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The Tail of Beta Lyrae - Washouts

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Currently playing this in the HSC. I have original disk. Nearly every load the game 'washes out' mid go: the background goes light grey and your ship vanishes just leaving the thrusters. Same on A800 and 130XE. Physically loads ok. Occasionally loads and plays ok. Others have had the problem so it's not just me.

 

All the ATR's and XEX versions I can find have corrupted sound effects (the gun sound is not right, music slows/goes off key at times, other random noises) plus the collision detection is delayed compared to the original (you hit something and the explosion happens a second later compared to instantly in the original).

 

Is it possible the copy protetion is failing and the game loads and thinks it's a copy and then has this washout programmed in deliberately to prevent play :?:

 

Is there no decent ATR/XEX version of this great game out there :?:

 

:?

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Yup, the VAPI version doesn't have the gun sound and collision detection problems at least.

 

I loaded up the VAPI version in Altirra, and it looks like the copy protection is four phantom sectors on track 39. The game may be sensitive to disk timing.

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Is it possible the copy protetion is failing and the game loads and thinks it's a copy and then has this washout programmed in deliberately to prevent play :?:

 

PP was one of the best A8 coders, but with all due respect to him, he was a bit "paranoid" when it comes to copy protection.

 

I didn't check the protection on TOBL, but I checked some other of PP protections. He used to push protections to the limit, and sometimes this produced compatibility issues.

 

Bottom line, I wouldn't be surprised if TOBL is very sensitive to timing, to PAL vs NTSC, and even to 1050 firmware versions.

 

Note that there are multiple different "types" (minor version variations) of the original Datamost release.

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Currently playing this in the HSC. I have original disk.

 

I just noted you are at the Uk. So the question is which version of the original disk are you using? The US one (Datamost), or the Uk one (Databyte). And your computers are PAL or NTSC?

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Currently playing this in the HSC. I have original disk. Nearly every load the game 'washes out' mid go: the background goes light grey and your ship vanishes just leaving the thrusters. Same on A800 and 130XE. Physically loads ok. Occasionally loads and plays ok. Others have had the problem so it's not just me.

 

All the ATR's and XEX versions I can find have corrupted sound effects (the gun sound is not right, music slows/goes off key at times, other random noises) plus the collision detection is delayed compared to the original (you hit something and the explosion happens a second later compared to instantly in the original).

 

Is it possible the copy protetion is failing and the game loads and thinks it's a copy and then has this washout programmed in deliberately to prevent play :?:

 

Is there no decent ATR/XEX version of this great game out there :?:

 

:?

 

None of the ATR/XEX worked on any of my machines-- Atari 800, 800XL, XE or GS. Note that I'm using my own SIO2PC2JOYSTICK2BACKTOSIO and it doesn't employ any tricks for copy protected software; it's just straight forward 19200 bps through SIO. However, I do notice that if I upload a ROM image of Millipede to same location as the cartridge in RAM it runs fine except the collision detection is offset by some (x,y) so I guess they do use collision detection offsetting as a means of copy protection.

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I remember being impressed by the game (pirate executable copy) but virtually never playing it.

 

I'm fairly sure the explosions from stuff you shot could also kill you - an instant turnoff in itself for a game in my mind.

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I remember being impressed by the game (pirate executable copy) but virtually never playing it.

 

I'm fairly sure the explosions from stuff you shot could also kill you - an instant turnoff in itself for a game in my mind.

 

I don't know if mine is a pirate version but the collisions are definitely off and not consistent. Assuming that this is due to copy protection, the game has good potential if they didn't make some of those caves/cities undoable. At least River-raid the terrain is always do-able, but not in this game. And the SAT type scoring is terrible. I can get higher scores sometimes by doing less levels. Collide into the quasar after shooting it and get about 800+ points.

post-16716-12663010965_thumb.jpg

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Currently playing this in the HSC. I have original disk.

 

I just noted you are at the Uk. So the question is which version of the original disk are you using? The US one (Datamost), or the Uk one (Databyte). And your computers are PAL or NTSC?

