Again SVI-3x8

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By eimaster

Expert (74)

eimaster's picture

06-03-2017, 12:38

I know that openMSX emulator is not openSVI and it is only dedicated to emulate MSX machines only but I was happy that it could partialy emulate SVI-3x8 machines.
I said partially 'cos SVI-3x8 disks and cassette tapes cannot be loaded yet. Keeping in mind that most SVI-3x8 progrms and games was originally released on cassette tapes. Beside... what is the use of emulating a system that users cannot do anything with it except watching it's booting logo and BASIC screen without being able to save or load?!
So I hope openMSX team be more generous to people like me and complete SVI-3x8 emulation to make openMSX fully emulate SVI-3x8 system.
Please do it as a favour for SVI-3x8 because without SVI-3x8 system MSX standard would've never been existed.
Thank you my friends. I really appreciate all what you have done and still doing for MSX and it's lovers. Keep on going.

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By NYYRIKKI

Enlighted (4473)

NYYRIKKI's picture

07-03-2017, 15:49

eimaster wrote:

I know that openMSX emulator is not openSVI and it is only dedicated to emulate MSX machines only but I was happy that it could partialy emulate SVI-3x8 machines.
I said partially 'cos SVI-3x8 disks and cassette tapes cannot be loaded yet. Keeping in mind that most SVI-3x8 progrms and games was originally released on cassette tapes. Beside... what is the use of emulating a system that users cannot do anything with it except watching it's booting logo and BASIC screen without being able to save or load?!

You got it somehow horribly wrong... I see here completely working emulator with cassette and disk support! When you boot up the machine in openMSX the computer boots exactly like SVI would boot when it has fully equipped SuperExpander attached. I bet your problem is that you just don't have any SVI cassettes or diskettes that you could run with the emulator, but I don't really consider that as a fault of the emulator it self.

What you mean is probably that this emulator does not support the simple .CAS and .DSK files that were the file formats used by BlueMSX... but those are bad formats anyway...

It is important to notice at this point that despite the name those SVI .DSK and .CAS files are not same as MSX .DSK and .CAS files although they have many similarities. I think it is quite unfortunate that for these formats BlueMSX did not come with original extension names to separate these different formats from MSX-files. Currently these filenames are reserved to MSX use only in openMSX.

I hope that we don't end up to yet another emulator format war, so I explain some details about these formats... Feel free to skip if not interesting.

As example I tell about technical differences of .CAS files: Those SVI .CAS files do not share the same internal format as MSX .CAS files because they were invented by different people. AFAIK SVI .CAS files don't store headers at all, but correct me if I'm wrong. From actual data point of view MSX and SVI formats also differ both from general file header point of view as also from content format point of view... Ie. in binary files MSX uses 7-byte header while SVI uses 6-byte header. The SVI and MSX community also have "mental differences" in handling the headers: MSX users share common understanding that the header is natural part of the file while SVI users seem to think it as part of storage system format... meaning that it is separate parameter block that needs to be added before storing the actual file. I believe there is also differences in how to convert data to sound (meaning start bits, data bits and stop bits), but I may be wrong. (Both of the machines use FSK signaling and they can do it in 1200bps.)

In SVI there was many different disk storage's used including 3.5" disks, 5.25" disks and MFM HDD's, so disks come with all kind of 40 track, 80 track, single side and double side combinations... + the HDD formats. The format used by BlueMSX unfortunately doesn't include any information about the disk hardware or layout, so there is big possibility to corrupt .DSK data by writing to incompatible disk image. In MSX this is not such a big problem because "sector 0" includes lot of information about the disk structure... This is not the case with SVI... This is why I think .DMK used by openMSX is much better way of storing the disks... The actual dual FM/MFM format structure is another reason. In this format users can freely store the data in anyway they like and use other system's CP/M disks like in original machine as they are not limited to official SV-BASIC and SV CP/M disks like in BlueMSX.

openMSX does not really care what disk format you put in drive as long as the software (aka driver) in SVI memory supports that format.

So... Until this point everything sounds wonderful, excellent and nearly perfect... Now comes the harsh reality...

The emulator does not come with the system disks, so when you start up the emulator, you are just as stuck with it as you would be if you would power up real machine after you have lost the original disks that came with the machine... The user using real MSX would now say: "No problem, I go to internet, download the disk images, write them to disks and boot up." but SVI user can't do that... It is not possible because PC computers can't read, write or format FM tracks that are needed to store SVI boot information... Unfortunately this part is also painfully well emulated by not having tools to create SVI disks or put files in to them....

