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The Acorn Electron and the GamesDB

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Posted (edited)

Coincidentally, I tried "classarc" out as well and it worked with the command line of @kurzih and a delay of 2.


I found something interesting in this thread:

https://stardot.org.uk/forums/viewtopic.php?t=666

"are you reading the wrong type of discs?? ie reading ADFS discs in DFS??

try *DISC to get DFS
then *.

& try *DR.2
then *.

if no luck, then *ADFS *."

 

upon checking the hash files for electron flop I found that classarc is in ADFS, while other games that do not work are in DFS. ADFS is also displayed when booting the electron. So if I understand correctly, we need a command that switches from ADFS to DFS (sorry for my layman's language)

Edited by SiriusVI

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Can confirm commandline : electron -skip_gameinfo -autoboot_delay "2" -autoboot_command "*tape\nchain""""""\n" -cass

working with Mame ... thanks guys

 

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33 minutes ago, harryoke said:

Can confirm commandline : electron -skip_gameinfo -autoboot_delay "2" -autoboot_command "*tape\nchain""""""\n" -cass

working with Mame ... thanks guys

 

That's great. I hope I'll be able to autoload every single system I emulate with MAME / MESS, and when I'm done, I'll probably write up some kind of tutorial on how to get everything running with Mame in retroarch. The thing is I'm really a noob when it comes to figuring out which command lines to use. I basically trial and error myself through this whole thing.

I just don't know how someone can figure out that this command is the one to use: "*tape\nchain""""""\n" -cass

There probably is some kind of documentation somewhere, maybe some of the more experienced users can help me there.

 

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If you don't know the system that well then I always look through an online manual for the basic load commands , so for example Zx spectrum would be Load""

                 Commodore 64 would be load"*",8,1 (for disk)

                  Amstrad cpc  would be |tape (return)

                                                             Run" (return)   For cassette      

                                                            |DIR  (return)

                                                             Run"<filename>   Usually a *.bas file .... for disk

 

 

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Posted (edited)

I figured out how to launch the electron ssd files. You can change the electron bios in Mame using TAB. You can then go to the BIOS part of the mame menue and change it to DFS veriosn. 

I don't know how this would be included in a commandline, but one can always edit the electron.ini in the mame folder like so:

#
# SLOT DEVICES
#
exp                       plus3,bios=4

 

the autoboot command stays the same:

#
# SCRIPTING OPTIONS
#
autoboot_command          "*cat\n\n\n\n\n\n*run !boot\n"
autoboot_delay            2

 

EDIT: The next challenge is of course that you can only have one "electron.ini" file at once. I guess you could always add another copy of retroarch as an emulator for mame systems that need a different bios, but that solution is rather cluncky. Maybe there is a way to load a specific bios through commandline...

Edited by SiriusVI

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mame64 electron -exp plus3,bios=4 -flop D:\MAME\software\electron_flop\enthar7.zip

The "ADFS" are 3.5" floppies and the "DFS" are 5.25".  Nice find on the "bios=4"!  What rom did you get it to work with this?  (enthar7 and egghead didn't work)

I doubt you'll be able to get these into one electron.ini file unless you learn how to create an autoboot_script to load. ;) 

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Posted (edited)
22 minutes ago, JoeViking245 said:

mame64 electron -exp plus3,bios=4 -flop D:\MAME\software\electron_flop\enthar7.zip

The "ADFS" are 3.5" floppies and the "DFS" are 5.25".  Nice find on the "bios=4"!  What rom did you get it to work with this?  (enthar7 and egghead didn't work)

I doubt you'll be able to get these into one electron.ini file unless you learn how to create an autoboot_script to load. ;) 

Great find with the expansion's options guys!

Did you try with the EXEC command instead of RUN (which is used to execute for machine coded !BOOT files) for egghead:

electron -exp plus3,bios=4 -skip_gameinfo -autoboot_command "*cat\n\n\n\n\n\n*exec !boot\n" -flop

and you can add the delay if you need to that command of course.

I made it to the title screen at least :D EDIT: (Though I am using a different dump that seems to work better, but didn't work either with the RUN command, but did with EXEC).

Edited by kurzih

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35 minutes ago, JoeViking245 said:

What rom did you get it to work with this?

Two of the roms that worked were Blitzkrieg and Alphatron (I used a mix of mame SL roms and TOSEC roms, those two happened to be from the TOSEC set, but they are SSD files.

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Nice!  Never knew about EXEC.  It worked with enthar7, but for egghead I get image.thumb.png.a692a1185a037b6fef94a77b5eca36d8.pngI am using the MAME SWL dumps.  Which just now checking, the xml says it's a 5.25 but in the History database it says it's a 3.5".  eh... either way, it doesn't work (for me).     No worries.

