B.A.T. MV16 cartridge dump

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B.A.T. MV16 cartridge dump

Postby Steven Seagal » Sat Sep 10, 2016 8:31 pm

Hello,
I'm looking at adding support for this game (original) in Steem SSE, but I can't find a dump of the cartridge (stc file).
As you know, the cartridge played sound, but also acted as a dongle.
The playing sound part can't be dumped, but maybe the dongle part may, in case there was fancy data to read on the cartridge.
Can somebody help?

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Re: B.A.T. MV16 cartridge dump

Postby npomarede » Sat Sep 10, 2016 9:43 pm

Steven Seagal wrote:Hello,
I'm looking at adding support for this game (original) in Steem SSE, but I can't find a dump of the cartridge (stc file).
As you know, the cartridge played sound, but also acted as a dongle.
The playing sound part can't be dumped, but maybe the dongle part may, in case there was fancy data to read on the cartridge.
Can somebody help?

There was an article about this cartridge in an old french ST Magazine (as the authors of the game were french too), describing how to program it.
IIRC, there's no program in the cartridge, it just output sound depending on which address you write to in the cartridge space.
This is not like STE DMA sound, you need to use an MFP timer to write sound data to the cartridge at a constant pace, then the cartridge will output the corresponding sound, with a better quality than the usual digi sound routines using YM2149 by modulating volume on 3 voices.
Regarding the protection, I think the game just checks the presence of the cartridge with some specific read/write, but there's no real separate dongle.

Nicolas

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Re: B.A.T. MV16 cartridge dump

Postby AtariZoll » Sun Sep 11, 2016 6:35 am

According to ST format review it can produce 16 channel audio in stereo. So, the only way would be to disassemble one cartridge and get/draw it's schematic, understand how it works. Not task for anyone.
Maybe easier way would be to record all sounds and perform playback from emulator - controlled by game - still needs some understanding of how dongle works. And of course. on real STE can use sample playback from Flash card (a la Xenon 2). That's aprox. how it was made for MAME in many cases.
So, instead cartridge dump to record all sounds/music to WAV files, with notes at what location/event which one plays. Surely not 15 minute job.
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Re: B.A.T. MV16 cartridge dump

Postby Orion_ » Sun Sep 11, 2016 8:35 am

see the PCB picture at the end of this topic: http://www.atari-forum.com/viewtopic.php?t=9824
don't seems like there is an eeprom in there

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Re: B.A.T. MV16 cartridge dump

Postby Atari030 » Sun Sep 11, 2016 9:00 am

It is 16 bit mono. I have one next to me, BAT in box. Pretty sure it could be used with a few music suites too. If memory serves it was even included with one.

Just looked at the jack, it is mono.

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Re: B.A.T. MV16 cartridge dump

Postby Atari74user » Sun Sep 11, 2016 9:15 am

Atari030 wrote:It is 16 bit mono. I have one next to me, BAT in box. Pretty sure it could be used with a few music suites too. If memory serves it was even included with one.

Just looked at the jack, it is mono.


Not to hijack the thread, but that's interesting, does anybody know what music suite?
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Re: B.A.T. MV16 cartridge dump

Postby Atari74user » Sun Sep 11, 2016 9:21 am

OK, possibly Music Master so I have learned: viewtopic.php?t=9824
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Re: B.A.T. MV16 cartridge dump

Postby AtariZoll » Sun Sep 11, 2016 10:35 am

Orion_ wrote:see the PCB picture at the end of this topic: http://www.atari-forum.com/viewtopic.php?t=9824
don't seems like there is an eeprom in there

Great ! So not some 16 track playback device, but ... but it's not full 16 bit D-A converter - look lines and will see that A14, A15 is not connected - pic in other thread is of bottom side, otherwise whole thing has no sense. A13 is not visible, so unknown for now. A12 is connected. So let call it for now 14-bit D-A converter, 1 channel. No need for some complex logic here.
It is of course not ADMA - that's not possible with cartridge. Most likely MFP does timing - like by YM sample playback.
Basically it can be emulated, and we don't need schematic, what is visible is enough.
All you need is switch to set MV16 on, then intercept cartridge reads. Address offset from $FA0000 is audio amplitude. Range is: 0-$3FFF or $0-$1FFF. Sign it and send to audio - or however it goes in Windows.
Last edited by AtariZoll on Sun Sep 11, 2016 11:55 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: B.A.T. MV16 cartridge dump

Postby npomarede » Sun Sep 11, 2016 11:41 am

AtariZoll wrote:
Orion_ wrote:see the PCB picture at the end of this topic: http://www.atari-forum.com/viewtopic.php?t=9824
don't seems like there is an eeprom in there

Great ! So not some 16 track playback device, but ... but it's not full 16 bit D-A converter - look lines and will see that A14, A15 is not connected - pic in other thread is of bottom side, otherwise whole thing has no sense. A13 is not visible, so unknown for now. A12 is connected. So let call it for now 14-bit A-D converter, 1 channel. No need for some complex logic here.
It is of course not ADMA - that's not possible with cartridge. Most likely MFP does timing - like by YM sample playback.
Basically it can be emulated, and we don't need schematic, what is visible is enough.
All you need is switch to set MV16 on, then intercept cartridge reads. Address offset from $FA0000 is audio amplitude. Range is: 0-$3FFF or $0-$1FFF. Sign it and send to audio - or however it goes in Windows.

