Reading/booting on the B side

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Brume
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Reading/booting on the B side

Postby Brume » Tue Jul 04, 2017 10:20 pm

I'm archiving a lot of floppy disks at the moment, and there are many disks that have one game on the A side and another one on the B side.

There was a small hardware tip on the real machine, which consists of plug a paperclip in the drive port of the ST (also some shops did it more professional with a switch and named it "freeboot").

So, any hope to get such a feature in Steem SSE ? Choose the side that is read when an image-disk is inserted?

Thanks in advance :)

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Re: Reading the B side

Postby AtariZoll » Tue Jul 04, 2017 11:41 pm

There is SW with which you can read side B of floppy, and create new image of only side B. And can do same with side A. So, can make 2 separated SS images from 1 DS image. http://atari.8bitchip.info/floimgd.php
Look for Trackcopy (TRACC) near bottom.
It's easy to make some program what separates sides A and B of ST image file. Adding new switch, with very exotic purpose to Steem seems as not good idea for me.
Btw. your title of subject is confusing - side B is read regularly. Should be something like "booting from side B of floppy image" .
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Re: Reading the B side

Postby kodak80 » Wed Jul 05, 2017 3:59 am

I have not tried it but the HxC Floppy Emulator software has the ability to swap the sides over and also erase each side of the disk. You could dump the disk image and then swap the sides over so that side B becomes side A and then erase the side you no longer need?

The tools are located under Track Analyzer, Edit Tools button.

Agree though that it would be a neat feature in Steem to do this as well. :)
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Re: Reading the B side

Postby Brume » Wed Jul 05, 2017 6:23 am

@kodak: yes,I know that and tried several times by the past, but it doesn't work.
@atarizoll: I don't want to boot only. I'd like also to switch on the fly.

But well, such a feature included directly in Steem would be very cool ;)

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Re: Reading the B side

Postby AtariZoll » Wed Jul 05, 2017 6:48 am

Brume wrote: ..
@atarizoll: I don't want to boot only. I'd like also to switch on the fly.
But well, such a feature included directly in Steem would be very cool ;)

You make 2 SS images from 1 SD image in half minute, then can switch to image which you want, at any time.
I do it regularly all time, yet I never came to idea to ask someone to add that option to Steem, or to do it myself (I did some changes in Steem 3.2) .
Having separated images for side A and B of original 2S src. is better by me, and disk space should be not problem today.

If you insist, should post this in Steem SSE request section.

Ah, now you can see how it looks when someone formulated it not clearly - of course I did not mean booting only. Having image of side B as regular single sided floppy image means that you can use it whenever want. And here is extra benefit, not possible with proposed extra Steem switch: you can have both sides active at once by putting image of side A in drive A, and image of Side B in drive B :idea:
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Re: Reading the B side

Postby Steven Seagal » Wed Jul 05, 2017 8:58 am

That's an interesting request, and timely (not 2 days before release). :)
I'll look at it. Begin to wonder how it worked.
There's already a 'single-side SF354' feature, maybe it could go there ('single-side B').
There's no request section actually, maybe the development section?

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Re: Reading the B side

Postby AtariZoll » Wed Jul 05, 2017 10:17 am

It worked by setting side selection line to low constantly - possible with simple switch.
I don't think that it can go as single sided-B, because whole thing works only with double sided disks and drives.
The whole idea was to have 2 separated single sided contents on 1 DS floppy.
What I see as potential problem is: if user switches to "B-side" mode when side A is opened it will make confusion, and even data damage is possible too in case of write, because TOS gets no any info about changing mode, and still is "at side A". The proper usage would be to press Escape in Desktop to force update. Or to reset computer. Something similar what happens when no Atari ST compatible drive is in machine, which generates not expected WP signals, and TOS is not aware about that floppy disk is changed.
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Re: Reading the B side

Postby Brume » Wed Jul 05, 2017 8:20 pm

AtariZoll wrote:Ah, now you can see how it looks when someone formulated it not clearly

I don't get it. Why are you so aggressive?

