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Which to buy: Side3 vs AVG Cart?

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3 hours ago, tmp said:

t should be easy to fix should someone report the issue and could test the potential fix

Alrighty, and now taking care of real substance here.

 

A couple more items (which are NOT essential on my end, but good to know in advance, since the AVG foundation seems so well supported and elastic):

 

With Ultimate/SD, I can issue specific FPGA commands (through $A000-$BFFF window) to, say, select a specific ROM from the pre-built directory list, thus instructing the cart engine to mount the cart image I desire without ever leaving (for instance) SDX prompt, and without ever entering the cart's own menu. I actually built (out of necessity) a set of "Control Extensions" designed specifically for this purpose, as well as other changes so the cart could better cooperate with its session environment). 

 

With respect to AVG cart:

  1. Is there a way I can send commands (issued by 6502 in $D5XX or $A000-$BFFF address spaces) so I can have it mount the image, and return control back to OS or DOS?
  2. Are there any specific commands that can be issued in the above way, so we can bring the cart IN and OUT of the bus (address space $A000-$BFFF)?

(Thanks, in advance !!!)

 

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no, there's no such facility available

 

i'm curious, what would be the real-world use case for that?

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48 minutes ago, tmp said:

no, there's no such facility available

 

i'm curious, what would be the real-world use case for that?

Based on my experience with the 'other platform', I can drop out of my game into the loader (although it's much more than that), mount a D64 for my saved games, drop back into the game where I left off, keep playing for a bit and then save my game to my currently mounted saved games D64.

 

Just as an example, there's far more scenarios where mounting an image on the fly without the need to reset is extremely useful that can't be 100% solved using a button that switches to the next image on the list.

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Posted (edited)
22 minutes ago, tmp said:

he's talking about cart images

Yes, my bad. So he is.

 

I'm with you, I have no idea just how on earth such a feature would be beneficial.

Edited by Mazzspeed

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Through the forest of 'FPGA commands' and other such novel terminology, it appears he wants to mount cartridge images using some potentially self-written third-party tool.

 

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5 hours ago, tmp said:

i'm curious, what would be the real-world use case for that?

The normal interaction approach with these carts is to use them for simply launching individual titles (exes, carts, or ATRs), mostly games.

 

However, I primarily interact with the machine via SDX, with a heavier emphasis on exploring the HW, SDX itself, (small) programming projects, productivity, testing and occasionally a few gaming titles. So being able to mount any cart-image of choice from SDX prompt, is not just natural, but very convenient. In other words, being able to handle the cart-mounting task programmatically (there is quite a list of programming languages hosted on cart images, for instance).

 

One the of biggest drawbacks Ultimate/SD had is that, right upon booting, it would ALWAYS jump into its menu, and (dumbly) hijack your session, whether you had SDX present or not. That assumed an interaction model with the end-user that was not necessarily the most desirable on the above scenario. That I also fixed on my end, as well (since that cart provides the basic update means for that, and more).

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44 minutes ago, Faicuai said:

The normal interaction approach with these carts is to use them for simply launching individual titles (exes, carts, or ATRs), mostly games.

 

However, I primarily interact with the machine via SDX, with a heavier emphasis on exploring the HW, SDX itself, (small) programming projects, productivity, testing and occasionally a few gaming titles. So being able to mount any cart-image of choice from SDX prompt, is not just natural, but very convenient. In other words, being able to handle the cart-mounting task programmatically (there is quite a list of programming languages hosted on cart images, for instance).

 

One the of biggest drawbacks Ultimate/SD had is that, right upon booting, it would ALWAYS jump into its menu, and (dumbly) hijack your session, whether you had SDX present or not. That assumed an interaction model with the end-user that was not necessarily the most desirable on the above scenario. That I also fixed on my end, as well (since that cart provides the basic update means for that, and more).

I'm confused.

 

Just to clarify, are you referring to the AVG or SIDE2/3 as 'the cart'? Furthermore are you requesting a feature that allows you to load ATR or XEX images stored on AVG or SIDE2/3 directly from SDX thereby bypassing the loader feature entirely? Or do you want to mount CAR or ROM images via AVG or SIDE2/3 from SDX using some script you've created?

