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Stevaside

7800 in Retroarch/Launchbox issues

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After decades of using emulators for other consoles I finally decided to play around with the 7800. Really liking Launchbox & figured I'd build a library even though I own every original NTSC cart besides Tank Command lol

 

Anyways, most games seem to work fine (Using the Prosystem core), but I ran across the Scrapyard Dog hacks (which i can't believe I'm JUST now learning about) Can't get those to run for some reason, I get nothing but a black screen. I'm so intigued at the thought of reversing roles & playing as Scraps as well as the infinite lives. I managed to get to the final boss one day back in 1999 & I vowed to NEVER put myself through that again, only to get to that lame puzzle final boss...but nowadays with save states I think I might give it another shot. 

 

Also figured I'd mention I tried the Choplifter Hacks too & those do work

Edited by Stevaside

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The ProSystem emulator (core) unfortunately is very outdated and it's unfortunate that Retroarch leverages it.  Really, it should be leveraging MAME for A7800 emulation, as it is already supported by it as a component of its Arcade support.

 

Anyhow, part of ProSystem issues include often having problems with bankswitching games (Titles that are greater than 48K) due to not properly reading and managing headers.  Specifics for the game need to be specified in the ProSystem.dat file that is typically located in the same place as the executable.

 

Choplifter hacks work as that game is only 32K.  Scrapyard Dog is 128K and requires an entry in the ProSystem.dat file.  The file can be edited with a program like Notepad and the following entry would need to be created for any hack of Scrapyard Dog:

 

["SHA1 information of the file"]

title="Name you want it described as in ProSystem"

type=4
pokey=false
controller1=1
controller2=1
region=0
flags=0
 

For example, here are the two entries for the retail NTSC and PAL ROMs that comes with the included ProSystem.dat file:

 

[980c35ae9625773a450aa7ef51751c04]
title=Scrapyard Dog
type=4
pokey=false
controller1=1
controller2=1
region=0
flags=0

 

[53db322c201323fe2ca8f074c0a2bf86]
title=Scrapyard Dog
type=4
pokey=false
controller1=1
controller2=1
region=1
flags=0

 

An easy to use emulator for Windows with save states, that is worlds more accurate than the Prosystem emulator (core) is BupSystem.  For a more MAME/MESS familiar experience with further improved console emulation and save state savings as well, there is A7800.  Both properly read headers and no hacks or workarounds are required.

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12 minutes ago, Trebor said:

The ProSystem emulator (core) unfortunately is very outdated and it's unfortunate that Retroarch leverages it.  Really, it should be leveraging MAME for A7800 emulation, as it is already supported by it as a component of its Arcade support.

That's a very interesting idea, I had not seen that noted anywhere before. Do you know if anyone has created a configuration to launch 7800 games from libretro-mame?

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25 minutes ago, MrZarniwoop said:

That's a very interesting idea, I had not seen that noted anywhere before. Do you know if anyone has created a configuration to launch 7800 games from libretro-mame?

 

I am unaware if anyone has created a configuration to launch 7800 game from libretro-mame.  I would highly recommend leveraging the latest version of MAME for Atari 7800 emulation.  The very oldest version leveraged should be 0.188 (Circa July 2017).  Although going back a few years prior to that would still be worlds better than ProSystem core emulation.

 

Someone desiring to take the source of A7800, which is essentially the same as leveraging the MAME source(s), but with a bit more console accuracy, creating 'libretro-A7800', is more than welcomed to do so.

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1 minute ago, Trebor said:

I would highly recommend leveraging the latest version of MAME for Atari 7800 emulation.  The very oldest version leveraged should be 0.188 (Circa July 2017).  Although going back a few years prior to that would still be worlds better than ProSystem core emulation.

Using lr-mame may not be ideal, unless it's truly required for reasonable Atari 7800 emulation. Much of the RetroArch development is for RetroPie, which favors lr-mame2000 (ideally), lr-mame2003, and lr-mame2003-plus because they run on high performance on almost all Raspberry Pi models, even very low-powered ones. There is also some use where needed of lr-mame2010lr-mame2015, and lr-mame2016, which run reasonably well on Raspberry Pi 3/4 models.

 

I will poke around a bit with this over the holidays. If there's workable Atari 7800 emulation in any of those LibRetro MAME versions, I may try to get it working under RetroPie.

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55 minutes ago, MrZarniwoop said:

Using lr-mame may not be ideal, unless it's truly required for reasonable Atari 7800 emulation. Much of the RetroArch development is for RetroPie, which favors lr-mame2000 (ideally), lr-mame2003, and lr-mame2003-plus because they run on high performance on almost all Raspberry Pi models, even very low-powered ones. There is also some use where needed of lr-mame2010lr-mame2015, and lr-mame2016, which run reasonably well on Raspberry Pi 3/4 models.

