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F-22 Lightning II: Running in DOSBox


Title screen, version 1.01.00.18
Title screen, version 1.01.00.18

This is my quick guide for running the NovaLogic classic, F-22 Lightning II under DOSBox Staging. Due to the large size of the previous Gunship guide, this will be a little different. Other posts will be referenced, which provide background to a topic.


The rest of this guide will be very focussed on getting F-22 Lightning II running under DOSBox.



What's it called?


Based on the original and re-released boxes, it's actual title seems to be F22 Lightning II (no hyphen) although Wikipedia, MobyGames, YouTube, in fact the internet in general, seems to call it F-22 Lightning II.


Which version?


There are a few versions of F-22 Lightning II you may come across:


  • V 1.00.00.02 This seems to be the initial release on cd.

  • V 1.00.02.08 This looks like first patch, but it often turns out to be V 1.00.04.00. I haven't managed to find this patch yet.

  • V 1.00.04.00 This converts the game into a Multiplayer Slave only, effectively disabling the single player game. The patch readme is for V 1.00.02.08.

  • V 1.01.00.18 This is the final patch and the Cdrom Classics re-release version.

The preferred version is V 1.01.00.18 it fixes various issues and works well under DOSBox Staging.


Game folders


I use my DOSBox game folder scheme described in DOSBox game management. So in my case I have a D:\games\dos\F-22 Lightning II folder with the following sub folders:


  • hdd (hard disk drive, DOSBox C: drive), folder used as hard disk by DOSBox.

  • cd (cd drive, DOSBox D: drive), cd images.

  • conf (DOSBox configuration file).

  • docs (manuals, other docs, etc.)


DOSBox setup


The DOSBox Staging video and rendering setup defaults provide a solid set of options that don't need to be tweaked.


F-22 precedes the era of GPU's and 3d hardware acceleration so the flight engine needs an untethered DOSBox to run as fast as needed. Leave the CPU type and cycles at their defaults, no need for fixed cycles this time. If it seems to run too fast on your machine you may need to change the cycles option in the cpu section.


I have the Cdrom Classics re-release cd that I've converted to iso, for speed, convenience and no wear on the disc. There is no red book/cd audio on the disc so a .bin/.cue format is unnecessary. I mount this as a cd image in my DOSBox config.


Midi setup


For a discussion on midi setup see DOSBox midi. F-22 can be configured to use a Soundblaster 16 (emulated in DOSBox) as the digital music device. However, it can also be configured to use general midi, which makes F-22 an ideal candidate for trying out fluidsynth and various soundfonts in DOSBox Staging.


Controller setup


TARGET profile
TARGET profile

For an in-depth look at modern HOTAS controller configuration for retro flight sims, take a look at my series of posts, Controllers and retro sims.


I'm running a TM TARGET profile for my TM Warthog HOTAS. The profile defines 4 axes:


  • DX_X_AXIS (Joystick x-axis)

  • DX_Y_AXIS (Joystick y-axis)

  • DX_Z_AXIS (Throttle)

  • DX_XROT_AXIS (Rudder pedals)


These 4 axis allow for complete joystick, throttle and rudder control in F-22.


My DOSBox Staging config


This is my DOSBox config, I include as an example. These options are the ones changed from default, or those most likely to be experimented with.

[sdl]
fullscreen          = false
display             = 0
fullresolution      = desktop
windowresolution    = default
viewport_resolution = fit

[render]
aspect			= true
glshader			= crt-auto
integer_scaling	= vertical

[cpu]
core      = auto
cputype   = auto
cycles    = auto
cycleup   = 100
cycledown = 100

[midi]
# If you wish to try out fluidsynth and soundfonts
mididevice = fluidsynth 
mpu401     = intelligent

[fluidsynth]
# One of my installed soundfonts
soundfont     = "D:\Midi\Soundfonts\FluidR3_GM_GS.sf2"

[joystick]
# Your settings may need to differ
joysticktype                = 4axis
timed                       = true
swap34                      = true
deadzone                    = 0

[autoexec]
mount C "D:\Games\Dos\F-22 Lightning II\hdd"
imgmount D "D:\Games\Dos\F-22 Lightning II\cd\F22Lightning2.iso" -t cdrom

Installation and setup


Run the installer from the cd with install.exe. Simply pick a folder on the C: drive (the default is fine) and select a full install.


Once complete the setup utility will run automatically. It's time to select video, audio and performance options. They should all be fairly straightforward. In the music option select General MIDI if you wish to try out fluidsynth and soundfonts.


Video setup
Digital sound setup
Digital sound setup













Music setup (note general midi option)
Performance setup
Performance setup












If you wish to run setup in the future, run setup.exe from your F-22 installation folder.


Patching


If you have any version other than V 1.01.00.18 you'll need the patch. It can normally be found as f2210018.zip. It can be found on the The Patches Scrolls site. To patch:


  • Unzip the patch to your F-22 installation directory.

  • Run the installer in DOSBox, specifying the cd mount, eg. install d:

  • If the setup utility doesn't run, run it from the F-22 installation directory and apply the settings again.

  • Once complete, run F-22, on the title screen you should see the new version: 1.01.00.18.


Gameplay options


All that remains before playing is to set the game options. Graphics can be set to their highest settings, sound and music tweaked to your personal preference and you'll need to set a generic 4 button joystick if you want to use a joystick or HOTAS controller.


Options
Options
More options
More options











Manual


I'm fortunate enough to have the Cdrom Classics re-release, with manual and reference card. I haven't been able to find the manual in pdf format, however the reference card is available as a pdf.


In addition, the support section of the Novalogic website (no longer available but archived) published an Addendum to the Manual: How to Land the F-22.




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