So now SVI user should think "Hmm... I can't write disks, so how I can transfer files to my SVI? - I use cassette!"... and that is completely right! Unfortunately openMSX does not have any special tools for taking shortcuts, so you need to do it like you would to do it with real machine...

Fortunately for transferring files to real SVI there are tools like SviCasMan or SviCas2Wav that can be used to convert SVI files to WAV-files that can be loaded by recording to tape and loading on SVI cassette drive... Here openMSX helps a bit... you don't need to record them to tape. Smile You can just insert the generated WAV-files directly openMSX cassette drive. -> Problem solved.

Putting the disk in to use is really just as awkward as you may already guess... First you need to put SV-DISK basic to cassette and load it, then you need to put physical format tool to the cassette and load it (that BIN-version), then you need to put the logical format tool to the cassette (that BASIC-program) and run it... and then you need to make a program that writes the SV-BASIC to the boot tracks... If all goes well, you can now "happily" boot up SV-BASIC from disk. (Please note that the version of the tools need to be for the disk format you try to create)

Ok, yes I admit... I have not bothered to try this, but it should work ok... Yet you still have only empty disk that lacks of all the other software that you might like to have, but life was hard in the 80's as people used different storage medias. Generally transferring data from system to another required patience, skills & spells of 3rd level wizard... openMSX offers here not only accurate emulation of the machine, but also authentic frustrating experience! Tongue

I bet the experience will improve greatly if someone bothers some day to convert the system disks to .DMK format, but for now the situation is what it is...

By Manuel

Ascended (12917)

Manuel's picture

07-03-2017, 21:26

I did create a DMK with DiskBasic, somehow. It has a format with 18 sectors in track 0 and is single sided 40 tracks. I used it to create that video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lz_w_dZFPSc

You could copy the file infinitely and format them... but how to get stuff on it, that's a good question.... :S

By eimaster

Expert (74)

eimaster's picture

09-03-2017, 12:54

Ok. May I know the steps you did to create a DMK with DiskBasic?! And where I can download your DMK file?!

SVI-3x8 seems like the only computer in the whole universe that its disks and cassette tapes cannot be read by any existing hardware!

If I could have my old SVI cassette recorder unit along with the tapes and my SVI floppy disk drive unit along with the disks, I swear that I would find any way possible to copy the contents of those tapes and disks byte by byte even if I have to do it by hand, pen and papers Sad

By NYYRIKKI

Enlighted (4473)

NYYRIKKI's picture

09-03-2017, 18:56

eimaster wrote:

SVI-3x8 seems like the only computer in the whole universe that its disks and cassette tapes cannot be read by any existing hardware!(

With cassettes there is no any problem... The same tools that can be used to transfer files from PC to SVI can be used also to transfer files from SVI to PC. Process is exactly same as with MSX, but tools are different. If you use openMSX instead of BlueMSX you don't even need to use these tools! Just use simply any standard audio recording program (like Audacity or similar) and a standard tape deck! -> Problem solved, no conversion needed.

With disks there exists also hardware for PC that can read & write disks... ie. KryoFlux... How ever the formats they tend to save to are not same as the formats used by SVI emulators around, so it still does not automatically solve your problem. These special devices have also special device prices...

By Manuel

Ascended (12917)

Manuel's picture

09-03-2017, 20:41

I really forgot how I created that DMK.... sorry. Perhaps I used a modified version of dsk2dmk, but IIRC that was only for the SVI CP/M disk for MSX. So, I forgot.

By Manuel

Ascended (12917)

Manuel's picture

09-03-2017, 23:05

OK, I found back some IRC logs:

mei 10 2016 21:20:47 < Quibus >   wouterv: I found a demo in dsk format
mei 10 2016 21:20:55 < Quibus >   <a href="http://www.pouet.net/prod.php?which=32835" title="http://www.pouet.net/prod.php?which=32835">http://www.pouet.net/prod.php?which=32835</a>
mei 10 2016 21:22:02 < Quibus >   no idea what the format is... it's 168kB
mei 10 2016 21:23:34 < Quibus >   172032 bytes - can you match that to a particular format? :-)
mei 10 2016 21:23:54 < Quibus >   ah, the disk contains Disk basic too, so perhaps it needs that same conversion, wouterv 
mei 10 2016 21:27:11 < wouterv >  you mean the dsk2dmk conversion program?
mei 10 2016 21:27:38 < wouterv >  it's in Contrib/dmk.   As i said i compiled it twice with tweaked parameters
mei 10 2016 21:28:37 < Quibus >   wouterv: can you give me the details on how you converted that dsk?
mei 10 2016 21:29:17 < Quibus >   it has the same size as the disk you converted for NYYRIKKI
mei 10 2016 21:29:47 < wouterv >  ok, but it's complicated.   Might be easier to adjust dsk2dmk to do the conversion for you
mei 10 2016 21:30:56 < wouterv >  for the first track i used  18 sector per track 128 bytes per sector.   For all later tracks   17 sectors 256 bytes, i also had to decrease gap3 to 34 (iirc)
mei 10 2016 21:33:11 < Quibus >   wouterv: perhaps make a special version: svidsk2dmk
mei 10 2016 21:33:19 < wouterv >  ah, and i also configured a single sided disk
mei 10 2016 21:33:51 < wouterv >  we could do that if all (or at least the majority) of the svi disks have this format
mei 10 2016 21:34:16 < Quibus >   I have no idea :) I was looking for software, and the only thing I found so far was that 2nd 168kB disk image

