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Old 09-03-2008, 07:26 PM   #1
Dennis
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Default New Minimig cores available

Thanks to the hard work of Jakub Bednarski, updated cores are now available for download

at my Minimig site. Jakub's version fixes many long-standing bugs and finally adds floppy write support. Please note that Jakub's cores behave somewhat differently than the previous cores so please read the provided readme carefully. Again, many thanks to Jakub for this new update!

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Old 09-03-2008, 07:57 PM   #2
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Default Re: New Minimig cores available

Awesome news, we will d/led them and test on our Minimig.
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Old 09-03-2008, 11:46 PM   #3
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Default Re: New Minimig cores available

Excellent!

Well done Jacub!

Well done Dennis!

From reading the readme.txt it looks like this core is what we needed.

Keep up the great work.

Don't forget to email me amigarulez@hotmail.com
if you need some clothes for your Minimig.

Brilliant news! :-)
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Old 09-04-2008, 01:25 AM   #4
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Default Re: New Minimig cores available

Great development news! Making the minimig more and more a worthwhile purchase.
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Old 09-04-2008, 02:17 AM   #5
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Default Re: New Minimig cores available

This sounds *really* good, it seems to address most complaints I'm glad I purchased one... Yesterday !

(Hmm, if you lack ideas, joystick emulation on the keyboard could be useful

Congrats !
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Old 09-04-2008, 03:26 AM   #6
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Default Re: New Minimig cores available

Awesome...
Thanks for all, Jakub & Dennis.
Regards
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Old 09-04-2008, 03:55 AM   #7
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Default Re: New Minimig cores available

Is there a possibility to have more floppy drive units? df1: df2: etc to insert those virtual floppies from sd-card
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Old 09-04-2008, 03:56 AM   #8
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Default Re: New Minimig cores available

Here's the text from the included "readme" file explaining some of the changes:

Minimig firmware release 2008-08-04 by Jakub Bednarski.

FPGA core version : FYQ080729
68K bootloader version : BYQ080717
PIC firmware version : PYQ080725

Minimig copyright 2006-2008 by Dennis van Weeren.


How to install:

- Remove any jumpers from SPARE I/O header.
- Put "minimig1.bin" on your SD/MMC card.
- Using Tiny Bootloader application program PIC's flash memory with "firmware.hex" file.
If you are experiencing problems:
1. Make sure you have bootloader programmed into your PIC.
2. Take care about pressing the PGM/RESET button in appropriate moment.


Features:


Scan doubler:

- added vertical and horizontal interpolation (selectable independently for hires and lores)
- semi-transparent osd window with active line highlight


OSD menu:

- added alternative control by joystick (up and down signals activated simultaneously invoke menu)
- configuration of: (configuration is stored in non-volatile memory inside the PIC)
* memory options (512KB chip, 1MB chip, 512KB chip/512KB slow, 1MB chip/512KB slow)
* video interpolation filters (vertical and horizontal interpolation for hires and lowres)
* kickstart
- both 256 and 512 KB non-encrypted kickstart files are supported (256KB kickstart takes 512KB of RAM)
- stored filename is limited to 8 characters of letters A-Z and numbers 0-9
- if stored kickstat file is missing default "kick.rom" file is loaded
- kickstart file can be uploaded at run time without its name beeing stored in non-volatile memory (test purposes)
- system reset from the OSD menu (no need for keyboard)


New 68K bootloader (with video text mode).

- displays information about firmware version and chipset configuration
- allows to monitor the booting process


Chipset changes:

- ECS blitter (Agnus is identified as ECS)
- PAL/NTSC selection support (different FPGA core for initial settings)
- modified blanking timing (better compatibility)
- modified display dma engine (better compatibility)
- modified sprite dma engine (better compatibility)
- modified copper timing (better compatibility)
- modified floppy interface (better read and write support)
- modified keyboard and mouse interface (better compatibility)


Write support to ADF images:

Since standard ADF images don't contain the MFM track data only write of sectors which conform to standard sector
format is supported. It means that any attempt of non-standard sector write (i.e. long tracks) will be rejected
and appropriate error message will be reported.
Write protection status is read from the Read-Only file attribute. There is no option to change it on the Minimig.


Action Replay III module:

It was mandatory developing tool for finding bugs in current and future firmware implementations.
Maybe someone will find it useful for other applications.
It requires 256KB "AR3.ROM" file to be present on the SD/MMC card. The latest 3.17 rom version is only compatible
with kickcstart 1.3 (34.5) and 2.04 (37.175). If the ROM file is missing the module is disabled.
It can be disabled even though the ROM file is present on the flash card. To do so you need to press and hold
the "MENU" button on the Minimig while loading kickstart. It can only be done during initial booting after power-up.
When enabled it takes one 512KB RAM bank so max. 1MB is available for chip and slow RAM.
The "FREEZE" button is Ctrl+Break.


