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New version of ATARI 8 bit emulator released!


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#1 alpental OFFLINE  

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Posted Wed Oct 10, 2018 5:30 PM

Today, http://www.emulators.com is releasing version 10 of PC XFormer, the ATARI 8 bit emulator. It is completely rewritten and modernized for an amazing new way to experience 8 bit software. Use touch screen to browse thousands of thumbnails of your Atari disk and cartridge images, all fully playable (even inside the thumbnail) and running simultaneously in real time. And all of them automatically booting into the proper type of Atari machine necessary with no manual setup. Watch the second video on the home page for a complete demonstration of more of our revolutionary features. And, it's free! Enjoy!

 

Danny Miller

Darek Mihocka


Edited by alpental, Wed Oct 10, 2018 5:31 PM.


#2 mytek OFFLINE  

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Posted Wed Oct 10, 2018 6:03 PM

Wow  :-o !!!  I just watched the video on your site, and was blown away!

 

Now I have an excuse to go buy a Windows 10 system (pretty much all Linux boxes over here). This will be great in my game room hooked up to a 65" HDTV. Great stuff  :thumbsup:  :) .

 

My brother and I remember meeting you back in the olden, golden days at one of the computer shows in the bay area back in the late 80's.

 

Thank you for this great addition to the emulator arena.



#3 _The Doctor__ OFFLINE  

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Posted Wed Oct 10, 2018 6:54 PM

Wonder if that touch screen emulates Atari touch pad or koala pad?, Maybe even for PLATO use?



#4 Faicuai OFFLINE  

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Posted Wed Oct 10, 2018 7:20 PM

VERY nice user-interface concept... a "live" tile matrix... and making use of Windows-10 visual (and multi-process) prowess, which turns out to be more efficient nowadays that most Linux implementations.

 

...But I would like to see how NTSC Artifact emulation is rendered, seamless NTSC and PAL support regardless of tiles, full support of Ultimate-1MB memory expansion AND BIOS, as well as external peripheral emulation (like Indus-GT rom, so I can have my CP/M + Terminal Emulator tile in the middle of all active tiles (!)  8-) 

 

..and (forgot): one extra tile running the attached .ATR...  That would be wonderful....

 

Attached File  acid800.atr   58.27KB   43 downloads


Edited by Faicuai, Wed Oct 10, 2018 7:29 PM.


#5 Stephen OFFLINE  

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Posted Wed Oct 10, 2018 7:26 PM

Damn!  Way to blast back onto the scene!  PcXFormer is what re-kindled my Atari hobby just a few short years after my 1050 drive died.



#6 Brentarian OFFLINE  

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Posted Wed Oct 10, 2018 8:00 PM

Brings back a lot of memories running PcXFormer on a 386 barely with enough speed to run it at full speed.

#7 snicklin OFFLINE  

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Posted Wed Oct 10, 2018 8:05 PM

This seems awesome. I am at lunch at work at the moment so can't test it yet, does it have support for Atarimax cartridges?

#8 kiwilove OFFLINE  

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Posted Wed Oct 10, 2018 8:48 PM

Impressive video etc.

But what about those who just have Windows 7, 8 or 9?

 

It just doesn't work?

 

Harvey



#9 FifthPlayer OFFLINE  

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Posted Wed Oct 10, 2018 9:22 PM

Windows went straight from 8 to 10. There is no 9.

#10 alpental OFFLINE  

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Posted Wed Oct 10, 2018 11:59 PM

It's great to hear people are interested in trying it out. It does support AtariMax cartridges, and NTSC artifacting, and PAL and NTSC tiles can be mixed (all at 60Hz until you go full screen, then a PAL program will start rendering at 50Hz), and because of popular demand, we just uploaded a new version that should work on Windows 7! There is a readme with instructions and an address to send bug reports to, we'd love to hear from everybody.



#11 youxia OFFLINE  

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Posted Thu Oct 11, 2018 2:50 AM

This is quite a revolutionary approach. Congratulations.

It can be quite overwhelming though as well. Say, I have a directory with 1000 games...they all come on and start working...sensory overload :)

 

I've just tried it and I admit I struggle with starting games. I tried Open Folder and select one, that usually does nothing. Dragging a folder with few games on the shortcut starts an instance but it seems stuck on a previous selection, even if I change games in the folder. Guess I'm doing something wrong here?



