Using Carnivore 2, Nextor and SofaRun

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By Manuel

Ascended (18247)

Manuel's picture

24-12-2020, 16:53

So, I finally got myself a CF card (ATP, 4GB) and it seems to work with the Sunrise 0.1.7 driver.

I ran it to several issues, please share your thoughts and experiences. And yes, this is the very first time I'm using C2, Nextor and SR on a real MSX Smile My goal is to setup the thing so I can easily run software from the CF card, which contains about everything I want to run.

Carnivore 2:
1. Sometimes the CF card is not detected. But most of the time it is. Weird. Could this be the ATP card? EDIT: according to Alexey it may be caused by the "boot twice" setting that wasn't enabled, that can prevent this when the FPGA isn't fully started yet.
2. Is the bootmenu useful when using Sofarun? I understand it is used to flash a lot of different games in the flash which can then be selected from that menu to quickly run them. Is that right?
3. So, I always have to press some key to skip the menu and go to Sofarun?
4. Detection of a slave device seems to take a while, but there aren't any slave devices supported on C2. Is there something I can do about this?

Nextor:
1. I created 2 partitions on the CF card. One of 30MB and the rest (so almost 4GB). The 2nd partition wouldn't get mapped automatically, and after struggling a bit, I finally found a way to map it: mapdrv B: 2 1 1-1 I must say this is quite tricky and confusing to get working... The example from the Nextor manual didn't work for me ("Bad disk driver"?) From what I understood putting a NEXTOR.DAT on the drive should get it mapped automatically next time. But it doesn't work for me... what am I missing? As a workaround I put the command in my autoexec.bat on the first partition

SofaRun:
1. How can I run the MSX1-Mania disks? It keeps complaining that I should keep CTRL pressed... but that's a bit tricky.
2. I opened a "BettterMSX2" zip file of 190MB and SofaRun aborted with "Out of TPA Memory". The BetterMSX1 zip of 150MB worked fine. Is that to be expected? Is there a workaround?
3. When browsing into my tapes folder, which contains about 1200 files, the MSX/SR hangs up. Bug?
4. SofaRun doesn't seem to support gzipped files (with gz extension). Can this be added, Louthrax? I have many of these.
5. How to run multiple disk games like Aleste 2?
6. What can you recommend about the C2 RAM mode vs C2 Flash mode? Should I flash these reservation ROMs?
7. Lots of disk images don't work when running them. E.g. Paradream (goes to basic), Shrines of Enigma (crashes after intro), The Swiss Demo (goes to basic). So far the only one I tried that worked was the Core Dump demo 1. What am I doing wrong?
8. How do I turn off the R800 just before running the disk game, to prevent too fast OPLL access, messing up sound? (E.g. in Puyo Puyo or Psycho World.) Of course decompressing is still very nice with R800 Smile

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By Manuel

Ascended (18247)

Manuel's picture

25-12-2020, 14:30

What are your experiences?

By Pencioner

Scribe (1480)

Pencioner's picture

25-12-2020, 14:52

I never used it with SofaRun so there i can't give you any advice. For the rest:

Nextor: what if you try to create a big partition first and then 30Mb one? Then Nextor will boot to first big partition and you will have a fallback to boot in DOS1 mode to smaller one if needed. When Nextor boots in DOS1 mode it will skip all big partitions and boot to first suitable small one

C2:
1.
2. SofaRun afaik reserves only half of flash capacity for its running needs so you can still use bootmenu to flash some ROMs you use more often. Also there you can create configurations like SCC+ only so you can use it for Snatcher games etc. Also some configurations like the port used for PSG can be set via bootmenu so you can f.e. have second PSG configured, sound volumes configuraion, or run the double ROM to use cartridge combinations (Gamemaster + ROM or Konami combinations) - only available with bootmenu
3. In bootmenu you can configure autorun to use default entry with IDE+RAM+etc so you will need to press a key not to skip it but to enter it when you need
4. I never experienced long times for slave detection - here it goes fast. I think to skip secondary detection the Sunrise IDE BIOS should be patched, C2 uses it as is. So in heory it is possible but requires patching of driver. I dunno why it goes slow in your case though, maybe if it was common problem someone would patch it already

By Louthrax

Prophet (2406)

Louthrax's picture

25-12-2020, 17:13

Hi Manuel !

