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 Post subject: Ready to Play!
PostPosted: Fri Jun 01, 2007 1:27 pm 
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Joined: Fri Apr 13, 2007 7:33 pm
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Location: danville, nh
I have everything installed and -- apparently -- working. Already I'm discovering that I know less than I hoped.

I downloaded all the images posted here hoping to leverage the testing and patching of others. I figured that I could extract the working games and use them to create a new image. When I try to browse the images using APE, though, these ATR files have no directory. Are they different? Is it possible to extract the files? Is there a list of files that do not have to be altered?

Using MakeMenu, there is a Register ROM Patch option. What does this do?


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 Post subject: Re: Ready to Play!
PostPosted: Sat Jun 02, 2007 1:23 pm 
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WizWor wrote:
When I try to browse the images using APE, though, these ATR files have no directory. Are they different? Is it possible to extract the files? Is there a list of files that do not have to be altered?


Those are probably full-disk games, they would need to be added as whole ATR files. If you can find an EXE version of the same game its better to use that.

Quote:
Using MakeMenu, there is a Register ROM Patch option. What does this do?


I believe this was to add in additional rom patches from an external file. I don't think I ever asked Eric about it and don't recall ever using it myself.

Steve


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 Post subject: Re: Ready to Play!
PostPosted: Sat Jun 02, 2007 1:51 pm 
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Location: danville, nh
classics wrote:
WizWor wrote:
When I try to browse the images using APE, though, these ATR files have no directory. Are they different? Is it possible to extract the files? Is there a list of files that do not have to be altered?


Those are probably full-disk games, they would need to be added as whole ATR files. If you can find an EXE version of the same game its better to use that.


No, this is the case for any image posted in the 8Mbit Flash Cartridge Images forum.

BTW, *everything* you sent me exceeded expectations. Thank you very much! I'd like to see an archive of maxflash ready games. If there isn't room for such an archive here, I'd be happy to host one.


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 Post subject: Re: Ready to Play!
PostPosted: Sat Jun 02, 2007 10:55 pm 
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WizWor wrote:
No, this is the case for any image posted in the 8Mbit Flash Cartridge Images forum.


Ah ok, I misunderstood your question.

The flash cartridge images don't have DOS or a normal directory structure, so you can't extract the individual files from them. At least I never wrote any tools to un-pack a packed flash image.

WizWor wrote:
BTW, *everything* you sent me exceeded expectations. Thank you very much! I'd like to see an archive of maxflash ready games. If there isn't room for such an archive here, I'd be happy to host one.


Sounds like a good idea. I think the hardest part would be going through every EXE/COM and testing them to see what it takes to load them.

Steve


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 Post subject: Re: Ready to Play!
PostPosted: Sat Jun 02, 2007 11:30 pm 
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classics wrote:
I think the hardest part would be going through every EXE/COM and testing them to see what it takes to load them.

Steve

Except that the people who are posting images have the working files. If the posted archives included a second atr -- an atr of the source exe/com files -- we could start to accumulate a library.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sun Jun 03, 2007 12:50 pm 
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I'm using makemenu to create a cart. I wish this had documentation. It looks like I can make most programs work by toggling OSB, but I'm not sure what to do with warm start vs cold start, for instance.

The rightmost column contains green checks or an exclamation point in a yellow triangle. Yellow triangle indicates a possible write to Port B (clearly written to the status bar when the file is highlighted). Some of these work fine. I wonder if I will encounter a problem during play.

If my built cart runs on atari800winplus, should i expect it to run once i burn the cart?


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sun Jun 03, 2007 10:42 pm 
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If the game starts you are probably OK, as most games write to portb during initialization.

For the most part, if you can start the image in the emulator it should work. There are a few Atari quirks that do not show up in the emulator though, so its still possible there will be some difference.

Steve


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 Post subject: Just finished burning my first cart...
PostPosted: Mon Jun 04, 2007 3:43 pm 
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Location: danville, nh
It took longer than I expected, but I've made a cart. The assembly of the list was difficult (16m cart, anyone?), and I had to try several versions of some games before I got one that loaded in the emulator. Some of my games play fine despite suspect port b calls. Others crashed despite a green check.

It wasn't immediately obvious to me that the 'flash programming disk image' was the image I created. LOL. I spent a little time looking for a maxflash atr in my installation folders and on the web site before mounting my newly created atr. Self-inflicted wound. I did have to insert the cart into my XEGS after the maxflash image was loaded. It took a couple tries before I could do this without crashing the machine.

I used MakeMenu to compile the cart. This was a breeze. Great job, Eric.

Of the 43 games that worked in the emulator, only three do not work off the cart. One of these (choplifter), did not work on the cart you (steve) made for me. Joust doesn't complete the load. Blue Max worked through setup, but crashed as I moved down the runway.

If anyone has patched/working versions of these, please share ;)

Now, I have some questions...

1) the cart is 8m and my image is 1m. What is the rest of the space used for?

2) is there any DISadvantage to using MakeMenu?

3) Lots of the games are slow to initialize and show corrupt graphics during the load, what is going on here?

