Creating a Greek TOS

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Gryzor
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Creating a Greek TOS

Post by Gryzor »

After having finished translating Steem into Greek, Russ asked me if there's a greek TOS. Of course there isn't one, so I thought I'd see how it could be done. Opened up v1.62 in a HEX editor, I can find the messages ok, Atari seems to react ok to changing them, but... I can use no greek characters -they appear like weird symbols in the Atari. This is all very normal, of course, since I don't know the first thing about ST's encoding other than it's not unicode.
So I thought I'd do it with an editor under the GEM environment itself; and then I realised: my gosh, I never, EVER wrote Greek on an Atari! So, the question is: how can I do it?
Is it possible?
Is there a god?
Is the Atari better than the Amiga? (heh, thought I'd add a question with a sure answer!)

Cheers
Gryzor

PS I found out that the desktop configuration is stored in TOS in plain text so it can be changed without using a configuration file... heh!
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Post by rb »

hmm?

i think the 3 system fonts are inside of the tos.. so in order to have greek letters i am afraid one has to change these fonts, too.. otherwise the key mapping won't work anymore.. not talking about sorting and such..

if there is another way then please let me know too :)

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Post by Gryzor »

No, I know the fonts are embedded; I was asking if there's *any* way to write greek on an Atari, maybe by loading an accessory or something.

...I can't believe I never realised I couldn't write in Greek on my ST!

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Post by manicx »

Gryzor, maaaaaaaany moons ago, I translated TOS for the ST. It was 1.4 and I actually had the support from the Atari distributor in Greece where a good friend of mine was working (I even saw the first Falcon computer in Greece FFS). As rb said you need to have the font there, so I was given a ST+all tools to do this. Unfortunately, both the ST and the TOS disk I created were given away in 1991. Just to inform you that it has been done, but at the moment, only some Greek ST hardcore fans may have this disk. Sorry... :cry:
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Post by Gryzor »

Oh darn... thanks for the info, Manicx ... I understand that you need a proper development environment to do it. The question remains, however, can't one write in Greek on an ST? Not necesarilly for TOS translating reasons, but for word processing etc?

As for the translation, I guess it could be done by designing a font and patching the TOS through an accessory upon boot-up so it can display the correct characters instead of garbage, but, hm, I can't do that... So I guess all hope is lost, unless I revert to greeklish :D

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Post by manicx »

Well, I may try to contact my pal. He is the only one who may be in a position to help. I am not sure if he still has his Falcon, but if he does, he may have the disk as well. Fingers crossed.
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Post by Gryzor »

Yeah, thanx, this would be sweet, to have a greek TOS around... By the way, you remember how you did it? Did you design a greek font and put it in the OS replacing other characters?

This brings the question: how many characters did the ST support? Is there a character map somewhere?

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Post by rb »

hi

in 'raw' mode the st supports up to 255 characters...

in normal ascii mode the first 32 characters are rather control codes...
back in those days no-one dreamed of unicode :)

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Post by manicx »

Gryzor, I think that's what I did. It's been 13 years since then though and I am not 100% sure about it. Also rb answered the second part in your question. :)
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Post by Gryzor »

Thanks, manicx and rb. That's been helpful, however one question (and a glimpse of hope) remains: how can I see the character map of the st? Specifically, I'm thinking that if some (or all?) of the greek characters are present in the 255 chars I could remap them... that's what everybody did on the Amstrad CPCs, at least. Let me know if you got any idea!

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Post by jens »

With the editor qed you can see the character map and insert characters into your texts/ projects.
I think qed is freeware.
Greetings, Jens

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Post by rb »

hi gryzor

i got the feeling you still think too much unicode which is perfectly able to sort various alphabets correctly:)

regarding a greek tos.. well i guess there is no greek keyboard for the st available either.. so wouldn't it be a good idea to change the characters image for 'a' with the image of alpha, b with beta, g with gamma etc? this way the keyboard would give you some kind of an idea where the keys are mapped to...

this are just my two pence :) maybe you have a better idea..

on the other hand i am sure there are some keyboard/ascii mapping tables hidden in the roms, though

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Post by Gryzor »

Well, not really, I'm not thinking in terms of Unicode, but anyway (:

I opened up qed and took a peek at the char map, but no greek characters... so that's the end of that. Sigh...

Thanks for your help, tho!

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Post by Vag »

I think it can be done!
I'm Vag from GreekRoms, a greek translation group.
I have translated some games in greek, including one for the Amiga (Kick off 1).
If the graphics inside the tos image aren't compressed (probably they are not), you can open it with a tile editor. You'll have to draw the greek letters over the old ones and then find the encoding (probably it uses the ascii).
Then you'll use a hex editor that supports tables to edit the text.

Maybe you'll manage it to use characters like !"#$... instead of latin letters, so that the new greek tos will have english as well. Of course you'll have to use the common letters (like ABEHKMNOPYI...) for english and greek as well, to save some space. I guess you want to keep some characters like .,!;
Take a look at http://www.greekroms.net, there's a tutorial there.
You can email me if you want (vdask@mail.gr).
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Post by Gryzor »

Imagine that, another Greek on the forum! Sorry for replying late, beeing in-between the Real World and the Army kinda sucks...

