Coming soon! Steem SSE 3.7

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Coming soon! Steem SSE 3.7

Postby Steven Seagal » Sat Oct 18, 2014 3:43 pm

Yes, it's another shiny day, and a new version of Steem is announced.
The "ataristeven" site has been updated for months, there are already 4 pages full of features here for the impatient:

http://ataristeven.t15.org/Steem_370_coming_soon.htm
STG: ghost disks

http://ataristeven.t15.org/Steem_370_coming_soon2.htm
STW: new disk image format

http://ataristeven.t15.org/Steem_370_coming_soon3.htm
6301, MC68000, Shifter, Sound, Options...

http://ataristeven.t15.org/Steem_370_coming_soon4.htm
D3D fullscreen working in Windows 8

EDIT:

and
http://ataristeven.t15.org/Steem_370_coming_soon5.htm
MFP improvements

So you can see all the brags you will have to slowly endure!
I will upload some screenshots here instead of hotlinking as before, because who knows when that site goes down?
I hope there's no limit here, or we'll find another solution.
EDIT: I changed that because guests can't see the nice pictures :(

Let's start with a cool emulation fix, "My Socks are Weapons" by Legacy:

Image

Another protected demo now running in the Legacy of Steem, fans get their socks knocked off again!
The protection of this demo is rather vicious for us emulator maintainers. It sets the ST in highres, then uses the video counter in the middle of its trace decoding routine.
Other trace protection routines set the ST in highres too, and for a long time, but without reading the counter (Transbeauce 2, etc.)
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Re: Coming soon! Steem SSE 3.7

Postby Steven Seagal » Sat Oct 18, 2014 3:52 pm

Relapse
Alas, I relapsed into my hacking habits...

This is Grafix Sound II plasma first without then with the hack:

Image

Image



What will it break? :)

Awesome 04 STF

Image



Being a ruthless plasma fan, I also fixed this menu in STF mode.
In fact the fix is also a hack as this aspect of emulation looks pretty awesome to emulate: we should have an up-to-date data bus at each moment (that is, at the level of microcodes).
It looked very bad in v3.6 but it wasn't correct in previous versions either. Note, it always was fine in STE mode.
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Re: Coming soon! Steem SSE 3.7

Postby Steven Seagal » Sat Oct 18, 2014 4:08 pm

Dragonflight

Image



STW disks have already been discussed, frankly I've been disappointed by the reaction.
Say what you will, Steem supports Dragonflight.

Union Demo

Image



And it also supports the Union demo copier by TEX.

Here's how to create them, right click in the disk manager.

Image



Then you may use ST tools to format or copy them, the limit being the WD1772 writing skills.

Coming soon!
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Re: Coming soon! Steem SSE 3.7

Postby Maartau » Sat Oct 18, 2014 9:22 pm

As always, what could I write... Perfect [smilie=greencolorz4_pdt_01.gif] !!!

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Re: Coming soon! Steem SSE 3.7

Postby Steven Seagal » Sun Oct 26, 2014 8:44 am

Chuck Norris is probably stuck with an Amiga anyway.

There's a new option on the Fullscreen page:

Image

D3D stands for Direct3D. When this option is checked, Steem will try to use DirectX9's Direct3D module to handle fullscreen (and only fullscreen).
Of course, DirectX 9 must be on your system. You even need the last revision (43).

Notice the nice box surrounding the options!
If you check 'On', fullscreen will be rendered by Direct3D instead of DirectDraw. Windowed mode stays the same.
The other options are then greyed out because they're only relevant to DirectDraw.

Rendering is as big as your screen can show while preserving the aspect ratio. The stretching is done by the video card, or in software drivers if your video card is some ineffective chip on the motherboard.
Pixels are large but the stretching adds some merciful blur.

Image

A fullscreen in fullscreen! Option 'interpolated scanlines' also works with D3D fullscreen.

