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Altirra 3.90 released

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I though it would be hacked by now and the built in color brought out of the thing

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2 hours ago, drac030 said:

XEP-80 is a device designed especially for people who have nothing but successes in their life and want some rest.

No wonder how some folks find it so intimidating. Very nice to see it well supported in Altirra, and its Ultra-speed drivers, as well.

 

Anyhow, I concur, the XEP80 is only for brave souls. Let's not even talk about SDX, now that it comes to mind...

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For interest, this is an example of the the batch file I ended up using to launch my different Altirra setups:

@echo off
start "Altirra" /B "C:\Program Files\Altirra\Altirra64" /debug /portablealt:c:\users\jon\altirra\altirra_u1mb_SIDE3.ini

I wanted to get rid of the command window when starting each instance of the emulator, and after some Googling I figured out that the 'start' command with the '/b' switch accomplishes this. So I now have a bunch of different machine profiles (shortcuts to batch files) pinned to the taskbar, each with the Altirra icon. They all load up with their own U1MB firmware, NVRAM, etc, and with the debugger open. Absolute bliss. Should have set this up years ago. :)

Edited by flashjazzcat
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1 hour ago, flashjazzcat said:

For interest, this is an example of the the batch file I ended up using to launch my different Altirra setups:

@echo off
start "Altirra" /B "C:\Program Files\Altirra\Altirra64" /debug /portablealt:c:\users\jon\altirra\altirra_u1mb_SIDE3.ini

I wanted to get rid of the command window when starting each instance of the emulator, and after some Googling I figured out that the 'start' command with the '/b' switch accomplishes this. So I now have a bunch of different machine profiles (shortcuts to batch files) pinned to the taskbar, each with the Altirra icon. They all load up with their own U1MB firmware, NVRAM, etc, and with the debugger open. Absolute bliss. Should have set this up years ago. :)

Sweet!  Thanks for the tip, I'll be doing this for sure.

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XEP-80 continued. For now I failed to connect it to my main monitor, Commodore 1085S (CRT). Here is a photo of the display from LCD Samsung SyncMaster 741MP (whatever this means):

 

obraz.thumb.png.3a0a7529ee340bbe335d0cd64f34119d.png

 

Real XEP, PAL mode, all 25 lines visible, no truncated characters, so almost there, but the monitor displays only 76 columns (which is the same amount as with the default settings). Also, I have no idea what are the horizontal and vertical retrace frequencies generated or what would my CRT say to this.

 

The display controller settings visible in lines 100-105 are phaeron's numbers tweaked by me, then tweaked by trub, then tweaked again by me.

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5 hours ago, drac030 said:

XEP-80 continued. For now I failed to connect it to my main monitor, Commodore 1085S (CRT). Here is a photo of the display from LCD Samsung SyncMaster 741MP (whatever this means):

 

obraz.thumb.png.3a0a7529ee340bbe335d0cd64f34119d.png

 

Real XEP, PAL mode, all 25 lines visible, no truncated characters, so almost there, but the monitor displays only 76 columns (which is the same amount as with the default settings). Also, I have no idea what are the horizontal and vertical retrace frequencies generated or what would my CRT say to this.

 

The display controller settings visible in lines 100-105 are phaeron's numbers tweaked by me, then tweaked by trub, then tweaked again by me.

 

It is MUCH, MUCH more important to get full 80 cols., and at least 24 lines, than the last (and unused in std. E: sessions) 25th. line.

 

The majority of CRTs our there will surely fail at showing full 80x24 on the XEP80, let alone 80x25 range.

 

In short, 80x24 (at current Ultra or better speeds) is your ticket to everyday productivity and compatibility. I will not give a flying f_ck for Silent Butler 80, which is the ONLY app. I have seen to make some use of the 25th line.

