Jump to content
Sign in to follow this  
baktra

Turgen System 8.6.13 Coming Soon

Recommended Posts

I am just few more commits before releasing Turgen System 8.6.13, a new version of a tool for authoring Atari cassettes. Since I am creating a post at AtariAge, it can only mean one thing. There are enhancements in the Standard plugin that generates the standard tape records. The version's code name is Flash of the Neglected. In this case, the neglected refers to the standard tape records that were added to TS way too late.

 

So what you can expect?

 

The TSCBL binary loader is used instead of the old and rugged STDBLOAD 2a. With TSCBL, you have this:

 

  1. The loader displays program title (up to 34 characters)
  2. Customizable background color 
  3. Customizable text luminance (allows for more reasonable foreground/background combinations for displaying the program title). This is new.
  4. The loader can hide the cursor. This is new.
  5. The loader can set silent I/O
  6. The loader allows cold start when you press SELECT+RESET. This is new.

 

The user interface of the Standard plugin was polished and allows two extra functions

  1. You can enter hexadecimal ATASCII codes in the program title field. This way, the loader can display characters not accessible on PC keyboard. You can enter $HEX$ 20 FC 10 45, for example.
  2. You can convert the binary file, but omit the loader. This is useful when you intend to use your own loader, but you still need to elongate IRGs after blocks that hold INIT vectors.

 

There are also other, general changes

  • Minimum duration of the leader tone is now 14 seconds, a safer value
  • The default signal amplitude was reduced to 75 % for both WAVE files and direct audio output. This value reduces the risk of clipping in the recording chain.

 

Behold the new face of the Standard plugin

standard.png.d41116e53a2bb49cb97e19ac30e28464.png

 

 

  • Like 5

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
5 minutes ago, Poison said:

Wil it works ? It generate 86Mb fwav file, cca 8 minutes.

C1.png

 

Haha. Commando+ is a massive game that requires 256 KB of RAM, so extensive tape loading time is nothing unexpected. The Altirra emulator indicates the wave file works, however.

You can shorten the loading time by using the Super Turbo plugin and transfer speed around 3500 bps, if your data recorder can handle it.

 

 

 

 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

So, is possible to put every xex game on tape by segment loading ? time lenght is not problém for me.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
31 minutes ago, Poison said:

So, is possible to put every xex game on tape by segment loading ? time lenght is not problém for me.

 

Of course not. For every binary loader, you will find a bunch of .xex files that the loader will not load. 

 

The point is, every binary loader must reside in the computer's memory at certain addresses. The "Blockloader" resides at 0x0800 - 0x0A2E. These are the least-likely addresses to be used by binary load files.

If the binary load file occupies or uses the same addresses as the loader, then the loader is destroyed during the loading and the loading fails (typically, the computer hangs).

 

So, what you can do to save your time?

 

Use the "Check Loader" button. If it will not tell you that the loader will be destroyed for sure, the probability of successful load is high.

Use the Altirra emulator to check your WAVE files. Set it up for turbo tapes, and use F1 for warp speed. If it loads, then it loads with the real computer in 99.9 % of cases.

 

This is also applicable for binary loaders used in SDrive, SIO2SD, and Universal cartridges (UnoCart etc). These loaders are very tiny and keep their profile low, yet there are .xex files that will not load anyway.

 

For more information, refer to my (rather long) post at Atari Sector.

 

 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I have decided to do a favor to the German users. The Turbo 6000 will be included in the Wizard for Binary Files.

Still the limitations for the original Turbo 6000 file format and the Chaos loader are bit elusive. The disassembly is available in the github repository. If someone really has nothing better to do...

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

If loading large games (e.g. the ones requiring XRAM) from tape, I would pack them first with a good packer, e.g. Superpacker and its Exomizer or Inflate/Deflate option. Depacking works faster than loading the unpacked data from tape, afaik...

 

Some guys from Abbuc are still analyzing and checking the various Turbo 6000 (Chaos, Schleife, ...) hardware and software versions and their variations. But they already built a Turbo 6000 and loaded a tape with 6000 Baud successfully. (Think they are still busy with checking the many hw and sw variations.)

 

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 7/19/2019 at 4:38 PM, CharlieChaplin said:

Some guys from Abbuc are still analyzing and checking the various Turbo 6000 (Chaos, Schleife, ...) hardware and software versions and their variations. But they already built a Turbo 6000 and loaded a tape with 6000 Baud successfully. (Think they are still busy with checking the many hw and sw variations.)

 

It is good to hear this. Any information on this almost forgotten system would be great.

 

So far, I solved the Turbo 6000 support with "brutality and ignorance" so typical for the development of TS. The "Compatible binary file" conversion is based on my crude understanding of the file format used by the Chaos Loader (but it works), and the "Binary file" conversion is just my own file format paired with the very same loader that I just violated to do what I wanted (load almost any binary load file).

