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Author Topic: MESS - now with real emulation of The Voice!  (Read 9800 times)
DopefishJustin
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« on: April 10, 2008, 01:21:16 AM »

http://www.mess.org/

MESS is an open-source multi-system emulator for a variety of computers and game systems. It's developed as a sister project to the arcade emulator MAME.

MESS has had basic support for the Odyssey? for quite a while, but the recently released version 0.124 includes a major overhaul (rewritten video code, PAL support, Voice support...) and is now seriously worth looking into as an O2EM alternative.

Notable features:
  • Accurate video timing - the Killer Bees triangle effect is 100% correct, unlike O2EM
  • The SP0256 speech chip in The Voice! is actually emulated (including the S.I.D. the Spellbinder voices) and not faked with pre-recorded wav files
  • Based on the MAME core so you get all of MAME's configurability in terms of video options and input mappings
  • Windows version includes MESSUI front-end
  • SDL port for Mac OS X, Linux, and other Unices
  • Also supports other systems like Atari 2600, Intellivision, you name it basically

Current limitations:
  • The noise effect (used for explosions etc.) is not implemented in the sound emulation due to lack of technical information - note that O2EM's emulation of this is just a wild guess and sounds way off in e.g. Attack of the Timelord
  • No Videopac+ support
  • Known bugs are listed here

MESS can be somewhat intimidating to set up for a first-time user so here's a quick guide to get O2 up and running:

1. Download and extract MESS somewhere.
2. Find the 0.124 version of odyssey2.zip (and videopac.zip if you want to use the French BIOS) - unfortunately I can't be more specific on this for copyright reasons but it's out there. The o2rom.bin from O2EM is no longer enough because it doesn't include a dump of the speech chip from The Voice.
3. Put the .zip(s) from step 2 into the "roms" subfolder of the MESS directory - do not unzip them.
4. To use the command-line version, type e.g. "mess odyssey2 -cart c:\roms\game.bin", where game.bin is the O2 game ROM. Replace "odyssey2" with "videopac" for PAL games.
For MESSUI, simply select "Odyssey 2" or "Videopac G7000/C52" from the list of systems. Right click on the system name and choose Properties, then go to the Software tab and click Browse to point it to the directory with your game ROMs. They will then appear in the picker list in the right pane and you can just double-click a game to run it.

The default controls are arrow keys + ctrl for controller 1 and R, F, D, G + A for controller 2, but they can be remapped however you like using the menus.

There are a ton of options, more than I can take the time to explain here. With the command-line version, run "mess -cc" to create a mess.ini file with options to edit, and with the GUI version go to Options->Default System Options (for options affecting all emulated systems) or right-click on Odyssey 2 and go to Properties to make changes for the O2 only.

One option you'll likely want to change is "prescale" or "Bitmap prescaling" - because the O2 is so low-res, it will look fuzzy unless this option is turned up to at least 2 or 3 (higher settings require more CPU power, but the O2 emulation isn't exactly a big CPU drain so it shouldn't be a big deal).

MESS also supports the French C52 by means of the "bios" option, this can be changed in the GUI under the Miscellaneous tab or selected at the command-line with "-bios c52".

I'm on the MESSDEV team and although I don't directly work on the O2 driver, I can answer any questions or forward bug reports (you can also file these yourself at the MESS Bugzilla).

Finally, a few screenshots:





Bzzzzzzzzzz


Parlez-vous fran?ais?


(Some more at the MESS wiki)
« Last Edit: April 10, 2008, 01:28:27 AM by DopefishJustin » Logged
Rene_G7400
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« Reply #1 on: April 10, 2008, 11:05:40 AM »

I will try this, but the first thing I noticed in the screenshots is that the colors look a bit weird.
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Rafael
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« Reply #2 on: April 11, 2008, 01:29:19 AM »

I would like to try it, but I don?t find the odyssey.zip, so I thank if anyone can send it. The colors remember the old versions of O2em.
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Rene_G7400
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« Reply #3 on: April 12, 2008, 11:30:00 PM »

I've got it running now. I really like the true emulation of the Voice, but there are a lot of things which are not working correctly. Some of them remind me of the early versions of O2em.

