Sam the Little Spaceman

Anything QL Software or Programming Related.
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Chr$
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Sam the Little Spaceman

Postby Chr$ » Wed Jul 29, 2020 9:54 pm

Sam the Little Spaceman by Aholasoft of Finnland. Is it really MIA?

I appear to have a working (but non original) copy that I have successfully recovered today.

sam_little_spaceman1.jpg


Collector of original and some newer QL related computers, accessories and software even though I don't understand how any of them work.
Original BBQL's: 3x German, 1x UK model (plus quite a bit of other old stuff)
Custom AT cased QL system with Gold Card, Qimi mouse, Hermes and MFM HDD
PC with QXLII card installed
Q68 also present

Ask me about near NOS re-felted good quality Microdrive Carts - many available.
RWAP
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Re: Sam the Little Spaceman

Postby RWAP » Wed Jul 29, 2020 10:05 pm

Excellent news...

It has been missing for many years - the author actually allowed me to make copies and distribute them in the UK back in the day, but I don't know what happened to my disk. You can tell whether it is the original version or the one I updated by seeing if it runs on extra memory - the original basically patched a direct memory address for the fonts and was hit and miss whether it worked as a result!

So far as I am concerned this can be released as freeware - it was originally being sold by the author for the cost of the microdrive cart (£5)


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Chr$
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Re: Sam the Little Spaceman

Postby Chr$ » Wed Jul 29, 2020 10:57 pm

Ok, well sharing is caring as they say. Attachment is a zipped (in windows) .mdv image.

It was a tough one to recover as mdump reported problems etc, but it seems to work fine in QemuLator. It does indeed only run with 128k and if there is more RAM it attempts to restart after a prompt.

I've updated the qlwiki page:

https://qlwiki.qlforum.co.uk/doku.php?i ... e_spaceman
Attachments
LITTLSAM.zip
(58.15 KiB) Downloaded 42 times


Collector of original and some newer QL related computers, accessories and software even though I don't understand how any of them work.
Original BBQL's: 3x German, 1x UK model (plus quite a bit of other old stuff)
Custom AT cased QL system with Gold Card, Qimi mouse, Hermes and MFM HDD
PC with QXLII card installed
Q68 also present

Ask me about near NOS re-felted good quality Microdrive Carts - many available.
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M68008
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Re: Sam the Little Spaceman

Postby M68008 » Wed Jul 29, 2020 11:53 pm

The bad sectors in this image seem to be all unused, so it's fine.


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bwinkel67
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Re: Sam the Little Spaceman

Postby bwinkel67 » Thu Jul 30, 2020 12:03 am

Chr$ wrote:Ok, well sharing is caring as they say. Attachment is a zipped (in windows) .mdv image.

It was a tough one to recover as mdump reported problems etc, but it seems to work fine in QemuLator. It does indeed only run with 128k and if there is more RAM it attempts to restart after a prompt.

I've updated the qlwiki page:

https://qlwiki.qlforum.co.uk/doku.php?i ... e_spaceman


Got it to boot up in Q-emuLator though I only have the demo version. For some reason it let me do that even though is says it will only run the provided demo program. It did do a reboot (not sure if it said it saw more than 128K) and upon the next F2 press the game loaded.

However, vDrive and QLAY2 all see it as a corrupt MDV image as they generally seem to like theirs 172KB in size not 159KB. I tried copying it to a blank MDV image but the demo version of Q-emulator won't let that. I also tried QLAYK's 64 bit version of qlayt.exe and it informs that the FileLength is not correct and exits.

Could you throw them all into a zip file as well, would love to see it work on my original QL? Or, is there anoter PC utility program other than qlayt.exe that reads MDV?


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M68008
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Re: Sam the Little Spaceman

Postby M68008 » Thu Jul 30, 2020 12:25 am

bwinkel67 wrote:However, vDrive and QLAY2 all see it as a corrupt MDV image as they generally seem to like theirs 172KB in size not 159KB.


The mdump utility creates microdrive images in a format different from the QLay one. For example, it includes multiple copies of bad sectors in case this can help data recovery later.

The mdump format is supported by Q-emuLator and by the vDrive. On other systems, you can access them through the MDI driver (available on this page: http://www.dilwyn.me.uk/utils/index.html).


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bwinkel67
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Re: Sam the Little Spaceman

Postby bwinkel67 » Thu Jul 30, 2020 1:24 am

M68008 wrote:
bwinkel67 wrote:However, vDrive and QLAY2 all see it as a corrupt MDV image as they generally seem to like theirs 172KB in size not 159KB.


The mdump utility creates microdrive images in a format different from the QLay one. For example, it includes multiple copies of bad sectors in case this can help data recovery later.

The mdump format is supported by Q-emuLator and by the vDrive. On other systems, you can access them through the MDI driver (available on this page: http://www.dilwyn.me.uk/utils/index.html).


Thank you. So vDrive does not seem to support the mdump MDV image format. However, I got confused with Q-emulator and didn't realize there were three modes (I thought there were only demo and full). So I was able to copy the contents of the mdump MDV image into a Windows directory and then was able to create QLAY2 working directory via qlayt.exe and in turn a vDrive working image via QLAY2.

Here is a zip file containing the individual files with boot and load_sam2 mapped to MDV1_ and this works on Q-emuLator with the extracted directory pointed to by its first drive (representing MDV1_).

LITTLSAM.zip <-- removed

Unfortunately I haven't been able to get this to work on either QLAY2 (even once I have copied it to a QLAY2 supported MDV image and have it loaded in MDV1_) or on my JSU (US NTSC) QL with vDrive, with image in MDV8_ and both boot and load_sam2 pointing to that drive number. I briefly looked through all the rest of the files, including the binaries, and found so sign of a hardcoded path (i.e. MDV1_) so not sure why it's not working. I'll investigate the clone program to see if that lets you use a drive other than MDV1_.


ADDENDUM: I uploaded new zip file and changed file extensions to "_" under Windows so when you extract it doesn't substitute with "." so Q-emuLator will work.

LITTLSAM.zip
(37.87 KiB) Downloaded 35 times
Last edited by bwinkel67 on Thu Jul 30, 2020 2:29 am, edited 9 times in total.


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M68008
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Re: Sam the Little Spaceman

Postby M68008 » Thu Jul 30, 2020 2:12 am

That's weird, in general vDrive does support the mdump format and converts it on the fly to the simpler QLay format it uses internally at runtime.


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vanpeebles
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Re: Sam the Little Spaceman

Postby vanpeebles » Thu Jul 30, 2020 6:04 am

Wow! I’ve wanted to play this for years!


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bwinkel67
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Re: Sam the Little Spaceman

Postby bwinkel67 » Thu Jul 30, 2020 8:16 am

So it looks like the game will run on JSU ROM. I switched the JS ROM to the JSU ROM on the Q-emuLator and got it to work. I believe the game needs to start from MDV1_. I looked through all the binary code and couldn't find any reference to devices but it will not work from MDV2_ onward. I also tried FLP1_ and that didn't work either. The clone program makes a copy of the game and it does ask which device to boot from but then only modifies boot and load_sam2 and changing to anything other than MDV1_ causes it not to load, so not sure how useful the clone program is.

I haven't looked through it in a HEX editor. I did hack the Tanks game back in the 90's to work with a US NTSC TV (to stop it auto-switching to monitor mode) and I recall having to step through it with a debugger (I still have the debugger) to figure out when it was switching screens. I suppose if I get some time I can do that here as well.

RWAP wrote:You can tell whether it is the original version or the one I updated
Since you had patched it before, do you have any insight?



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