 

At least my crimes against Turbo 6000 are documented in the GitHub repository mentioned above and someone can refine my findings.

 

 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 7/19/2019 at 1:14 PM, Poison said:

So, is possible to put every xex game on tape by segment loading ? time lenght is not problém for me.

Ta make the long story short, the ChainLoader2BlockLoader, nanoTBL and nanoBTAPE binary loaders shipped with Turgen System are carefully designed to load 95 % of the games shipped as .xex files, so use the "BlockLoading" and "ChainLoading" conversions without much fear that it will not work. In very most cases, it will work.

 

Of course, some files are not loadable. Do not try the Stunt Car Racer, for example.

 

This way - Enabled (command control), one can set up Altirra 3.20 to test wave files with the following systems:

Turbo 2000 (CZ/SK), Super Turbo (CZ/SK), B-TAPE, TURBO TAPE, KSO Turbo 2000 (variant with input from SIO port only!), Atari Super Turbo and compatible systems (ATT and Unerring Master), Hard Turbo, Lower Silesian Turbo 2000, Turbo ROM Plus. Is this list complete??

 

baltirra_turbo.thumb.png.96eee62656b5ffa80104dbb97d772dd6.png

 

Other settings are for more "exotic" systems. The Enabled (proceed sense) is for the Turbo 6000, and Enabled (Interrupt sense) is for the Rambit Turbo Tape. Always ON is self-explanatory and suitable for Turbo Blizzard, until Phaeron includes the "Enabled (Data OUT sense)" option.

 

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

So, the 8.6.13 available for download. You can read the full announcement.

Enjoy and report bugs.

 

 

What is next?

I am still not happy with creation of full tape sides (too much manual work). So in the next version, I will rework that capability. It will work as follows:

 

1. Create a playlist (either manually or with batch processing)

2. Open a dialog

3. Select length of a side (30, 45, 60, custom), select how much silence at the beginning of each side, select if to pad the output files with silence to the length of the side

4. Select output directory, select output file name mask

5. Select postprocessing command (e.g. lame, oggenc, flac)

6. Click a button, wait, and have one big output file for each tape side

  • Like 4
  • Thanks 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Well done Baktra, I don't use tapes much but its just great to see such love and dedication for a system that many pass by...Great work..

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
18 minutes ago, Mclaneinc said:

Well done Baktra, I don't use tapes much but its just great to see such love and dedication for a system that many pass by...Great work..

Well, I found it very difficult to stop this Turgen System madness. There is always "one last thing" to develop :-)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
2 minutes ago, baktra said:

Well, I found it very difficult to stop this Turgen System madness. There is always "one last thing" to develop :-)

 

Not madness at all, very very useful stuff for the full system users around...

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I love the fact that Atarians strive to make their work the best it can be, always going one step further. Most of our coders know when a thing is done, and then improve another part of the work as a whole. The best part is they know when to kick it out of the nest and see how it flies. I wish every piece of software was given the once, twice, thrice over with what we know and have shared today.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
58 minutes ago, _The Doctor__ said:

I love the fact that Atarians strive to make their work the best it can be, always going one step further. Most of our coders know when a thing is done, and then improve another part of the work as a whole. The best part is they know when to kick it out of the nest and see how it flies. I wish every piece of software was given the once, twice, thrice over with what we know and have shared today.

Its one of the reasons I have so much gratitude to our devs, you look at what Baktra, Phaeron, FJC and all our devs in no order (to save a million names), they always go the extra mile and show an utterly amazing all around knowledge so what we the users get to play with is top notch...Its just privilege to get to use what is created..

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

One of the reasons Turgen System is alive is that I (back in 2004) decided to write it in Java using the Swing library for GUI and NetBeans as IDE.

 

For developing such a classic desktop applications, I found that combination to be truly RAD (rapid application development). New features are added with ease and quickly, re-factoring works like a charm. Very important for a spare time project. When I consider the project went from JDK 1.3 and NetBeans 4.0 to JDK 11 and NetBeans 11, I would have very few complaints on backwards compatibility. And it still runs on Mac too without additional efforts.

 

You can say the same could be accomplished with Delphi, Visual Studio, Qt Creator, and you are probably right.

 

If Java is the bright side, what is the dark side?

There is... (dis)assembler 6502. The only way to support certain turbo systems was to disassemble the loaders. I understand that, the documentation simply didn't prevail. Let's disassemble the loaders and document the file format, right? Right!

