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rensoup

Unicorns season: Prince of Persia for the A8!

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I would like to highlight one more aspect of how the DD disk works. If we have a lot of short files, the access time to the directory should also be taken into account when accessing them. And here is a lot of room for maneuver - you can use the format with a directory with 128 entries, which means that reading one sector gives us an overview of 16, not 8 files. In other words, the access time to files will be significantly shortened. The proposed disk format is BiboDOS and TopDOS.

you say not every dos will read it? but who sane uses DOS?

 

--

xBIOS will use this automatically. You just need to copy the files to disk in this format using BiboDOS or TopDOS.

Edited by xxl
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17 hours ago, rensoup said:

Alright, that beautiful hack wasn't going to work so I optimized the dancer, down to 5 scanlines.

 

Hopefully that should improve disk loading retries ? And maybe as a knock effect, improve stability ?

 

I've also tweaked the init code further.

 

Now if you see the mouse, it means the boot loader completed loading the main exe, decompressed it and started executing.

 

Please test and let me know (mention your config as well)

pop_fastdancer_210617.zip 291.25 kB · 30 downloads

The ATR loads and runs fine on my PAL 1088XLD via FujiNet. It does NOT load properly on my 1088XEL. It starts to load, but after a few dozen "hip bumps," the loading stops with a black screen.

 

The CAR loads from my SIDE3 on my NTSC 1200XL+U1MB. The same CAR from the same SIDE3 does NOT load on my 1088XEL. 

 

In the case of my XEL, it seems both loads fail about the time the dancing girl is supposed to transition to the mouse. What system components are stressed the most at that point in the process? CPU? Base 64K system RAM? Could be a corner case with the CPU in the machine - this weekend I might swap the SALLY to see if that makes any difference. 

 

EDIT: Just realized that this ATR version has basically crashed on my PAL 1088XEL with the animating mouse on a solid blue screen. The mouse is animating over and over but nothing else is going on. I don't know how long the demo ran before this occurred. It did load up and appear to run before I left it alone to go check other machines. The June 10 DD ATR of the full game did NOT do this. It runs on this computer fine.

 

ALSO: the fastdancer demo DD ATR loads on my NTSC 576NUC+ board through its integrated FujiNet. The June 10 versions did not load prior to this. 

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1 hour ago, xxl said:

The proposed disk format is BiboDOS and TopDOS.

I guess I could have 2 DD images 🤪

 

I'll investigate...

 

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34 minutes ago, DrVenkman said:

In the case of my XEL, it seems both loads fail about the time the dancing girl is supposed to transition to the mouse. What system components are stressed the most at that point in the process? CPU? Base 64K system RAM? Could be a corner case with the CPU in the machine - this weekend I might swap the SALLY to see if that makes any difference. 

Very difficult to say but I've added a debug loading progress display for the CAR versions, I'm hoping to have a bugfix release out soon...

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So I went through the last 10 pages or so and compiled a list of everybody who gave feedback:

 


SUCCESS:

 

x=usr(1536): CAR NTSC 800XL, 256KB RAM, FujiNet

tmp: CAR PAL 800XL (external 1MB) and AVGCART

adam242: CAR image works perfectly on my Ultimate Cart in my 800

MARIO130XE: 600xl pal vbxe sophia2 u1mb AVG Cart, SIO2SD DD atr/ SD atr

solaris104: Atari 130XE + RAM320XE + SDrive

Philsan: PAL Atari 800XL + U1MB (320KB selected), CAR AVGCart, ATR AVGCart + SIO cable

Jacques: 130XE SIO2SD

pps: STEREO U1MB 600 XL 8MBit ATARIMaxFlash 

peri noid: SIC! On my (not U1MB-equipped) 65XE with 320K of RAM (PARTIAL?)

faicuai: AVG and Ultimate/SD carts (all CAR) on Incognito/800

Beeblebrox:  my Side3 and SDrive Max on my 320k 65XE.

