#1 2017-08-20 10:33:38

Registered: 2017-08-17
Posts: 2

Mystic BBS + DOSEMU: retro telnet BBS with games

LowEndSpirit is great as a host for your own Telnet BBS.

- What the hell is that?
Wikipedia: "A bulletin board system or BBS is a computer server running software that allows users to connect to the system using a terminal program. Once logged in, the user can perform functions such as uploading and downloading software and data, reading news and bulletins, and exchanging messages with other users through email, public message boards, and sometimes via direct chatting. Many BBSes also offer on-line games in which users can compete with each other, and BBSes with multiple phone lines often provide chat rooms, allowing users to interact with each other. Bulletin board systems were in many ways a precursor to the modern form of the World Wide Web, social networks, and other aspects of the Internet."

- But... why?
Because the modern WWW is too mainstream, because you want to feel special, because you need to set up a super secret message board for your super secret club, you name it.

- Okay, how to get it up?
I'll be using Mystic BBS package. This software, while being easy to install, provides a great deal of flexibility. To make our Linux VPS run DOS door games, we'll also install DOSEMU, a DOS emulator, and then pair it with our fresh BBS.

I. Mystic BBS itself
Head to http://mysticbbs.com/downloads.html and download the latest alpha. Right now it's 1.12-a34, so to download it, you can run the command

# wget http://mysticbbs.com/downloads/mys112a34_l32.rar # 32 bit
# wget http://mysticbbs.com/downloads/mys112a34_l64.rar # 64 bit 

Because the installer is packed in a RAR archive, you need to install unrar.

# apt-get install unrar-free 

Now extract and run the installer:

# unrar x mys112a34_l64.rar
# chmod +x install
# ./install 

Use the default settings - everything will be installed in /mystic.
Now, for the sake of security, we'll create a new user and make it the owner of our new BBS folder:

# adduser mystic
# chown -R mystic /mystic 

Now you're ready to create your sysop account and do some basic setup:

# cd /mystic
# ./mystic -l 

Create a new account - just type in your desired username and follow the instructions. Don't care about the garbled look of some parts - this is happening because Mystic's default encoding is CP437, while your terminal is using UTF8. This can be fixed later, or you can just start connecting over telnet with a proper terminal after you're done with account and MIS setup.
Now let's give your new account sysop privileges, and change some other things:

# ./mystic -cfg 

This will launch the Mystic configurator.
First go to Configuration > General Settings and change things like BBS name, sysop name and sysop password. Keep in mind that sysop password!=password of the sysop's account. After you're done here, go to New User Settings 1 and disable Use USA Phone (so your users won't have to type in their phone numbers) and New User Feedback (so they won't have to write about themselves, this one may be left enabled). After that, go to New User Settings 2 and select things that you want to ask your new users about (for example, you can disable real name and enable city/state).
Now you need to make yourself sysop. Go to Editors > User Editor and select your username. Scroll down to the "Security" field and set it to 255 (the maximum access level reserved for sysops). With the same menu you can view or edit info about any user, as well change their access level and ban status.
Now change the network settings. Go to Servers > Telnet Server Options. Make sure the "Use Telnet Server" is enabled. Change the number of Telnet Nodes to the number of users you want to be able to connect at the same time. Change the Server Port to one of the ports you have forwarded, because port 23 will be available only over IPv6 (you probably don't want this).
Now you're ready to start. Exit the config utility and start the MIS from under the mystic user:

# su mystic
$ cd /mystic
$ ./mis 

You will see the MIS screen. At this point you can try connecting from outside. To do this, you'll need a compatible terminal. I prefer SyncTerm, but you can use anything else (Netrunner, for example).

local$ syncterm telnet://YOUR.OUTSIDE.IP.ADDR:PORT 

If you see login prompt and can log in, you can exit the "interactive" MIS mode and run it as daemon.

