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F18A - 80 Column & Enhanced Graphics Supported Programs

F18A TI-99/4A

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#26 RXB OFFLINE  

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Posted Mon Nov 4, 2013 6:56 PM

The lack of a blitter in the F18A is way undershadowed by the high-speed GPU, though. You can implement those circles, rays, rectangles, blocks, and more in the GPU, and they will easily make you believe it's hardware doing it. There's even a dedicated 2k block of RAM for those functions, so you don't need to sacrifice any of the 16k.

We just need some apps to show it off -- most of us are just time constrained. RamusM has been kicking butt and starting to show what it can do, though. :)

 

Nice, but I still can not run these programs as the memory and number of pixels is very small in comparison.

 

Both types of devices require a device to make them work so not much difference overall. Other then one is 8 times smaller in memory and number of pixels.

 

Glad someone is updating stuff and using the F18.



#27 arcadeshopper ONLINE  

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Posted Mon Nov 4, 2013 7:02 PM

I have created an f18a directory on ftp.whtech.com for ANY f18a supporting programs 

 

put a copy of patched BOOT in there already.. lmk if there's others that need to go in.. I can upload so can MZ..

 

Also I can state I've tested infocom 80col and it does NOT work.

 

Greg



#28 InsaneMultitasker OFFLINE  

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Posted Mon Nov 4, 2013 7:09 PM

I have created an f18a directory on ftp.whtech.com for ANY f18a supporting programs 

 

put a copy of patched BOOT in there already.. lmk if there's others that need to go in.. I can upload so can MZ..

 

Also I can state I've tested infocom 80col and it does NOT work.

 

Greg

IT would take some debugging or a disassembly to understand why the 80col infocom loader fails. 

 

I found my copy of the 80-column Disk Utility program by John Birdwell and will upload as time permits.  I have the source to this program so if it doesn't work we should be able to modify it, if the issue is simple.



#29 Swim OFFLINE  

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Posted Mon Nov 4, 2013 8:41 PM

Didn't know this thread for things F18A got started. Then again I haven't been here in a while.

#30 --- Ω --- OFFLINE  

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Posted Mon Nov 4, 2013 9:29 PM

Please, just a friendly reminder..

 

This thread is devoted to the F18A and the programs that can utilize it's extended capabilities.  

 

I'd rather not see this thread degrade into a "9938 or 9958" opinion debate.  Thank you.  

Please keep it positive and useful . 



#31 --- Ω --- OFFLINE  

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Posted Mon Nov 4, 2013 9:34 PM

I have created an f18a directory on ftp.whtech.com for ANY f18a supporting programs 

 

put a copy of patched BOOT in there already.. lmk if there's others that need to go in.. I can upload so can MZ..

 

Also I can state I've tested infocom 80col and it does NOT work.

 

Greg

 

Hey,

  Thanks Greg!  I'm sure we'll all be linking to it in the future, especially as it grows with all the new (and hacked) goodies that are coming out for it.



#32 InsaneMultitasker OFFLINE  

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Posted Mon Nov 4, 2013 10:48 PM

The attached file is the 80 column Infocom Interpreter v1.2, modified for use with the F18A.  The VDP bank-switching code has been altered, blink mode removed, and a few other tweaks made. 

 

There is one catch:  the character set has been moved to 0x3900-0x3bff. This is within the VDP area often used by disk controllers and other PABs.  This was necessary as the Infocom interpreter appears to consume video memory as you get further into the game. 

 

I tested the program with Classic99 and my Geneve (in TI mode using a Myarc controller card). Both scenarios do not utilize VDP memory like a TI, CorComp, or CF7 controller.  Therefore, if this program fails with a CF7 or TI controller, we can try to force a CALL FILES(1) via assembly with a little more hacking. 

 

Forgot to mention: Infocom by default requires you to use DSK1 and the two infocom data files (not in the ZIP)  named GAME1 and GAME2. You can sector edit a loader for each game and do some other funky stuff, but thought I have better remind folks. :)

Attached Files


Edited by InsaneMultitasker, Mon Nov 4, 2013 11:03 PM.


