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  1. Hi all, In celebration of the 35th anniversary of Jet Set Willy this year, I've written a new definitive conversion of the game for the A8 from scratch featuring hi-res colour, 50/60Hz sprite/screen updates, bug fixes, the Rob Hubbard music and an accurate conversion of the sound effects. Back in February after taking a hiatus from A8 programming for a year, I was reading an issue of Retro Gamer magazine where they'd mentioned that Matthew Smith would be attending Play Expo here in Manchester in May. Inspired by the opportunity to meet Matthew in person I started to look into the technicalities of rewriting everything and developing a full colour recreation of the game as I did previously with Manic Miner. I didn't have any prior intention of creating a new conversion of JSW with other projects awaiting continuation but as I looked into it I thought why not surpass my previous effort with MM and so before long I'd started working on the game fully. I thought rewriting all of the procedures for the char based method would be a fun challenge and I certainly thoroughly enjoyed working on it over the months, particularily the realtime drawn rope. I spent considerable time planning and working on the implementation of the colouring for each room to ensure that the interupts and mid scan changes (where nessasary) were as optimal and minimal as possible. Whilst carefully designing all the room implementations with various trials and itterations I concluded that there were several that benefited from non-inverted colour ordering so I adapted all of my procedures to deal with both inverted and non-inverted rooms to achive the goal. I gave extra consideration to the "Entrance to Hades" death room. The colouring of the original game dictated that the large guardian sprite was dark but of course Miner Willy is always White in the game so this was another room that I decided I was able to work around things with non-inverted colour ordering and writing a special procedure specifically to calculate a sprite overlay for Miner Willy. With the design of the room I made it possible to free the missiles to utilise color3 with the 5th player for that purpose. You'll rarely ever see this room but in persuit of ensuring I did everything as best as possible I continued to make sure that all aspects of this classic were well represented in the final game. I've included the Rob Hubbard music from the A8's commercial release and the sound effects have been recreated to be accurate to the original Spectrum game. Developing the missing sound effects with Manic Miner was something I intended to come back to so that MM would be complete so I made sure to solve them whilst working on JSW. The original Spectrum beeper effects use short CPU hogging loops during runtime which resume again after a continuing pass of the game code to give that famous stuttered effect. With my version of the game being developed for single frame 50/60Hz, that wasn't an option so after contemplated a solution I considered making use of a POKEY timer to precisely cut the volume after a specified duration to accurately replicate the same effect. After discussions with both Avery and Lyren (many thanks to them) including integrating the keyboard IRQ into the procedure I had a working solution to implement. When I was initially mulling things over I wasn't sure whether it would be possible within the XLs stock 64Kb RAM as JSW is 3 times the size of MM with 60 rooms and with more developed procedures. JSW is also a free roaming game so I'd need to have additional buffers for the switch between the rooms. With the carefully written optimised interrupts, the RAM used for the 60 JSW rooms were within target and with everything else written there's unused RAM remaining from our usable 62kb even with the inclusion of the music. Many fixes have been implemented (or rather acknowledged and corrected) so the game is now presented more closely to how Matthew had originally intended. Firstly the official fixes released by Software Projects: There were four critical bugs with the released game which prevented completion. These were eventually addressed by Software Projects and these fixes have all been taken care of with this new A8 version. The most famous bug of all in JSW was the Attic bug, this was caused by an incorrect y-coordinate of an arrow definition, one of the bytes is an index into a table of screen buffer addresses and should always be an even number, but the value of the byte was 213 making the arrow procedure overwrite and corrupt several rooms making them impossible to navigate. The official fix corrected the arrow y-coordinate. One item on the far right in "Conservatory Roof" was also uncollectable as a nasty was blocking it, the official fix removed the nasty. In The Banyan Tree it was impossible to access the room above (A bit of tree) from the right-hand side which is nessasary as you need to access "Conservatory Roof" to collect the items via the ledge on the lower left in Under the Roof. the official fix replaced a wall tile with a floor allowing you to pass. There was an invisible item in "First Landing" which was also unreachable. As you need to collect all the items this meant that the game could never be completed. The official fix moved the item to The Hall where it still remained invisible. I've taken the liberty of giving the item there a definition of a shield for the A8. Other less obvious bugs: The conveyors in "West of Kitchen", "The Nightmare Room", "The Wine Cellar" and, "Tool Shed" were all actually corrupted. This was caused by a bug in the room rendering code. If a graphic data byte for one of the room tiles matched the attribute byte of the conveyor tile to be drawn, the Z80 CPIR instruction exits early leaving HL pointing at the wrong address and therefore rendering a corrupted conveyor. Additionally with "The Nightmare Room" the attribute byte for the conveyor was shifted by one byte back making it appear flashing green/cyan rather than the correct red definition. The conveyors are now presented in all of those rooms as originally intended by Matthew. Furthermore in "The Nightmare Room" with the byte shifted back it fixes the definition of the ramp which previously had a gap at the bottom. The same bug in the code causing the CPIR instruction to exit early also caused the nasties down the