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Re: Bounty: $100 for Astrocade Tape Support [Re: BallyAlley] #114896 03/21/19 02:26 AM
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Michael Di Salvo, on the BallyAlley Yahoo group, suggests this update to the astrocade MAME driver:

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Its too bad we couldn't have gotten support for the bankswitched cart added to MAME - that would have been awesome. I'm sure it would have made a difference for Michael Garber to be able to test his game engine and any demos in MAME without having to flash to the cart all the time.

We probably could have gotten more people interested in the cart and its capabilities and maybe gotten some more carts into programmers hands to play around with.

I know its been 8 years now and we've all moved on from that project but I still think about what a 512k game on the Astrocade could have been like...

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Michael is referring to his cartridge, which made made in very limited numbers:

https://msdconsulting.wixsite.com/128kgames

More information about how it works is on BallyAlley.com, here:

http://www.ballyalley.com/documentation/bally128k-com/whatsnew.htm

More specifically, here is the memory map for this cartridge:

http://www.ballyalley.com/documenta...h/Astrocade_Maxflash_512K_Memory_Map.txt

This suggestion is probably a little far-out, but it would have been VERY useful when this cartridge was in development.

Adam

Re: Bounty: $100 for Astrocade Tape Support [Re: BallyAlley] #114903 03/21/19 12:45 PM
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Banked cartridges are easy nowadays in MAME, they would've been more problematic 8 years ago.

Re: Bounty: $100 for Astrocade Tape Support [Re: BallyAlley] #114928 03/26/19 02:25 AM
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Originally Posted by BallyAlley

I timed the grandfather clock running under Bally BASIC and AstroBASIC on real hardware. I also timed the AstroBASIC version running under MAME. I used a digital stopwatch to get these estimates which are probably accurate to within one second. Here are the results:

1) Real Hardware - Bally BASIC: 1 Minutes = 1 minute in real time.
2) Real Hardware - AstroBASIC: 1 Minute = 38 seconds in real time.
3) Emulation - AstroBASIC: 1 Minute = 55 seconds in real time.

I just used regular unaltered version of MAME 0.207 and the one that was modified for tape support. I ran a machine language cartridge called "Goldfish Demo." This program has a clock/timer built into it. I set the time and then timed it to see if it was accurate, and it seems to run about right::

Real Hardware - Machine Language Program (Goldfish Demo): 1 Minute = 1 Minutes
Emulation - Machine Language Program (Goldfish Demo): 1 Minute = 1 Minute

If anyone is curious and would like to try Goldfish Demo for themselves, then it can be downloaded here:

.zip]http://www.ballyalley.com/emul...he%20Bit%20Fiddlers)[Cart%20Version].zip

Again, I think the above link will fail due to the use of brackets in the filename. Here is a text version of the URL:

http://www.ballyalley.com/emulation/cart_images/cart_images/Goldfish%20Demo%20(1982)(The%20Bit%20Fiddlers)[Cart%20Version].zip

This leaves me wonder why "AstroBASIC" running a BASIC program under emulation runs slower than real hardware. Can anyone help explain why this might happen if another cartridge ("Goldfish Demo") runs at full speed?

Adam

Re: Bounty: $100 for Astrocade Tape Support [Re: BallyAlley] #114930 03/26/19 11:21 AM
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In general there are a number of reasons why that could happen, for instance if the timing uses hardware vs delay loops.

On real hardware the delay loops is ok on a single application system but in emulation that might not work if the emulation of the CPU itself is not cycle exact or there are memory accesses that induces wait states in the delay loop that are not emulated exactly.

It could also be that there are different hardware timing possibilities, timers and VBI callbacks etc and some of them are not emulated exactly. It is also known that on some systems PAL and NTSC versions for some softwares on real hardware differ in speed even because it uses the 50 and 60 Hz as the basis for timing, hence the NTSC is 20% faster and they didn't care to fix that in the software.

Re: Bounty: $100 for Astrocade Tape Support [Re: BallyAlley] #114931 03/26/19 11:24 AM
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Timing for the Astrocade arcade games in MAME was way off for a long time too, but I think people are generally happy with it now.