#33 OLD CS1 OFFLINE  

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Posted Mon Nov 4, 2013 10:57 PM

The attached file is the 80 column Infocom Interpreter v1.2, modified for use with the F18A.  The VDP bank-switching code has been altered, blink mode removed, and a few other tweaks made.

 

Neat!



#34 --- Ω --- OFFLINE  

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Posted Mon Nov 4, 2013 11:05 PM

The attached file is the 80 column Infocom Interpreter v1.2, modified for use with the F18A.  

 

 

Sweet!  At the rate new stuff is coming out for the F18A, Matthew might have to start an assembly line!  I noticed of the last batch he put up a couple of days ago only two are left.  People are really snatching this things up.  I doubt the last two make it very long before that "out of stock" sign goes up again.   :)



#35 arcadeshopper ONLINE  

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Posted Mon Nov 4, 2013 11:09 PM

Ok this loads on the 4/a with my f18a and comes up and says it's the infocom interpreter 1.2 modified by "tm"

 

but doesn't load the game..   could it be because the game's not called game1 game2..  and the 40col ver on my ballyhoo disk is v1.3 fyi :)

 

Greg

 

 

The attached file is the 80 column Infocom Interpreter v1.2, modified for use with the F18A.  The VDP bank-switching code has been altered, blink mode removed, and a few other tweaks made. 

 

There is one catch:  the character set has been moved to 0x3900-0x3bff. This is within the VDP area often used by disk controllers and other PABs.  This was necessary as the Infocom interpreter appears to consume video memory as you get further into the game. 

 

I tested the program with Classic99 and my Geneve (in TI mode using a Myarc controller card). Both scenarios do not utilize VDP memory like a TI, CorComp, or CF7 controller.  Therefore, if this program fails with a CF7 or TI controller, we can try to force a CALL FILES(1) via assembly with a little more hacking. 

 

Forgot to mention: Infocom by default requires you to use DSK1 and the two infocom data files (not in the ZIP)  named GAME1 and GAME2. You can sector edit a loader for each game and do some other funky stuff, but thought I have better remind folks. :)



#36 InsaneMultitasker OFFLINE  

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Posted Mon Nov 4, 2013 11:19 PM

Ok this loads on the 4/a with my f18a and comes up and says it's the infocom interpreter 1.2 modified by "tm"

 

but doesn't load the game..   could it be because the game's not called game1 game2..  and the 40col ver on my ballyhoo disk is v1.3 fyi :)

 

Greg

 

 

 

Yes -see my edit.  The game files are hard coded in the loader as GAME1 and GAME2.

 

I don't seem to have a version later than 1.2 that works with 80 columns.  I did try The Lurking Horror, which requires a SuperCart to run, and v1.2 loaded the game right up. I documented my patching if we run across a v1.3 80 column interpreter or some other variant. 



#37 arcadeshopper ONLINE  

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Posted Mon Nov 4, 2013 11:27 PM

Ok.. learned a couple things,

1: don't use dm2k to load it..

2: if you rename the game files to game1 game2 that works but the screen is hashy(see attachment)

 

Greg

 

 

Ok this loads on the 4/a with my f18a and comes up and says it's the infocom interpreter 1.2 modified by "tm"

 

but doesn't load the game..   could it be because the game's not called game1 game2..  and the 40col ver on my ballyhoo disk is v1.3 fyi :)

 

Greg

 

 

 

Attached Files



#38 --- Ω --- OFFLINE  

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Posted Mon Nov 4, 2013 11:31 PM

We just need some apps to show it off... 

 

I'd love to see what the F18A's advanced features could do to enhance or possibly further define or sharpen a program like this.... <SEE ATTACHMENT>.

Attached Files



#39 InsaneMultitasker OFFLINE  

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Posted Mon Nov 4, 2013 11:52 PM

Ok.. learned a couple things,

1: don't use dm2k to load it..

2: if you rename the game files to game1 game2 that works but the screen is hashy(see attachment)

 

Greg

 

 

 

I tried Classic99's "corrupt disk memory" and got the same result.  This interpreter may not have enough VDP memory to stash the character set anywhere 'safe'.  I'll give it another whirl this weekend - don't want to completely overtake this thread so I might start a fresh one ;) 



#40 --- Ω --- OFFLINE  

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Posted Tue Nov 5, 2013 12:42 PM

You know, I wonder if MultiPlan could be modified to take advantage of the GPU for large calculations.

