Author Topic: quicker loading  (Read 7782 times)

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Offline morcar

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quicker loading
« on: 21:34, 02 May 12 »
I have an amstrad cpc464 and i would like to know how i can load games in quicker. Like use an SD card on some device and such.


Is there anything like that for the CPC464 at all and if so where can i get one from.

Offline Bryce

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Re: quicker loading
« Reply #1 on: 22:04, 02 May 12 »
The HxC Floppy Emulator, but you'll need a DDI-1 to connect it to the 464.

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Offline morcar

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Re: quicker loading
« Reply #2 on: 23:00, 02 May 12 »
yeah i have been unable to get the dd-1 from anywhere. In fact i cant find one to even look at lol

Offline Bryce

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Re: quicker loading
« Reply #3 on: 23:28, 02 May 12 »
They turn up on ebay (UK, DE, FR) regularly, sometimes alone, sometimes with FD-1 Floppy Drive, which usually goes for a bit more obviously. Here's one on offer with the drive: [ebay]230783587959[/ebay]

Bryce.

Offline OCT

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Re: quicker loading
« Reply #4 on: 02:30, 04 May 12 »
I have an amstrad cpc464 and i would like to know how i can load games in quicker.
Even sticking with tape-like solutions, there are several approaches:

1. "Fast-loader lead" (joyport cable with separate Data and Clock lines driven by the stereo channels) as used for Codemasters CD (1991 approx., still around anywhere BTW?): D.I.Y "Codemasters CD"
D.I.Y "Codemasters CD"

2. Speed-up in PC audio editor: Amstrad CPC CD Fast Load. Convert Cassette games into CD Fast Loading Games 464 6128 664
3. Open-source project to create speedloaders from files, for the tape port connected to a PC sound card's output - too late at night to remember the name right now, but someone surely will (as it's been discussed here before and also has a nice YouTube video somewhere).

Offline TotO

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Re: quicker loading
« Reply #5 on: 09:59, 04 May 12 »
They turn up on ebay (UK, DE, FR) regularly, sometimes alone, sometimes with FD-1 Floppy Drive, which usually goes for a bit more obviously. Here's one on offer with the drive: [ebay]230783587959[/ebay]

Bryce.
The best way to speed-up 464 loadings.
With that, he can plug 3.5" or HxC drives too. :)
And if he don't need the big 3" external floppy disc drive alone, it can be sold for 6128 users to save money.
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Offline arnoldemu

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Re: quicker loading
« Reply #6 on: 11:02, 04 May 12 »
I have an amstrad cpc464 and i would like to know how i can load games in quicker. Like use an SD card on some device and such.


Is there anything like that for the CPC464 at all and if so where can i get one from.
There are some sd-card devices which are being designed, these can help.
They connect to printer port.
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Offline MiguelSky

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Re: quicker loading
« Reply #7 on: 13:07, 04 May 12 »
3. Open-source project to create speedloaders from files, for the tape port connected to a PC sound card's output - too late at night to remember the name right now, but someone surely will (as it's been discussed here before and also has a nice YouTube video somewhere).
I think you mean the OTLA project otla - Tool for loading programs into vintage computers via their cassette and the video is this:
 Fast loading for Amstrad CPC

Offline morcar

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Re: quicker loading
« Reply #8 on: 20:24, 27 May 12 »
I think you mean the OTLA project otla - Tool for loading programs into vintage computers via their cassette and the video is this:
 Fast loading for Amstrad CPC


I could never get that to work for some reason as i always got the loader to work and then and error message when the data was being loaded.

Offline MiguelSky

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Re: quicker loading
« Reply #9 on: 21:45, 27 May 12 »
Did you tried the tips on the FAQs file?
Quote
For the  high speed loading must be finely adjust the volume (to calibrate
the best thing is to use testin screens (.hst)). Compare what you see on an
emulator with what you see on the actual machine.
 
VERY IMPORTANT deactive in digital players any strange equalization, 3D
effect, etc...

