In sofarun, many roms only load if I go into another zip collection and load "Alien 2" first

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By Swami

Rookie (24)

Swami's picture

26-11-2018, 08:03

I'm having a strange problem, where if I try to open up sofarun and run a game from the same zipped collection I played in last, it go through the normal procedure, but then often kicks me back to the MSX-DOS 2 prompt when I try to start it or goes to just the white screen seen before a game starts, but just stays there. However, if I leave the zipped collection and go to another zipped collection and start "Alien 2",128k, which always seems to start fine, then reset and then go out of the zipped collection with "Alien 2" and go back to the zipped collection with the original game I wanted to play, it will start fine. This has happened with Ninja Princess, 32k, and Pyro-Man, 32k, among others. I have the Internal MEGASCC+ (1Mb), Internal ESE MegaRAM 1Mb (ASCII 8Kb BANK), and 4MB RAM mapper enabled on my SX-1 FPGA. Any idea what could cause this? Thanks!

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By gdx

Prophet (3083)

gdx's picture

26-11-2018, 08:53

Multi-mente does not allow you to select and execute files with a joystick but it allows you more choices to execute files with the loader that suits you according to the file to execute. For example FLLOAD.COM is a good loader for ESE RAM ASCII 8Kb, FL.COM is good for Megaflash SCC, MEGA16 is good for execute the megarom 16k with the Memory Mapper, etc.

In addition I recommend you to use unzipped Roms.

By Louthrax

Prophet (2093)

Louthrax's picture

26-11-2018, 20:51

/self_promotion_mode_on

gdx wrote:

Multi-mente does not allow you to select and execute files with a joystick but it allows you more choices to execute files with the loader that suits you according to the file to execute.

That can also be done by editing the SofaRun .INI file (same as for MultiMente). But it's true that you do not have a choice at run time between the loader to use...

gdx wrote:

For example FLLOAD.COM is a good loader for ESE RAM ASCII 8Kb, FL.COM is good for Megaflash SCC, MEGA16 is good for execute the megarom 16k with the Memory Mapper, etc.

SofaROM handles all those devices plus other ones and select the best one automatically. That should avoid having to choose the loader to use at each game launch.

gdx wrote:

In addition I recommend you to use unzipped Roms.

Why? You have long file names in ZIP files, and it takes less space on disk ?

[edit] Ah, maybe you mean for test purposes ?

/self_promotion_mode_off

By Louthrax

Prophet (2093)

Louthrax's picture

26-11-2018, 20:53

Swami wrote:

I'm having a strange problem, where if I try to open up sofarun and run a game from the same zipped collection I played in last, it go through the normal procedure, but then often kicks me back to the MSX-DOS 2 prompt when I try to start it or goes to just the white screen seen before a game starts, but just stays there. However, if I leave the zipped collection and go to another zipped collection and start "Alien 2",128k, which always seems to start fine, then reset and then go out of the zipped collection with "Alien 2" and go back to the zipped collection with the original game I wanted to play, it will start fine. This has happened with Ninja Princess, 32k, and Pyro-Man, 32k, among others. I have the Internal MEGASCC+ (1Mb), Internal ESE MegaRAM 1Mb (ASCII 8Kb BANK), and 4MB RAM mapper enabled on my SX-1 FPGA. Any idea what could cause this? Thanks!

Hi Swami,

I have no SX-1 FPGA, so it's a bit hard for me to diagnose the problem. You can try to play with the SX-1 switches to change the ROM flash mode.

Now that I think about it, SofaROM does not reflash a ROM when it has already been flashed before (only if you change the ROM to launch). It assumes that for the flash devices, the ROM is not erased when you switch off the computer.

Maybe this is different on the SX-1 (and the flash is reset on power off)? Try to launch the "Forget last flashed ROM" command in SofaRun before launching a game to force a reflash and let me know if that helps (in that case I could add an "Always flash" option for that in SofaRun).

As GDX mentionned above, you can also try to launch the games without storing them in a ZIP file to check if the problem is there (but that's not my 1st guess on the cause of the bug here).

By gdx

Prophet (3083)

gdx's picture

27-11-2018, 00:48

Louthrax wrote:

That can also be done by editing the SofaRun .INI file (same as for MultiMente). But it's true that you do not have a choice at run time between the loader to use...

With MultiMente, we can add an option for a particular Rom.

Louthrax wrote:

SofaROM handles all those devices plus other ones and select the best one automatically. That should avoid having to choose the loader to use at each game launch.

Yes but only one by extension type. MultiMente too but we can entry another command directly or via the history.

Louthrax wrote:

Why? You have long file names in ZIP files, and it takes less space on disk ?

MSX files does not take much space. We are more often limited by the number of files on big disks. Zipped files are longer to launch. We have to reserve some free space to unzip. On floppy disk, we're losing space instead of winning when the files are big like megaroms.

I do not denigrate your software which is also very practical, useful and even essential on MSX1. I use it in dual-boot. The choice of one or the other is based on the hardware that we have. In the case of Swami, Multimente seems to me preferable.

