Jump to content

Photo

Future is floppy less


9 replies to this topic

#1 ParanoidLittleMan OFFLINE  

ParanoidLittleMan

    Stargunner

  • 1,676 posts

Posted Sun Apr 14, 2019 12:13 PM

Well, for some it is present. Myself barely using floppies in last 10 years. The reasons are well known: low reliability - old disks, drives, not possible to get new ones. And I would add factor of price. SD cards, Flash cards generally are now cheap, and can hold thousands of floppy images.

 

One of main features of my improved TOS 1.04/1.62 is Virtual Floppy. It is little similar to Floppy Image Runner, but can much more with less RAM.

I made little demonstration YT video where can see how it works - with image mounting utility SW in early stage.

 

But it can much more: can use very large pseudo floppy image files, even over 20 MB size, where can place multiple floppies content. And all it can work on machines with only 512 KB RAM - well what normally works with so much.   I will update this thread soon with more details and features. Need more supporting SW.

 

And new release of Block Out: http://atari.8bitchi.../B/blockout.php

4 versions available - for 4 diverse medias .



#2 ParanoidLittleMan OFFLINE  

ParanoidLittleMan

    Stargunner

  • Topic Starter
  • 1,676 posts

Posted Wed Apr 17, 2019 2:46 AM

Second demo video: 

 

 At start pointing on large image sizes - like 6 MB for Elvira 2 . Possible even more, so can put content of several floppies in single image file, what will act as logical drive A: . Here mounting 3 types of images:

1. Blockout - regular floppy image, same as what runs from real floppies

2. Elvira 2 - large image, with content of 6 floppy disks, space for game saves. It is actually FAT16 format, since FAT12 is max 4 MB .

3. Stardust - 2 MB image, and because this game uses direct floppy controller access, it was needed to make some changes in it's code - based on hard disk adaptation. You may see that there are no regular files on this image, when switching to it. The benefits: less RAM needed - no need for disk cache. Higher speed - no need to RAM swaps as in VHDload concept based systems. Hard disk access is with TOS ROM code. Waitings in this video are because slower depackers in games. Basically, you can run 512 KB games from hard disk with this well on machines with only 512 KB. Or 1MB games with 1 MB RAM .

And of course, not only for gaming. Those who made images (ST, MSA) of their floppies, with own SW, data can use them well, without need to write on real floppy disks, HxC . Just copy on SD card for Atari .



#3 Bikerbob OFFLINE  

Bikerbob

    Dragonstomper

  • 714 posts
  • Location:Mississauga ON Canada

Posted Wed Apr 17, 2019 7:28 AM

Hey Peter is there a way to save drive setups?? for example you put three into drive A that last video.. if That was a common setup for me.. could I save that? so that I did not have to set it up each time I loaded the floppy emu?

 

James



#4 256 colors ONLINE  

256 colors

    Moonsweeper

  • 298 posts
  • Location:Lost in a 16/512 color World

Posted Wed Apr 17, 2019 8:34 AM

Nice YouTube channel lots of games I've never seen just subbed



#5 ParanoidLittleMan OFFLINE  

ParanoidLittleMan

    Stargunner

  • Topic Starter
  • 1,676 posts

Posted Wed Apr 17, 2019 10:25 AM

Hey Peter is there a way to save drive setups?? for example you put three into drive A that last video.. if That was a common setup for me.. could I save that? so that I did not have to set it up each time I loaded the floppy emu?

 

James

Setup remains on drive (media as SD card) until selecting and putting there new image files. So, when turn on machine later, need only to run that Virtual Image tool and click on Activate button without adding any images to A or B . That will reactivate latest setting.  I working on adding there option to list mounted images and to be able to select active one for A: and B:   . This is all matter of supporting SW, what can be developed later by time, without need to change TOS self.



#6 ParanoidLittleMan OFFLINE  

ParanoidLittleMan

    Stargunner

  • Topic Starter
  • 1,676 posts

Posted Mon Apr 22, 2019 6:31 AM

And one video more: Space Ace . It is on 4 floppies, and I did Dragon's Lair 1-3 too - latest is on 7 floppies.

