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A7800 - the Atari 7800 Emulator


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#1 Trebor OFFLINE  

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Posted Thu Aug 3, 2017 4:58 AM

A7800 is a fork of the MAME Atari 7800 driver, with several enhancements added:
 
-Support for emulation of Proline Joysticks, VCS Joysticks, Lightguns, Paddles, Driving Controllers, Keypads, Trak-Balls, Amiga Mice, and ST Mice.
-Maria DMA timing has been improved further, with the addition of accurate DMA hole penalties.
-Improved saturated/normalized 'factory set' default palette colors.
-A bug in the existing RIOT emulation has been fixed.
 
MAME compatibility and syntax has been maintained, to allow for the reuse of MAME configuration files and front-ends.
 
Easy Install:
01. Download A7800 and unzip to desired location [I.E. C:\mame].  Read more about the emulator and download OS X & Linux ports here.

02. Download Additional Files* and unzip to location chosen for emulator installation in step 01. [I.E. C:\mame]: 

 Attached File  Additional_Files_a7800_v0188-01.zip   50.71KB   432 downloads

*Additional Files Notes:
-NTSC, PAL, BIOS and XM/HSC files already stored to their correct location and structure.
-Already created *.ini and *.cfg files which have been initiated for NTSC and PAL regions respectively with the following conditions:
     A. Running 'a7800.exe' will list 7800 console region selection (NTSC or PAL) in a maximized window.
                -Press Alt-Enter to toggle between Window and Full Screen mode.
                     -In Window mode, grab corner of window to modify size.
     B. Default controls: Arrow Keys, Left Ctrl Z, Left Alt C (Remap via "Tab" menu). #Changed as of v0.188-02# 
                -First installed game controller under Windows automatically maps to Player 1 (Remap via "Tab" menu).
     C. Difficulty Switches configuration located under "Dip Switches" via the 'Tab' key menu.

 
Getting A System Started:

Spoiler

 
How To Select A Controller:
Spoiler

 
How To Select A Game:
Spoiler



#2 AlyoshaTAS OFFLINE  

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Posted Thu Aug 3, 2017 9:07 AM

Cool! I always had trouble using Mame but this stand alone one seems to work just fine.

 

One usability critique though. Ctrl+alt+direction-arrow defauls to screen rotation on windows 10 (at least on my laptop), so it might be a better idea to default the 2 buttons on the proline controller to something else. (I found this out the hard way :) )

 

Also, for your test rom, the RIOT timer tests are coming up a little short, I had this problem too, turns out the RIOT timer ticks also get slowed down during TIA access just like the CPU (which would make sense if they run off the same clock.) If you make this adjustment the tests will come out perfect.

 

Anyway nice work!



#3 RevEng ONLINE  

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Posted Thu Aug 3, 2017 9:11 AM

Cool! I always had trouble using Mame but this stand alone one seems to work just fine.
 
One usability critique though. Ctrl+alt+direction-arrow defauls to screen rotation on windows 10 (at least on my laptop), so it might be a better idea to default the 2 buttons on the proline controller to something else. (I found this out the hard way :) )
 
Also, for your test rom, the RIOT timer tests are coming up a little short, I had this problem too, turns out the RIOT timer ticks also get slowed down during TIA access just like the CPU (which would make sense if they run off the same clock.) If you make this adjustment the tests will come out perfect.
 
Anyway nice work!


Thanks, those are great points! I'll look at addressing those in the next release. :)

#4 SmittyB ONLINE  

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Posted Thu Aug 3, 2017 12:46 PM

I'm looking forward to completing the keypad support in my dungeon crawler with the help of this. Writing a 2600 program then trying to blindly transplant the code snippets isn't a good way to do things.

I hope this also encourages developers to combine the strengths of the 7800 with the controllers not available to the competition.

#5 RevEng ONLINE  

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Posted Thu Aug 3, 2017 1:10 PM

I'm hoping to write 7800basic drivers and examples for at least some of these, but it's a matter of figuring out what the best way to swap between them is, and mainly a matter of having enough hours in the day. Most of my hobby time lately has been spent on emulation coding. :P

#6 gambler172 OFFLINE  

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Posted Thu Aug 3, 2017 2:40 PM

So you need Mame????