$ ./mis -d

That's it, you now have a BBS. You might want to put this line into the rc.local to make Mystic start automatically on reboot (yes, it's quick and dirty, unlike a proper unit file, and you'll need sudo):

sudo -u mystic bash -c "cd /mystic && ./mis -d"

Now the fun starts. While official docs have instructions for setting up the DOS emulation, they're quite outdated. Here's what I did to get it running:

# apt-get install dosemu 

- Create a directory where everything door-related will reside:

# su mystic
$ mkdir /mystic/doors 

- Get a FOSSIL driver

$ cd /mystic/doors
$ wget http://www.pcmicro.com/bnu/bnu170.zip
$ unzip bnu170.zip BNU.COM
$ rm bnu170.zip 

Now start dosemu:

$ dosemu 

You'll get a DOS prompt. Now do:

C:\> edit autoexec.bat 

Replace the file's contents with

@echo off
path z:\bin;z:\gnu;z:\dosemu
prompt $P$G
lredir d: linux\fs\mystic
cd \doors
unix -e

Click (yes, with mouse) File > Exit, agree to save the file. You may need to click one character below the element you want to hit.
Now exit the emulator:

DOS> exitemu 

Now we'll install Legend Of Red Dragon 2. Why 2? Because the original LoRD didn't get along too well with DOSEMU. You may try, though - the process is nearly identical.
Download and unzip the LoRD 2:

$ cd /mystic/doors
$ mkdir lord2 && cd lord2
$ wget http://lord.lordlegacy.com/allfiles/versions/l2102.zip
$ unzip l2102.zip 

Now you need to configure the game.

$ dosemu
DOS> cd lord2
DOS> l2cfg.exe 

Press enter on the "creating game.dat" screen. Now select "Setup nodes with BBS". Press "]" to go to the first node. Now set up as follows:

BBS name: your BBS name
Path to Drop File: D:\temp1\
Fossil/Internal: Using Regular Fossil Driver

Leave everything as is. Now press "]" another time - a new node will be created. The config will be cloned from the previous one, you only need to change the path to drop file: for the node 2, it'll be D:\temp2\, for 3 - D:\temp3\ and so on. Create enough nodes for everyone - the number should match the number of Telnet nodes. After you're done, press Q twice. Now you may want to edit game rules like turns per day. To do it, you need to edit RULES.REF from under DOS.


Scroll down for the juicy part. Everything is annotated, so I think that you'll figure it out.
Now we need to make a startup file for Mystic.

DOS> cd \doors
DOS> edit lord2.bat 

Inside this file, type:

cd \doors\lord2
lord2 %1

Save and exit. We're done with DOS for now:

DOS> exitemu

Now we need to make Mystic run our new .bat. For this:
- Enter the Mystic Config, either by running "mystic -cfg" or by connecting, logging in as sysop and going to Sysop Menu > System Configuration
- Go to Editors > Menu Editor
- Choose Default, then go to "doors" menu
- Press "/" and select "Insert"
- Select the position you just added and press enter to edit it
- Change things like Display Text (how it'll show up) and Hot Key (what key will be bound to it).
- Press Tab and select the command, then press enter to edit it.
- Change Command to "DD Exec external program"
- Change Data to

dosemu -I"serial { com 1 virtual }" "lord2.bat %3" /DOS

- Exit the editors, confirm saving the edited menu.
Now you have a new entry in the "Door Games" menu. Selecting it will start DOSEMU which will run LoRD 2.

That's it. We've just set up a very basic BBS capable of running DOS doors. You'll probably want to customize it, but it's up to you.
Documentation and otther useful stuff:
/mystic/docs contains textfiles with valuable info. Keep in mind that some of it may be outdated.
http://wiki.mysticbbs.com - official project wiki. Far from complete, but very useful.
PabloDraw - a very powerful GUI ANSI art editor.
Mystic [email protected] - official video tutorials.

If I missed anything or you have problems with the installation, ask me here.

Last edited by l33tn33t (2017-08-20 10:35:53)


#2 2017-08-20 11:46:49

Low End Mod
From: Hell and gore == Sweden
Registered: 2013-03-02
Posts: 1,296

Re: Mystic BBS + DOSEMU: retro telnet BBS with games

This I like wink     
Will read it properly when I'm back home.


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