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Old 10 February 2021, 17:07   #1
BigMacDaddy
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CD32 NVRAM redirect

Hi - I've had my CD32 since it was originally bought all the way back in 1994, and after recently digging it out of storage have acquired a TF330 card which is all up and running nicely. I'm now trying to redirect the NVRAM saves by creating an nv_location file for nonvolatile.library to refer to but I'm not sure I've quite got this right, bear in mind here that I'm a total novice when it comes to AmigaOS and this is literally my first foray into doing anything with it!

So far:

I've managed to create a directory at the root of SYSTEM named gamesaves
I've created a file named "nv_location" (or should it be nv_location.info ???) at System/prefs/env-archive/sys/ which contains the text string ":gamesaves"
The CF card I'm using in the TF330 was pre-imaged by the previous user, however I've checked in the LIBS directory and nonvolatile.library is present and correct.

If anyone would be able to give me a complete idiot's guide (down to the exact commands/syntax to run from the shell if necessary, I am that much of a beginner here!) to what I'm trying to do here I'd really appreciate it

Many thanks

Alex
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Old 10 February 2021, 17:52   #2
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nv_location is the name. The procedure is correct and works ... on a non-CD32 machine.

problem is: on a CD32 ROM nonvolatile.library comes first (ROM resident). Overriding it with a library in LIBS: doesn't work (CD32 users had a similar problem with BASS when trying to bypass the real freeanim.library, see https://eab.abime.net/showpost.php?p...6&postcount=36).

Using whdload for the game(s) you want to play allows to do whatever you want + more. You have fast memory so that is the best option.
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Old 10 February 2021, 18:19   #3
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Thanks jotd - just to confirm my understanding then, I'd have to load the iso for such games onto the CF card to then be loaded via Workbench, or is it possible to boot to workbench and then run the game from the original CD using whdload?
Thanks again, really appreciate your help!
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Old 10 February 2021, 19:06   #4
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game needs to be installed. Insert CD and use the relevant whdload install script to install it to CF card.

Games with CD audio won't have audio (but you can quit / get all whdload slave extras such as bugfixes, trainer...)... can't have save to HD and CD audio but is there a game that has both saves & CD audio ?
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Old 10 February 2021, 22:08   #5
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Alas the first game that springs to mind is Liberation, one of my all-time favourites that I'm very much looking forward to revisiting
The reason behind me going down this path was down to the issue whereby having the TF330 installed disables access to the NVRAM, apparently adding a jumper to the CDIS points on the board to disable the caching fixes this but was hoping to get the nv_location workaround in place so that I didn't have to use that option but that may be the only path forward now at least as far as games with both CDA and NVRAM saves go. Might have to look at soldering a wired switch to the board that can be extended outside of the console as to avoid having to remove/re-insert the TF330 each time.
Whatever the outcome, I've probably learned more about how these things work in the last 12hrs than in the last 20 years! Thanks again for the useful info, I'd have been totally lost without the wealth of knowledge you and others have shared on the forums!
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Old 10 February 2021, 23:10   #6
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you're out of luck because there isn't any Liberation CD32 slave yet... I started working on a version (floppy/CD32) months ago but it wasn't conclusive.

Liberation CD32 doesn't have any CD audio. It has, however, impressive talkie data, which takes more than 80MB... Not good for whdload either.
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Old 11 February 2021, 09:14   #7
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NOOOO! LOL
Liberation has one of the best CD soundtracks of any game ever (I've skipped to the best bit IMHO):

[ Show youtube player ]

I agree the speech/talkie audio was amazing too, I can still vividly remember some of the conversations with NPCs even with almost 25 years since I last played it. One of those games that I don't think I was old enough to fully get the best from when I first got it, really looking forward to having another crack at it though
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Old 11 February 2021, 09:39   #8
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Instead of disabling the cache altogether, it should be possible to be more selective about it. Using MMULib, one could make the address range of NvRam non cache able, no?
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Old 11 February 2021, 11:43   #9
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Hi pipper - quite possibly; I did see some discussion about implementing MMULib to that effect on one of the TF forum threads (assuming you also have an MMU-capable CPU on the expansion card) but I'm not gonna lie, that is waaaay beyond my current levels of understanding/expertise!
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Old 11 February 2021, 12:48   #10
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or shut off the cache, if this is the only problem, turning cache off is way easier...

command line: CPU CACHE OFF
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Old 11 February 2021, 14:00   #11
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Thanks jotd - tried running that command but it didn't like it, CPU NOCACHE seemed to be an acceptable option so ran that before trying to launch Heimdall2 from CD which has save data in NVRAM already. Didn't seem to like that (failed to progress past the stage where it checks for an existing save), although I'm wondering if the CPU cache needs to be disabled at system startup in order for the NVRAM to be addressable? I've not got an amiga mouse to be able to access the Early Start-up menu on the CD32 yet but have an adapter hopefully arriving in the next day or two that would allow me to test this. I did see a noticeable speed hit with the cache disabled when looking in the system tool that allows you to test this, so assuming the cache-disable works for now I'll probably still look into the MMULib option at some point if that's a viable option, probably best not to run before I can walk though LOL
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Old 11 February 2021, 17:58   #12
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Been a while, but I think I used to do this:

Give the hard drive a higher boot priority than CD0:, then use CDBoot by Thomas Kessler. It will boot the CD from the OS, with settings/NVRAM redirected to the hard drive.

