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How can I play the GTA Max Pack Multiplayer? (SOLVED)


ThermalMoon

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So I was bored and sitting there watching some old GTA 1 and London MP footage from 2008 or so and I asked myself, "I wonder if there is a way to play with others on the Max Pack version?" I didn't think it would work, so I booted up the Max Pack and went to options to run setup for GTA 1. I went to configure network game and choose Serial Link, I put 1 and ran GTA 1. And to my surprise, the main menu was different this time.

I previously played with just "Play" and "Options", now I had "Gather Network" and "Join Network", so I assume that multiplayer is possible but my question is HOW do you play multiplayer on the Max Pack? Does anyone know how to do it? Or am I going to find the answer by experimenting for a while?

Edited by ThermalMoon
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On 2/18/2021 at 6:26 AM, ThermalMoon said:

So I was bored and sitting there watching some old GTA 1 and London MP footage from 2008 or so and I asked myself, "I wonder if there is a way to play with others on the Max Pack version?" I didn't think it would work, so I booted up the Max Pack and went to options to run setup for GTA 1. I went to configure network game and choose Serial Link, I put 1 and ran GTA 1. And to my surprise, the main menu was different this time.

I previously played with just "Play" and "Options", now I had "Gather Network" and "Join Network", so I assume that multiplayer is possible but my question is HOW do you play multiplayer on the Max Pack? Does anyone know how to do it? Or am I going to find the answer by experimenting for a while?

GTA Max Pack runs in Dosbox, which is a DOS emulator. GTA 1 supported four communication methods:

 

* Serial Link - this used a serial port, which was found on old PCs. DOS (I think) came with support for this.

* Modem - Using a modem with a phone line jack, you would connect your PC to another PC. One player would dial the other PC.

 

If players had a network card, the following protocols were supported:

* IPX/SPX - a now-outdated protocol common in the DOS and Windows 9x days

* TCP/IP - Used today to connect to the Internet (Windows version only)

 

Serial and modem support two players only. IPX/SPX and TCP/IP support two to four players.

 

DOS didn't come with support for a network card out of the box. In order to play multiplayer in this way, you would have to install drivers for the network card, and also install IPX/SPX. This is also true for Dosbox. It is possible, but it's not easy. Serial cable support is possibly supported in Dosbox. If you have a serial port or a USB-to-serial device you may be able to use this method. The DOS network type (serial, modem, IPX/SPX) is configured in K.exe, where you also configure the sound card and controls. Once you start the game, if the network type is successfully detected, the option Gather Game and Join Game will appear. The Windows version is different. These options always appear, and you have the choice of all four methods to connect with when you gather (create) or join a game.

 

The easiest way by far to play GTA 1 multiplayer is to connect two older PCs (XP or older) with a serial cable or a cross cable. If you use a cross cable, give each PC a static IP address in Network Settings (manually enter settings). Launch the Windows version on both PCs. On one PC choose Gather game. On the other choose Join game. Then choose either serial or TCP/IP. Enter the COM port the serial port uses if you chose that method. If you chose TCP/IP, enter the IP address of the other PC. Then you'll be able to play. It's worth noting that the messaging function (F1-F4) only works properly in the DOS version. I successfully played a multiplayer game last year in GTA: London 1961 using this method (I used TCP/IP). TCP/IP can also be used to play over the Internet, though these days both routers would need the relevant incoming and outgoing ports opened in the firewall.

Edited by jm-9
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27 minutes ago, jm-9 said:

you would have to install drivers for the network card, and also install the protocol of choice.

What about programs like LogMeIn Hamachi? It's almost like Lan, but you connect to one another using IP addresses made specifically for Hamachi. Would that be alright to use? If the multiplayer feature is there, then the answer is that multiplayer is supported. It would probably be Lan and not necessarily online, but programs like Hamachi can create a peer to peer connection through a program. I'm probably not the best person to explain Hamachi, since it looks like I'm just spouting gibberish but you get my point.

Also, any way to mark your answer as "best answer"? That might be important to those who want to play multiplayer in the future of this forum.

Edited by ThermalMoon
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On 2/19/2021 at 3:01 AM, ThermalMoon said:

What about programs like LogMeIn Hamachi? It's almost like Lan, but you connect to one another using IP addresses made specifically for Hamachi. Would that be alright to use? If the multiplayer feature is there, then the answer is that multiplayer is supported. It would probably be Lan and not necessarily online, but programs like Hamachi can create a peer to peer connection through a program. I'm probably not the best person to explain Hamachi, since it looks like I'm just spouting gibberish but you get my point.

