Cyningstan DOS Games

Games for Early PCs

Development News

Star Cadre: Combat Class is Now Available!


14 Jul: Today Cyningstan released Star Cadre: Combat Class , a tactical combat game for the IBM PC. Available for download from the Cyningstan web site and from Itch , the game puts you in control of a team of elite troops in a sci-fi battle simulator. This latest game in Cyningstan's series of new games for old hardware is designed to run on the original IBM PC from 1981. It supports the original 4.77 MHz 8088 processor, and requires ... (read more...)

Barren Planet Source Code Released


13 Jul: It's taken a while, but the source code for Barren Planet has finally been released. The code can be examined and downloaded from If you're familiar with git and github, you can also create forks of the project, or clone the repository for tinkering. The source code repository contains the code for all the constituent libraries of the game: CGALIB Graphics Library , CWG, SPKLIB and KEYLIB Keyboard Library , so you don't have to grab those ... (read more...)

Star Cadre: Combat Class Enters Third Week of Beta Testing


7 Jul: Today, the third beta test version of Star Cadre: Combat Class was sent to the beta test team. The team will continue to play the game, and try to break it. Last week was uneventful as far as changes were concerned, so I am hoping the game is close to its release. Changes for this version include: 1. An improved title screen and manual cover image, with help from Nina Kalinina. The dithering is improved, the pistol is ... (read more...)

Second Beta Version of Star Cadre: Combat Class Released


30 Jun: The second beta test version of Star Cadre: Combat Class has been released to the beta testers today. It incorporates bug fixes, and some suggested tweaks to functionality. The full list of changes is as follows: 1. Fixed key handling on the title screen. 2. Refined the title screen image (and manual cover). The title screen still needs better dithering, however. 3. We found at least one keyboard that handles cursor keys in an odd manner, ... (read more...)

Star Cadre: Combat Class Enters Beta Testing


23 Jun: A new game has entered beta testing. Star Cadre: Combat Class is a squad combat game, a kind of strategy wargame with role-playing game elements. It was partly inspired by the games Rebelstar and Laser Squad , and players of the X-COM series will be familiar with the genre. Unlike these other titles, Star Cadre: Combat Class is playable on the original IBM PC with CGA graphics. Development on this game started in 2020, being "temporarily" pushed aside ... (read more...)

Waterworld: a New Expansion for Barren Planet


27 Jan: Another expansion is available for Barren Planet ! After the mining corporations Nuvutech and Avuscorp have finished fighting over the barren planet of Dapra, more resources are descovered on its neighbouring planet, Dalen. Dalen is a waterworld, and the corporations have had to develop naval mining and fighting units in order to seize control of Dalen's resources. You are again taken on as a strategist, and your task is to manage your units across a number of battles, ... (read more...)

CGALIB Now Supports Hercules!


21 Jan: CGALIB was updated a few weeks ago to support Hercules graphics cards, and those changes have now been uploaded to the Cyningstan web site and to Itch, and the Github repo has also been updated. Hercules graphics cards were designed to use the original IBM 5151 monochrome monitor. IBM's Monochrome Display Adapter could output high quality 80x25 text at a screen resolution of 720x350, but it lacked the memory to allow high-resolution graphics. The Hercules card rectified this ... (read more...)

Team Droid Now Supports Hercules Graphics!


10 Jan: Hercules graphics support has now been added to Team Droid! The new version 1.01 will automatically detect a Hercules monochrome graphics card and output the graphics correctly if one is detected. Previously, anyone wanting to run Team Droid on a Hercules-equipped machine would have to run a CGA emulator like the SIMCGA or HGCIBM TSRs before loading the game, and take a performance hit as the TSR constantly reformatted the game's CGA graphics to a Hercules card. What's ... (read more...)

A CGALIB Update: Some New Utilities


26 Sep: There are some new additions to the CGALIB graphics library. The two major changes are a new bitmap editor and a new font editor, to replace the rudimentary bitmap and font makers originally supplied. The Bitmap Editor, called makebit.exe like its predecessor, is now a capable utility for editing tiles and sprites. It supports up to 24 bitmaps in a single file, each ranging in size from 4x2 pixels to 24x24. Bitmaps can be copied and pasted, flipped ... (read more...)

Barren Planet's First Expansion Released


12 Jul: Today an expansion to Barren Planet  has been released. Called  The Polar Expedition , the new Downloadable content takes the form of a new campaign for the game, containing new units and a change of scenery. Set in the icy polar regions of the planet Dapra,  The Polar Expedition tells the continuing story of the two interstellar mining corporations, Nuvutech and Avuscorp, who are battling over the resources of the planet. It forms a sequel to  First Landing ... (read more...)

