NMS 8250 with HDD (using b.e.r.t. scsi) - Problem loading software in disk basic 2.03

Por Smikkelbeer

Supporter (7)

Imagen del Smikkelbeer

10-02-2019, 23:42

Hi

Last weekend I build in a scsci quantum prodrive (540mb) into the Philips NMS 8250.
The HDD is connected to the system's internal power supply (with a adapted powercable) and the scsi cable (50 pin flat cable) goes to the external b.e.r.t. scsi connector in slot one.
This all works very well, the system boots in MSX Dos 2.32 and in MSX Dos everything runs fine.
Then I start copying software (mostly games) to the second partition (drive b: ).
When I load a game in basic from drive b: the systems hangs or resets. I tried different games.
But when I load the same games from floppy without the b.e.r.t. scsi interface connected to the machine, the game runs fine.
Could this have to do something with MSX Basic 2.03?
Does anyone have a workaround to run software (games) from HDD?

This is how it looks like:

Thanks for your help and comments!
Cheers
Sander - The Netherlands

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Por NYYRIKKI

Enlighted (5359)

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11-02-2019, 00:39

Smikkelbeer wrote:

Could this have to do something with MSX Basic 2.03?
Does anyone have a workaround to run software (games) from HDD?

Yes, most of the time MSX-DOS2 (Disk BASIC 2.0) is the problem... or more specifically the way they use the memory mapper. There is a utility called "MAP2" that tries to go around the memory problem. How ever if you have only the original 128KB of memory this is not going to get you far... DOS2 uses part of the memory for the disk system and in case you don't have enough RAM it is very likely that the game that you try to load will use same memory area and crash the computer. If you run out of free RAM there is no much that tools can do. How ever this all depends of what games you try to load...

Usually today people tend to use ROM and disk images to load what they want to play... The generic loaders have improved during the years, so they have some tricks on their sleeves to overcome some or the problems that you would encounter without them. They can't do miracles, but many times they work lot better than for example old disks cracks of cartridge games.

Sofa-tools are very popular today and people have reported that they work pretty nicely on different kind of configurations. If you want to check out, they can be found here: https://www.louthrax.net/mgr/

Por Smikkelbeer

Supporter (7)

Imagen del Smikkelbeer

11-02-2019, 16:54

Hi NYYRIKKI,

Thank you for your comment.
So if I would expand the memory to 256kb or 512kb I should be fine with running games from hdd?
Or do I still need to run the "MAP2" tool first?

Cheers
Sander

Por NYYRIKKI

Enlighted (5359)

Imagen del NYYRIKKI

11-02-2019, 18:34

Smikkelbeer wrote:

So if I would expand the memory to 256kb or 512kb I should be fine with running games from hdd?
Or do I still need to run the "MAP2" tool first?

The amount of RAM is one thing and handling of it is other, so yes you still need "MAP2"-tool... I anyway must warn you that this tool is practical hack around the problem and does not comply with MSX official standards. This means that it may not work on all hardware configurations... Will this help you depends of how you expand the memory, but it makes huge difference to compatibility on systems where it does not crash the computer. Smile Personally I have it on my AUTOEXEC.BAT

Anyway all of these are only overall guidelines as "games" are content category and not any kind of uniform group or technical definition. What I have said mainly applies to disk games that use >64KB of RAM memory, so practically European games or cracked MegaROM cartridge games... Smaller games and MSX1 games probably work fine even now without any tricks... some games you may need to run from disk images... some later made games may be designed to run from HDD already during development... and in the end there is always going to be bunch of disk games that will newer run together with DOS2 (that you still need to use your HDD) without pretty complex task of manual modifying the game. (There are some fan made special HDD patches for few of the popular games)

Por Louthrax

Prophet (2076)

Imagen del Louthrax

11-02-2019, 22:38

Hi Smikkelbeer, and welcome back in the MSX community.

About the Sofa tools mentionned by NYYRIKKI:

  • The next release of SofaRun (planned to be released next week-end with some luck), will support launching disk images, browsing zip files (with long file names inside), and launching non-mega ROMs with 128KB of memory. For the megaroms, you'll still need a flash device of some kind.
  • With 256KB of RAM, you can of course do all of the above, plus launching mega ROMs, including SCC sounds if you have an SCC cartridge plugged in your MSX. Some big mega ROMs won't be playable because they will require too frequent disk accesses. With 512KB of RAM, you should be fine.

That being said, having a flash device to play megaROM images is indeed more reliable - SofaROM is patching the games on the fly to simulate a real cartridge using the memory mapper. Most games are working this way, but some require tweaking the settings. You'll also be able to launch games with Game Master 1 & 2 with a flash device (and save your game state on your HD), which is not possible yet with memory mapper only.

Por Manuel

Ascended (15686)

Imagen del Manuel

11-02-2019, 22:42

Yes, perhaps that a flash device would serve you much more than a RAM expansion!

Por Smikkelbeer

Supporter (7)

Imagen del Smikkelbeer

23-02-2019, 22:44

Sofarun indeed works great.
I have now 2MB RAM on the systemboard (thanks to Mr. Hans Oranje) and can now run most games and programms.
Thank you all for your help.

About the flash device, I already ordered a GR8NET cartridge at Age labs which will be build this comming march.

Cheers
Sander