6.02 - BBS DOORS
[6.02.01] - WHAT IS A BBS DOOR?
Loosely put, a door, as the name implies, is a gateway outside
the BBS software. Doors can be anything, games, database
applications, credit card registration systems, just about
anything. Most doors are run by the BBS itself or by a batch
file outside the BBS. The door program itself interfaces with
the communications and the modem, and takes over from the BBS
software after it unloads.
[6.02.02] - WHAT DOORS ARE AVAILABLE?
Doors are so numerous that this question is hard to answer. If
you have a purpose in mind, you can generally find a door to
Listed below, misc resources where doors can be downloaded.
From: firstname.lastname@example.org (David Kiesling)
Subject: BBS Utilities
Date: Sun, 24 Nov 1996 23:34:06 GMT
-----------SaltySoft BBS Utilities---------------------
Some for TriBBS, some compatible with many BBS
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I ACCEPT REQUESTS! Want some sort of BBS utility
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[6.02.03] - HOW DO I INSTALL A DOOR?
Say you just found the perfect game you want to add to your
BBS, but you're unsure on how to configure it. This is a
general set of steps to follow to configure most door programs
1. Install the program. Some programs are compressed, needing
uncompression programs such as PKUnzip, ARJ, etc. Others have
their own installation software, which may or may not
uncompress it. Others have a set of instructions in a file like
READ.ME, READTHIS.1ST, README.NOW, etc. Make sure to follow the
instructions as they are written, and try not to shortcut it
unless you know what you are doing.
2. Doors usually have a configuration program or file
containing various options. While most doors have options of
their own, here are a few setup options and guidelines that are
a. DROP FILE NAME/TYPE: This file is the file that the door
software gets most of its information from. From this file, the
door can get the user name, speed, location, and many more
items, some BBS dependant. In order for a door program to be
supported, your BBS usually must support a similar drop file
type. For instance, PCBoard, which supports it's own
PCBOARD.SYS file and a generic file called DOOR.SYS, could only
be used with door programs that can use one of these two files.
Here are some sample BBS packages and their drop files:
BBS Drop File(s)
PCBoard PCBOARD.SYS, DOOR.SYS
There are some shareware programs that will translate door drop
files into (probably) a format readable by your BBS. Check your
local BBS's for such converters. After you know what drop file
to use, configure the door to use it, as said in the docs.
NOTE: Some drop files, depending on the BBS system, may also
include the below configuration options, in which case you may
not have to configure for them.
b. COM PORT: The COM port the BBS is on. If you are running
more than two lines, you may have trouble with this DOOR
program unless it has controls over options b and c. This is
because after going past two lines, you cannot assign standard
COM port designations to each line. (See section on Multi-line
c. IRQ - This is the Interrupt the communications port is on.
If you are running one or two lines, you should select the
default choice, or leave this option out, unless your serial
board is oddly configured. For multi-line systems, you should
choose the IRQ of the port it's on. (See section on Multi-line
d. Base Address - This is the base address of the
communications port. As with IRQ, unless running a multi-line
system or an abnormal serial card, keep the defaults.
If the door does not have defaults, the standard values for
- COM1, COM3: IRQ - 4 Base Address - 3f8
- COM2, COM4: IRQ - 3 Base Address - 2f8
e. Other modem/hardware information - Some doors will ask for
various other information, such as whether to use hardware or
software handshaking. Most of this should be set the same as
the BBS is. If you are unsure, check the documentation.
f. A note about VBRUN: Some doors that are written in basic
need a utility called VBRUN in order to execute. This utility
is BASIC's runtime module, and is usually not included in the
door package. If, during testing, the door wants the location
of a runtime module, this is what you need to look for. Most
BBS's should have a copy, or know where to find one.
After these are configured, various items about the door
itself must be configured. For a game, it may be the number of
turns per day, for a credit card system what types of cards are
supported, etc. Configure these as you wish.
