Carnivore2 announcements

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By Alexey

Guardian (2810)

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16-01-2020, 12:16

I am currently working on the solution to enable the cartridge's auto-detection after starting from the DefConfig and also on the double-restart feature for the cold boot (to mitigate the problems with incomplete C2's initialization on computers that boot in less than 150ms).

Also we have made some changes in the firmware to support new features that increase the cartridge's flexibility and usability. They will be probably announced after Nijmegen. I hope to complete coding these by the end of January.

By Alexey

Guardian (2810)

Alexey's picture

17-01-2020, 15:40

Please send your bug reports and improvement suggestions for Carnivore2 as tickets here:

https://github.com/RBSC/Carnivore2/issues

By Alexey

Guardian (2810)

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30-01-2020, 00:49

We will be showing a few upcoming features of Carnivore2 during the Nijmegen event. Come to our table if you are interested. Looking forward to your visiting.

Also our group's website will be announced at the fair. It will contain a brief history of RBSC, our completed and WIP projects as well as the licensing information for our commercial cartridge platforms.

By Alexey

Guardian (2810)

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09-02-2020, 22:39

The beta testing of Carnivore2's new features has started. If you want to participate, please send me an e-mail and I will send you the instructions.

By Alexey

Guardian (2810)

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19-02-2020, 16:30

Here's the changelog for the upcoming release:

http://rbsc.su/en/projects_in_development/#carnivore2

Please don't comment here, use a different thread instead.

By Alexey

Guardian (2810)

Alexey's picture

17-03-2020, 16:14

Hello! Today we have a big release for Carnivore2. To avoid unnecessary questions please make sure to read the "readme.txt" file. We also have the illustrated documentation here:

https://sysadminmosaic.ru/msx/carnivore2/carnivore2-en

The repository is located here:

https://github.com/RBSC/Carnivore2

List of changes:

15.03.2020 (required updates: FPGA firmware, Boot Menu, all utilities, DefConfig entry; the "Power-up fix" must be removed if it was implemented on board!)

1. The new setup screen was introduced - slot configuration. It can be called with "O" hotkey or with "Enter". The new setup screen allows to run dual-slot configuration with flexible options selection for the master slot (you can choose what Carnivore2 built-in devices to enable). You can select 2 ROMs to run simultaneously. The only restriction for the slave slot is that it can run games with Konami4 and Konami5 mappers as well as small games up to 32kb without mapper. The slave slot becomes available if there's one unused physical slot in MSX and it is not occupied by another device

2. The Boot Menu main page's UI was adjusted to have all main hotkeys easily visible. Also the Boot Menu now has the visible selection for master and slave slots called "Dual-Slot". The entry for the master slot can be selected by pressing "1", the entry for the slave slot can be selected by pressing "2". The "D" key clears the selection as well as Autostart entry

3. The DefConfig's settings were changed and the Boot Menu was adjusted so that when this default configuration is started, the Boot Menu remains in the primary slot, allows the system to start and is always detectable by C2MAN and other utilities. The C2MAN and C2MAN40 utilities now write the adjusted DefConfig entry into the directory when you optimize directory entries from the Service Menu

4. A new setting has been added into the Configuration screen to set the desired frequency at startup. A user can choose between 50Hz, 60Hz and the default computer's frequency (no forcing, this is marked as "--"). The setting is saved into the configuration EEPROM. Now the "F" button in the Boot Menu only temporarily switches the frequency between 50Hz and 60Hz

5. The Configuration screen got yet another new setting - "Dual-reset on cold boot". It makes the computer restart twice after the cold boot. This is necessary to make sure that the cartridge is fully initialized when a computer is just powered on. So it is recommended to enable the dual-reset feature

6. The C2CFGBCK utility no longer does the BIOS ROM shadowing and therefore starts faster

7. The Boot Menu's data section has been heavily optimized to have space for more features. The repeated characters are now output with a macros (this saves space). The data for Boot Menu's screens is now written in the last two 8kb blocks of the first 64kb FlashROM block. This saves a lot of space

8. The firmware now reports its internal version in the configuration registers (3 bytes) in ASCII format (only starting from v2.30)

9. The cartridge now outputs the actual versions of the Boot Menu and the firmware during the cold boot and then either reboots a system again (dual-reset) or continues to the Boot Menu

10. The cartridge will not work in slot 0 and slot 3, it will output a message and halt a system if it detects that it's used in those slots

11. The IDE BIOS has been changed to Nextor 2.1.0 Beta 2. This is a stable version with many bugfixes and new features provided by Konamiman

12. The Configuration screen got another new setting - "Disable FMPAC stereo". It disables the stereo output of FMPAC from Carnivore2's audio socket

13. The Boot Menu now detects that it is running on Korean or Arabic MSXs and in case it is not compatible with those systems, it will output a message and will try to boot to DOS after 10 seconds. In such a case a compatible Boot Menu (BOOTCMFC.BIN) should be installed into the cartridge (see the "Special" subfolder in the repository for the compatible version of the Boot Menu

