Aeon Emulator Blog

December 12, 2009

Master of Magic

Filed under: Aeon, Fun & Games — Greg Divis @ 10:00 am

It’s been a while since I’ve posted about a specific game, and I’ve had this post written for quite a while so this seems like a good time for it. I’ve always been terrible at strategy games, but for some reason I’ve also always had a soft spot for them. The first turn-based strategy game I really got into was Master of Orion II – which came bundled with Master of Magic when I bought it back in 1996.

Title Screen

Master of Magic had a lot going for it – cool premise of conquering a randomly-generated fantasy realm, nice graphics, fairly intuitive control (for the time). The game also had its share of flaws – the AI opponents could show some odd behavior, and on a technical side, the game ran pretty slow. That being said, it’s still fun to play for a while, and I kind of like being able to mash that giant “Next Turn” button on my tablet PC.

Think I cheated a little?

Technically, the game is also pretty interesting. Despite its expansive, colorful look, it’s a regular 16-bit real-mode DOS program. It does, however, make extensive use of Expanded Memory, and so far it’s the only program I’ve run in Aeon that created multiple named expanded memory handles. If you aren’t familiar with expanded memory, basically a program would ask the memory manager for a handle, then allocate chunks of memory using that handle – the memory could then be mapped into real-mode conventional memory 16k at a time. Mainly for diagnostic purposes, a handle could be assigned a name. Master of Magic not only created a named handle, it created 22 of them.


You can tell from this that they kind of divided up what they were storing in expanded memory using different handles. I’m not sure what the deal is with the “YO MOMA” handle, but I at least got a chuckle out of that when I first saw it. I’m sure the programmers didn’t expect anyone to see that, but being a developer myself I have an appreciation for that kind of thing :)

If you’re looking to play Master of Magic, it works fine in Aeon and DOSBox (though in either case I recommend turning the sound effects off, or your tactical battles will take forever). If you’re looking for a sequel or a more modern version of this game, you’re mostly out of luck, at least until Elemental: War of Magic is released.

This is what I get for publishing an old post like this. The setup program for Master of Magic has been broken for a few versions, and I never noticed this since it wasn’t part of my normal testing. It should be working again in 0.52. For reference, here’s the settings I used to run the game:

Music: General Midi (port 330)
Sound: No sound



  1. I can’t get it to run in Aeon .51 :| running MAGIC.EXE achieves nothing (no error either) and running INSTALL.EXE crashes Aeon…

    Comment by Bruno A — December 12, 2009 @ 1:58 pm

    • Thanks for letting me know about this! I’ve updated the blog post.

      Comment by Greg — December 13, 2009 @ 4:34 pm

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