 

What is worse, many of the turbo system didn't have native and full support for loading binary load files. Monolithic binaries only? Segmented but no support for INIT vectors? Running INIT vectors with interrupts disabled? Pick your choice! For these, I decided to steal routine for reading a block and build a loader and file format around it. Brutal work, but successful. One of the worst offenders was Czechoslovak Turbo 2000. Even its original documentation stated that  "our developers will deal with transforming the software to monolithic binaries". As Odo from Terok Nor would say... Reeeaaaalllly?

 

There is another bright side. The audience. I am grateful to everyone who sent me sampled recordings or any materials helping me to implement more formats and systems.

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

A glimpse of the future - Create tape sides, UI created with Swing designer.

Postprocessing options (passing to LAME or OGGENC) are missing.

 

ts_tape_side.png.acebce7febe28ef39721a4e6cd100438.png

 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I have sealed the long lasting gap in Turgen System. There never was a step-by-step guide to teach you how to create your first tape.

 

Now, let us take a look here:

https://sourceforge.net/p/turgen/wiki/Recording your first tape/

 

It is rough, it is imperfect, there are probably some spelling and grammar mistakes, but it is finally there.

I will keep shaping the guide to improve it.

 

  • Like 3

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Now the page is more polished. I tamed the over sized images and polished the texts slightly.

Suggestions are welcome.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Now Turgen System 8.6.14 is out. The biggest innovation is support for certain sampling rates other than 44100 Hz.

Not every plugin can benefit from it, but Turbo Blizzard, Standard, Turbo ROM and Turbo 6000 already do.

 

The fixed sampling rate of 44100 Hz was very deeply under the project's skin, so it was not an easy task.

  • Like 3

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Posted (edited)

After some time of silence, I am back with 8.6.16.

 

Innovations

The tape side creation tool described in the posts above is available (including post-processing and few more convenience controls). It doesn't hurt to read the product documentation to see how it works. Innovations in previously released 8.6.15 are not that significant - redesigned the Pilot tone test tool and some polishing of the Tape image extractor. The splash screen is back too. Unobtrusive (I hope) and simplistic this time (do you remember the original one?). Just enough to let you know the mighty Java Virtual Machine (JVM) is being launched. The national flags in the list of plugins are now smaller.

 

Legal 

You might know that there were significant changes in Oracle JDK licensing.

The changes could look infuriating at the first glance, however one must understand Oracle is running a business, not a charity. Besides, OpenJDK has been open-source for many years. If you cannot use Oracle JDK, I would recommend AdoptOpenJDK. More information on installation under Windows at the wiki.

 

What will be next?

Refinements of the tape side creation tool, all depends on feedback.

Cleaning the Augean stables - Turbo decoder (my least favorite component) finally deserves some work, decoding of the signal specifically. I will try to borrow some algorithms from Altirra and A8CAS.

 

Satellite Project for Android

For lovers of mobile devices, there is CAS2Audio for Android. It interprets .cas tape images like PlayTZX or TapDancer. The application is available as .apk.

Not sure if it will ever make it to Google Play.

 

Bits and Pieces

A new European source of tapes.

 

 

 

Edited by baktra
  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hi Baktra,

 

Would you have or know of a source for the Turbo 2000 tapes, Serj posted around 300 of them but I've mixed them through my archive and its just not fun trying to unpick them from it (my fault entirely) and Serj isn't really in the 8 bit side these days and is very busy with his family.

 

I've searched a lot but I can find lots ABOUT the system but not the tapes or at least very few of them. Being King of the Tapes I'm kind of hoping you can help :)

 

Whatever the answer I love your dedication to the old Atari, especially on a part of it that is a little less loved than the rest :)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
27 minutes ago, Mclaneinc said:

Hi Baktra,

 

Would you have or know of a source for the Turbo 2000 tapes, Serj posted around 300 of them but I've mixed them through my archive and its just not fun trying to unpick them from it (my fault entirely) and Serj isn't really in the 8 bit side these days and is very busy with his family.

 

I've searched a lot but I can find lots ABOUT the system but not the tapes or at least very few of them. Being King of the Tapes I'm kind of hoping you can help :)

 

Whatever the answer I love your dedication to the old Atari, especially on a part of it that is a little less loved than the rest :)

 

Hello Mclaneinc,

 

I have a clean digital image of one tape full of Turbo 2000 files - it is a collection of games in form of two MP3s (one MP3 per side) + PDF with a J-CARD for printing. I have been selling it for some time, but not any more. I would be willing to share that publicly, however I have nowhere to host it. I can temporarily upload it to my google drive for someone with better means for hosting. Also not sure if one mp3 per side is practical, or single-file == single game would be preferred.

 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hi baktra, thanks for the reply,

 

I think I know someone who might be able to host it and its a wonderful offer from you, as long as you are sure?

 

I'll let others chip in as to what they think is most practical..

 

Again thank you.

 

Paul.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

Loading...
Sign in to follow this  

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.

×
×
  • Create New...