Also, any way to mark your answer as "best answer"? That might be important to those who want to play multiplayer in the future of this forum.

No, that wouldn't make a difference. Whether LAN or over the Internet, you would still have to install the network card drivers and the protocol. Modern PCs use TCP/IP to connect to a LAN. Back in the 90s, IPX/SPX was also a commonly used protocol, but TCP/IP took over in the early 2000s. Unfortunately it can be difficult to get network cards to work in DOS. Even with the manufacturer's DOS drivers, I was unable to get DOS 7.1 (which Windows 98 runs on) to find my PCI network card. By contrast, Windows 98 found it, installed it and had everything ready to go without any input from me. It also had the TCP/IP protocol installed by default. Even as far back as Windows 3.1, it's always been far easier to get networking working in Windows than it is in DOS. That's why it's usually recommended to play multiplayer using the Windows version, even with the broken messaging function.

 

It even still works on today's PCs, well, some of them anyway. I, like many others, have a really slow frame rate and bad colours on half the screen in 16-bit colour, and a blank screen in 32-bit colour; however, I have heard also that many people have no problems playing GTA 1 on a modern PC, once they switch to 32-bit colour and at least 640x480 resolution (press F11 in-game to change these settings).

 

Despite my issues, I was able to connect my Windows 10 laptop to my Windows 98 Second Edition desktop with an ethernet cable. After I assigned static IP addresses to both network cards, I set London 1961 on Windows 98 to Gather Game, while I joined the game in Windows 10 (Windows 98 has way less security, so using that as the host was the preferable option). While initially I had no success, after I quit the game in Windows 10, I was asked if I wanted to open firewall ports for GTA 1. After saying yes, I tried again, and this time I was successfully able to connect and join the game on the Window 98 PC. I still got a blank screen in Windows 10, but the connection held, and I was able to explore the unique London 1961 multiplayer map based on Manchester. I'd love to play a proper multiplayer game sometime.

 

Edit: I have since been able to get IPX/SPX networking working in DOS. My problem was that the PnP Operating System option in my BIOS was set to Yes, preventing it from configuring PCI devices (such as my network card) properly. Once I set it to No it worked fine. After this, what you have to do is:

 

1. Find a packet driver for your card online and copy it to a folder. In DOS,

2. Download an IPX driver for your network card and copy it to a folder.

3. Download the file lsl.com and copy it to a folder.

4. Download the file ipxodi.com and copy it to a folder.

 

To enable IPX/SPX, you have to:

 

1. Initialise your network card using the packet driver using the exe or com file in the packet driver's folder.

2. Run lsl.com

3. Enable the network card's IPX/SPX driver by using the exe or com file in the IPX driver's folder.

4. Run ipxodi.com.

 

Now you can play GTA 1 online. I say GTA 1 because both London games always crashed for me with IPX/SPX enabled, and looking online others have had the same problem.

 

Note that this does not apply to running the game in a DOS window in Windows. All you have to do here is to go into Network in Control Panel and ensure that the IPX/SPX protocol is installed. Then you can play the DOS version over a network. Interestingly, the London games played fine for me this way over IPX/SPX.

 

For Dosbox, use this method to play a multiplayer game over IPX/SPX:

 

https://www.dosbox.com/wiki/Connectivity

Edited by jm-9
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  • 2 months later...
ThermalMoon
Posted (edited)

Update to what would have been a dead topic with no answers, but after a bit of testing and simple coding I got the Max Pack multiplayer to work. Now before I lay down the steps, which aren't too complicated, I haven't tested EVERYTHING. Low color, high color, and 3DFX on all 3 first gen GTA games have not been tested. So I don't know if it works well or if its buggy as hell, but If you do find any weird oddities I would be glad to hear them. I can't say I would know how to fix them, but I could try.

Okay, before I really get technical, we need to go over a few things you will need;

-Toshiba-3's GTA Max Pack: This one is obvious, but you will need a CLEAN and NEW copy of the Max Pack. If you have played through the entire campaign on all 3 games, unfortunately all that saved data will have to be deleted. The good news is that once the multiplayer is setup you won't have to delete your progress again. But it's understandable for those who may be hesitating and feel that their hard work may be gone. I'm sure no one wants to do London 1961 again. But as of now, there is no other way to keep your old saved progress. 

