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Old 04 June 2019, 10:53   #1
solarmon
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Damaged original games floppy disk and repair?

Hi,

I have an Amiga 1200 (rev 2B) 2MB chip memory, and have recently purchased some big box, floppy disk games - namely Populous, Pinball Fantasies, Powermonger and Powermonger WW1 Edition to name a few.

It currently has 3.X kickstart ROMs....Yeah, I know....I was just curious and will probably revert back to my original 3.0 ROMs to rule it out from this troubleshooting.

I'm also aware that the floppies are very old and there could be already (irreparable?) damage to them that could be the main factor in the issues I'm about to describe.

Pinball Fantasies:
There seems to be two issues.

Firstly, sometimes it gets stuck and the screen image foreground goes black and the background goes red:



Sometimes the screen turns completely red

Sometime it gets past this, and it asks for a course disk to be inserted. However, when I do insert a course disk, it does nothing - just hangs at the request screen, not responding to any key/button presses, and no floppy disk activity.
Populous
The floppy disk loads OK in to workbench, and I open it and double click on the game and it seems to starts to load. However, all I get is a black/dark screen.
Powermonger WW1 Edition
The mouse cursor is duplicated:

Powermonger
There seems to be an issue with the screen aspect ratio and the colour pallette seems to be all messed up - sorry, I haven't got any photos of this yet.


Could the above issues be to do with the kickstart, damaged floppy or some other hardware issue (i.e. it needs a recap)?

I have tried holding down both mouse buttons and choosing the ECS chipset, but that did not seem to resolve the issue.

Interestingly, the WHDLoad version of Populous on this same Amiga 1200 launches and runs OK (via TinyLauncher, using the RAD the disk feature) I'll have to try the other games via this WHDLoad method and compare.

Thus, I suspect it is more of a damaged floppy disk issue. I've tried cleaning the floppy disks with isopropyl alcohol, but same issues. X-Copy checkdisk does show errors on the disks.

What is the best method to try to repair an original game disk? Can I use something like KyroFlux or SuperCard Pro to write am image back to the original disk (assuming that the magnetic media can be repaired/formatted or even replaced). Or am I just better off just accepting that these original floppies are irreparable and create some new copies? I was going to make backup copies and play off those anyways.

Yes, I know I could just use WHDLoad, but using floppies has that authentic feel to it, which is good now and again.

Last edited by solarmon; 04 June 2019 at 11:00.
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Old 04 June 2019, 21:33   #2
TjLaZer
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The main issue is the games are older and don’t run on AGA. You need to degrade your system to run them. You can try the early startup menu or a tool like “Degrader”. Some also don’t like a 32-bit system. Disabling the cache helps. And some might require PAL mode if your Amiga is NTSC.
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Old 05 June 2019, 12:21   #3
solarmon
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TjLaZer View Post
The main issue is the games are older and don’t run on AGA. You need to degrade your system to run them. You can try the early startup menu or a tool like “Degrader”. Some also don’t like a 32-bit system. Disabling the cache helps. And some might require PAL mode if your Amiga is NTSC.
My Amiga 1200 is PAL. I had tried degrading it to OCS/ECS during bootup, but that didn't seem to make a differrence.

I did put my 3.0 ROMs back in.

Populous now boots up, but it still hangs at a dark grey/black screen with no floppy disk activity when I attempt to start a tutorial. I don't know whether the change in ROM was the reason that it started up, or it was just luck.

Pinball Fantasies still has an issue, although this time the screen background turns light blue instead of red.

Same issue with Powermonger.

I managed to find the ADF versions of those three games, and all seem to be OK when booted up via an internal Gotek drive as DF0:

So, in my mind, the only things still in question are:

* the floppy disks themselves - due to corruption.
* the floppy drive not reading the disks OK. However, it seems to read other floppy disks I have OK (magazine cover disks). I'm looking to get another internal and external floppy drive so that I can test and have spares.

I will probably end up doing a recap at some point, just to rule them out, and it is probably best to do so anyways.
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Old 05 June 2019, 14:43   #4
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Have you tried using the IPFs (converted to HFEv3) in your Gotek?
(Just to try and get as close to possible to the original disks)
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Old 05 June 2019, 15:35   #5
solarmon
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Quote:
Originally Posted by matburton View Post
Have you tried using the IPFs (converted to HFEv3) in your Gotek?
(Just to try and get as close to possible to the original disks)
I haven't tried the IPF format yet, but I certainly will do! Just need to find a good source of them.

Edit: I found the source of IPF game files (Official and Unofficial) on the EAB file servers. And also from the Dream17 site.

Last edited by solarmon; 06 June 2019 at 12:15.
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Old 07 June 2019, 14:09   #6
solarmon
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So I figured out how to convert IPF to HFEv3 - with some hints from:

http://eab.abime.net/showpost.php?p=1267954&postcount=2

However, the list of Official and Unofficial IPF game files is not that big and doesn't include any of the ones I want to test and compare against.

Regarding the floppy disks themselves, I've already tried cleaning the media with some isopropyl alcohol, but it is a fiddly process so may not have been that successful. However, I've found a great video tutorial that shows how to use a 3D printed jig to help with the cleaning process:

[ Show youtube player ]

Although I haven't got a 3D printer, I'll try to make something similar out of plastic/wood/whatever to help with the floppy disk media cleaning.
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Old 07 June 2019, 14:46   #7
solarmon
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...and if I find the floppy media totally unrecoverable, I might attempt something like this:

[ Show youtube player ]

but to replace the floppy media with a known good one, and write the original image to it - assuming that can can be done with IPF images (when they are available), or using Kyroflux or SuperCard Pro?
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Old 10 June 2019, 03:23   #8
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SuperCard Pro can often time extract good data from what seems to be bad. However, if the magnetic media itself is damaged then there is nothing that you can do to recover it. CLEANING the heads is the absolute best way to get success! I find that I have to clean the heads with just about every disk I dump! The oxide is really coming off 3.5" disks. 5.25" disks though don't seem to be nearly as affected by time.
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