It's a Databyte disk - I played this same disk years ago on the same 130XE (PAL) but it is a different 1050 drive so maybe it is the drive timing. The 'grey screen washouts' are really annoying but then sometimes go away and stay away after a few goes. Generally happens during the first sector of the game and not in the 2nd sector. Occasionally you can play through to sector 3 before it happens :x

 

Do people think this is a feature of the copy protection :?:

 

I'm not really clued up on VAPI images, can they be used via APE, can they be pulled down to a real disk, is there a user guide somewhere :?:

Thanks

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Do people think this is a feature of the copy protection :?:

 

I'm going to guess very likely yes, Philip Price is known to have favored rather extreme copy protection.

 

 

I'm not really clued up on VAPI images, can they be used via APE, can they be pulled down to a real disk, is there a user guide somewhere :?: Thanks

 

You cannot write VAPI images to a real floppy. You can run them in an emulator, or on real hardware via APE. To use a VAPI image with APE (3.0.2), simply download the VAPI .DLL and place it in the same directory as ape.exe. You will then be able to mount (as read only) and run VAPI images.

 

VAPI web site

 

Atarimania VAPI section

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Currently playing this in the HSC. I have original disk.

 

I just noted you are at the Uk. So the question is which version of the original disk are you using? The US one (Datamost), or the Uk one (Databyte). And your computers are PAL or NTSC?

It's a Databyte disk - I played this same disk years ago on the same 130XE (PAL) but it is a different 1050 drive so maybe it is the drive timing. The 'grey screen washouts' are really annoying but then sometimes go away and stay away after a few goes. Generally happens during the first sector of the game and not in the 2nd sector. Occasionally you can play through to sector 3 before it happens :x

 

Do people think this is a feature of the copy protection :?:

 

I'm not really clued up on VAPI images, can they be used via APE, can they be pulled down to a real disk, is there a user guide somewhere :?:

Thanks

 

I just tried copying the ATR to a real disk and it's worse than using the disk simulator. At least I get the title screen and the music with the simulator but it doesn't even get that far with the real disk.

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ive got a straight from my disk atr at my house gimme an hour ill post it.

 

Make sure it works-- some back-ups have joystick issues (game loads properly but joystick doesn't work), some have collision issues, some have loading issues, etc.

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Thanks for all the replies, looking forward to the ATR kernal :thumbsup:

 

Some more info: It looks like it happens at the end/start of a subsector but only during sectors 1 and 3 (and others) of the game and not at all during sector 2. When you die the colours reset ok but the problem can occur on every life. When it is in the 'washed-out state' at the end/start of the subsector the incorrect grey background flashes (as if it wasn't off-putting enough!). After a few goes of ignoring it and usually crashing into a rock the game seems to rectify itself totally ;)

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I had a store bought copy of this back in the day and played it frequently. I had no 'fadeout' issues when playing from that disk on my NTSC 800XL and 1050 drive. I also played through all zones many times but I had fairly decent reflexes and lots of time to play as a homework neglecting 14 year old. So while the game is a tolerably difficult shooter it CAN be finished.

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Thanks for all the replies, looking forward to the ATR kernal :thumbsup:

 

Some more info: It looks like it happens at the end/start of a subsector but only during sectors 1 and 3 (and others) of the game and not at all during sector 2. When you die the colours reset ok but the problem can occur on every life. When it is in the 'washed-out state' at the end/start of the subsector the incorrect grey background flashes (as if it wasn't off-putting enough!). After a few goes of ignoring it and usually crashing into a rock the game seems to rectify itself totally ;)

 

I got it running finally but it still has minor issues like delayed collisions and no collisions when there should be (negative for the player), joystick jams in cave level sometimes so you can't move up nor down for a few seconds, and sounds through the console speaker (perhaps that's a feature). It still won't load on any XL/XE machine, but it loaded on my Atari 800 (2nd one). The first one had a 65c02 so looks like it won't work on 65c02 processors nor 6502c processors.

 

It may be looking for a "c" in the processor and preventing functioning based on that. Atari 800 doesn't have a "c" in it's processor name.

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ive got a straight from my disk atr at my house gimme an hour ill post it.

 

You must follow the relativity of time theory where your one hour expires and one week expires for the rest of us.