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Re: Reading the B side

Postby Brume » Wed Jul 05, 2017 8:22 pm

Steven Seagal wrote:That's an interesting request, and timely (not 2 days before release). :)
I'll look at it. Begin to wonder how it worked.
There's already a 'single-side SF354' feature, maybe it could go there ('single-side B').
There's no request section actually, maybe the development section?


Thanks in advance Steven! Would be very helpfull (at least for me and kodak80 according to his previous post) :D

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Re: Reading/booting on the B side

Postby Brume » Wed Jul 05, 2017 8:26 pm

Have edited the title of the topic to please AtariZoll, btw.
So now, let's go back to the topic (and the topic only, don't want to begin a war).

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Re: Reading/booting on the B side

Postby AtariZoll » Thu Jul 06, 2017 7:15 am

Brume wrote:Have edited the title of the topic to please AtariZoll, btw.
So now, let's go back to the topic (and the topic only, don't want to begin a war).

There is no any war and no any aggressiveness. I was on topic all time. But you did not react on my longer writings where I gave alternative solution, and explained how whole thing worked - because I did that hack myself in past, and I imaged such floppies long time ago - as 2 SS images. It is not to please me. We need to be clear when writing here. I was corrected too in some cases, and I'm grateful for that. Man learns until death - as we say here.

So, if Steven wants to add it to SSE, that's his decision. But then it has to be done so, that not confuse users. We can agree that waste majority never used it, so will ask what the hell is that "Side-B" switch in settings. Maybe it should be called "Force side B of floppy" . There should be warning that need to force disk refresh (Escape) when switching on B with opened disk, and to use it only with disks which have that special structure - 2SS on 1DS disk.
Just to add, that there is lot of games where side B is independent from side A, and in many cases there is optional content - like music. So, it can be played on SS systems too, without music. All it is handled by SW.
What gives me idea: doing whole thing with special SW for ST.
Switching between side A and side B mode can be done with some hotkey, and main benefit is that we can force disk change, so no risk of data damage and confusion. Usable on emulators and real HW. And this idea came to me really in this very minute.
Need to change only XBIOS 8 and 9 functions (floppy read and write) . I think that I can do it today.
Brume, I'm thankful for your contribution for Atari community. You made lot of images of originals, and I liked especially Giana Sisters - real rarity. I would like just that your site with images offer more than existing ones, and there is plenty of them now, really.
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Re: Reading/booting on the B side

Postby Steven Seagal » Thu Jul 06, 2017 9:38 am

AtariZoll wrote:So, if Steven wants to add it to SSE, that's his decision. But then it has to be done so, that not confuse users. We can agree that waste majority never used it, so will ask what the hell is that "Side-B" switch in settings. Maybe it should be called "Force side B of floppy" . There should be warning that need to force disk refresh (Escape) when switching on B with opened disk, and to use it only with disks which have that special structure - 2SS on 1DS disk.
Just to add, that there is lot of games where side B is independent from side A, and in many cases there is optional content - like music. So, it can be played on SS systems too, without music. All it is handled by SW.
What gives me idea: doing whole thing with special SW for ST.
Switching between side A and side B mode can be done with some hotkey, and main benefit is that we can force disk change, so no risk of data damage and confusion. Usable on emulators and real HW. And this idea came to me really in this very minute.
Need to change only XBIOS 8 and 9 functions (floppy read and write) . I think that I can do it today.


I mean to do it if possible, this existed in hardware and was called "freeboot".
The same way you saved a floppy disk, you save a file. Better than 2 images, and better emulation.
In current version, if you right click on disk icon, you get option "SF354 (single side - caution!)".
Contrary to other options it is not saved.
That's where we could add "Freeboot side B: - caution!" When it's checked, it's like you used the switch on HW.

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Re: Reading/booting on the B side

Postby AtariZoll » Fri Jul 07, 2017 8:03 am

Steven Seagal wrote:I mean to do it if possible, this existed in hardware and was called "freeboot".
The same way you saved a floppy disk, you save a file. Better than 2 images, and better emulation.
In current version, if you right click on disk icon, you get option "SF354 (single side - caution!)".
Contrary to other options it is not saved.
That's where we could add "Freeboot side B: - caution!" When it's checked, it's like you used the switch on HW.