Choice of resolution
You can also select the (PC) resolution of the fullscreen. On a LCD screen, the last (highest) is recommended, but you may want to use a CRT instead, so it's there.

Image

If option D3D isn't checked, DirectDraw is still used for fullscreen.
DirectDraw is also still used for windowed mode.
At first I thought it would be a replacement, but there are some limitations discussed on this page:
http://ataristeven.t15.org/Steem_370_coming_soon4.htm

While adding the feature I noticed that some (not all) people who come here to complain, in some very bad English, about fullscreen not working on their system didn't help when I asked for simple tests.

edit 1+2: updated
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Re: Coming soon! Steem SSE 3.7

Postby dlfrsilver » Sun Oct 26, 2014 2:11 pm

Merci Steve for the support of dragonflight !

it's a long time over now :) !
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Re: Coming soon! Steem SSE 3.7

Postby Steven Seagal » Sun Oct 26, 2014 9:21 pm

With the forum problems I had no time to post more this morning.

The new option 'ST aspect ratio' has been recently discussed, it seems the Atari ST tended to produce a distorted picture, that was higher than it should.

viewtopic.php?f=2&t=26041#p260339

Here are some other examples:
AR_line_of_fire.jpg


AR_neochrome.jpg


Well the option tries to emulate this aspect ratio.

ar_bigdemo_steem.png

We don't need to present this demo. Check the plasma circles.
The fullscreen picture has been reduced 50% (hence the strange scanline effect).

It works only with D3D fullscreen, because it's easier so. I'm sure it will please many people.
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Re: Coming soon! Steem SSE 3.7

Postby Steven Seagal » Sun Oct 26, 2014 9:40 pm

Ghost disks were also introduced before in this forum section.

Some original games saved scores on the disk. Some games saved the progress. Ghost disks allow you to keep changed sectors of a normally read-only disk image (STX, IPF...) in an apart file, thereby leaving the "original" intact.

Image

A new option has been added in Steem to that effect.

When it's checked, and a pasti or caps disk image is trying to write a sector, a new file with the same name and extension, ending with ".STG" will be created to store this sector in an efficient way (compact file).

Notice that the extension is "STG", not "STW". STW is something else.

When later you open the same disk image, this new file will be opened as well, and when the same sectors are read by the game, the sectors of the ghost disk will be used instead of those of the STX or IPF/CTR image.

Image


My motorcycle exploits saved forever.

Image


One day I'm gonna beat this dude!

Image


You can say who's playing by the score.

Image


The table is still there one day later. Notice that to use the pasti version, you need the manual, or the Steem patch (provided with v3.7).

Image



Platoon (US, TOS100US) is a more intricate case. The game first formats the track then uses the "write multiple sectors" command where the sectors are 1024 bytes, and the DMA sector counter is too high.
Gulp!

It turns out however that we don't need to emulate all this to be able just to save the score. Only the multiple version of read/write sector (WD1772 commands $90, $B0) really must be handled. We do as if the sectors were regular (512 bytes), and it's fine for the game.

Maybe when Steem v3.7 is released we'll get more reports of difficulties.
The system we use is a hack anyway (intercepting commands). Ideally writing to disks should be managed by plugins in charge of the images.
In the case of Caps, maybe it will come one day. In the case of Pasti, the probability is smaller, as the author hasn't come here for a long time now. The advantage of STG files is that they work with both Pasti and Caps without duplication.
Coming soon!

edit 1, 2: updated
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Re: Coming soon! Steem SSE 3.7

Postby Steven Seagal » Sun Oct 26, 2014 9:57 pm

Option 'Samples' disappeared because the volume table (by ljbk) that it used is now used for all P.S.G. emulation, samples as well as chip tunes, if option P.S.G. is checked. If it isn't checked, it's the old Steem way. I prefer to give the choice because some chip tunes sound very distorted with this option, and while it is correct emulation , it can be less pleasant than before (it sounds like this on Hatari, I thought it was a bug).
Note that there are still some bugs and imprecisions in sound emulation.