Lastic: On my U1MB with AVG Cart , Altirra OS, Stock Mem (128Kb thus) Sic AtariMax 

Mq.: Atari 65XE (edit: with 1MB SIMMexp) and I have SIC! cartridge. AtariOS and QMEG

chevymad: DD version loaded fine via fujinet on my 1088xel/vbxe/pal machine. 

CharlieChaplin: PAL 800XL with 512k SRAM enhancement by tf_hh and AVG cart. DD ATR 1050 Speedy normal speed

manterola: megacart

Mazzspeed: 600XL PAL DD ATR RespeQt SIO 1x FujiNet-PC

Luke210: stock 130xe with avgcart, 800xe with sdrive and ram extension from zaxon (512 kb rambo).

8bitguy1: no XEGS jumper from my U1MB with XEGS.

DrVenkman:  SIDE3 (latest firmware) All .CAR NTSC 1200XL+U1MB. Incognito 800. PAL 1088XLD ATR. NTSC 576NUC+ board through its integrated FujiNet DD ATR

Eyvind Bernhardsen: XEL SIDE

Elkino: NTSC 600XL expanded with 1MB NTSC 130XE with 320k rambo and SIDE3. 

Level42: Atari 600XL (PAL) PAL GTIA U1MB StereoPOKEY Sophia 1 RGB AntiX

tjlazer: 130XE with XF551 SD ATR.

 

FAIL:

 

DrVenkman: 1088XEL SIDE3 U1MB FujiNet

tjlazer: SD ATR version on a 1200XL w/256k RAMBO with Happy 1050 and it locks up at the dancing lady.  


@DrVenkman I didn't realize there were so many working configs... as you can see, your XEL looks pretty lonely (still can't exclude a bug on my side though)

 

 

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23 hours ago, rensoup said:

Please test and let me know (mention your config as well)

pop_fastdancer_210617.zip 291.25 kB · 32 downloads

Ok, since the original (first) .CAR images all work flawlessly on both my 800/Incognito and 800XL/U1MB, I went ahead and tested the above, and it works without a problem on the 800 / Incognito, with both AVG and Ultimate/SD carts (not sure if testing on my 800XL will be needed).

 

In fact, besides a shorter boot-time (?), I could not see any other major difference.

 

(UPDATE: also long-tested DD .ATR provided above, booting from NUXX SDrive, and it worked PERFECTLY !)

 

Bottom-line: everything works like a charm (after LONG >60min test...)

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2 hours ago, rensoup said:

@DrVenkman I didn't realize there were so many working configs... as you can see, your XEL looks pretty lonely (still can't exclude a bug on my side though)

No worries. I'm just offering feedback and a willingness to help figure it out just in case it's not a specific obscure hardware fault on my end. 

 

BTW, the fastdancer demo version eventually crashed on my NTSC 576NUC+ board loaded via FujiNet after running for a good while. Same solid blue screen but no animated mouse going on. Just the blue screen.

 

EDIT: I test-loaded the fastdancer ATR via FujiNet on my NTSC 1200XL and it also eventually crashed after running for awhile (solid black screen this time).

Edited by DrVenkman
More info
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@rensoup, I looked into your loading code and I see you're using unrolled code to make the dancer with sprites. Am I right?

 

If that's the case, you could improve the loading by cutting the routine, for example, in four parts, and running each part, let's say, every 16 scanlines using a DLI. I think it would help to improve the loading process. Doing that way, maybe it could read the disk on faster speeds!

 

Surely people here have suggested that before, but I'm not reading the whole thread and I prefer to be redundant rather than not writing this.

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I re-loaded the fastdancer demo version on my NTSC 1200XL via FujiNet after my last post. It just crashed again after running for about 45 - 48 minutes. 

 

Meanwhile, the June 10th full-game version has been running for about 2 hours or more on my PAL 1088XLD. Also loaded via FujiNet. 

