Ripping a game from a cartridge

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Ripping a game from a cartridge

Postby darklight » Thu Jul 31, 2008 9:29 am

(started a new thread because was getting a bit off topic for 2D flying games :) )

The author of the PC CGA came Sopwith has told me he developed a version for the Atari ST, and in his words:

"An engineer friend and colleague at BMB build me a little game card with 64K of EPROM that would plug into the game port of the ST."

By game port I am guessing he means cartridge port. Apparenlty he still has the harware, and has said he's spend some time looking for it next month after family comitments. He wont part with the hardware, but I am guessing he'll maybe help try get a version that we can all enjoy - on to floppy / files. He is in canada btw.

Now I know nothing about ripping games from eprom carts - but Nyh mentioned in the other thread it wouldnt be too hard to rip the game to a floppy / files, via an eprom burner. Is that right? Do the eproms contain a file system? Are eproms burned in the 80's likely to still hold good copied of the original data?

Can I count on help from anyone if I can get a dump of the chips contents?

Hans you mentioned
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Re: Ripping a game from a cartridge

Postby simonsunnyboy » Thu Jul 31, 2008 9:30 am

Shouldn't be too hard if the hardware has no special adress decoding schemes.
Main work will be relocating the code so that it will run from other places in memory than the fixed address space for the ROM cartridge.
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Re: Ripping a game from a cartridge

Postby insanity » Thu Jul 31, 2008 9:53 am

I think Steem has a cartridge dumper... I used it to dumper the Ultimate Ripper Cartridge!

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Re: Ripping a game from a cartridge

Postby darklight » Thu Jul 31, 2008 10:50 am

How can a cartridge dumper in Steem help - he would have to connect the cartridge to the PC is that right? Is that possible?

(sorry, you'll have to educate me from the beginning :) )


Simon - that all makes sense - the eproms just contain a dump of memory that we'd need to load from a disk and then make sure it works at the new memory locations. Sounds fairly easy - hopefully someone here can help?! I'd try it, but I cant do assembly...
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Re: Ripping a game from a cartridge

Postby simonsunnyboy » Thu Jul 31, 2008 11:04 am

You will have to dump the cartridge contents in any case.
A start would be to have the cartridge connected but not booted from and thean using Eazyrider or another usable disasssmebler to read the cartridge contes.
The STEEM dumper will only help to get the cartridge over so one could use STEEM for the work.
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Re: Ripping a game from a cartridge

Postby darklight » Thu Jul 31, 2008 11:19 am

Ah - I should have mentioned (quite important!) I doubt he has an ST - just the cart.

So, options would be:

- Dump contents of eproms to file using eprom burner
- Coerce a Canadaian ST enthusiast (luckilly it seems there are a few) to meet up with their ST & rip from there

There are a lot of ifs there - if the cartridge can be found, if it still contains program, if the Author (David) will help dump contents... And none of this can start until next month. Just want to be aware of what is possible.
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Re: Ripping a game from a cartridge

Postby ppera » Thu Jul 31, 2008 11:53 am

darklight wrote:How can a cartridge dumper in Steem help - he would have to connect the cartridge to the PC is that right? Is that possible?
Simon - that all makes sense - the eproms just contain a dump of memory that we'd need to load from a disk and then make sure it works at the new memory locations. Sounds fairly easy - hopefully someone here can help?! I'd try it, but I cant do assembly...


Cartridge dumper suplied with Steem is for usage on real Atari machines. It will make binary file of cartridge, long exactly 128KB +4 bytes. If you strip first 4 bytes (4 zeros actually) will get exact cartridge content (may to do with free HxD editor for instance).

If you success with that dumping may post that binary here or in PM, and I will tell you how to adapt it for normal run. In case of that it just copies itself to RAM, and works from it, then can solve problem self in few minutes...

