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stephena

Stella 3.8 released

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OK, it's time again for a new release. First the good news, the changelog:

 

* Huge changes to the sound system:

- The sound code now uses 16-bit signed samples instead of 8-bit unsigned samples, making it more compatible with a wider variety of systems.

- Improved sound output for several ROMs, including "Space Rocks" (the 'heartbeat' sound can now be clearly heard).

- The 'volume clipping' option has been removed, since in 16-bit mode it's no longer needed.

- The 'Tia freq' option has been removed.

- Selecting more common sample rates (other than 31400) now works much better, but there are still a few ROMS (like Quadrun) where 31400Hz still works best.

 

* Many changes to handling ZIP archives:

- Files in multiple levels are now recognized. This fixes issues in Windows where such files couldn't be loaded at all, and in all systems where ROMs with the same name (but in different directories) weren't being recognized.

- ZIP contents are now handled more intelligently. Archives containing only one ROM are automatically loaded, whereas those with multiple files are treated as directories.

- Opening an archive from the commandline now works as in the UI, where opening a multi-ROM archive will pop up the UI and show the archive contents (as a directory).

- The ZIP code behind the scenes is now much faster by making use of caching (the old code was actually from 1998!).

- This new 'archive' infrastructure may eventually lead to 7-Zip support, as well as 'virtual' formats (such as showing the list of files for 2in1/4in1/8in1/etc within the UI).

 

* Improved bankswitch autodetection for FA2 ROMs; 29K and 32K versions (meant for Harmony cart) are now recognized.

 

* Improved bankswitch autodetection for X07 ROMs (although there's only two known ROMs in existence, so the detection probably isn't robust).

 

* Tweaked bankswitch autodetection for the 0840, F8 and FE schemes; several homebrews that didn't run before now work correctly.

 

* Fixed regression in RIOT INTIM reads; at least one known ROM (Mr. Roboto Berzerk hack) wasn't working properly.

 

* Fixed bug in the debugger with RIOT INTIM/TIMINT display; reads were being done multiple times, changing the state of the registers and resulting in incorrect emulation.

 

* Worked around bug in debugger disassembly of zero-page RAM; for now, the resolving of address vs. data sections is turned off in such a case. This fixes lockups in 'Meltdown' ROM.

 

* Added support for different directories for saving/loading PNG files. These are set with the 'snapsavedir' and 'snaploaddir' commandline arguments (which replace the old 'snapdir'), and are also available within the UI.

 

* Changed 'eepromdir' commandline argument to 'nvramdir', and changed the default location to BASEDIR/nvram (where BASEDIR depends on your OS). This means all your EEPROM and Flash files will have to be manually moved to this new directory. This affects developers, and those people playing ROMs with AtariVox/SaveKey support as well as the newer 'Star Castle' FA2 ROMs.

 

* Updated included PNG and ZLIB libraries to latest stable version.

 

And now for the bad news. I didn't get to the TIA updates again. And this leads to even worse news: if I don't get some of these issues fixed soon and recover from burnout, the 3.9 release will be my last release. For those interested, I've documented my current situation here, and expand on some help I need here. While I greatly appreciate all the words of support and the occasional donations I receive, right now I'm most in need of help from fellow developers for working on the TIA code. If you're a C/C++ developer and are familiar with how the TIA works, please consider giving me a hand; the continuation of the Stella project could depend on it.

 

Anyway, as usual, bug reports, comments, donations, etc can be directly to this thread or by PM. And sorry for the potentially bad news, and I hope to see you post 3.9.

 

EDIT: Oops, forgot to upload the files and post the link. The link is, as usual, http://stella.sf.net . And the files will be there momentarily.

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Is it overall sound improvement from moving from 8 to 16 bit ?

 

Not sure, really, as it depends on what improvements you're seeing (or hearing). The move to 16-bit sound is for those systems that don't have proper 8-bit support, or at least where 16-bit is better supported. Mostly this is for newer tablets, smartphones, etc. The improvements in Space Rocks are from a reworking of the sound code itself, and it's actually been partly reverted to an earlier version. Either way, I hope it is an improvement, for whatever the reason. At least it was an improvement on all the systems I've tested.

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If you end up not getting the help you need because some of the big brain people didn't see your posts, what will happen to Stella? Could some emotionally unstable nut take it over and ruin it, or put toolbars or other software in the installer, or start charging people $200 to use it, or force people to give an e-mail address with confirmation before they can download Stella for the purpose of selling their e-mail addresses, or . . .