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checked configurations:
- Real Atari 130XE, SIO2SD
- modified + 4MB + MapRAM, WiFiPrime
- modified + MapRAM, SIOCart
- Eclaire
everything loaded clean and tidy.

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On 6/17/2021 at 12:35 AM, rensoup said:

It's always possible to have an optional RAMdisk but as you can see this is messy enough already...

Does it happen all the time on the 3rd iteration ?

Will need to test with real disk drive again. Tested additionally with SIO2SD for several loops and no problem occured (DD from 10th of June) 👍

As for RAM-disk, it would be cool feature if the game could detect more RAM than 128KB (192KB and more) and preload more data at the beginning (mostly intro), but I understand the current complication of the project already.

Edited by Jacques
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The programmer can configure his project so that it will be loaded into RAM Disk (without the presence of DOS and without the need to install RAM Disk - it can occupy any predefined banks, in the example it was DOS to show the RAM content) and xBIOS will communicate with the RAM Disk - example:

 

Of course, this is not a topic for PoP, but if someone would like to use such a solution in their project, I would like to help.

 

Edited by xxl
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14 hours ago, rensoup said:

Eyvind Bernhardsen: XEL SIDE

Sorry, I should have been clearer: I haven't tested PoP on my XEL yet (it's hooked up to the home cinema so I have to get in line behind the kids...), only in Altirra.

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Level 4. Right after opening exit door and trying to pass jaws on next chamber.

Atari 130xe maxflash with latest release.

By the way, is there any code to jump to next level? I cannot set starting level on begining as well.

20210618_152759.jpg

Edited by michomis

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Haven't gotten to my XEL yet, but on my PAL XEGS with U1MB and AVG cart I get a brief (normal) blue screen followed by this:

 

IMG_0135.jpeg.86404bb25dcd9475870ebc82e2195298.jpeg

 

...that's the DD image from pop_fastdancer_210617.zip, loaded from the U1MB SIDE loader with the AVG cart in SIDE emulation mode. I've tried disabling HSIO, but get the same result.

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5 minutes ago, Eyvind Bernhardsen said:

Haven't gotten to my XEL yet, but on my PAL XEGS with U1MB and AVG cart I get a brief (normal) blue screen followed by this:

 

IMG_0135.jpeg.86404bb25dcd9475870ebc82e2195298.jpeg

 

...that's the DD image from pop_fastdancer_210617.zip, loaded from the U1MB SIDE loader with the AVG cart in SIDE emulation mode. I've tried disabling HSIO, but get the same result.

I had this exact issue on my NTSC XEGS until I pulled the XEGS jumper from the U1MB.  Is your jumper in place? Pulling it means it won't boot to the .car slots if you boot without the keyboard.  Not a biggie to me.

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2 hours ago, Eyvind Bernhardsen said:

Haven't gotten to my XEL yet, but on my PAL XEGS with U1MB and AVG cart I get a brief (normal) blue screen followed by this:

 

IMG_0135.jpeg.86404bb25dcd9475870ebc82e2195298.jpeg

 

...that's the DD image from pop_fastdancer_210617.zip, loaded from the U1MB SIDE loader with the AVG cart in SIDE emulation mode. I've tried disabling HSIO, but get the same result.

That's how it looks when I try to run Stuntcar Racer on my Side3/U1MB combo....

 

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2 minutes ago, Level42 said:

That's how it looks when I try to run Stuntcar Racer on my Side3/U1MB combo....

 

XBIOS … again. :)

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2 hours ago, 8bitguy1 said:

I had this exact issue on my NTSC XEGS until I pulled the XEGS jumper from the U1MB.  Is your jumper in place?

Eureka! 
 

Pulling the XEGS jumper off the U1MB in my NTSC 1088XEL allows the game to load and run from my SIDE3 cart properly now. This is the June 10 full-game Atarimax format .CAR by the way. I’ll test all the others plus FujiNet loading as well this weekend at some point. 

S-video through my RetroTink 2X-Pro to HDMI out to my game room Samsung LED TV. 

