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walterg74

Flashrom99 and correct images

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Hi all, new to the TI, and have one paired with a Flashrom99.

 

I am trying to understand what the correct images are to use with it, and stumbled across the thread here for the image repository.

 

Downloaded it and looking at the folder for "96_SD-REPOSITORY.FR99", which I assume "FR" is for flashrom (the other directory GR is it for a newer cart?)

 

The thing is, I see it says the "32K" ones indicate your computer needs to have some expansion to work? Not really sure what that means/how to do it, and why these games do not work when for example I have the same physidical/original cart and it does work?

 

What am I missing? Is the number of games you can use very limited without extra hardware on top of the computer and flashrom99?

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The flashrom github page will answer your questions i think. Some ROM files do require a 32k expansion. The fg files refer to the FinalGROM cartridge from the same person who developed the FlashROM. https://endlos99.github.io/flashrom99/

Ok, I will take a look. I cannot understand why a game that runs on an unexpanded machine will not run through the flashrom, unless all carts came with extra ram?

Edited by walterg74

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The 32k is referring to a memory expansion card. The were official ones that were released back in the day by TI and other companies, but

there's a new version designed by jedimatt:

 

https://atariage.com/forums/topic/254502-32k-expansion-for-the-side-port-released/

Right, I understand that. But games that I have the cart of run fine on my computer without this extra 32KB of RAM.

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The reason why you have some cartridge images for the FlashROM which require 32k is because some are disk versions or EA5 converted to cartridge format. Those conversions require the 32k to run even though the original cartridge does not.

 

This is common for games like TI Invaders which are GROM cartridges, but the disk versions and conversions cannot by nature be GROM.

 

You can run cartridges with GROM without the 32k expansion, unless explicitly required, in the FinalGROM.

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The reason why you have some cartridge images for the FlashROM which require 32k is because some are disk versions or EA5 converted to cartridge format. Those conversions require the 32k to run even though the original cartridge does not.

 

This is common for games like TI Invaders which are GROM cartridges, but the disk versions and conversions cannot by nature be GROM.

 

You can run cartridges with GROM without the 32k expansion, unless explicitly required, in the FinalGROM.

Ah ok, so now it makes sense... so the (majority of?) carts under the 32KB folder are games that in cartridge form were GROM, that the TI runs fine, but the flashrom does not, and the files are conversions from disk versions and will work but only with extra RAM.

 

Is that about right? What was so special about GROM that didn’t have this requriement?

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Ah ok, so now it makes sense... so the (majority of?) carts under the 32KB folder are games that in cartridge form were GROM, that the TI runs fine, but the flashrom does not, and the files are conversions from disk versions and will work but only with extra RAM.

 

Is that about right? What was so special about GROM that didn’t have this requriement?

 

For cartridges which are original TI carts, that would be mostly correct and I am unaware of any exceptions to that rule.

 

GROM is TI's proprietary memory format. Each GROM holds 6k of memory and the contents are generally executed by the GPL interpreter, though they can also hold data. You can find much better information elsewhere -- I think the development sub's pinned "resources" thread has a link. "Ninerpedia" and the "TI Tech Pages" would be better resources than me.

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Hi all, new to the TI, and have one paired with a Flashrom99.

 

I am trying to understand what the correct images are to use with it, and stumbled across the thread here for the image repository.

 

Downloaded it and looking at the folder for "96_SD-REPOSITORY.FR99", which I assume "FR" is for flashrom (the other directory GR is it for a newer cart?)

 

The thing is, I see it says the "32K" ones indicate your computer needs to have some expansion to work? Not really sure what that means/how to do it, and why these games do not work when for example I have the same physidical/original cart and it does work?

 

What am I missing? Is the number of games you can use very limited without extra hardware on top of the computer and flashrom99?

 

Hi,

don´t know what this ´one paired´ means, but yes, "FR" stands for FlashROM´99 and "FG" means FinalGROM´99.

(Assuming that you mean "FG" here, and not "GR" ? (see red mark above))

 

If you have a FlashROM´99, copy only this folder to your SD-card,

if you have a FinalGROM´99, copy BOTH folders to your SD-card

(as FR99-BINs run on the FG99-cartridge, but not the other way around)

 

xXx

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Hi,

don´t know what this ´one paired´ means, but yes, "FR" stands for FlashROM´99 and "FG" means FinalGROM´99.

(Assuming that you mean "FG" here, and not "GR" ? (see red mark above))

 

If you have a FlashROM´99, copy only this folder to your SD-card,

if you have a FinalGROM´99, copy BOTH folders to your SD-card

(as FR99-BINs run on the FG99-cartridge, but not the other way around)

 

xXx

That is an english expression that means together (not one paired, just paired).

 

Thanks formthe info, that ismwhat Imfigured, and the folder I used, although as I discovered, I cannot play any of the 32KB ines :(

Edited by walterg74
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One easy way to look at GROM space in a cartridge is that it takes that space and expands it beyond the physical memory space of the TI without bank switching. A cartridge can normally hold 8K of ROM (and when TI was making them, some bak switching was used to add between 4K (banking only half of the space) or 24K (banking the whole space). The GROMs (you could have as many as five in a cartridge) would add up to 30K of program to the cartridge, but used a number of tricks to stay outside the TI address space but still provide data to the data bus when polled (they auto-incremented to the next address automatically so that every poll would provide new data). To run cartridges like these with the FlashROM, it has to lob the program and the GROM conversion routines into the TI's 32K memory space to execute them, as it doesn't have the specialized GROM circuitry to do it within the cartridge. The FinalGROM does have that circuitry, which is why there are two sections to the repository.