4) The carts are rated for 100k flash/erase cycles. I see people posting about putting state information on the flash. Will this significantly reduce the life of the cart (ie., would each high score save constitute a flash/erase cycle?

5) If not, has anyone managed to run Seven Cities of Gold off a cart?

If anyone is interested, I can post the files. To me, it makes sense to post the files along with the ATR. None of the files have been patched, but for some there were other versions of the same game that would not work. The file size is 2.5m...

bank | offset | type | os | name
-----+--------+------+----+---------------------------------------
0 | 0x0000 | Cart | B | Demon Attack
1 | 0x0000 | Disk | XL | Blue Max
4 | 0x0000 | Disk | XL | H.E.R.O.
12 | 0x0000 | Disk | XL | Lode Runner
24 | 0x0000 | Disk | XL | Lode Runner II
35 | 0x0000 | Disk | XL | Mario Brothers
38 | 0x0000 | Disk | XL | Ms Pacman
41 | 0x0000 | Disk | XL | Pole Position
44 | 0x0000 | File | XL | Archon
47 | 0x0C36 | File | XL | Asteroids
48 | 0x0E4D | File | XL | Boulder Dash
50 | 0x1223 | File | XL | Break It
52 | 0x08AA | File | XL | Bruce Lee
57 | 0x09D8 | File | XL | Centipede
59 | 0x05CA | File | XL | Choplifter
63 | 0x00E0 | File | XL | Defender
64 | 0x1F38 | File | XL | Deluxe Invaders
66 | 0x01C9 | File | XL | Dig Dug
68 | 0x025B | File | XL | Donkey Kong
70 | 0x02D4 | File | XL | Frogger
72 | 0x106A | File | XL | Frogger II
75 | 0x002C | File | XL | Galaxian
76 | 0x0142 | File | B | GatewayTo Apshai
78 | 0x0158 | File | XL | Gyruss
80 | 0x016E | File | XL | Joust
82 | 0x0204 | File | XL | Jungle Hunt
84 | 0x017A | File | XL | Kangaroo
85 | 0x0EA1 | File | XL | Leaderboard Golf
89 | 0x0BA2 | File | XL | Millipede
91 | 0x0BB8 | File | XL | Missile Command
93 | 0x1292 | File | XL | Mr. Do's Castle
94 | 0x13E4 | File | XL | One on One
98 | 0x0C2F | File | XL | Pacman
99 | 0x11D6 | File | XL | Pitfall!
100 | 0x12A7 | File | XL | Pitfall II
103 | 0x125B | File | XL | Popeye
105 | 0x1295 | File | XL | Raid over Moscow
110 | 0x0FA8 | File | XL | River Raid
111 | 0x0FCE | File | XL | Spy Hunter
113 | 0x15C2 | File | XL | Star League Baseball
117 | 0x039D | File | XL | Star Raiders
118 | 0x03B3 | File | XL | Wizard of Wor
121 | 0x02CF | File | XL | Zaxxon
-----+--------+------+----+---------------------------------------
126 | 0x0000 | OS.B | -- | Complete OS.B
127 | 0x0000 | MENU | -- | Menu of 43 games - 4013 bytes free


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 Post subject: Re: Just finished burning my first cart...
PostPosted: Mon Jun 04, 2007 6:06 pm 
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Joined: Mon Jan 12, 2004 5:01 pm
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Location: Reading UK
I'll attempted to help out on a few of these
WizWor wrote:
1) the cart is 8m and my image is 1m. What is the rest of the space used for?

The 8m stands for 8 mega-bits on the FlashCarts, so that's the 1 MegaByte your filesize is reporting.
Hence the 1m cart holds 128KBytes.
Quote:
2) is there any DISadvantage to using MakeMenu?

One for someone else...
Quote:
3) Lots of the games are slow to initialize and show corrupt graphics during the load, what is going on here?

Many single executables are compressed, simply to conserve space - possibly to decrease loading time from disk drives. The later is a bit wierd because the decompression time often counteracts this. Also they get around a problem of the games that had multi-part loaders as each section is wrapped up within the single exe and then unwrapped once loaded.
Anyway, the corrupt graphics is usually where the loading or decompressing data over-writes the existing Display List and/or Screen Memory areas. Usually nothing to worry about. Also, often decompression routines will set the background/border colour register to indicate something is happening, though that's more easier on the eye.
Quote:
4) The carts are rated for 100k flash/erase cycles. I see people posting about putting state information on the flash. Will this significantly reduce the life of the cart (ie., would each high score save constitute a flash/erase cycle?

Even at 10K (10,000) erase and rewrites I think we'd struggle to reach that quickly. Indeed games patched to write to the flash memory could deteriorate more quickly, but techniques can be used to reduce this. E.g. the unit of an erase is a block, 64K in the 8m cart. These 'erase' to all high-bits and so, once they are written to, low bits can't go high again. If a save area say was 2K then I'd save 31 of these in a 64K area, leaving the first 2K block free to indicate which was the 'next free block' to write to. To do this - if byte #0 was still all ones (hex value 0xFF) then Block 1 is free. So I'd save to block 1 and set byte #0 to all zeros (0x00). So, for the next save that occurs, it sees block 1 is used and so moves on until it finds the next free block. If all are taken, then it erases the whole block and starts again, extending the life of that block. Ask if you need me to elaborate.
Quote:
5) If not, has anyone managed to run Seven Cities of Gold off a cart?

