Just published (about an hour and a half ago) the conversion from C64 to Atari 800 of Stunt Car Racer, a title I always loved playing on my C64 and Amiga. The Atari version features increased frame rate, music and a QR code to save best scores and lap times online:
Guys, I can see over on AtariAge that this topic is getting a huge (and massively deserved) slice of feedback but other than a mention of XBIOS clearly being the space-saving BIOS of choice for the game, I cannot get the ATR to boot on my 130XE (with/without OPTION) via my enhanced 1050 at all.
I've tried 2 different disk copies (used Pro System to write real ATR out to real disk) and both give me the same XBIOS menu option screen - whatever option I choose doesn't get me any nearer the game either - it just starts to boot/screen goes black and then it always returns to this menu once more...
Does this indicate: bad disk copies? Something wrong with enhanced density/these disks are of the wrong type? Further doubts over my 130XE being fully functional OR...
Any ideas, fellas?
ABOVE: This is all I'm getting - if you select any of the choices - naturally, I was drawn to menu options 3 and 1... it just loops back to this menu again 5-6 seconds later after trying to load something...
I had that problem with another Xbios game, I think it was Deathchase XE. I really wish I could recall what the issue was now. I've had a working disk of it for a while now. My 130k disk I made loads SCR perfectly fine, but I haven't been able to save it. Mclaneinc was able to get saves working when I asked about it on AA, but he did exactly what I've been doing from the start, so...I'm going to try writing to another disk.
All I can say is it seems the Xbios games are VERY finicky when it comes to them running right 100% of the time. It may save space, but I haven't been impressed with it since day one. However all the games that use it are fantastic games.
I've been doing some further investigation, first attempting to load/save a game again, with the same result, file saves.dat can't be found. So, I decided to load up SpartaDOS and take a look at what's on the disk since my copy boots correctly and doesn't go to the xBios showing the files on disk. Well, saves.dat shows up on the disk when doing directory from SpartaDOS command line. I also ran xBIOS.com from the command line and the game seems to load up fine that way too, without autobooting the ATR. BUT, when I pushed the button to go beyond the title screen, it crashed.
So, I went to boot the disk normally again and guess what? It takes me to the xbios screen like you showed above! So I turned off the computer, and tried again, and it booted to the game like normal. Like I said, xBIOS is a finicky BITCH (well, ok, I just added that last word). I tried accessing save/load features again, and the same result; saves.dat cannot be found! So, my next step is to fine another good floppy disk and try re-writing the ATR to disk.
All right, I wrote the ATR to a new disk, I even set my 1050 to unhappy mode and set Prosystem to normal speed writes too. Still the same thing. Everything works but save and load and I get the same old "can't find saves.dat file." So I am at a total loss here. I am going to attempt to create a separate disk with only the saves.dat file on it and see if I can get it to work that way...I just realized that SCR is saying it cannot OPEN saves.dat...I thought before it said it couldn't find it...but I may have mis-remembered.
By the way, while using Prosystem I was going to use my second 1050 without enhancements, but I discovered that it has suddely died on me! I just used it two weeks ago and it seemed perfect. But now it won't turn on. I tried swapping PSU's but no go...definitely the drive...but, that's for another thread...time to use one of Brenski's trouble shooter guides! I might as well install a Happy in it too, since I have to fix it now anyway...
Thanks @mclaneinc , I just downloaded it again, will attempt a new copy this evening...I'm off to get my truck brakes fixed at the shop.
As to the 1050 that suddenly died, I don't know how soon I'll get to looking into it guys, a little too busy these days for my repair and modding hobby. Even my PBI is on hold, with about half the wiring attached (of course I have to order a 74HCxx chip for it I don't have yet too. I appreciate the quick replies with suggestions though. I still have one working drive and that will have to do for now.
I think the title screen is a Graph2font image, which basically uses the same graphic mode, DLI's and P/M's for added colour as Rasta, but you can create art from the ground up.
I don't use it as I'd rather do my art on an actual Atari program, because using the Atari to do it is more fun to me. G2F is a PC graphic art program specifically designed to make art for the Atari, just like Rastaconverter uses the PC to convert art. But I think it's great for developers to use to get the most out their artwork.
I will be doing my own Atari art again one day, but I'll use the 16/32/64/128/256+ colour software mode art programs on the Atari itself. The 64 color mode gives about the same results as G2F/Rasta (conversion averages are about 64 colours though I've gotten 120 colours on screen out of 128 once), but the images flicker for more colour from mixed modes and VBI's instead of using P/M graphics. But I really don't mind the flicker, it has it's own unique quality, just like HAM mode(s) on the Amiga.
Jay Miner's AMIGAjr (As coined by Archer Maclean of Drop Zone fame) A8 showing it's true colours once again! (in both the graphic art and the actual SCR game!)
I downloaded SCR again, through the link in the first post in the AA thread, which is just a link to Atarimania anyway (I forgot that). There is no difference. Everything works except the load and save features which still say the saves.dat file cannot be opened. I went ahead and re-wrote the disk in Happy Warp-speed again since it seems to make no difference either, it loads fine, and faster. You are using an emulator, right @mclaneinc ? What settings?