Best thing is that it all work with 512 KB RAM only too .

 

Converting existing hard disk adaptations for Virtual Floppy usually goes fast. So far did: Warhead, Kristal, Stardust, Giana Sisters, Space Ace 1-2, Dragon's Lair 1-3, Awesome, Potsworth & Co.

This are with direct floppy access, so some changes in code are needed. In lot of cases can use regular floppy image, since about 60% of games using floppy access via TOS . Like Blockout, Dungeon Master, Elvira 2 ... Of course, copy protection must be deactivated (cracked) .



#7 ParanoidLittleMan OFFLINE  

ParanoidLittleMan

    Stargunner

  • Topic Starter
  • 1,676 posts

Posted Thu May 2, 2019 2:46 AM

And latest demonstration video for now. It is practically complete - I added all what planned.

Can see features which make usage easier. May go in Virtual Floppy mode right after power on/cold boot by pressing key v . Then last config activates. AUTO run can be prevented by holding down right Shift key - then go to Desktop, where can change active image.
Active images for A or B can be selected with VFutil PRG. Can select some other configuration/container file too. So, all it can go pretty fast and simple, and you can quickly return to some your old images, configs. And there is option to save image to file - that's welcome if there are changes in it's content made in VF mode.

Short desync after reset is because I did it with US TOS, which starts at 60 Hz, and my capture card supports not it, so switching to 50 Hz when logo and input time countdown appears.



#8 ParanoidLittleMan OFFLINE  

ParanoidLittleMan

    Stargunner

  • Topic Starter
  • 1,676 posts

Posted Thu May 2, 2019 7:43 AM

Page with description, usage manual, some explanations: http://atari.8bitchi...tualFloppy.html



#9 ParanoidLittleMan OFFLINE  

ParanoidLittleMan

    Stargunner

  • Topic Starter
  • 1,676 posts

Posted Mon May 6, 2019 7:57 AM

I made tests with some 30 games, just by alphabet:

  Virtual Floppy compatibility test #1

Working well:

10 Frame
1943
1st Division Manager
20000 Lieues Sous Les Mers
221 Baker Street
23 Games on 1 floppy (Arkanoid ... Uridium)
3D Break Thru
3D Pool
5th Gear
1789 La Revolution Fr.
8 Ball

A320 Airbus
Academy
Action Fighter
Action Service
Addictaball
Adrenalynn
Adventurer
Advanced Fruit Machine Sim.
Advanced Rugby Sim.
Affaire
African Raiders


Not:

9 Lives

Aaargh!
Acidopolis
Addams Family
Advanced Destroyer Sim.
Adventures of Robin Hood
Advantage Tennis
Afterburner
After the War
AGE
Aigle D'Or


The reason for not working is usually direct floppy access in SW code. It is used in some cases for data access, in some only in copy protection test. This are mostly cracks, but there may be remains of protection - not fully removed - passes test on systems with floppy, and not without floppy. This problem is well known for me, since I needed to remove all floppy access in hard disk adaptations, so all it can be fixed. Of course, quality games are which are of interest in first place, and worth of time. Some are fixed already.

 

Images are from:  http://atari.8bitchi...STGA/astgam.php

Floppy images there are mostly cleaned up from diverse crap, made compatible with higher TOS versions, as much is possible + possible improvements, bug fixes. But there is still lot of it what is not tested enough good, especially diverse cracks. Bugs are possible even in originals as we know. Feedback is welcome. I still dream of some Atari SW database about SW compatibility - on diverse Atari machines, TOS versions, even RAM size. + possible bugs, problems. Differences between versions, etc.
 


Edited by ParanoidLittleMan, Mon May 6, 2019 8:05 AM.


#10 Cyprian_K OFFLINE  

Cyprian_K

    Chopper Commander

  • 142 posts

Posted Mon May 6, 2019 11:55 AM

well done ParanoidLittleMan




0 user(s) are browsing this forum

0 members, 0 guests, 0 anonymous users