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PostPosted: June 20th, 2014, 11:31 pm 
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Hi all,
I'm getting close to the world PC-98 after exploring the X68000 and FM-TOWN ones
My question is : is there any PC-98 program that let you mount disk images as virtual floppy?I mean something similar to 2HDSIM for X68000.Or better, something like 2HDBOOT to load disk images into memory and run them from it?
Thanks in advance.


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PostPosted: June 21st, 2014, 2:26 pm 
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hi,よく分かりませんですが、But if you install win2000 in your PC98, you can use like "Virtual FD Control Panel", Support "fdd"、"dat"、"img"


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PostPosted: June 21st, 2014, 10:30 pm 
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Don't have time for a detailed reply, but look up HSB and ERCVFD over on vector.co.jp.

Then there's always the HxC floppy emulator.


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PostPosted: June 22nd, 2014, 7:46 am 
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Thanks for reply.Yes, I know Hxc Floppy emulator (I have two boards) but I meant a way to mounting disk images via software under MS-DOS.I downloaded ERCVFD and from what I understood it requires ERCACHE and HSB.But all docmentazion is in japanese and I can't fully understand it.Could you explan quickly how to set up it, please?Thanks in advance.

UPDATE:

I understood that ERCVFD requires a special format and I was able (working on emulator) to convert a mounted .FDI in its specific format.The problems is that I can't mount this on a virtual floppy.It seems the system is a combination of four programs to be configured:

HSB (High Speed Boot) http://www.vector.co.jp/soft/dos/util/se002233.html
ERCACHE http://www.vector.co.jp/soft/dos/game/se023028.html
ERCVFD http://www.vector.co.jp/soft/dos/game/se023028.html
ESOUND.COM (needed when a a sound card is present) http://www.vector.co.jp/soft/dos/art/se010884.html

So, I'd need, please, some help from someone who understands japanese and has used already these softwares.Thanks.


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PostPosted: June 29th, 2014, 5:00 am 
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Sorry for not replying sooner. I just found your thread over on nfg.

I have some bad news: I don't think ERCVFD will do what you want. When I used it briefly, I couldn't get it to boot games from the virtual FDD. The HSB environment has to be loaded first before the virtual FDD is created, so floppy-based games that use a custom DOS or special bootloader will not work. Also, you need a lot of RAM, enough to hold an entire floppy disk in memory. Plus, since everything is held in RAM, you have to manually save any changes back to the hard disk, or the data will be wiped.

It's just not suitable for games.


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PostPosted: June 29th, 2014, 7:35 am 
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Hi and thanks for replying.The manual of ERCVFD says it's a virtual FDD system for games (there also some specific game configuration explained)
Anyway, I just want to give it a try, so, please, could you post your working configuration here (AUTOEXEC.BAT, CONFIG.SYS,etc..)?Thanks in advance.


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PostPosted: June 30th, 2014, 8:18 am 
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Here is the general idea: https://www.sendspace.com/file/skey2l

Type "HSB A:OHO\" or simply "BOOT OHO" to launch a 2-disk virtual FD game through ERCVFD.
Inside the OHO directory are the virtual floppy images, and the config.sys and autoexec.bat needed to launch ERCVFD.

I tried this on a different PC98 and got it to work. So booting from virtual floppies is possible, but your PC98 model needs to fully support HSB (my older machine didn't). It depends on the floppies, too.

You'll need to test this on a real machine, because ERCACHE will probably never work in an emulator.

Virtual floppies are loaded in order of the /LOAD commands in the autoexec.bat.
To swap out the 1st virtual drive, press Ctrl+Grph+F1...VF5. (F1 is the first loaded disk, F2 is the second loaded disk, etc.)
To swap out the 2nd virtual drive, press Ctrl+Shift+Grph+F1...VF5.

Also, HSB needs to detect and record the specific machine environment before it'll work. Look at the REM lines in the root config.sys. So if you're going to pass around an HDD image for people to use, they will have to set up HSB themselves before it will work. Unfortunately HSB is not supported on all PC98 models (the laptop models in particular have problems).

