Author Topic: Atari ST Game Archive  (Read 2614 times)

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Offline Petari

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Atari ST Game Archive
« on: 30-07-2011, 14:46:28 »
This project started long time ago, was offline for couple months, now is again on.

The reasons for, background:
There is a lot of Atari ST games available on WEB currently. It seems that legal problems exist not, or at least nobody takes down sites with old SW, called often abandonware. So, we have Planetemu, TheGameArchives.com with 'ROM's for old popular micros, + some sites with Atari ST only content. There are mostly pirate versions of games. On some sites we see only STX images (Atarimania). There is GameBase ST - 4.5 GB with over 2000 games, pics, manuals, hints etc.
Someone may say: 'what more you want then ?'   :)
Well, I want for sure more:  I want games self, not pirate greetings and spittings, intros. I want intact games, not pirate messages in middle of game and even on pictures. I want proper sized floppy images (big part of existing ones is oversized). I don't want 3-6 versions of same game, which differ only in cracker (or cracker listed only !). Versions which work on all TOS versions, and if possible on TT and Falcon. Big part of older cracks fails on higher TOS versions, mostly because of dirty coding or some crazy ideas (using TOS workspace as buffer and similar).

Diverse people prefer diverse gaming, diverse sources. So, some say that only original is right thing, that cracks are often bad. For sure, there is some truth in it. But by my experiences, not much cracks are really bad. Under 10%, more likely under 5%.
Some prefer playing only on real HW, and from hard disk. I think that need for hard disk installability is normal in 2011. And such adaptations make playing easier even on emulators (for those who listen) .

I'll try to do some comparison -  pros and contras here:

Original:  needs original floppy or exact copy.     Pros: reliable, legal, fair.
   Contras:  can not buy, except second hand. Expensive. Protections may not work on higher TOS versions (many fail on TOS 2.06, and only protection part).   There is 'manual' protection often in games  etc.

Almost original (Pasti):  Pros:  Reliable pretty much, can make images on stock Atari. A lot of DL-able.
  Contras:  closed specs, not writeable, usable only in emulators, future questonable, images often oversized. Author is not cooperative or even helpful. Little more below ...

Cracks:  Pros:  almost all games cracked and DL-able. May be with trainers, cheats etc. Space usage is usually low.
  Contras:  may load slow (depackings) , many blah and braging inside, game may be incomplete, spoiled with stoopid pirate messages in middle of play, bad work with newer TOS versions, etc.

Hard disk adapts:  Pros:  most comfortable usage, speed. Usually Falcon, TT support etc.
  Contras:  limited game count. Usage sometimes not too simple. Not all tested thoroughly , etc.


I want archive with 3 main versions of game:  exact copy of original, cracked + trained  &  hard disk installable.

Pasti, as practically only way for having copy of original is biggest problem here.
We need specs, so can test for instance, is Pasti format was necessary - may be that ST is good for. And I know a lot of such, really.
Then, size of images is often too big. It is not good for hosting - WEBspace still costs.
But biggest problem with Pasti is lack of any will to cooperate, give some help, specs - by it's author. Many people asked, and we have almost nothing. I don't believe in usual excuses about having not time and similar. He could give some draft with main details, and people 'having time' could do some support. Luckily, there is good spec of Pasti format on Markus Fritze's site. Surely incomplete, but I guess that it was not easy task.

At this point, I'm to not hosting Pasti images. Future is very questionable (write support in first place). Who wants them, may find a lot on Atarimania. But I done some SW for reducing oversized STX images + conversion STX > STT for some protections. It works with games like Virus, Space Ace, Dragon's Lair. Unfortunately many of them is not writeable with PC, there is too much data on tracks. Even with HxC works not. With so much problems right at start, only reasonable thing is to forget it.
Actually, whole Game Archive project is depending on interest and cooperation. If there will be silence, I'll abort it, and will remove.



« Last Edit: 02-08-2011, 17:43:41 by Petari »


Offline munchy

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Re: Atari ST Game Archive
« Reply #1 on: 06-08-2011, 16:52:38 »
Having read the above post i thought i would give my thoughts.