Here are some first quick answers:

The control key is not checked when launching disk images with SofaRun, but there's an option for that in the settings ("Simulate CTRL pressed"). You can define settings for each game by selecting "Settings" instead of "Start". Each setting can be applied by default or per-game.

About the "Out of TPA Memory", you can try to split your ZIP files into smaller pieces with less entries in each ZIP file. I never encountered the problem so far, while still having lots of files into the same ZIPs (around 1000). I'm personnally splitting my ZIPs into MSX 1 / MSX 2 / ROMs / Disks.

I'm curious about the hang up on your tapes folder. It should not hang up, but at least give an error message. Is there a way you could send that to me ?

GZipped files are indeed not supported by SofaRun. Not sure I'll add support for that, batch converting .gz to .zip is not too tricky and ZIP is definitively the most popular file format.

About C2RAM vs C2ROM: SofaRun favors the use of non-flashable devices (so C2RAM) when possible, in order to not wear too much flashable devices (which have limited flash cycles count). Both should work the same way though, but the C2RAM has less capacity IIRC.

You can also choose the CPU mode for each game in SofaRun's settings (that can also be set by default for all games).

About the disk images not running: SofaRun uses the standard memory mapper to store its "fake" disk driver. That allows it to run on all MSX machines, but disk images using the memory mapper might interfere with that. In consequence, most of the Japanese disk games (who are never using the memory mapper) are working fine, but the European demos, often using it, are not so well supported. I'm still thinking of an evolution of this, using SofaROM to flash the fake disk driver in any supported device (not the memory mapper), for better compatibility.

Would have been nice to talk about everything here in Nijmegen this year, but I'm a bit pessimistic for now Sad

By Manuel

Ascended (18247)

Manuel's picture

25-12-2020, 17:32

Thanks a lot for all the hints! I'll try them out.

I'd like to keep my stuff on my PC and CF card in sync... can you PLEASE add support for .gz?? The compression should already be supported by Grauw's original zip-routines, as far as I know. I have gz files everywhere...

I'll send you some stuff so you can try to reproduce the issues.

I guess the turboR software I tried (as dsk files) also uses the memory mapper. That explains. What about using the NEXTOR disk emulation for that?

By Louthrax

Prophet (2406)

Louthrax's picture

25-12-2020, 18:48

Yep, send me your files, I'll check that!

There should be a way to use the Nextor disk emulation by associating the .DSK files to a command that will flash and launch them (you can modify the SR.INI file for that), instead of using SofaRunIt tool.

About the .gz support, that might be tricky: SofaRun uses the extension of the file to launch it (defined in the SR.INI file). The .gz files have the same extension if I remember correctly (there are no file names inside the .gz file, it's pure compressed data ? Correct me if I'm wrong).

By Manuel

Ascended (18247)

Manuel's picture

26-12-2020, 13:14

gz files also contain the original filename inside. And they indeed only contain one file.

You should have received the files via WeTransfer.

By the way, is it possible to map a folder to a drive in Nextor?

By Pencioner

Scribe (1480)

Pencioner's picture

26-12-2020, 13:46

No, it is unfortunately not possible. But I think this would be too complicated for Z80 to map a folder with files into emulated device with virtual physical sectors btw (even as read-only drive)

By Manuel

Ascended (18247)

Manuel's picture

01-01-2021, 23:54

Did anyone get Aleste 2 running properly with sofarunit? I get a reboot when switching to disk 2.

By Louthrax

Prophet (2406)

Louthrax's picture

02-01-2021, 14:51

Hi Manuel,

Have a look at the sequence 212940DCC9D0 in the disk images and replace them with 212940000000.

This code is making a direct disk BIOS call to the "All disks stop" routine. It was working fine with previous versions of Nextor, but a recent change broke that.

By Manuel

Ascended (18247)

Manuel's picture

02-01-2021, 19:39

Thanks, this works fine! Smile

Is this issue already reported at Nestor?

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