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Xebec

Is a stock Falcon (or TT) fast enough to 100% emulate the Atari 8-bit?

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Just curious if any of the official ST-based machines from Atari were ever fast enough to fully emulate the Atari 8bit. 

 

I remember being surprised as a kid that the Atari ST couldn't emulate the 8bit, though it could run some software.  Years later I figured out all of the reasons why..

 

I'm curious now if the ST platform ever got fast enough, assuming there was a decent emulator to run.   It would have been an amazing trick to be able to run A8 software on ST or C64 on the Amiga back in the day.  

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4 hours ago, Xebec said:

Just curious if any of the official ST-based machines from Atari were ever fast enough to fully emulate the Atari 8bit. 

 

I remember being surprised as a kid that the Atari ST couldn't emulate the 8bit, though it could run some software.  Years later I figured out all of the reasons why..

 

I'm curious now if the ST platform ever got fast enough, assuming there was a decent emulator to run.   It would have been an amazing trick to be able to run A8 software on ST or C64 on the Amiga back in the day.  

 

by fully do you mean cycle-exact and raster color change? unfortunately you have to have more than 500MHz CPU to do that correctly

Anyway, besides that, Atari XL emulation works fine on the Falcon.

 

 

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Posted (edited)

Going by Amiga experience since they are similar and have more software options I would say no.  A 68030 at 32Mhz is no where fast enough to emulate an 8-bit 100%.  A 68060 at 66Mhz can barely do it on the Amiga.  I can get a Commodore 64 Emulator near 100% with it at 66Mhz.

Here I do a video emulating an Atari 800 on my Amiga 500 with Vampire 2 card which is a bit faster than a 68060.
 

 

Edited by tjlazer
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13 minutes ago, tjlazer said:

Going by Amiga experience since they are similar and have more software options I would say no.  A 68030 at 32Mhz is no where fast enough to emulate an 8-bit 100%.  A 68060 at 66Mhz can barely do it on the Amiga.  I can get a Commodore 64 Emulator near 100% with it at 66Mhz.

Here I do a video emulating an Atari 800 on my Amiga 500 with Vampire 2 card which is a bit faster than a 68060.
 

 

Thanks! And cool video!  This is kind of what I figured ( and it's technically more appropriate for the Amiga to emulate the A8 anyway :))

 

 

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/sigh...

 

So then, it would be "technically" more accurate for the Atari Falcon to emulate the C64?  :)

 

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47 minutes ago, DarkLord said:

/sigh...

 

So then, it would be "technically" more accurate for the Atari Falcon to emulate the C64?  :)

 

Lol no I just mean pedigree VCS - A8 - Amiga.    C64 - ST.  

 

 

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It depends. If you want 100% generic, cycle-accurate emulation in the most obscure areas of the hardware, it's really not possible.

 

However if you settle with some simplifications, resort to usage of host hardware (Falcon has the ability to display rasters and interrupts as well, for instance), code a nice 6502 JIT CPU emulator... it's definitely possible. I have made some experiments in that area so for instance demos like The Asskicker (not very hardware demanding, just showing one framebuffer) could run even on plain Falcon.

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I think that it is answered here in previous posts well.  So, only few years later computers are just not powerful (fast) enough for very accurate emulation. And really don't see why to push emulation on them, when we are surrounded with about 1000x faster computers .

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1 hour ago, ParanoidLittleMan said:

I think that it is answered here in previous posts well.  So, only few years later computers are just not powerful (fast) enough for very accurate emulation. And really don't see why to push emulation on them, when we are surrounded with about 1000x faster computers .

Agreed.  I was just curious if it would have been possible back in the day.  

 

I do remember original Pentiums did a reasonable job of emulating the ST and Amiga in the mid 1990s...  I was mainly curious if 68030s would have finally allowed you to run Atari 8bit software decently..  on an actual Atari.  

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Posted (edited)
33 minutes ago, Xebec said:

Agreed.  I was just curious if it would have been possible back in the day.  

 

I do remember original Pentiums did a reasonable job of emulating the ST and Amiga in the mid 1990s...  I was mainly curious if 68030s would have finally allowed you to run Atari 8bit software decently..  on an actual Atari.  

actually, even my first PC from 1998/99 wasn't able to properly emulate the ST.

Edited by Cyprian

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3 hours ago, Cyprian said:

actually, even my first PC from 1998/99 wasn't able to properly emulate the ST.

I think it certainly depended on the workload and emulator.    Some *very basic* (pun) benchmarks showed a 486DX-33 able to emulate the Atari 8bit at full speed in a BASIC speed test, and a 486DX2-66 able to handle (simple) CPU and GEM tasks at full speed for the ST:

 

http://www.emulators.com/benchmrk.htm#OLDBENCH

 

You're probably right though - I personally remember running an Atari 8bit decently under PC Xformer back in the day, on an extremely fast 486's (5x86-133 @ 160 MHz), but I don't remember doing serious ST emulation until hitting the website for "Little Green Desktop", which probably meant Pentium II era devices..   I do remember running PaCifiST under DOS though for a while..  

 

P.S.  FWIW, Acifist recommended a Pentium 133 for ST emulation (486DX4 minimum).   https://www.atari.st/pacifist/download.html 

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1 hour ago, Xebec said:

You're probably right though - I personally remember running an Atari 8bit decently under PC Xformer back in the day, on an extremely fast 486's (5x86-133 @ 160 MHz), but I don't remember doing serious ST emulation until hitting the website for "Little Green Desktop", which probably meant Pentium II era devices..   I do remember running PaCifiST under DOS though for a while..  