Source Code Available for Team Droid


30 Apr: The source code for Team Droid  has been uploaded to  Github . If you're curious about how the game works, you can browse the source code at its  Github repository . If you want to tinker with the game mechanics or create your own variant, you're welcome to clone or fork the repository and have at it! The Github repository is at . The README file tells you how to build the project on your own system. ... (read more...)

Barren Planet is Released!


23 Apr: Today Cyningstan released Barren Planet , a turn-based strategy game for the IBM PC. Available for download from the Cyningstan web site and from Itch , the game is a battle over a mineral-rich mining planet between two profit-hungry interstellar corporations, each with its own private military. This latest game in Cyningstan's series of new games for old hardware is designed to run on the original IBM PC from 1981. It supports the original 4.77 MHz 8088 processor, ... (read more...)

Barren Planet: A Third Week of Beta Testing


16 Apr: Some issues have been found in beta version 2 of Barren Planet . These have been fixed, and a third beta test version released to the beta test team. Time will tell whether this is the last beta test version necessary. Beta version 2 introduced difficulty levels for the computer player. But this broke another feature: dedicated single-player campaigns, which allow one side or other to be designated as the computer player. Dedicated single-player campaigns are good for ... (read more...)

Barren Planet: First Week Beta Testing Progress


9 Apr: Thanks to the efforts of the beta test team, more progress has been made on making Barren Planet fit for release. Some bugs were identified, and some oversights. The AI managed to build a unit some distance from its Mining Base. This isn't supposed to happen, and uncovered two bugs. The first, that the wargame engine was letting the AI (and the player) break the rules. The second, that the AI was trying to break the rules. Both ... (read more...)

Barren Planet Enters Beta Testing


2 Apr: After two and a half years of development, Barren Planet has entered its beta test phase. The beta test team will be doing its best to pull the program apart, and find the game's weaknesses. Over the coming weeks, bugs will be found an fixed, and any game imbalances will be redressed. Also during the beta test period, we'll be preparing to upload the game to our own web site, and to popular game download platforms like Itch. ... (read more...)

Double Trouble: New DLC for Team Droid


22 Jan: The puzzle game Team Droid has its first downloadable content: a new level pack called  Double Trouble . Players who enjoyed the original  Jam Levels included in the game can now control the cute robots over another twelve levels of game play. The name comes from the fact that everything is doubled in this level pack. There are two data cards per level, and two card readers ready to receive them. And each level is designed to be ... (read more...)

KEYLIB: A Simple Keyboard Library


6 Sep: Another library used in the development of Team Droid has been released. The KEYLIB Keyboard Library is a simple C library for reading the keyboard in DOS. Now that it has had a thorough test as part of Team Droid , it is ready for release. The KEYLIB Keyboard Library allows you to read the keyboard in two different ways. Firstly, you can wait or poll of ASCII codes, like the built-in C library routines. Secondly, you can ... (read more...)

CGALIB Library Updated


5 Sep: In the wake of the release of Team Droid comes an update to the CGALIB Graphics Library . Some extra functionality was added to the library for Team Droid (and for Barren Planet ). The testing and release of Team Droid last month satisfies the testing requirements of the updated CGALIB Graphics Library . The improvements to the library comprise the scr_putpart() and bit_putpart() functions. These will take just part of a bitmap, and put it on the ... (read more...)

Team Droid: A New Game for DOS


31 Aug: Today sees the release of Team Droid , a new game for old computers running DOS. Also playable on new computers running DOSBox , this new puzzle game puts you in control of a team of cute little robots trying to clean up after a catastrophe at an automated facility. Developed in a month for the 2022 DOS Games August Jam on Itch , Team Droid features twelve levels of turn-based fun. On each level you have to ... (read more...)

A Burst of Speed: Barren Planet Progress in May


1 Jun: After a couple of months of slow progress or no progress, May was a refreshing change, with progress on a number of fronts in Barren Planet . Play-by-mail games are now fully implemented, leaving me to get on with a number of other aspects of the game. I've begun planning of the computer player. The easy way would just be to adopt the computer player from The World at Strife, and port it to Barren Planet. But that ... (read more...)

Barren Planet: April Progress


7 May: April was another slow month for progress on Barren Planet . But at least, last month, nothing went backwards! Most of the work was done around play-by-mail play, which has been giving me a great deal of trouble. I reimplemented the play-by-mail functionality to the extent that it almost worked. A game would be correctly generated (without crashing) when the first turn file was received by a remote player. Then the two  players could play through a whole ... (read more...)

Source Code Available for The Anarchic Kingdom


3 Apr: The source code for The Anarchic Kingdom  has been uploaded to Github . If you're curious about how the game works, you can browse the source code at its Github repository . If you want to tinker with the game mechanics or create your own variant, you're welcome to clone or fork the repository and have at it! The Github repository is at . The README file tells you how to build the project on your own ... (read more...)

