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Atarimax Flashcart 1MB OS-B Fixes?

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I originally posted this in the Atarimax forums on January 7, 2014, but I have not gotten a response. Since these forums are far more active I thought that maybe another 8-bitter could help me out here.

I'm making myself a new 8Mb image for my Atarimax Flashcart using the Cartridge Studio 2.3. I'll be using it on an Atari 130XE. I'm able to preview the cart using Atari800WinPlus 4.1. All the non-OS-B games on the Flashcarts the I burn work well. I'm running into trouble with the cartridge games that require OS-B. I thought that I could use one of the two "Soft OS Options" included with Cartridge Studio, but neither of these seems to make a difference when I try the games. Here are the games (among others) that I'm trying to put on the cart:

1) Defender
2) Donkey Kong
3) Gyruss
4) Ms. Pac-Man
5) Shamus
6) Spy Hunter
7) Wizard of Wor

All of these games start to some degree on my real 130XE except for Spy Hunter which just gives a blank black screen. Ms. Pac-Man even allows me to play the game, but the ghosts move FAR to fast to allow you to play more than a few seconds (it's actually pretty neat to see... for a moment).

Do I need to find disk versions of these games and then try the OS-B fix? Do the OS-B fixes not work on machines with extra RAM like the 130XE? What am I doing wrong? What is the fix for this?

Thanks for the help.

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Half those games should work on any OS. I never had problems with any other than Shamus on my XL.

Only ones which should have issues are Shamus and Wizard of Wor from memory - Shamus and some other Synapse games you can overcome XL issues by holding Start when the game program initiates.


The OS-B fix, I don't know how it's implemented for the flashcart but the typical situation is that an OS image is included in the file and it copies to high RAM and the normal OS is switched off.


Amount of RAM above 64K should be irrelevant unless it needs some sort of buffering but I find that highly unlikely.


There should be versions of all those games around that work on any machine so long as it's got enough RAM.

Given that probably all those games except 5 and 7 were originally cartridge only, there's probably plenty of "versions" around.

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Should add - some Synapse games which haven't been deprotected will see if a disk drive is present, and not work if the result is not as expected, e.g. no drive allowed if it was a tape game.

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Is there a chance that OSB compatibility is only available for binaries and not for ROMs in the workbook?


Other reason can be that it's just a coincidence ... Someone could try your workbook (please post it) on an atari 400 or 800 without the OSB feature enabled in the workbook.


If it still fails then, it is not that.


You could try this in an emulator too btw!


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There's no reason a Rom within a flashcart shouldn't be able to be started with a modified, Ram-based OS.


But - carts that run in diagnostic mode such as Asteroids, Star Raiders will zero the hardware registers and setup the machine environment which would either crash the machine or make it revert to the normal OS.


Most carts don't run in diagnostic mode though, so should have a chance of working.

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I ran into a similar issue trying to use an OS-B compilation with The!Cart. The issue appears to be 16K ROMs do not work with the OS-B option, the 8 KB ones do (try "Demon Attack" for example). At least they wouldn't on that. I should try my OS-B compilation with a real Maxflash to be sure. And yeah, I can test them on an original 800 without the OS loader, so, I may do that just to see.


The only game on your list that I'm aware of being OS-B is Shamus. That one is 16K and probably will not work. Here's the XEX I used -- Shamus(1982)(Synapse).zip


Gyruss is not OS-B, but it does require a crack for the XE. I have one to provide -- Gyruss (MyIDE patched by Mr-Atari).zip


You should probably be aware that Wizard Of Wor has the controllers reversed as well (player 1 uses port 2, which may be why it seems to not be working). I have a fixed XEX for that as well -- wizwor.zip


Defender, Donkey Kong, Ms. Pac Man, and Spy Hunter are, by all accounts, normal 16K carts. You should not be having problems with them. Make sure your Maxflash software is the latest version. Try with these Known Good Dumps.zip and if those don't work, here are some XEX alternatives.zip that will hopefully solve the problem.

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I should have added - for what it's worth, an 8K cart can operate direct from the Flashcart ROM.

16K cart has to be copied to RAM, or at the least the bottom part of it.


Is emulation producing similar results to real hardware? In Altirra I should think the emulation is good enough that any situation there should be the same.

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I ran into a similar issue trying to use an OS-B compilation with The!Cart. [Here are some patched versions of the games]


Thanks for these patched games-- they work fine for me. I tried them all out in emulation (as I did with the previous ones). Unlike the ones I tried already, these worked fine. The unpatched versions of the games only worked if I didn't emulate the Flash Cart (I guess, as someone suggested, it has to do with the games being 16K carts-- I'm not sure). I "burned" the seven patched games to a test 8MB Flash cart and these all work great on my real 130XE. Donkey Kong seems to start off harder than I remember (the barrels are fast!), but that could just be my memory... or my reflexes. I notice that the patch of Wizard of Wor has the port 1 "fix" (thanks for that), but it also has rapid-fire added to it (hold down the fire button and you'll see what I mean). This completely changes the dynamics of the game. Is there a patched version of WOW without the rapid-fire added to it-- or at least with a choice that allows you not to use it? If so, then I'd prefer that version.


There are some really good comments in this thread. Thanks to everyone who responded. If I have time, I'd like to reply to a few of these posts.


I could post my finished 8Mb flash cart here, but I'll probably just post it in the Atarimax forums. I thought that was the "official" place for compilations.


I posted my first 8Mb compilation back in July of 2010. That compilation is called "Wonderful Atari 8-Bit Games, Vol. I" and it contains 35 of my favorite games along with brief reasons on why I choose them. You can see the posting here (but the compilation can't be downloaded unless you're a member):




It's fun making these compilations, but sometimes finding versions that will work for a particular hardware setup can take some time and experimentation.


Again, thanks for all the help!

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