-Download WinPcap for Windows 10 Free (2021) (autotechint.com) (optional?) I'm honestly not sure if this is necessary or not for making the [serial] portion of the multiplayer work, more on that [serial] later, but it may help. You might have to test it yourself and tell me if it contributes anything at all. For those worried, it is easy to uninstall this program and as far as I've "used" it, it hasn't affected my PC in any negative way. But do let me know as well.

-3rd party LAN program: I cannot link you to a 3rd party website, as I value my account on the GTAForums and wish not to be obliterated by the mods. You can just do a google search for program called "Hamachi" or something similar. But if the mods are cool with it, maybe I'll add the link to the website. Oh and one more thing, to make a some sort of gateway for LAN, assuming you're using Hamachi, then this might be useful too; 


Now that we got the tools ready, we can now get to the actual setup. This part shouldn't be complicated and I'll try to phrase it as user friendly as I can, and if all setup correctly, you should be able to relive to those old GTA 1 and London memories or make new ones. One thing I haven't mentioned so far is how the Max Pack is just a glorified DOSBOX. I took a peak into the coding and compared the Max Pack's coding to the DOSBOX one and they were fairly similar, the Max Pack version being shorter and "easier" to understand. So I'm going to split this into [serial] and [ipx] as to not mix them up together and stumble onto one another. For those curious, [Serial] is LAN and only supports up to 2 players. IPX is over the internet and is up to 4 players.

Oh and heads up, I'm going to have faith that you placed the Max Pack into a folder and didn't just leave everything in the "downloads" or just didn't bother to unzip it.

 

[serial]

1. To start, open up the Max Pack folder and there should be a file called "Dosbox.conf". You're going to right click and head to "open with" and select notepad. (this step applies for IPX too).

2. Now that you have changed the file into a notepad document, you're gonna double click and open it.

 

3. The contents inside may look scary to someone who has never coded before, but don't worry just ignore that. You're gonna wanna scroll down look for the space between [joystick] and [dos]. Now make a double space around that.

4. In the middle of that double space you're going to write the following (or copy and paste);

 

[Serial]
serial1=dummy
serial2=dummy
serial3=disabled
serial4=disabled
 

4.5. Serial is just LAN, so it has 4 ports and has many options to use. Dummy, disabled, modem, nullmodem, and directserial. The one we are going to use is Nullmodem to make serial work. You can test the others if you feel like doing it. (More about this in a later post).

5. Now on "serial1=dummy", you are going to change "dummy" and swap it with "nullmodem". It should look like this; 

[Serial]
serial1=nullmodem
serial2=dummy
serial3=disabled
serial4=disabled


And that's it, you are done setting up serial... sort of. So how do you actually pull off multiplayer? Let's start with host.

For host setting you're gonna need to add this to the code in [serial];
 

[Serial]
serial1=nullmodem port=12345
serial2=dummy
serial3=disabled
serial4=disabled

What I used was an example number, but you may change it to what you please. After that, boot the Max Pack and go into the settings of GTA 1 or the London games and set your "network" as "serial". Then play the game on whichever game mode you wish. High color, low color, 3DFX, whatever. But make sure the client, which I will get to in a bit, also chooses that same version. Both players cannot play incompatible versions. Example, one of you can't play on 3DFX while the other plays on High color mode. So it won't work.

Once you're in the main menu of your desired GTA game, choose "gather network", select your character, pick the game mode and score, and then just wait for the client to join.

Now that I've explained the host settings, how does the client join? That process is also easy, it's just like the host settings, but with extra numbers. If the notepad is still up, you're gonna want to go back into serial and edit this in for client;

[Serial]
serial1=nullmodem server:(ipv4 address) port=12345
serial2=dummy
serial3=disabled
serial4=disabled
 

And that's all there is to it. Just select the GTA game with the same color mode or 3DFX, then head to "join network" and select your character. And assuming all the above worked correctly and you're using a 3rd party LAN software, you can now play TDM or race against your buddy.

 

[IPX]

IPX is less complicated than Serial, but still requires some port forwarding and a bit coding. Nothing complicated. So here's how you're gonna set IPX. Oh and more thing before we get started, you will need to remove DOS4GW from the "GTADOS" folder inside the Max Pack, don't throw it the trash just keep it. It makes the IPX network in London 1969 and London 1961 unplayable and you won't get very far past the Rockstar intro screen. You can fix this by choosing the "serial" network or no network and the campaign plays fine, but no IPX multiplayer. Anyways, back to the steps.

