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Old 24 July 2018, 22:19   #1
Overmann
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Games won't run, but Workbench does

I have a strange issue and after a couple of days of troubleshooting I am still no closer to a solution. I hope someone here might have some suggestions.

My setup:

A1200 2b motherboard in a tower (3.1 kick)
Zorro IV busboard
GVP Impact A2000-HC+8 Series II with 8mb onboard (rom 4.15)
8gb SCSI HDD (PFS3)
CDrom (not set up right now)

I have no problem setting up the HDD with two partitions (1.5gb + 4gb), and installing WB 3.1 and betterWB (I've also sucessfully installed 3.9, but I've since rolled back). Everything is working fine within WB. Everything runs fine and all the utilities are working like they should, but as soon as I start a game the system freezes. Any game that I've installed has frozen. This is not WHDload, by the way. Games run from floppy run fine on the machine. The motherbord has been recapped recently. I am waiting for a Blizzard 1260 and want things set up, but this issue is new to me so things have taken longer then expected.

I just realized that this might be a software-issue, but I suspect it isn't. My floppies should be good and all the installations went without hickups.

Any suggestion is greatly appreciated!
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Old 25 July 2018, 00:05   #2
StingRay
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Shot in the dark, is your VBR moved to fast ram? If so, try to move it back to $0 (can be done with tools such as TUDE) and see if it changes anything.
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Old 25 July 2018, 00:20   #3
Overmann
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No, I haven't moved the VBR. Well, I don't know what a VBR is, but If it requires a concious action to move then I have not.
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Old 25 July 2018, 00:23   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Overmann View Post
Games run from floppy run fine on the machine.

I just realized that this might be a software-issue, but I suspect it isn't.
Nothing wrong with the hardware as games work from floppy - then you boot workbench and they don't so there something happening in your startup sequence which is doing something the games don't like. Is setpatch running? have you patched the scsi.device to support disks >4gb? Are you using Classic WB? if so you could try disabling FBlit and see if that helps etc.
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Old 25 July 2018, 00:41   #5
Overmann
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Quote:
Originally Posted by -Acid- View Post
Nothing wrong with the hardware as games work from floppy - then you boot workbench and they don't so there something happening in your startup sequence which is doing something the games don't like. Is setpatch running? have you patched the scsi.device to support disks >4gb? Are you using Classic WB? if so you could try disabling FBlit and see if that helps etc.
This is actually a completely clean setup. I've done nothing but prepare the disks and installed WB 3.1 (and one game presently. Colonization. It's my goto first installation). I did use the same SCSI-controller but a different HDD in my 2000 last week and everything worked perfectly.

EDIT: I just ran Colonization from floppy AFTER WB had loaded. I didn't try that before, but it also worked perfectly?
Could this be a mask/Maxtransfer-issue? I've never understood how to figure those things out and the series-II manual is very vague. My mask is 0xfffffffe and maxtransfer is 0x7ffffffe.

Quote:
Originally Posted by -Acid- View Post
Is setpatch running?
Yes: C:Setpatch QUIET is the first line in the startup-sequence.

Last edited by Overmann; 25 July 2018 at 00:54.
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Old 25 July 2018, 00:50   #6
-Acid-
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Install a game onto the first partition and see if it works from there.

Max transfer should be 0x1fe00
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Old 25 July 2018, 00:55   #7
Overmann
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Quote:
Originally Posted by -Acid- View Post
Install a game onto the first partition and see if it works from there.

Max transfer should be 0x1fe00
I've also tried installing onto DH0:. I'll try setting maxtransfer to 1fe00 now.

EDIT:
Setting MAXTRANSFER to 0x1FE00 didn't help.
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Old 25 July 2018, 01:22   #8
Ian
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I cannot really help you, but out of interest, what game(s) are you installing? Are they cracks or originals?

Could be they have known issues.

Can you try the WHDLoad install for the game (if it exists) and see if that works?
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Old 25 July 2018, 01:30   #9
Overmann
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ian View Post
I cannot really help you, but out of interest, what game(s) are you installing? Are they cracks or originals?

Could be they have known issues.

Can you try the WHDLoad install for the game (if it exists) and see if that works?
I'm trying Colonization, Civilization, A-train and Knights of the sky today. Just what was sitting around colonization on the shelf. They are all originals. I'e had no problems with these before.

I should clarify. In my first post i say that the system freezes, but that's not strictly true. I can move the mouse around but clicking on things causes nothing. After I first click on a games icon the to WB bar says "trying to load ***" or something to that effect, and then stuff stops happening.

