Starting guides for various platforms

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Mr Creosote
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Re: Starting guides for various platforms

#16 Post by Mr Creosote » Thu Aug 26, 2010 5:05 pm

Gunness wrote:
Mr Creosote wrote:The more serious question is rather whether you want to maintain the status quo or improve on it.
Erm.... how would I go about accomplishing that? :) I'm largely unfamiliar with r.a.i-f these days, as I stopped using it about ten years ago.
I think this is going off topic a little too much ;) The general answer, no matter whether it's r.a.i-f or any other group of potential visitors, is obviously that "attribute X characterises the majority of CASA's current visitors, so X is what we should go for" is a kind of thinking which will not help attract new crowds. At best this can help maintain the status quo (classic example of a self-fulfilling prophecy: Because X is common, I support X, resulting in more people who match X to come). This, of course, is a purely philosophical point, disregarding any practicality of doability (if that's even a word).

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Re: Starting guides for various platforms

#17 Post by Eriorg » Thu Aug 26, 2010 6:05 pm

Here's my little attempt for an Amstrad CPC guide. It's probably not very well-written, though...
RUNNING A TEXT ADVENTURE GAME ON AMSTRAD CPC WITH AN EMULATOR:

* For almost all games, choose the CPC 6128 model. A few very rare early (not later than 1985) adventures don't work on that model but only on the CPC 464; when it's the case, it's usually mentioned on the web page from which you've downloaded it. For text games at least, you'll probably never need the other models (664, 464+, 6128+, GX-4000).
* Also, always choose your game files on disk, not tape, versions, as much as possible.

1. Insert the disk file (side A) in the first disk drive with the emulator.

2. There are two different ways of running a game. Again, reading the web page where you downloaded the game can usually help to know what to type exactly. But if it doesn't, here are these two ways:

a. RUN"<file name>"
Most games need you to run a file by typing RUN"<file name>" then pressing RETURN. The difficulty is in knowing the relevant file name.

Type CAT then press RETURN: it should give you a list of all the filenames on the side of the disk. Usually, the relevant file is either DISC (or DISK) or something similar to the game title (e.g. PAWN.BAS for The Pawn). A few other clues:
- If there's only one file (or only one file with a name similar to the game title) with the ".BAS" extension, it's a very likely candidate. Note that you can omit the ".BAS" extension (but not other extensions!); for instance, you can type RUN"PAWN" instead of RUN"PAWN.BAS".
- If there are files with the ".COM" extension, it's quite likely that you'll need to use method b (see below).

If all else fails, of course, you can always try every file name from the catalog...

b. |CPM
For some (rarer) games, you just have to type |CPM then press RETURN. (The "|" sign is a vertical bar. On AZERTY keyboards, you have to type "ù" instead, but anyway, I wouldn't recommend using an Amstrad emulation with an AZERTY keyboard for playing text adventures in English!)

A few even much rarer games actually must be run from CP/M. For these, you need a file with the CP/M disk: put it in the disk drive, type |CPM, then replace the disk with the game disk, then type DIR to get the list of files, then type the name of the relevant file (usually a name similar to the game title) to run it.

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Re: Starting guides for various platforms

#18 Post by Alastair » Thu Aug 26, 2010 11:49 pm

My feeling on this matter is that there should be overviews on how to use various platforms (the target system in Mr. Creosote's terminology), but that more complicated matters and emulator specific issues would best be served by people asking for help in a new forum on the board.

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Re: Starting guides for various platforms

#19 Post by Gunness » Fri Aug 27, 2010 9:21 am

Mr Creosote wrote:I think this is going off topic a little too much ;)
Definitely - I just thought that you might have a specific suggestion in this case ;) But let's get back on track.
Eriorg - excellent guide. Appreciate it!
Alastair - agreed. The starting guides shouldn't get overly complicated or nobody will read them.

All that remains is to find the best spot to place this information. I have thought about merging the emulator and links sections, as the latter is divided by platform already. Then the "get started guides" would fit well in there.

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Re: Starting guides for various platforms

#20 Post by Gunness » Fri Aug 27, 2010 10:06 am

Sam, regarding your input - I've turned down direct linking to games for a number of reasons. One of them is the fact that we all have a limited amount of time for projects such as this, and with the number of platforms and games we're trying to cover, I personally believe our resources are better used elsewhere.

I'm aware of the old Beeb files (I used to spend a God-awful amount of time one-filing them ;)). But generally speaking, with most target platforms, if you have a link going to an external site's search engine, locating the game file you need should be fairly straightforward business. On the other hand, running these games is potentially a much larger challenge.

Hence my take on the matter. But nothing's set in stone, and I hope that over time people will come to think of this site as more of a group project and to a lesser degree one that's run and owned by me :) So opinions are always encouraged.

