There are many old games which had solid LAN gaming systems (like Red Alert 2) and were fun to play with friends. But now that we have internet would it be possible to setup any kind of virtual LAN to play those games online with friends?
You need a virtual private network (VPN) for this. It will trick your games into thinking you and your friends are all on the same network.
Although it looks like it was bought out recently, it still appears to be free; Hamachi does exactly this. Everyone logs into Hamachi and it creates a new network adapter that acts as a private network. Games as old as Warcraft 1 work with this system.
Yes, it is completely possible.
As a matter of fact, there are several different kinds of software that already exist that do this. Though I know several more exist here is a list of the ones I am aware of:
I am only familiar with older versions of Hamachi as I have not used it often since the software was acquired by LogMeIn.
Because there are so many solutions, I recommend that you start with those I have mentioned as well as looking for others and see if you can find the one you would prefer. At one point there were several websites dedicated to just showing these networks and what games were being played on them. I dont have any information on those sites anymore but I am sure there are others here who might have some knowledge.
As a side note, I have heard of issue where some older games would not work with this kind of software though I would hope others have found ways to fix this now.
I had the same problem as you and searched the internet for days to find out how i could play Lan on my old Command and Conquer games.
Be sure to get any software that can link you and your friend to a same network.(I use Hamachi)
Next chek for your game (Ex: Red Alert 2 /Tiberian sun) If you can use an IPX converter because those game use XX.XX.XX.XX format not the current XXX.XXX.XXX.XXX. You can find an easy freeware to download and put in your game files that does this without having to change something. (I use one but i don't remember where i downloaded it. )
Also your old game could not be up to date to play Lan such like RA2 or TS on windows 7/Vista Look for a patch.
Then you should be able to see you friend in Lan mode in your game's lobby.
Extra tip: If you play those CnC old games and you can see anyone in the Internet mode's Lobby You need to go to XWIS Website ( xwis.net ) Create an account then go to your game nickname page, add a custom nickname for the specified game. Your password for online login should be on the same page. Use the password and your nickname to connect to XWIS server and play internet mode.
For Red Alert 2, any LAN emulator like Hamachi will work, because RA2/YR supports the usage of non-IPX systems.
Get this .dll, copy it in your game directory (where the executables of RA2/YR are) and then you will be able to play the game via TCP.
There are multiple programs to make 'direct connections', but for public gaming (with a list of online servers/rooms, to play not only with known friends), since Tunngle and Evolve have closed, currently only pLan (.. OpenVpn) and gameRanger are the options.
While GameRanger currently has disadvantages like games autostarting and -closing, rooms auto-locking, amount of players being limited to one ingame-server, and strict game selection, pLan needs players a lot, please join us to play together.