PhiLiZound Software
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Page updated: 8-Jun-2019

Dance of the Planets font patch

This comprises two patches for the ARC Science Dance of the Planets astronomy simulator (DOP).

One patch fixes the screen corruption problem on some PCs, and the other changes the zero '0' character for one which is less confusing with the letter 'O'. See screenshots below.

You can apply either or both patches.

Font address patch

DOP is a DOS-based program dating back to the 90's, but is still one of the best simulators around. It will run in a command window under Windows (XP & 7 work ok), but some 'modern' PCs use a non-standard location for the font table, so when DOP tries to display certain characters such as the numbers 1 to 9 and a few punctuation symbols, you'll see corrupted or scrambled characters on the screen. See screenshots below.

One solution is to run DOP under an emulator such as DOSBox, but you can fix the problem at source by using this patch program to change the font table address used by DOP.

The actual address of the font table is BIOS-dependent, so a few different addresses are built-in to the patcher for convenience. There's no harm trying them all until you find one which works; you'll just see more or less corruption in the date & time area. If you find none of them work, either contact me, or find the address manually using tools such as FindFont and tell the patcher to use that instead. Let me know if you want me to add your address to the built-in ones.

Note that DOSBox appears to use the standard location for the font table so if you try running a patched DOP within DOSBox, you may see similar corruption, in which case, just remove the patch.

Zero patch

The 'zero' patch adds a diagonal line to the shape for number '0' so it doesn't get confused with the letter 'O'. The screenshot shows the date & time and year '2011' before & after this patch. Unlike the font address patch, this one works with or without DOSBox.

Date/time and Menu before any patches...

Screenshot - date before patch       Screenshot - menu before patch

After 'font address' patch...

Screenshot - date after patch       Screenshot - menu after patch

After 'zero' patch...

Screenshot - date after zero patch

Minimum system requirements

Windows 98SE and later, tested on Windows XP & Windows 7.
Although the patcher only runs in a command window, once it's patched, the Dance program can be run in either Windows or DOS.

Downloads

DOPFonts V4.02  8-Jun-2019 - all programs are held on the pCloud.com storage site. If there are problems downloading, check your computer's access or contact me via email address at bottom of this page.
V4.00 adds an option to specify your own font table address; you can find these addresses yourself using tools such as FindFont.
V4.02 handles the May variant of Dance 2.71 QED (thanks to Rick L for reporting).

The program is free, but if you pass it on, please keep the package intact.

Installing

There is no 'installation' - the downloadable file is the main executable you run, so download & save it to the folder containing your Dance.exe file, e.g. C:\Dance
There are several options when running the patcher so nothing will happen if you just double-click it - it needs to be run from a command window. Starting one of these varies according to your version of Windows; some examples are:-
  • click Start, Programs, Accessories, Command prompt
  • click Start, Run, then type  cmd  then press Enter
  • click Start, Run, then type  command  then press Enter
  • click Start, type  cmd  in the search box then press Enter (Windows 7)
In the command window, navigate to the folder containing the Dance.exe file, e.g.
c:
cd \Dance

Run the patcher by typing:
dopfonts

This will display various options for appling/removing patches.  For more information, type:
dopfonts /m

Contact me if you have any problems.

Uninstalling

Just delete the executable file you downloaded.

Phil Tipping, 2019