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One easy way to look at GROM space in a cartridge is that it takes that space and expands it beyond the physical memory space of the TI without bank switching. A cartridge can normally hold 8K of ROM (and when TI was making them, some bak switching was used to add between 4K (banking only half of the space) or 24K (banking the whole space). The GROMs (you could have as many as five in a cartridge) would add up to 30K of program to the cartridge, but used a number of tricks to stay outside the TI address space but still provide data to the data bus when polled (they auto-incremented to the next address automatically so that every poll would provide new data). To run cartridges like these with the FlashROM, it has to lob the program and the GROM conversion routines into the TI's 32K memory space to execute them, as it doesn't have the specialized GROM circuitry to do it within the cartridge. The FinalGROM does have that circuitry, which is why there are two sections to the repository.

Awesome, thanks for the explanation!

 

I guess its time to order one of the newer finalgrom carts then...

 

Then again, I think I also have *somewhere* a nanopeb and cf7+....

Edited by walterg74

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Note that even with the FinalGROM, there will be software that requires the 32K. This will be programs that were originally designed to run in that space as opposed to cartridge space, but which were made into simulated cartridge images for use in multicarts. If it was originally written to be a cartridge--the FinalGROM will run it fine (and even some of those carts will require (or use it as an option, as in XB) the 32K--like XB (and all subsequent flavors of it like RXB, GKXB, XB 2.7, SEB, and XB3), EA, TI Writer, Multiplan, or Logo).

 

If it was originally released on disk or cassette, it was intended to run in 32K space from the start, and both the FlashROM and FinalGROM cartridges are only convenient loader devices for the program. Either of them will try to move the program to the correct execution space and start it in these cases--and then everything will fail because the required memory isn't there. Some of the modern homebrew cartridges are also hybrids that run out of cartridge AND 32K space, so they actually need BOTH spaces to operate. Some of the homebrews are too large to load into the FlashROM at all, although they can be loaded into the FinalGROM.

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The shortest version I could think of:

  • FlashROM 99 can use cartridge images with ROM up to 32K
  • FinalGROM 99 can use cartridge images with ROM up to 512K and/or GROM up to 40K
  • Any cart may also require a 32K RAM expansion
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Note that even with the FinalGROM, there will be software that requires the 32K. This will be programs that were originally designed to run in that space as opposed to cartridge space, but which were made into simulated cartridge images for use in multicarts. If it was originally written to be a cartridge--the FinalGROM will run it fine (and even some of those carts will require (or use it as an option, as in XB) the 32K--like XB (and all subsequent flavors of it like RXB, GKXB, XB 2.7, SEB, and XB3), EA, TI Writer, Multiplan, or Logo).

 

If it was originally released on disk or cassette, it was intended to run in 32K space from the start, and both the FlashROM and FinalGROM cartridges are only convenient loader devices for the program. Either of them will try to move the program to the correct execution space and start it in these cases--and then everything will fail because the required memory isn't there. Some of the modern homebrew cartridges are also hybrids that run out of cartridge AND 32K space, so they actually need BOTH spaces to operate. Some of the homebrews are too large to load into the FlashROM at all, although they can be loaded into the FinalGROM.

So in a nutshell, get the frikkin expansion :lol:
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Pretty much. . .it will save you a lot of frustration as you figure out what works and what doesn't without one.

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Pretty much. . .it will save you a lot of frustration as you figure out what works and what doesn't without one.

Seriously, you can't go wrong with << that option >>! :thumbsup:

Come to think of it, as I mentioned above, I still have a nanopeb v1. This is supposed to have 32KB RAM, so should be good right? (Besides all the other functionality it has...)

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I know Gazoo converted a lot of the GROM carts and changed the pointers in the "run GPL from 32K utility" accordingly. I think I've asked this question before, and realize that there are multiple programs that people wrote to do this, but who authored these "run GPL from 32K" programs, what are they called, and is there any formal docs/source code for them?

 

The EA/5 -> Final(G)ROM image requiring 32K essentially turns the Final(G)ROM into a ROM-Disk, and it's lightning fast. When Tursi helped me with the assembly to do this with Arcturus (which is one of the first programs we did it with), even he was impressed with how quick it copied and started. Our original code is on Stuart's web site: http://www.stuartconner.me.uk/ti/ti.htm#bank_switching

 

Here's another past forum discussion on this topic which I bookmarked because it's pretty thorough: http://atariage.com/forums/topic/249740-how-is-bank-switching-implemented-in-a-multi-cartridge/

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Seriously, you can't go wrong with << that option >>! :thumbsup:

Just in case though, and for other setups: besides of course any software that *explicitly* needs the 32 kB expansion, with the flashgROM I should be able to run *any* cartridge image right?

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So long as it doesn't need the 32K expansion for some reason, you are correct. Basically any of the TI cartridges from the OEMs back when the machine was still available (or during the following period where third parties still released new software) should run fine (with the exception of a couple of DataBioTics utility cartridges that used a completely non-standard CRU bank switching method--and we've manually modified some of those to use more standard methods so that they would run, but it is a very slow slog without the original source code for them).

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For the most part yes, like Ksarul said, the old OEM's should be fine with the FlashROM, but some later games are just too big and require the FinalGROM to run from cartridge, some examples; Flying Shark and AlexKIdd. Tutankham has a GROM component IIRC.

 

While *most* games are obtainable in disk form, I prefer the cartridge format for games because you can get way more of them on a single cartridge than you ever will on disk images that you have to shuffle around. There is one more big factor, programs load faster from cartridge then they do from disk.

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