt.exe C:\DORINFO%#.DEF 5: Clean-up Command Line 6: Execution Cost None 7: Access Requirements 8: Execution Requirements 9: Multiple Concurrent Users No 10: I/O Method Socket 11: Native Executable/Script Yes 12: Use Shell or New Context No 13: Modify User Data No 14: Execute on Event No 15: Pause After Execution No 16: Disable Local Display No 17: BBS Drop File Type RBBS/QuickBBS DORINFO#.DEF 18: Place Drop File In Start-Up Directory
Steps for setting up DOSBox 0.63 with Mystic 1.12 A47 on Windows (maybe Linux too, untested):
Action List ────────────── Access ───── Data ───────────────────────────── (!E) Check for semaphore yt.inuse (GT) Display line of text OK |CL |07Yankee Trader is in use. |15Try again later! (!C) Create semaphore !OK yt.inuse (GT) Display line of text !OK |CL (DD) Exec external program !OK copy c:\mystic\temp%3\dorinfo1.def c:\mystic\doors\dosdoors\dorinfo%3.def (DD) Exec external program !OK c:\mystic\doors\dosdoors\rundosdoor.cmd %0 yt yt.exe c:\DORINFO%3.DEF (!D) Delete semaphore !OK yt.inuseThis will create a semaphore file called "yt.inuse" in order to ensure that only one user runs the door at a time.
When your users launch Yankee Trader, the drop file will be created in the dosdoors directory, right where DOSBox can easily find it (in the mapped "C:" drive). That's why we set the drop file location to the Start-Up Directory.
Other doors DOSBox/DOSBox-X has been tested with:
On rare occasion, if a user's BBS connection drops unexpectedly, DOSBox may not properly recognize the fact that it lost carrier. If this happens, the game will continue to run idly without the user being present. So check your BBS server at least daily, and if you happen to notice DOSBox-X running without anyone being logged in, simply close the DOSBox window.
It has been observed that YT runs stably on Windows 2000 (or similar NT-based OS).
So, if practical, consider running YT on its own dedicated hardware running Windows 2000, and install a lightweight BBS software package like GameSrv (any pre-2016 version). Then, on your main BBS system, configure your YT door so that it connects to the Windows 2000 system via RLogin, which then executes the game when connected. To the user, it will appear as though it's all running under one roof.
Steve Bennett over at Slinky's Place BBS (telnet://slinkybbs.com) has done extensive experimentation in this area, and set up an entire Yankee Trader Game Server (YTGS), hosting several different YT games.
Steve decided to decommission and repurpose the server he used to run YTGS effective August 1, 2021. Prior to its removal, it ran reliably for approximately one year.
Yankee Trader is shareware. However, unlike most other shareware software, it is fully functional and playable in its unregistered form. Obtaining a registration key does not unlock any gameplay features or add any additional functionality. All registrations ever did for Yankee Trader (apart from supporting the author, of course) was remove the "UNREGISTERED" text upon entering the game as well as the "PLEASE HELP YOUR SYSOP REGISTER" text and the brief delay upon exiting the game.
Unfortunately, registering the door via the original author is no longer possible.
This generic public key will remove the unregistered nag messages and allow the game to run as though it is registered. It works on YT 3.6, including the modded versions from yt.starflt.com (it is already included in the ZIP files available on that site).
Create a text file in your YT directory containing the following three lines and save it as YT.REG. The file must be formatted for MS-DOS/Windows (i.e.: CRLF-terminated lines).
Enjoy! If you find this key useful, consider making a donation of $20 or more to any local charity of your choosing.
Players will notice that YT occasionally spews lines of incoherent text followed by a music note character. These are special sequences meant to be interpreted as sound effects or music in certain terminals, such as SyncTERM or Qodem.
To enable sound effects during play in SyncTERM, set ANSI Music to "All ANSI Music enabled." When you enter the ship's computer, you'll hear two brief, high-pitched beeps. Different sounds can heard in other places as well, such as while playing the lottery and during space combat. Sounds are enabled in Qodem by default.