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stephena

Stella 6.1 RC1 released

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After an extremely long time since the last release, we now have a new release candidate for what will become Stella 6.1!  I'm not going to go into the entire (huge) changelog here; that will come when we do the final release.  For now, I will stress the most important new additions that need some testing.  That's the main goal of this release: test, test test.

 

So what do we need tested?  Here are the highlights:

  • Video mode handling in NTSC and PAL modes has been completely reworked, 'ystart' setting has been removed, etc.  The window is now the same size in both NTSC and PAL modes (simulating a real TV), and in PAL mode the scanlines are vertically shorter, since there are more of them.  What we need tested here is to play as many games as possible and make sure the image is correctly displayed.  If possible, confirm it on real hardware too.
  • The event remapping subsystem has been completely reworked.  You can now map the same action on a controller/keyboard/etc to different virtual controllers.  So for example, joystick button 0 could mean 'Fire' when using a virtual joystick, but mean something completely different when using another type of virtual controller.  So play a bunch of different games (using different controller types), remap them, and make sure it all works.
  • There is now a 'first-class' port for the Retron77.  That means that going forward, when we do a new release, it will (hopefully) included a build for the R77 as well.  Please test this if you have an R77.
  • There is now a 'first-class' port for libretro.  This one still needs some extra work, but it's already working quite well.  If you use RetroArch, please download the latest core and try it out.  Note that since we don't control when RetroArch does a release, there may be some lag in when we release and when they pick it up.

 

Of course there are many other changes (dozens), and you should try everything out and report any problems.  But the stuff above contains the major changes and has had the least testing, so that's where we want feedback the most.

 

The release candidates aren't on the Stella main webpage, but on Github.  The addresses are https://github.com/stella-emu/stella/releases/tag/6.1.0-rc1 and https://github.com/DirtyHairy/r77-firmware-ng/releases/tag/stella-6.1.0-rc1.


As usual, feel free to respond here.  You can also PM, but feedback here is better, so everyone can see it (and to eliminate duplicate reports).  So go forth and test :)

 

Just a reminder that state files, event remapping and many other settings are not compatible with Stella 6.0, so when you do testing here, it will overwrite your old settings, and you won't be able to go back (unless you backup your settings first).
 

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R77 report:

 

So far I've played Parsec(cart,) Scramble Arcade, Missile Command, Defender, Space Rocks, River Raid, Battlezone, and Star Castle on my CRT TV with effects and scan lines turned off.  Scan lines enabled makes it seem as though this TV has some sort of strange problem :).  The overscan option works great- I needed about a '7' for this TV. 

 

I'll try effects and scan lines on the LCD later.

 

My bluetooth controllers need charging.  So far I've only been playing with a Trooper.

 

No issues so far, and the image is beautiful.

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Thanks for the feedback. The more the better.

3 hours ago, fluxit said:

...on my CRT TV with effects and scan lines turned off.  Scan lines enabled makes it seem as though this TV has some sort of strange problem :).

Scanline emulation on a CRT with real scanlines must look quite odd. :) 

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Love it! hope I can find time to mess around.

 

Anyhow if you're still interested in supporting OLD rigs and OS'es.. OpenGL gives me white screen when running a rom. The game plays with sound, but all white screen. This with SDL2.DLL 2.0.10.0 on my vintage laptop with OpenGL 1.3 and Win XP. Haven't tried it on my i7 rigs, but I'm sure it's fine.

 

Dropping down to SDL2.DLL 2.0.9.0 works!

Edited by Keatah

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On 2/4/2020 at 2:47 AM, Keatah said:

Dropping down to SDL2.DLL 2.0.9.0 works!

I guess for now you can stick with SDL 2.0.9.  Since this seems to be directly related to SDL, I'm not sure what we can do here.  It's extremely unlikely that the SDL guys are testing hardware that old, so going forward we may be seeing more problems like this.  Also, Stella 6.1 officially drops support for WinXP.  Things may keep working, of course, but it will just no longer be tested.  I suspect this is the first instance of Stella starting to fail on such old hardware/OS'es.