Like most i have used the menu disks and find them quite fascinating,for me it is like looking through a window into the 1980s,early 90s,a bit of history and enjoyed the artwork and tunes that accompanied them and of course also the games.This is where image runner is great.

My preferred choice of playing a game is a hard disk adaptation particularly with gamex because of its versatility and ease of use and i prefer original hardware + ultrasatan

So im looking at both from a different perspective,but for actual game playing these days most definitely an hd adaptation it is a natural progression and shows this platform is still being used creatively.

As far as the game archive is concerned i have not come across better.For me the boxscans hd adapt and usually instructions included is as close as it gets unless i want to buy a second hand 20 year old original floppy from ebay,which i dont.

It would be nice to hear a few other opinions :)









 
« Last Edit: 06-08-2011, 22:50:07 by munchy »

Offline Anemos

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Re: Atari ST Game Archive
« Reply #2 on: 06-08-2011, 23:18:30 »
After the loved ZX spectrum 48+,  Atari-STF 1040 was the next computer I bought used from a friend.
I remember the nice Atari games and sounds, later I bought a hard drive wanted to put games and run from there, but in vain .. few games running from the disk.
By the way adaptation @ ppera,is cool and big  project.
Now of course i prefer to run the games from the Hdd, having only 10-20 floppy disks just for the memories,and for testing the drive some times ;).
The case ultrasatadisk was great for all Atari users, who was forced before to buy only megafile,or similar Hdd only, dysfunctional, large in volume, and a small MB.
For the above mention of Petari , I think I agree with his thinking..
My system: Atari STE 4MB, OS: SuperTOS 2.06, HD: US/disk 4gb SDcard ,ppera v0.98 HD drivers, USB mouse adapter by me, PSX controller joy adapter by me,  full list of adaption,s games by Petari.
Second Atari machine: 1040 STF
Other: 2X Lilliput Atari 130 XE

Offline Petari

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Re: Atari ST Game Archive
« Reply #3 on: 08-08-2011, 10:58:15 »
The idea with Archive is to give for everyone something, if possible. So, hard disk adapts for owners. Floppy versions for beginners, or those who want not to buy hard disk. Floppy versions are good for HxC floppy emulator too. And not only them - some STT files can work only via HxC because lot of data on them. There is Pasti as usable only with emulators - and it is aimed for those who want to play 'originals'. I know that there are some bad cracks around, but forcing Pasti is not my case. Anyway, I will post Pasti images too. There is Pasti support in HxC too, but very limited. Most of things works not. One reason is that track image in Pasti files is not good for emulator. And we have many such protections.

Other reason why I deal with Pasti and floppy images is:  things found and solved by doing hard disk adaptation may be used in floppy versions, and even in Pasti 'originals' (as is often called). 
Best that I tell recent adaptation of  Alien World - will see why is good to do some things in same time :
So, I took STX (Pasti) image of Alien World and started with doing hard disk adapt. Among others, it requires removing of copy protection. This game has track image based protection. Some special track formatting is used, so copy programs can not recreate it. So, I knew which track is protected. It helps to make smaller Pasti image - by removing all unnecessary track images, and keeping only sector datas for those tracks. With this I shrinked Pasti image from 1.3 MB to 800KB, without loosing any data what is needed for playing game complete. Protection is there too, of course.
Then, as game is very hard I added unlimited lives option. Same is welcome in floppy version: so, I added small code and user may select unlimited lives at start. I did STT format for floppy because want it to be close to original. Doing ST format would require more work too, as this game uses some special sector sizes.
Of course, most work was with hard disk adapt, but just little plus time invested results in smaller STX file, and floppy version with cheat.
Btw. cheat is very important - if you want to test what did, especially with games hard like this. So, I played it until end in some 30 minutes. It was not boring - different levels, enemies. scrolling. And now I know that no errors made. It comfirms that Pasti image with removed track images is also good, and no some hidden protection which may activating in later game stage.

Offline Petari

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Re: Atari ST Game Archive
« Reply #4 on: 17-08-2011, 11:02:27 »
How I imagined it may se here:  http://atari.8bitchip.info/ASTGA/B/badcomp.php

There is 4 DL : Pasti,  ST with unlimited lives, hard disk installable + even preview vers. of game. So, for everybody's taste something.
Maybe by time there will be IPF images too.