Multi Platform Support

2010-06-08

As of today, The Software Preservation Society is proud to announce that we have finished implementing support for platforms using generic MFM controllers. Among the new platforms supported are Atari ST and IBM PC, and even dual or triple format disks, where the game for more than one platform exists on the very same disk. We have chosen some dual format games for the 100-game batch preserved today, which includes the following games, as well as many Amiga games that use a PC-like disk format.

  • Action Fighter (Amiga/PC dual-format disk)
  • Lethal Xcess - Wings of Death II (Amiga/Atart ST dual-format disks)
  • Monster Business (Amiga/Atari ST dual-format disk)
  • Populous: The Promised Lands (Amiga/Atari ST dual-format disk)
  • Rick Dangerous (Amiga/PC dual-format disk)
  • Stone Age (Amiga/Atari ST dual-format disk)
  • Street Fighter (Amiga/PC dual-format disk)
  • StarGlider 2 (Amiga/Atari ST dual-format disk)

Thalion games were fun to work with, as some of them must have had as much time spent on the disk protection as on the games themselves. These are incredibly well protected games, and we have much respect to the guys at Thalion for that. Still, why preserve the ordinary, when you can have a real challenge?

It has taken a huge amount of time and effort to get this far, but we always keep at a problem until it is solved properly and the results are well tested. This work is the result of, and encompasses, the automatic format script generation for generic MFM formats, comprehensive support for gap data, and even a complete cycle-exact WDC177x FDC emulator that was painstakingly reverse-engineered and verified against real hardware to help emulator authors should they need it (now part of the IPF library). These things have been detailed in the WIPs posted over the past few years (including some not posted yet), and have at last come to fruition.

Playback of the new images requires a new IPF library (available in the next few days) and updated emulator software (e.g. WinUAE, already available as a beta). HxC, the hardware floppy emulator, has also been updated to support the new images. Contributors of the games will receive them over the next few days.

We would like to thank the many people who helped us make this possible. Jean-Fran├žois Del Nero for testing game images on real computers using HxC. Simon Owen for doing so many tests that made reverse-engineering all the undocumented features of the WD177x possible, and for supporting emulation of the images for CPC and Sam Coupe. Jonathan Needle for Spectrum support. Dave Oldcorn for Atari ST support. Toni Wilen for WinUAE support. Andrew Barker for Spectrum image support. Also thanks to all our contributors who supplied us with images for various platforms and made it possible to support them. Special thanks goes to Joseph for the significant financial support.

We’re very proud that this has all worked out so well, so we thought we would share this moment with you. We do have a backlog of dumps made for these platforms, and we’re working on them, but please keep them coming!