JOric

Comments, problems, suggestions about Oric emulators (Euphoric, Mess, Amoric, etc...) it's the right place to ask. And don't hesitate to give your tips and tricks that help using these emulations in the best possible way on your favorite operating system.
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dreamseal
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Re: JOric

Post by dreamseal » Thu May 03, 2018 8:30 pm

I've just been taking a look at my copy of The ZX Spectrum ULA book by Chris Smith and it appears the Spectrum starts its text window area when the vertical & horizontal counters are 0. So that's precedent. Maybe the VIC is unusual, and perhaps the Oric really does do it like the Spectrum.

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Re: JOric

Post by ThomH » Fri May 04, 2018 2:33 pm

I tend to adopt the mentality that each chip is sovereign, so as long as each has an interface with the same fidelity of information as the original pinout, it's sufficiently correct. That's why I care about using the actual colour ROM, because it's a knowable component, but haven't tried to deduce too much information about the internal counting structure. As you say, as long as the emulated version signals sync, colour burst and pixels at the correct times, and the pixels are the correct pixels based on data collected at the proper moment, that's a valid emulation from a functional point of view.

That being said, I have oriented my counters around 0 being the top left of the pixel area. And another example of a real-life controller that explicitly does that is the 6845 CRTC, shared by the BBC Micro, the Amstrad CPC and the CGA graphics adaptor. It's an address and sync generator, it leaves you to figure out how to map those to pixels, but the programmer is required to configure the timing for border size, sync size and position, etc. The programmer selects which cycle pixels will end on, which cycle sync will start on, and (depending on version, possibly) sync length; all are relative to the start of pixels which occurs on cycle 0.

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Re: JOric

Post by Dbug » Fri May 04, 2018 5:56 pm

Do you have different code paths with different color treatments for the antenna and RGB connectors?

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Re: JOric

Post by ThomH » Fri May 04, 2018 6:25 pm

If you're asking me rather than dreamseal then I'll try to answer very briefly because this answer is not about JOric: yes. RGB output travels to the GPU as RGB. Composite output is constructed from the colour ROM and then handed off and decoded from there. And other CRT-emulation steps apply. The target is being indistinguishable from a real Oric and a good capture card; no tacky curvature or gun misalignment or any of that.

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dreamseal
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Re: JOric

Post by dreamseal » Fri May 04, 2018 11:03 pm

ThomH wrote:
Fri May 04, 2018 2:33 pm
That's why I care about using the actual colour ROM, because it's a knowable component, but haven't tried to deduce too much information about the internal counting structure.
Although I have quite an interest in the CRT, blanking, sync, colour burst, and all that, I'm not intending to emulate those aspects with JOric. Perhaps one day, but at the moment its just a big pixel map that gets rendered to the screen. That's it.

This evening I compiled your emulator on Debian (which is my base OS) and tried out a few Oric demos. It's looking pretty good.
ThomH wrote:
Fri May 04, 2018 2:33 pm
And another example of a real-life controller that explicitly does that is the 6845 CRTC, shared by the BBC Micro, the Amstrad CPC and the CGA graphics adaptor.
I've always been interested in the 6845, but haven't taken a close look at it yet. The BBC Micro is another favourite machine of mine. I have very fond memories of playing games on it in my school library about 30 years ago. Castle Quest was my personal favourite. Perhaps I'll give a BBC Micro emulator a go next.

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Re: JOric

Post by ThomH » Mon May 07, 2018 8:25 pm

Yeah, I've come at this whole thing from the slightly atypical direction of wanting to learn about TV standards first. So having that written, it wasn't too hard to plug the colour ROM in. I strongly suspect that the whole composite side of things is very uninteresting for most Oric users because the machine was so far ahead in supporting RGB video out of the box. For a lot of machine of that vintage sharp pixels are an emulator fiction, not so the Oric.

Anyway, sorry again for my part in the digression from JOric to things that aren't JOric. Out of interest, have you considered what your plans are for Google Play? Upload with system ROMs and whichever titles are available with suitable licences and just keep your head down over the former?

If you're publishing to Google Play, I think yours will be the first emulator that has to go through an approval process anywhere and sit beneath a permanent chance of withdrawal; it also seemed from elsewhere that just magicing the boot sector of most of the Defence Force titles into RAM is sufficient — they don't use the Microdisc or system ROMs. So something like that might be a route to something publishable?

