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Concerto firmware thread

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1 hour ago, NISMOPC said:

@batari - Bumping my post from Tuesday since it appears to have been overlooked. Is this a known issue? 

I believe he said previously that the settings menu was not fully functional.

 

Mitch

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3 hours ago, Mitch said:

I believe he said previously that the settings menu was not fully functional.

 

Mitch

Thank you! I couldn't find the details. Now I know 😁

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I've been testing out my cart in my spare time and, unfortunately, have nothing new to add other than to say that my A1 console has exactly the same behaviors as DrVenkman.  Minus the being able to at least get past the loading of TowerToppler and Realsports Baseball on a cold boot.  Those get stuck before completely loading no matter how long the console has been off.

 

It is, however, running my small programming project perfectly well.

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Been fiddling a bit with 0.95 this week.  At the moment, testing is slower on my side than I'd like due to Real Life(tm), but I've been able to figure out a few things:

  • Menus are unbelievably solid; I've yet to experience another freeze.
  • 2600 compatibility is pretty much the same as everyone else is reporting.
  • 7800 compatibility is pretty much the same as everyone else is reporting.

For giggles, I plugged in my CX22 trak-ball and used it (in joystick mode) to navigate the menus without issue.  Selection was a bit touchy, but I'm pretty sure that was down to the trak-ball itself rather than anything to do with Concerto.  Playing 7800 Centipede with it was...  An experience 😁

 

There is one feature request that I would like to make: changing the flashing bootloader screen to something less strobing.  We were showing Concerto to a friend of ours last night who does not, to the best of her knowledge, suffer from epilepsy or even just photosensitivity in general, but seeing the bootloader screen was causing her a great deal of discomfort; she described it as causing a mild headache and light queasiness.  Given that a power cycle is necessary to get back to the menu, it's likely to be seen a lot in an average session.

 

Will do some more testing in depth this weekend when I have some actual time to dedicate to it, but overall am thrilled with the progress so far.

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7 minutes ago, x=usr(1536) said:

Playing 7800 Centipede with it was...  An experience 😁

Did the same last night. Be sure to use the Centipede-TB hack/rewrite in Trebor's ProPack, and then switch your CX-22 back to Trak-Ball mode. WELL worth it. :D 

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33 minutes ago, x=usr(1536) said:

Been fiddling a bit with 0.95 this week.  At the moment, testing is slower on my side than I'd like due to Real Life(tm), but I've been able to figure out a few things:

  • Menus are unbelievably solid; I've yet to experience another freeze.
  • 2600 compatibility is pretty much the same as everyone else is reporting.
  • 7800 compatibility is pretty much the same as everyone else is reporting.

For giggles, I plugged in my CX22 trak-ball and used it (in joystick mode) to navigate the menus without issue.  Selection was a bit touchy, but I'm pretty sure that was down to the trak-ball itself rather than anything to do with Concerto.  Playing 7800 Centipede with it was...  An experience 😁

 

There is one feature request that I would like to make: changing the flashing bootloader screen to something less strobing.  We were showing Concerto to a friend of ours last night who does not, to the best of her knowledge, suffer from epilepsy or even just photosensitivity in general, but seeing the bootloader screen was causing her a great deal of discomfort; she described it as causing a mild headache and light queasiness.  Given that a power cycle is necessary to get back to the menu, it's likely to be seen a lot in an average session.

 

Will do some more testing in depth this weekend when I have some actual time to dedicate to it, but overall am thrilled with the progress so far.

Thanks for the report!

 

The flashing menu is a placeholder of sorts. The original bootloader didn't have it, but it was found that turning off DMA would make the menu boot basically 100% reliably, and turning off DMA basically severely limits your ability to display something on the screen. Flashing colors was an easy way to show that the boot process was proceeding, as opposed to a blank screen.

 

I will try to make the display a bit nicer.

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1 hour ago, DrVenkman said:

Did the same last night. Be sure to use the Centipede-TB hack/rewrite in Trebor's ProPack, and then switch your CX-22 back to Trak-Ball mode. WELL worth it. :D 

 

Oh, yes.  Yes it is 😁  Thanks for the suggestion; I'm fairly well hooked now!

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If you can't display anything during the boot loader, maybe just cycle the colors slower and over a smaller range of luminance so it's not as "flashy".

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2 hours ago, x=usr(1536) said:

Been fiddling a bit with 0.95 this week.  At the moment, testing is slower on my side than I'd like due to Real Life(tm), but I've been able to figure out a few things:

  • Menus are unbelievably solid; I've yet to experience another freeze.
  • 2600 compatibility is pretty much the same as everyone else is reporting.
  • 7800 compatibility is pretty much the same as everyone else is reporting.

