Simon Sorcerer CD32 - works in SVM but not WinUAE or Amiga?

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crazyzeke
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Simon Sorcerer CD32 - works in SVM but not WinUAE or Amiga?

Post by crazyzeke » Tue Oct 27, 2009 5:57 pm

First of all, great work with the ScummVM system all you coders. I've been using the software for years and have slowly watched it go from a cute little green screen app to a proper one-stop adventure game engine. I use the latest versions on my PC and sometimes an older build that was ported to the Xbox 1 - it's amusing to see Curse of Monkey Island running on my widescreen TV!

I have the CD32 talkie version of Simon the Sorcerer 1 and I'm trying to get it running within WinUAE, with a view to installing in on a real Amiga 1200 for some retro gaming if I can make it load. It runs near-perfectly under ScummVM, and with a little tweaking as a CD32 emulation using DaemonTools so I think the version I have isn't corrupted.

Sadly I can't get it running from the ISO CD image in A1200 mode. If I copy all the files to a virtual HD it still doesn't run, even when booting with no startup-sequence, messing with assigns and so forth. It just loads a partially black screen over the existing Amiga window, and either crashes (software failure) or just disappears after a second or two (when trying from workbench).

Now, this is actually a reverse question - getting a game that works on ScummVM working on the original platform rather than vice versa. I suppose it's a WinUAE question but as the developers managed to get this working in SVM I wondered if they had some tips, or if any other knowledgable types could point me in the right direction.

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md5
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Post by md5 » Tue Oct 27, 2009 6:30 pm

Out of curiosity... since this game is working fine under ScummVM, why are you trying to run it using an emulator?

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Post by timofonic » Tue Oct 27, 2009 6:36 pm


crazyzeke
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Post by crazyzeke » Tue Oct 27, 2009 6:41 pm

md5 wrote:Out of curiosity... since this game is working fine under ScummVM, why are you trying to run it using an emulator?
I'm running tests using WinUAE to see if A1200 hardware can run the game, even if it requires patching etc. The goal is get an old "vanilla" (read: unexpanded) A1200 to run the game from hard drive, along with a bunch of others I've installed, to use it for retro gaming. I'd simply use ScummVM's Amiga port but a stock 1200 unit doesn't meet the minimum spec required.

With WinUAE it seems to rely on the CD32's Kickstart and Extended (Akiko) ROM. I'm trying to see if I can substitute this somehow, to allow it to run on a stock A1200 config.

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bobdevis
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Post by bobdevis » Tue Oct 27, 2009 9:34 pm

Sooo, you want software that is meant for the (earlier) Amiga1200 to run on the (later) AmigaCD32?

The specs on the Wikipedia pages look remarkably similar, but there is this this quote from the Kickstart page;
Kickstart was stored in 256 kB ROM chips for releases prior to AmigaOS 2.0 with later releases using 512 kB ROM chips containing additional and improved functionality. The Amiga CD32 featured a 1 MB ROM (Kickstart 3.1) with additional firmware and an integrated file system for CD-ROM.
So aside from the CD-ROM, chances are some other part of that 1MB firmware happens to be needed for Simon the Sorcerer.
You kind of already figured this out because an emulated CD32 runs the game perfectly and an emulated 1200 crashes completely.


Wow man. Good luck. It doesn't sound like this is remotely easy to do.

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Raziel
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Post by Raziel » Wed Oct 28, 2009 9:49 am

crazyzeke wrote:
md5 wrote:Out of curiosity... since this game is working fine under ScummVM, why are you trying to run it using an emulator?
I'm running tests using WinUAE to see if A1200 hardware can run the game, even if it requires patching etc. The goal is get an old "vanilla" (read: unexpanded) A1200 to run the game from hard drive, along with a bunch of others I've installed, to use it for retro gaming. I'd simply use ScummVM's Amiga port but a stock 1200 unit doesn't meet the minimum spec required.

With WinUAE it seems to rely on the CD32's Kickstart and Extended (Akiko) ROM. I'm trying to see if I can substitute this somehow, to allow it to run on a stock A1200 config.
It won't work anywhere else than under WinUAE, believe me, i tried

As you said, WinUAE features a near perfect emulation of the CD32, any other platform/software/emulation doesn't.

I made it work years back on my A4000 with the CD32 emulation that came with AsimCDFS, but even then one had to extremely tweak the system (no ss, all caches off, reduced CHIP mem etc.) that the game itself ran slow and still crashed in parts.

This baby was soo harware bound that it was a nightmare...

crazyzeke
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Post by crazyzeke » Wed Oct 28, 2009 4:19 pm

bobdevis wrote:Sooo, you want software that is meant for the (earlier) Amiga1200 to run on the (later) AmigaCD32?
Other way round - the CD32 version is the original game expanded with speech, more colours and the animations are a little faster so the game is more fun to play. I figured since the CD32 is basically an A1200 with CD drive instead of floppy the hardware _might_ be compatible, if tweaked somewhat.
bobdevis wrote:The specs on the Wikipedia pages look remarkably similar, but there is this this quote from the Kickstart page;
I was worried this meant the Kickstart was 1MB and the Akiko custom chip an additional 512kb, but both of them are 512kb.

bobdevis wrote:So aside from the CD-ROM, chances are some other part of that 1MB firmware happens to be needed for Simon the Sorcerer.

You kind of already figured this out because an emulated CD32 runs the game perfectly and an emulated 1200 crashes completely.

Wow man. Good luck. It doesn't sound like this is remotely easy to do.
Yeah, I've tried various combinations of ROMs to get the game to boot... for example keeping the Akiko ROM on while changing the kickstart to an A1200 version or keeping the CD32 kickstart and removing the Akiko. Game won't boot without both CD32 ROMs present.
Raziel wrote:It won't work anywhere else than under WinUAE, believe me, i tried

As you said, WinUAE features a near perfect emulation of the CD32, any other platform/software/emulation doesn't.