 

 Without source code, it might be next to impossible.  Also, even though a couple of us would use it, that seems like a lot of trouble to go through for a handful of people.  But yeah, if possible, it would sure speed up calculations on those larger spreadsheets.  



#41 --- Ω --- OFFLINE  

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Posted Tue Nov 5, 2013 12:45 PM

I tried Classic99's "corrupt disk memory" and got the same result.  This interpreter may not have enough VDP memory to stash the character set anywhere 'safe'.  I'll give it another whirl this weekend - don't want to completely overtake this thread so I might start a fresh one ;)

 

Question... I know not everyone has one, so this might be a lame suggestion, but could the 8K space on a SuperCart be of any use to 'stash' it?



#42 matthew180 OFFLINE  

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Posted Tue Nov 5, 2013 5:21 PM

Interesting choice of words. Since BOOT was written for the 9938/9958 family, and the supposed 'bug' never materialized, would not a better description be, 'BOOT patched for the 80 column deficiencies in the F18A device' ?

Gazoo


The F18A does not have any 80-column deficiencies. As a matter of fact the F18A has more 80-column functionality than you can ever get from the 9938/58. The F18A simply lacks the expanded RAM (which has nothing to do with 80-columns), and that was a choice made to keep the costs low, the board size reasonable, and so I could actually get the thing done and in people's hands.

What is truly a deficiency is that once the 9938 VDP was available to the TI, how little it was utilized other than for 80-columns (yawn) and the extra RAM (which really indicates that what the TI *really* needed was better availability of RAM expansion).

Edited by matthew180, Tue Nov 5, 2013 5:23 PM.


#43 matthew180 OFFLINE  

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Posted Tue Nov 5, 2013 5:52 PM

@InsaneMultitasker, thanks for the work modifying programs to run on the F18A, and to everyone else who has an interest in getting software support. I wish I could have added more RAM. Maybe next time. :-)

#44 RXB OFFLINE  

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Posted Tue Nov 5, 2013 5:53 PM

Matthew that was because everyone was so focused on text and using text at the time. 

Very few people at the time could handle even simple Assembly or GPL or C.

It was a small group that Y.A.P.P. (a 8 times bigger version of TI Artist) and XHI (a 8 times larger version of TML).

 

The power up started with 64K of RAM the issue is the TI only used 16K of that by default.

These programs swapped the other 64K of RAM when needed. 

And 80 columns in a 9938 or 9958 does not look like 80 columns on the F18,  as it used the extra RAM to get 80 columns in memory.

 

Does the F18 use the extra RAM to store the actual VDP tables like these chips did?

 

I am asking as F18 is on Classic99 so I can take advantage of it, want me to warm up to it right?



#45 Gazoo OFFLINE  

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Posted Tue Nov 5, 2013 6:08 PM

The F18A does not have any 80-column deficiencies. As a matter of fact the F18A has more 80-column functionality than you can ever get from the 9938/58. The F18A simply lacks the expanded RAM (which has nothing to do with 80-columns), and that was a choice made to keep the costs low, the board size reasonable, and so I could actually get the thing done and in people's hands.

What is truly a deficiency is that once the 9938 VDP was available to the TI, how little it was utilized other than for 80-columns (yawn) and the extra RAM (which really indicates that what the TI *really* needed was better availability of RAM expansion).

 

Maybe you should get a little more educated about the graphics programs written for the TI & Geneve that use the bitmap graphics of the 9938/58. And you have admitted to knowing next to nothing about the Geneve. Your reply is your opinion, which has done absolutely nothing to convince me to change my observation. 'Deficiencies' is the correct word - lack of vram and inability to support all the 9938/58 registers being the 2 main deficiencies of the F18A.