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If you end up not getting the help you need because some of the big brain people didn't see your posts, what will happen to Stella? Could some emotionally unstable nut take it over and ruin it, or put toolbars or other software in the installer, or start charging people $200 to use it, or force people to give an e-mail address with confirmation before they can download Stella for the purpose of selling their e-mail addresses, or . . .

 

OK, first of all: :-D

 

Second, what will happen to Stella? Well, I hope it won't come to that, and the issue will be moot. But if it does, I suspect the project will just go unmaintained and eventually die. After all, if we can't get anyone to help with me certain parts, it's very unlikely that someone will take it over completely. The former is much easier, and what I personally hope for.

 

But as funny as your suggestions are, there's also the possibility of some of those things happening. In fact, they're possible right now, even with me maintaining the project. The code is released under the GPL, which means, basically, that anyone can 'fork' it and start a new project. And as long as they follow the rules of the GPL, then it would be allowed. But the fact that this hasn't happened in 10+ years lends to my suspicion that the project will just fade away. In any event, I hope this won't happen.

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Stephen...Just sent a donation/gift too. Not sure if I ever did but sure as hell should've done so sooner if I had not.

 

THANK YOU!

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Awesome! Please consider staying with this! I'm sure for every fan that speaks out in appreciation, there are probably TENS or maybe HUNDREDS who never have occasion or opportunity to do so. This is very-much appreciated! Big-time! Thanx!

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Well, it's not something I really want to abandon. I've been with it this long, and it would be very strange to be finished after all this time. As an example of my work routine: every time I log into a system anywhere (work or home), the first thing I do is open a terminal window, change to the Stella source directory, and do an 'svn update'. I've been doing this so long that it's just second nature at this point. This is what happens when you work on the same project for over 10 years :)

 

All that being said, the message that Trebor sent to MESS above may be resulting in some good news. We'll see how it goes ...

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All that being said, the message that Trebor sent to MESS above may be resulting in some good news. We'll see how it goes ...

 

Saw your most over on the MESS boards, same reply here: AWESOME!

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Stella 3.8.1 was just released. I'm happy to say that due to some help from Thomas Jentzsch, Omegamatrix and Joe Musashi on the TIA work, several ROMs that never worked in Stella before are now working. Changes are as follows:

  • Added support for TIA RSYNC writes, thanks to Omegamatrix of AtariAge. This allows the recently released "Extra Terrestrials" ROM to run, as well as improving emulation of "Fatal Run" and several other test ROMs.
  • Fixed typo in TIA HMOVE writes, thanks to Thomas Jentzsch. This fixes the constant collision issues in "Kool-Aid Man", and several other homebrew ROMs.
  • Fixed sound issues on OSX PPC machines (all sound was in little-endian format, but PPC is big-endian).
  • The OSX DMG archive now contains proper modification dates.

 

It looks like I will be getting help wrt the TIA stuff for the next release, so I won't have to retire after all :)

 

As usual, Stella can be downloaded from stella.sf.net. Feedback, donations, etc can be directed to this thread or by PM. Thanks again for all the support.

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There seems to be a problem with running this release on Windows XP; it seems that Visual Studio 2012 isn't completely compatible. I'm looking into this now, and will upload updated versions once it's worked out.

 

EDIT: This is now fixed, and updated files have been uploaded to Sourceforge.

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Stella 3.8.1 was just released. I'm happy to say that due to some help from Thomas Jentzsch, Omegamatrix and Joe Musashi on the TIA work, several ROMs that never worked in Stella before are now working. Changes are as follows:

  • Added support for TIA RSYNC writes, thanks to Omegamatrix of AtariAge. This allows the recently released "Extra Terrestrials" ROM to run, as well as improving emulation of "Fatal Run" and several other test ROMs.
  • Fixed typo in TIA HMOVE writes, thanks to Thomas Jentzsch. This fixes the constant collision issues in "Kool-Aid Man", and several other homebrew ROMs.
  • Fixed sound issues on OSX PPC machines (all sound was in little-endian format, but PPC is big-endian).
  • The OSX DMG archive now contains proper modification dates.

 

It looks like I will be getting help wrt the TIA stuff for the next release, so I won't have to retire after all :)

 

As usual, Stella can be downloaded from stella.sf.net. Feedback, donations, etc can be directed to this thread or by PM. Thanks again for all the support.

 

Really, really awesome news. I am glad there is collaboration and great team work here. Fantastic stuff guys! Super impressive.