You can also use HSB without ERCACHE to juggle different system configurations (this works in emulators, too). So for example, on this hard disk image, there's isn't enough memory to run TBS by default. But you can use HSB to load the custom config.sys and autoexec.bat in the TBS directory to launch it without modifying the root configuration. Type "HSB A:TBS\" or "BOOT TBS". This is useful if you want to run a lot of different games from one hard disk, and need to toggle settings like CD-ROM support and EMS memory.


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PostPosted: June 30th, 2014, 8:46 pm 
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kobushi wrote:
Here is the general idea: https://www.sendspace.com/file/skey2l

Type "HSB A:OHO\" or simply "BOOT OHO" to launch a 2-disk virtual FD game through ERCVFD.
Inside the OHO directory are the virtual floppy images, and the config.sys and autoexec.bat needed to launch ERCVFD.


First of all thanks for reply and your exaustive explanation.Sadly I don't have yet a real PC-9821 pc so I can't try now.

Quote:
I tried this on a different PC98 and got it to work. So booting from virtual floppies is possible, but your PC98 model needs to fully support HSB (my older machine didn't). It depends on the floppies, too.


I presume later models will support HSB like the PC-9821AP2 I bought.

Quote:
You'll need to test this on a real machine, because ERCACHE will probably never work in an emulator.


Yes, confirmed, it doesn't work in any emulator.

Quote:
Virtual floppies are loaded in order of the /LOAD commands in the autoexec.bat.
To swap out the 1st virtual drive, press Ctrl+Grph+F1...VF5. (F1 is the first loaded disk, F2 is the second loaded disk, etc.)
To swap out the 2nd virtual drive, press Ctrl+Shift+Grph+F1...VF5.


Understood.But is it possible to create .VFD files from NON-DOS games or one with special bootloader?

Quote:
Also, HSB needs to detect and record the specific machine environment before it'll work. Look at the REM lines in the root config.sys. So if you're going to pass around an HDD image for people to use, they will have to set up HSB themselves before it will work. Unfortunately HSB is not supported on all PC98 models (the laptop models in particular have problems).


Please, explain this better.I noticed you commented most of lines in the root config.sys but I don't understand why.Perhaps to save memory usage?

Quote:
You can also use HSB without ERCACHE to juggle different system configurations (this works in emulators, too). So for example, on this hard disk image, there's isn't enough memory to run TBS by default. But you can use HSB to load the custom config.sys and autoexec.bat in the TBS directory to launch it without modifying the root configuration. Type "HSB A:TBS\" or "BOOT TBS". This is useful if you want to run a lot of different games from one hard disk, and need to toggle settings like CD-ROM support and EMS memory.


Is TSB a game?Anyway I noticed that specific AUTOEXEC.BAT and CONFIG.SYS of each games are reuqired also in root and must be called AUTOEXEC.!!! and CONFIG.!!!.
Do you confirm this?

EDIT:
It seems AUTOEXEC.BAT and CONFIG.SYS of specific game are copied in root and renamed AUTOEXEC.!!! and CONFIG.!!! at runtime.


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PostPosted: July 1st, 2014, 12:22 am 
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caius wrote:
I presume later models will support HSB like the PC-9821AP2 I bought.

That should work fine. The difficult models would be the laptops. Actually I think the compatibility problem is more because of ERCACHE, not HSB. Originally I tried to use ERCACHE with a laptop to create a virtual 2nd FDD, but it was a big hassle. Sometimes it worked, sometimes it didn't, and I had to individually tweak the setup for almost every game.

Quote:
Understood.But is it possible to create .VFD files from NON-DOS games or one with special bootloader?

It should be possible to create .VFD files for most games easily, assuming the game is already cracked. You can use ERCVFD to dump games, but VFIC can also output VFD files.

