Friday, 27 September 2013

Hatari - A brief guide (on a mac)

I keep hearing good things about Hatari, especially with respect to faithful emulation.  So finally I have a little chance to try something which to me is new.

So the brief guide:

  • Use the latest version of Hatari. I used the official download, which also has mac editions (v1.7.0, released june 2013). Official website.
  • Use the standard settings for an ordinary 68000 (8mhz, 2mb, 'more compatible cpu'), lets not get fancy and it complains if the rom won't work with the processor.
  • And use a standard official atari rom. I used 1.62 for an ste (because I owned one when I was younger)
  • If you have floppy images, use .msa or .st format.  .dsk files are of no use, and getting them converted on a mac is difficult.. alternatively...
  • Build a floppy disk using its own utilities.  Leave .img in the file extension even though it complains.  These can be mounted onto a mac using disk utilities. (or mount by right clicking and use disk image mounter)  Use the command prompt and 'open /Volumes/Untitled/' to get a window on the desktop.
  • Copy files off the internet onto the mounted disk image.  Expect the mac side to add unnecessary files (with ~ and trash in the name).  These can be deleted using the (mac) terminal eg; cd '/Volumes/Untitled'; rm -rf .Trashes/ ._* .Trashes/ ._.Trashes .fseventsd/
  • Unmount the disk using Disk Utilities (or if you see it on the desktop, drag to trash)
  • Rename it as and add back to Hatari (Insert disk 'A').
I tried this with neochrome master.  It worked perfectly with the correct rom.  And I eventually figured out how to right click on a mac.  Neochrome and other games (Turrican) demonstrate how often the atari uses a palette change half way down the screen.  This is why emulation is hard.

More advanced... (hard disk images)

I wanted to use a hard disk image like other emulators -- Mostly I failed, however...
from here: there is a smallish (approx 100 meg) download that contains 3 partitions, the first of which contains a few games* to test* your emulator with.
I added the file under Hatari, under Hard Disks, in ACSI HD image, selected the 1GB.img from the rar downloaded, and ticked 'boot from hd'.  When you boot there is a plaintext screen which lets you select which drive is 'C' (leave it as 'C', as D and E were blank for me)
If you choose emutos instead, you don't get this boot screen (even with 'patch TOS for faster boot' deselected), but you can still see drive 'C' and so see if any games work with emutos.  Mostly these games have been 'modified' and have a spectrum 512 opening screen, so unlikely to work with 68040, faster cpu etc.
*Well to be fair its plenty of games, and its a serious project making those games compatible with running from a single hard drive.  And it can take some time to completely finish testing a game... so many thanks to P Putnik.

Playing the games... (aka the keyboard)

I don't have a joystick that I can use with my laptop, so keyboard acting as joystick will have to do.  You need to configure ST Joystick '1', and probably leave ST Joystick '0' unconfigured.  I had trouble getting it to recognise 'left shift' as a button press, so configured 'left control' instead.   I don't know how it decides whether to send a keypress or a joystick press, but the default is to use the arrow keys, so you might want to disable that if you're using a word-processor..

Alternative editions...

I also tried a smaller custom build ( that lets you change the cpu speed up to 128 mhz (and back down again, without a reset).  The ACSI hard drive mounting still works (it is called 'HD image').  It reported itself as being version 1.2.0 from Feb 2009, with a 4mb filesize.  This one has a smaller screen and even full screen mode isn't very big (Preference: 'Zoom ST-low rez' fixes this).  Obviously, some games are unplayable like this.
And I tried a 1.6.1 version with a Jan 2012 timestamp, ( which seemed to have a bug in that you couldn't actually set the ACSI hard drive location, so it just stayed blank in the preference screen.  The existing config still worked, but it was frustrating as this was the first hatari I tried.

And one more thing...

So having understood what worked and didn't, I tried swapping out the acsi and swapping in an img, and swapping out an ste rom for an emutos rom and swapping the 68000 for a 68040, and adding more ram..
and an img I got about half way (no mouse, crashes easily) with was from but I wonder if there's a better version out there.
So what I'm saying is that the .img format is supported and works.. Its just a case of finding a .img example that works well for my purposes: installing an os that then supports ext2 or some other common compatible large file format.
.. to follow up for next time : basically saying which parts of freemint to use for a standard 68000.

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