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 Post subject: DreamLoad MMC64
PostPosted: Sun Jan 15, 2006 2:47 am 
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Ever read the MMC64 docs (http://siliconsonic.de/t/MMC64_english.pdf) till the end? It says 'DreamLoad for MMC is comming', and guess what? A few days ago I finally started working on it. :)

Today I finished the driver and a small test which loads several files protected by a checksum. If you have a spare minute please follow the 4 steps described in the 'Testing' section of this message and report your results. Thanks!



* General :

DreamLoad is an irq speeder system supporting some drives (1541 and compatibles, 1570, 1571, 1581, cmd fd and cmd hd). It runs on pal/ntsc and has successfully been used in a number of demos and games. The new MMC64 driver allows a release to run on one of the above listed drives and the MMC64 with no modification of the code.



* Technical :

The MMC64 driver should fit in dreamload's general concept of full transparency. The program using the speeder should not need to know the drive type. All drive specific stuff is capsuled in the dreamload driver routines.

The interface to the user routines is based on the standard CBM filesystem with 16 char filenames. The fat16 filesystem used on MultiMedia/SuperDeformed Cards does not fit in there very well. Together with the limitation of the drivercode to 512 bytes a custom archive format was necessary. It is called 'dfi' and is similar to existing disk image formats like 'd64'. Conversion tools will be available somewhere soon.

With the dfi archive containing all the files of a release a starter tool is needed. It is a MMC64 plugin for '*.dfi' files. Example: A game consists of the files 'game+4/drm', 'game docs', 'level1' and 'level2'. In the normal release all files are on a 1541 disk or whatever. A user could run 'game+4/drm', which loads 'level1' and 'level2' when needed. Alternatively he could run 'game docs' which is just a note.
The MMC64 version is one single dfi archive holding all the files. The user starts the MMC64 filebrowser and hits return on the dfi archive. Now the dfi plugin is started. It displays the archive contents and prompts the user for a file to be started. When a file is run, all important information about the dfi archive are passed to the DreamLoad mmc64 driver. Now the MMC64 driver in the 'game+4/drm' binary can access the 'level1' and 'level2' files. The filebrowser can also start 'game docs', though it just shows a note and does not use DreamLoad.



* Status :

+ dload part is working, 'just' some size optimisations needed for the final release
+ the imagetool is in proof-of-concept state, definitely needs more work. only conversions from native filesystem to dfi are possible now.
+ the dfi format is still missing 2 important features and thus subject to change
+ mmc64 dfi plugin already working, but the browser is still missing. it just loads the first directory entry.



* Testing :

Yay, it's working for me! But does that mean anything?
Please help testing this dreamload release. It's easy, just follow these 4 steps:

1) Download the test:
<http://people.freenet.de/LittleDreamLand/dreamload_v27rc2_lithiumflower.zip>

2) Extract the downloaded archive to a memory card. The file 'dfiplgin.bin' must go to the 'system64' directory, 'test.dfi' can go anywhere, e.g. the root directory.

3) Direct your MMC64 filebrowser to the 'test.dfi' file and hit return. After some initial messages this sequence should appear:

LOADING TEST0...
TIME: 00:00.00'08
CRC OK!
TESTING SHUTUP/WAKEUP
LOADING TEST1...
...

The screen will 'go wild' for about 3 secs after each 'TESTING SHUTUP/WAKEUP'. DreamLoad 2.6 users already know this from the 'stresstest' demos. It is part of the test, don't worry.

4) Wait some time. The test is an endless loop, it will run forever until an error occurs, so there is no definite success message. 5 Minutes are enough for a quick report. The test has completed several cycles in this time. Just mail the approximate time the test has run without error, or if an error occured copy the last messages on the screen to the mail.

That's it already, thanks for your help!



* Future :

Tomorrow is the last day of my holidays. I'll try to finish some sort of browser before everyday's madness starts again. Next on the list are a proper image tool, the dfi browser, more 'impressive' demos and tests, and finally a sourcecode release.


Almost forgot, before some smartass jumps to conclusions: No, I don't get any money for this. I'm wasting my youth for this crap! If you feel pity for me, buy me a beer next time you see me. ;)


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 Post subject: Bah!
PostPosted: Sun Jan 15, 2006 3:05 am 
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Hmm, just upgraded from 0.96 to 1.00. (yes, a bit late)
Seems my plugins are not working with the new bios, even the stupid koala viewer is dead. :(
Fixing...