About HSB: For HSB to work, it has to know the machine environment, and this machine-specific information is recorded inside the HSB.EXE itself. So if you copy HSB over to a different computer, it won't work anymore. To re-initialize HSB, you need to boot with the 1st line enabled in CONFIG.SYS. (DEVICE=\...\HSB.EXE VC Y-). If the environment has changed, HSB will display a warning message. Press "W" to update the environment information. Once HSB has detected and recorded the new machine environment, you can turn off HSB if you want, or keep using it.
The second HSB.EXE line in the CONFIG.SYS needs to come after EMM386 if you're using EMS.

Quote:
Quote:
You can also use HSB without ERCACHE to juggle different system configurations (this works in emulators, too). So for example, on this hard disk image, there's isn't enough memory to run TBS by default. But you can use HSB to load the custom config.sys and autoexec.bat in the TBS directory to launch it without modifying the root configuration. Type "HSB A:TBS\" or "BOOT TBS". This is useful if you want to run a lot of different games from one hard disk, and need to toggle settings like CD-ROM support and EMS memory.


Is TSB a game?Anyway I noticed that specific AUTOEXEC.BAT and CONFIG.SYS of each games are reuqired also in root and must be called AUTOEXEC.!!! and CONFIG.!!!.
Do you confirm this?


EDIT:
It seems AUTOEXEC.BAT and CONFIG.SYS of specific game are copied in root and renamed AUTOEXEC.!!! and CONFIG.!!! at runtime.

Yes, that is how HSB manages multiple boot configurations. I defined !!! as the HSB extension in the root AUTOEXEC.BAT. HSB does it automatically, so you don't have to manually rename the files. TBS is just a game I used as an example.
Specifically, "HSB A:TBS\" means that HSB will reboot using the IO.SYS and MSDOS.SYS in the root A:\, but use the CONFIG.SYS and AUTOEXEC.BAT in A:\TBS. If you reboot again, you'll return to the regular configuration in the root CONFIG.SYS and AUTOEXEC.BAT.
HSB has more exotic options, but I think this one is the easiest for managing multiple game configurations, including ERCVFD.


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PostPosted: July 3rd, 2014, 8:47 am 
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kobushi wrote:
caius wrote:
I presume later models will support HSB like the PC-9821AP2 I bought.

That should work fine. The difficult models would be the laptops. Actually I think the compatibility problem is more because of ERCACHE, not HSB. Originally I tried to use ERCACHE with a laptop to create a virtual 2nd FDD, but it was a big hassle. Sometimes it worked, sometimes it didn't, and I had to individually tweak the setup for almost every game.


I'll try it when I will receive my PC-9821AP2.Anyway, ERCVFD doesn't works under emulators, I can confirm this.I get the error attached when ERCVFD tries to mount disk image files.



Quote:
About HSB: For HSB to work, it has to know the machine environment, and this machine-specific information is recorded inside the HSB.EXE itself. So if you copy HSB over to a different computer, it won't work anymore. To re-initialize HSB, you need to boot with the 1st line enabled in CONFIG.SYS. (DEVICE=\...\HSB.EXE VC Y-). If the environment has changed, HSB will display a warning message. Press "W" to update the environment information. Once HSB has detected and recorded the new machine environment, you can turn off HSB if you want, or keep using it.
The second HSB.EXE line in the CONFIG.SYS needs to come after EMM386 if you're using EMS.


Yes, you are right.But after HSB hasrecorded the machine environment, can I comment again both lines or I have to mantain the second one active ('DEVICE=A:\ERC\HSB.EXE VU I26 II[A468&7F] IGDC IG IF Y1 T2 TS')?
Then I noticed you have commented all the lines regarding HIMEM in your system config.sys.Why?Maybe because you can load HIMEM driver when this is needed by a specific game launching it with HSB?