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Re: Starting guides for various platforms

#21 Post by Alastair » Fri Aug 27, 2010 10:26 pm

This is my attempt at a Dragon guide. It's perhaps a bit on the long side, but then again when it comes to loading a game you can ignore the two irrelevant sections.
Types of Dragon

An unmodified Dragon 32 has 32 kiB of RAM, all other unmodified Dragons that were released - the Dragon 64, Dragon 200, and Tano Dragon - have 64 kiB of RAM. For compatibility purposes the 64 kiB Dragons start in Dragon 32 mode, even so, a very small number of programs written for the Dragon 32 will not work on the other computers. There are workarounds to this problem, if you are using a real (unmodified) Dragon you will have to edit the program, if you are using an emulator you can either emulate a Dragon 32 or you can use a modified Dragon 64 ROM image.


The Keyboard

Dragon's do not have a dedicated backspace/delete key, instead the left arrow key doubles as the backspace/delete key. Nor do Dragon's have a CapsLock key, to change from upper case (the default) to lower case, and vice-versa, press SHIFT and 0 (zero) together. In normal text mode, unless you have a modified Dragon, you will not see lower case letters instead you will see colour inverted text. For the majority of Dragon games you will not use lower case letters, if you find that a program will not respond to your input you may have the keyboard in lower case mode, try pressing SHIFT and 0 to see if that resolves the problem.


Dragon 64 Mode

To put a 64 kiB Dragon into Dragon 64 mode, either type

EXEC (followed by the ENTER key)

if you have just turned the computer on or issued an emulator hard reset. If you have been using the computer and do not want to switch if off then on or issue an emulator hard reset (not recommended) then type

EXEC 48000 (ENTER)

On changing into Dragon 64 mode the cursor will change to a flashing blue square. If you receive a "?FC ERROR" then you are using or emulating a Dragon 32.


Loading Cartridges

On a real Dragon switch off the computer, insert the cartridge, and switch the computer back on, the program should start automatically. For emulators, read the instructions for that emulator.


Loading Cassettes

Most games written for the Dragon were written for the Dragon 32 and came on cassette. To avoid possible problems when loading a cassette do not have a disk controller cartridge inserted (in an emulator either do not use the Dragon Disk Operating System ROM, or read the emulator's instructions on how to turn it off).

Unless the program states otherwise keep the Dragon in Dragon 32 mode. An example of where you may wish to change to Dragon 64 mode is with the Mysterious Adventures, in Dragon 32 mode you are restricted to text descriptions, in Dragon 64 mode you also get the graphics.

After inserting the cassette (read the Dragon or emulator's instructions), follow the program's loading instructions. If you have no instructions then type either

CLOAD (ENTER)

if the program is written in BASIC, or if the program is written in machine code (assembler) type

CLOADM (ENTER)

If you do not know which language the program is written in then try CLOADM, if you receive a "?FC ERROR" then you are likely attempting to load a BASIC program so rewind (or reinsert the tape image with some emulators) and try CLOAD.

If the game does not autorun or give on-screen instructions on how to proceed, then for BASIC programs type

RUN (ENTER)

and for machine code programs type

EXEC (ENTER)

There are a small number of programs where having typed CLOADM you use RUN, the Mysterious Adventures being an example, so if EXEC fails try RUN instead.

If you are having problems with any cassette program then get in contact on the forum, the program may have more complicated loading instructions than normal. For example, "Klartz and the Dark Forces" requires you to type PCLEAR 2 (ENTER) before typing CLOADM.


Loading Disks

The most common Dragon disk operating system (DDOS) was originally created by Dragon Data. The following instructions apply to this version of DDOS and its later enhancements (including SuperDOS and DOSplus ).

On a real Dragon read the instructions that came with your disk drive controller. For emulators as well as reading the emulator's instructions you must have an appropriate controller ROM. If you have set everything up correctly then on starting the computer you will be met with a message mentioning DRAGONDOS, SUPERDOS, or DOSPLUS. Again consult the relevant instructions on how to load a disk or disk image on your system. Use drive 1 unless you have instructions telling you otherwise.

If known, follow the program's loading instructions, otherwise type

BOOT (ENTER)

If you receive a "?BT ERROR" then type

DIR n (ENTER)

where n is the drive number (from 1 to 4 inclusive), if no number is given then the default number (unless changed) is 1. If the listing scrolls off the screen then retype the DIR command and press SHIFT and @ together to pause the listing, press any other key to continue the listing.

If you can see the program you wish to run type

RUN "n:filename.ext" (ENTER)

where filename.ext is the complete filename of the program including the full stop and extension, although in the case of filename.BAS you may omit the full stop and extension. Again, n is the drive number and if n: is omitted then the default drive is used.

If the program does not run then look for a "menu", "loader", "filename.run", or similar and run that program instead. If you still have problems then get in contact on the forum.

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Re: Starting guides for various platforms

#22 Post by dave » Sat Aug 28, 2010 9:32 am

I'm sure I wrote something like this for the Beeb a few years ago.

I'll try and hack summat together for the Sharp MZ series and the Einstein (I'm not an expert on the Einstein - but I did spend a while trying games on it). The Sharp MZ series is quite convoluted due to the cleanness of the computer (i.e. you need to load BASIC first).

