Atari 800 Emulator

Discussion in 'NUON-Dome General Discussion' started by doctorclu, Dec 14, 2018.

  1. doctorclu

    doctorclu You can change this now in User CP.

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    I searched the older messages and was surprised no one had talked about this. So I'll start this off.

    So, about 16 years ago an Atari 800 emulator was written for the Nuon. I was lucky enough to reach the developer on Facebook about a year or two ago who seemed surprised, almost like he was seeing a ghost, that I was playing with the emulator.

    So I started playing with Atari 800 for the Nuon which you can find here...

    ...shortly after playing with the Atari 2600 emulator for the Atari Jaguar. I learned that by comparing in a hex editor the disk image for MULE (game in the emulator) and look for key characters you could paste another disk image in the place of MULE.

    I used this to create two new games under the Atari 800 emulator. Return of Heracles which the downloads can be found here:

    And I created another image for Bubsy: Kitt'N Kaboodle here:

    --Bypassing Basic and Booting the Atari 800 ---
    First thing to remember, the Atari 800 emulator has an Atari 800 XL image built into it, so that means like on an Atari 800 XL you need to hold down OPTION (to bypass the built in basic programming language on the Atari 800 XL), or in the cluster of buttons to the right of the A and B buttons it is the left most button of that cluster otherwise known as "Left-C". After playing around with it and numerous unsuccessful loads, here is how to make this work 100% of the time....

    Load up Atari 800, get past the developer warning screen, hit A.
    Let it load and error out as on that load you didn't hold down Option (Left-C) and bypass Basic. While holding "left-C" press and release both of the bumper buttons. I would continue to hold "Left-C" for a few more seconds.

    This gives the Atari 800 XL a warm reset. The computer then loads (now without Basic) and the game loads as it should.

    --Controller Problems --
    Pretty quick you realize something is not quite right with the controllers.

    On Bubsy Kitt'N Kaboodle the main character continues to jump uncontrollably. As you play it up, down, left, and right are working, but the fire button continues to work like it is stuck or being held down.

    In Return of Heracles I couldn't get any further than "Select a hero" needing a up or down movement on the joystick. If the fire button is not working, or working as if held down, it might be interfering with the joystick control movement.

    So sadly, that is all I tinkered with importing roms to try out. Was really bummed by Return of Heracles as I had someone on Atariage hack a version that would help the program skip past the one part that needed keyboard input. Being a turn based game, the lack of speed would not have been an issue and been a fun game on the Nuon. And that brings us to the next topic...

    The developer mentions "The emulation is SLOOOOOOOOOOOOOW!" How slow is that? I'd say about 20% normal speed of a Atari 800. Sounds like by what he said the emulator was proof of concept it could work, but not optimized.

    I was going to say that aside from being added on a home brew compilation disc put out by the Nuon dome, Atari 800 did not receive any forum interest. Then I realized that this forum has been the forum only from 2005 onward. I say "only" because the earlier years when the initial interest of the Nuon was going on probably saw the most activity on the message bases. And more than likely when Atari 800 for the Nuon was released for the first time I'm sure there was a lot of excitement. Wish the early Nuon dome messages were archived somewhere. :/

    --In Conclusion--
    That is all I have for now on Atari 800 and a bit about what I was able to figure out that I figure some would find interesting. How to get it to load consistently, and how to copy and paste an Atari 800 disk image over the MULE disk image.

    Of course, the source code is there, which is the next logical step. To play with the code, recompile, and make other editions. I played with this a bit, and though I have the Nuon development software maybe since I mainly use a Mac I had a few more hurdles (with Wine and other PC emulators) to jump through to get that to work. Not to say I won't play with that eventually.

    ------ Fun Personal Note-----------------
    This last year I had loads of fun creating Bubsy: Kitt'N Kaboodle (which is a graphics hack of Fast Eddie) for the Atari 2600, Atari 800, 5200, Vic-20, and Commodore 64. It was through trying to get it to work on the Atari 2600 emulator for the Jaguar that the hex editor trick was learned. And it was a blast, through the controls were not entirely there and the game ran at the above mentioned 20% speed to see Bubsy jumping around on a Nuon screen, thanks to the Atari 800 emulator on the Nuon. I can now say "Yes, Bubsy* is on the Nuon. Kinda." :p

    *Bubsy is a platformer character by Accolade originally seen on the Genesis, Super NES, Jaguar, and Playstation and featured in my avatar image.
    Last edited: Dec 15, 2018
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