Offline morcar

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Re: quicker loading
« Reply #10 on: 00:39, 28 May 12 »
Did you tried the tips on the FAQs file?


yeah the program the faq is on about is for the zx spectrum only and all the effects are off on my pc

Offline ralferoo

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Re: quicker loading
« Reply #11 on: 13:36, 28 May 12 »
I could never get that to work for some reason as i always got the loader to work and then and error message when the data was being loaded.
A while back I was doing some experiments with loading, and I reckoned I could probably achieve about 4Kbits/s with some funky encoding with enough time left to do some kind of intro thing whilst loading, but kind of got distracted by other things and never finished that demo experiment.

At one point I did look at otla, and whilst I think it's true it's probably about the quickest it's possible to load data, I don't believe it'd ever survive transfer via a real tape (which was what I was interested in) and there are some questionable assumptions. The one that might well be tripping you up is that the code relies on the polarity of the bitstream, so you need a correctly wired up cable, whereas tape loaders generally only care about changing polarity.

Offline morcar

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Re: quicker loading
« Reply #12 on: 14:00, 28 May 12 »
One problem I have is when i try and load up Arkanoid 2 and Rainbow Islands.


I get to the loader to work but before the loading screen starts they always fail and either lock or resets the computer.


I have tried all types of settings and such and cant get these loaders to load anything.


I think they use Speedlock V2

Offline Cholo

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Re: quicker loading
« Reply #13 on: 16:34, 28 May 12 »
Shouldnt really try to speed up the protected games as they quite often depend on timing as well. An example is you may have noticed that the tape sometimes pauses (or not but still decrypts code) so if the game exspect a empty 4 second pause on the tape and it only gets 2 seconds it goes horrible wrong. This is quite often a trouble for 6128 users who try to load a protected game from tape using just a walkman (really need a proper datarecorder and a proper cable to be able to do that).

Probably should only try speed up loading with unprotected "block/record" games like Amsoft/Elite.

Saving fast = loading fast. Using the basic commands "SPEED WRITE 0" and "SPEED WRITE 1" will set either the "normal" slowest 1000 baud and the slightly faster 2000 baud. Alas this dosnt make the tape run faster, it just save back the data more squeezed together. Its actually possible set reliable "speeds" between 700 and 3600 baud yourself, but need to be done in machine code. What most people look for is probably the 3600 baud one that you can patch with a type-in like the one here (second last typein on that page):
&#9733 CPCRULEZ &#9733 CODING &#9733 LA BIBLE DU CPC 6128
&#9733 CPCRULEZ &#9733 CODING &#9733 LA BIBLE DU CPC 6128

Another way to "save faster" is by altering the block length (usually of the second block) to contain all the remaining data in one. Quite handy as removing all the pauses between blocks do count .. especially on the larger early games like Command with something like 23-24 blocks at 1000 baud converted to 2-3 blocks at 3600.

As you may have noticed most protected games also has few data parts as well and most probably run at 2000+ baud as well, so there isnt much speed gain from those.

If you really want to play a game but cant get the official one to load, you can try looking at the unofficial disk version instead. Most of the "cracked disc games" is infact just tape games being put on DSK so it would be easier to load in emulators etc. So you can simply try coping the files back to tape. Quite often the files is also labeled so you know what order they need to be saved like: Rainbow.bas, Rainbow0.bin, Rainbow2.bin, Rainbow3.bin etc.

If you want to fool around copying normal unprotected "block" tape data on your 464 i recommend JL-COPY program as it does both the 3600 baud and block altering. Also its quite easy to get hold of as its included on the Amstrad Action cover tape no. 22 and most people already have that tape or you can get it on Ebay for £0,5-1 easy (its the black one with the picture of a tank on it).

Of cause speeding up things is always at the cost of reliability .. and dont forget to add the time it takes to convert as well  :)

Offline ralferoo

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Re: quicker loading
« Reply #14 on: 16:56, 28 May 12 »
Another way to "save faster" is by altering the block length (usually of the second block) to contain all the remaining data in one.
I noticed that 2cdt offered support for generating this kind of cdt file and just put it down to some kind of weirdness. Is there any reason why a long second block would be preferred over a long single block?