I remember running an early version of atari800 on my 486 at full speed.    But in those days atari800 wasn't feature complete or cycle exact, it could run some things but not others.   Things that did work might have graphical or color glitches.

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I remember running 8bit Atari emulation on the ST, but can't remember the program name.  I thought it was XL-it! but I think I'm confusing that with the first one I tried on the PC, a 486DX.  Colors were off and compatibility was limited, but it worked somewhat.  Definitely more of a novelty back then.   As stated by others, a Falcon would probably be capable of doing a better job, and probably a more convincing job with a skilled developer.   I don't think it was ever tried completely in software.

 

Off topic a little, but I used this one on a 486 and my first Pentium 133.  Also more of a novelty to run, but entertaining just the same:

 

http://cd.textfiles.com/230/EMULATOR/ATARI/XLIT/

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Posted (edited)
12 minutes ago, RodLightning said:

I remember running 8bit Atari emulation on the ST, but can't remember the program name.  I thought it was XL-it! but I think I'm confusing that with the first one I tried on the PC, a 486DX.  Colors were off and compatibility was limited, but it worked somewhat.  Definitely more of a novelty back then.   As stated by others, a Falcon would probably be capable of doing a better job, and probably a more convincing job with a skilled developer.   I don't think it was ever tried completely in software.

 

Off topic a little, but I used this one on a 486 and my first Pentium 133.  Also more of a novelty to run, but entertaining just the same:

 

http://cd.textfiles.com/230/EMULATOR/ATARI/XLIT/

Probably the emulator on ST was ST Xformer

 

XL-it! was a great early emulator,  I think it was DOS only

Edited by zzip
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6 hours ago, zzip said:

Probably the emulator on ST was ST Xformer

 

XL-it! was a great early emulator,  I think it was DOS only

Agreed I think it was ST Xformer..  I was also messing with PC Ditto - back then it was extremely interesting to run software from 3 machines on one..

 

XL-It! sounds familiar ..  I *think* I was just using PC Xformer initially.. and then later Atari800Win when I moved to a version of Windows that didn't support DOS dual booting.. 

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14 hours ago, Xebec said:

XL-It! sounds familiar ..  I *think* I was just using PC Xformer initially.. and then later Atari800Win when I moved to a version of Windows that didn't support DOS dual booting.. 

Wow, it's been a long time, but I think XL-it was the most advanced Atari8 emulator for a while.   Or at least the most advanced free one since Xformer was a commercial product.   But it was discontinued around 97/98 and Atari800 soon overtook it in features.

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3 hours ago, zzip said:

Wow, it's been a long time, but I think XL-it was the most advanced Atari8 emulator for a while.   Or at least the most advanced free one since Xformer was a commercial product.   But it was discontinued around 97/98 and Atari800 soon overtook it in features.

FWIW, Darek is still at it. XFormer 10 came out 3-4 years ago. It's hard to imagine anything topping Hatari for ST emulation or Altirra for 8-bit emulation, but it's neat looking back at some of the things we used to use. Darek's site is still up and he updates occasionally.

 

http://emulators.com/

 

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3 hours ago, bfollowell said:

It's hard to imagine anything topping Hatari for ST emulation

But it's a tiny window in the middle of your screen, no matter what settings I've ever tried

it's just too small to do anything with.

 

Even full screen opens a black full screen with the same small widow in the middle.

 

I'm sure it's possible to change this, but I can't seem to find a way to make the window 

an acceptable size :(

 

At Least SteemSSE is a bit bigger :)

 

 

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Posted (edited)

I've never had any issues with screen size. Typically, I prefer to run full screen, but I've ran in windowed mode before, but the window size is adjustable as well. I just don't typically prefer to run in anything but full screen, and it is beautiful.

 

It sounds like some incompatibility with your system hardware. I've ran Hatari on a handful of different machines and never had an issue like you describe with any of them.

 

Edited by bfollowell

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Posted (edited)
17 hours ago, TGB1718 said:

But it's a tiny window in the middle of your screen, no matter what settings I've ever tried

it's just too small to do anything with.

 

Even full screen opens a black full screen with the same small widow in the middle.

 

I'm sure it's possible to change this, but I can't seem to find a way to make the window 

an acceptable size :(

That should not be the case.   Make sure you have a recent version, preferably one that uses SDL2.   With SDL2, you can use the GPUscaling option which does a nice job of scaling the screen to full screen.    Even if you are stuck with SDL1,  there is the --zoom option and --max-width and --max-height options that can help you get the screen to your liking.   Those options should be available in the UI.  Also you can turn off the border to make the screen even bigger

 

Edit:  My front-end passes these options to hatari:  --max-width 768 --max-height 480 --borders 1

I tried booting without that and the screen looks much smaller

Edited by zzip

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I have the latest version, have tried those switches, but it's still a very small screen, I did manage

to get full screen working, but I don't really work that way with it.

 

I can stretch the window to a suitable size, but it doesn't remember that size on the next boot (even if I save config), it's

now a little better than before, but looks like I'll stick to SteemSSE, the screen is about 3 time larger :)

 

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30 minutes ago, TGB1718 said:

I have the latest version, have tried those switches, but it's still a very small screen, I did manage

to get full screen working, but I don't really work that way with it.

 

I can stretch the window to a suitable size, but it doesn't remember that size on the next boot (even if I save config), it's

now a little better than before, but looks like I'll stick to SteemSSE, the screen is about 3 time larger :)

 

That's really bizarre, I wonder if it's reading from your config file on start?

 

In the SDL2 version, if I turn off GPUscaling, then it gives me a small ST screen, but if I turn it on, it will stretch the screen to the edges of my monitor (keeping aspect), especially with borders disabled.    Might also depend on what platform you're running.

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