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Re: Starting guides for various platforms

#23 Post by Alastair » Sat Aug 28, 2010 3:41 pm

dave wrote:I'm sure I wrote something like this for the Beeb a few years ago.
Your Acorn/BBC hardware cheat sheet may be found at viewtopic.php?f=3&t=251

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Re: Starting guides for various platforms

#24 Post by dave » Sat Aug 28, 2010 4:58 pm

Ah, that wasn't quite the same thing - Samwise's is better...

I'll try and do one for the Archimedes too.

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Re: Starting guides for various platforms

#25 Post by Gunness » Mon Aug 30, 2010 2:14 pm

Excellent - I'm still trying to decide where best to put these guides. But I have no doubt that they will be useful. Will write one for the C64, too.

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Re: Starting guides for various platforms

#26 Post by dave » Fri Sep 10, 2010 4:16 pm

One for the Sharp MZ range:
The Sharp MZ range

Sharp's foray into the home computer market included several machines that were biased towards business or simple home computing. The usual models that files can be found for are the MZ-80K, the MZ-80A, the MZ-700 and the MZ-800. The computers where popular in Japan for a long time.

All of these computers are started clean - i.e. only a simple monitor is present in memory, from which other programs can be loaded. This also includes the BASIC interpreter which came on a tape.

Sites of interest
http://www.sharpmz.org/ is the major Sharp site with some games on (though only a few IF) and other documents.

There's also the Sharp Users Club at http://sharpusersclub.org/ this has a large range of PD and commercial software, but you'll need to pay to subscribe to the SUC to download any software.

Emulators
There are several different emulators that can be found, these can be found at http://www.sharpmz.org. Due to different levels of support for various features and complications with the BASIC interpreter, this tutorial will use Michael Franzen's Multisystem emulator (MZxEmu).

To start up the system, load the emulator and select the type of machine from the program list (MZ-700 will be used unless otherwise stated).

Games will generally be distributed in an .MZF format, emulating a tape.

Loading Machine Code games
Machine code games can usually be loaded directory from the Monitor program available at boot up. Start up the emulator, then select File->Load MC. Select the .mzf file from the load dialogue and then click on "Run MC" in the main MZxEmu window.

The game should load and run automatically.

Loading BASIC games
First load up the chosen machine. Then go to the MZxEmu main window and click on "BASIC", which'll load the BASIC interpreter into memory.

Now we can type:
LOAD

"PLAY" will be be returned on the screen, go back to the main window and click on the play button, select the file from the file dialogue box and the game should start loading. (Using SHIFT+F4 to switch the emulator into turbo mode may help here)

Once it's loaded you can now start the game:
RUN

If you're running MZ-80K games on an MZ-700 you may see the word "CONVERTING TEXT" followed by a selection of .'s. This is converting the game from MZ-80K to MZ-700 and (usually) works fine. Ironically I've had more success running MZ-80K games through an MZ-700 than an MZ-80K.

If you get the message "Memory Protection", then the file is trying to overwrite the BASIC interpreter. This usually means that the program is machine code.

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Re: Starting guides for various platforms

#27 Post by Gunness » Sun Oct 24, 2010 5:18 pm

Better late than never - I've placed the submitted guides (BBC, Amstrad, Dragon and Sharp MZ) in the intro texts that pop up when you browse the respective platforms. It's the best I could come up with for the time being.

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Re: Starting guides for various platforms

#28 Post by Samwise » Sun Oct 24, 2010 5:36 pm

Jacob,

Since I wrote that guide, there has been further work on the B-Em emulator which has made some of the information in the guide out of date (B-Em now supports save states and speed modifications). I've modified the first two paragraphs below to bring it up to date.

Sam.

Code: Select all

BBC Micro game emulation - getting started

- download a BBC Micro emulator, either B-Em [http://b-em.bbcmicro.com/] or BeebEm [http://www.mkw.me.uk/beebem].  B-Em is more technically accurate in some areas - notably the sound is better, whilst BeebEm has a few more features, such as video capture.  Unzip the emulator (or run the installer, if you've downloaded the executable version of BeebEm with an installer), compile it if required (for a *nix operating system) and then run it.

- download a game. Unzip it, if necessary.  If you know the file is a .uef or .snp save-state then load it into BeebEm or B-Em respectively, with the Load state option.  Otherwise, if the extension of the file is .uef or .csw it is most likely a cassette tape image.  If it is .ssd or .dsd, it is a DFS disc image and if it is .adf or similar it is an ADFS disc image.

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Re: Starting guides for various platforms

#29 Post by Gunness » Sun Oct 24, 2010 7:59 pm

Okay, I've updated the Beeb guide accordingly.

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Re: Starting guides for various platforms

#30 Post by Gunness » Mon Oct 25, 2010 12:44 pm

For the record, I've added a C64 guide and updated the first entry in the thread to list the guides available. Personally I think they're very useful.

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