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retroclouds last won the day on November 16 2015

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  1. @fabrice montupet It might be worthwile to dump the ROMS with the Armadillo Basic (if not already out there). There are definitely quite some differences between that one and XB II. Would make it interesting to run Armadillo Basic in MAME.
  2. I also looked at the various XOP's used in the ABASIC source. The XOP's that get called in the source code are of following categories: FIVE SIX SEVEN EIGHT NINE TEN Comparing with what Ninerpedia says: https://www.ninerpedia.org/wiki/MDOS_XOP_Definitions 5 Keyboard 6 Video display 7 Memory Management 8 Device Operation 9 Utility functions 10 Mathematical function So it seems that MDOS OS calls are used to its full potential, throughout the ABASIC source code. Conclusion I can say -that unless you also backport most of MDOS to the TI-99/4a as some kind of compatibility layer-, this makes it impossible to run ABASIC on the TI-99/4a. Backporting all used MDOS calls, including argument compatibility is certainly not for the faint of heart. That's a task that would require multiple years. So I guess this rules out ABASIC as starting point for XBII port on the TI-99/4a. That doesn't mean all is lost though. I'm quite sure that certain part of that code is used on the TI-99/4a as well. Guess it's back to square 1: Look at Myarc XBII that runs with 128K OS. Do some comparisons with Armadillo Basic internal design document Do some disassembly, diagnose what memory is used by using MAME debugger, etc.
  3. Today I compared the value stack as described in the Armadillo Basic Internal design document with the value stack definition in the ABASIC assembly source. That part seems to have been completely reworked by Myarc and does not match the Armadillo Basic spec.
  4. That what I also thought in the beginning as well. Now I'm not so sure anymore. Having a good documented assembly source is a very valuable tool. At this time I'm still trying to better understand how well the Armadillo Basic internal design document matches with the ABASIC assembly source. Also the source code is really well documented, and it looks that it's pretty modular as well. Perhaps starting from the assembly source is not as bad as it sounds, but guess it's still too early to tell. EDIT: I stand corrected, the use of the many MDOS XOP calls (as Beery already pointed out), makes it impossible to backport ABASIC to the TI-99/4a
  5. Yesterday, I looked at the Armadillo Basic document specifying the statement dispatch table with equates for the basic tokens. Then I compared with the ABASIC (3.0) source code. I can confirm that for the most part the token labels and token values match with the document. There were a few tokens that had a changed token label, but I presume they still do the same functionality (if I understand the abbreviation in the label name correctly). Have to recheck and confirm, but I think there were only 3 token values that were unused in Armadillo Basic and are allocated in ABASIC.
  6. At this time I see 2 possibilities for getting Myarc XB II to run on the TI-99/4a: Use the existing Myarc XB II with the 128K OS. Requirements: SAMS, FGROM or superspace cart, floppy drive Work involved: disassemble cartridge image, get to understand everthing, create new image Advantage: Could be sufficient to replace the memory handling functions located in cartridge space Disadvantage: No assembly source, reduced feature set compared to ABASIC, more bugs? Doing changes or bugfixes to XB II would be very hard to do, if not impossible Backport ABASIC 4.05 to the TI-99/4a Requirements: SAMS, FGROM or superspace cart, F18a? Work involved: Get to understand inner workings Backport ABASIC to the TI-99/4a Advantage: Source code available, most recent version 4.05 could be used as starting point for backport Changes, new features and bugfixes to XBII possible Disadvantage: Iron out architecture differences between the 9640 and TI-99/4a MDOS XOPs (scanned source code and counted 61 XOP calls) PAB handling CRU usage Rework memory handling / paging Rewrite 9938 VDP code (replace with F18a code?)
  7. Why not just poll pi.clock and trigger actions from there?
  8. I know they are all closely related, but what about ABASIC on the Geneve. Is it also a derivate of XB II on the TI99-4a or is it a direct port of Armadillo Basic on the 99/8?
  9. Cool, thanks for the update Klaus, appreciate it a lot. I'll check out the 99/8 system source code disk images in the next few days. From what we have so far, it looks that close to 10 machines are out there.
  10. Thanks for the update, that is most interesting. I read the Armadillo Basic specification document again. I don't have a release date on that document, but I presume it's one of the early documents (1982?). From that I understand that TI planned Armadillo Basic to be the new standard (Basic) interpreter in the 99/8. And Extended Basic (II) was meant to be a true extension of that standard interpreter and not a separate interpreter. Perhaps it was so, that during the early design phase they planned Extended Basic (II) to be an addon (cartridge?). During a later 99/8 implementation phase, they then changed their mind and replaced Armadillo Basic with Extended Basic II ? I also have the document that outlines the design of the basic/extended basic interface, with the goal of minimizing compatibility problems between the two basics.
  11. Do we have a timeline to compare the TI Basic in the 99/2 with Extended Basic II on the 99/8. It's confirmed that the TI-Basic on the 99/2 is a complete rewrite in assembly language (but lacking graphics manipulation commands on the 99/2).
  12. I'm trying to find out how many Atariage visiters actually own a 99/8. The word is there are about 150 preproduction units built. So, how many of these did survive and are in (more or less) active use. Also, I checked the 99/8 documents found on whtech. Are there more? I am especially interested in technical design documents on XBII (I'm especially interested in the later ones, around 1984). The ones I know are listed here: It is quite a fascinating machine, so I'd like to get as much information as possible. Also does anyone have a 99/8 revision with TI Basic (next to Extended Basic II) built-in? Or are there only XB II machines out there? Obviously also related in 99/8 source code, especially for the Extended Basic II.
  13. As far as graphical capability is concerned, software has to be written. Why not concentrate on the F18a. It already opens up a ton of possibilities. I have barely seen any coleco games make us of what the F18a has to offer (which is a lot more than just VGA output). Do know that the F18a has been very hard to get in the last recent years. But with the MKII almost finished and the F18a core in the Phoenix, the sky is the limit.
  14. Guess for the most part, everyone rolls their own. My take on it can be found here: https://github.com/FilipVanVooren/spectra2/blob/master/spectra2 reference manual.pdf As part of my Stevie editor I have done many, many changes since the original release of my spectra2 library. But at its core its still the same though.
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