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Stevaside

Saving & loading COCO games on VCC emulator

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Been getting real frustated because I just can't seem to find any info online on how to do this & no one seems to be able to give me a clear answer on how exactly it is done. I only had cartridge games on my COCO3 when I was a kid & therefore have no idea how games were saved on it. I'd like to be able to see what I missed out on & play some of these games that were on disk or tape, but I just can't figure out how to save games/load saved games. All I gathered so far is to create a .DSK & write to it, or use the tape menu in VCC for saving games to cassette, but no details as to how do that exactly. I was also told by someone that some disk games can't be saved to disk, but cassette & maybe vice versa?? IDK, but that just adds to the confusion knowing I'd have to figure out which are compatible with what, that is if I can ever find out how to save games in the first place

 

Would be incredibly appreciated if someone can help me

 

 

Edited by Stevaside

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The Archive will have nearly every game for the CoCo there. You can download the zipped up DSK files and load them through the cartridge menu. The archive also has a formatted blank disk that you can use to load and save files to. So, when you need a new disk, just copy the blank to where you need it. Rename to to reflect the programme that you are working with. 

 

https://colorcomputerarchive.com/

 

 

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On June 3, 2020 at 3:54 AM, Michael Kline said:

The Archive will have nearly every game for the CoCo there. You can download the zipped up DSK files and load them through the cartridge menu. The archive also has a formatted blank disk that you can use to load and save files to. So, when you need a new disk, just copy the blank to where you need it. Rename to to reflect the programme that you are working with. 

 

https://colorcomputerarchive.com/

 

 

Also all most all of the tape games are now available in disk format from the same website so you can save and load them all to virtual disk like Michael said

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On 6/2/2020 at 3:30 PM, Stevaside said:

Been getting real frustated because I just can't seem to find any info online on how to do this & no one seems to be able to give me a clear answer on how exactly it is done. I only had cartridge games on my COCO3 when I was a kid & therefore have no idea how games were saved on it. I'd like to be able to see what I missed out on & play some of these games that were on disk or tape, but I just can't figure out how to save games/load saved games. All I gathered so far is to create a .DSK & write to it, or use the tape menu in VCC for saving games to cassette, but no details as to how do that exactly. I was also told by someone that some disk games can't be saved to disk, but cassette & maybe vice versa?? IDK, but that just adds to the confusion knowing I'd have to figure out which are compatible with what, that is if I can ever find out how to save games in the first place

 

Would be incredibly appreciated if someone can help me

 

 

Are you looking more on the commands on how to load software and such?

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On 6/3/2020 at 3:54 AM, Michael Kline said:

The Archive will have nearly every game for the CoCo there. You can download the zipped up DSK files and load them through the cartridge menu. The archive also has a formatted blank disk that you can use to load and save files to. So, when you need a new disk, just copy the blank to where you need it. Rename to to reflect the programme that you are working with. 

 

https://colorcomputerarchive.com/

 

 

I've got alot of my games from there already, and I just found the blank category & downloaded the one named 180K-RS.DSK  Would that be right? I still have NO idea how to save during a game to that blank disk, or if I should rename it first. I'm assuming part of it would involve loading the game in drive 1 & the blank in 2? I tried this with 1 adventure game so far, I took a guess & typed SAVE, but it asked me to press ENTER when I had a cassette ready, which I have zero idea how to work with. Still so confusing as to which games require a disk or a tape...I then tried to save a couple other random action games, but haven't the slightest clue how, being there was no field to type in SAVE like I did in the adventure game & no straightforward drop down menu up top like the old DOS games had, which is the only experience I've ever had saving computer games

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On 6/8/2020 at 6:24 PM, rietveld said:

Also all most all of the tape games are now available in disk format from the same website so you can save and load them all to virtual disk like Michael said

Thx for the heads up, that would definitely clear up some confusion & guessing games as to which format I need to save to for every game...That is if I can ever figure out how to actually save a game in the first place

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22 hours ago, Gamemoose said:

Are you looking more on the commands on how to load software and such?

So far I've figured out how to get some games running with the DIR , LOADM & EXEC commands...others I've had no luck starting

 

But as far as saving those games I still have pretty much no clue other than I need a blank disk image. NO idea how to set one up or save to one during a game, so therefore haven't even had the chance to try loading a saved game

Edited by Stevaside

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One thing I want to point out:

 

A .dsk file is read and understood by the VCC, as if you had a real CoCo disk system. A .dsk file is an image of a CoCo disk. The only difference is that the .dsk image is a file that is just a file to Windows. But, to the emulator, and a real CoCo, it's a real diskette. 158K disks are 35 track diskettes that is used by the CoCo. 180k are 40 track disks. Use the 158K so that you remain standardised. Look at the 180K, 40 track systems when you become more adept with working with non-conventional systems. For your purposes, the 158K RS Dos based blank disks are the ones you're looking for. https://colorcomputerarchive.com/repo/Disks/Blank disks/JVC/

 

Take the blank disk from the archive, name it using 8.3 file formats. (filename=8 characters, ext=dsk). Just like you would write the title to a diskette on a label. You'll name the dsk file using the same idea. VCC will accept long file names for dsk disks. When you choose to use a real CoCo with the SDC controller, then all disk's names must be 8 characters or less.