I will try a WHDload-install.
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Old 25 July 2018, 10:09   #10
Toni Wilen
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Max transfer: GVP SCSI does not need max transfer changes.

It must have something to do with busboard, for example GVP DMA incompatibility? Does games work if you run the game 100% from RAM disk?

btw, this combination must be quite slow, 16bit "fast" RAM but 32-bit wide CPU..
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Old 25 July 2018, 14:22   #11
Overmann
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I've had a chance to test some more and games run fine using WHDload.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Toni Wilen View Post
Max transfer: GVP SCSI does not need max transfer changes.

It must have something to do with busboard, for example GVP DMA incompatibility? Does games work if you run the game 100% from RAM disk?

btw, this combination must be quite slow, 16bit "fast" RAM but 32-bit wide CPU..
I have to admit that I don't understand much about how things work and what makes things fast. I have a Blizzard 1260 coming and my plan is to use it and the controller (with no ram on the controller). Will that be a better setup? I also have a Masoboshi Mastercard 702 coming in the mail. I don't know 100% sure if it works, but is that a better combo?

THe last time I had SCSI set up with this busboard it was using a Blizzard SCSI kit, and it worked perfectly. Everything else I've tried running on this busboard (zorro-cards i mean) have worked flawlessly. And this error I'm having now is really quite strange as everything appears to be working until I try loading a game.

BTW: Colonization is running perfectly from RAM-disk now. :/

EDIT:
I am sure I've made some idiotic mistake somewhere, I just can't think where to look for it.
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Old 25 July 2018, 14:44   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Overmann View Post
I've had a chance to test some more and games run fine using WHDload.
This is interesting - it means that something WHDLoad is doing is fixing the issue. Your setup is quite an unusual one (16-bit Zorro-II fast RAM on an A1200, still using the onboard '020) - perhaps there's an issue with caches not working correctly, and WHDLoad eliminates the problem by disabling them?

Quote:
I have to admit that I don't understand much about how things work and what makes things fast.
The Zorro-II bus is relatively slow to transfer across, and given that most things will use fast RAM, if that's the only place where your fast RAM is, it will be slow to run, slow to load, etc. This isn't that big a deal on older Amigas like the A500 and A2000, but the A1200 is capable of running much faster given 32-bit RAM.

Quote:
I have a Blizzard 1260 coming and my plan is to use it and the controller (with no ram on the controller). Will that be a better setup?
Immensely. It will be like night and day to your current setup. The Blizzard's RAM bus is 32-bits wide and runs many times faster than the Zorro-II RAM, making everything so much faster.

Quote:
I also have a Masoboshi Mastercard 702 coming in the mail. I don't know 100% sure if it works, but is that a better combo?
It might work fine, I don't know about the busboard's DMA capability however, so it might not be any faster than the GVP card.

Quote:
THe last time I had SCSI set up with this busboard it was using a Blizzard SCSI kit, and it worked perfectly.
That will have been using the 32-bit RAM of the Blizzard board, and also the DMA and high speed access of the SCSI kit, both avoiding the slow Zorro-II bus.

Quote:
Everything else I've tried running on this busboard (zorro-cards i mean) have worked flawlessly. And this error I'm having now is really quite strange as everything appears to be working until I try loading a game.
Again, it could well be a peculiarity of the setup and how caches are handled, or some similar issue.

Quote:
BTW: Colonization is running perfectly from RAM-disk now. :/
Hmmm... that is strange then, because that will also be running from the Zorro-II RAM. Maybe there's something in the GVP device driver that needs patching to work when the OS is partially suspended by a game, or simply isn't supported by most games, and that WHDLoad cures and the ramdisk device avoids...

Quote:
I am sure I've made some idiotic mistake somewhere, I just can't think where to look for it.
I'm not so sure - it sounds like the kind of setup that's very easy to upset unknowingly, and is unusual enough that very few people would have a lot of experience with it.
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Old 25 July 2018, 14:51   #13
Overmann
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Daedalus View Post
I'm not so sure - it sounds like the kind of setup that's very easy to upset unknowingly, and is unusual enough that very few people would have a lot of experience with it.
Yhank you for the informative response!
Would it help if i tried disabling the ram on the scsi-controller? I have an ACA1221ec that I can try (in it's place for more ram).

