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stephena

Stella 4.1 released

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Stella 4.1 is now available; it contains a few nice improvements over the last release. Unfortunately, I'm still trying to track down the 'joystick not found' issues, so that hasn't been addressed in this release. Changes are as follows:

 

* Improved 'DASH' bankswitching scheme support; there is now a debugger tab for changing banks and viewing internal cart RAM, and autodetection is now implemented.

* Added 'MDM' (Menu Driven Megacart) bankswitch scheme as described on AtariAge and originally developed by Edwin Blink.

* Improved snapshot viewing in the ROM launcher; snapshots are now scaled to the available space, and can better accommodate sizes other than those generated by Stella itself.

* Improved support on multi-monitor systems. Stella will now use the same monitor for fullscreen-windowed mode switches. Special thanks to Magnus Lind for patches that added this functionality.

* Removed the 'bank' command from the debugger prompt, as it only worked (inconsistently) with certain bankswitch types. The bankswitch UI should now be used to query/set bank state.

* Fixed bug in disassembly output; instructions at $F000 were never being highlighted during execution.

* The UNIX configure script now supports newer versions of Hurd. Special thanks to Stephen Kitt for the patch.

 

As usual, Stella can be downloaded from the Stella webpage, and donations are always welcome.

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Any chance of bringing back the green/black UI colors? They looked nice in my gaming room compared to the harsh pastel currently in use.

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Any chance of bringing back the green/black UI colors? They looked nice in my gaming room compared to the harsh pastel currently in use.

 

I'll consider it for the next release.

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Thanks in advance.

 

M.A.M.E. and Stella get the most ooohhs and aahhs and ohh-wows of all the emulators when guests play in my drawing lounge.

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Bug report:

 

CTRL + R (reload ROM) doesn't work.

 

Can you confirm what version this started in (pre-4.0, 4.0, 4.1?). And also, I assume you tested in Windows??

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4.1, Win 7, 64 Bit

 

So to be absolutely clear, it worked fine in 4.0 but now doesn't in 4.1?

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Right.

 

But it must be hardware related, because on my home computer, with the identical Windows, 4.1 works perfectly. On Monday, I will reinstall 4.0 at my office computer and try again.

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Right.

 

But it must be hardware related, because on my home computer, with the identical Windows, 4.1 works perfectly. On Monday, I will reinstall 4.0 at my office computer and try again.

 

I wonder if it's related to the language settings you're using (you mentioned at one point you used German vs. English layout)??

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Don't think so. Then it wouldn't have worked before too.

 

Also the keys are the same with both keyboard layouts here.

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OK, I tried with 4.0 and 3.9.3 now:

  • 3.9.3 works as expected, no problems.
  • With 4.0 CTRL+R behaved somewhat fuzzy. At the first try it takes ~5 seconds to reload (initial loading the ROM was immediate), later on it is immediate.
  • After reinstalling 4.1 it behaves identical to 4.0, so no crash anymore.

So no big deal, but some change between 3.9.3. and 4.0 must cause this behavior. So I checked the video settings. 4.x was using Direct3D instead of Software rendering. After switching to Software there too, the reload problem disappeared.

 

I suppose Direct3D gets somehow reinitialized on the first reload (and not later on) and this takes some time. Also when I start a game from the Launcher (instead via command line as usual), the first launched game takes 5 seconds too (all other launches are immediate).

Or maybe the game isn't using Direct3D on first launch via command line and reload forces Direct3D initialization (can I check this somehow?).

 

BTW: Switching from software to Direct3D via tab menu is always immediate. First time reloading takes 5s too.

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Maybe try OpenGL instead of DIrect3D, so you still get hardware acceleration (assuming that OpenGL drivers are installed, of course).

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I just did a quick 4.1.1 release. There are only a few small changes, including the return of 'uipalette' option, and a fix for the annoying beep that happened Windows every time you press the Alt key. Download location is listed above.

 

I wanted to get these things done and released, since I'm working on a few larger issues and a new release may not be ready for several months.

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Maybe try OpenGL instead of DIrect3D, so you still get hardware acceleration (assuming that OpenGL drivers are installed, of course).