right hand side of "A bit of tree" to be corrupted. I decided to leave that one alone as it doesn't affect the game and I'd rather it stay the same not to make unessasary changes and keep the game as it's remembered. The item in the Swimming Pool was automatically collected as soon as Willy entered the room. This bug does not occur in the new A8 release. Contradictary to the scrolling title screen message that Willy must collect all the items before midnight, The original game ended abruptly at 1am regardless. This has been fixed in the new A8 release. Using the Spectrum map created by Pavros in 2012, I've created my own map with screenshots of all of the 60 rooms which is attached below. Key presses during gameplay: H - Toggle between music and sound effects (Your last status will also be remembered when starting a new game) A - Pause Attached is my initial v1.0 release which is PAL only for the moment, I'll get around to the nessasary ammendments for NTSC machines. You should be able to load from any device, I've attached an ATR with the executable autobooting on a DOS2.5 image. I hope you enjoy playing through the game. Tezz Edit: the original attachments have now been replaced with the single byte I missed whilst preparing the compression fixed. (These are the same attachments from post #52 8/10/19) I'll post the final NTSC and PAL release next. jsw2019.xex jsw2019.atr
  2. This message is to give advance notice that I've decided to put advertising on AtariAge. It's not an easy decision, and I've always been against putting ads on AtariAge, but this policy is slowly putting me in the hole due to the increasing costs of hosting the site and it's time for me to turn that around. Anyone using the internet is no stranger to advertisements on just about any website that gets a reasonable amount of traffic (and many that get very little traffic at all). AtariAge has grown a fair bit since its early days in 2001 when the site initially launched. Back then, the site ran on a single server, and the costs were relatively benign. Fast forward to today and AtariAge now runs on three dedicated servers, one for the web server, one for the database server, and a third development server that also provides free hosting for a number of classic gaming sites (such as atariprotos.com, ataricollector.com, atarimac.com, videogamevariations.com, xegs8bit.com, and more.) Hosting alone for AtariAge is over $600 a month. There are various recurring software costs as well, such as for the Invision forum software (about $300 a year), store software, plugins and themes used for the forums, third-party services such as Cloudflare and CleanTalk.org (spam filtering service). And this doesn't even begin to speak to the huge amount of time I spend running the servers, making sure they are kept up to date, upgrading software, answering emails and PMs, and so forth. Initially the AtariAge Store was conceived as a means to help pay for the hosting. But the store is basically a job in its own right. It's very time consuming to build and ship games, and releasing batches of new games requires a large chunk of cash up front (I'm spending a small fortune at the moment preparing to release 10+ new games for PRGE). Given the time I spend working on building and shipping games, I'm certainly making a very low hourly rate. I feel the prices for games in the AtariAge Store is pretty reasonable given the quality of the games and printed materials and the time that goes into their production. I could always raise the price of games in the store, but I don't want to drive people away from homebrew games. I also spend a good amount of money and time preparing for any shows I attend, most notably the Portland Retro Gaming Expo. Even though there's a nice surge of sales due to release of new games at PRGE, I'd likely have those same sales in the online store without having to attend the show. But it's nice to get out there and introduce more people to AtariAge and the large homebrew scene across various consoles. And to see all the AtariAge members who attend the show and visit the booth. This is something I'd prefer to continue doing, even though it is a drain in resources (time and money). So, back to ads. I'm leaving a good chunk of change on the table by not having ads on the site. Forum subscriptions help a small amount, and I greatly appreciate everyone who's signed up for a subscription. But it's not a significant amount overall, especially relative to the hosting costs. Also, I spent roughly $3,000 total on the recent forum upgrade and server move, and this is outside the normal hosting costs. A good portion of that was having a fourth dedicated parallel server I was using for working on the forum/site upgrade, and it's that new server that became the current web server you're using to visit AtariAge (the old server was retired after the switch). But other costs included paying professional designers/developers to create the custom AtariAge theme for the forum, as well as various custom plugins to replace modifications I made to the previous version of the software (such as the ability to indefinitely edit posts in certain forums). Ads will be placed on the main website and the forums. I'm not going to place ads in the store, since it seems a bit overboard to have ads in a store where you're selling items (I'm looking at you, eBay!) Ads will appear below the header, mixed a few times with content on the page, and at the bottom of the page. More ads will be shown to guests than to those logged in. Subscribers will not see ads on the forum, but you'll still see them on the main site (there's no login associated with the main site, so no real way to filter those out). There will be no obnoxious pop-up ads, no ads that cover a good portion of your screen, no video ads, and no ads that autoplay audio. I will use revenue from the ads to help make AtariAge better in several ways. One of the first things I'd like to do is hire professional developers to revamp and expand the main games database. This is something I've wanted to do for some time, as that area of the site is woefully out of date and very much in need of updates. But I simply have not had the time to do so. I also want to upgrade the store to completely new software, and as part of that upgrade, allow digital purchases of homebrew games for authors that want to offer that as an option. I'd be able to hire developers to make improvements to the forum software beyond what's already done. This could also help finance projects such as getting new cartridge shells made for the 2600 and other systems. And this may allow me to setup an AtariAge booth at more shows across the country, versus just one or two shows a year as I've been doing for a while now. I wanted to give everyone a heads up that this was coming, rather than the appearance of ads being a surprise. I welcome any feedback on this issue and look forward to your thoughts. Thank you, ..Al
