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576NUC+ doesn't like some games modded to Joy2B+


Peruchi
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Today I was trying some of the games modified to work with Joy2B+ listed one the project's github page.

Unfortunately some of them didn't play well with the 576NUC+, I got problems with Hawkquest and Spy Hunter, both didn't boot at all.

On emulators both of them work well, I tested with Altirra and Atari800 on Debian, everything went fine.

I wonder if there could be some incompatibilities with the modifications made to those games and the 576NUC+ software...

Maybe I'm doing something wrong (probably).

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Basing it on the OP's first post, it doesn't sound like it's specifically a Joy2B+ issue, or at least one that requires the extra buttons connected to the paddle ports. Seems like it should be testable without a special joystick to at least confirm the boot problem.

 

23 hours ago, Peruchi said:

I got problems with Hawkquest and Spy Hunter, both didn't boot at all.

 

Maybe for starters the OP can upload the two games he mentioned here, so that either myself or someone else can confirm with their 576NUC+. However I did jury rig a switch tester based on 330 ohm pull-ups on the paddle ports and then ran this program with all looking and working good on my NUC.

TestJ2b.xex

 

I also saw in some of my searching online that @Mr Robot posted how to mod some arcade joysticks to be Joy2B+ compatible, and he was very much involved in the beta testing of the NUC. Never heard of any issues coming from him, although I don't know if he ran those same games that you are having troubles with.

 

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Works fine here. 

 

IMG_4980.jpeg

 

I tried the games you mentioned and they don't work for me, neither did any of the 6 I tried, I haven't ruled out the copies on my tnfs server being corrupt but I got this for hawk quest for example.

 IMG_4981.thumb.jpeg.245e27eb70b380fbb1a8c5bb08f6289b.jpeg

 

PAL NUC+

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I attached the two files that gave me problems. 

With Hawkquest, I guess there is a problem with the file itself, as it has a strange size of 1MB, whereas the unmodified version that I got from other sources comes in two disk images (side A/side B), in a smaller size. 

I got the exact same behaviour on my NUC as @Mr Robot got with his machine. 

As for Spy Hunter, FujiNet loads the image, but there is no picture on the screen. Then it tries to load again, in an endless loop.

I've tried the files available on the github page, and also those on @Mr Robot's TNFS server, they both gave me same result. 

I would like to thank @mytek, @Stephen and @Mr Robot for the replies and testing. 

I'm using an NTSC NUC with a crappy Mega Drive/Genesis gamepad from China. The Joy2B+ states that some of these controllers may work, and indeed I got the buttons B and C to work in some games (namely Choplifter, Screaming Wings 2020, Last Starfighter, Lode Runner 150 levels, Moon Patrol redux and Sinistar). 

Thank you all for the support! 

Spy Hunter.xex Hawkquest.xex

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I just downloaded and tried both xex game files on my 576NUC+ both as a NTSC and a PAL machine and it was a fail in both cases for boot-up. I then tried the ones on Mr Robot's site: FUJINET.ATARI8BIT.NET and although the boot process went farther on HawkQuest I got the same screen as what Mr Robot showed. I tried your files from an SDrive-Max both on an NTSC 600XL (64K) as well as my NUC, and the ones from the TNFS server via the NUC/FujiNet board.

 

Don't know what to tell you.

 

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56 minutes ago, mytek said:

I just downloaded and tried both xex game files on my 576NUC+ both as a NTSC and a PAL machine and it was a fail in both cases for boot-up. I then tried the ones on Mr Robot's site: FUJINET.ATARI8BIT.NET and although the boot process went farther on HawkQuest I got the same screen as what Mr Robot showed. I tried your files from an SDrive-Max both on an NTSC 600XL (64K) as well as my NUC, and the ones from the TNFS server via the NUC/FujiNet board.

 

Don't know what to tell you.

 

Yeah, pretty weird...

Anyway, not a big problem!

Thank you for bringing us the NUC, @mytek!

 

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28 minutes ago, Mr Robot said:

Could someone try loading hawkquest and spy hunter from my tnfs server on a machine that isn't a NUC? if they don't work, that would at least close one possibility. 

I'll try that tomorrow with my XEGS and SDrive-MAX. 