Ah, I see that there is no Atari at hand. Then need to dump with EPROM burner, and combine Low and High parts to get correct file... piece of cake :D

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Re: Ripping a game from a cartridge

Postby simonsunnyboy » Thu Jul 31, 2008 12:16 pm

Ahh ok, didn't know that .STC format was that close to a plain binary dump :)
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Re: Ripping a game from a cartridge

Postby darklight » Thu Jul 31, 2008 12:20 pm

ppera wrote:
darklight wrote:How can a cartridge dumper in Steem help - he would have to connect the cartridge to the PC is that right? Is that possible?
Simon - that all makes sense - the eproms just contain a dump of memory that we'd need to load from a disk and then make sure it works at the new memory locations. Sounds fairly easy - hopefully someone here can help?! I'd try it, but I cant do assembly...


Cartridge dumper suplied with Steem is for usage on real Atari machines. It will make binary file of cartridge, long exactly 128KB +4 bytes. If you strip first 4 bytes (4 zeros actually) will get exact cartridge content (may to do with free HxD editor for instance).

If you success with that dumping may post that binary here or in PM, and I will tell you how to adapt it for normal run. In case of that it just copies itself to RAM, and works from it, then can solve problem self in few minutes...

Ah, I see that there is no Atari at hand. Then need to dump with EPROM burner, and combine Low and High parts to get correct file... piece of cake :D


Thanks ppera - I'll be in contact if all goes well!

Looks like eprom burners arent so cheap - will I need a special one for this, or are 64k (2 x 32k?) eproms fairly standard?

Anyone from canada willing to lend an eprom burner? :D
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Re: Ripping a game from a cartridge

Postby techie_alison » Thu Jul 31, 2008 12:47 pm

darklight wrote:Looks like eprom burners arent so cheap - will I need a special one for this, or are 64k (2 x 32k?) eproms fairly standard?


I've recently bought some 256's from a couple in Canada. Quite good actually, friendly, positive etc. Hang on...

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Re: Ripping a game from a cartridge

Postby bullis1 » Thu Jul 31, 2008 2:23 pm

darklight wrote:Anyone from canada willing to lend an eprom burner? :D

I don't have an eeprom burner at the moment but I have real STs that could rip the contents of the cart. If he lives near the capital then we're in luck.
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Re: Ripping a game from a cartridge

Postby darklight » Thu Jul 31, 2008 10:40 pm

bullis1 wrote:
darklight wrote:Anyone from canada willing to lend an eprom burner? :D

I don't have an eeprom burner at the moment but I have real STs that could rip the contents of the cart. If he lives near the capital then we're in luck.


[...Quick lesson in Canadian geography...]

(I dont think he'll mind me posting the city - his street address is free for all to see on his website) London Ontario - Looks to be about 300 miles away from Ottowa?

I guess you probably dont visit there all that often, or is 300 miles an average daily commute in Canada?
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Re: Ripping a game from a cartridge

Postby Grunaki » Fri Aug 01, 2008 1:21 am

darklight wrote:
bullis1 wrote:
darklight wrote:Anyone from canada willing to lend an eprom burner? :D

I don't have an eeprom burner at the moment but I have real STs that could rip the contents of the cart. If he lives near the capital then we're in luck.


[...Quick lesson in Canadian geography...]

(I dont think he'll mind me posting the city - his street address is free for all to see on his website) London Ontario - Looks to be about 300 miles away from Ottowa?

I guess you probably dont visit there all that often, or is 300 miles an average daily commute in Canada?



That's more like 400 miles - or a 6 and a half hour drive.

