Finishing PLATOTerm.

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By tschak909

Rookie (26)

tschak909's picture

07-11-2018, 05:32

I have gone as far as I can with PLATOTerm development on MSX, without actual hardware.

Due to the fact that I can't get either RS232 or even ObsoNet working properly on BlueMSX, I am respectfully asking if someone could loan me some hardware to finish the port of PLATOTerm to the MSX? I need to debug the UNAPI and RS232 routines on a running setup, so that I am not doing this blindly.

Please? I really want to bring this amazing system to this community.

-Thom

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By Manuel

Ascended (14738)

Manuel's picture

07-11-2018, 11:55

You should be able to develop RS232 routines on openMSX, even without connecting them to a physical RS-232C port. You can simply feed it data and see what is sent through. That should give you a lot of info to debug it already up until the RS-232C port on the MSX.

Which RS-232C interfaces are you targeting?

By tschak909

Rookie (26)

tschak909's picture

08-11-2018, 06:38

Unfortunately, because of the complex nature of the terminal, I need to verify proper working with a host.

And you're asking me a question I can't answer. I am NOT well versed in the MSX platform, and am doing over two dozen ports in parallel (half of them completed), I am intending to support UNAPI for ethernet devices, but also the FOSSIL standard that seems to be prevalent, here.

The terminal just needs the necessary IO routines plopped into:
https://github.com/tschak909/platotermzx/blob/master/src/io.c

If someone else can do this, great.. If not, I really need actual hardware, since the emulation for RS232 is incomplete.

-Thom

-Thom

By Manuel

Ascended (14738)

Manuel's picture

08-11-2018, 07:38

The emulation is complete, but it is not connected to a physical port on the host pc....

By tschak909

Rookie (26)

tschak909's picture

08-11-2018, 18:33

I really need that. Can it please be completed?

-Thom

By Manuel

Ascended (14738)

Manuel's picture

08-11-2018, 22:05

That is not likely to happen, sorry. I still don't see why you really really really need it either...
As you may know, there are several MSX RS-232C interfaces. And there is also some standard and BIOS for it. All that programming could already be done without having a backend to a physical RS-232C port.

By tschak909

Rookie (26)

tschak909's picture

09-11-2018, 07:45

You don't understand why, but I am asking that I do need it, and quite frankly your attitude about it _REALLY_ SUCKS_

I will iterate again, there are aspects of debugging the terminal that can't adequately be done simply by playing back looped back data in an emulator, so,

I either need to borrow real hardware, or to have support in emulation. and I do not appreciate being told passive-aggressively that my feature is not important. It is important, to me. And if you can help provide it, great. It means I can get this done, that much faster.

Please keep in mind, I am doing ports to over TWO DOZEN systems, in parallel, a little grace and courtesy would be appreciated.

-Thom

By DamnedAngel

Expert (85)

DamnedAngel's picture

09-11-2018, 10:58

tschak909,
I know you are frustrated for not being able to emulate obsonet properly on BlueMSX. I am also. But please, In the name of the MRC community, I kindly ask you not to get that harsh.

The MRC community helps a lot all its members, and Manuel has a great history doing so.

I am overly convinced that his positions were all in the direction of being of the most helpfulness possible, with alternatives that might have helped you, and not against your efforts or your development. We are a very small community and we all need each and every development that targets MSX. Every piece of HW and SW benefits us all. I am sure Manuel knows and agrees with this, being himself a developer.

Now, let's put that aside and try to get to the solution to your problem (which I take is, in the end, also ours).

I cannot help you with obsonet emulation, at least in this very moment. I also failed at this. I followed you thread on that topic and I know that although some other user got it working, you, as I, couldn't.

I happen, however, to have a Tecnobytes MSX Ethernet Cartridge (Obsonet2 compatible). I don't think you are in Brazil, but if you were, I would be happy to lend it to you for some time. Sending HW abroad, however, always cost a ton of tax money (particulary in Brazil), and that wouldn't be practical.

What I can (and am willing to) do is doing tests for you with my setups if that helps. Please let me know if that works for you in any way.

I also will invest some more effort into trying to get obsonet emulation running, and will let you know if I find out something useful.

Lastly, from what I read, PLATO seems to be a great platform/service, and I am definitely willing to try it. Thank you for your efforts into bringing it to the MSX realms.

best,

By tschak909

Rookie (26)

tschak909's picture

09-11-2018, 18:10

I was able to get ObsoNet support working by explicitly inserting the ObsoNet BIOS (bios.rom) into the MSX2 memory map under Tools->Machine Configuration, as ROM type "ObsoNet" in slot 2-3. I assume it was showing a double banner due to a mirrored mapping of the BIOS, and confusing the UNAPI RAM helper.

With this, I was able to load the UNAPI helper, and load INL, and properly use the ObsoNet.

Now I am porting konamiman's assembler helper routines from SDCC into Z88DK, so that I can use them to call UNAPI functions for I/O.

Here is a video of it working:

Sorry for snapping. It's been somewhat frustrating just trying to get a workable enough workflow to be able to finish the work. (Multiply this by two dozen different systems, I just shipped 8 of them as 1.0 a couple of weeks ago, Atari, Commodore 64, Commodore 128, ZX Spectrum, IBM PC, Apple II, a few others.. and you can see the insanity I have subjected myself to. Any help is appreciated.)

By TomH

Master (243)

TomH's picture

09-11-2018, 18:33

Just to be clear, what tschak909 needs is any of:

  • an emulator that supports Obsonet (and works);
  • an emulator that can use a real, physical serial port as the emulated MSX's serial port;
  • a real MSX with a serial port; or
  • a real MSX with an Obsonet cartridge?

Follow-up questions for tschak909: where is tschak909 located, and what level of machine is required? E.g. does the nascent port support the MSX 1?

Otherwise, as a serial dunce: it looks like the hardest part of emulating a serial port with a real serial port is that the bytes would likely appear to the MSX to arrive very irregularly, in a way disconnected from real transmission; I guess you'd have a separate thread blocking on serial input and then replay that into the machine as and when it arrived, subject to other timing commitments. That being the case, is that sort-of full duplex acceptable for most serial peripherals? I guess we're mostly talking about modems here, so maybe the more specific question can be asked.

EDIT: oh well, completely usurped. So I'll chuck this out: Sam Coupés are cool. You should consider a port. It's a slightly-faster Spectrum with better graphics modes.

By tschak909

Rookie (26)

tschak909's picture

09-11-2018, 18:44

@TomH: Yup, a Sam Coupe port is already brought up, it too needs I/O.

I was able to get obsonet working, so I will finish the UNAPI support once I port konamiman's SDCC shims (the assembler in z88dk is slightly different to SDCC's)

for RS232 support, I will see what I can do to work with the existing loopback in OpenMSX.

-Thom

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