Offline Cholo

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Re: quicker loading
« Reply #15 on: 17:57, 28 May 12 »
Well, im sure someone will post the real answer to why its in 2 blocks and not in just 1. Im purely guessing that its a basic software limitation .. like the usual RUN" command expect to load a block of "normal" size/lenght that contains the information about the remaining block(s). Doing some noughty poking around in the initial first block probably allows for setting the length/number of the next block(s).

I dont think its a hardware limitation as you can read/write quite lenghty "hearderless records" using the firmware or you can even access the hardware directly (both in machine code). Of cause doing this still require you doing a machine code loader first.

Also im guessing compatability/userfriendliness also is an issue .. the 2 block save dosnt require any additional knowledge of the user and its usually compatible with copy programs etc as it follow the "standard".
« Last Edit: 18:29, 28 May 12 by Cholo »

Offline trocoloco

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Re: quicker loading
« Reply #16 on: 18:03, 28 May 12 »
i have used a version of that program called 2cdt2 and it always creates CDTs of 2 blocks. I dont remember any game loading in one single block tho. If there is a way for a single block loading that i did not find out how to do it with this program.

The fastest i have got to load games is using compresed games from cngsoft's web and 3500 bauds, but on real tape at that speed, it fails quite often and the fastest possible is around 3200.

I tried otla as well but i only got to run Batman and 2 or 3 more games, for this of course I used an ipod nano and not a real tape
« Last Edit: 20:10, 28 May 12 by trocoloco »

Offline arnoldemu

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Re: quicker loading
« Reply #17 on: 19:50, 28 May 12 »
The 2 block method is compatible with the standard block loader. The reason there isn't 1 block is that the standard block loader doesn't support this but does allow any block after the first to be variable length.

I think there is also a restriction with the first block, it's best to use all 2k to maximize the storage.
I think the loader expects it to be at least 256 bytes long (because the operating system writes them this way with padding).

If you wanted 1 block you have to use "headerless" but then you need a file to load that, so you've not gained anything ;)
This method works as it is :)
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Offline morcar

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Re: quicker loading
« Reply #18 on: 22:13, 28 May 12 »
Another game i just found that stops me from playing it is ATV Simulator. Agin loader loads and then once it starts the loading screen it locks up.

Offline morcar

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Re: quicker loading
« Reply #19 on: 22:26, 28 May 12 »
I am getting pissed off with this  >:(

Offline mr_lou

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Re: quicker loading
« Reply #20 on: 23:23, 28 May 12 »
Another game i just found that stops me from playing it is ATV Simulator. Agin loader loads and then once it starts the loading screen it locks up.

If you are loading the games from your PC by simulating a tape, then I think the reason might be what Cholo describes.

Tape-games often loads e.g. a loader or a screen, then stops tape while it displays the loader or screen, then starts tape and loads on.
If you're playing the audio from your PC, obviously the "tape" isn't stopped. Instead the audio just keeps on playing, meaning the CPC will miss the beginning of the next data.

Offline morcar

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Re: quicker loading
« Reply #21 on: 03:59, 29 May 12 »
well i shuold be getting a brand new tape recorder as my old one was far too noisy when i used it to record. Fingers crossed

Offline McKlain

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Re: quicker loading
« Reply #22 on: 14:08, 29 May 12 »
Are you recording the .cdt images to real cassete tapes or are you using some kind of cassete adaptor like this one to load the games on the 464?



Offline morcar

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Re: quicker loading
« Reply #23 on: 14:25, 29 May 12 »
I tried both but my tape recorder is not very good and i am getting a better one soon

Offline McKlain

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Re: quicker loading
« Reply #24 on: 14:32, 29 May 12 »
You are going to change all the cassete mechanism? Wouldn't it be better to just get a new 464?