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The!Cart Studio preview released

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In October a brand new flexible Atari 8-bit cartridge named The!Cart will be released as part of the ABBUC Hardware Contest . I support the project with the software to create cartridge images of up to 128 MB. The software named The!Cart Studio is based on the ideas of the Maxflash Cartridge Studio and adds additional features like support for up to 16384 entries, import of ".CAR" cartridge files, incremental flashing and a menu with a Google like search. It is written in pure Java and runs fine on Window, Linux and Mac OS X. It comes with English and German localization. The first download and documentation of the preview version are available here . The sources are available here here. All feedback is welcome!

 

 

thecartstudio.gif

 

Note: The resulting images are primarily intened for the new large cartridge, so you won't be able to test the output yet (anyway I first had for implement Google like search Atari part -)

Edited by JAC!
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Sounds great! Do you plan to support Atarimax carts as well?

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Yes, in two ways.

 

1) You can import already existing AtariMax carts directly as a single file. You can then choose then choose to either display them as single entry in the menu like "My AtariMax Action Games" or "Spaceharrier" or choose of have all the entries in the AtariMax menu appearing in the main menu,so you don't need to step through 2 menus.

 

2) Besides that you can create 128 MB or 1 MB images for flashing with AtariMax, but you would typically use Maxflash Studio directly. In particular I don't plan reimplementing all the cool features of Maxflash studio like importing ATR files again. You can use Maxflash Studio to build an 1 MB image and then proceed with step 2. That also gives you reasonable blocks to work with.

 

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Wow, this is exciting.

But since 128MB is a little big to flash with an Atari, would it be possible to team up with Steve Tucker to add support for flashing The!Cart with the MaxFlash USB programmer?

 

Robert

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> is a little big to flash with an Atari

Being able to work directly with an Atari without needing additional hardware were a design goal, therefore...

 

The!Cart Studio and the related flash software are designed to support automatic incremental flashing and POKEY divisior 0 with 8K SIO blocks. Full programming of 64MB would take about 30min with an Atari if I remember correctly from my prototype but you would hardly do that.

 

The default is incremental flashing, which something that has not been there by now. For example if you add only one more single ROMs or change a title in the menu only, it will only read (direct SIO) & update the affect flash blocks. In that past (with at most 1MB) this was hardly required, here it built in because it's crucial. Creating the corresponding additional information (usage maps, SHA-512 checksums) is performed automatically by The!Cart Studio.

 

Using AspecQt or so is most convenient. For those who don't have a SIO2PC but SIO2SD or SIO2USB, export as a suite of 16 MB DD ATRs is also supported. You can even insert them in to D1:..Dx at once and the flasher will read them one after the other without requiring you to change disks. In all cases only the actually used size is exported, not the full 64/128MB. And apart from the usage map & checksums, only the changed blocks are loaded at all.

Edited by JAC!

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Addtion: Highspeed-SIO routine + MyDos are built into the Flasher (which is always also on the module). You can flash directly with maximum speed also on unmodified systems without booting something at all.

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> is a little big to flash with an Atari

 

The!Cart Studio and the related flash software are designed to support automatic incremental flashing and POKEY divisior 0 with 8K SIO blocks. Full programming of 64MB would take about 30min with an Atari if I remember correctly from my prototype but you would hardly do that.

 

Only 30 minutes is fast. I was expecting much longer since flashing an AtariMax 1MB cart takes already several minutes.

Incremental flashing is a great feature even when you are not changing the contents much. I'm certainly getting one when they become available.

 

Robert

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Full programming of 64MB would take about 30min with an Atari if I remember correctly from my prototype but you would hardly do that.

It's somewhat more, approximately 1 second per 8k block. So programming 64MB would take ~2.5 hours.

 

I've uploaded a video on youtube which shows the flasher in action, updating 1MB of data - and finally starting the cart :)

 

http://youtu.be/sNsLNfrUoLQ

 

so long,

 

Hias

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> is a little big to flash with an Atari

Being able to work directly with an Atari without needing additional hardware were a design goal, therefore...

 

 

What am I not understanding. How can you have a Windows based software interface Flash for an Atari without additional hardware (i.e. like AtariMAx USB flasher).

I woudl think that the software would need to be Atari based without hardware. But I'm sure I'm missing something here. Thanx.

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I was referring to the "flash" part of the original question.

All you need is a way to get the file onto your Atari and for this we offer 3 different exports (single file, single 8k ATR for SIO2PC like devices, multiple 16 MB ATRs for SIO2SD like devices).

The flasher can load the software from anything that looks like "D:" then.

 

@hias: Thanks for getting the numbers right :-)

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Update uploaded.

Features:

- Automatic detection of 738 titles and 693 content typen based on Krotki's List added.

- CRC-32 values are not saved with the project file. This way people can share/post the their project files to improve the quality of the CRC database without sending real ROM files.

- Visualization of banks now shows banks of the same entry as "continous" blocks. See screen shot in post #1.