 

Because if you want to mount CAR or ROM images via SDX, than in the traditional sense they've ceased being cartridges as such. Furthermore, it begs the question 'why?'

 

Why would you want to mount a cartridge from SDX?

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12 minutes ago, Mazzspeed said:

are you requesting a feature that allows you to load ATR or XEX images stored on AVG or SIDE2/3 directly from SDX thereby bypassing the loader feature entirely?

Cart. images primarily. 

 

What I needed is specifically stated on this post:

 

 

The actual software (object-code. SDX scripts. etc.) I already have. Just the communications facilities with the AVG cart. engine with, according to the author's response, are not possible in such manner.

 

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I think he's saying he wants to mount any compatible file on the multicart without rebooting or power cycling by issuing self written commands in SDX. 

 

Going for that DOS16 feeling where you could type DOOM at the C:\> prompt

 

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1 minute ago, Mr Robot said:

I think he's saying he wants to mount any compatible file on the multicart without rebooting or power cycling by issuing self written commands in SDX. 

I think he wants to specifically mount CAR or ROM images via SDX? 

 

However, cart images aren't really the kind of thing you mount from the operating system. If he's currently doing it using SIDE2 I'm honestly surprised it's even possible, perhaps it isn't possible under SIDE3?

 

I trust FJC and tmp would be the only ones that can answer that, it looks like tmp already has. I'd also like to know what an FPGA command is?

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Presumably AVG uses a message-passing system between the 6502 and the MCU (Ultimate and UNO certainly do). So there'll be a register somewhere at $D5xx (maybe a command register and a data register); you could essentially 'POKE' a command token followed by a FAT path/filename and this would tell the cart's MCU to read said cart image into SRAM, disable writes to the SRAM, and set things up using the desired banking scheme. The cart sensing lines would reflect the presence of an external cartridge, and typing 'CAR' at the SDX prompt would start the cart.

 

Essentially, this is a 'how does the loader mount carts?' question. Whether the designer wishes to document or disclose the API is another matter.

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it's not a matter of the api not being documented, there's no such api because there was never need for one

 

i understand what faicuai would want to do, my question was merely "what would it be useful for?", expecting answer like "i'd run sdx, from there i'd "mount" cart <enter name here>, then i would exit back to sdx and "mount" cart <enter different name here> and it's useful to do that without going back to cart's selector (without a reset) because <enter reason here>"

 

if it sounded useful, it could get to my list of things to consider but without seeing any practical advantage of implementing that, there's not much motivation

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3 minutes ago, tmp said:

it's not a matter of the api not being documented, there's no such api because there was never need for one

Yeah - fully understand that.

 

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2 hours ago, tmp said:

if it sounded useful, it could get to my list of things to consider

Better yet, why not showing it in action, to get a good view of it?

 

I will post a clip, later today, from a power-down state, and going through its paces, so you can see how Ultimate/SD behaves when commanded from SDX prompt.

 

Just keep in mind that once SDX becomes the primary framework for interacting with the system, other natural needs arise. Outside of it, and for just launching games, well, not so much (which is most likely why you have not found the need or request to expose the cart's resources for such purpose).

 

FYI, my order was already placed yesterday at the right merchant, so once it gets here, I will let you know how it handles the $8000-$BFFF address space in presence of a right-cart plugged on the 800.

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8 hours ago, tmp said:

my question was merely "what would it be useful for?"

Here, better seen than said:

 

(car.sav and basic.sav not set on SDX environment, so you can ignore related warnings)

 

 

As part of the changes, the cartridge now cooperates directly with OS boot-manager logic, and it tracks changes on the environment (e.g. a DOS-package later booted by OS).

 

When this happens, the cart switches into "console mode" (that's why a mere "CAR" command will not go through, unless an override console-key is simultaneously pressed), which is NOT the case if attempting to enter the cart without a DOS package ("library mode"), where it will automatically launch its menu, with no user intervention, and work exactly as originally designed (launching games, etc.)

