Just a few msx2 questions.

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By stevejock1

Supporter (2)

stevejock1's picture

11-02-2020, 11:58

So I've wanted an msx for a while now, and I'm finally ready to get one. I just was hoping a few people could answer some questions that I have.

I have a lot of 1.4mb floppies from back into the day. It seems these will work in the 720 drive, but can anyone confirm?

Are cart games able to be put on a disk and played for translation purposes? I'm not asking for links or anything, just information like for SD Snatcher.

I see that there is still a community making programs and games for the system. I'm interested in learning basic, what would be the best resource?

Thank you for your time!

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By rderooy

Hero (664)

rderooy's picture

11-02-2020, 15:48

Normally 1.44MB disks can be used in a 720kB drive. But you need to format them as 720kB, preferably in the 720kB drive. If you intend to also use the disks in a 1.44MB drive you should really put some non-translucent tape or something over the HD hole to prevent the drive from mis-detecting the media.

Dumped ROM games can certainly be played from disk, but there are a few pitfalls. The main one is the memory required. If the game was originally a MegaROM (1Mbit = 128Kbyte), you typically need to have MORE than 128kB of memory available to run them from disk. Other pitfalls are that some ROM games may require S-RAM or a special sound chip (e.g. Konami SCC) which the original cartridge would have had. But most games that were converted back in the day to run from Disk or Tape will have been patched for such things.

As to learning BASIC, I would suggest a book. Go to https://www.generation-msx.nl/publication/result?q= and select your preferred language and look for a book that is available online. Also here on the wiki, pretty much all standard BASIC commands are documented for reference.

By rderooy

Hero (664)

rderooy's picture

11-02-2020, 15:55

And I forgot to add. "Snatcher" and "SD Snatcher" are not cart or ROM games. They are disk games. The cartridge that was included with them has the SCC-I (aka SCC+) sound chip and some RAM. I'm pretty sure there are hacked versions of the games around that should allow it to run without the cartridge present, although you obviously will not hear the sounds from the SCC-I sound chip.

By Parn

Champion (474)

Parn's picture

11-02-2020, 16:10

stevejock1 wrote:

I have a lot of 1.4mb floppies from back into the day. It seems these will work in the 720 drive, but can anyone confirm?

This seems to be a controversial point. They may work but they won't be as reliable. Your mileage may vary, of course. I've heard different capacity 3 1/2" disks work have different magnetising properties, but I don't know if it's true. You'll probably should get a SD card reader anyway, these have much better performance and they can work with disk images if you need to emulate disks.

stevejock1 wrote:

Are cart games able to be put on a disk and played for translation purposes? I'm not asking for links or anything, just information like for SD Snatcher.

Some of the aforementioned SD card readers also include cartridge emulation, so they work with ROM files, just like in an emulator. MegaFlashROM SCC+SD and Carnivore 2 both do this.

stevejock1 wrote:

I see that there is still a community making programs and games for the system. I'm interested in learning basic, what would be the best resource?

This is actually a very interesting question. I bet most people here started learning by reading their MSX manuals, but this isn't what I'd call ideal nowadays. I'm sorry for the curt answer, but I need to leave now. MSX-BASIC is not difficult, but it may seem completely alien to people who aren't used to the way MSX and other 80s computers were programmed. Do you have any programming experience in modern programming languages?

By sd_snatcher

Prophet (3189)

sd_snatcher's picture

11-02-2020, 16:40

If you already know some flavour of BASIC, then this MSX-BASIC Version 2.0 reference chart will be very helpful.

If you don't know any BASIC variant, then you could take some of the generic BASIC tutorials available on Youtube, and use the MSX2 reference chart later.

By rderooy

Hero (664)

rderooy's picture

11-02-2020, 20:51

Parn wrote:
stevejock1 wrote:

I have a lot of 1.4mb floppies from back into the day. It seems these will work in the 720 drive, but can anyone confirm?

This seems to be a controversial point. They may work but they won't be as reliable. Your mileage may vary, of course. I've heard different capacity 3 1/2" disks work have different magnetising properties, but I don't know if it's true. You'll probably should get a SD card reader anyway, these have much better performance and they can work with disk images if you need to emulate disks.

You may have some incompatibility if you format or write 720kB (2DD) media on a 1.44MB (HD) capable drive, and read on a 720kB drive because of the track width. That is why I said to format on the 720kB drive.

Obviously replacing the original drive with a Gotek or using something like a MegaFlashROM or Carnivore 2 are good alternatives and can make it much easier to work with these old machines.

By Grauw

Ascended (8699)

Grauw's picture

11-02-2020, 20:57

Back in the 90s I used 1.44M disks on MSX as well and they were perfectly usable. They are probably less suited for long term storage, but disks aren’t very well suited for that in general anyway.

By rderooy

Hero (664)

rderooy's picture

11-02-2020, 21:43

Grauw wrote:

Back in the 90s I used 1.44M disks on MSX as well and they were perfectly usable. They are probably less suited for long term storage, but disks aren’t very well suited for that in general anyway.

I totally agree. Never had problems using HD disks back then. In fact some club disks even got distributed on HD disks when DD disks were getting difficult or expensive to get your hands on.

By NYYRIKKI

Enlighted (5452)

NYYRIKKI's picture

11-02-2020, 22:29

stevejock1 wrote:

So I've wanted an msx for a while now, and I'm finally ready to get one. I just was hoping a few people could answer some questions that I have.

I have a lot of 1.4mb floppies from back into the day. It seems these will work in the 720 drive, but can anyone confirm?

We have heard everything between "Works perfectly" to "Doesn't work at all"... Usually something in between like "Works fine for few weeks/months before data starts to corrupt"

Quote:

Are cart games able to be put on a disk and played for translation purposes? I'm not asking for links or anything, just information like for SD Snatcher.

Small games can be copied usually without problems. Bigger games need hacking or special memory hardware to run from (after loading from disk) SD Snatcher is actually a disk game although it came with sound chip on cartridge.

Quote:

I see that there is still a community making programs and games for the system. I'm interested in learning basic, what would be the best resource?

There are lots of books written about the subject and I'm sure there are few even online although I can't really point them with my finger.

If you already have the basic knowledge of how BASIC works in general and you just need list of different commands, their parameter usage and some examples then it is not a terrible idea to start from this Wiki page.

By Parn

Champion (474)

Parn's picture

12-02-2020, 14:52

NYYRIKKI wrote:

We have heard everything between "Works perfectly" to "Doesn't work at all"... Usually something in between like "Works fine for few weeks/months before data starts to corrupt"

That was my personal experience. But it may also be related to degraded media quality at the time. There was a race to the bottom in terms of price and quality, and it didn't helped that many people around here started to sell seemingly counterfeit media. Good media started to become expensive and hard to find.

By rderooy

Hero (664)

rderooy's picture

12-02-2020, 15:14

Parn wrote:
NYYRIKKI wrote:

We have heard everything between "Works perfectly" to "Doesn't work at all"... Usually something in between like "Works fine for few weeks/months before data starts to corrupt"

That was my personal experience. But it may also be related to degraded media quality at the time. There was a race to the bottom in terms of price and quality, and it didn't helped that many people around here started to sell seemingly counterfeit media. Good media started to become expensive and hard to find.

Perhaps. I personally only bought brand media, never the white brand or store brand variety. I remember having loads of TDK disks. Especially when TDK came out with the plastic shutters they became my favourite brand as the metal shutters tended to bend out and get stuck in the drive over time.

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