- Command line interface is not working:

 

java -jar TheCartStudio.jar -new -assignNewBanks -addEntries:C:\Users\D025328\Documents\TheCartStudio\ROMs\AtariOnline\Airball.car -addEntries:C:\Users\D025328\Documents\TheCartStudio\ROMs\AtariOnline-Renamed\*.car -saveAs:C:\temp\test.tcw

INFO S254: Processing command '-new'.

INFO I130: Workbook created.

INFO S254: Processing command '-assignNewBanks'.

INFO I125: All entries have been reassigned successfully.

INFO S254: Processing command '-addEntries:{filePath=[C:\Users\D025328\Documents\TheCartStudio\ROMs\AtariOnline\Airball.car]}'.

INFO I108: 1 entries added, 0 files updated and 0 files skipped.

INFO S254: Processing command '-addEntries:{filePath=[C:\Users\D025328\Documents\TheCartStudio\ROMs\AtariOnline-Renamed\*.car]}'.

INFO S416: Adding file 10 of 24 (41%).

INFO S416: Adding file 20 of 24 (83%).

INFO I108: 24 entries added, 0 files updated and 0 files skipped.

INFO S254: Processing command '-saveAs:{filePath=[C:\temp\test.tcw]}'.

INFO S417: Copying file 10 of 25 (40%).

INFO S417: Copying file 20 of 25 (80%).

INFO I106: Workbook saved.

Fixes:

- Additional characters accepted in titles ([]: etc.)

- Headers of DD & 16 MB ATRs should be correct now (again, hopefully :-)

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I am having a problem with starting the Studio jar file. I have other jar files like nvc.jar and tipconv 1.1.1 and they open to a GUI , but thecartstudio.jar doesn't, I have searched google but not found any information to help. The command line java -jar thecartstudio.jar doesn't start the program either. My Brothers computer will open it ok, so I am a little stumped.

Window 7 with the latest release of Java.

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Hmmm...

- How does the context menu for the .jar file look lie? Can you start it with "Open With.../Java ™..." as shown below?

- What's the exact output of the command line for "java -showversion -jar TheCartStudio.jar"?

post-17404-0-21789300-1373201413_thumb.png

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>I have other jar files like nvc.jar and tipconv 1.1.1 and they open to a GUI , but thecartstudio.jar doesn't,

This is solved now. It turned out that Java cannot handle JARs in paths with exclamation marks "!" at the end. So "C:\THE!CART\TheCartStudio.jar" works, but "C:\THECART!\TheCartStudio.jar" doesn't. I've added a detection, so the command line call issues a reasonable error message in this case:

 

C:\Users\D025328>java -jar "E:\THECART!\TheCartStudio.jar"

ERROR: No resources found in the classpath. Make sure there are no folder names with '!' characters involved.

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Make sure there are no folder names with '!' characters involved.

 

From using modern machines, I've seen that there's a few rules that need abiding to:

1) Never use such characters in file names.

2) Avoid spaces in filenames if you can, even if your OS supports it.

3) Avoid any non alpha-numeric characters in passwords (though you are always suggested to for password strength), when you use somebody else's keyboard, you can never be sure if their layout is sending the right character.

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Finally, a large-capacity, multi-megabyte cart!

 

I just wish it could use AtariMax's cart-studio, which I love... it's just the 8Mbits limit that (truly) stinks, because my preferred collection is certainly much larger than 40-50 avg. size titles/carts. For this reason, I have abandoned AtariMax carts in favor of more permanent, more long-term viable solutions such as SIDE, Nuxx, etc.

 

...But nothing like the instant-on, "immediate gratification" of a well-populated cart... Bring this one on!

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I just wish it could use AtariMax's cart-studio, which I love...

You can, well, sort of:

 

The!Cart Studio allows importing AtariMax studio images (The!Cart is able to emulate both the 1MBit and 8MBit AtariMax carts) and IIRC JAC planned to extract the menu information from the AtariMax studio images so that all the content will show up in the (still to be programmed) selection menu.

 

So, basically, you can use AtariMax studio to build several 8MBit images and then just write them to The!Cart. This should give you plenty of space to play with :-)

 

so long,

 

Hias

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JAC!

I've been playing with "The!Cart Studio" software.

Very well done! I'm very anxious to program a cart when they become available.

You have support for many different cart formats now.

Are there any cart formats that will be impossible to support? (ex. Turbosoft, Phoenix, Ultracart, BBSB 40k)

Keep up the great work!

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You have support for many different cart formats now.

Are there any cart formats that will be impossible to support? (ex. Turbosoft, Phoenix, Ultracart, BBSB 40k)

The answer is twofold. On the one hand there are all .CAR types that are currently known and documented. All of them are recognized as input format. And for all of them you can can create sample files for testing emulators etc.

THE!CART cartridge as target flash type contains the hardware for emulating a subset of these (currently about 62) different formats. If you open the Help/Content Types dialog, you can see them. They are a non-blank value in the column "The!Cart Mode". Technically everything that has "only" bank switching could be emulated but from what I know from hias, the available space for the logic is completely in use now, so no more space for more "exotic" stuff in this chip.

 

post-17404-0-69271900-1374606284_thumb.png

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