 

I will poke around a bit with this over the holidays. If there's workable Atari 7800 emulation in any of those LibRetro MAME versions, I may try to get it working under RetroPie.

The 7800 emulation was actually in MESS.  MESS started off as a fork of MAME, to do for consoles/computers what MAME did for arcade.

 

At some point MESS merged into MAME,  I don't remember exactly when that happened, but in 2000, 2003, and probably 2010, MESS was separate and those Mame builds won't have it.   2015/2016 might have it.

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3 hours ago, zzip said:

At some point MESS merged into MAME,  I don't remember exactly when that happened, but in 2000, 2003, and probably 2010, MESS was separate and those Mame builds won't have it.   2015/2016 might have it.

 

IIRC, MAME and MESS were fully-merged in 2015.  This was when the makefile began supporting the `arcade` and `mess` subtargets for building either one individually.

 

FWIW, I strongly recommend not using RetroPie or associated libretro MAME builds.  The versions of MAME they use (as @MrZarniwoop alluded to above) are typically ancient, leading to both emulation quality and ROM file support issues.

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Personally, I love the whole RetroPie/RetroArch/libretro/EmulationStation stack. It’s amazing, with one set of controller configurations and user experience for everything that makes for really nice front-ended emulation all kinds of games across all kinds of platforms. It allows for things like collections of games across platforms from one menu where you don’t know or care what’s being emulated.

 

But, if you’re after the best Atari 7800 emulation possible, this is not it. It’s “good enough” for the main original Atari-released cartridges albeit with an outdated emulator today out of box: the libretro version of ProSystem. I’ve found that to be very hit-and-miss with hacks and homebrews, maybe around 50% of them working correctly.

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8 hours ago, Trebor said:

The ProSystem emulator (core) unfortunately is very outdated and it's unfortunate that Retroarch leverages it.  Really, it should be leveraging MAME for A7800 emulation, as it is already supported by it as a component of its Arcade support.

 

Anyhow, part of ProSystem issues include often having problems with bankswitching games (Titles that are greater than 48K) due to not properly reading and managing headers.  Specifics for the game need to be specified in the ProSystem.dat file that is typically located in the same place as the executable.

 

Choplifter hacks work as that game is only 32K.  Scrapyard Dog is 128K and requires an entry in the ProSystem.dat file.  The file can be edited with a program like Notepad and the following entry would need to be created for any hack of Scrapyard Dog:

 

["SHA1 information of the file"]

title="Name you want it described as in ProSystem"

type=4
pokey=false
controller1=1
controller2=1
region=0
flags=0
 

For example, here are the two entries for the retail NTSC and PAL ROMs that comes with the included ProSystem.dat file:

 

[980c35ae9625773a450aa7ef51751c04]
title=Scrapyard Dog
type=4
pokey=false
controller1=1
controller2=1
region=0
flags=0

 

[53db322c201323fe2ca8f074c0a2bf86]
title=Scrapyard Dog
type=4
pokey=false
controller1=1
controller2=1
region=1
flags=0

 

An easy to use emulator for Windows with save states, that is worlds more accurate than the Prosystem emulator (core) is BupSystem.  For a more MAME/MESS familiar experience with further improved console emulation and save state savings as well, there is A7800.  Both properly read headers and no hacks or workarounds are required.

Thanks..Yea I knew I remembered hearing about a newer 7800 emulator, it was Bupsystem. I just installed it & Scrapyard Dog hacks seem to work

 

Tried a couple other games on it, but my Commando has no music for some reason (Setting related to Pokey???)

 

I reset all my 7800 roms in Launchbox to use Bupsytem, but I wish there was a way for it to always open in full screen. Not sure if there's a way in LB to configure that. Only other thing is all my consoles w Retroarch that I use within LB I have the same save/load state controls universally set to the same control pad combos (Save state = R Shoulder + Select, Load state = L Shoulder + Select) Seems there's no way to customize buttons for saves at all in BupSystem, let alone a combination.  I recently started using a mapper called Antimicro for older versions of Visual Pinball & DOS games that don't have joystick support, but I can't figure out how to set combos in it yet. Eventually I'd like to set it up where same button combos activate save states w my 7800 games & guess I could set a single button to switch to fullscreen to make it a little more convienient if there isn't any other way

 

 

Edited by Stevaside

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2 hours ago, Stevaside said:

Tried a couple other games on it, but my Commando has no music for some reason (Setting related to Pokey???)

You may have a ROM with a bad header.  Use the ROM from this set.

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4 hours ago, Trebor said:

You may have a ROM with a bad header.  Use the ROM from this set.

You're the greatest man! That was it. BTW A few roms I've already been using lately I got from your pack. Really appreciate all your dedication to this console over the years!

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