This document is intended to be a rough guide to assist sysops with getting the door game Yankee Trader running on their BBSes.
Information may change as more facts are known.
Yankee Trader (abbreviated "YT") is a BBS door game known for intermittent instability when run under modern BBS software (e.g.: Synchronet) on modern Windows systems.
Said instability most typically comes in the form of:
Either scenario can result in the user having to hang-up on the BBS while in-game.
The reason for this problem is due to the game's lack of FOSSIL support. Modern FOSSILs simply cannot run the game very long, if at all.
This section was revised on December 18, 2021. Old installation info can still be found at http://dosbox.bbsdev.net.
It has been found that YT runs exceptionally well in current versions of DOSBox, able to withstand the scripted repetitive play styles typically expected from expert players without crashing.
However, do not use standard DOSBox; socket inheritance, the feature that makes running door games possible over telnet, is broken in the latest official DOSBox build. Furthermore, a standard DOSBox session is only aware of the filesystem's contents at the time it's initialized, which means it cannot see, read, or write from any files that are modified outside of its own session while it is running. This results in having to run doors as single-node games.
For these reasons, we must use DOSBox-X, which has working socket inheritance, and does support file-locking and sharing between multiple DOSBox sessions, making simultaneous multi-node play possible.
Steps for Synchronet on Windows (tested with YT 3.6 in DOSBox-X 0.83.10 under SBBS 3.18 on Windows Vista):
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 Yes <- Sysop's preference 10: Intercept I/O No 11: Native Executable Yes 12: Use Shell to Execute No 13: Modify User Data No 14: Execute on Event No 15: Pause After Execution No 16: BBS Drop File Type RBBS/QuickBBS DORINFO#.DEF 17: Place Drop File In Start-Up Directory
When your users launch Yankee Trader, the drop file will be created in the dosdoors directory, right where DOSBox-X can easily find it (in the mapped "C:" drive). That's why we set the drop file location to the Start-Up Directory.
Optional (untested): If one were so inclined, one could place the drop file in the node directory instead and then map a different drive letter (eg: "D:") to that directory, however this would also require changes to the Command Line (#4 above) for passing both the desired drive letter and the node directory path, as well as to the rundosdoor file (another "echo" line containing the "mount" command below the "copy" line) in order for the mapping of the two to occur (such changes might even be necessary in order for DOSBox-X to run multi-node DOS doors other than Yankee Trader, particularly those that use a drop file type other than DORINFO#.DEF, on account of the fact that they do not include the node number in the filename).
Other doors DOSBox-X has been tested with:
On rare occasion, if a user's BBS connection drops unexpectedly, DOSBox-X 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-X window.
Some sysops running Linux have claimed success running YT using DOSEMU.
Unfortunately, there are currently no details listed here on how this is done.
Refer to http://wiki.synchro.net/howto:dosemu for general setup information.
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 second 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. He took these ideas and set up what he dubbed 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.
There is, of course, the option of running the game as originally intended, under MS-DOS on 1980s or early 1990s hardware.
While it's possible to get a DOS BBS online and accessible via telnet, that topic is way beyond the scope of this article, so we won't attempt to outline it here. You're on your own. Google is your friend™.
Yankee Trader was released as shareware. However, unlike most other shareware software, obtaining a registration key does not unlock any gameplay features or add any additional functionality. All registrations ever did for Yankee Trader was remove the "UNREGISTERED" text upon entering the game as well as the "PLEASE HELP YOUR SYSOP REGISTER" text upon exiting the game.
This generic public key will remove the unregistered nag messages and allow the game to run as though it is registered.
Create a text file in your YT directory containing the following three lines and save it as YT.REG:
This BBS The Sysop 3484625551
Important: The file must be formatted for MS-DOS/Windows (i.e.: CRLF-terminated lines), otherwise YT won't properly recognize it. Refer to the Registration of Yankee Trader section of YTSYSOP.DOC for more information on this process.
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.