Quote:
Yes, that is how HSB manages multiple boot configurations. I defined !!! as the HSB extension in the root AUTOEXEC.BAT. HSB does it automatically, so you don't have to manually rename the files. TBS is just a game I used as an example.
Specifically, "HSB A:TBS\" means that HSB will reboot using the IO.SYS and MSDOS.SYS in the root A:\, but use the CONFIG.SYS and AUTOEXEC.BAT in A:\TBS. If you reboot again, you'll return to the regular configuration in the root CONFIG.SYS and AUTOEXEC.BAT.
HSB has more exotic options, but I think this one is the easiest for managing multiple game configurations, including ERCVFD.


Also working on emulator (Neko Project II latest unofficial build) I tried to launch other games using HSB (without ERCVFD) but noone works.See other attached image for error (the game is Flame Zapper).


P.S.
Is it possible to put games folders not in root but in other folder (like for example A:\GAMES) and launch them with BOOT.BAT?I presume I have to change this into 'HSB A:%1\GAMES\'


UPDATE:
Ok, I managed to run Flame Zapper with HSB by modifying its system files in a way like TBS:

AUTOEXEC.BAT
echo off
A:
CD \FLAMEZAP
nax -t -f6 -b00
nax -r
rem ã‚Ì‚Qs‚Í•K—v‚Ȃ̂ōí‚ç‚È‚¢‚ʼnº‚³‚¢
nax -t -f6 -b00 -3
gjload
cotsujin
nax -r


CONFIG.SYS
FILES=30
DEVICE=A:\FLAMEZAP\HIMEM.SYS
DEVICE=A:\FLAMEZAP\EMM386.EXE
DOS=HIGH,UMB
SHELL=A:\FLAMEZAP\COMMAND.COM /p

Bus still I'm forced to put game folder on root.Or better,if I want to put the games in a GAMES folder I should change all the references pointing to the right path and launch the game with HSB A:\GAMES\GAMEFOLDERNAME\ (or making a proper .BAT)



Attachments:
HSB_ERROR.jpg
HSB_ERROR.jpg [ 41.14 KiB | Viewed 8589 times ]
ERCVFD_error.jpg
ERCVFD_error.jpg [ 53.23 KiB | Viewed 8589 times ]
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PostPosted: July 5th, 2014, 3:02 am 
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caius wrote:
Yes, you are right.But after HSB hasrecorded the machine environment, can I comment again both lines or I have to mantain the second one active ('DEVICE=A:\ERC\HSB.EXE VU I26 II[A468&7F] IGDC IG IF Y1 T2 TS')?
Then I noticed you have commented all the lines regarding HIMEM in your system config.sys.Why?Maybe because you can load HIMEM driver when this is needed by a specific game launching it with HSB?

It was just an example. After HSB has recorded the machine environment, the root config.sys/autoexec.bat can be whatever you want.

Quote:

Is it possible to put games folders not in root but in other folder (like for example A:\GAMES) and launch them with BOOT.BAT?I presume I have to change this into 'HSB A:%1\GAMES\'

Change BOOT.BAT to "HSB A:GAMES\%1\". Do not put a backslash between A: and GAMES.
Or simply use the old BOOT.BAT and type "BOOT GAMES\FLAMEZAP", for example.
Also, in the config.sys/autoexec.bat in the game folder, make sure that all paths point to A:\GAMES\FLAMEZAP instead of A:\FLAMEZAP.

PS - If your goal is to make a bootable HDD with a bunch of preinstalled games, you might like the smenu program as a game selector. I used it a few years ago to make a music disk. Press tab to edit the entries.
https://www.sendspace.com/file/n4g6hi


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PostPosted: July 6th, 2014, 10:30 pm 
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kobushi wrote:

Change BOOT.BAT to "HSB A:GAMES\%1\". Do not put a backslash between A: and GAMES.
Or simply use the old BOOT.BAT and type "BOOT GAMES\FLAMEZAP", for example.
Also, in the config.sys/autoexec.bat in the game folder, make sure that all paths point to A:\GAMES\FLAMEZAP instead of A:\FLAMEZAP.