 

The rest is self-explanatory, and ending with a command to pull the cart out of the bus (invisible), while still at the boot menu (blinking-led). The Ultimate/SD cart would be "perfect" if we could bring it back from the "sleep" mode right through the system bus, but that does not seem possible, at this point.

 

(NOTE: the important thing here would be having access to AVG's control-layer, as the rest would be done on my side. )

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that video is still more "how" than "why"

 

something like that (with some prior setup required on the sd card (assigning car files to some kind of perm (per card) slots)) would be probably doable with reasonable amount of effort but i still feel you'd be the only user of that functionality in the universe (waiting for the masses to prove me wrong)

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25 minutes ago, tmp said:

i still feel you'd be the only user of that functionality in the universe

FYI, just a couple notes:

  1. This is what essentially SIDECFG.XEX does with SIDE-2 configurable ROM-slots, only that user inputs the option from the menu, and being limited to just four (4) options + Loader.
  2. Of course you don't have to implement the exposure of AVG control-layer for this purpose... but it is done with SIDE-2 and now with Ultimate-SD. The clip is essentially self-explanatory, and pursues the exact same goal as SIDECFF.XEX but with much more latitude of choice.

On other words: no need to wait for the masses (or for "been there, done that", as it has already happened)

 

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20 minutes ago, Faicuai said:

FYI, just a couple notes:

  1. This is what essentially SIDECFG.XEX does with SIDE-2 configurable ROM-slots, only that user inputs the option from the menu, and being limited to just four (4) options + Loader.
  2. Of course you don't have to implement the exposure of AVG control-layer for this purpose... but it is done with SIDE-2 and now with Ultimate-SD. The clip is essentially self-explanatory, and pursues the exact same goal as SIDECFF.XEX but with much more latitude of choice.

On other words: no need to wait for the masses (or for "been there, done that", as it has already happened)

 

The problem is, there's more keystrokes involved in loading ROM's from SDX the way you are than by simply using the loader. I can't imagine the masses ever using such a feature for that very reason.

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Ok, quick update on this one:

 

  1. Got the cart delivered YESTERDAY (Florida)... about 6 days from origin, quite impressive (!!)
  2. It did NOT fit on 800´s cart bay. Not on my spare cart-trays, nor my extra 800s, anywhere except the oversized 800XL port.
  3. The cart has the left-and-right case indents (for the 800) at the correct height and position, but not depth (the specs. are wrong). So I trimmed the case indents to appropriate depth and now fits correctly. The case material is buttery-smooth, and thanks GOD I did not start with the Dremel. Here, before and after:

D6C3CFC9-FA8A-4B9B-9A6B-4C8B4B7B1E67.thumb.jpeg.7e031e226cbe9645985cfd5e08cab14e.jpeg 

 

A066E993-F7C2-416E-BFF3-D211D16F2245.thumb.jpeg.ebb0bff5e2472c4547ba05762a0e57f1.jpeg

 

 

After preparing media with partitions. .XEX / .ATR / .ROM / .CAR content, and transferring my SDX main partition from Incognito HD to AVG HD, on-board the 800:

 

  1. Works like a CHARM on my Incognito/800 and CORRECTLY boots in presence of Cart. on Right-port ($8000-$9FFF). KUDOS !
  2. When testing in SiDE/SDX mode there, at times I get "file is read-only" error messages, when executing commands like "man copy", for instance.
  3. Boots to main menu on my 1980 800 with STOCK 32KB or 48KB ram config (Slots 1 to 3 populated with 16KB ram cards).
  4. DOES NOT work on my AXLON-expanded 800 (stock / untouched other than the cards). SIDE2 works / boots SDX there, without a problem:

709EFF33-B7F8-4F4B-9465-0B72A8FC62DC.thumb.jpeg.bd0dc7959f2c54620d24d88c07a3470f.jpeg 

 

B6C315AE-E9B2-41C1-AF5F-220B07159107.thumb.jpeg.9eaff7a7dbc79ea0186618ed57ca77fc.jpeg

 

  • FYI, here are the specs / diagram of the 512KB AXLON expansion in. use on that 800 (again, note that SIDE2 SDX-image boots there, minus access to card, due to its inability to handle RAS, instead of PHI2 on left-port):

 

Overall. and with the exception of the 800 RAM-expansion incompatibility (do not know which one is at fault)  it performs pretty well (and FAST!), and I will report  anything else I find.

