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Having a game autorun


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#1 bcombee OFFLINE  

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Posted Sun Sep 19, 2010 2:14 PM

I looked through the Harmony manual, and didn't see anything on this topic. Is there a way to have a SD card with a single ROM file on it, like a "autorun.bin", that would be loaded automatically and started when the 2600 was turned on? I want to use my Harmony cart for an art exhibit at Maker Faire NYC next weekend, but I don't want to have a joystick hooked up to the 2600 or anyone to have to interact with the console once it's turned on.

[Edit: looks like I can use programming mode to just load a single game onto the board without the standard multicart firmware. This should work for my needs, but I like the idea of autorunning from SD too, so I'm leaving this post around.)

#2 cd-w OFFLINE  

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Posted Sun Sep 19, 2010 3:00 PM

I looked through the Harmony manual, and didn't see anything on this topic. Is there a way to have a SD card with a single ROM file on it, like a "autorun.bin", that would be loaded automatically and started when the 2600 was turned on? I want to use my Harmony cart for an art exhibit at Maker Faire NYC next weekend, but I don't want to have a joystick hooked up to the 2600 or anyone to have to interact with the console once it's turned on.

[Edit: looks like I can use programming mode to just load a single game onto the board without the standard multicart firmware. This should work for my needs, but I like the idea of autorunning from SD too, so I'm leaving this post around.)


The best way is to use the single program mode as you discovered.

However, the Harmony cart does also have an autorun mode. Just name the game image AUTORUN, and place it in the top (root) directory on the SD card.

Chris

#3 bcombee OFFLINE  

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Posted Mon Sep 27, 2010 7:07 AM

The AUTORUN technique worked wonderfully; we used a Harmony cart, Batari Basic, and an AV-modded 2600 Jr. for part of our NYC Resistor booth demo. As soon as I can get a video of the demo made from Stella and uploaded, I'll be putting the code up at nycresistor.com.

#4 cd-w OFFLINE  

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Posted Mon Sep 27, 2010 8:57 AM

The AUTORUN technique worked wonderfully; we used a Harmony cart, Batari Basic, and an AV-modded 2600 Jr. for part of our NYC Resistor booth demo. As soon as I can get a video of the demo made from Stella and uploaded, I'll be putting the code up at nycresistor.com.


Great - I don't think I ever properly tested that feature, so it is good to know that it works! I'm looking forward to seeing that video.

Chris

#5 bcombee OFFLINE  

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Posted Mon Sep 27, 2010 9:07 AM


The AUTORUN technique worked wonderfully; we used a Harmony cart, Batari Basic, and an AV-modded 2600 Jr. for part of our NYC Resistor booth demo. As soon as I can get a video of the demo made from Stella and uploaded, I'll be putting the code up at nycresistor.com.


Great - I don't think I ever properly tested that feature, so it is good to know that it works! I'm looking forward to seeing that video.

Chris


The Harmony cart performed well, but when I had the monitor and 2600 on the same power line as our air compressor, I did get some glitches where it looked like the ARM in the cart sent NOPs instead of instructions, so the screen drawing timing got off, data got corrupted, or it just froze. For day 2, we used a separate power line and had no problems.

#6 Thomas Jentzsch OFFLINE  

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Posted Tue Sep 28, 2010 4:22 AM

The Harmony cart performed well, but when I had the monitor and 2600 on the same power line as our air compressor, I did get some glitches where it looked like the ARM in the cart sent NOPs instead of instructions, so the screen drawing timing got off, data got corrupted, or it just froze. For day 2, we used a separate power line and had no problems.

Interesting.

Someone recently told me, that some games "flicker" when playing them with Harmony. Maybe that's due to a (too) weak power supply too?

#7 Nukey Shay OFFLINE  

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Posted Tue Sep 28, 2010 4:59 AM

Are there example titles of such games? Is it possible there are opcodes or code techniques that Harmony is having problems with? :?

#8 bcombee OFFLINE  

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Posted Tue Sep 28, 2010 6:45 AM

Are there example titles of such games? Is it possible there are opcodes or code techniques that Harmony is having problems with? :?


I don't think it had anything to do with opcodes... it was either power related (which makes sense, because you've got two separate CPUs running when the Harmony cart is doing its thing) or it was related to the connector -- I know I was able to reproduce one crash just by pushing on the Harmony cart while my demo was running which could have also glitched the power to it.

#9 cd-w OFFLINE  

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Posted Tue Sep 28, 2010 7:07 AM

I don't think it had anything to do with opcodes... it was either power related (which makes sense, because you've got two separate CPUs running when the Harmony cart is doing its thing) or it was related to the connector -- I know I was able to reproduce one crash just by pushing on the Harmony cart while my demo was running which could have also glitched the power to it.


The Harmony cart draws more power than a standard 2600 cart, so marginal power supplies may cause problems. Cleaning the contacts on the cartridge port should also help. Another issue is that the Harmony cart generates some RF noise, which can cause screen artefacts with unshielded cables (this may be the source of the "flickering"). I don't think specific opcodes should cause problems, as the Harmony only sees the read requests coming from the 2600.

Chris

#10 bcombee OFFLINE  

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Posted Mon Oct 11, 2010 9:38 AM

I've finally got the NYC Resistor blog post up - http://www.nycresist...mo-for-the-win/

#11 maiki OFFLINE  

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Posted Fri Nov 19, 2010 3:00 PM

the Harmony cart generates some RF noise, which can cause screen artefacts with unshielded cables


Are the standard Atari cables shielded?

#12 Thomas Jentzsch OFFLINE  

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Posted Mon Nov 22, 2010 3:35 PM

the Harmony cart generates some RF noise, which can cause screen artefacts with unshielded cables

Are the standard Atari cables shielded?

Yes, but they are very thin, the shielding is not very good. Good shielded cables are thicker and often also have a ferrite bead.




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