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Concerto firmware thread

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22 hours ago, Philsan said:

Trebors EU games not working on my PAL console:

 

Hat Trick (fire button doesn't work)

...

One on One (on selection screen fire button works but not in game, I cannot shoot)

 

Out of curiosity, I tried the NTSC versions of the games Philsan listed and I can duplicate these problems.

 

Possibly related, I tried @PacManPlus's delightful Super Circus AtariAge, and while I can load and play a game using the Joystick controller option, complete with POKEY sound, when I select Paddles and then attach my paddle controllers, they are not recognized; I cannot start a game and my paddle controllers don't seem to do anything. I confirmed that these paddles do worth with this 7800 by swapping in my Harmony Cart, loading up Circus Atari and playing a game (badly). 

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15 minutes ago, DrVenkman said:

Possibly related, I tried @PacManPlus's delightful Super Circus AtariAge, and while I can load and play a game using the Joystick controller option, complete with POKEY sound, when I select Paddles and then attach my paddle controllers, they are not recognized; I cannot start a game and my paddle controllers don't seem to do anything.

Keep joystick on port 1 and paddles on port 2.

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7 minutes ago, MrZarniwoop said:

Keep joystick on port 1 and paddles on port 2.

Ah, thank you! :) 

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Something I've noticed when starting a number of 2600 games (in this case with Robomechanik, but I've seen it happen with other titles):

 

IMG_20210116_201331.thumb.jpg.d881373f7c308f13b8d99b2c96631f8f.jpg

 

Basically, this appears before the game itself starts.  It doesn't happen with every game, but the graphic patterns are consistent when it does.

 

Not sure if this means anything or not, but figured I'd mention it because I've been seeing it since before 0.95.  If it would help, I can start tracking which 2600 titles it happens with.

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4 hours ago, MrZarniwoop said:

Unfortunately, for now, you need One On One Basketball - Title Fix hack (NTSC) although I don't think there's a PAL version yet.

Meant to add, I tried this one as well but it doesn't work on my (NTSC) systems. After loading, the title screen is a scrambled, impossible mess of corrupted colored lines on a white background. If I press and hold a button, some of the graphical mess changes but you can't start a game let alone play. 

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35 minutes ago, DrVenkman said:

Meant to add, I tried this one as well but it doesn't work on my (NTSC) systems. After loading, the title screen is a scrambled, impossible mess of corrupted colored lines on a white background. If I press and hold a button, some of the graphical mess changes but you can't start a game let alone play. 

It works 100% on mine.

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@batari don't know if this helps at all, but I ran a number of tests on various roms and what the results were.

 

I'm a little concerned that I got static building up into the SD card, and I got shocked at some point while trying to take it out. I then left it in and just waited 10-30 seconds between each test and this seemed enough for concerto to load again. Eventually I had to take the SD card out, and got the rest of the static that built up.

 

This is stock PAL 7800. I don't leave the power supply in the mains when its not in use. Harmony Encore works fine, concerto cart is using the same full size SD card (2GB) as that seems to run the most. Firmware started on 0.94 but updated to 0.95 using HarmonyCart.

 

tl:dr - today I got 3 homebrew games working, Galaxian, Armor attack 2 and Alpha Race. All other games tried (including ones that usually worked) had no success, though some loaded then crashed.

 

I don't know whether us PAL users are suffering more problems than our NTSC friends, but I think from reading the thread some US users were also experiencing some problems.

7800 tests.txt

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I noticed a bug in the file browser; this occurs on my daily driver A1 machine as well as my stock AT-84 machine. All “9’s” in the page numbers show as question marks. This does not occur if the 9 appears as part of a file name (should be page 19 below. Same thing happens for pages 9, 19, 29 and 39. 
 

4B360E15-7C08-48E9-9805-66247C7B558C.jpeg

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So I was talking with a friend not on AtariAge about Rikki & Vikki; he is fascinated by the 7800 and considering some simple games or demos as a learning experience.  That led me to reading up on BubSystem, the emulator the team wrote to assist the development. In a discussion thread about that emulator, there is an extensive discussion about One on One Basketball and why the fire button wouldn’t shoot the ball in that emulator initially.  This issue sounds surprisingly like what happens for several of us with the same title when loaded from Concerto; probably also related to the same “can’t shoot the puck” issue  in Hat Trick. Perhaps this might help track down loading issues with some roms via Concerto?

 

https://atariage.com/forums/topic/285921-bupsystem/?do=findComment&comment=4263896

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That thread is instructive, for sure. 👍 The current Concerto problem with One On One and the others is easily fixed, as evidenced by my One On One hack working with Concerto; once I reset the RIOT back to it's regular init state, the game works fine with Concerto. I passed on the exact init sequence I followed to Fred.

 

Of non-Concerto concern is the fact that the RIOT reset I followed screws up One On One when running with the CC2. This deviant controller usage is probably the culprit, and it may just be a matter of the CC2 using more power than Concerto, or something along those lines, and RIOT doesn't actually reach the same precarious internal state the game relies on.

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5 minutes ago, RevEng said:

Of non-Concerto concern is the fact that the RIOT reset I followed screws up One On One when running with the CC2. This deviant controller usage is probably the culprit, and it may just be a matter of the CC2 using more power than Concerto, or something along those lines, and RIOT doesn't actually reach the same precarious internal state the game relies on.