Is that 168kB disk format typical? If yes, I can make the conversion tool again for this format, so DSK files can be converted to DMK files that can be used in openMSX with the SVI disk drive.

By mars2000you

Enlighted (5018)

mars2000you's picture

10-03-2017, 00:52

There are 2 SVI disk formats:

- 168kB (single sided)
- 338kB (double sided)

By eimaster

Expert (74)

eimaster's picture

10-03-2017, 23:16

NYYRIKKI wrote:

You got it somehow horribly wrong... I see here completely working emulator with cassette and disk support!

I do not see it that way! Maybe because you guys are expert enough so you say that but not me.
From my point of view:
* openMSX is an excellent MSX emulator because it successfully reads-in any disk or cas file I insert.
* openMSX is not fully SVI-3x8 emulator because it does not even understand any SVI cas file I insert (I didn't try inserting any SVI disk beside SVI-3x8 starts without any Disk-BASIC support just like running any MSX machine without attaching any disk drive to it!

NYYRIKKI wrote:

I bet your problem is that you just don't have any SVI cassettes or diskettes that you could run with the emulator, but I don't really consider that as a fault of the emulator it self.

* I have downloaded TOSEC - DAT Pack - Complete (712) (TOSEC-v2006-06-12).zip from https://www.tosecdev.org/downloads/category/2-2006-06-12?download=50:tosec-dat-pack-complete-712-tosec-v2006-06-12 but openMSX did not understand any of the cas files in it!

* I have also downloaded Spectravideo_SVI-318_SVI-328_TOSEC_2012_04_23.zip from
https://ia601700.us.archive.org/8/items/Spectravideo_SVI-318_SVI-328_TOSEC_2012_04_23/Spectravideo_SVI-318_SVI-328_TOSEC_2012_04_23.zip
but again openMSX did not understand any of the cas files in it!

* So if those 2 TOSEC files do not really contain SVI-3x8 cassettes then please tell me where can I download SVI-3x8 cassettes.

NYYRIKKI wrote:

When you boot up the machine in openMSX the computer boots exactly like SVI would boot when it has fully equipped SuperExpander attached.

* If that's true then I should see something like this:
SV extended BASIC version 1.1
Copyright (C) by Microsoft corp.
Disk version 1.0 by Microsoft corp.
Ok

instead of:
SV extended BASIC version 1.1
Copyright (C) by Microsoft corp.
Ok

By eimaster

Expert (74)

eimaster's picture

10-03-2017, 23:49

Manuel wrote:

... that can be used in openMSX with the SVI disk drive.

How is that possible?!
The emulated SVI-3x8 starts without any disk attached! So it is impossible to insert any disk in the first place.

There is no SVI-3x8 Floppy disk controller extension and no SVI-3x8 Disk Controller ROM image available!

Maybe I'm missing some ROMs concerning SVI-3x8 emulation in openMSX?!

By NYYRIKKI

Enlighted (4473)

NYYRIKKI's picture

11-03-2017, 00:06

eimaster wrote:

* openMSX is not fully SVI-3x8 emulator because it does not even understand any SVI cas file I insert

It seems that you did not understand me, so I try to use less words:

.CAS and .DSK file extensions are reserved for MSX use only in openMSX. Don't try to use them. Please use SVICASMAN or similar or record the games directly from your tapes.

Quote:

* If that's true then I should see something like this:
SV extended BASIC version 1.1
Copyright (C) by Microsoft corp.
Disk version 1.0 by Microsoft corp.
Ok

No, SVI is not an MSX... This happens ONLY if you have disk WITH disk Basic inserted to drive WHILE powering on the computer.

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