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This is a perfect example of the goodness that is open-source software and collaboration.

 

..and the community at its best.

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Fixed sound issues on OSX PPC machines (all sound was in little-endian format, but PPC is big-endian).

 

Excellent! I can confirm that this is fixed. (I noticed that the sound seemed "backwards", but didn't report it because I figured you had enough on your plate and it might be something on my end.) I remain grateful for your continued PPC support.

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Excellent! I can confirm that this is fixed. (I noticed that the sound seemed "backwards", but didn't report it because I figured you had enough on your plate and it might be something on my end.) I remain grateful for your continued PPC support.

 

Yes, this is exactly what the problem was. There are two bytes per sound sample now (16-bit), and the bytes were literally reversed in PPC OSX.

 

As for reporting problems, this should always be done. I may not be able to get to them in some time (or depending on what it is, at all), but it's still better to have it documented.

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Stella 3.8.1 was just released. I'm happy to say that due to some help from Thomas Jentzsch, Omegamatrix and Joe Musashi on the TIA work, several ROMs that never worked in Stella before are now working. Changes are as follows:

  • Added support for TIA RSYNC writes, thanks to Omegamatrix of AtariAge. This allows the recently released "Extra Terrestrials" ROM to run, as well as improving emulation of "Fatal Run" and several other test ROMs.
  • Fixed typo in TIA HMOVE writes, thanks to Thomas Jentzsch. This fixes the constant collision issues in "Kool-Aid Man", and several other homebrew ROMs.
  • Fixed sound issues on OSX PPC machines (all sound was in little-endian format, but PPC is big-endian).
  • The OSX DMG archive now contains proper modification dates.

It looks like I will be getting help wrt the TIA stuff for the next release, so I won't have to retire after all :)

 

As usual, Stella can be downloaded from stella.sf.net. Feedback, donations, etc can be directed to this thread or by PM. Thanks again for all the support.

 

I'm glad you don't have to retire. I can relate to the OCD frustrations but OCD perfectionism is what emulation needs. I just upgraded to 3.8.1 on Ubuntu 12.10. Somehow it seemed easier than upgrading on Windows. Open source and free software is so awesome. I need to get some 2600-daptor II adaptors to help with my OCD frustrations of using XBOX type controllers. Anyway, from what I can tell you have been doing a great job as a maintainer of Stella. Just try not to get too frustrated. If you get frustrated with one aspect just work on another then come back to it. I'm curious, what is your average donation and how often you get them?

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I don't name specific #'s from people, as I (as well as the contributor) want to keep that private (I add a note that a contribution was made, but not the amount). That being said, I'd say the average is probably $5-$10 about 2-3 times a month or so. So basically not enough to retire on :), but certainly a nice little amount here and there as appreciation for the project. BTW, all funds go towards the retro-hobby (upgrading consoles, TV, more games, accessories, etc).

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I don't name specific #'s from people, as I (as well as the contributor) want to keep that private (I add a note that a contribution was made, but not the amount). That being said, I'd say the average is probably $5-$10 about 2-3 times a month or so. So basically not enough to retire on :), but certainly a nice little amount here and there as appreciation for the project. BTW, all funds go towards the retro-hobby (upgrading consoles, TV, more games, accessories, etc).

 

I have a feeling that your average donations for this month went up a little. ;)

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I have a feeling that your average donations for this month went up a little. ;)

 

Definitely :-D :grin:

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A lot of great changes and usual amazing work in 3.8 thanks stephena.

 

 

Couple of Questions;

 

1) Is there any way to convert a save state from 2.82 to 3.X? Or anything you can do if I send you the st0 file on one-time only basis?

 

2) Randomization in Dragonstomper appears to not be working. 3-4 years back it was stuck on the "version" in which the Cross gives healing. You fixed that after 2.8x or 3.0 I think ? [see link below]. Now it seems to be only the Staff that will heal. Of course the staff is the hardest to aquire the cross was the easist. I've tried 5 times with 3.81 and same result [staff]. On an actual system the cross seem to seem to server as healing 2x as much the other objects.

 

Here is that old thread where it's you converse with Eckhard and it's mentioned Escape From Mindmaster also may use same logic:

http://www.atariage....25#entry1768212

Edited by JL

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Stephen, I noticed your latest check-in changes regarding better DiStella support. :thumbsup:

 

Just one note: Why do you want to output illegal opcodes with byte code? DASM supports the mnemonics for maybe 10 years now.

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