#12 mani OFFLINE  

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Posted Thu Oct 11, 2018 6:26 AM

Holy cow! :-o



#13 Mr.Amiga500 OFFLINE  

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Posted Thu Oct 11, 2018 7:11 AM

That multi-screen emulator reminds me of the TV in Back to the Future II.

 

You sure can hydrate a pizza.



#14 Faicuai OFFLINE  

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Posted Thu Oct 11, 2018 8:44 AM

VERY nice user-interface concept... a "live" tile matrix... and making use of Windows-10 visual (and multi-process) prowess, which turns out to be more efficient nowadays that most Linux implementations.

 

...But I would like to see how NTSC Artifact emulation is rendered, seamless NTSC and PAL support regardless of tiles, full support of Ultimate-1MB memory expansion AND BIOS, as well as external peripheral emulation (like Indus-GT rom, so I can have my CP/M + Terminal Emulator tile in the middle of all active tiles (!)  8-) 

 

..and (forgot): one extra tile running the attached .ATR...  That would be wonderful....

 

attachicon.gifacid800.atr

 

Had a chance to download a play a bit with it....

 

First thing I did is to check emulation core... with Acid800... 35 tests failed, 18 passes, 4 ignores... Compared with real HW, about 54 passed, there. Went back to Altirra (as I forgot altogether about Acid800 since years ago) and gets 52-53 passed. Also, could not get the std. 80-col handler running properly (auto-artifacts), and the 40-col text ouput is not 12:11 scaled for NTSC 4:3 viewing, either (thus looking warped horizontally). Could not get the colors right (self-test background green is way off the real rendering).

 

Looks to me as if X-Former emulation core has not really changed that much, unless I have missed a host of internal settings not visible from main menus. It is, HOWEVER, VERY efficient and simple, clearly designed with speed and lightweight foot-print, and a SOLID improvement of user interface, much more than fidelity / accuracy. 

 

As for the tiling, having a myriad of those active maybe a bit overwhelming. I would recommend reducing the # of visible tiles to  1.25x to 1.5x pixel-size of true Atari resolution, use time-machine to "auto-thumbnail" periodically (e.g. discrete updates, rather than continuous), and display active / running content ONLY for tile where mouse / touch focus is on. In this way, less perceived "vertigo", better size pre-views, with even lower CPU use, etc.

 

This concept would could also be implemented on Altirra and its rock-solid, swiss-watch emulation core. That would be a wonderful addition, indeed.

 

Cheers!


Edited by Faicuai, Thu Oct 11, 2018 8:52 AM.


#15 remowilliams OFFLINE  

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Posted Thu Oct 11, 2018 8:49 AM

First thing I did is to check emulation core... with Acid800... 35 tests failed, 18 passes, 4 ignores... Compared with real HW, about 54 passed, there. Went back to Altirra (as I forgot altogether about Acid800 since years ago) and gets 52-53 passed. Also, could not get the std. 80-col handler running properly (auto-artifacts), and the 40-col text ouput is not 12:11 scaled for NTSC 4:3 viewing, either (thus looking warped horizontally). Could not get the colors right (self-test background green is way off the real rendering).

 

Shocking...    :roll:



#16 snicklin OFFLINE  

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Posted Thu Oct 11, 2018 1:27 PM

I've just tried it out and have been impressed with it. It's taken a little to get used to, but a lot less than other system I've come across (well done on that).

 

One thing that I'd like (or can't seem to do) is to have it auto-load everything in PAL (unless PAL doesn't work). I can switch to PAL but can't seem to say, "Default to PAL if you can".

 

The reason that I'd like to see that is because a game may work in NTSC but I am not used to seeing that version where the graphics look a bit different or the music plays quicker.



#17 Philsan ONLINE  

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Posted Thu Oct 11, 2018 1:43 PM

Thank you for the new release!

 

I would improve user friendliness, emulator's hallmark. For example, I would add files drag and drop feature (Altirra starts whatever file you drop).

 

For my needs I would improve emulator accuracy, but perhaps XFormer target are casual users.



#18 miker OFFLINE  

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Posted Thu Oct 11, 2018 2:58 PM

Windows went straight from 8 to 10. There is no 9.

8.1 was between them.



#19 alpental OFFLINE  

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Posted Thu Oct 11, 2018 3:28 PM

Thanks again, everybody for the feedback. I'll try and answer a few more of the questions.

