REQUEST: Demos

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Van Bengalack

Champion (417)

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21-08-2021, 13:20

So cool to hear from you Mr Haward/Mayer after all these years! I came across this, very "alive and kicking" community last year, and have "accidentally" been sucked into it all again --after a pause from MSX of 28 years or so Smile (Re-)Finding the love of challenging the limits of the 8-bit Smile (currently making a smooth scrolling platformer for the MSX2 - which is not so hard thanks to the fantastic openmsx emulator and debugger).

I remember learning a lot from you, back in the days. Thumbs up and thanks for that. I also remember you reached out for info for the "portar.doc"-file. In case you didn't know, that file seems to have ended up almost legendary Smile

Who am I again? I used to rip music and make intros and demos under the name of Dozer of SPC and later Northwind, and lived in Sandefjord, Norway.

I think have one or two of your demos/intros converted to the MSX around here somewhere.

Van MR.HAWARD2.0

Supporter (9)

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05-09-2021, 23:18

@Dozer: I found an old ring binder with mails from all the ones I was in contact with these days. I even tried to find one or two. The one I found on FB seem to be as crazy as he was then. Not much had changed.

:::
I got kicked out of the forum (not sure why but probably there is a good reason). But like an autumn cold I'm now back and difficult to get rid of.
Anyway - I managed to get the sv328 running after some work, and my 5yr old son got stuck with Knightmare on it.
I also found a 5 1/4" cp/m disk with some separate intros which seem to ave been compiled for MSX1. I just need to figure out a way to transfer them to the SV738. The SV738 had a broken power supply cable (not standard - I moved out the original to get a memory expander in). I think I had some external 5 1/4" drive to the MSX1 but I cant find it.
If I can get that disk to be read at least I can publish the latest demos. The intro to Avenger (converted from ZX spectrum?) was the last one I think.

Van MR.HAWARD2.0

Supporter (9)

afbeelding van MR.HAWARD2.0

05-09-2021, 23:18

Here's a video of the findings in the dig!
I read somewhere that some people had success with a Gotek drive emulator (USB) to create disk images from SV328. Anyone who knows anything about that?

Van Manuel

Ascended (18237)

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06-09-2021, 00:03

This is an important part of your personal history isn't it? So, don't recycle it!

Anyways, fun intro with the fantastic PSG tune from Venom Strikes Back! Smile And yeah, with any external drive you'll be able to copy stuff from that MSX.

Van MR.HAWARD2.0

Supporter (9)

afbeelding van MR.HAWARD2.0

06-09-2021, 17:21

The demos are compiled for MSX1 as CP/M-80 programs, and stored on a 40 track 5 1/4" disk formatted in CP/M.
But since the SVI738 uses the MS DOS compatible format I'm not sure it can read CP/M-80 formatted disks from the SV328.
Maybe I can hook up one of the 40T drives to a PC and use Cpmtools in Linux.
Another option would be to use a Gotek drive (has a 34-pin drive connector in one end a USB stick interface in the other). I believe the USB stick is to be used in FAT32 format.
I found one discussion here. But the HxC seem to be for SD cards. The Gotek drives seem to be for USB.

Van Manuel

Ascended (18237)

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07-09-2021, 23:55

All I know for sure is that if you connect an external drive to any MSX that can read the disks, you can also copy them to a more regular format. As far as I know with the SVI-707 you should be able to read these disks.

Van NYYRIKKI

Enlighted (5889)

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08-09-2021, 01:29

Manuel wrote:

As far as I know with the SVI-707 you should be able to read these disks.

AFAIK any MSX interface in theory (=with correct drive & driver) should be able to read everything else but (first side) track 0... How ever the track 0 problem will be present also with SVI-707... The good thing with SVI-707 is that there is a ready made tool to transfer the files as long as the built in disk controller is used. I would not be surprised to learn that these tools are available for SVI-738 as well, but at least such have not caught my eyes. Now thinking about it... the SVI-738 CP/M disks may have support for SVI-328 CP/M disks using correct drive letter as I remember seeing some disk format vs drive letter table on some service manual or such.

What comes to SVI-328 CP/M disks, I've read from the internet that they follow IBM System 34 format except for the track 0, but I've not tried to verify it.

Gotek might be a good approach also, but I don't think it is any kind of "out of the box" solution either. Unfortunately I don't know any fact based details or how well it works, but I've seen a picture of SVI-328 with Gotek drive. I THINK you will need to buy anyway separately HxC firmware for it to make it work. Some jump wires might be required as well as some programming cables. I'm very sure that the default firmware is totally useless and I have relatively strong gut feeling that the free FlashFloppy firmware is not much better in this particular case either. Before purchasing anything I would start by downloading the firmware manuals and digging trough them to get better idea of the problem as whole.

Van sdsnatcher73

Prophet (2317)

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08-09-2021, 07:03

Well my guess would be that if you connect the 5.25” drive to the 738 (internal connector I mean) it might just boot the disks as well. Then with some 2 connector 34pin cable and a 3.5” FDD set to DS1 (or 3.5” DS0 and 5.25” DS1 whichever is more convenient) you could try and boot MSX-DOS and copy the .COM files to the 3.5” floppy. These files should run under MSX-DOS just as well.

Van MR.HAWARD2.0

Supporter (9)

afbeelding van MR.HAWARD2.0

09-09-2021, 19:51

Yes, but if I get a Gotek drive connected to the SV328 I could (maybe?) do a full disk copy from one of the 5 1/4" drives (including the annoying track 0) to the Gotek. And if Gotek save the disk image as a readable file on the USB disk I'd get a full image (including track 0).
The reason I want this is that I made a loader for loading binaries (games), using Digital Research floppy functions (from CP/M) on the SV328. When booting, you get a menu, press a number and it will load the game. The speed of DR disk routines are about 5 times faster than Microsoft's.
And the Gotek would also make it faster to transfer all SV328 disks to a PC readable format.

Wait a minute. The SV738 uses the same FDC chip as SV328 right? So it should also be able to handle track 0 (128 bytes/sector)?

Van sdsnatcher73

Prophet (2317)

afbeelding van sdsnatcher73

09-09-2021, 21:36

Gotek on MSX usually runs with FlashFloppy, I don’t know if FlashFloppy can handle variation in sector size between tracks (it might and if not it certainly could, it’s software ultimately) but the problem will be copying the disk over the disk image, how would you copy such a floppy to another one (using real hardware)? Would it be formatting a disk with that hardware and copying the files?

There are really just a lot of unknowns. The controller in these are also used in many other MSX hardware (or derived versions). The controller are of course just that and the BDOS (disk BIOS) feeds commands into the controller. Depending on if the sectors/track for track 0 is hard coded in SVI’s BDOS or if it is detectable by what is on the disk, the actual format may even be usable on other MSX hardware (and it could then even be possible to replicate it on 3.5” disks)

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