IIRC correctly, you had to sum the 16 tracks (or less) on ST (using MFP interrupts), similar to what you would do to emulate protracker when you mix 4 sample voices, and then you write the resulting 16 bit value to the cartridge, which just output a cleaner sound that what you would get if you tried to convert this 16 bit values into 3 volume level on the YM2149.
So, there's not that much to emulate once you intercept the write to $FAxxxx, just add the sound at the correct freq to the usual YM/DMA sound output.
Since this cartridge takes some cpu cycles (due to MFP int), I guess that's why it was not used that much in many productions in the end (you're mostly bound to use it when the cpu does not have to move lots of graphics on screen).

Nicolas

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Re: B.A.T. MV16 cartridge dump

Postby npomarede » Sun Sep 11, 2016 12:05 pm

I found the old article about he MV16, it's in ST Magazine 38, pages 80 to 84, written by one of BAT author :
http://www.abandonware-magazines.org/af ... &album=oui
Everything is described, including how to play sound using the 12 bit interface and how to address the cartridge port to do so (there's even a source file to play a sample file).
Time to learn french ;-)

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Re: B.A.T. MV16 cartridge dump

Postby Atari030 » Sun Sep 11, 2016 12:25 pm

If memory serves there were applications where you could select your output device. Possibly Replay 16 or something similar. Not just music master. I think I have a boxed copy of that somewhere too.

It was a PITA to plug the cart in and hook it up to an amp when my ST already was so I never used mine much.

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Re: B.A.T. MV16 cartridge dump

Postby dlfrsilver » Sun Sep 11, 2016 8:28 pm

I've owned BAT for Atari ST (both box releases). But alas, the cartridge only delivered a sound as noisy as the one outputted by the STF.

To me, the cartridge was mostly a hardware used as a copy protection dongle.

Here is the translation from Olivier Cordoleani himself about the MV16 cartridge :

"The game was given on Atari ST with an MV-16 cartridge "enhancing" (me: hum!) the sound, B.A.T (with the 2nd episode) seems to have been one of the only game to use it, so why using this cartridge ? The ST sound abilities were unsufficient ?

Olivier: It allowed us to have 16 independent voices, to free some CPU power for a BETTER sound (hum!). More over it was the root of our copy-protection system. I have never seen a copy of BAT correctly working. BAT, the original, had no BUGS but the "cracked" versions were not fully "cracked" so the player begun to play normally but very quickly, the protections not removed were causing malfunctions in the game."
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Re: B.A.T. MV16 cartridge dump

Postby ICS » Sun Sep 11, 2016 9:31 pm

I used to have B.A.T original with MV16 cartridge. I thought the sound output was not bad. There was also a module player where you could select the audio to be output to MV16. This was not related to the game in any way. Of course if you have an STE with stereo this cartridge is just a bad joke :)

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Re: B.A.T. MV16 cartridge dump

Postby Atari030 » Sun Sep 11, 2016 11:24 pm

Was it TCB? I seem to remember that too.

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Re: B.A.T. MV16 cartridge dump

Postby farvardin » Mon Sep 12, 2016 6:22 am

It's strange people didn't start making copy of this cartridge back then, it's so simple, with basic components...
Maybe the sound wouldn't appeal much to people using STE, but for me, with a STF, when this game came out (I've bought it), the sound was a huge improvement of what we could have at that time. Samples were not used that much before that, except in some demos. It's true the Micro Mix II demo, which worked on STF, was quite amazing with those kinds of sounds: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jU1sp7z-nbI

BAT had also a very good music, which maybe make us believe the cardridge was so special. But the sound was not noisy at all, quite the contrary: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2cYJGTL0QrE

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Re: B.A.T. MV16 cartridge dump

Postby Atari030 » Mon Sep 12, 2016 9:44 am

Crikey, I'm going to have to set that up again. I'd forgotten how good it was.

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Re: B.A.T. MV16 cartridge dump

Postby Steven Seagal » Mon Sep 12, 2016 9:54 pm

The cartridge isn't an effective dongle.
Apparently it just doesn't return $FF on the beginning of ROM. I suspect another cartridge would fool the protection.
Of course, nobody had cartridges.