 

I do realize that we still fail half the ACID tests, I've worked with that closely. However, in the interest of shipping, I've focused on the issues that actual programs need to run. I know of hardly any program that won't run because of the remaining failing ACID tests, and I've tested over 7,500 programs! We are about 99.5% compatible with programs designed for a standard 800/XL or XE. The ACID test was never meant to indicate that an emulator would not sucessfully run programs correctly, it is a fabulous and indispensible benchmark to test cycle accuracy of very specific hardware features and anomalies.

 

Which reminds me, I want to give a quick shout out to Avery and Altirra. The documentation provided to help other Atari enthusiasts was very helpful to me, both in making this emulator better and in my own understanding and enjoyment of Atari hardware. That 0.5% of programs that we don't run (and programs that use custom configured machines)? I would bet that Altirra would.

 

So what are XFormer's advantages? Our faster emulation, tiled interface and the fact that you don't have to select the kind of Atari system manually ("it just works") are the biggest. We hope to add something to this community by providing some new, fun features, and we hope that XFormer will be a great choice for some people's emulation needs. For instance, our emulation core is significantly faster than any other emulator. From my experiments, I think we're the only emulator that could make a tiled mode and be fast enough to support a full screen of tiles playing in real time. As you can see in our demo video, our emulator uses about 0.05% of the CPU per machine, and we have almost 200 tiles running visible on the screen in real time. And a small confession - we have not yet implemented Direct Draw support, so that's using GDI. When we get around to that, I expect we'll be able to make an even more ridiculous demo with 400 visible tiles. :-)



#20 alpental OFFLINE  

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Posted Thu Oct 11, 2018 3:35 PM

To answer some other questions: we do support drag an drop of a single file, and the File/Open Folder command adds new machines to the existing tiles. If you want to start fresh with new tiles, you'll want to play with the File/New Session and File/NewVM options to create tiles one by one, and use the Disk/Cartridge menu to mount the software. You can also Delete them one by one, even in tiled mode. For instance, hover over a tile and then "Alt-F, D" will make that tile go away.

 

If your mouse scrolls the tiles too slowly: there is a "Mouse wheel sensitivity" menu option.

 

There are a lot of other things you can do that aren't in the video, make sure to read the readme (Help/Online Documentation), it's pretty short. There's lots more you can do if you play with the menus that I should document, like the File options I talk about in the first paragraph.



#21 MrFish OFFLINE  

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Posted Thu Oct 11, 2018 3:44 PM

A couple useful additions for video would be the ability to turn off artifacting, and an option for bilinear filter.



#22 Wrathchild OFFLINE  

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Posted Thu Oct 11, 2018 4:10 PM

 For instance, our emulation core is significantly faster than any other emulator.

 

The feeling is that this is geared to a 'user' and not necessarily a developer at this point in time as I see no reference to a monitor/debug mode?



#23 scotty OFFLINE  

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Posted Thu Oct 11, 2018 4:56 PM

Impressive video etc.

But what about those who just have Windows 7, 8 or 9?

 

It just doesn't work?

 

Harvey

Works fine on Windows 7.   That is my daily driver.   Played with it for about an hour today.



#24 ACML OFFLINE  

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Posted Thu Oct 11, 2018 5:29 PM

Very nice.  I remember using Xformer 98.  Need a quick tip.  When I drag a file onto the icon, it always defaults to an 800.  How do I change the default to a 64K 800XL?



#25 scotty OFFLINE  

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Posted Thu Oct 11, 2018 5:37 PM

Danny & Derek.  I have been emulating since the Atari ST days.  Running Mac and PC on the ST, and got bit by the emulation bug ever since.  Used Xformer quite a bit back in the day.  Glad to see it is back again.  I played with it for about an hour or so today, and really liked what I saw.   That being said, it will not be replacing Altirra on my machine any time soon.  I plan to keep both on my system, but I use a lot of the features that Altirra has that Xformer just aint there yet.  Cassettes (with voice like Conversational Spanish, French etc...), other emulated hardware like the Ultimate 1MB, Rapidus and Side cart as well as others.   If I am just looking to play some games at the time, I will be firing up Xformer, as I love the grid interface.  Keep up the good work!!!   It is a great time to be an Atari 8-bit fan.






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