weenies

new games to be launched and discussed here
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retro_junkie
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Postby retro_junkie » Fri May 04, 2007 4:39 pm

I have a lead that goes directly from my soundcard to the DIN socket on the electron to either play uefs through FreeUEF or wavs through anything (if you need to pause).

However it gets to the Electron it isn't going to stop the problem above... after the animation bit, it stops the Electron from reading from tape!

Is your Weenies uef not trying to store data in the wrong place on the Electron (therefore stopping it loading)?

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Postby retro_junkie » Fri May 04, 2007 5:49 pm

I've uploaded a short video showing what happens when you load it into an Electron (I have tried 2 different machines).

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=A8VjzuoqmFc

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Postby retro_junkie » Thu May 10, 2007 1:34 pm

Does nobody know about this then? Would it not work with a different execution number?

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Postby CMcDougall » Tue May 15, 2007 8:05 am

The tape works in BeebEm etc, so the tape image is fine.

All i can suggest is to play with the master volume from the PC,
maybe 3/4+ (right click on speaker bottom right)

or even better, just get a disc drive :D
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Postby retro_junkie » Tue May 15, 2007 12:25 pm

The signal gets through perfectly - if you just load that section on it's own it loads no problem (but obviously does nothing). I imagine that tape image will work perfectly with a real beeb but it causes that problem in the Electron (did you look at the video)? The screen rolling is any time there is sound being sent to the Electron... am I totally barking up the wrong tree with the execution thing? I know some people made beeb discs that don't work on other people's machines depending on what hardware is connected... is it a least possible that the forced execution in that tape image is using part of the Electron usually needed to load tapes?

Thanks for all your help by the way - it's appreciated!

Maybe this needs a new thread... who would know about Electron hardware?!

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Postby CMcDougall » Tue May 15, 2007 12:39 pm

i did watch yer YouTube vid, but if that 'main' proggy loads ok on its own then :?

Maybe some1 out there has the original tape and an electron to see
if it actually works on a real electron. I might try it using a .wav and CDr, but that would be next weekend, if got time :roll:

do u have anymore hardware on yer elec?? don't think that would matter anyways, as doing
*TAPE
PAGE=&E00
CH.""

Should work 8)
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Postby retro_junkie » Tue May 15, 2007 11:56 pm

I guess it's possible that the original tape never worked on an Electron... it was reviewed at EUG but maybe they just used emulation or a disc copy... it really does do something odd to the Elk... when I pressed break there are a load of characters after the > including a musical note graphic I've never seen before!

It is just an plain unexpanded Elk... I did try doing the PAGE thing just in case but the same thing happens. Just to make it clear though, the sound gets through fine - burning to CD etc wouldn't help. All sections will load on their own with no errors, data?, block? messages etc. It's just that after that animated intro, it somehow stops the electron from loading from tape! Is anyone an Elk expert? Dave_E?

I don't suppose this could be some kind of elaborate anti piracy thing?

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Postby sorvad » Wed May 16, 2007 7:19 am

Sounds like someone will have to disassemble the code that the ELK is running. If no one else volunteers I'll give it a go, but won't be for a while as too many commitments at the moment.

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Postby CMcDougall » Wed May 16, 2007 8:07 am

retro_junkie wrote: some kind of elaborate anti piracy thing?


no, defo not that.

It works on all the electron emulators, so im now lost :?

-sorvad, no need to dis the code, as its ok :P

:?: im stumped :evil:
ahh, try making it jump the 'weenies' moving intro, would load quicker too 8) , may help :?
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Postby sorvad » Wed May 16, 2007 8:23 am

I just thought maybe go through the code and see if it is using any memory locs that would give the ELK some trouble. Would be a tedious job though !

Have I understood correctly that the tape file works on all the Elk emulators but not a real ELK ?

Working on the em's and not real hardware.... that is a bit odd and sounds interesting to work out why !

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Postby CMcDougall » Wed May 16, 2007 9:05 am

sorvad wrote:Have I understood correctly that the tape file works on all the Elk emulators but not a real ELK ?


Disc works on all emulators. Tape says 'bad rom' on elk emulators :? . RetroJ can play all tape files in invidually onto an actual elk without 'rewind tape/block', but when loading as normal, gives 'rewind tape/block' as per his UTubeVid.

but tape.uef works in BeebEm etc :D

i give up :!: :wink:
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Postby retro_junkie » Wed May 16, 2007 12:52 pm

Yeah the tape uef file doen't work at all in ElectrEm (after trying to load the first block it just says BAD ROM) but it gets much further on an actual Elk. The disc image works fine in ElectrEm (but runs faster than in BeebEm!) but I don't have a disc drive for the Elk.

The problem after the intro isn't just rewind tape type errors - it literally can't understand the audio and lists everything (even other tapes as '?' for the title and 'FF FFD0' as the block / length over and over (with data? in between) plus when any noise is played into the Elk it rolls the screen (so in the clip I put on youtube it is stable between blocks).

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Postby sorvad » Wed May 16, 2007 2:48 pm

Some progress with that file you sent me. I can now get Electrem Future to replicate the problem from a real electron (least it looks like the problem your getting).

Basically there's a bit of a bug in the fast tape handling of Electrem, if you go to preferences and unset "Fast Tape Loading" then the game should load and then freak out at the same place as the real ELK with a problem that looks like the video you posted.

So now we've got the same error occurring in the emulator we can probably sort out why it's happening. Like you said probably loading something somewhere it shouldn't.

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Postby sorvad » Thu May 17, 2007 12:11 pm

Ok, looked further into this now. Whatever weenies does on the tape the ELK does not like. Question for Alan (Retro), does the tape say it will run on an ELK. I'm beginning to think that there was either a different tape version for the elk or it was only ever released for it as a disk or ssd download.