I'm gonna take a look at the tutorial and try to sort things out, thanks a lot! I'll also contact you personally :)

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Post by Vag »

I tried to see the fonts in the TOS and I found it.
It looks a little complicated but with some patience it's possible to replace any letter. I found two fonts, one bigger than the other.
I just don't know what letters or characters you can type easily with your keyboard to tell what letters to replace.
I also realized that the fonts in the Amiga version of Kick off 2 were copied from the Atari TOS. Maybe the letters I replaced in that game are the ones we should change in the TOS as well.
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Post by Gryzor »

Vag: Thanks a bunch, matey. I've been terribly busy lately and didn't have the time to do any actual work on any of my projects, but I'll start looking at the TOS next weekend, hopefully. I'll get in touch with you. As for the Amiga version of KO2, I had noticed that but didn't pay much attention :D

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Post by rb »

hi

i think there are 3 system fonts in a tos rom but don't quote me on that.. it's still early :) 8x16, 8x8 and 6x6 ???
the pointers to them should be quite at the beginning of the tos rom.

told you it would be possible as long as you can map them reasonably to the keyboard codes

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Post by Vag »

I have too many projects and I can't translate the Atari TOS. I don't have so much interest anyway because I never had an Atari. But I really want to help with this and I think I have the experience to do it.

First of all, I need to know more about the TOS.
I noticed there are different versions. What does that mean? Totally different computers? And which one should we work with?

Second, you will need to have some programs.
The first one is Tile Molester ( http://www.stud.ntnu.no/~kenth/tm ).
Tile Molester is written in Java, so you'll need to install that first...
With this one, you'll be able to see the font in the TOS and change it (paint the greek letters over the latin ones).
The second one is a hex editor, to change the text.
But not any hex editor, as the greek TOS won't have the ASCII encoding anymore but our own, custom encoding!
This means you need a hex editor that supports tables.
There are some, the one I use and think is the best, is Thingy32.
You can find this one at http://www.zophar.net

We're lucky that the fonts ands the text are not compressed, but there's still one more condition. When you edit the text in the TOS with a hex editor, you should be able to use more characters in some phrases or words. An example is "No", which will be changed to "Oxi". The greek word has 3 letters, but you'll have only 2 spaces in the TOS. What will you do? There are some tricks though, let's hope it can be done :-)
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Post by idrougge »

Gryzor: No, the Atari is badder. There has been Greek Workbench for the Amiga since a long time ago.

Vag: Some TOS versions are machine specific, such as 2.05, 3.x, 4.x. Others, such as 2.06, work with most machines.
Also, TOS is already multilingual, so assuming that Greek isn't a particularly space-inefficient language, the alloted string space shouldn't be any trouble. For example, "no" is "nein" in German, and there is a German TOS.

As for adding Greek, I suggest you replace the Hebrew characters (I suppose that these were added to the ST charset due to Jack Tramiel being Jewish). This way, Western-European Latin will be able to coexist with Greek. Or you could just use a more common encoding from some other platform, in which case I suppose that éàö et al be sacrificed.

But technically, helenifying TOS should be no big deal. Try to add Japanese support for a real nightmare.
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Post by Vag »

It would be very time consuming so I'm not doing it myself as I have too many open projects.
But I'm willing to help anyone that wants to translate it in any language.

I haven't used an Atari really so I don't know much about the TOS. I guess the non-english versions are different files.
So you have to decide what version and what language TOS you will translate (Very inportant).
Then you have to decide what characters to replace (Very important).
Then you have to paint the greek fonts (Very time consuming but you can change them again at any time).
After this, you can start the translation...
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Post by manicx »

Vag, if you manage to come for some KO2 games (moved to a new flat a while ago) you will see a STE as well as everything about TOS.
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Post by rb »

alright....

somehow i figure that there are quite a few greek members on this forum :)

one of the features i wanted to implement in netetari is a gem font editor..

what i could offer is to write a small tool that reads the fonts from the tos rom.. and displays them ready to edit... after you have done your thingie you could write the fonts back to the rom..

this should be no big problem.. where the problem is, well probably, is the keymapping...

changing all strings within the rom itself will cause no problems as long as the greek translation is not tonger than let's say the english version... i guess in general the german and french versions will have longer strings in general..

if a string has to be longer than we do have some problem here... we can't just move the code hoping that we can gain something back at a later stage.. we would have to deal with a lot of relocations. as far as i remember all trap exception use tables with fixed addresses to jump to the correponding functions..

so after all... it's needs some contemplating whether this is really worth it at all.

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Post by Gryzor »

This would be really terrific and totally worth the trouble, I think. I have done quite a few string replacements (with hex and sector editors) int he past (8bit and 16bit, way before the unicode era :D ) and, although your point is correct (and greek has some looong words!) I always managed to get my stuff in the space provided... there's always a way, as long as you have imagination and are a competent language user. So please, go for it!

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Post by rb »

alright ol' greek..

i will do something quik and dirty using native windows APi... so the .ner framework will not be involved..

this thingy will only deal with the 3 system fonts stored in TOS roms... that means they are all uniform

the netatari version will allow to create own gem fonts with variable widths etc..

if i can figure out the keymapping tables right quick i might through in something for that, too :)

cheers
rb

ps.. give me a couple of days.. i am not a miracle worker :)
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