#7 RevEng ONLINE  

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Posted Thu Aug 3, 2017 2:50 PM

No. A7800 is MAME with enhanced 7800 emulation, but without the other console+arcade drivers compiled in. So it looks and feels like MAME, but can only run the Atari 7800 emulation.

#8 TrekMD OFFLINE  

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Posted Thu Aug 3, 2017 5:31 PM

Oh, this is really cool!  Thanks!



#9 Mord OFFLINE  

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Posted Fri Aug 4, 2017 1:03 AM

I suppose I should give it a whirl to see what it does to the comp. Trying to use the normal MAME bluescreens my comps. *starts shutting down extra programs in preparation*

 

 

*update*

 

And back from blue screen. :D 

 

Guess I have to wait til I get a newer comp this fall after all.


Edited by Mord, Fri Aug 4, 2017 1:11 AM.


#10 RevEng ONLINE  

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Posted Fri Aug 4, 2017 5:23 AM

If you're getting a blue screen, I'd tend to agree with the sentiment in this thread that it's either buggy hardware, or a buggy driver. Not sure if you're wanting to push or pull on the problem, but that thread has a few people fixing their MAME blue screen issue by changing their video driver level.

#11 Trebor OFFLINE  

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Posted Fri Aug 4, 2017 6:09 AM

In harmony with the link RevEng provided above, at the bottom of reply number 9, there may be the driver related fix needed:  A full (re)install of the Direct X drivers.  

 

Sometimes the faulty driver issue is due to a corrupt or 'partial' Direct X install.  It has helped a slew of users resolve various crash related problems through the years with MAME.



#12 Mord OFFLINE  

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Posted Sat Aug 5, 2017 4:24 AM

If you're getting a blue screen, I'd tend to agree with the sentiment in this thread that it's either buggy hardware, or a buggy driver. Not sure if you're wanting to push or pull on the problem, but that thread has a few people fixing their MAME blue screen issue by changing their video driver level.

 

Most likely a driver issue I'd say - although I have two different computers that do the same thing. Given their age and my intent to buy something newer before christmas it's not worth trying to fix it at this point. If whatever I get to replace these does the same thing though, I'll start digging. :) 



#13 DrVenkman OFFLINE  

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Posted Sat Aug 5, 2017 9:14 AM

Alright, what am I missing here? I've downloaded Trebor's file linked above for Windows and the "Additional Files." I've extracted them all to my secondary drive (D:\MAME). I've also extracted Trebor's recently posted "ProPack" to the same directory. When I go to start a game, I the list shows some titles in normal text, some dimmed, some say "not supported", most don't, but every file I try to run gives the following error:

 

a7800_1.PNG

 

Here's my directory structure:

 

a7800_file_structure.PNG



#14 RevEng ONLINE  

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Posted Sat Aug 5, 2017 9:39 AM

That's the way you would launch *.bin ROMs. MAME isn't that bright about *.a78 ROMs (something I may change, it's not too onerous) so for those files you need to follow this bit from trebor's first post...
 

How To Select A Game:
01. Having a system already started, press 'Tab' key.
02. Arrow key down to highlight "File Manager" and press 'Enter' key.
03. Arrow key down to highlight "cartridge (cart)" and press 'Enter' key.
04. Arrow key down and up to select ROM [path] and press 'Enter' key to select.


  • PFL likes this

#15 DrVenkman OFFLINE  

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Posted Sat Aug 5, 2017 9:51 AM

That's the way you would launch *.bin ROMs. MAME isn't that bright about *.a78 ROMs (something I may change, it's not too onerous) so for those files you need to follow this bit from trebor's first post...
 

 

Ah, gotcha. The modified UI at the start threw me off ... I presumed it would launch the 7800 emulator directly with the chosen rom as opposed to needing to get that awful default blue/red scrolling screen with the whiney tone before selecting cart roms via TAB, as you must do in unmodified MAME. 