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Postby regregex » Thu May 17, 2007 12:12 pm

I think there's a spurious byte in the UEF file that is being injected by the fast tape hack. For whatever reason the OS thinks it's come from a paged ROM and not the tape hardware.

ISTR the "Bad ROM" message happens in RFS, when the first character of the block is not one of "*", "#" or "+". I've never seen this error from real tapes as the OS ignores anything not beginning with "*".

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Postby CMcDougall » Thu May 17, 2007 12:43 pm

sorvad wrote:Basically there's a bit of a bug in the fast tape handling of Electrem, if you go to preferences and unset "Fast Tape Loading" then the game should load and then freak out at the same place as the real ELK .


nice1 Steve, got it doing it without the 'bad rom' :D

as u said above, maybe only works on an Elk with disc drive, but im still completly stumped why :cry:

The moral of the story is the RetroJs original tape has no bad block, and the Elk just does not like it at all from tape.

The */weenies loads into &1100, which is above &E00, so :?:
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Postby retro_junkie » Thu May 17, 2007 10:25 pm

My tape does say BBC/ELECTRON on the cover and ...for the BBC Micro B, B+, Master and Acorn Electron. There is one version of WEENIES for all machines.

That uef file that is causing the problems however has nothing to do with my original tape - it was created in BeebEm using a disc image Colin had.

Is it possible the original tape loaded somewhere that would stop disc drives being used so in order to get it onto disc, someone cracked it and changed it to load somewhere that stops the tape loading instead? (I assume the program uses as much memory as physically possible)


Would anyone be able to do anything with the wav of my actual tape? The levels are terrible but it seems it was recorded like that - the clicks and clunks of the tape mechanism are louder than the data so when it was mastered, the clunks are the peak levels and the data is too quiet. I did try and boost them myself but with no luck.

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Postby sorvad » Fri May 18, 2007 7:57 am

Just remind me. When you play the original into the ELK does it fail at a different point ?

Someone can probably make a UEF from it, Frasers the expert if it's a really tricky one. I think if this is deemed a back up copy to get your ELK version working which you've payed for then you should be ok on copyright as long as you never distribute it. Might have to check with Cronosoft though.

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Postby CMcDougall » Fri May 18, 2007 8:38 am

retro_junkie wrote:Is it possible the original tape loaded somewhere that would stop disc drives being used so in order to get it onto disc, someone cracked it and changed it to load somewhere that stops the tape loading instead? (I assume the program uses as much memory as physically possible).


No, its not protected at all, is ive said b4, straight from tape to disc with no probs.

also no need for 'tricky' uef, as MakeUefAm is only needed.

Its prob not been tested properly by the makers, as they prob used
the disc version from tape, as its quicker than tape.

Prob like Nightshade that was meant to work on Elk with
the re-release :(
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Postby retro_junkie » Fri May 18, 2007 1:04 pm

sorvad wrote:Just remind me. When you play the original into the ELK does it fail at a different point ?


The original only occasionally gets a dodgy signal to the Elk - it never starts loading or shows the correct titles...

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Postby sorvad » Fri May 18, 2007 1:56 pm

Earlier in this thread it was mentioned that the ELK's tape handling was a bit more sensitive that the beeb. So maybe someone can make a good copy of this that at least the ELK will like.

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Postby retro_junkie » Sun Jul 01, 2007 1:52 pm

Well, well, well... I bought an official Electron style Acorn Data Recorder (Highly recommended for anyone who still uses tapes with a real Elk - no faffing about with levels - it does it automatically - and it loads EVERYTHING!) and not really expecting anything, tried the Weenies tape and it loads it fine... except it still has that same problem as the tape image created with BeebEm (the flickering screen and not being able to take in information after the intro animation)! Seems it was never tested on a real Electron before release and goes a long way to explaining why Cronosoft doesn't support Acorn machines... they must have had a lot of returns from anyone who bought this for an Electron! I now believe them over Chris Dewhurst that Egghead didn't load from tape either! I guess sadly there is no way of getting this game to run on an Electron without a disc drive. It must be possible to do a bit of a re-write to make it work but I doubt it will ever happen. Oh well. Anyone want my tape for their beeb?!

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Postby sorvad » Sun Jul 01, 2007 3:07 pm

Bet all games were tested and levels set for optimum use with the datacorder. Back in the day though I only ever had a normal cassette deck and all was fine, don't remember having to fiddle too much (a little maybe but once I'd done it once it was OK I think).

Perhaps I'm miss-remembering though, I do now seem to remember the odd block failing and having to rewind to try again. But perhaps just the odd game was problematic.

I now have a datacorder (both types) and they do work great, I also can't recommend these high enough for just doing the job and look great with your retro set up :)

Definitely if this game works from disk then must have been possible with some tweaking to get it to work from tape. I guess it was originally designed on a disk system and then put to tape without much care.

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Postby retro_junkie » Sun Jul 01, 2007 10:53 pm

sorvad wrote:Bet all games were tested and levels set for optimum use with the datacorder...


Well you'd think but it certainly wouldn't seem that way. Certain tapes like all the original Acornsoft ones seem to work on any player with a very wide range of volume/tone but some - especially some of the budget things - were much quieter and much more tempremental. My copy of The Superior Collection even has different levels on each side of the tapes! And that Weenies tape wouldn't get anywhere near loading on any other machine. I guess all that Datacorder has is some kind of auto volume thing based on the leader tone but it's very effective.

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Postby Jeremy Grayson » Wed Jul 18, 2007 1:48 pm

Some of the budget ones were nightmares! Even on brand new equipment I only enjoyed a loading success rate of about 50% with Blue Ribbon tapes.

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