  3. It took a long time, but here it is finally. Ever since I found it in the archive this summer I've been trying to find a way to get this ROM available. After many failed attempts we finally have it!! Special thanks to Thomas Jentzsch for all of his help in getting this done. This works in the latest version of Stella which should be available soon after you read this. After many years I can say it's about time this cat was let out of the bag!! Pursuit of the Pink Panther.bin
  4. Following several months of development and testing and one year after the prior update (version 2), I'm pleased to announce the release of version 3.00 of the 'alt' firmware for the Ultimate 1MB, Incognito, 1088XEL/XLD, and SIDE/SIDE2. Please head over to the firmware page of my website to download the updates: https://atari8.co.uk/firmware/ New features: Number of BIOS configuration profiles increased from three to four Massively faster and more powerful loader search facility Loader’s built-in FAT DOS now supports subdirectories Loader now remembers the last accessed FAT folder Loader scripts may include paths Loader can now open the location of any already mounted image Usability improvements to the loader and BIOS setup menu Optional synthetic ‘IO sound’ with ATRs and hard disk partitions Improved loader compatibility Auto-booting banked cartridge conversions on SIDE/SIDE2 All hardware-specific HDD functionality moved to plugins Several important bug fixes This thread will cover any installation and usability issues, and discussion of any further updates and fixes. Documentation has also been heavily revised, and we have the exciting prospect of ebiguy's excellent OSS language cart conversions for SIDE/SIDE2. I will be making some quick-start videos when I get time; for now the task of simply getting everything prepared and uploaded was daunting enough. Thanks to the volunteers who tested the beta and release candidate versions, and I hope everyone enjoys the end result.
  5. SONGBIRD ACQUIRES CLASSIC GAMING PROPERTIES For immediate release: ROCHESTER, MN -- Songbird Productions is pleased to announce the acquisition of multiple classic gaming properties, including: The entire HandMade Software library, except for Kasumi Ninja, including games such as Awesome Golf and Battlezone 2000 Battlemorph by ATD Gordo 106 by Tenth Planet Software Lynx Super Skweek by Loriciel Othello by Harry Dodgson "Songbird has enjoyed two decades of supporting diehard Atari fans with new games for old systems," said Carl Forhan, founder of Songbird. "I look forward to a new wave of products that can incorporate these incredible games for the benefit of all gamers worldwide." Songbird Productions is a premier game developer and publisher for the Atari Lynx and Jaguar. To keep up to date with the latest news at Songbird Productions, be sure to visit the company web site at http://songbird-productions.com . This message may be reprinted in its entirety.
  6. In honor of Stephen Wrenn Smith, Good Deal Games is releasing the ROM to his excellent ROAD DUEL game. I think that Stephen would approve if he was still with us. I want as many people to be able to play his game as possible. In case you don't know, Stephen was the first and only legally blind programmer to design and program a game for the Atari 2600. I was honored when he chose my little company to publish it. Due to several interruptions resulting from health issues (such as cardiac arrest) the typical 4-9 month development cycle was prolonged to over seven years. Regardless, he pulled off his childhood dream of making his own Atari game and I was so proud of him. KUDOS again to you, buddy! May you get a perfect score playing 'Road Duel' in Heaven. The conventions won't be the same without you. Best, Michael of GDG's Homebrew Heaven www.GoodDealGames.com Road Duel.bas.bin
  7. The news that Rob Wyatt hasn't been paid for 6 months comes personally as no surprise whatsoever. As many of you who know me personally remember, I ran Legacy Engineering, well I was hired by Fred Chesnais to develop the Gene Simmons Axe Controller for guitar hero. I spent 6 months and put over $90k out of my own pocket to develop the controller and have several golden sample prototypes made. I was given a song and dance about getting royalties and such... well in June of 2008 I had to be admitted to the hospital for emergency open heart surgery. I suffered a severe heart infection and had to go in for emergency heart surgery. While I'm in the hospital, Freddy calls me and desperately asks if I could get the prototypes out to him, he needs to get them to Gene Simmons immediately as Gene is going to put them on his show and announce them. So I had someone get them packed and shipped to Freddy, well he took them, they never went to Gene, they went right to Freddy's friend up in Canada at Beat Street, they reverse engineered the samples (since they weren't protected yet and everything was on development boards inside) and had cheap knock offs made. He told me that they couldn't get on the show in time, after several weeks of recovering I finally called to get the status on the project, he said it was canceled which was a lie. He ended up bankrupting my consultancy and I was out all of my investment, my prototypes and royalties... sounds like he basically has done the exact same thing to Rob Wyatt. Freddy is a serial scumbag. BTW, notice how while they dangled all of the eye candy, they put in a small disclaimer --- the first units won't have any OS... that's because there isn't one, Atari also quietly announced that they have dropped development of their own custom linux distro. There won't be an OS, they'll give you your box and you're on your own. You of course could've just bought any of the Ryzen dev boards that are currently out there now and gotten what Atari is pushing for $300...
