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stephena

Stella 6.4 released

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So, time for another very quick release of Stella.  It's been less than a month, but we decided to bump from version 6.3 to 6.4, since there were a few major bugs in the last release, and there are quite a few new features in this one.  Anyway, here's the changelog:

Quote

 * Added basic (entire and single line only) text cut/copy and paste.

 * Added color parameters to 'Custom' palette.

 * Some improvements to AtariVox-USB adaptor functionality:
   - Made serial port used for an AtariVox-USB adaptor editable.
   - Autodetection of serial ports no longer messes up devices plugged into other serial ports.

 * Added CPU load stats to debugger.  Related to this, added debugger pseudo-registers '_ftimreadcycles' and '_fwsynccycles' to show the number of cycles since the start of frame under certain circumstances (see manual for more details).

 * Fixed bug with aspect correction and fullscreen mode; snapshots from such a mode are now pixel-exact.

 * Fixed a bug that caused CDF ROMs to crash on the Retron77 and reduced ARM emulation performance for CDF ROMs on other platforms.

 * Fixed crash with missing or incorrectly sized SaveKey data file, and with certain functions not working (erase pages, erase entire EEPROM).

 * Fixed Atari mouse autodetection.

 * Fixed bug in ROM launcher, with last ROM selected not being remembered when exiting and re-entering a directory.

The R77 port will be ready soon, and will contain some nice new features as well.  We will update the thread when that happens.

 

As usual, Stella can be downloaded at https://stella-emu.github.io/downloads.html, and donations are appreciated at https://stella-emu.github.io/donations.html.  Bug reports can be done here, or preferably by creating a Github issue at https://github.com/stella-emu/stella/issues.

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@Nathan Strum, since you were one of the people most requesting the fullscreen video/pixel-exact snapshot stuff, could you please report back that this is now working for you?

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7 hours ago, stephena said:

@Nathan Strum, since you were one of the people most requesting the fullscreen video/pixel-exact snapshot stuff, could you please report back that this is now working for you?

I can confirm that turning off 'correct aspect ratio' is now working great for me for taking pixel-exact screenshots! Thank you so much for this!!

 

- James

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The 6.4 release for Retron77 is now available at https://github.com/DirtyHairy/r77-firmware-ng/releases/tag/stella-6.4.0.  The main Stella download page has also been updated to reflect this.  Thanks to @DirtyHairy for supporting and creating builds for the R77.

 

The R77 port gets a few new features, in addition to the bugfixes from the general release.  Specifically, it now supports an AtariVox plugged into a USB adaptor, just like the mainline Stella port.  As well, any ROM from a cart you insert can now be saved to the SD card.  So the R77 essentially becomes a ROM dumper!

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11 minutes ago, ZeroPage Homebrew said:

I can confirm that turning off 'correct aspect ratio' is now working great for me for taking pixel-exact screenshots! Thank you so much for this!!

Thanks for confirming this.  I forgot you were looking for this feature too, otherwise I would have asked you as well as Nathan.  Good to finally have this fixed.

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3 minutes ago, Karl G said:

Ooh, clipboard support! There have been a few times I've wished for this.

Right now it's just single line, and no selection (or more specifically, always selects the entire line).  Eventually we hope to extend this to work like any other app (select specific blocks of text with mouse or keyboard, etc).

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1 minute ago, stephena said:

Right now it's just single line, and no selection (or more specifically, always selects the entire line).  Eventually we hope to extend this to work like any other app (select specific blocks of text with mouse or keyboard, etc).

Right; I caught that, but even that much will be handy at times, and it gives a base to build off of.  🙂 

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17 minutes ago, stephena said:

The R77 port gets a few new features, in addition to the bugfixes from the general release.  Specifically, it now supports an AtariVox plugged into a USB adaptor, just like the mainline Stella port.  

Thanks to Steve and the Stella team for this!  I've been testing for @DirtyHairy and can confirm that the voice in Wizard of Wor Arcade works great! :thumbsup:   Also, if you configure the first controller port to be QuadTari*, you can now play 2 player WITH voice if you have the AtariVox hooked up too! :D  Thanks Christian! :thumbsup:  (and thanks to @Thomas Jentzsch for the QuadTari support :D  )

 

*For QuadTari support, you'll need to map the P2 joystick controls to your 2nd joystick.

Edited by johnnywc

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1 minute ago, Karl G said:

Right; I caught that, but even that much will be handy at times, and it gives a base to build off of.  🙂 

My thoughts exactly. It is better to have something now than to have nothing, waiting for a full fledged solution.

 

And it was really easy to implement. :)

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24 minutes ago, stephena said:

The 6.4 release for Retron77 is now available at https://github.com/DirtyHairy/r77-firmware-ng/releases/tag/stella-6.4.0.  The main Stella download page has also been updated to reflect this.  Thanks to @DirtyHairy for supporting and creating builds for the R77.