 

All Disk Extended Colour Basic disk commands work on the emulator as if they would on a real CoCo. The Disk Extended Colour Basic manual is in the Archive. VCC allows you to mount 4 dsk files at a time. You can copy, delete, save, load, and etc as you would using a real CoCo.

 

If you download a game from the archive, it's on it's disk. Just mount it into VCC and run it as normal for that particular game.

 

I hope this answers your questions.

Michael

 

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With VCC, as I haven't used it enough to remember, when you "insert" the cartridge for the disk drives, you're using that DLL that's in the VCC folder, right?  Then, if it has it, are you inserting the disk into "Drive 0"?  I can check this out when I get home.

 

When it comes to saving your spot in a game, where the save goes to depends on the game.  If it's a cartridge game like "Dungeons of Daggorath", it's designed to save to cassette.  Other games like "The Interbank Incident" come on disk, so it'll save on disk.  Others might have the option for tape or disk.

 

On that disk image you are trying to save to, type up a quick BASIC Program, even something as small as "10   Print"HELLO" " and do a "SAVE TEST.BAS".  See if you get an IO ERROR or something. If not, do a DIR and see if the program is there.  If it is, then you know the disk is "writable".

 

Here are some more commands that will help start things up:

 

For OS 9 Programs (like, well, OS-9, "The Interbank Incident", "Robot Odyssey" and such": when you have the disk inserted, at the prompt type in DOS and press Enter.  If you do a DIR on a disk and it shows a lot of globbity gook, it might be an OS-9 disk.

 

For programs off tape: You might know this but I'll include it anyway-use CLOAD to start loading from cassette.  A plain CLOAD command will snag up any program that it encounters first.  If you know the name of the program, type in CLOAD "PROGRAMNAME" and press Enter.  If that program gives you something like an FM ERROR or FC ERROR  (I think, it's been a while), then it might be a machine-language program.  Use CLOADM instead.  Thank goodness for cassette files-no waiting having to find your program!

 

You've got the disk stuff down.  As you probably know, LOAD "PROGRAMNAME" will load whatever BASIC program is there.  RUN "PROGRAMNAME" will run a BASIC program after it's loaded.  Some programs like "Telewriter 64" have a BASIC program you run that will then load the rest of the program.

 

Hope that helps!

 

 

 

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On 6/12/2020 at 9:59 AM, Michael Kline said:

One thing I want to point out:

 

A .dsk file is read and understood by the VCC, as if you had a real CoCo disk system. A .dsk file is an image of a CoCo disk. The only difference is that the .dsk image is a file that is just a file to Windows. But, to the emulator, and a real CoCo, it's a real diskette. 158K disks are 35 track diskettes that is used by the CoCo. 180k are 40 track disks. Use the 158K so that you remain standardised. Look at the 180K, 40 track systems when you become more adept with working with non-conventional systems. For your purposes, the 158K RS Dos based blank disks are the ones you're looking for. https://colorcomputerarchive.com/repo/Disks/Blank disks/JVC/

 

Take the blank disk from the archive, name it using 8.3 file formats. (filename=8 characters, ext=dsk). Just like you would write the title to a diskette on a label. You'll name the dsk file using the same idea. VCC will accept long file names for dsk disks. When you choose to use a real CoCo with the SDC controller, then all disk's names must be 8 characters or less.

 

All Disk Extended Colour Basic disk commands work on the emulator as if they would on a real CoCo. The Disk Extended Colour Basic manual is in the Archive. VCC allows you to mount 4 dsk files at a time. You can copy, delete, save, load, and etc as you would using a real CoCo.

 

If you download a game from the archive, it's on it's disk. Just mount it into VCC and run it as normal for that particular game.

 

I hope this answers your questions.

Michael

 

Ok I will try to use on of the blanks from the JVC folder instead, and thanks for the info about naming the disk.

But I STILL do not know how to save a game while I'm playing it lol

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On 6/12/2020 at 2:00 PM, Gamemoose said:

With VCC, as I haven't used it enough to remember, when you "insert" the cartridge for the disk drives, you're using that DLL that's in the VCC folder, right?  Then, if it has it, are you inserting the disk into "Drive 0"?  I can check this out when I get home.