  8. I've been made aware of some fun lies spread by an ignorant halfwit. "yes we get more and more reports by customers. Have a look to the jagsd pictures. Too thick pcb plus no rounded edges like the skunkboard. So if you have the wrong angle you smash the pins. Most likely the card also consumes more than the 300mA allowed like all other memory cards" Ok, lets take this one point at a time. "Too thick pcb" Ignoring the poor grammar, lets have a look at the evidence. Hey! Would you look at that! The JagGD PCB is THINNER than the stock Jaguar game PCB. So it's actually EASIER on the cartridge slot. Lets call that lie number 1. Next point -- "no rounded edges like the skunkboard". I assume this means beveled edges, as that's the important factor when inserting card edges into sockets. Hey, check that out, they're both beveled by the same amount! Who'd have thought? Sheesh, it's like the guy has never actually SEEN one of the PCB's. Fancy that? So, that's lie number 2. Lets see if we can make it a hat-trick. So, the allegation is that it "consumes more than the 300mA allowed". Ok, I run the cart off one single 300ma 3.3v regulator, which is about 200ma at 5v. So, yeah, we'll go with 3 lies. Sweet. A hat trick of lies. To what end, though? Not sure. Thank-you, and goodnight.
  9. I'm pleased to announce the release of firmware version 3.02 for the Ultimate 1MB, Incognito, 1088XEL/XLD and SIDE/SIDE2. Since the update's primary purpose is to correct issues present in the version 3.00 and earlier released, it is highly recommended for all users. Please head over to the firmware page of my website to download the updates: https://atari8.co.uk/firmware/ New Features (over version 2.01) Include: Number of BIOS configuration profiles increased from three to four Massively faster and more powerful loader search facility Loader’s built-in FAT DOS now supports subdirectories Loader now remembers the last accessed FAT folder Loader scripts may include paths Loader can now open the location of any already mounted image Usability improvements to the loader and BIOS setup menu Optional synthetic ‘IO sound’ with ATRs and hard disk partitions Improved loader compatibility Auto-booting banked cartridge conversions on SIDE/SIDE2 Bug Fixes For users who previously updated to version 3.00 in July, the following fixes/changes have been implemented: Loader Fixed: Unnamed FAT entries missing from partition list Fixed: Selected entry not consistently tracked during search Fixed: SIDE2 displayed as 'SIDE1' in stand-alone loader's device menu Fixed: Logged directory cluster number corrupted after MAP file processing Changed: Boot drive override (to D1:) now issued on restart if a disk image exists on drive 1 (instead of immediately after mount operation) Changed: No boot drive override issued when 'Boot SpartaDOS X' is selected (allows easy booting from CONFIG.SYS drive after mounting ATRs) BIOS Changed: message and menu item wording Changed: progress bar code rewritten for brevity Added: L+RESET starts loader if SELECT+RESET coldstart hotkey is enabled PBI BIOS Fixed: SIO status command now reliably returns enhanced density bit in first byte (DVSTAT) for 130K ATRs Fixed: Dummy format command now returns error if enhanced density format attempted on single density (90K) ATR Changed: Boot drive override clears after first use Changed: SIO status command for device $20 now returns complement of controller error register in second byte (as per device $3x) Feedback If anyone notices any screw-ups, please let me know directly or via this thread. I sat on this update for several days purely because changing just one byte of code in the firmware necessitates the complete re-assembly of a many ROMs and ATR images, which is repetitive and even excruciating process, especially when one notices a bug while demoing the software on video. As usual: please use this thread to report your experiences, both positive and otherwise. Videos As mentioned above, I've made a couple of videos which attempt to demonstrate some of the more useful features of the SIDE Loader, both stand-alone and when used in conjunction with Ultimate 1MB. The same methodologies apply by and large to Incognito and the 1088XEL/XLD. I'll be making more of these videos, since there's still more to cover regarding advanced usage.
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