Hey all, so I just put together a new version of my OPL2/OPL3 FM synth chiptune player for NitrOS-9. I’ve heard a few people asking why my player requires the CoCo to be locked/frozen during playback, and the reason is this. Despite the fact that it is not ACTUALLY playing sampled audio, the VGM file format still structures the soundchip data according to the same sort of timing that regular sampled audio uses. This means that every CPU cycle is still significant and I need carefully crafted timing loops to play it accurately. I did look into ways to get around this and allow for OS9 multitasking to continue, but I just can’t think of a viable way. It would be no problem if it was custom music written specifically to run on CoCo hardware, but converting a VGM into a multitasking-friendly format would be very difficult. Soooo instead, I had an idea on how to make the player able to stop playback at anytime. To do this, I squeezed a few instructions to poll the keyboard for the BREAK key into my main timing loop and adjusted my cycle counts, and voila, you can now interrupt the “frozen” CoCo whenever you want and resume your NitrOS-9 shenanigans! 😀 An unexpected feature of this, is that for playlists, you can essentially skip a song whenever you want and move on to the next one immediately without having to wait for the current song to finish playing. Anyways, below the video is a link to a zip file containing my updated player and a few disk images that include some sample music for you to play with. (Pun INTENDED) 😛 Have fun!
So ever since I discovered DriveWire’s ability to let you make TCP connections via serial port, I’ve been trying to dream up “apps” to bring the CoCo into the Internet Age. I’m still putting the finishing touches on my upcoming IRC chat client, but in the meantime, I wrote CoCo WX which is a simple command line program that leverages the awesome live-weather data site wttr.in to grab current condition info for nearly any city in the world. I’m a bit of a weather geek (see the posts I’ve made about my own weather station for proof), so I thought it would be a useful and fun little tool to make. As usual, if you’d like to give it a try yourself, the link to download the program and source code will be below!
While there are readily available tools for copying files to/from a DOS-compatible floppy disk with OS-9, there aren’t alot of options to FORMAT a raw/blank/non-dos 3.5 inch DS DD disk for use with DOS/Windows machines. There is a suite of 3rd party modules that can do it and more, but they are a pain to setup and some of the modules are hard to track down. Sooo I made this. 😀 I called it DOSFORMAT because MSFORMAT was already taken. 🙁 It doesn’t depend on ANY 3rd party solutions and works with any standard NitrOS-9 install (including Ease Of Use editions). Currently, it only supports 3.5 inch Double-Sided Double-Density disks (720K), but I’d like to add support for 5.25 disks too when I get some kind of device that lets me hook one of them up to my PC for testing. Below is a download link to a zip file which contains the DOSFORMAT command program and the source code (messy as it is). Feel free to play around with it and let me know you think. My contact info is over HERE. I hope you find it useful, or just neat to play with. Enjoy!
Download Link: dosformat11.zip