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1 hour ago, stephena said:

I guess for now you can stick with SDL 2.0.9.  Since this seems to be directly related to SDL, I'm not sure what we can do here.  It's extremely unlikely that the SDL guys are testing hardware that old, so going forward we may be seeing more problems like this.  Also, Stella 6.1 officially drops support for WinXP.  Things may keep working, of course, but it will just no longer be tested.  I suspect this is the first instance of Stella starting to fail on such old hardware/OS'es.

I tried rc1 on XP with an Nvidia card and the only weird thing was that despite TV Mode being disabled, the scanlines feature was on. In 6.0 & earlier, the slider was disabled.

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Scanlines and TV effects are no longer tied together, so they can be enabled/disabled separately.  If you also want the scanlines disabled, move the slider to the left until it says "Off".

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Anyone able to get custom palette files to work? 

 

Ctrl-P in game toggles between Standard and Z26 palettes only. 

 

The 'Tab' key menu "Video" --> "Palette" has pull downs for "Z26", "Standard", and "User"; however, selecting "User" doesn't seem to have any impact.

 

How do I specify an external palette file to utilize under Stella and where should the external palette file be stored?  I tried following the updated direction in Changes.txt, but there seems to be something missing on my part, as I can't get Stella to utilize or even recognize external palette files now.

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Go to Options -> System Logs.  Look for the string "Palette file".  That should specify the full path where the palette file must be placed.  There must be a valid palette file in that location, or the dropdown box doesn't actually do anything.

 

EDIT:  This functionality could probably use some improvement.  In particular, if a palette file isn't present, perhaps the option should not be available in the dropdown box.

Screenshot_20200205_222607.png

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1 hour ago, stephena said:

Go to Options -> System Logs.  Look for the string "Palette file".  That should specify the full path where the palette file must be placed.  There must be a valid palette file in that location, or the dropdown box doesn't actually do anything.

Perfect, thank you. 

 

I was *soclose*.  I renamed it to user.pal and stored it in the Base Directory/Folder. 

It just had to be named stella.pal instead.  😉

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can someone confirm or verify that when entering into "game properties" like for changing the bank switching scheme, causes CTD? This happened after stella.ini was changed several times, by changing regular options throughout the menus and several saves and normal exits and restarts.

 

A fresh stella.ini didn't CTD.

 

Maybe tomorrow I can narrow it down further and or post the offending .ini file.

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I played around with this new version tonight and I had a few things happen.

 

First time I tried RC1 the game loaded up fine with my previous settings from version 6. When I turned off the system and restarted it would not load a game. Not from a cartridge or from a rom file, it would just freeze.  I was able to get everything up and running by deleting the database settings files.

 

I tested overscan settings on a CRT using an HDMI to S-Video adapter and everything was there was working well with that. 

 

I tried paddle games from the db9 port and was unable to get them to respond with actual paddles or the ranger controller.  I was able to fix this in previous versions by going to the basic settings screen or resetting to default configurations, but was unable to ever get the paddles to work.  I did however get the paddles to work using the 2600-daptor.

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Thanks for testing.

 

Deleting the database settings file was a good idea. Besides that I have to look into the paddles issue this weekend.

 

Edited by Thomas Jentzsch

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9 hours ago, Keatah said:

can someone confirm or verify that when entering into "game properties" like for changing the bank switching scheme, causes CTD?

CTD? Desktop or R77 version?

Edited by Thomas Jentzsch

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10 hours ago, stephena said:

EDIT:  This functionality could probably use some improvement.  In particular, if a palette file isn't present, perhaps the option should not be available in the dropdown box.

Issue created.

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TJ it may or may not be our fault. There is the possibility we used an older stella.ini file. Or somehow it got corrupted.

 

With the new stella.ini file I haven't seen a crash-to-desktop. This is on the PC desktop version. And -basinappdir is the only startup option.

 

stella.ini failed_stella.ini

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Thanks for positing the .ini files. I compared them, but I could not see anything obvious.

 

And Stella shouldn't crash, no matter how the .ini files looks like.

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Stella 6.1 RC1 is not saving input remapping after exiting. 

I have remapped console switches and controller inputs, but they all revert back to defaults after exiting and restating the emulator.

