Re: [stella] AtariVox EEPROM file format

Subject: Re: [stella] AtariVox EEPROM file format
From: "Eckhard Stolberg" <Eckhard_Stolberg@xxxxxx>
Date: Mon, 29 Nov 2004 21:13:08 +0100
I really don't like variable filename or extension length.  I just want
something simple.  The Atari's RAM and ability to display text is so
limited.  Some programs won't be able to display other programs full

Oh, I don't want really long filenames either. What I'd want is realy short filenames. ;-) I just think that 8+3 bytes filenames for every 128 bytes block is too much. We'd be using 1.4K out of the 16K filespace for filenames alone. While descriptive user-created filenames with smaller data size might work nicely for your music program, other programs might work better with short automatically created filenames and a bigger data size.

If you don't like variable extension size and long filenames,
maybe we could use a system with a fixed extension size and
a maximum size for filenames. How about something like this:

Use 7-bit ASCII characters for the names. That way the MSB
of the first byte could be used to mark used file blocks.
If it's 0, the block isused, if it's 1 the block is free.

The first to bytes in each block are sued for the file type.
With ther only being 128 blocks available and probably not
that many programs that use the file area in the AtariVox
anyway, two-character file types should be enough to avoid
confusion between different programs.

The filename can be up to 8 characters long (or whatever size
you think would be best). But if you set the MSB in one of
these bytes to 1, it means that the filename ends there and
that the bytes after this byte are used for data.

With filenames+extensions being bewtween 3 and 10  characters
long, any AtariVox maintenance program should be able to fully
display all names. And the overhead in the code for testing
the MSB in all filename characters wouldn't be that big
either, considering that you'd need to add a 128 character
font and code to display it to your game anyway, if you
wanted to support user-created filenames.

And practical issues aside, I would like to see DOS filename format on the
Atari 2600 display.  :o)

But even DOS had variable length filenames and extensions. ;-)

It's not crucial, but there's already some need for it.  I don't think Man
Goes Down includes a way to erase the high scores.

Maybe you are right. We should probably make it mandatory for a game to allow the user to erase it's high-scores on the AtariVox. Otherwise scores for the different beta versions of a game might get mixed. And if the difficulty of the game still changes, that could be a problem.

Ciao, Eckhard Stolberg

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