Steven Seagal's Atari ST Web Site

Steem

 

"Out of Reach "

  Screen of brags for v3.7.2  
     
     
 

Support for HFE disk images

 
 

 
     
 

HFE files are used by the HxC drive emulator, a board that you can plug into your Atari (or other computer) instead of a real floppy drive. It works with SD cards.

Direct support in Steem is quite handy to manage your HFE collection, or if you code.

It's another logical step after STW then SCP format support, vindicating once again the chosen path. It was simpler than I first thought because HFE and STW essentially are similar. No 3rd-party plugin or code needs to be used (this time...). It's just a matter of adding an HFE interface to Steem's WD1772 emulation.

 
 

 

 
     
 

 
  "Wait a minute! Command $13 doesn't imply reading!"

I know, but first we need to add the HFE images to Steem's system: Disk manager, inserting disks, sending commands to the correct emulation, etc. The routine.

Thanks to compile macros, it's easy: just need to follow the same implementation as for STW.

 
     
 

 
  Here it is reading.  
     
 

 
  A classic collection to put on a SD card: Automation.  
     
 

 
  It works, thrust me.  
     
 

 
  This is no abandonware I hope.  
     
 

 
  You're in for a diet of HFE images now.  
     
 

 
  Right. Now testing write operations. Hmm, nice example, the assembly source code of TEST10.TOS is top secret, I must delete it!  
     
 

 
     
 

 
  Oops it's still there!  
     
 

 
  Can't say this is better.  
     
 

 
  After some debugging...  
     
 

 
  Save desktop as another test...  
     
 

 
  Reset OK, and the window is moved some, it's normal. You can check this by looking at the A: disk icon.  
     
 

 
  Deleting a file isn't definitive. Spies could still see the secret source in a disk editor.
There's only one cure: format the disk.
 
     
 

 
  Familiar dialog box by now...  
     
 

 
  Yes... this is familiar too... :)  
     
 

 
  After some debugging...  
     
 

 
  Steem SSE 3.7.2 supports HFE disk images.  
     
 

 
  You can even create HFE disk images directly in Steem (right click in the Disk manager).
Those images aren't preformatted, they are raw, like new STW images are.
For this feature, a new file is needed in Steem's folder, HFE_boot.bin (included in the download).
In some rare cases, it is actually better to use a copier to convert some disk images than convert using HxCFloppyEmulator, for better timings.
Eg: MPS Golf.
 
     
 

 
  This is yet another page in the history of Atari ST emulation.  
     
 

Other notes

 
  - HFE is a lot like STW, except the bits of each MFM word are reversed, and the format is optimised for HXC hardware, with data of each side intertwined. The file is less readable as a consequence. It works at word level (not bit).  
  - STW format doesn't become useless just because HFE images are now handled. HFE support was requested but not everybody cares for it after all, judging by reactions to the teaser at atari-forum.
It's interesting only if you have the HxC floppy emulator.
 
  - Timings are the same as for STW. This isn't meant for protected disks with variable densities etc. But some format protections should be OK. Games that work as HFE images are Jupiter's Masterdrive (interestingly), The Pawn, Chessmaster 2000, etc.  
  - Limitation: normal images, it's not made to work with "super disks" (not tested).  
     
     
     
 

Support for 7Z, BZ2, GZ, TAR, ARJ compression formats

 
  Windows-only.
Copy ArchiveAccess.dll (included) to your Steem or system directory.
The DLL has been fixed by you know who so that it also works with BZ2 files.
Especially 7Z is convenient for those big SCP disk images. You may choose the
"ultra" compression setting, it doesn't matter.
Unfortunately decompression delay is longer than with RAR images.
 
     
     
 

 
 

First test on a small file, but a great game...

 
     
 

 
 

RAR or 7Z: your choice, it loads slower with 7z but files are smaller

 
     
 

 
 

Directly from the 7z archive... Starglider 2 has a password... no problemo in Steem!

 
     
 

 
 

It's one of the rare games I actually completed back in the time.

 
     
 

 
 

Illustrating both features of v3.7.2: HFE and 7z (715 KB)

 
     
  One reason why the ST is wild is that it's pretty well emulated by now.  
     
  As for Steem, you can throw all sorts of files at it: Steem runs everything!  
     
  ST? Check. MSA? Check. DIM? Check. STT? Check. STX? Check. IPF? Check. CTR? Check.
STW? Check. SCP? Check. HFE? Check.
 
     
  PRG? Check. TOS? Check. STC? Check.  
     
  ZIP? Check. RAR? Check. 7Z? Check. BZ2? Check. GZ? Check. TAR? Check. ARJ? Check.  
     
 

Technical note

 
  Strangely, the Borland C++ build of Steem can't communicate well with the DLL. It can get the archive type but it won't open the archive.
Only the Visual C++ builds work with this feature.
 
     
     
     
 

Direct 3D crisp rendering (new option)

 
 

 
  This was a legit request, both fullscreen modes (blurry and crisp) are enjoyable.  
     
     
     
 

Bugfixes

 

 
 

 
     
  - Bugfix MFP spurious interrupt on STOP after CLR int. mask (Return STE -HMD)
- Bugfix fail to properly remove previous disk image on some image insertions:
could explain some strange bugs, when two disks are in the same drive it
can't be good...
- Bugfix WD1772 writing data bytes with missing clock bit on Format
 
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     

 

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