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Hmmm, some speculation here, maybe try these games with less RAM or other (X)RAM setup:

 

- 64k RAM (no XRAM), e.g. the original disk+tape versions of "The Tail of Beta Lyrae" by Databyte do not work if there is more than 64k RAM available, there might be other programs that do behave the same

- x number of blocks with 4 banks each

  (e.g. Rambo-type with blocks 8ACE and 4 banks per block or Compyshop with blocks 26AE and 4 banks per block)

 

I had a similar behaviour with some programs when run under U1MB in 576k or 1088k mode: a) 4 blocks with 8 banks in 576k mode and b) 8 blocks with 8 banks in 1088k mode. These programs did not run with 8 banks per block, no clue why - but they did run fine with 4 banks per block, the 320k Rambo mode. Today I have several 512k RAM enhancements and errrm, several programs do have the same problem with them, they run fine if there are x number of blocks with 4 banks each (e.g. 4 blocks with 4 banks each) and they crash, show a black/blank screen, garbage, do not boot, etc. when there are x number of blocks with 8 banks each (e.g. 4 blocks with 8 banks each). I am no hardware or software guru, so I do not know why this is happening...

 

A few years ago, when I tested U1MB there were lots of DOS 2.x types (DOS 2.5, Turbo-DOS, Bibo-DOS, Happy-DOS II+D, XDOS, SuperDOS, etc.) that showed this strange behaviour, they crashed or stopped loading after a while when there were 8 banks available (576k mode, 1088k mode) and did run fine with 4 banks (320k mode), no matter if the ramdisk driver was setup for 128k, 192k, or 320k RAM. The same DOS versions did all run fine with my 512k mega-hz RAM enhancement in 576k mode however! (It uses 8 blocks 02468ACE with 4 banks per block in 576k mode.) And there were several games that behaved the same, they worked fine with 4 banks per block and crashed with 8 banks per block - allthough these games were not loaded from DOS (some were bootdisks, some were loaded from gamedos or bootloaders).

 

I also have some 512k RAM enhancements by tf_hh, they use 8 blocks with 4 banks - and still some programs do not run with them, while the same programs do run fine with the 512k RAM enhancement by mega-hz. The latter uses hardware-switches to switch between available RAM configurations, it is not possible to switch the RAM config. via software there. The tf_hh RAM enhancements however are using a software-switch (a program thats a few bytes short, maybe 18 bytes?) to switch between 576k, 320k and 64k RAM. The software switch most-likely does a Poke to a certain memory-area to switch available banks. Alas, some programs seem to use the same Poke (maybe as copy protection, protection against freezing, whatever) and by switching the banks -during- loading the program crashes, stops loading or simply shows a black/blank screen at the end. I do remember that commercial originals of Tapper (disk and tape by Sega/US-Gold), Up'N'Down (disk and tape by Sega/US-Gold), Asteroids (Tape version by Atari UK), GACCRR (tape version by Activision, also tape version by Firebird/Silverbird) and several others only work in 64k mode or do not work at all with this RAM enhancement, unless you either patch the program or download an alternative fileversion (from Fandal, Homesoft, etc.).

 

Disclaimer: Since I do not own the 576nuc, I do not know how it configs. 512k XRAM (4 blocks with 8 banks each? or 8 blocks with 4 banks each?), I also do not know if it is possible to switch the (X)RAM config via software or via hardware... but the problem could also be unrelated to the 576nuc and depend on the fujinet and/or its tnfs server...?!?  (I do not own a Fujinet.)

 

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1 hour ago, CharlieChaplin said:

Disclaimer: Since I do not own the 576nuc, I do not know how it configs. 512k XRAM (4 blocks with 8 banks each? or 8 blocks with 4 banks each?), I also do not know if it is possible to switch the (X)RAM config via software or via hardware... but the problem could also be unrelated to the 576nuc and depend on the fujinet and/or its tnfs server...?!?  (I do not own a Fujinet.)

It can only be configured as either 320K CompyShop or 576K Rambo. No 64K base RAM mode available.

 

I only tested as 576K Rambo - I'll check tomorrow if it'll work in the 320K Compy configuration assuming someone doesn't beat me too it. Also like Mr Robot mentioned it would be good to get feedback from a user with a non-NUC system having a FujiNet (and maybe 64K stock system) accessing the files on his TNFS server.