EDIT:
And is there a way then to set the MASK so that the controller only DMA's to the faster fast ram? Instead of also using chip-mem (which i believe my current mask does).
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Old 25 July 2018, 15:38   #14
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ACA1221ec is not having anything to do with this setup. It's not booting with any combination of ram-jumpers on the SCSI-controller. I guess Jens wasn't concerned with compatability with old SCSI-controllers. :P
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Old 25 July 2018, 15:40   #15
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Yhank you for the informative response!
Would it help if i tried disabling the ram on the scsi-controller? I have an ACA1221ec that I can try (in it's place for more ram).
It's definitely worth a try. The ACA will help running the system, as otherwise you'll only have chip RAM, and that will cause issues of its own.

Quote:
And is there a way then to set the MASK so that the controller only DMA's to the faster fast ram? Instead of also using chip-mem (which i believe my current mask does).
Hmmm, I'm not sure it's possible, since the chip RAM is "within" the mask you would typically use to limit a driver to Zorro space (0xFFFFFE for 16-bit aligned space), but how it's used will depend on your controller/driver, so I would suggest getting hold of the manual for the card and seeing what it says. I'm not that familiar with them myself (though I do think I have one somewhere...) What's your current mask setting? In theory, if the driver is smart enough, it shouldn't actually need the Mask setting and should automatically use the appropriate RAM first.

Edit:
Quote:
ACA1221ec is not having anything to do with this setup. It's not booting with any combination of ram-jumpers on the SCSI-controller. I guess Jens wasn't concerned with compatability with old SCSI-controllers. :P
Yeah, I guess Zorro-II probably wasn't on the radar for those accelerators initially
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Old 25 July 2018, 15:53   #16
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It's definitely worth a try. The ACA will help running the system, as otherwise you'll only have chip RAM, and that will cause issues of its own.


Hmmm, I'm not sure it's possible, since the chip RAM is "within" the mask you would typically use to limit a driver to Zorro space (0xFFFFFE for 16-bit aligned space), but how it's used will depend on your controller/driver, so I would suggest getting hold of the manual for the card and seeing what it says. I'm not that familiar with them myself (though I do think I have one somewhere...) What's your current mask setting? In theory, if the driver is smart enough, it shouldn't actually need the Mask setting and should automatically use the appropriate RAM first.

Edit:


Yeah, I guess Zorro-II probably wasn't on the radar for those accelerators initially
So, Daedalus, Am I correct in assuming that you think my problem is related to the strangeness of my setup? A cache-issue or something similar stemming from the unusual combination of components? I was hoping to get DMA'd SCSI up and running with my 1200 without having to buy a Blizzard scsi-kit again as I would like to overclock my 1260 some day soon.

Do you have any suggestions on how to improve my setup that doesn't necessarily include a blizzard scsi-kit?

EDIT:
Am I better off getting a mediator PCI, and a PCI scsi-controller to go with my blizzard? I might actually have one of the compatible adaptec PCI-controllers. Or perhaps less drastic would be to try the Masoboshi. The GVP does not appear to be working without ANY ram activated, but the Masoboshi has a RAM disable switch.

Last edited by Overmann; 25 July 2018 at 17:03.
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Old 25 July 2018, 18:20   #17
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Well, it's just a guess on my part, but yes, that's where I would start looking. Having your only fast RAM hanging off a Zorro-II bus is never going to be ideal, and isn't something that was intended for the A1200.

A Mediator might be a more reliable way to go, but that's a big (and expensive) change to your setup. Mind you, if you have a Blizzard 1260 on its way to you I guess you're not afraid to spend money on it But I would say to wait maybe, and see what the performance is like with the 1260. Perhaps the GVP card needs a certain amount of RAM present for local DMA from the SCSI controller. It might actually work fine, and provided the RAM on the GVP card is a lower priority than that on your Blizzard, it shouldn't slow the system down except when you run low on RAM. Disk access speeds will still be slower than the Blizzard SCSI kit, but as you point out, overclocking will cause problems there.
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Old 25 July 2018, 21:40   #18
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why not just boot without Startup-Sequence and see if the games run. They may not even be installed correctly or something, low chip ram etc.
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Old 25 July 2018, 22:15   #19
Overmann
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why not just boot without Startup-Sequence and see if the games run. They may not even be installed correctly or something, low chip ram etc.
I tried booting without startup-sequence now and running Colonization. It demanded that ENV: be assigned so I ran env-handler and then colonization, but it just freezes up (or nothing happends). Same as before.
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Old 25 July 2018, 23:11   #20
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Why do you want scsi? do you need it for anything special? in general ide is more than fast enough for a games setup. I don't even bother with the scsi module for my CV2, it has just sat in a box since I got it with the card.
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