 

Edited by Faicuai

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Alright, I finally got around to porting my hi/lo relocator to SDX, and so here's another experiment, Altirra XEP80 driver for SpartaDOS X (not super tested, have used on 4.49e):

 

altxepx.sys

 

Changes compared to previous drivers:

  • Loads low instead of high, as SDX drivers generally do.
  • Hooks into SDX reset vector table.
  • Unified driver via command-line options:
    • /1: Use port 1 instead of port 2.
    • /P: Init to PAL instead of NTSC on reset.
    • /V: Adjust video timing to be more sane.
    • /U: Ultra speed (use 31.5KHz comm rate).

MEMLO rise depends on options. /V adds a little bit, /U adds quite a bit more. Without either option it's slightly under SDX's XEP80.SYS. As with other SDX drivers, you can either load it with DEVICE in CONFIG.SYS or just run it from the command line.

 

/V uses a new timing table for NTSC, and also another new one for PAL. Unlike XEPVHOLD, it is reapplied on reset. Horizontal position is recentered, extending horizontal blank worked to avoid the FIFO conflict. The PAL table displays 24 rows x 11 lines = 252 visible lines.

 

It turns out that my Dell U2711 monitor displays PAL fine, which I used for tuning the new PAL table. My Samsung TV, OTOH, does a crappy job of it -- it'll display the signal, but with the same height as NTSC at around 232 visible lines. Ugh.

 

9 hours ago, drac030 said:

XEP-80 continued. For now I failed to connect it to my main monitor, Commodore 1085S (CRT). Here is a photo of the display from LCD Samsung SyncMaster 741MP (whatever this means):

 

obraz.thumb.png.3a0a7529ee340bbe335d0cd64f34119d.png

 

I'm actually kind of surprised that the 741MP managed to lock onto this:

  • HLR = $67 -> Horizontal total of 104 characters. 12MHz / 7 dots/char / 104 chars = 16.483KHz horizontal scan
  • CSHR + ES/F = $91 -> 10 lines/row, 1 extra scan line
  • VLR = $1C -> 29 rows, (29 rows * 10 lines/row)  + 1 extra scan line -> 291 lines, 16.483KHz / 291 = 56.64Hz vertical scan

The XEP80's default timing parameters for NTSC are 68 4F 52 5F 91 1A 18, while PAL changes the fifth value to B2. ALTXEPX.SYS uses 6D 54 56 60 A4 1B 18 46 (15.584KHz / 49.95 Hz).

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4 hours ago, phaeron said:

I'm actually kind of surprised that the 741MP managed to lock onto this:

Maybe that is why it is called "SyncMaster". Anyway, I sort-of had a feeling that the sync parameters would be grossly off, but was mainly concerned with centering the display and getting all the lines visible.

 

4 hours ago, phaeron said:

ALTXEPX.SYS uses 6D 54 56 60 A4 1B 18 46 (15.584KHz / 49.95 Hz).

Here is how it looks with these parameters:

 

obraz.thumb.png.7aee4f3196a10fedc16d657409d097cb.png

 

I also tried the altxepx.sys, nothing to say except that it works.

4 hours ago, phaeron said:

MEMLO rise depends on options. /V adds a little bit, /U adds quite a bit more. Without either option it's slightly under SDX's XEP80.SYS.

I can see about a kilobyte of difference - probably because the ICD driver loads bulk of its code to the Ext RAM, if available.

 

Also, one word about the SDX driver. To this day I have never had an opportunity to use it, because in SDX 4.20 times it had a slight bug which prevented it from working in PAL, and later my XEP was stored in a place which was not directly available. Anyway, I can see that under its control there are quite frequent transmit errors occurring, with results foreseable. I did not observe these as much in Rapidus turbo mode (for it works in turbo) nor at all under Altirra, but as I said these are easily noticeable when my computer is in 6502 mode, and @trub also was reporting something similar.

 

It may be that something is broken somewhere in the code, but if someone else also is experiencing that, POKE 559,0 may help - as the driver works with Antic DMA on, which may be hard to notice if someone has only one monitor.

