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snicklin

Atari 8 bit file formats

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Is there one particular place that you can find all of the file format descriptions for Atari 8-bit computers?

 

If not, here can be!

 

It'd be great if this was more of a factual thread, with less chatter but more of a place to come when you want to know a file format. This will become very useful for programmers to use as a thread.

 

A collection of links would be fine, they don't all have to be written here.

 

Information required is the name of the file format, what it does and then what each byte (or group of bytes) in the files describes.

 

Examples for great formats to list are: .xex, .atr, .dcm, .g2f etc.

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These days the file format is platform and context related, like:

 

Xex - executable, standard of modern times to differentiate from PC based Exe files.

Atr - Atari disk image, usually not found on actual Atari machine but used by device and system emulation.

G2f - Graphics file, but a picture asset used by the PC-based G2F graphics program. Final content for use on real hardware will usually be a generated executable or embedded within a program or game.

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There was already at least one such thread started long ago: Atari 8-bit File Extensions

 

I haven't seen much information about content specifications, though. So, good suggestion there. I have documents detailing RMT, ATX, CAR, and DIF formats.

 

Take a look at the above mentioned thread and there download the attachment (a text file) from post #35.

 

It would be nice though if someone would update this text with...

a) even more file extensions (e.g. FTH and 4TH as extensions for Forth, MSB and MBA for Microsoft Basic, MAS for Masic the pgm.ing language and MAS for Masher the disk2file compression/archiving tool, similar to Diskcomm, etc.; also file extensions from PC, ST, Amiga, C64, MAC and others that are usable / viewable on the A8 e.g. sound, picture, text files a la GIF87a, Degas, IFF, JPG, TIF, WAV, SID, etc.) and maybe

b) some more descriptions (e.g. compressed/uncompressed, with/out RUN or Init, with/out FF FF ML header, common file header for sound, pict., compressor/archiver/packer and other files, etc.)

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I just found out, while rediscovering one of Ken Sider's old sites, that Jindroush has a page of file extensions with descriptions for a number of the extensions. I'd never seen it before, for always focussing on the cartridge information at his site.

 

Atari File Formats

Edited by MrFish
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I found atariki to have many useful file and file system format descriptions. For example, the CMS docs helped me understand how to relocate Stereo Chaos Music Composer songs to different memory addresses.

 

Useful - yes! But they are also quite limited to their own (polish) formats, two examples:

 

1) AMC = they list Avalon Music Composer, hmmm...

There is an A8 cart from 1979 titled Atari Music Composer (or short AMC), so maybe music files created with it could/should use the extender .AMC (instead of MUS or SND) ?!?

 

2) Another example, they list DIG for CMC samples, hmmm...

The standard CMC does not support samples afaik. But there is an old sampler, namely the Parrot 2Bit sampler and all its samples (and sample-players) use the extender DIG...

 

So, as said before, it would be nice if someone would create a bigger list with A8 file extenders / file formats and what they stand for, including several different file formats that use the same extender (AMC, DIG, MAS, CAS, etc.).

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