edit:updated
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Re: Coming soon! Steem SSE 3.7

Postby Steven Seagal » Fri Oct 31, 2014 9:25 pm

For v3.7 I'm considering moving some options that currently are available on the 'SSE' option page back to other pages.
For instance, 'ST Model' to 'Machine', 'Display Size' to 'Display', and the new option 'D3D' to 'Fullscreen'.
The 'SSE' page would still host some other options, like 'Hacks', 'Drive sound' because of the volume bar, 'Status info' etc.
Would it provoke an outcry? Applause? Indifference?
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Re: Coming soon! Steem SSE 3.7

Postby Maartau » Fri Oct 31, 2014 9:45 pm

Steven Seagal wrote:Would it provoke an outcry? Applause? Indifference?


Anyway, in whatever things you could change, we already know that will be good : it makes no differences (at least for me) 8) .

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Re: Coming soon! Steem SSE 3.7

Postby Steven Seagal » Fri Oct 31, 2014 10:33 pm

To illustrate, some options are spread out.
I think the most important is ST model.

Image

Image

Also two new options appear, to better control window resizing.



EDIT: more changes...
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Re: Coming soon! Steem SSE 3.7

Postby Steven Seagal » Fri Oct 31, 2014 10:36 pm

Maartau wrote:
"Steven Seagal is Steven Seagal, should I write" :wink:


And we know his DTV movies will be good :wink:
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Re: Coming soon! Steem SSE 3.7

Postby Steven Seagal » Sun Nov 09, 2014 8:35 am

Some beta testers report that fullscreen now works on their recalcitrant system, including Win 8, so that's for real.
But please accept that there are compromises: we can't replicate the "GUI on fullscreen" like with DirectDraw: options
and disk manager etc. available while in fullscreen. Instead Steem toggles at stop, just like SainT.
It's because of Windows and DirectX so don't blame us!

Another new feature, PRG and TOS files support.

Image



The idea is to treat PRG and TOS files as disk images, you click and it starts, no more need to copy on a HD,
or my favourite method, to use MSA converter to make a ST file out of the zip archive.
I checked how Hatari does it, and what Steem authors planned at some point, and I made a mix of it.
According to your TOS version, Steem will use an AUTO folder on your HD, or launch the program using a custom desktop.inf.
The advantage of the method is to minimise code and memory footprint.
In both cases Steem copies the (one) file on your HD.
So that's the limitation, it is meant for one file programs. The feature was added to handle all those demos that
are currently released as PRG or TOS.

edit 1,2:updated
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Re: Coming soon! Steem SSE 3.7

Postby Maartau » Sun Nov 09, 2014 12:00 pm

Good idea Steven 8) .

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Re: Coming soon! Steem SSE 3.7

Postby DrCoolZic » Tue Nov 11, 2014 7:47 am

Quick question.

I think you have talked somewhere of providing a "patched" pasti.dll without randomization of track read ...
Was this done or planned?

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Re: Coming soon! Steem SSE 3.7

Postby Steven Seagal » Tue Nov 11, 2014 10:00 am

DrCoolZic wrote:Quick question.

I think you have talked somewhere of providing a "patched" pasti.dll without randomization of track read ...
Was this done or planned?


When I talk of something I deliver:

viewtopic.php?f=47&t=15121#p251563

It's easy to find really.
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Re: Coming soon! Steem SSE 3.7

Postby DrCoolZic » Tue Nov 11, 2014 11:49 am

Thanks
interested by pasti dll 0.2i? viewtopic.php?f=47&t=19904&p=261629#p261629

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Re: Coming soon! Steem SSE 3.7

Postby Steven Seagal » Wed Nov 12, 2014 10:27 pm

DrCoolZic wrote:interested by pasti dll 0.2i? viewtopic.php?f=47&t=19904&p=261629#p261629