 

The R77 port gets a few new features, in addition to the bugfixes from the general release.  Specifically, it now supports an AtariVox plugged into a USB adaptor, just like the mainline Stella port.  As well, any ROM from a cart you insert can now be saved to the SD card.  So the R77 essentially becomes a ROM dumper!

I've added an announcement to the R77 thread, too: https://atariage.com/forums/topic/289929-stella-6-on-the-r77-the-eagle-is-landing/?do=findComment&comment=4668847

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9 minutes ago, Thomas Jentzsch said:

My thoughts exactly. It is better to have something now than to have nothing, waiting for a full fledged solution.

Yep, this is already making it much easier for me to do updates from Rom Hunter.  In the past I used a hacked version of Stella that did rudimentary copy/paste with Stella itself.  This is a much better solution already.

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Just now, stephena said:

Yep, this is already making it much easier for me to do updates from Rom Hunter.  In the past I used a hacked version of Stella that did rudimentary copy/paste with Stella itself.  This is a much better solution already.

Sounds like you are using the UI to enter new data. I did not know.

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21 hours ago, stephena said:

So, time for another very quick release of Stella.  It's been less than a month, but we decided to bump from version 6.3 to 6.4, since there were a few major bugs in the last release, and there are quite a few new features in this one.  Anyway, here's the changelog: 

 

...* Added color parameters to 'Custom' palette...

Outstanding!  Thank you!

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1 hour ago, Trebor said:

Outstanding!  Thank you!

Trebor, your original post had some more text, with an issue in it.  Is this no longer an issue, or did the text get deleted by mistake or something??

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1 hour ago, stephena said:

Trebor, your original post had some more text, with an issue in it.  Is this no longer an issue, or did the text get deleted by mistake or something??

I was about to ask the same question. :)

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1 hour ago, stephena said:

Trebor, your original post had some more text, with an issue in it.  Is this no longer an issue, or did the text get deleted by mistake or something??

 

47 minutes ago, Thomas Jentzsch said:

I was about to ask the same question. :)

 

It was user error.  I thought at first the new RGB settings were not impacting Hue $1x and I was mistaken.  This release has officially made my (CRT color based) palette files obsolete for the 2600.  Absolutely love it! 

 

Certainly it is still wonderful to have the option to import an external palette, but with the new RGB angle shift adjustments, it's just a matter of taking the time to 'match it' for the display you are accustomed to viewing on, including of course, the other end user configuration preferences.

 

Eckhard's color palette is great here for reference as are retail games H.E.R.O., Frogger, Pitfall (II), Raider of the Lost Ark, Dark Cavern, E.T., Megamania, Space Invaders, Star Wars ESB, and Midnight Magic, when comparing between the real hardware and Stella and tuning 'just right'.

 

Again, thank you both.   This is the greatest thing since the initial implementation of CRT effects regarding video simulation.

 

The only other thing I can think of that would emulate the hardware palette more precisely is the actual warm-up transitioning.  The items to account for would be the start phase, end phase, and then perhaps a 0.1° increment over a time interval until the max phase shift value is achieved from the start phase (Typically ~2 to 3 degrees higher from power on).

 

Parameters perhaps would be:

 

Start Phase Shift = 24.7° (Realistic range 24° - 26°)

End Phase Shift = 27.7°  (Realistic range 26° - 28°)

Time Interval for 0.1° increase = 30 seconds (Range 10 seconds - 60 seconds).

 

In the above example, the console at power on starts at 24.7° degrees.  Every 30 seconds, it increases by 0.1° until the phase shift reaches 27.7°.  It would take place at 15 minutes utilizing the parameters set above. 

 

Having the aforementioned range of seconds would allow a 3 degree shift to take place as quickly as within 5 minutes or as long as 30 minutes, which more than covers the variety experienced under typical console conditions.

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9 minutes ago, Trebor said:

Again, thank you both.   This is the greatest thing since the initial implementation of CRT effects regarding video simulation.

While I'm very happy that this feature exists and is working well, I have to set the record straight here.  All of this is the result of @Thomas Jentzsch, so all thanks should go there.  I've been working on other parts of the code, and wasn't really involved with this part.  So credit should go where it's due.

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6 hours ago, stephena said:

While I'm very happy that this feature exists and is working well, I have to set the record straight here.  All of this is the result of @Thomas Jentzsch, so all thanks should go there.  I've been working on other parts of the code, and wasn't really involved with this part.  So credit should go where it's due.

Absolutely...Thomas, thank you again! A brilliant and very much appreciated addition. Exactly what was needed to make the palette creation provide CRT color palette results on a modern display.

