Complete MSX newbie trying to run KSSPlay

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By XoRRoX

Supporter (8)

XoRRoX's picture

23-02-2020, 13:17

Hello all Smile

I'm really new to using MSX. I'm coming from the ZX Spectrum and back in the day, I did see some MSXs at gatherings but never had the chance to use any.

So now with emulation, I thought it a good opportunity as any to start exploring.

My main drive at the moment is exploring its PSG music because I'm looking into exchanging PSG tunes between other machines with the same or similar sound chips (ZX Spectrum, MSX, Amstrad CPC, Atari ST by (if needed frequency) converting it to the mym format.)

As far as I found out, most MSX music is distributed in KSS files. I can play them in Windows fine with the many players around, but I'd like to also play them "natively" with KSSPlay.com on an emulated MSX.

The requirements of KSSPlay are:
- Fast MSX
- DOS2
- at least 32Kb free memory at primary mapper.
- at least 48Kb free memory at primary mapper to play songs with 16Kb mapper support (more memory = less swapping from disk)

I've tried setting up DOS2 in OpenMSX but with my limited knowledge and plethora of machines and options, I didn't succeed yet and thus seek some insights in doing so.

As hardware, I configured the following:
- Philips VG 8235 (just selected the one with the highest model number)

Extensions:
- To meet the DOS2 requirement, I selected the ASCII MSX-DOS2 extension.
- Disk drive; I selected the Philips NMS 1200 2DD Micro Floppydisk Drive.
- To meet the memory requirements, is there an additional extension I need to select?

- I cannot seem to get it to hold the extensions I loaded when exiting OpenMSX. I typed "save_settings" in the console but nothing regarding extensions shows up in settings.xml and they're gone when started again. How can I get it to save them?

In Disk-Manager, I created a "2 sides, 80 tracks, 9 sectors/track (720 KBytes)"" with "MSX-DOS 2.2 boot sector" disk with:
- MSXDOS2.SYS, COMMAND2.COM
- KSSPLAY.COM
- A few kss files.

When I insert the disk in OpenMSX, Reset it and type FILES, it shows its contents.
When I type kssplay or kssplay.com I get a Syntax Error.
Also when I type command2.com to test, I also get a Syntax Error.

I'm lost Smile2
Thanks for any insights, hints and pointers you can share Smile

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By Parn

Champion (492)

Parn's picture

23-02-2020, 15:39

Hi, @XoRRoX. Welcome and I hope you have fun! Smile

Since the VG-8235 has a built-in disk drive, you don't need to select an external one. Also, for quick testing, you don't need to create a disk image. You can just have the files in a folder and use the folder-as-disk option. You can easily do this from the OpenMSX internal menu if you prefer, since it would be somewhat easier than using the console.

If everything works correctly, you should boot in DOS environment, not in BASIC, so you should use DIR instead of FILES to show its contents. And then you can just type KSSPLAY (no need to type .COM) to run your program. Maybe you already know this, but it wasn't clear to me from your post, so I thought it would do no harm in leaving this info.

By XoRRoX

Supporter (8)

XoRRoX's picture

23-02-2020, 15:58

Thanks for your reply.
Built-in disk drive: got you. Logical actually as I remember the menu showing 2 drives after adding the other drive extension and when I start OpenMSX there's already a drive A.

I also tried to add the folder as a drive, but how then it cannot find DOS2 which, as far as I understood, consists of a ROM part (the DOS2 extension I load?) and a disk part, the COMMAND2.COM and MSXDOS2.SYS?

It still keeps booting in BASIC.

By tfh

Prophet (2079)

tfh's picture

23-02-2020, 16:04

Just for fun try this link:
* https://webmsx.org/?P=HARDDISKC
* Add your .dsk file as DISKA with MSXDOS2 and KSS files ((Drag & drop into the emulator window))
* Reboot the machine (The red power button and select reset)

By Parn

Champion (492)

Parn's picture

23-02-2020, 16:03

Sorry about double-posting, but you should be aware of some ways OpenMSX may behave unexpectedly if you think from the emulated MSX point of view. For example, in MSX when you have only one physical drive, it's normal to be presented with two simulated drives. So you can select both drive A: and B: in such a case. The MSX asks you to change the disk accordingly. This way you can, for example, copy a file from one disk to another even when having only one drive available. It may seem a bit confusing but it was very useful back in the day.

However, in OpenMSX you have both diska and diskb, and these refer only to physical drives. So if you insert a disk image in "diskb" (or select a folder as a disk), it doesn't mean it will be initially visible. And if you have more than one emulated disk interface, it can become very confusing pretty fast, because in my testing (VG-8235 with NMS-1200) the MSX drive A: (and its simulated counterpart B: ) corresponded to diskb, while the MSX drive C: (and its simulated counterpart D: ) corresponded to diska. I'm not sure why this happens.

By tfh

Prophet (2079)

tfh's picture

23-02-2020, 16:08

BTW... If the above doesn't work, try the following:
* https://webmsx.org/?P=HARDDISK
* Select the harddisk icon (next to the power button) and select New Boot Disk
* Select 16MB
* Select the harddisk icon and select "import files to disk"
* Select the .KSS files and the player

You can save the diskimage by clicking on the harddisk icon for future use :)

By Parn

Champion (492)

Parn's picture

23-02-2020, 16:10

XoRRoX wrote:

I also tried to add the folder as a drive, but how then it cannot find DOS2 which, as far as I understood, consists of a ROM part (the DOS2 extension I load?) and a disk part, the COMMAND2.COM and MSXDOS2.SYS?

It still keeps booting in BASIC.

I tried this exact configuration:

  • Machine: Philips VG-8235
  • Extensions: Only msxdos2 selected, no need to explicitly set MSXDOS22.ROM
  • Disk A: A folder with MSXDOS2.SYS, COMMAND2.COM plus VGMPLAY.COM and a couple VGM files.

It just works. Maybe you could try a different MSXDOS2.SYS and COMMAND2.COM combination? The ones I tried were MSXDOS2.SYS version 2.32 and COMMAND2.COM version 2.44.

EDIT: Also, try @tfh's suggestions, they may work out easier for you.

By XoRRoX

Supporter (8)

XoRRoX's picture

23-02-2020, 17:52

Ok, seems that somehow I got some steps further: I'm booting into DOS2 (yay!) and added kssplay and a kss file to the disk.

How can I make this machine with extensions come up again after having closed down OpenMSX?

But now when executing kssplay, it says "This program needs at least 32k free mapper RAM".
I've added the RAM (64 kB) extension, but to no avail.

By XoRRoX

Supporter (8)

XoRRoX's picture

23-02-2020, 18:07

By the way: the reason I'm keen on using OpenMSX is that I'd like to try out its PSG logging feature, which webMSX doesn't have.

By XoRRoX

Supporter (8)

XoRRoX's picture

23-02-2020, 19:30

Yay! I finally got it running! Big smile

FYI
I chose an MSX turboR machine, the Panasonic FS-A1GT + the 4Mb Extension. I also chose the ASCII MSX-DOS2 extension and as a floppy disk, connected a folder which has the COMMAND2.COM and MSXDOS2.SYS in it.

Thanks for the support and pondering together with me Smile

By XoRRoX

Supporter (8)

XoRRoX's picture

23-02-2020, 20:45

Now, if only I could also save the extensions - any ideas? Smile2

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