Online collections - TOSEC and others

Started by Petari, 16-08-2012, 14:34:25

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I had some mailing with ambitious persona, who wants to make some open-source, universal format for all medias (like floppies, CDs, tapes etc.). She DL-ed TOSEC, and now thinks that is good suplied with Atari SW.
And not onlyone - I think that most of people gets fascinated when sees huge number of images there ...

But what and how many programs we have really in TOSEC ?

I DL-ed complete lists. There is Atari ST STX img. section for instance. It has about 1600 entries (games part), so shallowly, we could think about 1600 games ... Very wrong. It is count of floppies, not games. Many multifloppy games + multiple versions of STX images. So, I estimate some 600 games STX imgs. there max.  Much less than on Atarimania.

Cracks, ST/MSA images:  there are almost all known menu disks, Vectronix and other cracks. And to make number of images even bigger they have same one with marking [a], b ...  Sometimes 4-5 versions of same ! What is difference ? - As I see bootsector sometimes - there is no or is some anti-virus code. Then may be version with trainer, or without. Etc.

With this approach, they have according to some sources 30000 Atari ST images  ???
While count of SW is hardly bigger than 5000.  OK, they say that included everything possible, for case of bad image/crk - then people can use another one ...
Yeah. If average person would have time to go through all those images ... Not to mention lack of knowledge and confusion with possible problems - is it bad crack, damaged image, TOS version problem, emulator problem, etc .... ????

Despite so many images, there is a lot of titles missing. Then, bad ones - like Son Shu Shi - in some 4 'versions' - all same cource.

After so many years passed, counting from let's say 1995, when people started to image Atari floppies, and aprox. arriving of PC Atari emulators, so floppy images too, Atari 'scene' and other 'preservationists' (Tosec) just did piling of everything available. Without checking things in many cases. With low knowledge, probably low quality HW. Instead detecting bad images, cracks, they just dragged them among, + added new data corruption.

So, it is time to sort things out. I have nothing against menu disks, intros, good cracks and similar. Who likes them may get really lot on WEB.
But I think that who deserves real credits and work preserved - are SW authors self.
There are some even more-less official efforts in that goal - like SPS : they demand Kryoflux images of all comercial SW distributed on floppies.
It is great, but I see many possible problems:  what about SW with 'manual protection' ?
How they think to run it without manuals ?
Policy about restricted usage will for sure not motivate much people to contribute.
Addirionally, I'm not sure that all images are (will be) 100% OK. Despite their claims about sophisticated error detections, all it may be theory in some cases. And without thorough testings of images (what means running SW) it will be just theory ...

So, I think that Pasti is in advance. And we are now really good with amount of SW pastified. Mostly thanx to Atarimania and Marakatti.

Still, some things told above stay for Pasti images too - like manual protection problem. But Atarimania cares about manual scans too.

My Atari ST Game Archive project is result of thoughts above. I will work more intensive in next months on it.



I think the original thinking behind "grab everything" in TOSEC (forgetting cracks for a minute) is that later someone could piece together full working version from 3-4 "bad images" of originals from different sources..

QuoteBut I think that who deserves real credits and work preserved - are SW authors self.
yes, and how to let others know this info - that is where GameBase helps (a little), and websites that "promote" random titles, like AtariLegend (and AtariMania? etc) - it requires other people to compile data for a given app/game and with only floppy or manual as source in most cases. Most people who floppy or manual are doing imaging or "run on HD" and "run on other hardware" so not interested.. (collecting info is boring work)

Remember that without cracks and compilations, TOSEC only have maybe 2000 SW at most.. and 1/4 of that would probably be "bad image" simply from age of disk or floppy drive (or user fault)

BTW I just got complete latest TOSEC (85Gb) (with Atari ST is 2011-09-31_CM) this month (Sept 2012). There is lot of new stuff from my other copy which is 2009 Atari ST only

Anyway, I like the work you are doing to clean up original images, there are not many willing to do it, or with proper tools, and then there is the knowledge required. Most people just dont have the time, or the skills.. so at least someone is doing something about it, even if main community BBS does not want to know about it. I have same prob with MiNT list - but then so did others "back in the day", including Eric Smith (I did read back list in 80/90s), so I not feel bad personally, just sad, cos they are missing out.

BTW I did not see any download for HAGA yet. Is it part of each (new) image you upload to ASTGA?

PS thanks for hard work on ST over the years (I have followed you for 5+ now)


Yes, the idea by TOSEC (and many others) was likely:  supply all available, and then people will find what is good and what is bad. All it just confirms that storage is cheap, and time is expensive  :)
But it is just not right way, not especially today. Nobody can check even 1% of all it thoroughly.

HAGA is function library. It is still under development -   I recently added couple new functions because of Dino Dini games. So, sources are not published yet. But you have HAGA executable in every newer hard disk adapt ZIP archive.
ASTGA is done mostly for floppy versions - STX and ST/MSA versions. There are of course links to hard disk adapts too.
I just found that it is worth to do parallel with hard disk version the floppy version too - while all it is in head. Because I like clean cracks - without intros and other crap. + some games have not really well made cracks + there  may be some new trainers, cheats.