Any other little ditties your holding out on us with? lol 

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Posted (edited)

I get the "bad program" screen with some games as well. However, these games still launch. Does that mean that these games are ot fully supported by mame yet?

Edited by SiriusVI

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To be honest, I'm not really an expert on Electron (my first computers were C64 and Amiga - as you might guess from my avatar xD). But I think there's no "one command line" to rule them all with Acorn Electron I'm afraid. Some dumps work better than others it seems too, I think that on original hardware you might encounter bad program errors as well. And the emulation in Mame isn't quite finished yet to my understanding.

But it's been nice figuring stuff out and thank you for your help as well! I really like to get my setup as automated as possible and as working as possible.
One of my nicest things I figured out, was PC-98 CD titles to work with launchbox - Policenauts with CD audio and Space Pirate Harlock with boot/title floppies etc. that felt like a big win when I got them working :D

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Posted (edited)

Yes I also want to automate as much as possibe. I consider today a big win for me as well. You and JoeViking245 helped me to learn about autoboot commands and a way to launch different types of apple2 tapes (in another thread). All in all a good day, but there is much that needs to be done.

 

I'm also still undecided / unsure which rom set is best for each system. I started with mame software lists for the computer systems, but have recently switched to TOSEC on some systems for various reasons:

The big pro of TOSEC is, in my opinion, that there are dedicated lists for games, programs and other types of software, so you can import just games, whereas mame SL also imports all the other programs besides games.

For some systems TOSEC seems to have a bigger library than mame SL. On the other hand, there are many games that mame SL has and TOSEC doesn't, and vice versa.

May I ask how you guys go about that? Which kind of rom collection do you use for your personal collection? TOSEC, mame SL? Do you mix them up? Do you use a completely different collection? 

That would be nice to know.

I have this weird thing, too, where I'd love to keep everything consistent. I'd rather stick to one particualr rom collection than mixing everything up. It was so easy when I first started this emulation thing with "just" the no-intro sets, but as soon as I started using mame to emulate the first computer system, things got out of hand very quickly   😅

Edited by SiriusVI

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I personally have no 'ties' to any of the old computers.  My 1st computer was an 80286 that I paid some dude in '87 to build for me.  I went a little crazy and upgraded the ram to an insane 4MB and the HDD to 40MB. Even splurged on a Super VGA monitor and video card.  Crazy kids anyhow. lol

For the software lists, I figured I'd should at least learn it a little since creating the SWL importer plugin.  The programming and figuring out 'new' stuff is my kind of fun. :D

For figuring out stuff for MAME SWL's, I mostly use the hash files, MAMEDev Documentation, Arcade Database and Google.  And of course tid bits found along the way  here in the LB forums.  Also out there is the mameGuide.info and MESS User's Manual.  But even all that doesn't give a lot of specific computer/console info.  So, short story long, Google.

For computer roms, they're all from MAME.  The console ones I have, I couldn't tell you what 'kind' they are or where they came from.  They were mostly already on my cab when I got it about 6+ years ago.  I added some [more] early on when starting out, but really had no idea what I was doing.  I never bothered to look into TOSEC or no-intro because.. the ones I have all seem to work.  So they're probably a pretty well mixed up breed.

I look at my game count for some of the 'starter' consoles and they seem pretty thorough (nes-715, snes-269, n64-317, a2600-510 etc).  I have no desire for hacks, prototypes or clones.  And this count is well than more-than-enough for me. :)  

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i would also like to thank you guys for teaching an old dog new tricks.

As for romsets i usually stick with "if it works then use it", motto.

Mine are a mixture of Tosec/No-Intro/Goodsets/tru-rip/redump

 

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Posted (edited)

I've got carts runnig fine now, thank you.
I've been thing how I would go about setting up acorn electron est in Launchbox. My solution for now is to create "Acorn Electron" as a platform category and then have the 4 mame SWL sets (rom, cart, flop, cass) as separate platforms. So far so good.

The problem is that different floppy disks need a different way to autoboot and I think that creating multiple platforms for all the different kinds of floppies is not doable. You'd have to separate the Mame SWL floppy roms accordingly and if you want to update the Mame SWL roms, you'd have to do it all over again.