14. ROMs can be selected with the "Space" key in the Dual-Slot screen. Pressing space will allow to cycle through compatible ROMs for each slot. After the full cycle there will be an "empty" selection to keep the slot vacant. In addition, the master slot can also use the "Konami SCC+" configuration. So you can run SCC+ games in the slave slot and enjoy SCC+ and a game on a single cartridge. When the master slot's expansion is enabled, any of its devices (RAM, FMPAC, IDE) can be enabled or disabled with the "Space" key

15. The autostart countdown can be skipped with "Space" key. The same applies to the message about the incompatible Boot Menu

16. All screens now support joystick. The joystick's directions are interpreted as cursor keys and the buttons are interpreted as "Space" or "ESC". Please see the readme.txt for more info

17. In the PSG/PPI settings the "Space" key now enables or disables the PSG and the "Enter" key enables or disables the PPI clicker. This is done to better support joystick usage in this screen

18. During the autostart countdown joystick buttons allow to either skip the countdown and start an entry or to cancel the countdown and go to the main menu. Please see the readme.txt for more info

19. The Boot Menu detects Russian network modules and halts a system to prevent conflicts

We have a few non-critical issues in this release, that will be addressed in the next version. If you would like to report a bug or ask for a new feature, please feel free to create a ticket here:

https://github.com/RBSC/Carnivore2/issues

By Alexey

Guardian (2810)

Alexey's picture

19-03-2020, 20:06

The documentation is now available in PDF format:

https://github.com/RBSC/Carnivore2/tree/master/Doc

By Alexey

Guardian (2810)

Alexey's picture

02-07-2020, 23:03

We have started the Alpha testing of the next release for Carnivore2 that is planned for the end of June 2020. Here's the list of changes: http://rbsc.su/en/projects_in_development/#0001_Carnivore2

Known issues:

1. https://github.com/RBSC/Carnivore2/issues/24
2. https://github.com/RBSC/Carnivore2/issues/25

By Alexey

Guardian (2810)

Alexey's picture

03-07-2020, 13:25

Today we have a big release for Carnivore2!

Version 2.40

Required updates: FPGA firmware, FMPAC BIOS, Boot Menu, all utilities.

1. The emulation of the slave slot is now possible as one of the master's subslots in the Dual-Slot screen. This mode is automatically enabled when there's no free slots in a system. The master slot must be expanded for this feature to work. This allows to use Dual-Slot feature on computers with only one available slot and also on computers where this feature didn't work before (Sony HB-55 and HB-75).

2. The user interface now looks 99% the same on all MSXs, so people with Arabic and Korean MSXs could use the special Boot Menu for all computers without visual differences. The cursor in the special Boot Menu is blinking like on Apple II computers — this is a fix for the previously found problem with the cursor on the Arabic and Korean MSX computers.

3. «The Hymn to Aurora» background music was added into the main menu. The M button toggles the playback. The playback state is saved into the configuration EEPROM.

4. The last used entry can be located by pressing the L button. This helps to navigate the directory when there are too many entries and a user wants to return to the last used entry after reboot. This setting is saved into the configuration EEPROM.

5. The C2BACKUP utility now preserves the Boot Menu, IDE and FPMAC BIOSes. So when restoring an old backup, the up–to–date system areas will not be overwritten with the old data.

6. The new FMPAC BIOS has been provided, now it has 100% English translation.

7. The new firmware with a few important bugfixes has been provided — it is highly recommended to update the firmware to version 2.40 — the same as the last Boot Menu.

8. The F1–F10 functional keys no longer affect the user interface's input in the Boot Menu.

9. The Autostart feature is no longer using the FlashROM to store the setting. Now the entry for Autostart is stored in the configuration EEPROM. So please make sure that your cartridge has this chip installed (it's a small 8–pin chip under the CF card slot).

10. All screen output is now done via VDP ports to improve the user interface experience — there is no more BIOS–assisted screen output.

11. A few bugfixes were done in the Dual-Slot functionality of the Boot Menu, for example the option to use one of the master slot'ssubslots for the slave slot emulation has been added.

12. The help scroller has been added, use the S key to enable/disable it. The scroller's status is saved into the configuration EEPROM.

13. A few adjustments were made to the RD's signal timing in the firmware in order to improve compatibility with various CF cards.

14. The SCC enabling logic has been modified for the better compatibility with the slave slot. Now all SCC games have music and sounds in all configurations.

Link to the repository: https://github.com/RBSC/Carnivore2

By Alexey

Guardian (2810)

Alexey's picture

12-07-2020, 16:09

There were reports about some CF cards not working with Carnivore2 after our July's release. After the discussion with Nestor (Konamiman) it starts to become clearer what happened. The Nextor BIOS consists of IDE driver and the BIOS itself. The IDE driver in the version that we released for Carnivore2 was v0.1.7. Seems that this IDE driver version may cause some incompatibility issues with certain CF cards. There's another Nextor Bets2 BIOS with the older IDE driver v0.1.5. This version should resolve the issues that VegaVegas and other people had after our July's release.

To everyone, who reported CF incompatibility issues, could you please try the following:

1. Download the Beta2 version with older IDE driver:
https://github.com/Konamiman/Nextor/releases/download/v2.1.0...
2. Rename it to BIDECMFC.BIN and place it into the same folder with C2MAN utility
3. Boot to MSX-DOS and write the IDE BIOS into Carnivore2, reboot
4. See if this version of the BIOS resolves compatibility issues

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