 

F9511C56-E795-4BD4-9DD7-29DAE223207B.jpeg

8A7FD1D4-0278-4804-8B1D-11D18F05D8F6.jpeg

9A93ABE3-6B80-4ACE-B935-2329FEC677F4.jpeg

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2 hours ago, 8bitguy1 said:

I had this exact issue on my NTSC XEGS until I pulled the XEGS jumper from the U1MB.  Is your jumper in place? Pulling it means it won't boot to the .car slots if you boot without the keyboard.  Not a biggie to me.

 

It was but removing the jumper didn't change anything, unfortunately.

 

I've also tested the image on my XEL (which has the XEL-CF3 adapter) now, but it just stays on the first blue screen, doesn't even get to the XB4.3 thing.

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Updating the situation with my 1088XEL - I decided to try loading the June 10 DD ATR but it hangs during the dancing girl animation.

 

However, the fastdancer Demo posted the other day does load and run properly from my FujiNet now. 👍

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20 hours ago, Faicuai said:

Ok, since the original (first) .CAR images all work flawlessly on both my 800/Incognito and 800XL/U1MB, I went ahead and tested the above, and it works without a problem on the 800 / Incognito, with both AVG and Ultimate/SD carts (not sure if testing on my 800XL will be needed).

 

In fact, besides a shorter boot-time (?), I could not see any other major difference.

 

(UPDATE: also long-tested DD .ATR provided above, booting from NUXX SDrive, and it worked PERFECTLY !)

 

Bottom-line: everything works like a charm (after LONG >60min test...)

 

NEW TEST:

 

On A800 / Incognito, set to 64KB of base memory, and using Turbo Freezer's 512KB extended memory, via PBI-bus.

 

ALL .car images (initial ones and latest, above) WORKING here! Will later test (and update here) with latest DD .ATR results...

 

So far, so good!

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Just adding my data point to the testing. 

 

576NUC+ (V1.0) + Fujinet 1.3 - pop_DD_fastdancer_NOTPLAYABLE210617.atr

576NUC+ (V1.2) + NUC Fujinet - pop_DD_fastdancer_NOTPLAYABLE210617.atr

1088XEL + VBXE + AVGCart+SIO Cable - pop_megacart_fastdancer_NOTPLAYABLE210617.car

1088XEL + VBXE + AVGCart+SIO Cable - pop_DD_fastdancer_NOTPLAYABLE210617.atr

 

All work fine here, watched the demo four times, very cool!

 

I have an XEL-CFIII but can't find my CF card reader, when I do I'll test it with that too.

 

 

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3 hours ago, DrVenkman said:

Eureka! 
 

Pulling the XEGS jumper off the U1MB in my NTSC 1088XEL allows the game to load and run from my SIDE3 cart properly now. This is the June 10 full-game Atarimax format .CAR by the way. I’ll test all the others plus FujiNet loading as well this weekend at some point. 

S-video through my RetroTink 2X-Pro to HDMI out to my game room Samsung LED TV. 

 

F9511C56-E795-4BD4-9DD7-29DAE223207B.jpeg

8A7FD1D4-0278-4804-8B1D-11D18F05D8F6.jpeg

9A93ABE3-6B80-4ACE-B935-2329FEC677F4.jpeg

Why does the Princess have grey hair? Has it taken that long for the Prince to get there?

:D

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31 minutes ago, Mazzspeed said:

Why does the Princess have grey hair? Has it taken that long for the Prince to get there?

:D

The XEL needs about 2-3 minutes for the system to warm up so the color is correct (a stock vintage system needs upwards of 10 minutes). Plus it's currently calibrated for a CRT but I'm testing right now connected to my modern-ish (2012) LED. If I keep the system here, I need to let it warm up, then run ACP.XEX and calibrate it for this TV.

 

But on that note, the fastdancer demo version loaded properly via FujiNet and has been running for almost 3-1/2 hours. Any worries about my system's stability should be put to rest. :) 

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