It’s not 100% compatible (I had to disable the SX-1 for a few games) but it works with most things - including Liberation.
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Old 11 February 2021, 18:28   #13
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then nonvolatile.library which is ROM resident is able to read env. variables and write to HD. I never tested that.
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Old 11 February 2021, 22:38   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BigMacDaddy View Post
Hi pipper - quite possibly; I did see some discussion about implementing MMULib to that effect on one of the TF forum threads (assuming you also have an MMU-capable CPU on the expansion card) but I'm not gonna lie, that is waaaay beyond my current levels of understanding/expertise!

AFAIK you don’t need to implement anything in particular. MMULib comes with a config that is used to setup the mmu with some standard cache settings. I bet it can be expanded to cover the nvram stuff - but don’t ask me how, I don’t know enough about the nvram’s address range and the syntax for the MMULib config file. It should also be possible to get Akiko working this way.
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Old 11 February 2021, 23:11   #15
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nvram has no address. It's accessed only through akiko.

And emulating Akiko on an amiga using MMU... yeah, really, piece of cake (just kidding, can be done but maybe by 1 or 2 people, for instance Toni or Wepl...)

interesting stuff here: Saimo banged Akiko to access NVRAM: http://eab.abime.net/showthread.php?...97#post1461597
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Old 12 February 2021, 13:10   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jotd View Post
nvram has no address. It's accessed only through akiko.

And emulating Akiko on an amiga using MMU... yeah, really, piece of cake (just kidding, can be done but maybe by 1 or 2 people, for instance Toni or Wepl...)

interesting stuff here: Saimo banged Akiko to access NVRAM: http://eab.abime.net/showthread.php?...97#post1461597
Yep took one look in there and felt my brain rapidly overheating!
I might be in luck; it looks as though the issue might actually have been addressed in a firmware update for the card, I've managed to contact the guy who put this one together (I bought mine 2nd-hand off ebay so wasn't sure where to start initially!) as well as the chap who designed it and they both suggest that this should do it, so as long as I don't manage to brick it I'll hopefully have it working shortly!
Thanks again everyone for the help and genuinely interesting info, I'm sure I'll have another question about the workings of Amigas shortly though... ;o)
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Old 17 March 2021, 19:59   #17
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Interesting. I have been trying out different ways to emulate CD32 for the last couple of weeks. Made a SimCD32 boot CD for my MiSTer FPGA with its Minimig core to see if my SimCD32 solution for my Amiga 1200 would work with it. I then found I could even get some CDTV games to work on the Minimig core on it using another boot disk called Squirrel SCSI CD32. I had improved the SimCD32 disk a bit by using a command called QueryFile, so instead of having to have a custom boot for each ISO file, I could just select an ISO file. It uses the whole NVRam folder solution.

But I also have a real CD32 and had not really considered that it would be nice to be able to put savegames on the hard disk. Its expanded with a TF330, but I have not even considered that it might have MMU. Could be interesting to play around with. I might not have floppy support for my CD32, but SimCD32 could also be installed on the hard disk and be a custom boot option.

Sounds like this would work on the CD32, but then we lack CD audio which is annoying. So a solution that supports CD audio and but still makes it possible to move the save folder would be pretty nice. While looking into CD32 emulation options, I managed to find 4 different solutions. SimCD32, Squirrel SCSI which has a CD32 feature, IDEFix 97 and Airsoft CD32 Install Kit. Not sure how much of this is freeware now, but you get a serial for IDEFix with Amiga Forever and there is a thread saying Airsoft CD32 Install Kit is freeware:
http://eab.abime.net/showthread.php?t=53562

SimCD32 comes from an Amiga Developer CD, I am guessing its not freeware, but probably still abandonware.

But I guess that really just sums up the thread, because while there are emulation options, there are compatibility issues as far as I know. In my experience, it does seem like it can often be fixed by tweaking some of the boot files, but that might only really with with SimCD32. Well... and the Squirrel solution, but Install Kit and IDEFix both try to boot in their own way, and I do not think you have customization options where you can decide how to boot the game.

When it comes to CDTV, now that I got it to work on the MiSTer Minimig core, I do hope to maybe get it to work on my Amiga 1200 as well... but the solution on the Minimig core was to switch to an Amiga 500 CPU. It might be possible to use some TUDE degrader tools... but I suspect it will be problematic and then its still a a bit limited how many CDTV games can be run this way, and also it will lack the CD audio support.

Last edited by Caldor; 17 March 2021 at 20:01. Reason: Adding CDTV speculation
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Old 17 March 2021, 21:18   #18
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Btw... could one option not be to make backups of the CD32s NVRam? If the main goal is to have room for more save games that is... and its possible to put stuff directly into the NVRam but pretty sure that should not be a problem.
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