By Swami

Rookie (24)

Swami's picture

27-11-2018, 06:56

Thank you. Removing the last game flashed seems to have fixed the problem. I'm not sure about what all will cause it or the extent of it stopping other games in the same zipped collection, but I think it is limited to turning off the console while a game is playing, which seems to leave the rom in a state that interferes with reloading it or some other games in the same zip collection. It seems fairly straight-forward in retrospect but I had forgotten the possibility existed to reflash the rom within sofarun. Smile

I have a couple of my collection folders in an unzipped state, but I do like using the zipped folders because of the long file names and they seem to load the folder contents into the file manager faster than for an unzipped collection, at least for the ones with hundreds of roms in them. Unless I shorten all my names, you don't really get eight characters, you get six and the "~1", so "ninjaprincess" becomes "ninjap~1" and "pyroman(Francois)" and "pyroman(English)" look the same.

By Swami

Rookie (24)

Swami's picture

27-11-2018, 06:54

gdx wrote:

Multi-mente does not allow you to select and execute files with a joystick but it allows you more choices to execute files with the loader that suits you according to the file to execute. For example FLLOAD.COM is a good loader for ESE RAM ASCII 8Kb, FL.COM is good for Megaflash SCC, MEGA16 is good for execute the megarom 16k with the Memory Mapper, etc.
In addition I recommend you to use unzipped Roms.

Thanks for the advice. I haven't tried multimente yet, still finding my way around sofarun and the MSX hardware, although in FPGA form, but I plan to learn to use it, just to have both in my tool-box to know what is best for what.

I've only used BlueMSX and the RetroPie one up to this point, but wanted a console version for new carts that come out and the experience. The new FPGA seemed like a dependable choice and is theoretically the same as real hardware.

By Louthrax

Prophet (2093)

Louthrax's picture

27-11-2018, 07:19

gdx wrote:

I do not denigrate your software which is also very practical, useful and even essential on MSX1. I use it in dual-boot. The choice of one or the other is based on the hardware that we have. In the case of Swami, Multimente seems to me preferable.

No problem GDX, I was curious about your point of view and what could be improved.

About the ZIP files, if you have a lage collection of small ROMs files, that can really make a difference on HD disk usage (depending on your FAT system, each small .CAS or .RAM file will occupy a minimum of 64KB on disk, instead of a few KB inside of a ZIP). Also the long file name support is something I can't live without now (mainly to differenciate all versions of the same ROM file).

By Swami

Rookie (24)

Swami's picture

27-11-2018, 23:42

Louthrax wrote:

Hi Swami,

Now that I think about it, SofaROM does not reflash a ROM when it has already been flashed before (only if you change the ROM to launch). It assumes that for the flash devices, the ROM is not erased when you switch off the computer.

Maybe this is different on the SX-1 (and the flash is reset on power off)? Try to launch the "Forget last flashed ROM" command in SofaRun before launching a game to force a reflash and let me know if that helps (in that case I could add an "Always flash" option for that in SofaRun).

I think I was circling this solution, because I did notice there were none of the little ellipsis circles showing up on the text screen right before game-(no) launch. You usually get at least one or two even for 16K games.

By gdx

Prophet (3083)

gdx's picture

28-11-2018, 00:42

Louthrax wrote:

About the ZIP files, if you have a lage collection of small ROMs files, that can really make a difference on HD disk usage (depending on your FAT system, each small .CAS or .RAM file will occupy a minimum of 64KB on disk, instead of a few KB inside of a ZIP). Also the long file name support is something I can't live without now (mainly to differenciate all versions of the same ROM file).

I may not have tested enough. The long file name support is only supported into the ZIP, right?
I have a big problem with Sofarom. It does not boot on my MSX 1/2 when I insert certain CF cards into slave slot of my sunrise CF interface. I suspect that the interface has a bug that occurs on MSX without a floppy drive. In addition according to the CF card that I insert into slave slot the partitions of the card are visible or not.

By Louthrax

Prophet (2093)

Louthrax's picture

28-11-2018, 20:21

gdx wrote:

I may not have tested enough. The long file name support is only supported into the ZIP, right?
I have a big problem with Sofarom. It does not boot on my MSX 1/2 when I insert certain CF cards into slave slot of my sunrise CF interface. I suspect that the interface has a bug that occurs on MSX without a floppy drive. In addition according to the CF card that I insert into slave slot the partitions of the card are visible or not.

Yes, there are no reliable ways to read long file names on MSX-DOS or Nextor (or maybe writing custom routines that would find them scanning FAT and sectors...). I prefer to wait for Nextor to implement that (it could be simple new MSX-DOS 2 function that returns the long file name for a given file handler).

I'm very interested by your report about SofaROM not booting with multiple SD or CF Cards. I've already seen some problems like that in the past in Nextor (hanging on creating files)... Can you give a bit more details:

  • Before the problem in SofaROM, Nextor is booting OK ?
  • Does SofaRun work ?
  • When does SofaROM crash ? Just after invoking it from the command line or when launching the ROM (after flashing) ?

SofaROM is doing lots of invsetigations on the MSX at start to find all available devices and find the better one, it could be that this detection mechanism corrupts some things.

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