For giggles, I plugged in my CX22 trak-ball and used it (in joystick mode) to navigate the menus without issue.  Selection was a bit touchy, but I'm pretty sure that was down to the trak-ball itself rather than anything to do with Concerto.  Playing 7800 Centipede with it was...  An experience 😁

 

There is one feature request that I would like to make: changing the flashing bootloader screen to something less strobing.  We were showing Concerto to a friend of ours last night who does not, to the best of her knowledge, suffer from epilepsy or even just photosensitivity in general, but seeing the bootloader screen was causing her a great deal of discomfort; she described it as causing a mild headache and light queasiness.  Given that a power cycle is necessary to get back to the menu, it's likely to be seen a lot in an average session.

 

Will do some more testing in depth this weekend when I have some actual time to dedicate to it, but overall am thrilled with the progress so far.

There is a trackball mode hack of 7800 centipede, FYI.

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I just tried the Arkanoid from Trebor's latest 7800 ROM pack and and seems to work on both of my 7800s, even though the 2019 one did not work on the "less compatible" one.

 

The Milly and Molly Concerto mod works on both, although there is bleeding of the typeface text.

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So I pulled out my second 7800, an AT-84 serial number machine, fully socketed. It has an NCR SALLY from week 10 of 1984, and a pair of Motorola SRAMs, without the pull-down resistor discussed a couple weeks back. This console is fully stock and I was connected via RF (so not A/V mod). That machine, using the same SD card, chokes on the same 5 titles as my A1 daily-driver - Alien Brigade loads but the title animation never completes and the game cannot be started. RealSports Baseball, Tank Command, Tower Toppler and Water Ski don't load completely, generally freezing before load is completed. One time Water Ski looked like it was going to load, but I got a screen of diagonally scrolling colorful mess instead of a running game. I did not go through the entire NTSC library as I did with my other machine, but a few other retail titles I tested did load and run fine. 

 

The above tests were then run again with a different memory card - I tried an old 2GB PNY card that usually lives in my Harmony Cart. Those same problem games still refuse to load on the AT-84 from the older card.

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6 hours ago, DrVenkman said:

So I pulled out my second 7800, an AT-84 serial number machine, fully socketed. It has an NCR SALLY from week 10 of 1984, and a pair of Motorola SRAMs, without the pull-down resistor discussed a couple weeks back. This console is fully stock and I was connected via RF (so not A/V mod). That machine, using the same SD card, chokes on the same 5 titles as my A1 daily-driver - Alien Brigade loads but the title animation never completes and the game cannot be started. RealSports Baseball, Tank Command, Tower Toppler and Water Ski don't load completely, generally freezing before load is completed. One time Water Ski looked like it was going to load, but I got a screen of diagonally scrolling colorful mess instead of a running game. I did not go through the entire NTSC library as I did with my other machine, but a few other retail titles I tested did load and run fine. 

 

The above tests were then run again with a different memory card - I tried an old 2GB PNY card that usually lives in my Harmony Cart. Those same problem games still refuse to load on the AT-84 from the older card.

I tried the same game roms on my most and least compatible 7800 and got the same as you: freezing during loading, black or blue screen, Green Alien giving me the finger repeatedly. Alien Brigade would occasionally make it to the camp screen for a split second on the better 7800 and then return to repeated partial movements of the alien hand. On the worst 7800, the hand would repeatedly make it only an inch or two across the screen before repeated, never making it to the camp.

 

Edit: With my old Concerto cart, Alien Brigade will run perfect.

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Just out of curiosity, does anybody have load-corruption issues with the latest firmware *and* a non-socketed Sally in their 7800? (no need to answer if you're not sure about the latter)

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7 minutes ago, RevEng said:

does anybody have load-corruption issues with the latest firmware *and* a non-socketed Sally in their 7800?

Not sure what you mean about load corruption - do you mean the issues discussed by me and Swami with ALIEN BRIGADE? E.g., game appears to load but the alien hand animated title screen never completes properly and the game can't be started. If so, then yes. My daily-driver A1 machine has a non-socketed SALLY. Of course, the same thing occurs with my AT-84 machine which is fully socketed. 

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8 minutes ago, RevEng said:

Just out of curiosity, does anybody have load-corruption issues with the latest firmware *and* a non-socketed Sally in their 7800? (no need to answer if you're not sure about the latter)

 

Can you give examples of a couple of titles (2600 or 7800) that this is happening with?  I'd be happy to give it a shot on my end, but will need to open the 7800 up to determine if the CPU's socketed or not - haven't cracked it open in the time that I've had it.

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1 minute ago, x=usr(1536) said:

 

Can you give examples of a couple of titles (2600 or 7800) that this is happening with?  I'd be happy to give it a shot on my end, but will need to open the 7800 up to determine if the CPU's socketed or not - haven't cracked it open in the time that I've had it.

