Saturday, November 29, 2008

Vista x64 upload working!

I've managed to get the upload program working once more with the x64 driver, however I now need to press F8 whenever the machine is booting up so I can disable driver signing. Stupid stupid stupid vista! I wonder how much it costs to sign a driver. This is a VERY popular driver, so it may be possible for everyone to club together and pay for it.

There used to be a work around where you could just switch it off, but Microsoft in their infinite wisdom disabled it. Its thing like this which will drive folk to other operating systems. (Course... MAC doesn't HAVE a parallel port...)

I think one of the things on my to-do list should be a simple USB to parallel wire. Now I know there ARE some, but I'd love to have a proper one that acts EXACTLY like a parallel port and does all the crap for you. I imagine this would sell pretty well, particually if it could get signed properly. Oh well... another one to add to the list.

Still, for now its working and means I can now test Plus4 code again. The original uploader hasn't changed, but I now have a new DLL and SYS file that I use on VISTA.

So what else is new; well I've added basic SID support to Minus4j but its a bit pooh to say the least. The lack of filter support really sucks and since most music/fx uses them, they just dont sound right at all.Attila has kindly sent me the core of the SID emulator from YAPE and I'll see if I can wedge that in. It's very much like trying to put a square peg in a round whole though as YAPE and Minus4j are not only very different langauges, but have very different design philosophies. Still, its worth a go! With any luck I'll get it added and we can get some good sounds playing in demos.

Speaking of demos, I noticed that many appear to over run their rasters, and I think I've finally figured out why. I dont think Minus4j (or Minus4w) are letting them have a whole scanline. Basically the "newline" function is being called at the start/end of a scanline (HBLANK) but thats not where the timing is working from. The horizontal dot clock is being reset by the newline function and losing clock ticks. This means you dont get all your processing cycles, and would also be the cause of my inability to load tapes. Tape loading is in fact VERY easy (once you have a good sample), all you do is set a bit on/off as it plays, and at the right time. But if the CPU timing is out, it'll never work - explains a few things.

It may however be a nightmare to fix, so I'll have to look into it. It would be great to be able to load PRGs, D64s and TAPs into Minus4j, but I'll wait and see how everything else goes. I really really don't want to get sucked wasting all my time on emulators again...I have bigger fish to fry.

EDIT: Oh, and if anyone else does want to use the uploader on Vista64, then let me know and post a ZIP with the new drivers and installation instructions.

No comments: