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Wilheim

Turbo Software tape copier restored from Chile.

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Dear Atarians,

 

I am proud to announce that the Chilean Atari Community had finally restored the Turbo Software tape copier that was used in my country to distribute many atari 8-bit games.

 

For those who want to know, Turbo Software was an small company that distributed atari games in the whole country, even using retail stores in that time.

 

The innovation they implemented, due that the tape drives were widely spread in Chile and they were not very reliable in the loading process, is that they incorpored an small game prior the main game loading, so we can spare some time playing it before it completes the load. Also, it incorporated an error recovery routine, so in case it fails the loading, you can resume by rewinding an small amount of tape and continue, instead to load all over again.

 

It also contains some protection routines, for example: it uses FSK signals to code some verification routines. In case they are inexistent, the game doesn't load.

 

Once the load is completed, you just have to press start to play the main game.

 

We also took the chance to add some improvements, in this case:

 

- Added PAL support in the saving and loading process. also, the initial music score it was fixed for PAL timing.

- Improved the start routine.

 

The topic regarding this announcement is in the following link: http://www.retrogames.cl/foro/viewtopic.php?f=21&t=12931 It's in spanish, but you can google translate it. It also contains a link with the ATR files with the copier and sources, programmed in MAC/65.

 

I hope you like it. Here's also a WAV file with an example. You can use a real hardware configuration with this wav, and also can be executed on Altirra and Atari800 with a8cas support.

 

Best regards!!

 

GHFM

Draconus4.rar

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It is good to see such piece of software revived and enhanced. Impressive.

 

Out of curiosity, I copied few binary load files with this copier (tried with atari800-a8cas). Files without INIT vectors load fine, files with INIT vectors crash.

But I take it binary load files with INIT vectors were not meant to be (fully) supported by this copier.

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Hi, Baktra!

 

Youre right. The copier doesnt fully supports INIT vectors. That is because the IRGs are fixed to 100 miliseconds (atari standard is 250), so the load could be faster. In fact, the copier has an option to disable that if necessary (mentioned as con subrutina in spanish).

 

To be honest, the copier has other limitations, such as:

 

- It only loads binary files below $C000. That is because it copies the OS into RAM

- occupies bytes between $3F0-$401 as buffer and block counter for resuming loading routines.

 

As a matter of fact, the example I posted its a patched cruncher 5.0 file that loads specially on the $b00-$bcff area, and waits until the end to copy the data in the right place. It was the only way to make It work with this loader.

 

Nevertheless, I personally find it cool that it has a pong-like game to play while its loading the game.

 

Best regards!

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Yes, the Pong-like game is a cool concept.

 

To be reasonable, a cassette is by no means a natural environment for binary load files. The binary load files were specifically designed to be used with media that allow random access.

Therefore one can expect limitations.

 

Anyway, it is either playing Pong or INIT vectors. A binary loader that fully supports INIT vectors by design must stop the motor when needed and keep a very low profile during the loading process. That means the E: device open, no custom loading screen, no sector counter etc.

Edited by baktra
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Totally agree. In fact, many games distributed by Turbo Software were specifically adapted to support the Pong game, as well as many European "newer" games (like Draconus), were never distributed by them.

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An archive of monolithic binary load files (just one DATA segment and one RUN segment) is available here: http://baktra.webowna.cz/t2k/atari_games_monolithic.7z

These provide the best compatibility with this loader. The archive combines monolithic binary load files from Fandal's archive and from Atarionline.pl.

 

A courtesy of the DOS 2 Binary File Checker executed on both archives.

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Thanks for this amazing job. Yesterday I tried it and it worked great. I got a 1010 which is giving me problems to load programs. Maybe it is the belt and my cassette drive needs a new one or it is the low quality cassettes you can get nowadays (generic brand from Wal-Mart).

But yesterday I was able to create and then load a Montezuma revenge turbo soft cassette. I totally forgot there were a musical intro, so that was pretty surprising. Then I enjoyed a little play time with 1 player pong. The error recovery feature saved the day twice. And finally I played Montezuma aka preliminary monty just like the good old days.

Thank you again for the great job.

Mauricio

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Si alguno tiene contacto con Pedro, por favor mandenle saludos mios

 

Translation: If somebody still is in touch with Pedro, please send him greetings.

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An archive of monolithic binary load files (just one DATA segment and one RUN segment) is available here: http://baktra.webowna.cz/t2k/atari_games_monolithic.7z

These provide the best compatibility with this loader. The archive combines monolithic binary load files from Fandal's archive and from Atarionline.pl.

 

A courtesy of the DOS 2 Binary File Checker executed on both archives.

 

If you have no idea how to use this DOS 2 Binary File Checker, but you would like to do so.

1. Download and install Java for your computer https://www.java.com/en/download/

2. Let Google translate this page to English.

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Si alguno tiene contacto con Pedro, por favor mandenle saludos mios

 

Translation: If somebody still is in touch with Pedro, please send him greetings.

 

Hola, lamentablemente, sólo tuve la oportunidad de conocerlo el 2005, cuando nos entregó el impreso de la versión alpha del Turbo Software. Pero si tengo la oportunidad de verlo nuevamente, lo mandaré tus saludos.

 

Translation:

 

Hi, unfortunately, I just had a chance to meet him once on 2005, when he brought us an alpha version source code from Turbo Software. But if I had a chance to see him again, I will send your greetings.

 

Regards!

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Still not working with Altirra?

 

Not completely. Altirra cannot make FSK signals to CAS or WAV files yet, but it can load them. So, you can load a CAS or WAV file (like in POST #1 on this topic), but cannot create it. I use the A8CAS Atari800 patched version to do it.

 

I asked Avery if he can add support of creating FSK signals to Altirra. As I understood, he has it on his agenda, but doesn't know when it's going to implement it.

 

Regards!

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I have not found any CAS file which use this loader. I tried to create one with a8cas, but it did not work (I am very inexperienced regarding a8cas).

I want to try the cassette emulation in AVGCart with a Turbosoft cassette..

 

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here's Timeslip cas with that pong loader

 

unfortunately it doesn't seem to currently load via avgcart, i thought i had it working so i either broke it at some point or i remembered wrong

i'll put it on my todo list

ts1992.zip

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Posted (edited)

I'll tested with respeqt cassette drive emulation... to have some idea of the problem.

Thanks!

 

Edited by manterola

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i got it almost working, i can play the pong, just right at the end it tells me to rewind the tape 3 rotations back so there's still something not exactly right in my emulation

i need some shorter cas for testing, this one takes too long to load

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39 minutes ago, Wilheim said:

I'm not sure if RespeQT supports FSK signals yet. Maybe @ebiguy can give us some light about it.

You are right.. respeqt does not work. I converted to WAV and loaded thru my XC11 real program recorder and it worked..so the CAS itself is working.

What is interesting is that I have not been able to get a .cas starting from a WAV.. Maybe wave quality is not great as it is coming from and old cassette from the early 90s.

 

 

 

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