 

When it comes to saving your spot in a game, where the save goes to depends on the game.  If it's a cartridge game like "Dungeons of Daggorath", it's designed to save to cassette.  Other games like "The Interbank Incident" come on disk, so it'll save on disk.  Others might have the option for tape or disk.

 

On that disk image you are trying to save to, type up a quick BASIC Program, even something as small as "10   Print"HELLO" " and do a "SAVE TEST.BAS".  See if you get an IO ERROR or something. If not, do a DIR and see if the program is there.  If it is, then you know the disk is "writable".

 

Here are some more commands that will help start things up:

 

For OS 9 Programs (like, well, OS-9, "The Interbank Incident", "Robot Odyssey" and such": when you have the disk inserted, at the prompt type in DOS and press Enter.  If you do a DIR on a disk and it shows a lot of globbity gook, it might be an OS-9 disk.

 

For programs off tape: You might know this but I'll include it anyway-use CLOAD to start loading from cassette.  A plain CLOAD command will snag up any program that it encounters first.  If you know the name of the program, type in CLOAD "PROGRAMNAME" and press Enter.  If that program gives you something like an FM ERROR or FC ERROR  (I think, it's been a while), then it might be a machine-language program.  Use CLOADM instead.  Thank goodness for cassette files-no waiting having to find your program!

 

You've got the disk stuff down.  As you probably know, LOAD "PROGRAMNAME" will load whatever BASIC program is there.  RUN "PROGRAMNAME" will run a BASIC program after it's loaded.  Some programs like "Telewriter 64" have a BASIC program you run that will then load the rest of the program.

 

Hope that helps!

 

 

 

Thanks.  I'm completely unfamiliar with OS-9, but I would like to look into it eventually

I recently learned the CLOAD commands for cassette based games as well, but still haven't tried loading a cassette file yet, I believe most I have are disks

I am STILL clueless how to actually save a game though, no one has answered that question for me & that's the main thing I've been pulling my hair out trying to figure out lol

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57 minutes ago, Stevaside said:

Ok I will try to use on of the blanks from the JVC folder instead, and thanks for the info about naming the disk.

But I STILL do not know how to save a game while I'm playing it lol

Cool.

 

I'm pretty sure it's the JVC folder you want. It's definitely the 158K RS disk that you want. If the JVC brand disk doesn't work for you, then try the same named file in the DMK folder. I have the SDC controller card for my CoCo. I use it to create blank disks for my use. If I have remembered correctly before I got my SDC for my CoCo, the 158K RS disk in the JVC folder is the one you want.

 

Regarding saving games;

 

It depends on the game. Some of the old games may only have the option to save to "cassette". Many games, don't have a save function at all. When there is no save data function written into the game itself, then there is no way to save your game high scores or process. For games that has the option to save data to disk, and the disk that you loaded the game from has space available, then the process is exactly the same as if you had a real CoCo and disk drives. If the game disk is full, and the game has the option to save data, and the game doesn't have the option to choose the preferred drive, then you'll have to eject the game disk from drive 0 and replace it with a blank. If the game has a save option, and it also has the option to choose your data drive, then place a blank 158K disk into Drive 1. With any blank disk, digital or not, it's always a good idea to use the DSKINI command to format the disk prior to using it.

 

Remember, the functionality of working with disks on the CoCo and the emulator are the same. Only the media and with VCC, the physical process of selecting a disk vs. .dsk is different.

 

If I remember correctly, you have already figured out how to load a disk in VCC. That really is the only difference between loading a diskette into a physical CoCo drive and the VCC emulator.

 

Regarding trying to save data as a cassette, using VCC... I don't know quite how to do that. Tape functions are found in the Configuration: Tape: Tab on VCC.

Edited by Michael Kline

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Stevaside, I have an additional question for you.

 

I have been assuming that you are trying to save a game's high score or something related to the idea of saving data from a game you are playing? If that is true, then I have just answered your question.

 

If you are typing in a game and you want to save the game itself to disk. Then the process is simple. Grab a blank 158K RS disk from the Archive. I believe it's the JVC version. Load it up in your preferred drive. Typically Drive 0 from the Cartridge Tab. Technically, you can use any drive. But, when other than Drive 0, you have to tell it where in the save process by adding ":1" after the last character of the filename. You don't need the ending "quotation mark" when there are no other commands following. For example, >SAVE"FILENAME:1  will save a BASIC programme to Drive 1. Since there are no other statements after ":1", the closing quotation marks are not needed.

 

To save a game or any BASIC programme that you typed in, the command to use is: >SAVE"FILENAME". FILENAME is the name of the file that you have assigned to the programme that you are saving to disk. When you type in DIR, the new file will be there.

