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Old 25 July 2018, 08:31   #1
PoulpSquad
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On-the-fly config changes and bad sectors in SPS (ipf) images

Greetings @ all,

I have questions about setting up a virtual Amiga 1200 for playing WHDLoad games.

I'm trying to run a selection of WHDLoad slaves. Mixed OCS/ECS/AGA games, all PAL.

I know AGA games don't like "Fastest as possible", so I added these tool types for every AGA game's icons:

ExecuteStartup=uae-configuration cachesize 0 cpu_speed real cycle_exact true

and

ExecuteCleanup=uae-configuration cycle_exact false cpu_speed max cachezise 16384

But I'm having trouble with (some) OCS/ECS games. Gobliins 2, for example, has garbled sound during the intro when running at an emulated 24 Mhz.

I'm wanting to insert these lines for all games that aren't AGA:

ExecuteStartup=uae-configuration cachesize 0 cpu_speed real cpu_multiplier 2 cycle_exact true

and

ExecuteCleanup=uae-configuration cycle_exact false cpu_speed max cachesize 16384

I checked this out and now games like Gobliins 2 or Hard Drivin' run great.

Are there other parameters I can change to improve compatibility with finicky games? Is it possible to switch from AGA to ECS or even OCS
on the fly without crashing the emulation?

I tried changing CPU type on the fly but this resulted in a crash (doh!).


Also, I am using the latest No-Intro SPS floppy images with CAPSImg.dll 5.1.0.1 (x64). I noticed a couple of images had bad sectors in them (Chaos Engine 2, Shadow of the Beast 3 or Heimdall just to name a few I encountered so far).

It seems strange to me, as I expected SPS dumps to be perfect. Are these really deffective dumps, or were those bad sectors some sort of copy protection?

I'm running WinUAE 4.0.1 x64 on Windows 10 Enterprise 2016 LTSB, on a i7-7700K @ 4.2 GHz with 32 GB of RAM.

As usual your time reading this is much appreciated!

Regards
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Old 25 July 2018, 09:33   #2
ross
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PoulpSquad View Post
I tried changing CPU type on the fly but this resulted in a crash (doh!).
You need to be more specific, but if you change from 020+ to 000 then is normal. A pure 68000 CPU cannot execute various enhanced instructions.

Quote:
I noticed a couple of images had bad sectors in them (Chaos Engine 2, Shadow of the Beast 3 or Heimdall just to name a few I encountered so far).
Also normal. Much games have only the first track as regular DOS, the others can be encoded with some form of protection or raw MFM.
Even the first track may turn out to be regular but in fact it is not ...
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Old 25 July 2018, 10:26   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ross View Post
You need to be more specific, but if you change from 020+ to 000 then is normal. A pure 68000 CPU cannot execute various enhanced instructions.
You are right, sorry about that.

I reasoned a 68020 @ 7 MHz is faster than a 68000 @ 7 MHz, so I tried to switch CPUs on-the-fly, with the obvious result of crashing the emulation.

That wasn't a surprise, What I'm curious about is the custom chipset. Could it be possible to switch on-the-fly from AGA to OCS or ECS and back to AGA without crashing the whole thing?

Are there other things that can be changed through uae-configuration to emulate an Amiga 500/2000 as closely as possible on-the-fly?

Quote:
Originally Posted by ross View Post
Also normal. Much games have only the first track as regular DOS, the others can be encoded with some form of protection or raw MFM.
Even the first track may turn out to be regular but in fact it is not ...
I was wondering because many WHDLoad installers use DIC or RawDIC, so they do images of the diskettes (or in this case, an image of an image through the emulated floppy disk drive ).

I was wondering if it is something normal and expected to find cases where (Raw)DIC would report bad sectors.
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Old 25 July 2018, 11:57   #4
ross
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PoulpSquad View Post
I reasoned a 68020 @ 7 MHz is faster than a 68000 @ 7 MHz, so I tried to switch CPUs on-the-fly, with the obvious result of crashing the emulation.
Why don't you simply speed up 68000 setup?

Quote:
Could it be possible to switch on-the-fly from AGA to OCS or ECS and back to AGA without crashing the whole thing?
Yes you can.
There can be some limit cases where you can crash due to some bad code/timing, but I think rare enough,
or when you use system routine and WB.
But why should you change the chipset on the fly?
If you are not a developer/tester/patcher you do not need it (and even if you are, you need it rarely).

