First of all we need ROMs. They are files with *.ROM extension which contain copy of ROM from real ATARI computer. So… start the emulator select “Atari->Rom Images” in menu. ROMs can be browsed manually or by Search function. Press OK after paths to ROMs are set.
Atari computer has special keys HELP, START, SELECT, OPTION, RESET, INVERSE. HELP is matched to PgDown key, INVERSE is matched to End. Remaining keys are matched to F2…F5. F5 is classic RESET (warm start), if you press Shift+F5 you commit cold start (turn off and on again).
Help can be shown by pressing F1, it has all information and manual. Remaining F-keys are used to control special features of emulator like Speed, Pause, Fast Disk Access, Video System, Console…
So… first we have to know some basic information about file formats if we want to load something. Emulator uses disk files (like copies of disks) and well known executables. Common disk files are ATR, XFD, DCM. It can be loaded by pressing Alt+1 (1 is number of drive – only drive 1 is bootable). Next you have to restart ATARI by pressing Shift+F5 and disk will be booted. Common executables are EXE, COM, XEX (they has same structure… only extension is different). XEX is used to differ ATARI executables and PC executables. These files can be loaded and started by pressing ALT+X (you don’t need to restart ATARI).
File with executable A8S is State File which means that it contains immediate memory status – it’s used to save whole memory and load it later (used commonly while gaming). A8S can be made by pressing Alt+Z and loaded by Alt+L.
There are also some interesting functions used to save audio and video. There are cheat options and disable collision function used commonly by gamers. This can be used to override game system. Disabling collisions will disable PMG collisions so there will be no killing bullets in some games. Using cheat options you can create infinitive lives:
- Start game and check how many lives you have.
- Type this number in editbox next to button “Memo” and click on this button (now emulator checks all the memory for that number).
- Now you have to commit suicide (in game of course ;-)).
- Type immediate number of lives into editbox next to “Search” and press “Search” button (now emulator compares memory with new number of lives and display addresses where should be saved number of lives in game).
- At last click on address (check it) and type number of lives you want to have into “Lock in” editbox.
WARNING: In common cases there will be more addresses to choose or sometimes none(when lives are stored spicially in memory). Setting of wrong address can crash emulated game.
JOYSTICK (menu “Input->Joysicks”) can be emulated by numpad, arrows, other keys, PC joystick or ATARI joystick!!! – see LPTjoy section.
Some other information:
You need to have DOS in memory if you want to save something which was created in ATARI software. So first ho have to boot DOS and then execute your software. If you just execute XEX file, there will be no DOS in memory and your data cannot be saved on ATARI disk.