Thanks to:

Dennis for his great Minimig
Loriano for impressive enclosure
Darrin and Oscar for their involvement, ideas, support and help
Toni for his indispensable help and logic analyzer (and WinUAE :-)
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Old 09-04-2008, 03:58 AM   #9
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Default Re: New Minimig cores available

And, just to get you even more excited, here's the results of my testing with the beta cores which should behave like the final ones released here:

All tests done with PIC latest update and beta PAL core set for 512KB Chip/1MB Fast and 60Hz mod unless stated otherwise with ADF write support.

Menace: The bug which allowed you to see the mothership being "drawn" has now been fixed with the intro now showing a smooth scrolling ship launching the fighter. However, the bug where the fighter's shield are run down with what is probably bad collision detection with the background graphics remain (I think I remember this problem with early versions of WinUAE which has since been fixed).

Rodland: Now working perfectly. Before, the score area on the right hand side of the screen was missing.

Pacmania: Now working perfectly. Before, the maze graphics were completely corrupted.

Settlers: Now working perfectly. Before, the menu buttons for issuing commands was corrupted and unreadable.

Desert Strike: Now working perfectly. Used to give a disk error while trying to load.

Detroit ECS: Seems to work perfectly (1MB/0.5MB). Before, used to hang when displaying the intro graphics at the modern silver car. I created several blank ADFs using WinUAE and copied them to the SD card. I used one to save the game and then rebooted and successfully reloaded the saved game. Lots of disk swapping though - needs a hard drive install or 2 floppy drives. It also seems to keep the list of saved games on the 1st game disk so it needs to write to that too,

Elite: Game worked before, tested ability to make a non-DOS save game. Inserted a pre prepared "blank ADF", formatted it from the game menu, saved game, checked catalogue - OK, rebooted Minimig, loaded game, loaded save position - works perfectly.

Alien Breed: Before the main player sprite was invisible. Game now seems to work perfectly except with some small random graphics corruption that appears for a split second between "scene changes", such as between the intro text and the start of level 1. I thought that the doors could be "shot" open using a lot of ammo, but they don't now - however this may have been a feature of the later Alien Breed games where there were 2 types of doors (ones that could be shot open and those that couldn't).

Troddlers: Works perfectly. Before the main player sprite was invisible.

Lemmings 2 - The Tribes: Used to lock up and guru after the crack screen. Now works perfectly.

Cannon Fodder 1 - Still works and it is confirmed that the reason for the dark flashing "lockup" is that people with only 1 drive have to insert disk #1 and then reinsert the previous disk each time.

Alien Breed 92 SE: Used to lock up after Super Frog advertisement. Seems to work perfectly. Doors can be shot open so this may have been introduced in the Special Edition and Alien Breed is working fine.

X-Out: Used to lock up after the crack display. Works perfectly.

Walker: Used to lock up after crack intro. Works perfectly.

Hostages: Still has the same problem where the SWAT team are immediately shot and killed as soon as they break cover.

Cannon Fodder 2: Works perfectly. Yes!!!

Wing Commander: Game works fine and it saves to Disk 2. I quit the game and reloaded the save position, flew a mission - got killed - works great.

Lotus3: Completed a race fine. Music and graphics are flawless.

Addams Family: Used to lock up during theme music, but now works OK.

Bards Tale: Game works perfectly. Character disk allows deletion/creation of party members.

Federation of Free Traders: Seems to run, but I'm buggered if I can remember the controls. Attempting to make a save game disk from a blank ADF results in a WriteTrack error #22. This is due to non-standard code for floppy disk control.

Carrier Command: When attempting to write to a safe game disk is reports WriteTrack error #23. It doesn't ask for a formatted disk, just states that it wants to write to 1 of 4 areas on the disk. Same problem as FOFT, non-standard floppy controller code.

Bards Tale 3: Works perfectly. Disk 2 is the save game disk.

Frontier - Elite 2: Works perfectly. Can save and reload from main game disk.

Chaos Engine: works.

Cannon Fodder: Started formatting a blank ADF then screen went blank. Disk activity continued (light flashing) and finally stopped. Screen remained blank and I had to reset the Minimig. I reloaded Cannon Fodder and then tried to save to the ADF I previously tried to format and the game appeared to save. I played a level and then reloaded the saved game position and it found my data and reloaded it perfectly. I tried to format another ADF file to see if that made a difference and got the same crash midway through the format.

Speedball 2: didn't work at first, locked up.... until I tried toggling between PAL and NTSC mode on the crack intro screen by right clicking the right mouse button and then it worked fine. :-)

Populous: Works fine. NOTE: I tried one ADF that wouldn’t work.

Syndicate. Works perfectly, however here’s some of my testing notes: My Syndicate disk 2 already has a DARRIN game saved in slot 7 from playing it using WinUAE. I had been trying to overwrite this saved game and then getting the "Insert Disk 2" error. Anyway, I loaded the backup ADF image from the PC as you requested, attempted to save over the position and got the same error again. I then rebooted the Minimig and saved to empty slot 8 and it worked. I loaded from slot 8 and then resaved over the existing file in slot 8 with no problems. I guess my slot 7 has been corrupted somehow when saving from WinUAE. I've attached the ADF with my slot 8 save. SO BEWARE OF AN ADF THAT HAS BEEN “WRITTEN TO” BY WinUAE.