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on that axlon machine, it doesn't even get to the selector? any change with that axlon expansion removed? (if it's easily removable)

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35 minutes ago, tmp said:

on that axlon machine, it doesn't even get to the selector? any change with that axlon expansion removed? (if it's easily removable)

Correct, it does not get to the main menu / selector. I can hear the OS boot-manager (OS/b) attempting an SIO boot, like suggesting it did not found a bootable cart-image on  the $8000-$BFFF space, or if it found something there, it had the boot-flag enabled.

 

The AXLON ram-expansion is plug-and-play, no modifications of any kind on the host-hardware, whatsoever (only a jumper to OS-board to pick up a specific signal not present on Slot-2, but for the rest, everything else needed is already there). Here is the circuit diagram, FYI:

 

Axlon 512.pdf

 

 

When removing the 512KB AXLON-compatible card, and seating 16KB card on its slot, the system DOES boot into AVG's selection menu. HOWEVER, as noted above already, SIDE2 SDX-image boots without problems on the same (AXLON) setup.

 

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Thanks to this thread I got an AVG cart also recently - pretty much almost perfect for my use of playing carts/atrs/xex's :)

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52 minutes ago, Faicuai said:

Ok, quick update on this one:

 

  1. Got the cart delivered YESTERDAY (Florida)... about 6 days from origin, quite impressive (!!)
  2. It did NOT fit on 800´s cart bay. Not on my spare cart-trays, nor my extra 800s, anywhere except the oversized 800XL port.
  3. The cart has the left-and-right case indents (for the 800) at the correct height and position, but not depth (the specs. are wrong). So I trimmed the case indents to appropriate depth and now fits correctly. The case material is buttery-smooth, and thanks GOD I did not start with the Dremel. Here, before and after:

D6C3CFC9-FA8A-4B9B-9A6B-4C8B4B7B1E67.thumb.jpeg.7e031e226cbe9645985cfd5e08cab14e.jpeg 

 

A066E993-F7C2-416E-BFF3-D211D16F2245.thumb.jpeg.ebb0bff5e2472c4547ba05762a0e57f1.jpeg

 

 

  1. DOES NOT work on my AXLON-expanded 800 (stock / untouched other than the cards). SIDE2 works / boots SDX there, without a problem:

709EFF33-B7F8-4F4B-9465-0B72A8FC62DC.thumb.jpeg.bd0dc7959f2c54620d24d88c07a3470f.jpeg 

 

 

  • FYI, here are the specs / diagram of the 512KB AXLON expansion in. use on that 800
    •  

 

I get that same screen booting my stock 800 with AVGCart.  Press RESET.  AVGCart menu should appear.

 

Please let me know how well SDX and Side 2 emulation (via AVGCart) works with the Axlon upgrade.    I basically only use the 800 for some games when the 800XL is doing something else.   I'd love to put Axlon "some day".  (I've been saying "some day" for Axlon upgrade since the day it was announced)

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11 minutes ago, a8isa1 said:

I get that same screen booting my stock 800 with AVGCart.  Press RESET.  AVGCart menu should appear.

Very interesting, as I only get that screen with the 512KB RAM expansion plugged-in in Slot-2 (as designed). But I do not get that, with stock RAM config. (or, at least, with 32KB of ram, in the form of 2x16 KB ram cards)

 

I will try again, and verify that reset is working correctly. I can only see a proper OS-provided E: screen, after boot, if I press-and-hold the left-most button of the AVG cart, during boot time.

 

THX!

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