Great lads - superb to see the Atari community lads all enjoying this super new release and all enthusing about the qualities that come together to produce this terrific game, title screen, sounds and game features such as the save to disk high score table.
Thanks for the graphic art info Baker and you, Thark, are very welcome mate (thanks for the jossies purchase as well as the GTIA donated already) and will be receiving a goody box through the post any day now.
I will see you right, as the vicar said to the tart, when I get me new glasses, on Friday evening, buddy.
the game is really great, gfx, speed, controls, gameplay ! But errrm, I need more practice, since I have never played SCR before (not on any other system, A8 is the first)...
The only thing that is not so great is XXL and his XBIOS, as well as his behaviour in the A8 scene - quoting from atarionline.pl forum: "xxl @ 2018-03-06 14:56:45
xBios is a tool that allows a lot of ... for example, allow you to operate even with ramdisk and you can also prohibit the use of some coquettish device :-) "
In other words XXL has intentionally added some code to avoid SCR (and XBIOS) working correctly with some external A8 hardware he does not like. At atarionline they wrote, he has added code so that the PBI cannot be used and therefore any device that hangs on (or makes use of) the PBI. This is not the first time he did this! In the last years he released programs that were coded (intentionally!) in such a way, that they did not work with U1MB (code overwriting regions or registers or something of U1MB) or 65816/Rapidus (using illegal Opcodes). They found out at atarionline and complained about it, but XXL responded that their Atari is not Atari enough or with these upgrades no longer an Atari. Since he does not like VBXE, 65816 and U1MB (and maybe other hardware enhancements) it is most likely that (t)his strange behaviour will continue. Luckily, Homesoft "converted" most of his programs requiring XBIOS in such a way, that they work fine without it (from DOS or Gamedos). He also removed the redundant code that made a program not work with U1MB. So, if you were wondering why some Atarians (especially polish Atarians) were angry about XXL, this is the reason why... has nothing to do with SCR or Fandal or Irgendwer, it is only XXL they are angry about...
There is a 65816 and DOS friendly version of SCR available in the meanwhile, it requires 192k RAM and since the program overwrites DOS (at the end of the loading process) one cannot load or save afaik. So I am waiting for a better XBIOS-free version from Homesoft...
That is disappointing to hear, and is obviously true, with the troubles I have with Xbios games. I guess my Atari isn't Atari enough. But by what you say, with XXL even disabling PBI use, I guess he considers anything with a PBI or ECI port not Atari enough. That leaves the unmodified 400/800/1200XL/XEGS and 65XE's without an ECI to be the only true Atari computers. To bad that none of the games I've played that use Xbios will work on those unexpanded machines, they all require at least a 128K, which is a 130XE with that un-Atari ECI port! As to the issue of the cracked file version not allowing loading or saving, well, the normal Xbios version won't allow me to do that anyway! So who the FECK cares!
I love XXL for all the great ports he's done, for FREE, but it just makes me shake my head...what ever happened to live and let live? You know you did, you know you did, you know you diiiid. I to have a line, of what is real or not, and emulation or completely new boards are across that line (not stuffing whatever you can inside an original Atari though, or externally via PBI/ECI/Cart ports, that's all OK; because the Heart of Rock and Roll (Atari) is still beating), but I understand and except those who do use emulation or complete new computers just with some original IC's if that's what they like. Live and let live...welcome to the community and all. It's just a shame that some people have to be so polarizing like that and go out of their way to exclude those who don't think exactly as they do, especially when they are large contributors to the community. He's not the only one like that, though the issues are not the same.
Right now, with the Xbios version, everything works for me except loading and saving, which also includes lap times for the high-score/fastest lap to get the code for the on-line site. I can't do any of that. So I'll use it for now. And as soon as I get a Rapidus, I'll start using the hacked version, with the same end result. I've got nothing to lose, but it would be worth losing the save and loading just to have it running at 21Mhz and faster than even the Amiga CD32 turbo version! Luckily I have MyIDE II, and soon THE!CART, so no PBI issues to worry about that way. I just won't be playing it from my IDE+ 2.0 card when I get it for my 1200XL's new PBI port.
But system expansion has been the ideology and spirit of the Atari since the 800, with all it's slots. It was the hobbyist's computer. The 400 with less expansion possibilities was for the non-hobbyist user market. Then Atari lost track of their roots with the 1200XL, learned from it and the XL and XE's once again became naturally expandable. So for me, upgrading internally or externally, to a real Atari computer, is the true way of being an Atari owner. I'm glad I'm not a C64 owner with a complete lack of any substantial upgrades for the computer. I pity them being restrained to 64K. with my Atari I have 32+ OS's, option for loads of memory, accelerator and graphic boards, all sorts of HDD and virtual media options, stereo sound options, on and on...a much more fun world for my electronics hobby! Ironically, the 1200XL is probably the most frequently modded and expanded of all Atari's!