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Re: JOric

Post by Dbug » Mon May 07, 2018 9:29 pm

ThomH wrote:
Mon May 07, 2018 8:25 pm
Yeah, I've come at this whole thing from the slightly atypical direction of wanting to learn about TV standards first. So having that written, it wasn't too hard to plug the colour ROM in. I strongly suspect that the whole composite side of things is very uninteresting for most Oric users because the machine was so far ahead in supporting RGB video out of the box. For a lot of machine of that vintage sharp pixels are an emulator fiction, not so the Oric.
Well, actually you would probably surprised :)

As a French oric owner, I pretty much always expected everybody to use SCART, but when I've been to UK, I realized that many Oric users out there were using the aerial connection instead of SCART, probably because in France SCART was mandatory on all TVs sold after... 198x something, while in UK that was not the case.

Many of the british games that had colors that made no sense to me on my crisp and bright SCART TV... made perfect sense when seen on a british tv through the composite connection.

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dreamseal
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Re: JOric

Post by dreamseal » Tue May 08, 2018 9:06 am

ThomH wrote:
Mon May 07, 2018 8:25 pm
Out of interest, have you considered what your plans are for Google Play? Upload with system ROMs and whichever titles are available with suitable licences and just keep your head down over the former?

If you're publishing to Google Play, I think yours will be the first emulator that has to go through an approval process anywhere and sit beneath a permanent chance of withdrawal; it also seemed from elsewhere that just magicing the boot sector of most of the Defence Force titles into RAM is sufficient — they don't use the Microdisc or system ROMs. So something like that might be a route to something publishable?
I haven't given Google play much thought actually. Android apps is something I've only been playing around with at home. It's not my day job, so there's rather a lot I'm not familiar with. Learning as I go shall we say.

As yet I haven't published anything on Google Play. Not sure what the approval process involves. You make it sound like it has recently changed though. There are plenty of emulators on the Google Play store with system ROMs. Has something changed recently to make those less likely to be published?

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Re: JOric

Post by ThomH » Tue May 08, 2018 2:16 pm

dreamseal wrote:
Tue May 08, 2018 9:06 am
As yet I haven't published anything on Google Play. Not sure what the approval process involves. You make it sound like it has recently changed though. There are plenty of emulators on the Google Play store with system ROMs. Has something changed recently to make those less likely to be published?
No, I think Google's policy is still true to its core beliefs: publish first, let an algorithm figure out later whether you're a copyright problem. I'm probably unduly antsy because despite having published to both app stores, I'm much more used to the Apple experience. I have definitely downloaded emulators of the ZX81 and C64 onto my Nexus devices from Google Play that were fairly obviously not officially-licensed products.

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Re: JOric

Post by dreamseal » Tue May 08, 2018 5:40 pm

I'm not sure how much interest there would be in an Oric emulator on the Google Play store. I'm the sort of person that would download it, if it wasn't me publishing it. Other than me, its probably just all the other members of the Oric forums. Would people be happy to install it on their phones if I provided a link to an apk file? I was intending to do that at least for the first few releases, to see if it works for other people.

That doesn't really address the copyright issue though. Its a difficult question because I tend not to like emulators that make it difficult to get up and running, especially if its on Android. But how to make things easy if the ROMs are not part of the package. I'll have to focus on making the file chooser as easy to use as I can. If I'm going to distribute without the ROMs then I guess I could put it on the Google play store. I certainly wouldn't charge anything for it. That's another thing I'm not keen on, i.e. emulators that cost money.

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Re: JOric

Post by ibisum » Tue May 08, 2018 7:00 pm

I think Retro- computing is getting a bit of a following and its not really going away .. so putting an Oric emulator on any store, can only be a good thing imho. I think it'd be nice if someone would package it with recent releases (with author permissions of course) and promote it far and wide, introduce more people to the Oric life ..

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Re: JOric

Post by NekoNoNiaow » Wed May 09, 2018 5:44 am

dreamseal wrote:
Tue May 08, 2018 5:40 pm
I'm not sure how much interest there would be in an Oric emulator on the Google Play store. I'm the sort of person that would download it, if it wasn't me publishing it. Other than me, its probably just all the other members of the Oric forums. Would people be happy to install it on their phones if I provided a link to an apk file? I was intending to do that at least for the first few releases, to see if it works for other people.
I would definitely be happy to see emulators on the Google Play Store or the App Store (there are plenty actually but they ship with a single game, cf DotEmu offerings and the likes).
dreamseal wrote:
Tue May 08, 2018 5:40 pm
That doesn't really address the copyright issue though. Its a difficult question because I tend not to like emulators that make it difficult to get up and running, especially if its on Android. But how to make things easy if the ROMs are not part of the package. I'll have to focus on making the file chooser as easy to use as I can. If I'm going to distribute without the ROMs then I guess I could put it on the Google play store. I certainly wouldn't charge anything for it. That's another thing I'm not keen on, i.e. emulators that cost money.
It is clear that as a user, simplicity is much better and having to download the ROMs manually is a pain.