I don't know if the systems actually share code in MAME (or have code copy+pasted and had fixes only applied in one place) but it might be related if either fixes were only applied in one place, or all timings are based off a single arcade game (Gorf)



Re: Bounty: $100 for Astrocade Tape Support [Re: BallyAlley] #114932 03/26/19 12:45 PM
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Usually all the stuff Edstrom mentions means the emulation runs faster than hardware though. Having it be slower is much more rare.

Re: Bounty: $100 for Astrocade Tape Support [Re: BallyAlley] #114971 04/01/19 09:02 PM
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Thanks for the information about Astrocade timing under MAME.

I created a hardware timing test using real Bally Arcade/Astrocade hardware. Two programs are run that use clocks which can be used for timing real Bally Arcade hardware versus emulation. One program, Goldfish Demo, is written in machine language. The other program, Grandfather Clock, is written in BASIC. This video can be used to test how the emulation speed is for Astrocade emulation. You can view the video here:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6QSTZ8v9Aa0

Each program is run for three minutes.

Bally Ellerson's "Grandfather Clock" running under BASIC:

1) Real Hardware - Bally BASIC: 1 Minutes = 1 minute in real time.
2) Real Hardware - AstroBASIC: 1 Minute = 38 seconds in real time.

Bit Fiddler's Goldfish Demo running on real hardware:

1) Real Hardware - Goldfish Demo: 1 Minutes = 1 minute in real time.

This video is broken into several parts, to make viewing it easier for those interested in only certain portions of this video.

0:00 - Overview of Time Testing Process
0:06 - Goldfish Demo (Cartridge), Running and Overview of Time Testing Process
3:29 - Grandfather Clock (Bally BASIC), Program Running for 3 Minutes
6:50 - Grandfather Clock ("AstroBASIC"), Program Running for 3 Minutes
9:02 - End Credits

I hope that this video allows comparing real hardware versus emulation easier for those that don't have astrocade hardware.

Adam

Re: Bounty: $100 for Astrocade Tape Support [Re: BallyAlley] #115190 04/28/19 05:05 PM
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Yesterday I created a video called "Loading and Saving Astrocade 'AstroBASIC' 'Tapes' using MAME Emulation." I uploaded it to various places today.

YouTube:

[video:youtube]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jVOG-gs2OLY[/video]

Archive.org:

https://archive.org/details/LoadingandSavingAstroBASICTapesusingMAMEEmulation

BallyAlley.com:

http://www.ballyalley.com/astrocade...dSavingAstrocadeAstroBASICTapesUsingMAME

AtariAge.com:

http://atariage.com/forums/topic/26...-the-bally-astrocade/page-2#entry4265585

This tutorial explains how to load and save Bally BASIC programs in the Astrocade emulator in MAME. Specifically "AstroBASIC" programs are loaded on the emulated Bally Arcade/Astrocade console, a game system released in January of 1978. The steps required to get the MAME emulator up and running with the system ROMs are explained in a previous tutorial called "Setting up Astrocade Emulation Using MAME."

The main idea of this video is to get a user loading programs from "tape" (actually WAV files archived on BallyAlley.com) as quickly as possible. After the instructions in the tutorial have been followed, any user of a Windows system that has at least version 0.208 of the MAME emulator setup can load and save software to and from "tape."

Some short examples from the following type-in programs are provided here:

Loading:

1) 4D2 (Video Art, Machine Language)
2) Electronic Blanked (Video Art, BASIC)
3) M-III Plus (Video Art, BASIC)
4) The Pits (Game, BASIC)
5) Astro Zap 2000 (Game, BASIC)
6) MOD 2 (Graphic Demo, BASIC)

Saving:

1) THANKS.WAV - A short 2-line BASIC Program that's supposed to say "THANKS, 'JUST DESSERTS!,' but I noticed just before uploading this video that I misspelled DESSERTS as DESSETS. No program runs without an error, right?

Note: Occasionally during this video, the screen "flashes." This doesn't happen when using the software. This is a side effect of the Open Broadcaster Software that I used to make this recording. Rest assured, when you run MAME and follow these steps your screen will have none of the flashing.

Adam

Last edited by BallyAlley; 04/28/19 05:07 PM.
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