 

I'm sure it's a neat little device, and many people will use it and enjoy it, but it's not for me - I'm too used to the 9938's in my TI & Geneve to take a step back. In fact, I was considering buying one just to check it out, but have nothing to plug it in to. :)

Gazoo
 



#46 --- Ω --- OFFLINE  

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Posted Tue Nov 5, 2013 6:10 PM

@InsaneMultitasker, thanks for the work modifying programs to run on the F18A, and to everyone else who has an interest in getting software support. I wish I could have added more RAM. Maybe next time. :-)

 

I'm very happy with the way the F18A is working and what it can do now... and everyone here by now should know I'm always wanting more, or something better.   So, if I'm satisfied, you know it's all good!   :) 

 

Tursi's working on an 80 column capability for BA-Writer, which is a TI-Writer clone that works quite well with BOOT, with no need to go to the title screen when finished.  

 

We have a working Multiplan in 80 columns too, but it requires a cartridge.

 

4A/DOS works great in 80 columns too.  Greg uploaded it to WHTECH today, so all of you with SuperCarts can get it and have fun.  Also, if you have a V2 Nano-PEB, 4/A DOS has NO issues with the COM1 port.  It works great. and you can get it...

<< HERE >>  



#47 matthew180 OFFLINE  

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Posted Tue Nov 5, 2013 6:56 PM

Maybe you should get a little more educated about the graphics programs written for the TI & Geneve that use the bitmap graphics of the 9938/58. And you have admitted to knowing next to nothing about the Geneve. Your reply is your opinion,


It is my opinion, and I choose to base it on the fact that the Geneve is not a "TI" and I compare the lack of anything that takes advantage of the 9938/58 to what the MSX2 did do and does have. Actually, the Geneve should have blown the MSX2 out of the water.

which has done absolutely nothing to convince me to change my observation. 'Deficiencies' is the correct word - lack of vram and inability to support all the 9938/58 registers being the 2 main deficiencies of the F18A.


A deficiency? Compared to what? The F18A is a 9918A replacement, not a 9938 replacement. The F18A actually does support the same number of registers as the 9938, but I chose to implement them in a better way. I look at all of the 9938's hacks and shortcomings (the mode complexity, limited sprites, limited colors, fixed instructions instead of a GPU, no horz scroll, limited scroll, no video pages to support scrolling, no tile attributes, no tile over sprite priority, no counters, no random number generator, no sprite linking, etc.) as deficiencies.

I'm sure it's a neat little device, and many people will use it and enjoy it, but it's not for me - I'm too used to the 9938's in my TI & Geneve to take a step back.


I'm sure the Geneve is a neat little device too, but I'd be willing to bet there are now more F18As out there than there are Geneves. And the F18A is available for those who want one.

In fact, I was considering buying one just to check it out, but have nothing to plug it in to. :)


Then you don't have a "TI".

#48 Gazoo OFFLINE  

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Posted Wed Nov 6, 2013 3:26 AM

Then you don't have a "TI".

 

It's pointless to reply to any other parts of the post, as they don't address the original statements.

 

How would you know this? You certainly have never been to my house.

I do have a TI, and it has neither Grom sockets, a VDP socket, nor a sound chip socket.

Those functions are relegated to other cards.

 

If you were to make available the F18A in card format, I'd try it out, but you'd have to include a sound chip on the card, too.

Now that might be something worthwile!

 

Gazoo



#49 matthew180 OFFLINE  

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Posted Wed Nov 6, 2013 8:24 AM

It's pointless to reply to any other parts of the post, as they don't address the original statements.


Same for you last post.

The original statement was your claim that the F18A has deficiencies. How do you know, since you don't have one? Please explain those deficiencies related to what the F18A was designed to do and not the Geneve or the 9938/58, which have nothing to do with the 99/4A or any system that uses the 9918A/28/29.

If you were to make available the F18A in card format, I'd try it out, but you'd have to include a sound chip on the card, too.
Now that might be something worthwile!


If it would be so worthwhile, then why don't you build such a card and make it available to everyone? The F18A is a hobby project for me and I don't want a VDP on a card for a PEB. I keep building F18A boards because people keep asking for them, so I guess that makes them worthwhile for at least some people.

#50 slinkeey OFFLINE  

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Posted Wed Nov 6, 2013 8:48 AM

I keep building F18A boards because people keep asking for them........

 

 

Sounds to me like your hobby is benifitting from supply and demand. :)  Does someone need to take an economics class?  :P


Edited by slinkeey, Wed Nov 6, 2013 8:49 AM.






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