1. To start, open up the Max Pack folder and there should be a file called "Dosbox.conf". You're going to right click and head to "open with" and select notepad. (this step applies for IPX too).

2. Now that you have changed the file into a notepad document, you're gonna double click and open it.

3.Scroll down to till you reach the line between [dos] and [autoexec]. Double space on that middle line.

 

4. In the middle of the line write the following;

[ipx]
ipx=true

 

And that's it... Except not really. Just like in serial, I'm sure you're asking how to host or join. The steps are pretty simple for that question.

For host, head to [autoexec] and write below "c:" the following;

IPXNET STARTSERVER 12345

The number above are the port number, you can always change this in the notepad. But anyways, just boot up the GTA game, pick the color mode or 3DFX. Choose "gather network", your character, game mode and points. Then all you have to do is wait for all the players to join to being the game.

As for client, the same steps above apply. Albeit with a bit more numbers. Just head to [autoexec] and right where "c:" is, you're going to write this below it;

IPXNET CONNECT (ipv4 address) 12345

And that should be it, now you can boot up the Max Pack and choose the GTA game of your choosing. Select "join network", choose your character, and you're ready to play with the gang. Do keep in mind, before even hosting or joining you must port forward in order to work, YouTube should help you there or you could use a 3rd party LAN software for an easier connection.

 


Hope this helped and feel free to reach out to me if you need help setting up. But I think with all the steps above, you should be able to play a classic game of GTA 1 or the London expansions or even make new memories.

Edited by ThermalMoon
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ThermalMoon
Posted (edited)

For those curious about Serial, here are the notes copied from the actual Dosbox.

[serial]
# serial1: set type of device connected to com port.
#          Can be disabled, dummy, modem, nullmodem, directserial.
#          Additional parameters must be in the same line in the form of
#          parameter:value. Parameter for all types is irq (optional).
#          for directserial: realport (required), rxdelay (optional).
#                           (realport:COM1 realport:ttyS0).
#          for modem: listenport (optional).
#          for nullmodem: server, rxdelay, txdelay, telnet, usedtr,
#                         transparent, port, inhsocket (all optional).
#          Example: serial1=modem listenport:5000
#          Possible values: dummy, disabled, modem, nullmodem, directserial.
# serial2: see serial1
#          Possible values: dummy, disabled, modem, nullmodem, directserial.
# serial3: see serial1
#          Possible values: dummy, disabled, modem, nullmodem, directserial.
# serial4: see serial1
#          Possible values: dummy, disabled, modem, nullmodem, directserial.

 

Looks complicated, I know. That's why I'm going to go over the different modes and what each can do to the best of my understanding, hope this helps a bit.

Nullmodem: A Null modem is type of LAN device used in Dosbox, it's the most frequent and "easiest" way to get a 2 player game going. I've already explained, although simplified, how to get a multiplayer game running on the Max Pack. But as for the actual Dosbox, the process is less tedious, but some of the steps apply. Back on track, it should really be only used to get a Wi-Fi LAN game going, as it's almost impractical if you were to try use it on an actual PC to PC connection.

Modem: Just like the Null modem, it's a LAN device used in Dosbox. Albeit more complicated. Modem uses the same steps as null modem, but requires the usage of a phone to properly get it working. I have not gotten a GTA game to work on this, but this doesn't mean it's impossible. Just like null modem, both player must write the same "listenport" number to play and try to dial in game in order to connect. I'm not gonna try to get results testing this out, but if you feel ambitious then you can test it yourself. I'm not about to waste another few weeks trying to figure it out. (This section may be edited later if the facts do match the statistics).

Directserial: Literally Null modem, but it's requires an actual PC to PC LAN cable connection to work. So Hamachi or your 3rd party program (probably) won't work with this. I have not tested this out myself, but maybe you can get results if you and your friend have a weird taste for 2D topdown GTA 1 and the London games.

Dummy: Being honest, the dummy doesn't serve much purpose and might as well be disabled. It can act as an available connection... With no one. I honestly don't know what else I can expand upon this.

Disabled: This is self explanatory, but if I must explain it. This option won't work if you and a friend try to play on this setting, that's it.

Edited by ThermalMoon
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