Yes, I've changed all paths and Flame Zapper works.But still I have issue to run some games from HDD, for example Raid Wind.I extracted all files from its .HDI into my bootable HDD image (changing all paths) but it refuses to start.

Quote:

PS - If your goal is to make a bootable HDD with a bunch of preinstalled games, you might like the smenu program as a game selector. I used it a few years ago to make a music disk. Press tab to edit the entries.
https://www.sendspace.com/file/n4g6hi


OK, thanks, I will test this smenu program.
Always regarding games, do you know some TSR program able to slower games which run too fast?
Besides, I know PC-9821 with integrated sound card (like my upcoming PC-9821AP2/U8W) have no joystick ports, they are only present on addon sound card.
Do you know some solution about?I'm thinking to try this:

http://www.geocities.jp/wp_gopher/pc/98/keypad.html


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PostPosted: July 7th, 2014, 10:16 am 
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caius wrote:
Yes, I've changed all paths and Flame Zapper works.But still I have issue to run some games from HDD, for example Raid Wind.I extracted all files from its .HDI into my bootable HDD image (changing all paths) but it refuses to start.

That's because Raid Wind was designed to be run from a floppy, not a hard disk. The Raidwind files have to be in the root directory, or it won't work. If you want to keep your HDD clean, you can run it from a virtual floppy via ERCVFD. I tested this on a real machine and it works.


Quote:
Always regarding games, do you know some TSR program able to slower games which run too fast?

This is usually not a problem on the PC-9801. Some older models have a CPU speed switch on the front of the case. You can also try setting the CPU to Low mode by setting dipswitch 3-8 to OFF. I don't know of any moslo type programs.

Quote:
Besides, I know PC-9821 with integrated sound card (like my upcoming PC-9821AP2/U8W) have no joystick ports, they are only present on addon sound card.
Do you know some solution about?I'm thinking to try this:

http://www.geocities.jp/wp_gopher/pc/98/keypad.html

Sorry, I don't use a joystick for PC98 games, so I don't know.


Attachments:
raidwind (VFD).rar [417.31 KiB]
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PostPosted: July 7th, 2014, 1:50 pm 
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kobushi wrote:

That's because Raid Wind was designed to be run from a floppy, not a hard disk. The Raidwind files have to be in the root directory, or it won't work. If you want to keep your HDD clean, you can run it from a virtual floppy via ERCVFD. I tested this on a real machine and it works.


cpt. Misumaru Tenchi sent me a link with a Raid Wind .HDI.You can download it from here:

https://www.sendspace.com/file/12emxl

Is there some commad to map a drive to an existing directory?In X68000 we can use the "SUBST" command.This command is present in PC-98 too but it seems to have a different use and purpose.Anyway now I understand why a lot of games don't boot if extracted in a HDD folder, they have to be in the root like you said.


Quote:
This is usually not a problem on the PC-9801. Some older models have a CPU speed switch on the front of the case. You can also try setting the CPU to Low mode by setting dipswitch 3-8 to OFF. I don't know of any moslo type programs.


I found this CPU Speed control program, you may give it a try:

http://www.vector.co.jp/soft/dos/util/se002303.html


Quote:
Sorry, I don't use a joystick for PC98 games, so I don't know.


OK, I will do this mod and let you know


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PostPosted: July 7th, 2014, 11:44 pm 
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caius wrote:
Is there some commad to map a drive to an existing directory?In X68000 we can use the "SUBST" command.This command is present in PC-98 too but it seems to have a different use and purpose.Anyway now I understand why a lot of games don't boot if extracted in a HDD folder, they have to be in the root like you said.

Using SUBST is a good idea, but I don't think it will work, at least for Raid Wind. Raid Wind requires the A:\ drive, and you can't SUBST the A:\ on a PC-9801, because that's always the boot drive letter.

Quote:
I found this CPU Speed control program, you may give it a try:

http://www.vector.co.jp/soft/dos/util/se002303.html

That says it's for PC/AT only. I don't think it will do anything on a PC-9801.


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