 

Nonetheless, Stephen, your continuous releases going on the better part of two decades now has kept this emulator going strong.  Surely, Bradford deserves credit too for starting it all, but you have carried this coordination torch for quite some time, so thank you again as well!

 

Not neglecting all others who have provided input and support either...Truly, thanks to all involved!

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2 hours ago, Trebor said:

The only other thing I can think of that would emulate the hardware palette more precisely is the actual warm-up transitioning.

That might be feasible, but probably not first priority.

 

First there are multiple things which change during warming up, e.g. some TIA glitches only happen on warm consoles. And in between they fluctuate. Also, how about the RGB phase shifts, shouldn't they be affected by temperature too?

And are the phase changes linear (I doubt that) and how do we sync these? We could only find out by extensive experimenting how things change in time. And then we need heaps of parameters to simulate one console exactly.

 

Yes, we could skip all this, but then this is more like a nice effect instead of correct emulation.

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On 11/2/2020 at 5:49 AM, stephena said:

@Nathan Strum, since you were one of the people most requesting the fullscreen video/pixel-exact snapshot stuff, could you please report back that this is now working for you?

Will try to shortly. I need to start working on videos for the new homebrews coming to the AA store soon-ish. Just haven't quite had the time yet.

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Recently, I broke my Retron Joystick. (Sad face, single tear.)

So, I've been using my CX-10, which is when I noticed that "up" doesn't work on the Stella, any version of the Stella, for any of my joysticks except for the Retron model.
When I say it doesn't work, I get it to recognize up maybe one out of 20 tries, but that's about it.

There is enough of a "nib" left on the Retron joystick that I was able to confirm that this is the case on 6.2.1, 6.3 and now 6.4, because up still works for the broken Retron joystick, quite well.

 

I previously reported that my paddles only work on version 6.1.1 and nothing since then.

A ticket was opened for that issue and when 6.3 came out, it still didn't work.

Well, the good news is that the paddles work once again on Stella 6.4, but are extremely jittery.

When I try the same paddles on my 2600, they are smooth as glass, so it's not the controllers.

 

However, now Stella 6.4 will no longer recognize my USB keyboard and mouse.

It will recognize my USB game controller (PS2 clone) and it works fantastically, though.


So, plenty of good and bad.
It's like a game of whack-a-mole.

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I've narrowed down the problems a bit more.

So, "up" on any of the standard DB-9 joysticks won't work, except for the Stella joystick.

That hasn't changed.

 

The paddles are very jittery, but they work.

I have noticed however, that I need to hold the fire button for half a second in order to get the new emulator to recognize it; quick taps of the fire button no longer works and yes, I tried the button on my 2600 for comparison.

My paddles work flawlessly there.

This issue is unique to the emulator and I tried it on several versions of paddle and ball type games.

 

I can get the emulator to recognize my USB devices on a fresh configuration of Stella.

However, as soon as I turn the device back on, none of the USB devices work, unless I delete the "stella\settings.sqlite3-shm" file, at which point, they work again.

So, something is getting screwed up in the settings file.

 

It doesn't matter what the settings are, either.

I've tried erasing the settings and recreating them with different options, but I get the same result, every time in that the USB devices only work until a restart, when Stella has to read the -SHM file.

 

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4 hours ago, Schvenn said:

So, "up" on any of the standard DB-9 joysticks won't work, except for the Stella joystick.

That hasn't changed.

That sounds very weird, maybe a connection problem with the console port? What do you mean with "Stella joystick"?

 

4 hours ago, Schvenn said:

The paddles are very jittery, but they work.

You can try in the advanced settings (Input) to suppress jitter more than by default.

 

4 hours ago, Schvenn said:

I have noticed however, that I need to hold the fire button for half a second in order to get the new emulator to recognize it; quick taps of the fire button no longer works and yes, I tried the button on my 2600 for comparison.

Another weirdness. The game should start when you release the button after a short time. A long button press brings up the "Power-On options".

 

Hard to tell what's going wrong on your side. Anyone else experiencing similar problems?

 

I hope @DirtyHairy can help with your USB problems.

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6 hours ago, Schvenn said:

It doesn't matter what the settings are, either.

I've tried erasing the settings and recreating them with different options, but I get the same result, every time in that the USB devices only work until a restart, when Stella has to read the -SHM file.

Your issues with the builtin joystick ports sound like a hardware issue, I'm afraid. As for the paddles, the readout circuitry and algorithm on the R77 are crappy, and I suppose there are units that work better than others. We have added interpolation code to smooth out the jitter a few versions ago, but that doesn't cure the the original problem.

 

That said, your USB issues sound like mapping problems to me. In order to nuke the settings, deleting the SHM file is not enough; you need to delete all settings.sqlite3.* files (settings.sqlite3 is the DB, the others are cache and journal files). In order to make sure that this is not a mapping issue, please recreate the SD card using sdcard.img and try again.

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