That's sound as reasonable solution. Personally, I think that even that SF354 option is not really necessary, but I'm not average user, novice.
That "freeboot" was just simple solution to put 2 games on 1 floppy, without need to hack their code. Usual solution were menu disks for that purpose :D
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Re: Reading/booting on the B side

Postby Steven Seagal » Sun Jul 09, 2017 11:34 am

BTW, where can I find some examples of such disk images?

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Re: Reading/booting on the B side

Postby AtariZoll » Sun Jul 09, 2017 11:41 am

Steven Seagal wrote:BTW, where can I find some examples of such disk images?


I can make couple, later this afternoon. But it will have price - analog input support in same release ! :D
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Re: Reading/booting on the B side

Postby Brume » Sun Jul 09, 2017 1:10 pm

All is OK for me, thanks for your reply AtariZoll. Sorry, I read your previous messages too fast (reading at them early in the subway is a bad thing) and didn't try Trackcopy. Ok, I'm just coming to try it and it works fine :)
I see one issue anyway: we have to know the parameters of each side to image them correctly. In the Sector/Track box, I've tried to use the ? option and it didn't produce a valid ST image. When I specify the correct number of sectors, the process works like a charm.

Anyway, as mentioned by Steven Seagal, it could be cool to keep both sides of a game on the same disk to reduce the number of files.
See an image-disk attached to this post. It contains the following stuffs:
- Xenon II first disk on A side (by V8) [10 sectors per track]
- Xenon II first disk on B side [10 sectors per track]
Xenon II (side A) + Xenon II (side B).zip

Also here is another example of image-disk for Steven Seagal. Not the same game on both sides, but the disk could be interesting because both sides aren't formated in the same way. It has :
- Rick Dangerous on A side (by the Replicants) [9 sectors per track]
- Xenon on B side (by the Fanatics) [10 sectors per track]
Rick Dangerous (side A) + Xenon (side B).zip


Let me know if you need more. Thanks again for your help.
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Re: Reading/booting on the B side

Postby AtariZoll » Sun Jul 09, 2017 4:28 pm

? option in TrackCopy is for case when sector/track is unknown, or for some custom formats, with not regular sector numbers. Of course, it can not produce valid ST image, that makes special format. But when you see that there is 1-9 or 1-10, then just need to set it, and click on read again, then can save it as as regular ST or MSA image.
Most of cracks of Xenon 2 is 1 DS disk instead 2 SS, and it is in code what makes loading levels from side B - so no need for side B switch.
And there are zillion other cases :D I know, myself did it many times.
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Re: Reading/booting on the B side

Postby Steven Seagal » Sun Jul 09, 2017 6:55 pm

The principle of the feature is simple enough.

Xenon II works as is. :)
For Rick Dangerous + Xenon II B, I had to make a STW format image so it works.
I used FastCopy and the new freeboot feature on both drives.

For ST, MSA, DIM, #sectors and tracks must be the same... (AFAIK)
STW and HFE, and I guess STT, don't have this limit.

I hit the same problem when I made my own disk: ST Language disk (9 sectors)/Guild of Thieves-42Crew (10 sectors).
(I liked the idea that the game is hidden on the B side of a serious disk - if ST Basic is "serious")

Little teaser showing where it is:
freeboot.png

Right click on drive icon.

Dev build https://sourceforge.net/projects/steemsse/files/DevBuilds/Steem.SSE.Beta.Win32.D3D.zip/download
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Re: Reading/booting on the B side

Postby Brume » Mon Jul 10, 2017 11:33 am

Thank you very much Steven!
Have seen you've updated sourceforge with the new freeboot feature. Can't test it at the moment (at work), but I'll do it tonight :)
Thanks again.

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Re: Reading/booting on the B side

Postby Stefan jL » Sun Aug 06, 2017 9:21 am

Brume wrote:There was a small hardware tip on the real machine, which consists of plug a paperclip in the drive port of the ST (also some shops did it more professional with a switch and named it "freeboot").


This i did not know :) I was using Steem SSE lately and saw a new feature called "Freeboot" and had no idea what it ment so i searched and found this thread.
How does this paperclip look like and how is it inserted?
Image


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