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Author Topic: New on here, tape image loading questions for real hardware (Read 6153 times)

Offline CiH

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Hi there lovely people,

I'm dropping a line as I've stopped lurking and decided to ask to take part in this forum. I do have an interest in this interesting hardware. Indeed I was one of those rare original UK Enterprise 64 owners, back in the day, having rediscovered there is still a community some time ago, and very very slowly getting around to taking a slightly more active part.

 I was responsible for writing the following article at http://alive.atari.org/alive12/ent64.php which neatly details my early history on the Enterprise 64. If you look really hard, there was even an article by me in issue 9 of the Private Enterprise magazine!

I have fond memories of this machine, because of the all-round coolness, and well everyone with taste and intelligence has got to have some underdog to love in their life  :mrgreen: The Enterprise was the nearest hardware platform to which I came to having any sort of reasonable programming or coding experiences. (Nothing too stunning to shout about, before you get too hopeful). My other minority computing interests are the Atari ST/Falcon family and the demoscene respectively.  If anyone has any questions on these areas, feel free to ask, at the very least I can steer you in the right direction if I can't help directly.

I am intending to do 'something' with the Enterprise, starting at a low level and then see what happens. No promises or timescales, but I am mulling one or two ideas in my head.

For now, I have some queries about tape images and their usage with real hardware, so here goes...

1. I now have real hardware (Enterprise 64 and 128) which is great, and I'm looking for tape images and similar. The best success has been with the EPTE player. Are there any tips and tricks for getting more reliable and consistent loading from that player and audio files, sound settings for PC soundcards etc? I downloaded EPTE and a few TAP images a long time ago, but it seems the archives have disappeared off the internet now?

2. Related to this, are the more 'modern' tape images used with the EP128emu not compatible with loading into a real machine? I get lots of errors there.

(Mr Prise, in the course of registering me for this board has advised of the alternative tape image file loader 'TAPir' which I will give a try shortly.)

3. Are there any .WAV files, TAP or TFX images of some of the more graphically interesting or 'modern' Enterprise games out there? I am thinking of taking my hardware to a retro computing museum open day and would like to show off something that isn't obviously a ZX Spectrum port (with all due respect to the ZX Spectrum of course!)

4. A totally frivolous question which deviates from the topic above. How about adding this http://pouet.net/prod.php?which=58887 to the list of Amstrad conversions ;-) - They are thinking of developing the engine into a full game. Also please add the new Amstrad versions of R-Type and Bubble Bobble to the list of neat things to do sometime!

Offline Zozosoft

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Re: New on here, tape image loading questions for real hardware
« Reply #1 on: 2012.April.04. 10:12:59 »
Hello! Welcome here!

I also suggest the TAPir, is is can generate WAV files, and these can be played with any player. Note: the modern sound cards are not have a Speaker level output, only Line out. Because this needed to push up all volume controls what you find :-) for got a enought volume for loading.
The generated WAV files can be converted to MP3 (but not use too low bitrate!), and can be loaded from a MP3 player. I see anyone who is used a mobil phone for playing MP3 files as "tape".

Unfortunately we are waiting for the game which are can use the full power of Enterprise  :cry:

If you want to demonstrate the Nick chip capatibilities, then load some Iview pictures.
Some examples.

And also exist many great demo programs, but some are too big for tape loading  :oops:

Some games which are better than the Spectrum 16 colors :-) :
-Book of Life
-Boulder Dash serie by Istvanv
-Dark Lord Demo
-Eat it Up
-Get Dexter
-Hopeless Game
-International Karate + Reloaded
-Logiball
-Mahjongg
-Out of this world (Magicball)
-Pacman City 1-2
-R2D2
-RX-220
-Swap
-Wopus

Offline geco

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Re: New on here, tape image loading questions for real hardware
« Reply #2 on: 2012.April.04. 10:14:34 »
Hi and welcome here :)

Most of us read your article about EP, it is a great stuff.

Good to hear about your plans for starting to do Enterprise stuff, if you have questions please ask them, you will get answer from our experts :)

Hm, it seems EPTE tape images were disappeared, but may be Lacika (he is the owner of great page of EP128.hu) has it, or knows something. You can also build TAP files from the EP files using by EPTE.
There are another TAP image collection, which can be loaded into EP128EMU2, and during real time loading it can be loaded into real EP, if you have problems with loading them to EP, then I think the volume is low.
TAP images

Yes, there are some interesting title, these are from my mind, and only some stuff:
Small Demo (Great Demo from the nineties)
Boulder Dash Collection (from this century, produced by Istvanv, the best 8 bit boulder dash)
Driller, Total eclipse, Castle Master... CPC conversions (produced by Istvanv, the game engine was optimized, therefore much faster than CPC version)
IK+ Reloaded (It was converted from CPC by me, and made some modification, the difference is visible :) )
but on EP128 homepage you can find more interesting articles.

The wolfenstein Demo is greatm I have some incomplete conversion (at least 4) I would like to finish 1st one from them, afterward i would like to check this demo.