UFO Enemy Unknown ECS version (or X-Com depending on where you bought it): Works and saves fine (apart from the disk swapping). It wouldn't work before as it needs to save to disk 3 as the game plays.

DUNE 2 (6 disks plus 1 save game disk): Works perfectly. Formats a save game disk from a blank ADF and games save fine. Needs Hard Drive support as it's a real pain to play off floppies.

Colonization: When I went to save the game I discovered that I needed a disk named "COLONIZATIONSAVES". This needs to be created before the program runs and is simply an Amiga formatted disk with that name.

Alien Breed Tower Assault: Works perfectly. I used disk #2 to format and create a Hard Drive Install disk and is appeared to complete the task (unfortunately I can't test it).

Barbarian (Psynosis): Locks up and doesn't work. Needs a modified ADF which is in limited circulation.

Barbarian 2 (Psynosis): Works perfectly.

Railroad Tycoon: Works perfectly.

Sensible World of Soccer: Works perfectly. Formatted a save game disk, saved career, reloaded.

Populous 2: Works perfect. Saves games to Disk #2. Saved and reloaded game.

Pirates: Works perfect. Games save to a standard Amiga formatted disk.

Sim Ant: Works perfectly. Saves and loads to/from game disks. Hi Res version won't run, but I think that is because it needs at least 2MB of RAM.

Microprose Golf: Works perfectly and saves to game data disks.

Nuclear War: Works perfectly.

Millennium 2.2: Works perfect. Formats and saves to a game disk.

R-Type: Works Perfectly.

Shadow Dancer: Minor graphics corruption - 8 lines drawn down each screen in intro, but vanishes during game play.

Twintris: Works perfectly.

It Came From The Desert: Works fine, needs a save game disk called "DSAVE".


Now, go and buy a Minimig! :-D
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Old 09-04-2008, 04:40 AM   #10
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Default Re: New Minimig cores available

Quote:
Now, go and buy a Minimig!
Excellent Information there!!!!

I just might do that!!!
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Old 09-04-2008, 04:56 AM   #11
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Default Re: New Minimig cores available

Jakub Bednarski = Yaqube?

Hats off.
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Old 09-04-2008, 05:11 AM   #12
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Default Re: New Minimig cores available

Quote:
Re: New Minimig cores available
Poster: alexh Posted: 2008/9/4 5:56:31

Jakub Bednarski = Yaqube?

Hats off.
That is correct. He really busted a gut debugging this core for release and wanted it to be as good as possible before the public got hold of it - all for no financial gain.

The guy deserves a medal. :-)
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Old 09-04-2008, 05:34 AM   #13
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Default Re: New Minimig cores available

@Darrin,

Awesome work, I'll update the list on my site when I can.

Thank you! :-)
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Old 09-04-2008, 05:49 AM   #14
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Default Re: New Minimig cores available

I hope now most of the issues are resolved he can start to look at adding features like hard file support?
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Old 09-04-2008, 06:29 AM   #15
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Default Re: New Minimig cores available

Hi, I am curious. How work floppy write since there is no floppy drive?
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Old 09-04-2008, 06:37 AM   #16
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Default Re: New Minimig cores available

Games are loaded from ADF files, disk images, so in turn writing is done to these ADF image files!
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Old 09-04-2008, 06:41 AM   #17
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Default Re: New Minimig cores available

Quote:
Poster: jrfjunior Posted: 2008/9/4 7:29:14

Hi, I am curious. How work floppy write since there is no floppy drive?
All the "floppy disks" are stored as ADF files on the SD card. Originally the Minimig could only read these files (imagine them as floppies with the write protect tab set), but with this new core it can modify the ADF file as if it was a real Amiga writing to a normal floppy disk. Likewise, you can format these ADF images from within a program in order to create a save game disk.

You can get ADFs of your games by either downloading them from the internet or by making your own from your actually floppy disks using utilities available on Aminet. The only problem most people will have making their own ADFs on a real Amiga will be how to transfer them to the SD card, but there are various ways to do this.
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Old 09-04-2008, 06:52 AM   #18
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Default Re: New Minimig cores available

i would like to see this minimig inside an a500 case connected to the keyboard and extended cables for the joystick ports so they will be mounted where they originally goes, same for the power switch etc etc...

that would be a fun project to see....
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Old 09-04-2008, 07:29 AM   #19
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Default Re: New Minimig cores available

>cough> does Superfrog work ?
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Old 09-04-2008, 07:50 AM   #20
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Default Re: New Minimig cores available

>>cough> does Superfrog work ?

I think it does already, just the main sprite (Superfrog) was corrupted, I think this new core addresses that.

I'll let you know, I will update my site soon with all the games working with this new core. :-)

www.loriano.pwp.blueyonder.co.uk

Everything is there :-)
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