I made it work years back on my A4000 with the CD32 emulation that came with AsimCDFS, but even then one had to extremely tweak the system (no ss, all caches off, reduced CHIP mem etc.) that the game itself ran slow and still crashed in parts.

This baby was soo harware bound that it was a nightmare...
I think you're right about that. On an emulation of the original hardware, before Simon boots it brings up the "AMIGA CD32" loading animation where the CD32 part spins around and then pans left off the screen. This must be a visual representation of the game making specific custom chip calls that cannot be emulated easily.

WHDLoad is out of the question; I don't think there's a version for this game and even if there was, what with the speech you'd need an expanded machine with 350MB RAM free to preload it! I'm not sure expansion boards that could take more than 256MB in two SIMMs were ever made, and even if they were the expense of such antiquated and rare tech would be really prohibitive!

I think it's basically impossible to do this without a real or emulated CD32, which was what I suspected. You guys have been really helpful in giving me some clues as to why this is, way better than the myriad of other posts I've read on various other forums, which is appreciated.

Anyway, something else I noticed while fooling around: the game seems IDENTICAL in either WinUAE with full CD32 emulation or the latest release of ScummVM, which I found impressive. In fact the ScummVM version is better because it's less CPU intensive, isn't letterboxed like it was on the original hardware and you get the benefits of using pixel upscaling routines like HQ2x.

I would be fascinated to know just how the ScummVM team managed to get Simon CD32 running so well, seeing as it's nearly impossible to get a smooth emulation even on similar Amiga hardware. Is it something to do with the similarities of the AGOS and SCUMM engines? I'm assuming that it ignores the original executable file as it would for other games like Monkey Island?

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md5
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Post by md5 » Wed Oct 28, 2009 11:54 pm

crazyzeke wrote:I would be fascinated to know just how the ScummVM team managed to get Simon CD32 running so well, seeing as it's nearly impossible to get a smooth emulation even on similar Amiga hardware. Is it something to do with the similarities of the AGOS and SCUMM engines? I'm assuming that it ignores the original executable file as it would for other games like Monkey Island?
Well, in ScummVM the original executable of each game is rewritten. ScummVM does not aim to emulate the original platform that a specific game was written for (e.g. DOS, Amiga etc), but it aims to have the code in the original executable rewritten so that it runs on a variety of platforms. On the other hand, the goal of an emulator (and ScummVM is NOT an emulator) is to emulate the original platform that a specific game ran under (e.g. the Amiga 1200).

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Post by nolange » Thu Oct 29, 2009 1:45 am

There are a couple patches and guides for CD32 games(no idea how good they work). If you are really dedicated then the CD32 Games Install Kit would be an option. Maybe you can find some free patches/guides on Aminet. I gave up looking at this stuff years ago

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bobdevis
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Post by bobdevis » Thu Oct 29, 2009 6:43 am

md5 wrote:
crazyzeke wrote:I would be fascinated to know just how the ScummVM team managed to get Simon CD32 running so well, seeing as it's nearly impossible to get a smooth emulation even on similar Amiga hardware. Is it something to do with the similarities of the AGOS and SCUMM engines? I'm assuming that it ignores the original executable file as it would for other games like Monkey Island?
Well, in ScummVM the original executable of each game is rewritten. ScummVM does not aim to emulate the original platform that a specific game was written for (e.g. DOS, Amiga etc), but it aims to have the code in the original executable rewritten so that it runs on a variety of platforms. On the other hand, the goal of an emulator (and ScummVM is NOT an emulator) is to emulate the original platform that a specific game ran under (e.g. the Amiga 1200).
This is kind of an recurring confusion (what is ScummVM exactly?) and I guess it is kind of confusing for novice people.
Allow me to explain this with a power-pointy slide. I guess it will clear some stuff up for some.
Image

fingolfin
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Post by fingolfin » Thu Oct 29, 2009 8:56 am

Pretty cool diagram, where's that from? :)

This would be useful addition to our Wiki (although I believe it could be touched up a bit, in terms of color choices and the font rendering).

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bobdevis
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Post by bobdevis » Thu Oct 29, 2009 10:04 am

I just did this in Inkscape.
You are totally free to rip this off and make your own version.
Or you can let me know what you want changed exactly and I'll see if I can make that happen.

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md5
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Post by md5 » Thu Oct 29, 2009 10:45 am

Some minor observations: it's "Bochs", and "supported" (in the ScummVM column). Great work overall

fingolfin
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Post by fingolfin » Thu Oct 29, 2009 11:41 am

bobdevis wrote:I just did this in Inkscape.
You are totally free to rip this off and make your own version.
Or you can let me know what you want changed exactly and I'll see if I can make that happen.
Well, the font rendering is pretty bad, this is very visible in the "M" at the end of "ScummVM", where the right vertical stroke is much thinner than the left one. Looks as if a font or a font renderer is used which doesn't support font hinting. As a result, the text has an overall jaggy and uneven look. Another example is the uppercase "E" in "Every supprted game" (BTW, note the typo) which looks much thicker (and hence darker, heavier) than say the lower case "e" right after it.

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bobdevis
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Post by bobdevis » Thu Oct 29, 2009 1:31 pm

I cheared it up a little bit now. Hope this is better.

BTW, (in case someone is interested) the bad font rendering was because I scaled down the already pixelmapped text with a transparent background and THEN added a white background.
I'm kind of curious if this is a universal, unavoidable effect or a Gimp shortcoming.

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