Offline CiH

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Re: New on here, tape image loading questions for real hardware
« Reply #3 on: 2012.April.04. 15:05:08 »
Thanks for all the info guys, great stuff.

Quote
There are another TAP image collection, which can be loaded into EP128EMU2, and during real time loading it can be loaded into real EP, if you have problems with loading them to EP, then I think the volume is low.
TAP images

So tape files should be able to load into a real machine in real time with the emulator? Interesting. That was the first thing that I tried with the new tape file collection linked to, but with very little success.

Apart from volume levels, I think there are two other possible issues which might detrimentally affect matters.

1. Emulator speed, EP128 is generally at 100%, sometimes goes slightly over, sometimes dips below 100% speed. Could this cause small errors in the tape signal noise and crc cassette errors?  My laptop is a few years old, but not that slow.

2. Quality of the tape audio lead. I'm using a mono lead, testing the volume (through the Mac sound output) produces a clicking or scratching noise if the volume is too high. This issue has been reproduced across a very old lead and a new replacement lead. This issue does not occur on the headphones I normally use. Are stereo cassette leads a better option? (I've also moved the sound balance over to the left hand side which increases the channel volume to give a slight improvement.)

It's not been a complete failure, I have had some successes with EPTE so have managed to get some of the classic games to run, but it has been tricky at times. Any further information or suggestions would be great.

Chris.

Offline IstvanV

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Re: New on here, tape image loading questions for real hardware
« Reply #4 on: 2012.April.04. 15:41:57 »
So tape files should be able to load into a real machine in real time with the emulator? Interesting. That was the first thing that I tried with the new tape file collection linked to, but with very little success.

The most likely problem is that the volume was too low, especially since the emulator outputs audio at a relatively low level. You can increase it slightly by setting "Volume" to 1 in the audio configuration (Alt+U), and of course with the sound card mixer.

Quote
1. Emulator speed, EP128 is generally at 100%, sometimes goes slightly over, sometimes dips below 100% speed. Could this cause small errors in the tape signal noise and crc cassette errors?

This is not an issue until there are actual dropouts in the audio, which result in a CRC error (the EXOS verifies tape data transfers with a 16-bit CRC). If necessary, you can increase "Latency" in the sound settings to prevent buffer underruns.

Offline CiH

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Re: New on here, tape image loading questions for real hardware
« Reply #5 on: 2012.April.04. 17:36:34 »
Quote
This is not an issue until there are actual dropouts in the audio, which result in a CRC error (the EXOS verifies tape data transfers with a 16-bit CRC). If necessary, you can increase "Latency" in the sound settings to prevent buffer underruns.

The latency tweak seems to have vastly improved the success rate with EP128, I've fondly revisited Starstrike 3D and Sorcery out of the classic games on my original hardware and crc errors have stopped, I'm a lot more confident with this process now  :cool:

Offline SlashNet

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Re: New on here, tape image loading questions for real hardware
« Reply #6 on: 2014.May.27. 12:20:34 »
I have one question.
Ноw I can change default device on real machine with EXDOS?
On emu exist FileIO.rom with commands ":def_dev_disk, :def_dev_file, and :def_dev_tape".

Without that rom I tried command ":VAR 3 0", but it have no effect in emu.

Offline Zozosoft

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Re: New on here, tape image loading questions for real hardware
« Reply #7 on: 2014.May.27. 15:01:26 »
You can't do it. You need another utility in the system.
I am thinking about adding this feature to EXOS or EXDOS...

Anyway you can load or save files from TAPE by specifying TAPE: in the filename.
« Last Edit: 2014.May.27. 17:53:52 by szipucsu »

Offline SlashNet

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Re: New on here, tape image loading questions for real hardware
« Reply #8 on: 2014.May.27. 15:27:10 »
About "tape:" I know, but some old loaders run from tape, but other files (.scr, .prg) it searches on disk.
« Last Edit: 2014.May.27. 15:43:45 by SlashNet »

Offline szipucsu

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Re: New on here, tape image loading questions for real hardware
« Reply #9 on: 2014.May.27. 17:57:22 »
Quote from: SlashNet
About "tape:" I know, but some old loaders run from tape, but other files (.scr, .prg) it searches on disk.
I think the loader of these programs should be modified.
Haven't we done this, yet, with the forum members? Are there any programs like this?
100 SOUND SOURCE 3,STYLE 16,LEFT 16,RIGHT 64,SYNC 2
110 SOUND SOURCE 2,STYLE 128,PITCH 25.2,SYNC 2
120 SOUND PITCH 25,SYNC 2
Videos

Offline SlashNet

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Re: New on here, tape image loading questions for real hardware
« Reply #10 on: 2014.May.27. 22:22:54 »
For example, I take Exolon from ep128.hu.
Create .tap with tapeedit.exe
Run emulator with config "EP_128k_EXDOS.cfg"
Type load "tape:" and press Enter.
Loaded exolon.com and then loader begin searching other files on disk.