Edited by drac030

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10 hours ago, phaeron said:

The XEP80's default timing parameters for NTSC are 68 4F 52 5F 91 1A 18, while PAL changes the fifth value to B2. ALTXEPX.SYS uses 6D 54 56 60 A4 1B 18 46 (15.584KHz / 49.95 Hz).

 

Seems like a whole-new ball game, here, with ALTXEPX.SYS

 

On the Viewsonic VP950b and the DVDO iScan HD/+ sampling over the Luma-component port, and rendering out on DVI port (@1280x1024), I am getting 83 cols. and what clearly seems enough space for 26 (twenty-six) rows. (one extra at the top, and clearly one+something at the bottom).

 

Above with /P and /V switches on command line. Will continue to test today.

 

SICK (!!!)

Edited by Faicuai
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Everyone sick of the XEP80 yet?

 

http://www.virtualdub.org/beta/Altirra-4.00-test32.zip

http://www.virtualdub.org/beta/Altirra-4.00-test32-src.zip

  • XEP80 drivers bumped to 0.93, fixes a couple of problems with charset switching not working and ultra speed timing issues. The XEP80 needs a little more time to respond to the charset switching commands while it rewrites the row pointer table, and there was a sporadic issue with commands getting dropped in burst mode.
  • XEPVHOLD.COM has been updated with the new NTSC timings, and there is now an XEPVHLPD.COM version that applies the new PAL timings.
  • The SDX version (ALTXEPX.SYS) is now on the Additions disk.
  • Fixed a couple of bugs in the emulator with some XEP80 state not getting reinitialized on a cold reset, which manifested as the XEP80 driver failing to init.
  • Fixed a bug in the Disk Explorer with junk data getting appended when importing text files.

 

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4 hours ago, phaeron said:

Everyone sick of the XEP80 yet?

Is the Pope Catholic :)

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I find what you've done on the XEP80 driver and it's output quite interesting, The work accomplished thus far is really nice, I am gearing up to see how it fairs in IRC using the different terminal programs and how things will get along SIO vs PBI vs I/O ports. This may actually be the excuse I need to put an 8 bit on a flat screen in a room that has no CRT... the wife is going to love it. ;)

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15 minutes ago, _The Doctor__ said:

the wife is going to love it. ;)

All thanks to the built in "Wife Baiting Emulation"..... 

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2 hours ago, Mclaneinc said:

Is the Pope Catholic :)

If the Pope drops a XEP80 in the wood, would anybody care?

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3 hours ago, _The Doctor__ said:

I find what you've done on the XEP80 driver and it's output quite interesting, The work accomplished thus far is really nice, I am gearing up to see how it fairs in IRC using the different terminal programs and how things will get along SIO vs PBI vs I/O ports. This may actually be the excuse I need to put an 8 bit on a flat screen in a room that has no CRT... the wife is going to love it. ;)

Is there any terminal program that works at all with XEP80? Connecting to that Fujinet CPM mode would be nice for this, but I have yet to get that working. 

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12 minutes ago, cathrynm said:

Is there any terminal program that works at all with XEP80? Connecting to that Fujinet CPM mode would be nice for this, but I have yet to get that working. 

BoBTerm works with it (not sure the version number).  If I remember correctly, it's also possible to run this in 2 screen mode (standard Atari output on one, XEP80 on the second).

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2 hours ago, Stephen said:

BoBTerm works with it (not sure the version number).  If I remember correctly, it's also possible to run this in 2 screen mode (standard Atari output on one, XEP80 on the second).

correct

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16 hours ago, phaeron said:

Everyone sick of the XEP80 yet?

