[Question] Fast Loading Tape program

By davcl

Rookie (23)

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15-12-2015, 19:18

Hi all,
I remember some MSX cracked games with a "strange" fast loading.
Listening them with hearphones, they didn't "sound" like 2400 baud rate games (accelerate sound); they seem 1200 baud, with entirely different sound and they had strange colorful bars on screen.
I remember a single tape had 20-30 of the above games; they was sold in Italian newsstand's shop...
I never found infos on that...

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By Wild_Penguin

Hero (644)

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15-12-2015, 20:48

Well, I remember several games from childhood that had the loader you are talking about. I believe most were Gremlin releases; at least Auf Wiedersehen Monty, Krat Out!, Footballer of the Year... later as an adult I've bought several as used ones: Avenger, Elite tape version, too (although that is not released by Gremlin). There are others, too: here is a list which contains a lot of games with the said loader.

Also, Pac Mania (MSX1 version) has another custom loader. It has blue and green bars. (I have it recorded as a wav, btw).

I believe the soundscape of the tape sound is different, because there is different amout of stop/parity bits (or stop bits are inverted in relation to the data or something). They are still 2400bps (based on the speed of loading - I've compared the time to the size of Auf Wiedersehen binaries on the disk release, by converting the binaries on disk to cassette with bin2cas, and with 1200bps it was roughly double the time, and with 2400bps very close to the original tape). But I'm mostly guessing here, someone probably knows better...

By zPasi

Champion (499)

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15-12-2015, 21:04

davcl wrote:

I remember some MSX cracked games with a "strange" fast loading.
Listening them with hearphones, they didn't "sound" like 2400 baud rate games (accelerate sound); they seem 1200 baud, with entirely different sound and they had strange colorful bars on screen.

Probably they used ZX Spectrum turbo tape routines. Games programmers used to rip the Spectrum ROMs (simple but very good) tape routines, and tune them faster. The result was so good that these turbo loaders were used on other brands as well, like on MSX.

And those games look like Spectrum ports anyway, so makes sense for that also.

By davcl

Rookie (23)

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15-12-2015, 21:10

It seems those games start with a Basic LOADER program (in standard 1200 baud "sound"), followed by the game itself in turbo "sound".
Some years ago I dumped the LOADER of these multi-game tapes (it was the same for all of that games).
If I can still find it, I'll put it here (if someone is interested)

By Wild_Penguin

Hero (644)

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15-12-2015, 21:39

I have it dumped, too. Years ago, I made a custom Game CD (lost it by still have the "sources"). I converted everything I could to 2400bps. I also have the Pac Mania loader (which is different).

By enribar

Paragon (1206)

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15-12-2015, 21:46

Was a different Turbo Loader than the Spectrum one.
I told about it with Martos many years ago, and he made a special version of Tape2Cas for it.

By davcl

Rookie (23)

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15-12-2015, 21:48

Ah, so there is a customized Tape2cas?
Have you got it?

By Wild_Penguin

Hero (644)

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15-12-2015, 22:04

Heh, I dug up the "sources" of my GameCD. I recalled I had written a menu in basic for the games on the CD. It listed the games, and you were able to choose one, and the menu program would tell you which track to play, which channel (!) - left or right - and how long the loading would make - and of course load it, so you don't need to type load/bload/run commands. It seems I made the CD in 2001! Someone still has it, since I sold it along with a Goldstar FC-200 - unless it has been discarded of Smile

Think about the lengths I needed to go in order to use both left and right channels! There was no software made for making that, so some manual work was needed (i.e. I needed to convert the files / CAS into wav first, and then merge them into stereo files). I also needed to make sure the wav length maches up with CD audio sectors so that the mastering / burning program won't produce any gaps at track changes - since a longer program could span two or more tracks. But I actually ended up making one huge wav file, load that up in a CD burning program, and added track changes manually (that seemed more reliable in not adding any gaps, IIRC). Seems I was not familiar with cue sheets back then...

By davcl

Rookie (23)

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15-12-2015, 22:08

Wow! What a huge job!

enribar told there is a customized version of Tape2Cas; it should be able to dump "turbo sound" games (not just the LOADER in standard 1200 or 2400 baud)

By davcl

Rookie (23)

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16-12-2015, 17:14

enribar, would you share that special version of Tape2Cas?
Have you got technical infos on how these "fast datas" are encoded on tape?