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k1w1 Offline OP
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OK, i have shelved the a800_cass software list because as of yet there is no Atari cassette device in MESS and there does'nt seem to be one coming soon.

So, I have now turned my attention to the a800_flop list but am having a few problem though with the floppies that have BASIC software on them. These make up around 50% of the available software for Atari.

The a800 driver does not boot with BASIC so i am using "sharedfeat" to call Atari BASIC from the a800 cartridge software list: -

<sharedfeat name="requirement" value="a800:basicb"/>

This works ok and loads BASIC into the cart slot and the disk into the floppie slot but will not auto boot the disk on the first run (It stops at the DOS menu screen). I have to hard reset and then it boots the disk succesfully into the game software. The initial run does not seem to recognise that the BASIC cartridge is installed although it is indicated in the media slot. It seems to boot the disk before the BASIC cartridge is initialised.

The second problem is that the cartridge slot does not clear when you select another floppy from the software list. This is ok if you are running another BASIC program but if you are running a machine coded program it will crash if it needs the BASIC memory area.

The Atari XL/XE driver has BASIC built in so i do not have these problems and do not need to to us the "sharedfeat" function.

Is there a way around these problems or Should i just create a software list for all Atari floppies in the a800xl driver rather than a800?

k1w1

PS here is the xml code i am using in the software list: -

</software>

<software name="b1bomber">
<description>B1-Nuclear Bomber</description>
<year>1981</year>
<publisher>Avalon Hill</publisher>
<sharedfeat name="requirement" value="a800:basicb"/>

<part name="flop1" interface="floppy_5_25">
<dataarea name="flop" size="92176">
<rom name="b-1 nuclear bomber (1981)(avalon hill)(us)[!][basic].atr" size="92176" crc="1d4a3876" sha1="aba9f4e932cf0d15d9752b385e016c795c8411ba" offset="0" />
</dataarea>
</part>
</software>


Last edited by k1w1; 02/21/16 01:00 AM.
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AJR Offline
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Here's my belated reply to both questions.

The first problem is not one I entirely understand, but one significant factor is that the a800 driver's legacy floppy devices are not technically slots: they have image interfaces but no slot interfaces. The problem is that the cartridges are slots, and therefore need to know which optional device they need to load during preliminary configuration. What usually happens is that the slot interface first calls through to the image interface so it can deduce from the contents of the image file which option it should install. Now the image loader is also where the "requirement" feature happens to be processed, with any useful result directed to another image interface to load. However, if the cartridge software gets loaded this way only after the final machine configuration, the slot itself will look empty to the driver and it won't set things up properly.

The second problem is a consequence of the fact that MAME reinstalls the machine without clearing the slot-related and image-related options when you select different software in the same driver. There is no good way to work around this right now.

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k1w1 Offline OP
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Thanks for your response AJR.

I have gone a bit cold on creating XML's for the a800. There is a lot of work involved and not much interest from the MESS devs in updating this system. There doesn't appear to be anyone maintaining it at all.

There was some work recently on the SIO with regard cassette functionality, but then nothing.

This is not a gripe or complaint, I appreciate that MESS is a huge project with new systems being added continually. But this growth seems to be at the expense of older systems which get left to wither on the vine while the devs chase new fruit.

I suppose that is the nature of MESS, so much to implement so few devs.

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There is *plenty* of great work happening in MAME on computers as old or older than the Atari 8-bits. All it takes is someone with some technical knowledge of the machine to (wo)man up and volunteer to do so. We'll teach you the necessary MAME things to know, you just have to know the Atari.

Last edited by R. Belmont; 04/02/16 01:48 AM.
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AJR Offline
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My latest changes committed yesterday were aimed in part at fixing the second problem, which, unlike the first, has nothing to do with the state of the driver. Now, when the UI reloads the same driver with a new piece of software, it reverts the device options installed by the old software and reinstates the configured defaults for slots.

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@AJR: since you seem on a roll about slots and command line parsing order (something I appreciate *A LOT*!!!), could you please take a look if the final part of bug http://mametesters.org/view.php?id=5215 is still present?

basically, when loading a PCE CD from softlist it shall automount the CD-SYS cart, but this broke when I converted carts to use the slot expansion system because of the init order among options. I don't have handy any CHD to test (until the weekend) so I cannot ensure it hasn't been already fixed by your latest changes but, if it is not, you are probably the best person to look at it smile

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mame64 pce -cdrm draculax boots to a black screen with the latest GIT pull.

What's interesting is at the black screen F3 (soft reset) doesn't function. Also, TAB/File manager Reset doesn't immediately function either.

I have to double click (Cartridge) (Cart) followed by clicking Return to previous Menu allows me to then use the Reset function which gets me to the CD-SYS screen.

Alternatively I can also double click (Cartridge) (Cart) then scdsys cart and that also gets me to the CD-SYS screen.

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Why does MAME allow such things: https://github.com/mamedev/mame/blob/master/src/devices/bus/a800/a800_slot.cpp ?

In short: this code prevents to run, for example, older Atari 400/800 carts on Atari XEGS machine, while a real XEGS was designed to run them. Even if the emulation of this particular machine is incomplete - isn't it against MAME policy to allow experiments?

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No, that code will warn you if you run an older cart on an XEGS. As far as I can see it won't actually stop you from doing so.

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So, the "key" message about refusing to run the cart is the "Unknown slot option 'a800_8k' in slot 'cartleft'" one, not the "This game is not designed for XEGS. You might want to run it in A800 or A800XL." and both messages aren't connected with each other? My bad, then, it doesn't look obvious enough.

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