[Coco] Emulator Set-ups
keeper63 at cox.net
Thu Jun 18 18:08:49 EDT 2009
> Message: 2
> Date: Thu, 18 Jun 2009 08:48:31 -0400
> From: Frank Swygert <farna at att.net>
> Subject: Re: [Coco] Emulator Set-ups
> To: coco at maltedmedia.com
> Message-ID: <4A3A379F.2040100 at att.net>
> Content-Type: text/plain; charset=ISO-8859-1; format=flowed
> Heck, in your case I'd can Windows altogether (since MESS won't run) and just use the DOS emulator. Actually, looking back at your message, looks like that might be what you're doing. Do a little research and write a simple batch file menu, including things such as formatting and copying a DECB disk from DOS, and auto boot into the menu. Shouldn't be too hard to have it run the menu upon exiting a called DOS program, but I can't remember if that's easy to do from a batch file or not.
> Most of the lines on the CoCo I/O connector are on a parallel port, or the port can be programmed to mimic them. A few probably can't, but I wonder if there's enough that a program pak would run if an adapter were made. I don't know how programmable the parallel port is anymore! I would think it could be done easy enough, even if a little circuitry was needed in the adapter... something like one of the print wait lines could be used as a CART line, for example. Yeah. I'[m a bit fuzzy on the Cnetronics parallel port right now, but it should have enough lines and be programmable enough to emulate a CoCo cartridge port. The real problem is an emulator would have to be modified to support such an adaptation. I definitely don't have the programming skills to do that! Heck, I don't have the hardware skills to actually make the adaptation, just enough knowledge to look and say "hey, this should be doable..."
My emulator box runs DOS only, and I mainly use the DOS emulators (JV's
CoCo 3 emulator being my favorite) when I have the box in use. It was
mainly built as a way for me to easily transfer real CoCo disks to DSK
format, and then migrate them to my Linux box for archiving. I found a
copy of the last DOS MESS just to see how it compared on the hardware to
the other DOS emulators, and I found that it would run, but it was very
slow, due to my hardware (I need to upgrade it at some point, I guess).
What I was meaning about "booting into the emulator" wasn't the idea of
running a batch file, but instead changing the DOS boot sector to point
the bootstrap process at the emulator EXE (instead of DOS). This should
kick off the emulator instantly instead of dropping to DOS - but it
likely wouldn't fully work, because the emulator is expecting DOS to be
underneath it for file access (I was hoping my Pink Shirt book would
answer this, but it seems like it only gives hints).
It would be easily possible to do what you're saying with a batch
program; setting up a little utility menu wouldn't be too hard, for me
it would probably be easiest to write it in QuickBasic, PowerBasic, or
maybe even C (DJGPP) - at one time I could've wrote it in 80x86
assembler, but I've forgotten most of that!
I don't run Windows here at home - I am currently running Ubuntu (just
upgraded to 9.04), but before that I had a Mandrake 10.1 box with a more
recent version of MESS and the CoCo 3 ROMs that worked perfectly. I
haven't yet set up MESS on my Ubuntu box, I suppose one day I will. I
could also likely run the DOS emulators just fine in DOSemu as well (I
have it set up, but I don't have anything really installed under it - I
was attempting some Basic Stamp development).
As far as "CoCo Interface Hardware" is concerned, it would probably be
best to simply skip using a parallel port (since they are becoming waay
more difficult to find) and just go with USB. For me, since I use Linux,
I would be looking at it as modifications to MESS (if they don't already
exist) to somehow route the emulated cartridge lines to a USB device,
and then a custom FTDI chipset-based device (likely using their parallel
port interface chipset) to connect to a box with the lines that you
could plug cartridges into. You could probably ignore certain lines that
maybe game cartridges didn't use, unless you want absolute full
emulation (it would kinda a hoot to see an RS-232 pak or Disk Controller
pak running on a modern machine). The device, designed right, could fit
into a 5.25 bay easily.
I probably have enough hardware and software skills to attempt such a
project, but other projects have my attention currently...
-- Andrew L. Ayers, Glendale, Arizona
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