A Slow Month for Barren Planet


2 Apr: Progress on Barren Planet was slow during March and nothing much was achieved. In fact, some aspects of development went backwards. I continued development on the play-by-mail functionality for a while, but it turns out there was a fundamental bug in the generation of turn files, resulting in random corruption of the game data. Since the OpenWatcom tools lack a debugger that works for DOS, I was unable to find where the actually was - it's really like ... (read more...)

Performance Improvements, Bug Fixes, Play-by-Mail


4 Mar: During February there has been progress in a variety of areas in Barren Planet . The New Game screen was taking a long time to appear, unacceptably long on slower machines. Every campaign and every game was being loaded in full to gather information about the campaigns and saved games available. This was unnecessary, and the New Game screen just checks the summary details of campaigns and games to make up its display. Some bugs were introduced and ... (read more...)

Barren Planet Hot-seat Functionality is Complete!


5 Feb: There's been a lot of progress on Barren Planet in recent weeks, so I thought I'd give you a February update. Although there are probably lots of bugs and oversights left to fix, the functionality for a 2-player hot-seat game is now complete. The turn report I mentioned in the last update was completed. Now, at the start of your turn, you will be offered a chance to see a replay of your opponent's turn, including all unit ... (read more...)

New Year Progress on Barren Planet


22 Jan: After taking a break from the project in December, I'm back at work on Barren Planet . The game is coming along well, although there are few changes that could be detected in a screenshot. A minor feature that took an inordinate amount of time is the brief animation you see when one unit attacks another. It took quite a bit of effort but you can now you can clearly see the results of the attack, including any ... (read more...)

Refactoring Barren Planet


3 Oct: I've been doing some more work on Barren Planet lately. Reviewing the code after an absence of a few months, and after the release of The Anarchic Kingdom , I came to the conclusion that it's more complicated than it needs to be. This has made bug tracking somewhat complicated. To remedy this, I'll be going through the code, simplifying it and tidying it up (as programmers call it, "refactoring") so that it more resembles the standard I set in ... (read more...)

Anarchy Reigns! A New Game Release


22 May: After three weeks of beta testing, The Anarchic Kingdom has been released! This is a light strategy game in which eight baronies fight for dominance of the kingdom during the minority of a child king. The baronies have twelve months to vie for supremacy, and the largest barony at the end of the game will gain the ear of the young king. The game supports one to eight players. Any of the eight baronies that are not controlled ... (read more...)

The Anarchic Kingdom in Third Week of Testing


15 May: The forthcoming game The Anarchic Kingdom is going into a third week of beta testing. Playtesting of beta versions 1 and 2 eventually exposed a dominant strategy that would allow a single human player to achieve regular runaway victories over the computer player. By just buying and attacking with the maximum number of knights, challenge was eliminated early in the game and the player could easily take half of all the land by the end. Two gameplay changes ... (read more...)

The Anarchic Kingdom Enters Second Week of Beta Testing


8 May: The forthcoming game The Anarchic Kingdom is entering its second week of beta testing. The first week of beta testing highlighted a few bugs, which have been fixed in the latest test version. Gameplay has shown that the game is reasonably well balanced. More practice with the game increases the player's skill to a point where it is usually possible to come out on top against the computer players, though not guaranteed. So a luck element still provides ... (read more...)

The Anarchic Kingdom: a New Game Coming Soon


1 May: A new game from Cyningstan is on the way! The Anarchic Kingdom is a quick and simple strategy game for DOS PCs, and has entered its beta test phase today. Time-limited test versions are being distributed to members of our Discord server, which everyone is welcome to join. The game has been written for the DOS Games Spring Jam 2021 , and it should be ready for release some time in May. The premise of the game is ... (read more...)

A Progress Update on Barren Planet


3 Apr: A while has passed since I made any visible progress on Barren Planet , so I thought I'd write a post to update everyone on what's happening with the project, and to assure you that it hasn't been forgotten. Barren Planet was naïvely intended to be a quick project for the 2020 Fall Dos Game Jam . It was based on a series of games I'd written before, which made me think that I'd easily get the project ... (read more...)

New Twitter Account!


19 Feb: This week saw the launch of a Twitter account for Cyningstan DOS Games. Intended to promote our DOS game developments to a wider audience, this account will be bringing these games to a wider audience. There are many people developing, playing and generally enjoying retrogames on Twitter, and the new account will make it easier to engage with them, to share news, receive feedback and maybe to help put our players in touch with one another. Go ... (read more...)

New Website for Cyningstan DOS Games


24 Jan: With two DOS games released in 2020 and a third in development for 2021, the time has come for a new web site dedicated to the DOS games of Damian Gareth Walker. This is the place to come for information and downloads about games already released, as well as some news of forthcoming games. Currently you can download the CGA Droids game as part of the CGALIB graphics library, and also the roguelike RPG Ossuary . There is ... (read more...)


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