Loading disk images with MegaFlashROM, AUTOEXEC.BAS is gobbledygook

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By Stakker

Expert (65)

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27-02-2022, 12:51

I tried the Alien 8 & Pentagram disk images with OpenMSX and several configurations.

The identical configuration (FS-A1FX + MRF SCC+ 512k and disk image in SD/HDD mounted to drive B) works identically. Pentagram loads fine, Alien 8 gets stuck in loading. In Nextor BASIC.

Weirdly, if I try to load the disks with OpenMSX in standard FS-A1FX configuration without MFR, they don't work. Even though it's then DOS 1 (Disk BASIC 1.0). Same if I keep 1 down when booting with MFR. On the real Panasonic, pressing 1 when booting results in a frozen blue screen, so I can't boot to regular BASIC with the cart inserted.

In OpenMSX, I also tried disk drive-equipped MSX 1 configurations: National CF-3300 just reboots. SVI-738 says "Disk Offline in 20", which is the AUTOEXEC line of the first BLOAD. I don't know other MSX 1 machines with disk drives and just got Disk I/O Error with a Toshiba disk drive connected to the HX-10, for example :-P

Just to be clear, the corrupted AUTOEXEC.BAS problem only happens with EMUFILE. MAPDRV or booting with a disk image in emulator just gets stuck in loading or in a reboot loop. So, it very much seems like the EMUFILE problem is fragmentation. And the only way I can get some games to work is with MAPDRV or from a folder and Nextor BASIC.

Maybe I should try defragmenting the images... no idea though how to even do that on a Mac though, because the Mac filesystem doesn't need defragmenting. Or try finding better images.

The POKE thing... what's a wrong POKE and what's right? :-P

By Grauw

Ascended (10581)

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27-02-2022, 14:14

Stakker wrote:

Weirdly, if I try to load the disks with OpenMSX in standard FS-A1FX configuration without MFR, they don't work. Even though it's then DOS 1 (Disk BASIC 1.0).

Have you tried keeping the CTRL key pressed while booting? This frees up some memory.

Stakker wrote:

Maybe I should try defragmenting the images... no idea though how to even do that on a Mac though, because the Mac filesystem doesn't need defragmenting. Or try finding better images.

Have you tried the defragmentation method I described in my first reply?

By Stakker

Expert (65)

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27-02-2022, 14:23

Grauw wrote:

Have you tried keeping the CTRL key pressed while booting? This frees up some memory.

Oh... well, didn't do any good :-/

Grauw wrote:

Have you tried the defragmentation method I described in my first reply?

No, that's a bit of a bigger operation... I guess if nothing else works, I'll try that when I have a free weekend :-) But... I'm under the impression that it is the files inside the disk image that are fragmented, not the image file? Or is it? (Does this make sense? :-D)

By Manuel

Ascended (18782)

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27-02-2022, 14:34

It's not about defragmenting the images, but defragmenting the SD card, so that the whole image is in one set of consecutive sectors on the SD card. If you send me an e-mail with a pointer to the images, I can take a look what's going on.

If the games don't run in a normal DOS1 environment (especially when pressing CTRL to get some extra memory), there is probably something dirty going on in the loader.

By Stakker

Expert (65)

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27-02-2022, 18:08

Ahh ok... I also got in contact with the guy whose software collection this is, and he suggested editing the loaders with the "universal poke" for MSX2 compatibility, as was mentioned here too.

I tried that and got Alien 8 to work on the OpenMSX stock config FS-A1FX without MFR, but with MFR it doesn't help (real or emulated).

Maybe I need to try the defragging next in case the EMUFILE method is more compatible.

The images are from here: https://download.file-hunter.com/Games/MSX1/DSK/
(There's a torrent file on the main page or root url.)

Thanks again all! I've spent half of my weekend trying to get this to work now without getting very far, but at least I've learned something :-)

By Manuel

Ascended (18782)

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27-02-2022, 21:14

Well, this version of Alien 8 seems to have severe problems on machines with RAM in a subslot, or something similar. It doesn't work on a plain Philips NMS 8250 either. So, you're not doing anything wrong. There is a great ROM version of Alien 8 though, I suggest you use that one. And don't forget the MSX2 remake of this game. Much better than the original Smile

By Stakker

Expert (65)

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28-02-2022, 19:07

Oh ok... I guess that's good news for my sanity's sake :-D Although it would be nice if the collection had good images, because it has a lot of stuff I've never seen.

Yeah, I actually do have both ROMs too, I just chose Alien8 randomly as a popular game that I knew was at least not a ROM-to-disk conversion. But it's all the more obscure stuff in the collection I'm actually more interested in :-)

I personally prefer the original Alien 8, because there's just something magical about the isometric Ultimate graphics style for me, direct Speccy port or not :-) The slowdown isn't exactly fun, though...

Thanks for the help again, much appreciated :-)

By Manuel

Ascended (18782)

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28-02-2022, 20:51

The remake is still isometric, but with so much better (and more colourful) graphics.

If you come across other things that you can't run, just let me know.

By tingis53

Paragon (1107)

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28-02-2022, 23:05

Manuel wrote:

Well, this version of Alien 8 seems to have severe problems on machines with RAM in a subslot, or something similar. It doesn't work on a plain Philips NMS 8250 either. So, you're not doing anything wrong. There is a great ROM version of Alien 8 though, I suggest you use that one. And don't forget the MSX2 remake of this game. Much better than the original Smile

You can execute it in a philips 8250 using a 64Kram cartridge or in Openmsx emulator using the 64KRam extension and it works with nms 8250 and nms8255 I've done it today

By Manuel

Ascended (18782)

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28-02-2022, 23:55

Yes, that will put the main RAM in a primary slot, confirming my hypothesis Smile But if 'stakker' doesn't have such a cartridge, this isn't going to help him.

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