Emulating Hardware Add-Ons

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Bill B
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Emulating Hardware Add-Ons

Post by Bill B » 28 Feb 2014 15:05

I may regret raising this, however ...

I have been following the discussion of Martin Allcorn's MAGROM, and was idly contemplating what would be involved in adding it to MEMU. I wasn't sure whether it added enough to be worthwhile as MEMU can already run all the games. But that lead to the idea of a a loadable module (DLL) interface for adding emulators for any add-on hardware, without overloading the basic MEMU.

The loadable module interface would need to provide support for:

* Responding to Z80 in and out instructions on ports of interest to the module.
* Optionally receiving memory read and write requests to addresses of interest.
* Generating interrupts.
* Access to configuration parameters.

Andy, any thoughts on the idea?

Bill.

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Dave
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Re: Emulating Hardware Add-Ons

Post by Dave » 28 Feb 2014 22:47

Hi Bill,

I had wondered whether adding MAGROM was possible, but sort of decided that t would be hard to justify asking someone to do it, but, if you are considering it ........
My thoughts on the subject .....

Pros
Keeping MEMU "fully featured", emulating as much hardware, Memotech or otherwise, as possible

Rapid loading of games in the MAGROM, one key selection, even with your Launcher, the user would still need to do a little more work to select each game

Cons
The effort required ?
The games are already available
Limited uptake - would people (apart from me) use it?

Regards
Dave

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AndyKey
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Re: Emulating Hardware Add-Ons

Post by AndyKey » 01 Mar 2014 12:05

On the plus side, I think its an interesting idea.
On the minus side, as you say, probably of limited interest to most.

There is a trade off: the cost of a general API makes sense if there are lots of new hardware devices in the pipeline. If there are few enough that the interesting ones get adopted naturally by MEMU (eg: Speculator), then makes less sense.
How many devices, not covered by MEMU, is there a need for?
{{{ Andy

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AndyKey
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Re: Emulating Hardware Add-Ons

Post by AndyKey » 01 Mar 2014 12:15

By the way, I'm not suggesting MAGROM isn't interesting.
But clearly, people can lay their hands on the real thing.
And the games can be played on MEMU already.
Speculator was more interesting, as they appear to be rarer than red MTXs, and having one enables 20 new Spectrum games (or more if Tonys source reconstruction goes well and decides to make new tapes for Einstein Speculator games).

We have no shortage of (good) ideas.
Its just a matter of sorting by effort/reward/practicality...
{{{ Andy

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Dave
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Re: Emulating Hardware Add-Ons

Post by Dave » 01 Mar 2014 14:01

AndyKey wrote:How many devices, not covered by MEMU, is there a need for?
That depends on how many hardware devices that you and Martin have in the pipeline :lol:

- not to mention the Kelly materialiser that Inaki has in development (I wish he would hurry up with that one!)

regards
Dave

Bill B
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Re: Emulating Hardware Add-Ons

Post by Bill B » 01 Mar 2014 17:58

I tend to agree with Andy's assessment - an interesting idea to keep in the back of the mind when considering further additions to MEMU, rather than something immediate. I want to get the GUI Launcher reasonably finished before embarking on any more Memotech projects, then MEMU-Pi needs revisiting ... and summer is coming.

Sorry Dave, don't hold your breath on this one. Also, doesn't Gamebase provide similar functionality?

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Dave
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Re: Emulating Hardware Add-Ons

Post by Dave » 01 Mar 2014 23:36

Hi Bill,

as I said, I wouldn't of mentioned it, but you did ask :-)

but yes, Gamebase pretty much achieves the same thing.

I know, I'll head off and hassle Paul for an update instead :lol:

regards
Davd

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Re: Emulating Hardware Add-Ons

Post by Martin A » 02 Mar 2014 01:17

Dave wrote:That depends on how many hardware devices that you and Martin have in the pipeline
The latest thing I've made, the external Rom2 board, Andy already has in Memu.

As much as I would like for him to program in a 6502 co-processor emulator,(to make writing the driver software easier). I don't think the effort involved is worth it. :!:

Bill B
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Re: Emulating Hardware Add-Ons

Post by Bill B » 02 Mar 2014 09:50

Dave, the idea is interesting, and may well get done at some time, for no better reason than that. Just not soon.

If you take the idea to its logical extreme, then all the Memotech hardware becomes add-ons and the basic software is just a bare Z80 processor.It could then potentially be used to emulate whatever Lez Anderson is planning do build. (Also, with the correct add-on hardware modules, a few incidentals like a ZX80/81, Spectrum, Jupier Ace ... :) ).

What Martin needs is a similarly stripped down version of a BBC emulator (or Apple II ?). And no, I am not volenteering for that.

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Dave
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Re: Emulating Hardware Add-Ons

Post by Dave » 02 Mar 2014 13:56

Bill B wrote:Dave, the idea is interesting, and may well get done at some time, for no better reason than that. Just not soon.

If you take the idea to its logical extreme, then all the Memotech hardware becomes add-ons and the basic software is just a bare Z80 processor.It could then potentially be used to emulate whatever Lez Anderson is planning do build. (Also, with the correct add-on hardware modules, a few incidentals like a ZX80/81, Spectrum, Jupier Ace ... :) ).

What Martin needs is a similarly stripped down version of a BBC emulator (or Apple II ?). And no, I am not volenteering for that.
That's just what Martin has in mind :-)

Martin and I are discussing what "MTXPlus" will look like, we'll let you have the details in due course for inclusion in MEMU :lol:
But then of course, it would be more than a Memotech emulator, and would need a new acronym as it would be an emulator for multiple systems - if you like, a Super MEMU. We could call it MESS!
mmm, why has nobody else though of that? :-)

regards
Dave

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