Still recommend my hacked version instead.
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Re: Coming soon! Steem SSE 3.7

Postby dlfrsilver » Sat Nov 15, 2014 7:47 am

Steven Seagal wrote:
DrCoolZic wrote:interested by pasti dll 0.2i? viewtopic.php?f=47&t=19904&p=261629#p261629


Still recommend my hacked version instead.


thanks Steve, keep up the good work ;)
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Re: Coming soon! Steem SSE 3.7

Postby Maartau » Sun Nov 16, 2014 8:40 pm

Steven : I haven't seen "Mario Van Peebles" there :mrgreen: ... http://ataristeven.t15.org/Steem_testimonials.htm
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Re: Coming soon! Steem SSE 3.7

Postby Steven Seagal » Mon Nov 17, 2014 10:52 pm

Maartau wrote:Steven : I haven't seen "Mario Van Peebles" there :mrgreen: ... http://ataristeven.t15.org/Steem_testimonials.htm


That's right, this page needs an update.

"The Ayatollah of emulation!" - Mario Van Peebles
Edit:done, and some other mods.
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Re: Coming soon! Steem SSE 3.7

Postby Steven Seagal » Thu Nov 27, 2014 8:34 pm

It's another great day for emulation... well for Steem at least, as I finally could get rid of some bad raster in the BIG Demo screen #2.

It's in one of the bubbles and is an "internal" bug as it's related to the video rendering system.

Image



With the sound and the aspect ratio you will soon enjoy that demo (almost) like on real hardware.
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Re: Coming soon! Steem SSE 3.7

Postby Steven Seagal » Fri Nov 28, 2014 10:50 pm

Sound emulation

First, all options related to sound, including drive sound and keyboard click, have been moved to the sound page. This was made possible thanks to some rearrangement of the controls, which is quite easy to do in the structure left by Steem authors (should have thought about it before).

Image Image




Second, the situation for sound output type (filters) has been made clearer.

Image



The former 'PSG filter' SSE option is now 'Monitor Speaker', Steem's original filter is 'TV Speaker'.
There are two options for TV and monitor speaker because the sound was
very different if it passed through a SCART connection or a modulator.

The 'Unfiltered chip sound' option was already in Steem code, but not in the GUI.

Third, when option Accurate YM-2149 is checked, emulation of the P.S.G. sound chip will use the table provided by ljbk of atari-forum. This table contains real output values of "fixed volume" as measured on an Atari STF.

Image


This is legend, not the Amiga 8bit samples!

The table was already used in previous versions, but only when option 'Samples' was checked (so this option isn't necessary anymore) and Steem reckoned that samples are being played.

The sound is now much louder on chip tunes, even distorted, but that's correct emulation. A nice example is the BIG demo opening tune 'Ace 2'. If you don't like that screaming distortion, you may still uncheck the option (Steem "original").

As usual take 'accurate' with a grain of salt.



edit: completely rewritten
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Re: Coming soon! Steem SSE 3.7

Postby Steven Seagal » Sun Dec 07, 2014 9:31 am

(note: I've edited the posts above to reflect the changes in options structure)

Halt

Image



No more endless reset on "crash and burn" (technically: supervisor stack too small to save exception parameters), just stopping is clearer. Notice the mention in the status bar. If you press play, it stops at once. You must do a cold reset to restart Steem.
Due to improvements in Steem those cases get rarer. Here's the bad image of Fuzion 78 that should always crash anyway.

High Res Overscan

Preliminary support for overscan techniques in high resolution (monochrome screen).
Yes! You may abuse the GLUE when you have a monochrome screen too.
It's the same idea: changing shift mode when the GLUE is about to make
decisions.

Monoscreen by Dead Braincells:

Image



It's hard but see, overscan!


Very trashy effect for the moment. The problem, in Steem, is that emulation concepts may collide with the video rendering system, which was written in Intel assembly, and which I can't properly mod for now.
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