Maybe that’s related to why your title fix hack only runs for me about 2 of every 5 or 6 attempts on my Concerto? 

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I wouldn't expect spectacular corruption failure in that case, like you're getting, but instead just a failure to recognise the button press. The game rom load happens before my RIOT reset does... once it's running, changing RIOT shouldn't do anything that dramatic.

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Ok I got my Concerto today and it has 0.95 on it which I think is the latest.  I don't have my SD card yet so I can't test anything, but I have two questions:

 

1. Do the 7800 roms have to be in any particular format or do the standard .a78 and .bin formats work?

2. Whats the cheapest way to get a Pokey these days?  I have one of those 'Ballblazer Proto' boards I got years and years ago (the one with the ZIF socket) that I could get one from, but that would require quite a bit of desoldering and of course 'ruining' the 'proto'.  Are the only current options to buy a $30 Ballblazer cart (can't believe that's a thing), find a dead 8-bit motherboard, or wait for the Pokey One? 

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15 minutes ago, Tempest said:

Ok I got my Concerto today and it has 0.95 on it which I think is the latest.  I don't have my SD card yet so I can't test anything, but I have two questions:

 

1. Do the 7800 roms have to be in any particular format or do the standard .a78 and .bin formats work?

2. Whats the cheapest way to get a Pokey these days?  I have one of those 'Ballblazer Proto' boards I got years and years ago (the one with the ZIF socket) that I could get one from, but that would require quite a bit of desoldering and of course 'ruining' the 'proto'.  Are the only current options to buy a $30 Ballblazer cart (can't believe that's a thing), find a dead 8-bit motherboard, or wait for the Pokey One? 

1) Standard formats work, currently up to 144K, I believe. 

2) I got mine from Best Electronics for $20, max one per customer. 

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31 minutes ago, Tempest said:

2. Whats the cheapest way to get a Pokey these days? 

http://www.best-electronics-ca.com

 

If you read back in comment though it sounds like you should hold off on installing POKEY until a later firmware update though.

Also read back in comments to find out what SD cards have worked for people if you have trouble there.

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40 minutes ago, Tempest said:

Matt has questions:

1q

2q

 

Shawn has answers:

 

1a. You need the .a78 flavors for the header to be read

2a. desolder that one out of the fake proto, it's no loss and a huge gain for your concerto :)

 

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31 minutes ago, zezba9000 said:

If you read back in comment though it sounds like you should hold off on installing POKEY until a later firmware update though.

Why?

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9 minutes ago, DrVenkman said:

Why?

I think someone was having issues, but I thought that ended up having nothing to do with the Pokey.

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1 hour ago, CPUWIZ said:

You're getting old and lazy. :P

Getting?

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3 minutes ago, Tempest said:

I think someone was having issues, but I thought that ended up having nothing to do with the Pokey.

I have a feeling that this comes back to something I recommended earlier in the thread, when POKEY vs. PokeyONE vs. PokeyMAX was being discussed:

On 1/10/2021 at 5:13 PM, x=usr(1536) said:

Here's the thing: comparing a POKEY to a PokeyMAX or PokeyONE is the same as comparing apples to oranges because both the PokeyMAX and PokeyONE have extended (and/or missing) capabilities compared to the original POKEY.  Sure, they might all do basically the same things, but certainly not all of the same things, and definitely not in the same ways.

 

As far as Concerto goes, just use a regular POKEY.  Physical limitations surrounding the PokeyONE and PokeyMAX aside, it's what the Concerto was designed to use in the first place - and given that the Concerto is currently undergoing investigation into firmware issues related to POKEY installation, it makes sense to stick with a known-quantity IC for now rather than adding another custom part into the mix that may not behave in the same manner as original hardware, thus complicating testing and troubleshooting.

In other words, my suggestion to only test with a POKEY in place as opposed to a modern replacement seems to have morphed into a recommendation to not use one at all.

 

By all means run a POKEY - just don't use the modern replacements (for now), and be aware that there are POKEY-related issues in the firmware that are still being investigated.

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I got my cart today!  Now I have a POKEY and POKEY One chip.  Should I just install the POKEY and leave the One for my CuttleCart? 

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1 hour ago, Tempest said:

I think someone was having issues, but I thought that ended up having nothing to do with the Pokey.

I have still noticed quirks with Pokey. It has gotten better. I was having differnt issues with Popeye. @batari helped me overcome some detection issues. One of the problems with 7800 Basic games was the way it checks for Pokey. Fred gave me a work-around to overcome that issue, until he is able to complete the functionality that causes the issue. It is not functionality that is used in a commercial games, and I think he wants to focus on stability in other areas first.

 

I have still noticed some issues in a handful of games. They are not breaking. The pokey sound is completely usable, and it seems stable about 75% of the time for me. I have experienced random and intermittent issues with Pokey Kong, Ballblazer, Froggie, and a couple others. It just seems to be random. Sometimes the Pokey channels don't initialize right. It's rare, and the game usually works fine after a reset. Sometimes it's just a random off note, which seems to be triggered by the AUDCTL more than the actual pitch.

 

Fred, I was going to send you a message. I have a video of some of the issues if it would be helpful for your diagnostics.

42 minutes ago, sramirez2008 said:

The POKEY “issue” was related to the earliest batch of carts. 

I have a newer batch of carts, and I still have Pokey issues. It has gotten a lot better though.

Edited by darryl1970
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