 

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1 hour ago, _The Doctor__ said:

or a way to set hardware to do the same... where there is a will, there's a way.

Not possible if you still want both 320K Compy and 576 Rambo modes - the NUC only has one I/O pin available for selection - so only two choices for memory set-up. So in order to have 64K base RAM as one of those selections, one of the extended modes would have to be forfeited. Not to say that shouldn't be done, but a sacrifice would have to be made. The most likely choice in my opinion would be to give up Compy.

 

To do so would require an altered EMMU.jed file, which is not in my wheel house to do. So if this were to be an option, it'll have to come from someone other than me.

 

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1 hour ago, mytek said:

So apparently those games will not work with more than 64K. Be nice if that could get fixed at some point ;)

 

So now I have to wonder if the originals work with more than 64K... 

 

I just tried with emulation, homesoft, fandal and atarimanias and my local versions of both spyhunter and hawkquest work fine with 576 and 1088k of ram so it looks like the 2b+ code is messing up, not the original game. 

 

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11 minutes ago, Mr Robot said:

So now I have to wonder if the originals work with more than 64K... 

 

I just tried with emulation, homesoft, fandal and atarimanias and my local versions of both spyhunter and hawkquest work fine with 576 and 1088k of ram so it looks like the 2b+ code is messing up, not the original game. 

 

To be absolutely sure that its not somehow a NUC thing, this would also have to be tested with the real 576NUC+ hardware to be sure.

 

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Just as a warning, all modified games for Joy 2B+ were tested on an Atari 800XL or 130XE without RAM modifications and loaded from Sdrive-max or Ultimate Cart.?

 

Also different versions of the games were used from fandal, homesoft or atarionline.pl. i think it would be good to identify if it is the version or is the adaptation the problem.

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I downloaded those two titles from Atarimania, Fandal, and Homesoft and I have cart versions here that I tested too. I ran all of them on an atari800 emulator with 64, 128, 576, and 1088k or ram (but only in PAL). I had one crash from the atarimania Hawkquest, it loaded but crashed while trying to load from disk 1 side 2. Everything else worked fine, disk swapping, cas loading, xex's, everything was fine. 

 

@Peruchi and I both tried the joy2b+ versions on our NUC's and they fail, the same xex's work ok in emulation with 64K, the unmodified versions work ok on the NUC (Thanks @Peruchi for checking that)

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2 hours ago, Peruchi said:

Yep, the originals work fine with theNUC! 

 

 

20220130_164814.jpg

Very interesting, and somewhat enlightening because it pretty well points to a problem with the Joy2B+ modifications.

 

55 minutes ago, ascrnet said:

Just as a warning, all modified games for Joy 2B+ were tested on an Atari 800XL or 130XE without RAM modifications and loaded from Sdrive-max or Ultimate Cart.?

 

Also different versions of the games were used from fandal, homesoft or atarionline.pl. i think it would be good to identify if it is the version or is the adaptation the problem.

Well even though the 130XE having 128K (64K extended) worked during testing, that still isn't a match for the 576NUC+ 2 memory configurations (320K and 576K). Although it is a bit odd that the modifications for Joy2B+ would even be concerned about 'any' extended memory since it shouldn't need it (paddle inputs are a Pokey thing, not a PIA and/or banking thing).

 

3 minutes ago, Mr Robot said:

I downloaded those two titles from Atarimania, Fandal, and Homesoft and I have cart versions here that I tested too. I ran all of them on an atari800 emulator with 64, 128, 576, and 1088k or ram (but only in PAL). I had one crash from the atarimania Hawkquest, it loaded but crashed while trying to load from disk 1 side 2. Everything else worked fine, disk swapping, cas loading, xex's, everything was fine.

I guess it can be assumed that the extended memory in the emulator must be a bit different in some regard to the NUC.

 

3 minutes ago, Mr Robot said:

@Peruchi and I both tried the joy2b+ versions on our NUC's and they fail, the same xex's work ok in emulation with 64K, the unmodified versions work ok on the NUC (Thanks @Peruchi for checking that)

So two confirmations that the original unmodified games work on the NUC ?

 

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