It's not really an 'average daily commute' anywhere, but people are more inclined to drive it here - it would be about the equivalent of driving from Glasgow to London in the UK or about the same distance from Brisbane to Rockhampton, but I guess the roads would be a bit better through the Greater Toronto Area as it's highway all the way.. (Google reckons Brisbane to Rockhampton would take about an hour and a half longer than Ottawa to London).
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Re: Ripping a game from a cartridge

Postby bullis1 » Tue Aug 05, 2008 1:22 pm

Sorry for the late-ish reply, but 300-400 miles is a bit far, even in the sprawling wasteland that is Canada ;) It would be easy and cheap to ship it from London Ontario to Ottawa, but I doubt that this man would blindly mail out a one-of-a-kind item of his to a complete stranger. I wouldn't blame him.
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Re: Ripping a game from a cartridge

Postby darklight » Thu Aug 07, 2008 4:13 am

bullis1 wrote:Sorry for the late-ish reply, but 300-400 miles is a bit far, even in the sprawling wasteland that is Canada ;) It would be easy and cheap to ship it from London Ontario to Ottawa, but I doubt that this man would blindly mail out a one-of-a-kind item of his to a complete stranger. I wouldn't blame him.


No worries - I kind of thought it was a bit far - was worth asking though!

I've got a sneaky feeling that the author David has got his computers mixed up. I found this old post in alt.games.sopwith:

I noticed on one page that there are suspicions that Sopwith made it
onto Atari computers. Although BMB did develop Imaginet for Atari's,
Sopwith was never ported. However, it did make into a prototype IBM
PCjr ROM. An engineer put the card together for me, and I modified the
code to provide the correct plug-in ROM signatures. The prototype
still sits on a shelf in my office.


:? I'll ask him if this is true next week - he definately told me it was on the ST...
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Re: Ripping a game from a cartridge

Postby bullis1 » Thu Aug 07, 2008 1:05 pm

darklight wrote:
I noticed on one page that there are suspicions that Sopwith made it
onto Atari computers. Although BMB did develop Imaginet for Atari's,
Sopwith was never ported. However, it did make into a prototype IBM
PCjr ROM. An engineer put the card together for me, and I modified the
code to provide the correct plug-in ROM signatures. The prototype
still sits on a shelf in my office.

:? I'll ask him if this is true next week - he definately told me it was on the ST...

I don't know what the PCjr ROM port looks like, but maybe you could just ask him to take a digital photo of the cartridge connector. If it looks like an ST cart, then it probably is.
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Re: Ripping a game from a cartridge

Postby lotek_style » Sat Sep 06, 2008 7:25 am

If you got any luck please post the image :)
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Re: Ripping a game from a cartridge

Postby Desty » Sat Sep 06, 2008 10:44 am

insanity wrote:I think Steem has a cartridge dumper... I used it to dumper the Ultimate Ripper Cartridge!

That's ironic in the most pleasant and entertaining way. :cheers:
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Re: Ripping a game from a cartridge

Postby MiggyMog » Sat Sep 06, 2008 10:07 pm

Glasgow to London in the UK


Perrish the thought, It was Bad enough driving Glasgow to Edinburgh three times return this week.

Back to the subject, Would it not be better to post the Guy an ST with steem image Program on a disk?
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Re: Ripping a game from a cartridge

Postby darklight » Mon Sep 08, 2008 12:02 am

It looks like it was a pc jr cart, and he now cannot find it. I've asked him to send me a picture if he ever does find it, and I'll put it up here.

Bit of a dissapointing outcome :(
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Re: Ripping a game from a cartridge

Postby Shredder11 » Thu Oct 09, 2008 6:39 pm

Has anyone managed to emulate any hardware cartridges in STeeM, such as Microdeal Replay 16 or Vidi ST etc? I'm not really sure if this is possible but it would be a nice way of trying out different things, before hunting for them on Ebay.

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Re: Ripping a game from a cartridge

Postby ppera » Fri Oct 10, 2008 2:29 pm

Emulating cartridges in Steem is possible. But it is hard work, and requires full knowledge about how it works. So, very likely needs documentation, schematic etc...

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Re: Ripping a game from a cartridge

Postby Shredder11 » Fri Oct 10, 2008 2:54 pm

...and schematics are very hard to come by is probably your next answer! :contract: :cry:


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