Be very careful with removing the screws, the 7800 shells are notoriously bad and shatter easily.  Especially the screw receptors, too much force, too fast. CRACK

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4 minutes ago, CPUWIZ said:

Be very careful with removing the screws, the 7800 shells are notoriously bad and shatter easily.  Especially the screw receptors, too much force, too fast. CRACK

 

Thank you - knowing that the plastic is brittle is one thing, but definitely appreciate having the specifics.

 

I think that this is going to be a tomorrow effort, for when I'm not enjoying a decent beer or twenty-seven.

Edited by x=usr(1536)

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On 1/6/2021 at 10:01 PM, Trebor said:

AT84 Serial = Flawless menu, but either during or right after loading a game, system would freeze or crash.

Here are the specifics on the AT84:

All socketed CO25233-001 Motherboard

 

MARIA:
"VTi"(SYMBOL) 423 V 2506
VC 2049B
C024674-30
KOREA-A

 

SALLY:
NCR USA
F811487 F8410
C014805C-29 (? - Hard to read)
(c)ATARI 1983

 

RAM:
JAPAN 3M1
HM6116P-2 (x2)

 

BIOS:
MCR2333-30
F812353N8421
C024922B-29
(c)ATARI 1984

 

TIA:
AMI 8415MEI
C010444D-01

 

RIOT:
"S"(SYMBOL) 8411
C010750-03

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Going to have to start being more methodical in my testing and keeping decent notes on what is and isn't working, but, as a rule of thumb: 2600 compatibility seems to be weaker than 7800 compatibility.

 

The best way that I can describe it is that 2600 titles seem to be less-inclined to work than 7800 titles, but sometimes a power cycle can reverse the problem.  Unfreed/zeroed memory, maybe?

Edited by x=usr(1536)

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13 minutes ago, DrVenkman said:

Not sure what you mean about load corruption - do you mean the issues discussed by me and Swami with ALIEN BRIGADE? E.g., game appears to load but the alien hand animated title screen never completes properly and the game can't be started. If so, then yes. My daily-driver A1 machine has a non-socketed SALLY. Of course, the same thing occurs with my AT-84 machine which is fully socketed. 

Yep, that's what I meant. Game loads but is messed up. I noticed a lot of mentions of socketed Sally's with these reports, so I was wondering if there was a pattern there. Thanks for confirming it's not.

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16 minutes ago, x=usr(1536) said:

 

Can you give examples of a couple of titles (2600 or 7800) that this is happening with?  I'd be happy to give it a shot on my end, but will need to open the 7800 up to determine if the CPU's socketed or not - haven't cracked it open in the time that I've had it.

No worries, and thanks. DrVenkman was able to confirm, and I just needed the one counter-example.

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Just now, RevEng said:

Yep, that's what I meant. Game loads but is messed up. I noticed a lot of mentions of socketed Sally's with these reports, so I was wondering if there was a pattern there. Thanks for confirming it's not.

It might be something weird with these NCR CPUs. It seems that a LOT of 7800 SALLY's are NCR, whereas I have quite a variety of SALLY's from other chip fabs in my A8 machines and 5200 boards. I'm happy to desolder this SALLY and install a socket for additional testing if it will help people figure out what's going on. #HaveHakkoWillMeltSolder :) 

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On 1/6/2021 at 10:01 PM, Trebor said:

A3 Serial = Flawed menu the majority of the time, but when able to select a game, appears to run perfectly fine.

Here are the specifics on the A3:

Only RIOT and top RAM chip are socketed C025233-002 Motherboard

 

MARIA:
CO25349-001
(c)ATARI 1987
RP2C14
38  8G1 54

 

SALLY:
C014806-12
11151-12
MEXICO D
0657
8332

 

RAM:
(Globe Pic) 8839-DS
UM611602 (x2)

 

BIOS:
Cannot access/read
UAV board mod attached

 

TIA:
"iMP"(SYMBOL) 8842GRD
C010444-31
(c) ATARI 1980
I10350-01

 

RIOT:
(Globe Pic) 8810S
UM6532

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Found another issue with corrupted loading - the most recent (week old) ARKANOID WIP version loads, and the intro screens and menu display properly, but the game playfield is corrupted, the game does not actually start or play, and there's no sound at all. I just verified via A7800 that there should be an AtariAge jingle plus sound in the intro screens. 

 

 

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14 minutes ago, DrVenkman said:

Found another issue with corrupted loading - the most recent (week old) ARKANOID WIP version loads, and the intro screens and menu display properly, but the game playfield is corrupted, the game does not actually start or play, and there's no sound at all. I just verified via A7800 that there should be an AtariAge jingle plus sound in the intro screens.

 

Confirming that I'm seeing the same behaviour.

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