Not at all. I don't own one and while I might enjoy picking one up someday, even if I don't, it's still amazing to me that you've down so much work to both emulate it so well and improve its general functionality with real hardware. :)

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On 3/21/2021 at 2:25 PM, Faicuai said:

 

Seems like a whole-new ball game, here, with ALTXEPX.SYS

 

On the Viewsonic VP950b and the DVDO iScan HD/+ sampling over the Luma-component port, and rendering out on DVI port (@1280x1024), I am getting 83 cols. and what clearly seems enough space for 26 (twenty-six) rows. (one extra at the top, and clearly one+something at the bottom).

 

Above with /P and /V switches on command line. Will continue to test today.

 

SICK (!!!)

Very good.  For me, it is a nice change.  /V is positioning the screen pretty close to perfect, 80x24 with no lost lines when plugged directly into my Samsung TV, BN64 model, with appropriate borders near the edge. I can move my Retrotink back onto something Video-game worthy. Thanks for the update.

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42 minutes ago, cathrynm said:

Very good.  For me, it is a nice change.  /V is positioning the screen pretty close to perfect, 80x24 with no lost lines when plugged directly into my Samsung TV, BN64 model, with appropriate borders near the edge. I can move my Retrotink back onto something Video-game worthy. Thanks for the update.

https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B08HS4J6P4/ref=ppx_yo_dt_b_asin_title_o03_s00?ie=UTF8&psc=1

And my $10 Amazon RF Video to HDMI dongle actually shows descenders in PAL mode now.  This same monitor crops in with RF in PAL mode and the retrotink generates an unviewable signal in PAL.  But this, first time I've ever seen descenders and 24 lines.

IMG_0604.JPG

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3 hours ago, DrVenkman said:

Not at all. I don't own one and while I might enjoy picking one up someday, even if I don't, it's still amazing to me that you've down so much work to both emulate it so well and improve its general functionality with real hardware. :)

Need to give a shout out to ABBUC here as well, the only reason I can test on the actual XEP80 and reverse engineer the actual behavior is because they sent me one. Can't say that the XEP80 has much practical use but it's one of the more interesting Atari devices to work with, due to the untapped potential and undocumented commands. If it were only on the SIO bus instead of the joystick port....

 

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1 hour ago, cathrynm said:

But this, first time I've ever seen descenders and 24 lines.

Perfect test, those are precisely the characters to double check on the last line.

 

Rendering 80x24 like that already calls for a (well deserved) victory lap! I can render here well beyond that, but I honestly could not care less!

 

The XEP80 is now ready to be used by pretty much anyone who cares exploiting it... Kudos for the wonderful "forensics" performed by Avery on this old, forgotten (yet promising) relic !!!

Edited by Faicuai
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On 3/20/2021 at 12:16 AM, _The Doctor__ said:

I though it would be hacked by now and the built in color brought out of the thing

Huh? There is no such thing as "built in colour" in the XEP80.

Edited by Kr0tki

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huh it can support it...  oh it's a quibble over 'built in' yeah poor choice of words. the chip itself supports it last I knew.

It can handle 64k by 16 bits RAM and color. It could bank switch as well. It would be nice to see it's full potential.

Take look at the data sheet...

NS405 data sheets.PDF

 

It's said that The XEP80 can actually display up to 256 character columns but only 80 are available at a time and window basic on it's examples disk show that.

It's also said that the XEP80 in ATARI BASIC still has a maximum of three lines per programming line number but now three lines equals 240 characters instead of 120. So would it be easier to program those 10 liners games on a real Atari without issues. send it to disk and then load it without the driver or XEP80 connected and enjoy. Anybody try it? There is fun to be had and tried with the XEP80

 

As hacking the driver has shown behavior differences and commands to the device are up-loadable who knows what interesting things can be done or observed.

 

It was high time the device got the treatment and is hacked in all ways. Fun for all!

Edited by _The Doctor__
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5 hours ago, Kr0tki said:

Huh? There is no such thing as "built in colour" in the XEP80.

There certainly is - the NS405 can handle it, but Atari chopped off its balls in yet another poor implementation.

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