3. Test the door in local mode, if it is has such an option.
Most doors have a command line switch, or some other way of
runing the door in 'local' mode. Local mode allows you to use
the door without a modem/serial line attached, and is usually
good for testing. The purpose of testing ahead of time before
adding it to the BBS is to make sure the the door itself is
properly configured. Testing in local mode will pick up errors
such as bad/missing filenames, improper configuration files,
4. Install on the BBS itself - In all cases, check the
documentation of the BBS software you have selected for proper
configuration. Most BBS's do it one of two ways:
(1) The door is run by the BBS itself. In this case, you need
to configure the BBS software, which will usually have a set of
configuration options relating to doors. When it asks you for
the path to execute the door, input the path of the
executable/batch file for the door. NOTE: Doors run on BBS's of
this type may have problems with memory usage. For this reason,
some BBS's have a special option to let you 'minimize' the
memory usage. If you're experiencing memory problems, use this
(2) The door is run outside the BBS in another batch file. In
this case, an sample external batch is usually included with
the BBS package. Most of these look similar to this:
RunBBS ; Run the BBS program
if errorlevel 50 goto DOOR_A
if errorlevel 40 goto DOOR_B
if errorlevel 30 goto DOOR_C
if errorlevel 20 goto end ; test for each
tw2002 ; Run Trade Wars, a game
goto cycle ; go back to the bbs
goto cycle ; vote and return
goto cycle ; get a credit card, return
:end ; end it off.
In this manner, when the BBS exits, depending on the DOS
errorlevel the batch file will execute a myriad of different
programs. Some BBS's have preset errorlevels, and such BBS
packages, like SpitFire, should have sample batch files with
these presets. Others have configuration options to let you
change the errorlevels, in which case you might have to create
your own, personal batch file. The above should work for most
BBS's of the batch file type. If you change this, remember that
the 'if errorlevel' calls MUST be in descending order, because
of the nature of the call.
After the door itself is configured, you may have to add a menu
entry or some other way of accessing it. Make sure, if sure BBS
is up and running at the time, with non-sysop callers calling
in, that the menu entry is set at sysop security level to
prevent others from trying a potentially faulty door.
5. Test it online - This is a MUST. If you have another line,
call into your BBS and test the door online, or have a friend
do it if you don't have another line/modem to spare. If the
door fails to operate, try tweaking the settings some, making
sure that it has the same hardware/software setup as the BBS.
If all goes well, you're ready to open it to the public. You
can now change that sysop-only menu entry to a normal one.
6. Open it to the public - Now it's ready to be released into
the wide world of BBS doors.
After following these guidelines, you should be able to install
and configure most door softwares.
[6.02.04] - NOTES USING DOORWAY
DOORWAY is a program that lets you run normal DOS programs that
do not support comm routines, as doors. There is an inherent
problem in this, though, because DOS programs are very finicky.
Several DOS programs use direct screen writes, and, while
DOORWAY supports these, can be very tricky. Graphics programs,
obviously, are not supported. Another problem with common DOS
programs is security. If the program offers anything like a
shell to dos or a command running option, you probably don't
want to offer it, unless you trust the people using it, or you
found a way around. To install DOORWAY, use the above
instructions, but when it comes to running the executable, run
DOORWAY with its command line instead. If in need, most BBSs
will carry a copy of DOORWAY, usually as DRWY____.ZIP or
[6.02.05] - NOTES USING MULTI-LINE SYSTEMS
1. Multi-node systems, systems that use Windows, or DesqView,
or OS/2, etc., should be aware that not all door programs were
meant to be running at the same time. For instance, the old
version of Trade Wars, a popular BBS game, could not have more
than one node running it at one time. This is because of
various restrictions that DOS, and the door program itself, put
on file sharing. The door program will usually say in the
documentation whether it supports Multi-node systems. If it
does, follow the above configuration. If your BBS system does
not share its configuration files, you must configure it for
each node, or some nodes will be missing it.
2. Internal Multitaskers. These BBSs, such as The Major BBS,
TBBS, Falken and more, do their multitasking internally,
instead of with something like DesqView or Windows. Such
BBS's may have an interface to use normal doors, but most
require you to use only option modules meant for their BBS,
since they didn't build it to multitask all kinds of
programs. Use your manual to install such software, since it
varies system to system.
[6.1.06] - HOW DO I ADD ONLINE GAMES?
There's a large population of computer users who use their
modem to play interactive/real-time games online. Sysops who
want to offer online games to their users have a huge list of
games to pick from.
I can't begin to count the amount of posts I've seen in the
Alt.bbs newsgroups titled: "How do I add Doom to my BBS" or
"What online games can I add to my BBS?."
Suggestions to sysops: log on to other BBSes/online services,
search their file libraries for online games. Several BBSes
and FTP sites archive BBS utilites.
Once you pick a game(s) - before installation, first make sure
it meets the requirements to be compatible with the BBS
software you're running.