 

IF you are not familiar with the Disk Commands, then I highly recommend downloading Disk Extended Colour Basic from the Manual section in the Archive.

https://colorcomputerarchive.com/repo/Documents/Manuals/Hardware/Color Computer Disk System (Tandy).pdf

https://colorcomputerarchive.com/repo/Documents/Manuals/Hardware/Color Computer Disk System - Quick Reference Guide (Tandy).pdf

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Most coco games never came with the save game option. 

 

And if you want to have a blank disk then just take a COPY of a known working disk annd type DSKINI 0.   This will format the disk as blank.  

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(I realize this topic is a little dated, but wanted to chime in with something I just experienced with VCC)

 

Dungeons of Daggorath is a cartridge game that allows saving and loading, via cassette.    In that game, the command is ZLOAD and ZSAVE.    I thought the OP was trying to ask about these kinds of cases.  

 

VCC didn't work for me, but here is what I did:

 

I typed ZSAVE.  I'm pretty sure Daggorath you don't have to give a save game name -- you can, but it's not required.  You can do ZSAVE "level1" or just ZSAVE.  Then ZLOAD will just load the next save that it finds, or ZLOAD "level1" will go thru the tape looking for that name.

 

In the VCC Options Cassette dialog - at first I thought I needed to press both REC and PLAY (like on the original cassette players).  That didn't work (pressing REC and then PLAY I think changed the mode).   After typing ZSAVE, it appears like Daggorath has locked up - but it's actually just waiting for the cassette.  After a few seconds, it'll time out and resume the game.    So I tried ZSAVE a second time, and just pressed REC.... The counter in the VCC virtual cassette dialog started rolling rather fast.  I don't recall the original cassette rolling that fast during a save - the number got up to about 3700 before it stopped and Daggorath continued.    I had the impression that the save had worked -- in hindsight, it may have just been that the game reached its internal time out, and nothing had actually been saved (yet something triggered VCC to start rolling and then stopping the timer).

 

In any case, I can say the ZSAVE didn't work because the subsequent ZLOAD didn't work either... I moved one square in Daggorath and tried to reload my game: REWIND on the virtual tape controls, and then do ZLOAD.   The interesting thing is during the ZLOAD, I press PLAY and the counter does count -- up to about 3700 (which I realize the counter number it reached is maybe realized to my local machine performance at the time??) -- and then it stopped (at about the same number it reached during the ZSAVE).   I was hopeful that it had worked -- but Daggorath stayed "stuck" and didn't resume.   So, I ended up losing my game progress - not a huge deal.  I waited a couple minutes hoping it would reach some timeout and just resume the game.

 

So that's my two questions:

(1) has anyone successfully used VCC to ZSAVE/ZLOAD a game in Dungeon of Daggorath?

(2) does VCC have a "quick state save" option, to just save and reload the machine state?  (would kind of eliminate the need for in-game save/loads)  Old Genesis and NES emulators tend to have this kind of feature.

 

 

 

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I don’t have VCC handy at the moment but if memory serves, you have to “rewind” the tape before loading. There should be an old school rewind button on the interface that’ll set that 3700 to zero. Then when you ZLOAD, press play and it should work, grabbing the first save recorded.

 

If I get a chance later I’ll try it out.

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Yep, I hit REWIND before doing the ZLOAD (and using 2.1.0c).   The counter did go back to 0, and the ZLOAD command did trigger the counter to start incrementing.  But it didn't load anything.

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9 hours ago, voidstar said:

Yep, I hit REWIND before doing the ZLOAD (and using 2.1.0c).   The counter did go back to 0, and the ZLOAD command did trigger the counter to start incrementing.  But it didn't load anything.

Hmm. I’ll give it a spin later today to see what results I get. If it works I’ll let you know the steps I took to make it happen.

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I just tried it with VCC 2.1.0c.  I can get it to save but when I try to load, the tape stops at about 333 and the screen gets all funky and the game resets.  I loaded a CAS file of a test I did to show one of my sons programming (a simple HELLO WORLD) and my BAS program was still in that file, so I copied the CAS file to use in DoD.  I ZSAVED again, which it did but again would reset when I ZLOADed.

 

I tried the MESS emulator (an old version as I had that all set up a while ago) using the CoCo 3 ROM, loaded my test CAS file and fired up DoD.  When I started I ZLOADed and waited.  The timer came up and showed about "24" seconds (I'm guessing) and started to load.  Once the counter went up to 24, the game resumed where I saved (about 3 steps up the hallway to a three way intersection, with my wooden sword in my right hand).  So that shows me VCC saved my game BUT it has problems loading it.  Might be a bug in the emulator, I'm not sure.

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You want Best is to setup your vcc with a virtual hardrive with all the games on it already.

But regular disk setup is a good start..

 

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I tried an earlier version of VCC and I still get the weird glitch when loading.  I wonder is it the emulator or the ROM or how the two interact?

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