 

The issue occurs whether I specify a base directory (Stella.exe -basedir D:\EMULATORS\STELLA) or not.  

 

However, it does retain video settings ("User" palette, contrast and scanlines adjustments, etc.).

 

Running Windows 10 x64 with Stella x64 binary.

 

 

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Hm, I cannot reproduce the error. 

 

Please try this: Default all inputs, restart Stella and then try changing one or two. Does that work?

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37 minutes ago, Thomas Jentzsch said:

Hm, I cannot reproduce the error. 

Please try this: Default all inputs, restart Stella and then try changing one or two. Does that work?

No dice.

 

I also tried deleting stella.ini completely and same results. 

Items such as video setting modifications/palette selection is retained, but input mappings are reset back to default.

 

Next, clean install of stella, brand new folder. 

 

I copy over only two files: Stella.exe, SDL2.dll.   I create a "stella.bat" file, which specifies: "Stella.exe -basedir D:\TEMP\STELLA".

 

I run stella.bat

 

I remap Select to "1", Reset to "2". Launch Pitfall!

 

The mapping works as pressing "2" resets the game.

 

Quit Stella.

 

Launch stella.bat again.

 

Check mappings, and the inputs Select and Reset mappings are back to defaults.

 

*EDIT:  I also deleted the stella.ini file that was present under C:\%\AppData\Roaming\stella

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6 hours ago, Thomas Jentzsch said:

Is Stella allowed to write to "D:\TEMP\Stella"?

Yes, and it creates a stella.ini file when it is not present. 😉

 

Don't beat yourself over this one, Thomas.  If I am the only one with this issue, so be it.  In all my usage of Stella over years, this is the first time I ever had a problem like this with the emulator.  It is typically just a simple upgrade, overwriting the old files with the replacements.

 

After resolving the naming of the palette issue (user.pal --> stella.pal), and already having properly setup the command line for the base directory, the stella.ini file should be pretty much set in updating accordingly, for this release of Stella.

 

Nonetheless, the help is appreciated; thank you.  I think what is being experienced is an unintended side-effect of: "The event remapping subsystem has been completely reworked."  That is the part which is not saving/working properly for me - event remapping.  All other modifications are saving to the stella.ini file without issue.

 

Stella.ini file is attached.stella.ini

 

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Very, very weird. I am sure some bug is hiding somewhere. It would help if more people face the same problem.

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Unsure if it's related or not, but by Default, for the Select input setting, Stella maps an input for each of the three controllers connected (J0, J1, J2) under my computer, erroneously so, for two of the controllers (We will get back to that in a moment).  See the captures in the spoiler below.

 

 

 


Select.thumb.PNG.b8e99878ae3e68a527a1f84dcd1e46e1.PNGReset.thumb.PNG.d0f025709deddee90ef244dd7656ca86.PNG
 

 

 

For the Reset input setting, it only takes a button input from the first controller and ignores the other two.

 

Personally, the above really doesn't make a difference to me as my goal is the mapping of Select to keyboard "1" and Reset mapped to keyboard "2" to remain saved when exiting Stella.

 

Nevertheless, here's what the J# values equate to:

J0 = Saitek P880 - 12 buttons plus gamepad and hats

J1 = Nintendo NES Gamepad via USB - 4 buttons plus gamepad

J2 = A26 CX40 via USB = 1 button plus Joystick

 

It would make sense for Stella to ignore J2 as there is only one button, but why by default ignore J1 for mapping Reset, when something was mapped for Select? 

 

Further, notice the button mapping for Select. It states B7 for all three controllers.  There is no B7 for either J1 or J2.  When I physically map the button for J2, it comes up as B0, as it always has in the past.  There is also no B7 for J1 either; yet for some reason, by default, Stella is creating/forcing such non-existent input mappings.

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Default mapping doesn't care for the number of buttons physically existing. It just maps a number of buttons to several events.

 

There might be room for improvement. But in this case, if the joystick ID changes, (e.g. J0 and J2 are swapped), this should not remove the mappings for J0. So IMO it is better to keep the default mapping to non-existent buttons.

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