So I think the only solution is to create an autoboot script for electron floppies. Now mame needs a ".lua" script to load. I don't have any idea how this can be done. Can you guys help me with this? I've seen some if-then-else scripting over on the rocket launcher forums, like this:

  1.                             }Else If (mameID = "electron") ; Acorn Electron
  2.                             {   AutoBootDelay := moduleIni.Read("Settings", "AutoBootDelay","2",,1) ; Read delay from config.
  3.                                 AutoBootDelay := " -autoboot_delay " . AutoBootDelay
  4.                                 If StringUtils.Contains(romExtension,"\.ssd|\.bbc\|\.img|\.dsd|\.adf|\.ads|\.adm|\.adl")
  5.                                 {
  6.                                     mediaDeviceType := "flop"
  7.                                     autoBootMethod  := " -autoboot_command ""*mount 0\n\n\n\n\nch.""""run""""""\n"""""
  8.                                 }
  9.                                 Else If StringUtils.Contains(romExtension,"\.bin|\.rom")
  10.                                     mediaDeviceType := "cart"
  11.                                 Else
  12.                                 {
  13.                                     mediaDeviceType := "cass"
  14.                                     autoBootMethod  := " -autoboot_command ""*tape\nchain""""""""""""\n"""
Edited by SiriusVI

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Not me.  Haven't learned Lua (yet).   But in looking just a little, I'm not sure if that will work.  Mainly because of how this is worded

{ OPTION_AUTOBOOT_SCRIPT ";script",  nullptr,  OPTION_STRING,  "lua script to execute after machine boot" }

..the caveat being "...after machine boot."  Though I suppose you might be able to boot base-line, then have lua examine the rom file (your if/then) then have it send keystrokes to MAME accordingly (to switch bios and whatever else).   But again, I don't know what all's possible between Lua and MAME.

But by the time you figure out how to do all that, you may as well have just figured out which Electron floppies need which command and set custom command lines for them individually.  AND..... when you DO get these all dialed in with whichever method, I can guarantee you will then only play one, three games max before setting it aside and [almost] never looking back.  lol  But yes!!... with a sense of accomplishment!  :D

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Posted (edited)

Yeah well I don't plan on playing any of these games anyway. For me this hobby is all about collecting and building the perfect setup. The reason why I don't want to sort through all of the games separately (which I could do, of course) is that I want to be able to update my collection every once in a while. So when a newer version of mame SWL comes out, I want to be able to use your fabulous SWL importer to import the newly added games and update the existing ones and I don't want to go through the process of dividing up all the games that need a different launching process all over again. If I could set it up once and be done with it, no problem. But since I want to future proof this setup, a script that sorts out at least which kind of floppy is being loaded is necessary. I already have flop, cart, rom and cass in different platforms. A futher separation of platforms such as "floppy 1", "floppy 2", "floppy 3" wouldn't look at all good and (once again) if I were to update my collection I would have to manually sort the different roms each and every time.

But it seems there is no solution for this problem at least for now. I've looked into Rocketlauncher, but it wouldn't solve my problem as well, at least not without as much tinkerin as would be required in finding a way to build a lua script.


Hmm, I guess I have to take a break from setting up this system for now. 

 

EDIT: or maybe switching back to TOSEC at least in these specific cases is an option. TOSEC sorts all its roms according to file extension, therefore I know that the "SSD" set for acorn electron contails only .ssd files, which (seem) to all need the same launching method. 

The downside here is that I have a hard time finding out which file extensions correspond to which medium (cart, flop, cass), which I need to know in order to write the commandline for mame correctly. Is there an easy way of finding out what different files extensions mean?

Edited by SiriusVI

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The best way is to use mame64.exe itself.  At the DOS (err.... "Command") Prompt, type:

mame64 -listmedia electron

This will also be handy for all your future endeavors.  ;)    The odd thing here though is that it didn't show carts.

SYSTEM           MEDIA NAME       (brief)    IMAGE FILE EXTENSIONS SUPPORTED
---------------- --------------------------- -------------------------------
electron         cassette         (cass)     .wav  .csw  .uef
                 floppydisk       (flop)     .ssd  .bbc  .img  .dsd  .adf  .ads  .adm  .adl  .d77  .d88  .1dd  .dfi  .hfe  .imd  .ipf  .mfi  .mfm  .td0  .cqm  .cqi  .dsk

An online resource (but older... rev. 1.74) is here https://pastebin.com/18W3EbD0  Which does show carts, but not floppies.  It's also (in this case) not complete (up-to-date).  But it is handy for a 'quick find'.

electron     cassette    (cass)     .wav  .uef
             cartridge   (cart)     .bin

And to really foul things up, its' cart shows .bin, and my current SWL electron_cart are all .rom (inside the zips).

Another (previously mentioned) online resource that stays current is Arcade Database (http://adb.arcadeitalia.net/?mame=electron).  Scroll to the bottom and expand Media Options (but again, no carts as it pulls straight from MAME).  image.thumb.png.e7f068092d74c7e03ec6c3942a98126c.png

This site holds a lot of other good/necessary info/details.  (i.e. scroll up a little and expand Show MAME Required Files.)

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Posted (edited)

Thank you once more. So I guess for certain Systems it makes sense to use TOSEC sets instead of Mame SWL. I'll have a look at the apple2 sets as well, since maybe the different methods of loading different tape files is also dependent on file extensions.

Edited by SiriusVI
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