I believe that hardware acceleration is working (after the 5s initialization pause happened once). But before it is probably not.

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I believe that hardware acceleration is working (after the 5s initialization pause happened once). But before it is probably not.

 

What I meant was that maybe if Direct3D is causing a pause and software mode isn't, then perhaps OpenGL will not have the pause (and you don't have to lose acceleration by using software mode). Basically, try all 3 and see which works best for you :) If OpenGL worked fine in pre-4.0, it should work the same now. If it doesn't, then it's a bug.

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What I meant was that maybe if Direct3D is causing a pause and software mode isn't, then perhaps OpenGL will not have the pause (and you don't have to lose acceleration by using software mode). Basically, try all 3 and see which works best for you :) If OpenGL worked fine in pre-4.0, it should work the same now. If it doesn't, then it's a bug.

  • OpenGL works fine, with a very brief pause at the beginning.
  • Software works fine, with out any pause
  • Direct3D has no pause at the beginning, but a 5s pause at 1st(!) reload or when switching to the debugger 1st(!) time (without prio reload).

I could be wrong, but for me this indicates pretty that Direct3D is not initialized at the first load, but with the 1st reload or debugger switch. So this looks like a bug in Stella, no?

 

Or is that a bug in my environment?

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In this case, I recommend simply using OpenGL. I don't think it's a bug in Stella, since it's not happening with all renderers. More likely, either the Direct3D functionality in SDL is less mature (it was only added recently, after all), or your video card drivers are more optimized for OpenGL vs. Direct3D.

 

Also, for Windows I've only been able to test on Intel and Nvidia hardware, not AMD/ATI. So there could be driver issues there too.

 

One final thing; try disabling sound output and test again, and let me know the difference (if any).

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OK, I tried with 4.0 and 3.9.3 now:

  • 3.9.3 works as expected, no problems.
  • With 4.0 CTRL+R behaved somewhat fuzzy. At the first try it takes ~5 seconds to reload (initial loading the ROM was immediate), later on it is immediate.
  • After reinstalling 4.1 it behaves identical to 4.0, so no crash anymore.

So no big deal, but some change between 3.9.3. and 4.0 must cause this behavior. So I checked the video settings. 4.x was using Direct3D instead of Software rendering. After switching to Software there too, the reload problem disappeared.

 

I suppose Direct3D gets somehow reinitialized on the first reload (and not later on) and this takes some time. Also when I start a game from the Launcher (instead via command line as usual), the first launched game takes 5 seconds too (all other launches are immediate).

Or maybe the game isn't using Direct3D on first launch via command line and reload forces Direct3D initialization (can I check this somehow?).

 

BTW: Switching from software to Direct3D via tab menu is always immediate. First time reloading takes 5s too.

Tom,

you can check if Direct3D is used via command line with one of my game ROM's - they tear apart (look horrible) with the software rendering; most Atari games look fine either way but with mine you'll know right away if ActiveX/DirectX/Direct3D is in effect :)

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In this case, I recommend simply using OpenGL. I don't think it's a bug in Stella, since it's not happening with all renderers. More likely, either the Direct3D functionality in SDL is less mature (it was only added recently, after all), or your video card drivers are more optimized for OpenGL vs. Direct3D.

 

Also, for Windows I've only been able to test on Intel and Nvidia hardware, not AMD/ATI. So there could be driver issues there too.

 

One final thing; try disabling sound output and test again, and let me know the difference (if any).

I am using NVidia Quadro 2000M graphics (see atachment). Sound disabling makes no difference.

 

Maybe the Direct3D version is too old?

post-45-0-25867700-1410965311_thumb.png

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DirectX 9 is all you need, since that's all that is supported by SDL. It's very strange that the delay isn't happening when opening a ROM/launcher, but it does happen when the state changes afterwards. To me, if there was going to be an initialization slowdown, it would happen at first, not later. Anyway, I will try to figure out why this is happening, but since it's not happening in other renderers, I still think it's related to Direct3D/drivers, and not Stella directly.

 

Something else to try: download the official SD2.dll from http://libsdl.org and drop it in the app folder to see if it makes any difference.

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