 

Anyway, when I run the a7800 executable, it seems default to full-screen. When I press ALT-ENTER to go to Windowed mode, the red/blue/whiny tone screen starts and I can then TAB to select a cartridge rom. I don't know if I'm doing something wrong but it doesn't seem very intuitive.  :? 



#16 RevEng ONLINE  

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Posted Sat Aug 5, 2017 11:45 AM

I'll let trebor comment on that, since I believe this is close to his usual workflow.

I personally use the command-line to launch the a78 files directly. Others might use an external front-end.

#17 NIKON OFFLINE  

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Posted Sat Aug 5, 2017 12:57 PM

Without going into a detailed explanation here is a pictorial of how I get it to work

start.png start2.png start3.png start4.png start5.png start6.png start7.png  



#18 Trebor OFFLINE  

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Posted Sat Aug 5, 2017 2:33 PM

Anyway, when I run the a7800 executable, it seems default to full-screen. When I press ALT-ENTER to go to Windowed mode, the red/blue/whiny tone screen starts and I can then TAB to select a cartridge rom. I don't know if I'm doing something wrong but it doesn't seem very intuitive.  :?

 
To be certain, I downloaded the A7800 emulator along with the "Additional Files" in a clean folder and ran "a7800.exe".  It starts in a maximized window (As seen in NIKON's second screen capture).  Pressing Alt-Enter, from that point would result in going full-screen.  
 
Whether the end results are in a maximized window or full-screen, the same aforementioned steps apply as mentioned in the OP:
 
Getting A System Started:
01. Double click on "a7800.exe"
02. Arrow key Up or Down to pick either "Atari 7800 (NTSC)" or "Atari 7800 (PAL)" and press the 'Enter' key.
03. Having "[Start empty]" highlighted press 'Enter' key.
 
If someone wishes to skip the step of "Getting A System Started" and go directly to "How To Select A Game", just unzip the following archive into the same location as "a7800.exe": Attached File  Start_Console_Files_a7800_v0188-01.zip   556bytes   182 downloads
 
The above provides the following "System already started" batch file options:
 
-NTSC Atari 7800
-NTSC Atari 7800 XM
-PAL Atari 7800
-PAL Atari 7800 XM
 
:)



#19 NIKON OFFLINE  

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Posted Mon Aug 7, 2017 9:04 AM

Just discovered that Beef Drop runs slow on the version...so far it is the only game that does.



#20 RevEng ONLINE  

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Posted Mon Aug 7, 2017 9:57 AM

Just discovered that Beef Drop runs slow on the version...so far it is the only game that does.

 

Thanks for the report! I'll look into it.



#21 groundtrooper OFFLINE  

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Posted Mon Aug 7, 2017 11:24 AM

Just discovered that Beef Drop runs slow on the version...so far it is the only game that does.


Yes I noticed the same thing last night. It is brutally slow. I haven't tested many as it took me a while to sort out my setup to get it working but I think I will really enjoy this for a quick game here and there without walking up to my loft and playing on my real hardware which is my preferred method. It just doesn't happen that often.

#22 RevEng ONLINE  

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Posted Tue Aug 8, 2017 6:58 PM

I've fixed up the timing issue in Beef Drop, and updated the downloads at 7800.8bitdev.org

 

Be advised that the default joystick button keys have also been changed to Z and C, to avoid conflict with Windows 10.



#23 NIKON OFFLINE  

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Posted Tue Aug 8, 2017 7:29 PM

I've fixed up the timing issue in Beef Drop, and updated the downloads at 7800.8bitdev.org

 

Be advised that the default joystick button keys have also been changed to Z and C, to avoid conflict with Windows 10.

THANK YOU!!!!!!



#24 DrSidneyZweibel OFFLINE  

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Posted Wed Aug 9, 2017 7:09 AM

I miss the old mess/mame UI ports. This newer menu they have built in is awful. I get that the point is to make it integrate better for MAME Cab users, but it's just not a good layout for computer emulation users. 



#25 PFL OFFLINE  

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Posted Mon Feb 12, 2018 4:36 PM

Just wondering if there's been any work on this emulator.  I'm interested to see where it's headed with regards to the end user experience.  Loading an A78 file is a little convoluted just now. :)






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