I've not tried. I tend to hack disks to cart by hand wheras I know you can 1) use the tools to setup the image and then 2) debug that and 3) retrospectively patch the original disk image and then repeat from 1) until your happy.

Quote:
0 | 0x0000 | Cart | B | Demon Attack

For this, check the thread below, an XL patched version of this
was posted on "New 1mb cartridge-loader. Select 1 of 15 games :-)"
http://www.atarimax.com/flashcart/forum ... .php?t=245

Regards,
Mark


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 Post subject: Re: Just finished burning my first cart...
PostPosted: Mon Jun 04, 2007 6:19 pm 
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Location: Reading UK
WizWor wrote:
I did have to insert the cart into my XEGS after the maxflash image was loaded. It took a couple tries before I could do this without crashing the machine.

Often the cart supports a method of holding down the 'Option' key
as a way of bypassing the cart and continuing a disk boot.

Sometimes they don't (my earlier images I think didn't :oops: )
and so the method method you found is the next best thing :wink:

Mark


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 Post subject: Great Posts
PostPosted: Tue Jun 05, 2007 6:46 am 
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Location: danville, nh
Thanks for the informative posts, Mark. megabit vs megabyte, I should have guessed. The version of Demon Attack you posted the link to is the one I used. I need to replace choplifter, joust, and blue max on my cart.

Looking through my floppies, my next priority will be to get Seven Cities working from cart. I'd appreciate any insight you have on multidisk conversions and saved games (SSoG prompts you to flip the floppy to load a world then allows you to save).


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 Post subject: Re: Great Posts
PostPosted: Tue Jun 05, 2007 11:17 pm 

Joined: Sat Sep 13, 2003 12:21 am
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WizWor wrote:
Looking through my floppies, my next priority will be to get Seven Cities working from cart. I'd appreciate any insight you have on multidisk conversions and saved games (SSoG prompts you to flip the floppy to load a world then allows you to save).


There will be issues with SSoG, since it won't work with MyIDE either (even with EEPROM OS). It would be nice to get it going on a flashcart though. Probably your best man for that job is Wrathchild, but that guy is B-U-S-Y!



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 Post subject: Well, I did it!
PostPosted: Wed Jun 06, 2007 4:04 pm 
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Location: danville, nh
Thanks to Steve, Atari Smeghead, and The1200XLKid, I got my cart working. I did not have to edit any files to do this, but some files were edited by others. I'm going to post a zip including the .atr, the .bin (for people who want to play with the emulator), the manifest (edited to include special settings in MakeMenu), the MakeMenu LST file, and all the game files used to make the cart.

If this is too much, let me know and I'll make amends. My thinking is that someone who likes my cart, but wants to change one or two games, will be able to download the archive, copy the files to the appropriate directory, open the LST file, and get right to work. I've edited the manifest to include special settings to help people use the included files in their own cart compilations.

One thing I noticed is that you need some space on the cart when you are finished with the build process. 4013 bytes free is enough, but 3000 is not.

Thanks for all your help. Time for a little blue max ;)


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 Post subject: Re: Well, I did it!
PostPosted: Sun Jun 10, 2007 8:32 pm 

Joined: Sun Aug 31, 2003 9:50 am
Posts: 52
Location: Lansing MI
WizWor wrote:
Thanks to Steve, Atari Smeghead, and The1200XLKid, I got my cart working. I did not have to edit any files to do this, but some files were edited by others.


You're welcome, Wiz! I like the fact that we're a small but helpful community. Gotta love these old 8 bit games!

I found that of the many carts I made, there were only a few of the popular titles that didn't work. Steve, Ebiguy and some others were very generous in their help. Once I got past the fav titles, I started to run into regular difficulty getting games to work in multicart format. One important thing to keep in mind is that some titles absolutely need to have certain switches set in order to run, like -OSB or -ALTPTR. So, it's generally best to put all the -OSB titles on the same cart, for instance.

Again, welcome to the world of AtariMax!

Smeg


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 Post subject: Re: Well, I did it!
PostPosted: Sun Jun 10, 2007 9:56 pm 
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Atari Smeghead wrote:
One important thing to keep in mind is that some titles absolutely need to have certain switches set in order to run, like -OSB or -ALTPTR. So, it's generally best to put all the -OSB titles on the same cart, for instance.

Again, welcome to the world of AtariMax!

Smeg

MakeMenu helps with the switches and doesn't require a separate cart for each OS. It's great to be able to add atr files to the cart, too.

I'm still a rookie, but I got my first hit and am looking forward to the rest of the season. Cart #2 is underway. I think I need to place an order for a couple more carts.

I put one of those track shelf systems in my bedroom. There's an XEGS and six 1050s and an IBM 600 linked with a SIO2PC cable and a 13" color TV and an RF modulator. Under the bottom shelf is a plastic drawer system full of carts, joysticks, and other cool stuff. My wife refers to this as 'The Shrine.'


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