But as a developer myself I am also not very favorable with putting copyrighted material without permission. Obviously, I would prefer it if copyright terms were shorter but in the absence of an explicit statement of intention from the owners I prefer to play it safe.
I have seen a few authors of classic games being annoyed that their past games were used without permissions in compilations and other retro adaptations and I prefer to be safe than sorry.

Note that there examples of legal uses of copyrighted "classic" ROMs. Cloanto for example has licensed the ROMs and disks of the Amiga OS and ships a totally legal emulator package called Amiga Forever. Although I prefer to use only the ROMs from that package at least I can do so without having to download them from a shady site. And frankly paying 40/60$ once for the ability to use these ROMs forever is really nothing in the long run.

WinUAE, the emulator is open source and 100% free, and one only pays for the right to use the ROMs. Which, if you do not have an Amiga is IMO fine.

But I am drifting off topic here. ;)
So to cut it short: does anyone know who currently owns the rights for the Oric ROMs? Who knows, they might be willing to license them for free.
(I kinda remember talking about it with DBug more than 10 years ago but I forgot what he told me about it. :D)

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Re: JOric

Post by Chema » Wed May 09, 2018 8:16 am

I cannot tell about the rights, but didn't the people in Tangerine blatantly ripped off a Microsoft Basic Interpreter without actual permission? :D

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dreamseal
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Re: JOric

Post by dreamseal » Fri May 11, 2018 8:33 pm

Chema wrote:
Wed May 09, 2018 8:16 am
I cannot tell about the rights, but didn't the people in Tangerine blatantly ripped off a Microsoft Basic Interpreter without actual permission? :D
That's interesting. I Googled that and found a few references years ago about this. So presumably if the ROMs were made without a proper license or permission, then even if we did know who owns the Oric ROMs these days, and even if they knew that they owned them, it might be a stretch for them to try to defend that ownership if they didn't quite do things by the book in the first place. I know I'm taking this even further off topic, but actually I'm interested in this with regards to JOric, because at some point I'll need to decide whether to include the ROMs or not. Honestly if we knew who owned the ROMs these days, I probably would try to contact them to see what their official view on this is, and if the license was only something like 60 pounds/euros/dollars, then I agree that that doesn't seem much if its forever.

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Re: JOric

Post by NekoNoNiaow » Sat May 12, 2018 2:51 am

dreamseal wrote:
Fri May 11, 2018 8:33 pm
That's interesting. I Googled that and found a few references years ago about this. So presumably if the ROMs were made without a proper license or permission, then even if we did know who owns the Oric ROMs these days, and even if they knew that they owned them, it might be a stretch for them to try to defend that ownership if they didn't quite do things by the book in the first place. I know I'm taking this even further off topic, but actually I'm interested in this with regards to JOric, because at some point I'll need to decide whether to include the ROMs or not. Honestly if we knew who owned the ROMs these days, I probably would try to contact them to see what their official view on this is, and if the license was only something like 60 pounds/euros/dollars, then I agree that that doesn't seem much if its forever.
On the other hand, if Microsoft turns out to be the owner of most of the ROM content, that means that they would be the one defending their copyright rather than the owners of the Oric IP. I doubt that they really care but if I had to choose between a legal fight with Microsoft or the Oric IP owners I would definitely choose the latter. ;)

This said, they are extremely unlikely to defend this kind of content. Microsoft (MS) has been relatively easy going as far as allowing use of their old copyrights is concerned and they even released the source code of old versions of MSDOS: https://blogs.microsoft.com/blog/2014/0 ... to-public/.

I would wager that if you managed to find and contact a person in MS knowledgeable about MS BASIC for 6502 CPUs it would not be too hard to reach an agreement with them. After all, this is good PR as far as they are concerned and these past years MS has definitely tried to improve their public image.
A starting point would probably be to try to contact Roy Levin from MS (cf the linked article) who might you orient you toward the proper MS kitten. ;)

This said, before contacting them, make sure that the BASIC really is an MS derivative. If it is not, then you need to search for the new owners of the Oric stuff.
Good luck!

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