Some examples:
- audio level of Voice sounds much lower than standard sounds
- wrong colors
- incorrect characters $ . =  ship_3C  ship_3F
- incorrect Quad cut (as used in KTAA)
- no dot grid
- no horizontal offsets for sprites
- grid fill doesn't work sometimes (Smithereens, Turtles, Blobbers)
- Voice doesn't work sometimes (Smithereens, Turtles)
- missing objects/characters (Q-Bert, Turtles)
- missing score (Neutron Star)
- P.T. Barnum's Acrobats doesn't work (european version does)
- error in DA A instruction
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Rafael
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« Reply #4 on: April 13, 2008, 02:28:09 AM »

Thanks DopefishJustin.
 Keep working on this emulator.
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grgh
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george.r.g.hayward
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« Reply #5 on: April 13, 2008, 09:46:41 AM »

Not much in the bug reports :
http://bugzilla.mess.org/buglist.cgi?query_format=specific&order=relevance+desc&bug_status=__open__&product=MESS&content=odyssey2+videopac

I think you need to register to add bug reports, and the search uses an OR :
http://bugzilla.mess.org/query.cgi

Hey Rene, you already have a mention in "Bug 1520 - Noise generation unimplemented".
« Last Edit: April 13, 2008, 09:50:43 AM by grgh » Logged

http://www.videopac.com/ reborn Dec-07, forever an ongoing project.
DopefishJustin
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« Reply #6 on: April 13, 2008, 10:30:26 AM »


The right way to query is by the component "odyssey2.c", not by keywords. I posted this query link in my initial post but it was easy to overlook I guess.

Rene: Thanks for taking a look, it makes sense that many things resemble old versions of O2EM because the initial unfinished code for MESS was written years ago based on the O2EM source provided by Dan Boris (who used to be active in MESSDEV), and it's just recently that things have started to be cleaned up.

And just to be clear, I haven't personally done much, the initial code was done by Peter Trauner, which was later fixed up some by telengard, and the most recent work has been done by Wilbert Pol (aka Judge). So direct any thanks or encouragement to them Smiley
« Last Edit: April 13, 2008, 10:45:50 AM by DopefishJustin » Logged
grgh
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george.r.g.hayward
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« Reply #7 on: April 13, 2008, 11:38:20 AM »

The right way to query is by the component "odyssey2.c", not by keywords. I posted this query link in my initial post but it was easy to overlook I guess.

Oops yes I see it now, my bad.
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http://www.videopac.com/ reborn Dec-07, forever an ongoing project.
Rene_G7400
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« Reply #8 on: April 13, 2008, 01:16:55 PM »

the most recent work has been done by Wilbert Pol (aka Judge). So direct any thanks or encouragement to them

I'll do that.
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DopefishJustin
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« Reply #9 on: April 15, 2008, 05:23:09 AM »

There are now fixes in the MESS SVN development tree for the DA A instruction and The Voice volume, and a preliminary (wrong-sounding) implementation of noise. This should be available in the automatic development builds here within a day or so, although there may be various other issues so use at your own risk.

Judge is currently busy overhauling the IBM PC support in MESS so there probably won't be much in the way of O2 fixes in the immediate future (but you never know).
« Last Edit: April 15, 2008, 05:28:16 AM by DopefishJustin » Logged
Gorf
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« Reply #10 on: December 20, 2008, 12:22:29 PM »

There are now fixes in the MESS SVN development tree for the DA A instruction and The Voice volume, and a preliminary (wrong-sounding) implementation of noise. This should be available in the automatic development builds here within a day or so, although there may be various other issues so use at your own risk.

Judge is currently busy overhauling the IBM PC support in MESS so there probably won't be much in the way of O2 fixes in the immediate future (but you never know).

The unfortunate thing with the new MESS is you need to speech roms.
I cant find them anywhere and I dont want to open up my voice module
to get them.
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