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 Post subject: Back to normal
PostPosted: Sun Jan 15, 2006 3:44 am 
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Just tried the picture plugins from Jens page (http://siliconsonic.de/t/bin/MMC64_PicturePlugins12.zip) and some others. The screen just flickers once and that's it. Nothing else, no reaction. I'm back to 0.96 for now. (If anyone wants to follow me: <http://people.freenet.de/LittleDreamLand/MMC64_V096.zip>, <http://people.freenet.de/LittleDreamLand/MMC64_Recovery_096.zip>)

But I can't really belive that plugins skrew up at 1.00. There must be something wrong with my system. Can anyone use my plugins, the picture plugins or wolf's text plugin with 1.00?


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sun Jan 15, 2006 4:26 am 
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It is working while I am typing with no errors so far.

I am using BIOS V1. It works with the RAW plugin and D64writer plugin. I have not tested it with any others yet.


So on the Dreamload. If I get what you are saying is that we will be able to play multiload load games? Instead of making a D64 disk image it will be a dfi disk image.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sun Jan 15, 2006 4:52 am 
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65coupei6 wrote:
It is working while I am typing with no errors so far..


So you can start the dfi plugin I posted? That's strange! I have tried several Bios versions meanwhile. All above 0.96 fails. I tried 0.97, 0.98 and 1.00. All I could use were the internal 'plugins' for 'prg' and 'd64'. All other plugins did not start. :-(

65coupei6 wrote:
So on the Dreamload. If I get what you are saying is that we will be able to play multiload load games? Instead of making a D64 disk image it will be a dfi disk image

Yes, exactly that's it! There will be a tool somewhere soon to convert .d64 images to .dfi archives. If the game uses DreamLoad>=2.7 (the version with MMC64 driver), it will run on MMC64. The example is just a converted test program. No code was modified, and it runs on MMC. :)


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sun Jan 15, 2006 5:12 am 
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65coupei6 wrote:
I am using BIOS V1. It works with the RAW plugin and D64writer plugin. I have not tested it with any others yet.


I downloaded 1.00 from Jens Page and flashed it. Then I tried the latest RAW plugin. It doesn't start. Downgraded to 0.96 with the 'recovery.prg' and it works like a charm. :( What's wrong with my system?!?


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sun Jan 15, 2006 8:06 am 
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Everything seems to work fine with v1 for me. Even your dfi plugin.

What's the version on your MMC64 board? I have a "red" board Rev A Version 1.1

Have you tried v0 of the BIOS? You can get it at my webpage here http://c64.mustangindex.com/dl.html


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sun Jan 15, 2006 1:54 pm 
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These are fantastic news! Go go Doc! :D


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sun Jan 15, 2006 2:06 pm 
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I think BIOS v0.97 (or whatever version was released in late March / early April) broke some plugins, I don't know if Oliver ever updated them.


Dload ran 10+ hours on my setup, C64c + MMC64 (red board, rev B, BIOS 1.01) + Retro Reply + Silversurfer without problems.


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 Post subject: small update
PostPosted: Sun Jan 15, 2006 11:25 pm 
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Thanks for the testing, guys! Wow, 10 hours can *really* be called endurance test, also for the user ;) . I'm happy that it works!

I have put together another demo, I hope this time it's a bit more fun. It's the beginning of Elvira2. I only included about the first disk (of 5 total iirc) for several reasons: it's the german version, saving does not work yet, and I didn't have the nerve to remove the code protection tonight.

The dfi plugin was also updated. Changes are:
* more debug output
* Retro Replay is mapped out before gamestart
* the plugin now requests the position of the parameters, both demos will work with all 5 values.

Mirror: http://people.freenet.de/LittleDreamLand/elvira2demo_mmc.zip


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sun Jan 15, 2006 11:55 pm 
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65coupei6 wrote:
Have you tried v0 of the BIOS? You can get it at my webpage here http://c64.mustangindex.com/dl.html


I just tried it and, wow, that's very impressive for a v0! It's only a pity that plugins are not on the ToDo list.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon Jan 16, 2006 12:36 am 
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he, bunch of funny mistakes on that page.... ikari warriors 4 player? *shrug*

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon Jan 16, 2006 11:28 pm 
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groepaz wrote:
he, bunch of funny mistakes on that page.... ikari warriors 4 player? *shrug*


Yup, that's right. For the 4-player adaptor. I think it only supports 3 players.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Jan 17, 2006 12:45 am 
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3 players yes. its not ikari warriors though, its ik+ :)

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Jan 17, 2006 6:49 am 
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You are correct. I will fix it. :oops:


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