[stella] Stella Emulator and .PRO files

Subject: [stella] Stella Emulator and .PRO files
From: "Andrew Davie" <adavie@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
Date: Tue, 21 Jan 2003 23:20:11 +1100
... and why they're a bad idea.

I've just had a play with the Cyberstella emulator, in an effort to see if I
could set it up for use in my development environment.  I've run into a few
things which pretty much kill the idea of using Stella for development -
even though it has some features which make it nicer than Z26 for me.

Firstly, it's the - (expletive deleted) - idea of the .MD5 checksum.
There's no way of over-riding it!  So it's not possible to run a game, even
if you DO know the correct setup for the type, without first generating the
MD5 sum.  This sucks big-time when working in a development environment,
because the MD5 program output is not directly recognised by Stella.  So you
have to write a little proggy to convert the output from MD5SUM (which
generates the MD5 checksum) into a .PRO file for stella use.

I tried setting up a .PRO file saying that the Cart filename was my binary,
and the cart type was 3F... but this doesn't work.  The only way I could see
of getting a 3F bankswitching game to run is to actually have the correct
MD5 sum in the .PRO file.  That sucks!

Once you've done that, though, then you can run Cyberstella.... but you
can't have the program run immediately - you get that darn dialog file
selection.  If I place a binary file on the command line, it sure would have
been nice for it to recognise it and run it for me.

So, what I need for being able to use Cyberstella as a development emulator
(and I really want to) is....

Have the Cartridge.Name be sufficient to specify the type of a cartridge -
without the need for a MD5
eg: in the .PRO file, something like this...

"Cartridge.Name" "fukung.bin"
"Cartridge.Type" "3F"

That won't work... but this will (for my current build)...

"Cartridge.MD5" "63c5fef3208bb1424d26cf1ab984b40c"
"Cartridge.Type" "3F"

It's just silly having to recompute the MD5 every time for development.  THe
first example should be sufficient!

But preferentially, I'd like to be able to bypass the .PRO file with
something as simple as this...

cyberstella -3F fukung.bin

That is, run cyberstella, use 3F bankswitching and load the fukung.bin
That seems a reasonable ask, to me.

I'm writing to see how others have their emulator hooked into their
development environment?  Me, I'm using visual studio and I hit f7 to
compile, or f5 to compile and run.  Compilation happens, Z26 is loaded and
my game is running almost immediately.  I can't do that with stella... and
I'd like to be able to.

What are you other developers doing?


PS: This isn't a stella bashing exercise - it looks excellent - its jut not
sufficiently usable from a developers' viewpoint.

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