Atari 520 STe Compatibility

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Atari 520 STe Compatibility

Postby kwyjibo » Mon Sep 27, 2004 11:32 am

As I've read, STe has incompatibilities with certain games... How bad is this system for gaming? How many games are affected?

Thanks in advance.

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Postby aktiv8 » Mon Sep 27, 2004 12:10 pm

well I would say the STe is better for gaming in some ways - for instance the increased pallete and stereo sound.

From what I recall (but I never owned an STe, just FM's) the problem arose more so for older games around the time of TOS 1.0 and 1.2. Similar effects I seem to recall with the introduction of "Rainbow TOS" (TOS 1.4) wiht some games and GEM apps not working correctly.

I would say the majority of the games you want to play you'll be OK but as I say I never owned one so am unsure about the full extent. Others here will certainly help you out
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Postby PaulB » Mon Sep 27, 2004 12:28 pm

A lot of games that came out before the STE was released will not work on an STE simply because the programmers of those games used undocumented system variables and addresses in memory that made their games run faster or it was easier to code the game that way. For instance instead of finding the screen address using the documented feature screen%=XBIOS(3), they just wrote directly to the address in memory that the screen was at on an STFM. The screen address on futures ST's could change so if it was the wrong address on an STE the game would bomb out. The STE when it came out retained all the documented system variables/addresses of the STFM. So in theory, any game that was written cleanly as Atari said it should have been would still work on the STE.

This is also why most pre-STE demos won't work on an STE, they coded for speed and not future compatibility.


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Postby simonsunnyboy » Mon Sep 27, 2004 12:50 pm

Some games can be made to run on STEs if you load an older TOS from disk first (like a TOS 1.0). The games that will refuse to work on standard STEs will have no STE enhancements at all so a downgrade via floppybased TOS shouldn't affect it.
Anyway around 90% of all available games should work on STEs for sure.
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Postby tobe » Mon Sep 27, 2004 1:21 pm

I always played on STE and there's not 'a lot of games' but 'some games' that will not run.
As Sunnyboy said, try to load an older TOS.
step 1: introduce bug, step 2: fix bug, step 3: goto step 1.

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Postby Greenious » Mon Sep 27, 2004 2:53 pm

We talked about this in an earlier thread about Mega STE & running games, since Mega STE and the "standard" STE essentially is the same when it comes to gaming... here's a recap.

There's basically 3 hurdles when it comes to compatibility issues with STE.

1. TOS. TOS 1.62 is basically the same as TOS 1.04, but stuff that relies on older TOS than that won't work. Unfortunately, the lesson was not completely learned by some ppl, so when going to TOS 2, some stuff won't work because they expect TOS 1.x

2. Different adressing of the PSG. They removed all shadowregisters of the PSG on the STE. Anything coded to use them, (to save a few clockcycles), won't work. <- This is the MAIN reason a lot of ST stuff doesn't work on STE. And this one is not easy to work around.

3. Memory. This is actually not specific to the STE, but since it is so easy to upgrade, ppl tend to think it is an STE problem. Without getting to technical, if the programmer was sloppy, he might write into memory locations just a few byte over memtop. Now, if memtop is lower than 4mb that's no big deal (ie, you got a 512kb, 1mb or 2mb machine). But if he crosses the magic 4mb boundary (which could happen on a 4mb machine), GLUE will issue a buserror, effectively crashing the computer.

Normally on ST(E), TOS will place the screen just below memtop. (on a 4mb machine that equals 4mb -32kb, since the screen occupies 32 kb.)

Sloppy programming in (mostly) older stuff, writes past the end of the screen, and if you cross 4mb with a write, the hardware get's upset.

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