As mentioned, the address itself is taken as sample data. This is the fun part, Steem SSE can play the B.A.T. tune now, but as is (not emulating the filter).

I think the MV16 is supposed to play 12bit samples, which is better than the STE's 8bit.

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Re: B.A.T. MV16 cartridge dump

Postby Cyprian » Tue Sep 13, 2016 8:19 am

Steven Seagal wrote:Steem SSE can play the B.A.T. tune now,

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Re: B.A.T. MV16 cartridge dump

Postby AtariZoll » Tue Sep 13, 2016 11:37 am

Steven Seagal wrote:The cartridge isn't an effective dongle.
Apparently it just doesn't return $FF on the beginning of ROM. I suspect another cartridge would fool the protection.
Of course, nobody had cartridges.
As mentioned, the address itself is taken as sample data. This is the fun part, Steem SSE can play the B.A.T. tune now, but as is (not emulating the filter).
I think the MV16 is supposed to play 12bit samples, which is better than the STE's 8bit.


Yes, more bits is better quality. but analogue part in MV16 is really cheap. In STE there are multiple chips for filtering.
I guess that it is even possible that they used 8-bit samples, and added all them together - 16 8 bit samples need exactly 12 bits .
That's why talk about 16 channels.

As I know BAT II uses serial port for dongle protection, and can work without MV16 .
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Re: B.A.T. MV16 cartridge dump

Postby Steven Seagal » Tue Sep 13, 2016 1:46 pm

AtariZoll wrote:Yes, more bits is better quality. but analogue part in MV16 is really cheap. In STE there are multiple chips for filtering.
I guess that it is even possible that they used 8-bit samples, and added all them together - 16 8 bit samples need exactly 12 bits .
That's why talk about 16 channels.


I understand that's the way B.A.T. works, but as far as the cartridge is concerned, it's a single 12bit channel.
Maybe the amplifier, filter, etc. are trouble. The main problem I see is timing of sample feeding. Using interrupts, there's some jitter.

As I know BAT II uses serial port for dongle protection, and can work without MV16 .


BAT II plays the sound on the cartridge and in PSG at the same time, so you can compare.

Steem will also start emulating some simple dongles, like WinUAE. It's not too involving, as I place those in other serial port options (see bottom of screenshot).
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Re: B.A.T. MV16 cartridge dump

Postby dlfrsilver » Thu Sep 15, 2016 12:22 pm

awesome, i will be able to use my STX dump of BAT II french release for Atari ST, cool !
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Re: B.A.T. MV16 cartridge dump

Postby AtariZoll » Thu Sep 15, 2016 4:41 pm

Steven Seagal wrote:I understand that's the way B.A.T. works, but as far as the cartridge is concerned, it's a single 12bit channel.
Maybe the amplifier, filter, etc. are trouble. The main problem I see is timing of sample feeding. Using interrupts, there's some jitter.
...

Sure it is single 12-bit. I looked little into - uses Timer-A at aprox 10KHz. Jitter is inevitable in such cheap solutions. Timer interrupts just can not happen in accurate intervals, and relative error increases with freq. Solution would be to add clock + logic in cartridge, what would equalize time between samples - but that would make it at least 4x more expensive.

I'm thinking to rip all samples - using Timer A routine redirected to RAM, so can save it as 16-bit WAV . Then may perform quality sample rate conversion and playing it on STE without jitter and heavy CPU load. Owners of MV16 and STE then can compare quality. Of course can play them on some PC too for even more compares :D
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Re: B.A.T. MV16 cartridge dump

Postby Steven Seagal » Thu Sep 15, 2016 8:01 pm

The sound is a bit grainy (?) in Steem, but also in the video.
Unfortunately, I hear some little glitches in the game proper, when graphics are changed, not sure it's correct. We would need another video.
Not sure I'll try to get it perfect either. The goal for me was to check this funny address to sound trick, it's done.
Steem SSE will use a "SSE" MV16 dump. The first bytes are "MV16", the rest zeroes. So Steem can recognise the cartridge.

Ripping all sounds for an improved version is a great idea.

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Re: B.A.T. MV16 cartridge dump

Postby Maartau » Thu Sep 15, 2016 9:38 pm

:cheers: Steven :D .
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Re: B.A.T. MV16 cartridge dump

Postby Steven Seagal » Fri Sep 16, 2016 7:15 am

By the way, I was preparing a "brag" webpage talking about cartridges and protection dongles and dongle emulation..., and suddenly thought, wait!
My host exxos recently met a lot of trouble for silly console piracy suspicions, maybe it wouldn't be appropriate to add this page to his server!


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