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I had a store bought copy of this back in the day and played it frequently. I had no 'fadeout' issues when playing from that disk on my NTSC 800XL and 1050 drive. I also played through all zones many times but I had fairly decent reflexes and lots of time to play as a homework neglecting 14 year old. So while the game is a tolerably difficult shooter it CAN be finished.

 

You must be playing Tail of Lyrae 1.0; we're talking about Tail of BETA Lyrae.

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Did you try the tape version? The tape version doesn't have the copy protection of the disk version. But the intro is gone too.

Attached the tape-to-disk conversion I did from the Datamost tape release.

 

Note that it doesn't work on machines with 128KB or more. The game has the possibility to use joystick 3&4 of an 400/800 but on the XE series, PORT B of the PIA is used for bank-switching instead of reading joysticks 3&4. This probably makes ToBL crash.

 

Robert

Edited by rdemming

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Currently playing this in the HSC. I have original disk. Nearly every load the game 'washes out' mid go: the background goes light grey and your ship vanishes just leaving the thrusters. Same on A800 and 130XE. Physically loads ok. Occasionally loads and plays ok. Others have had the problem so it's not just me.

 

All the ATR's and XEX versions I can find have corrupted sound effects (the gun sound is not right, music slows/goes off key at times, other random noises) plus the collision detection is delayed compared to the original (you hit something and the explosion happens a second later compared to instantly in the original).

 

Is it possible the copy protetion is failing and the game loads and thinks it's a copy and then has this washout programmed in deliberately to prevent play :?:

 

Is there no decent ATR/XEX version of this great game out there :?:

 

:?

 

I griped about this problem over a year ago in the "Must Have Shooters" thread (as you noticed, Bounty Bob!) While I'm sorry you've run into this issue, I'm kind of glad to see that I wasn't just going crazy all those years ago! It was one of the most annoying bugs I've ever run into. If a playable ATR shows up, it would be fun to try this game again after all this time.

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I have a copy that I got from a friend back in the day... Ahem... Let me see if I can dig it out of my archive.

 

Also, I remember seeing something somewhere (vague, I know) where Philip Price said that the game would patch itself over time, so the game would constantly change itself... I wonder if that was just wishful thinking on his part or if he really implemented that. Now I have to go dig that reference out too. :P

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Found it! :D

 

Seems to work OK in the emulator, either XL or OS B. No greyouts, as far as I can tell. Does seem to have problems every once in while with shot collision detection, but I think all versions have that problem, no? ;)

 

Forgot how much fun this is and how difficult it is to play with a keyboard. :x :P

 

Ok, I dug out the reference: It was in a PP interview:

I wanted the game to last; I hated playing a game where all I had to do was remember where all of the items were. I liked the future to be unpredictable, but with a degree of order. I also enjoyed surprises, so I made the game change after you had owned it for a while.

 

http://www.dadgum.com/halcyon/BOOK/PRICE.HTM

d0139b - Tail of Beta Lyrae.atr

Edited by Shamus

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Do people think this is a feature of the copy protection :?:

 

I'm not sure if it is a protection issue or not. I would need to make some tests, and possibly some reverse engineering to be sure. What I think that some of us are saying, is that considering Philip Price reputation, it is one of the main possible reasons.

 

It's a Databyte disk - I played this same disk years ago on the same 130XE (PAL) but it is a different 1050 drive so maybe it is the drive timing.

 

OTOH, this make me doubt a little bit about being a protection issue. Databyte normally implemented its own protection, so possibly in your case no Philip Price protection is involved. Databyte used to make "extreme" protections as well, but usually with a different behaviour. Databyte protections manytimes have compatibility issues (some releases don't work on NTSC computers), but I wouldn't expect the behaviour you are describing (where the game works, not perfectly, but it works).

 

It is very possible that this game doesn't work correctly on XL/XE machines. It might need a translator, or even a 400/800 computer.

 

Conceivable there are multiple concurrent issues here:

- Problems on XL/XE computers

- NTSC/PAL compatibility issues.

- Protection issues

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There are several comments on Atarimania. No I didn't try the tape version! Also there's a German version but again it's an ATX file :ponder:

 

Re if this was a copy protection feature, technically could the disk speed/sector read etc be checked and coded for to make the game unplayable :?: And could it be that my drive is running on the edge of this speed and occasionally it passes the check ok :?:

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