Quote:
Are there other things that can be changed through uae-configuration to emulate an Amiga 500/2000 as closely as possible on-the-fly?
Yes, use the right Quickstart configuration . The setup is for max compatibility of the selected machine.
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Old 25 July 2018, 12:50   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ross View Post
Why don't you simply speed up 68000 setup?
I'm trying to emulate an Amiga 1200. I have a couple of games that are AGA, and my Workbench setup is a slightly modified Amiga Forever 7.2. It requires emulation of a 68020 (non-EC). RTG also requires a 68020, although I don't really have any games that require that (except maybe Gloom).

Quote:
Originally Posted by ross View Post
Yes you can.
There can be some limit cases where you can crash due to some bad code/timing, but I think rare enough,
or when you use system routine and WB.
But why should you change the chipset on the fly?
Because some games either run too fast or with problems. Nothing major, disabling JiT and throttling back the CPU to x2 and enabling cycle exact fixes all these issues I've experienced so far. I was merely wondering if there were any benefits to change the chipset too.

Am I correct to assume AGA/ECS/OCS are 100% compatible?

Quote:
Originally Posted by ross View Post
Yes, use the right Quickstart configuration . The setup is for max compatibility of the selected machine.
Yes, I am aware of that. I was implying improving compatibility without using different configurations. I should have explained myself better.

So far messing with uae-configuration gets me pretty far, and WHDLoad takes care of the rest. Of the 50 or so games I tried, exactly 0 refuse to work so far! I wish I had it so easy on PC

Last edited by PoulpSquad; 25 July 2018 at 12:59.
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Old 25 July 2018, 14:01   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PoulpSquad View Post
I was wondering if it is something normal and expected to find cases where (Raw)DIC would report bad sectors.

This can happen if there are several versions of a game which use different disk formats and the imager doesn't support all of these different versions.
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Old 25 July 2018, 14:05   #7
Toni Wilen
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Chipset can be changed (=emulator supports it), but if program uses some ECS or AGA only feature and you switch to OCS, weird things can happen.
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Old 25 July 2018, 14:21   #8
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Quote:
I was wondering because many WHDLoad installers use DIC or RawDIC, so they do images of the diskettes (or in this case, an image of an image through the emulated floppy disk drive ).

I was wondering if it is something normal and expected to find cases where (Raw)DIC would report bad sectors.
Commercial softwares mostly came copy protected. Copy protected means = abnormal sectors, abnormal tracks.

So it's perfectly normal.
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Old 25 July 2018, 15:31   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Toni Wilen
Chipset can be changed (=emulator supports it), but if program uses some ECS or AGA only feature and you switch to OCS, weird things can happen.
So to be sure I should only use either ECS or AGA, depending on the program.

I don't suppose this would work while Workbench is running (the idea is to run a script called by ExecuteStartup, so Workbench would still be active by the time I'd switch chipsets).

Edit:

It works great as long as Workbench is set to 16 colors or less! both uae-configuration chipset_compatible a500 and uae-configuration chipset ecs_agnus work fine from CLI. That's awesome!

Quote:
Originally Posted by StingRay
This can happen if there are several versions of a game which use different disk formats and the imager doesn't support all of these different versions.
So if I'd use the correct version of images with each installer I wouldn't get any bad sectors? I guess DIC would just skip them?

Quote:
Originally Posted by dlfrsilver
Commercial softwares mostly came copy protected. Copy protected means = abnormal sectors, abnormal tracks.

So it's perfectly normal.
That's a relief; at first I only had one game like this, but they kept piling up.

I'm glad I don't have to discard them!

Thank you very much for your help guys. I'll go try and break things in creative ways with this new insight.

Last edited by PoulpSquad; 25 July 2018 at 15:49.
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Old 25 July 2018, 15:51   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PoulpSquad View Post
So if I'd use the correct version of images with each installer I wouldn't get any bad sectors?

Correct.


Quote:
I guess DIC would just skip them?
DIC itself doesn't skip any tracks per default but if you use the installer for each game then any tracks which are not needed will be skipped.
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Old 25 July 2018, 15:59   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by StingRay View Post
Correct.



DIC itself doesn't skip any tracks per default but if you use the installer for each game then any tracks which are not needed will be skipped.
Thank you for the precision
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Old 28 July 2018, 20:44   #12
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Is it possible to change screen mode from a script or CLI?

I want to go from 640x512 256 colors to 16 colors. Any ideas on how to do that?
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Old 28 July 2018, 21:01   #13
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Maybe http://eab.abime.net/showthread.php?t=44232
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Old 28 July 2018, 21:32   #14
PoulpSquad
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Indeed, that did the trick, thanks a lot!
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