Stella the 2600 Emulator Updated

 

 

 

 

 

Stella, the Atari 2600 emulator for Mac OSX, now sits at version 3.3 and you can find it in the Box File Widget or from their homepage. Don’t forget that there are 2 versions, a 32 bit and a 64 bit version. The 64 bit version is for Snow Leopard users only. Let’s check out the changes because there are lots of them this time.

  • Added the following Distella ‘directives’, which are used to override and specifically tell the debugger how to treat address space (CODE, GFX, PGFX, DATA, ROW). See the debugger documentation for more information.
  • Disassembly from the debugger is now tracked by the emulation core, and accented by the built-in Distella code. Basically, the emulation core knows when an address is referenced as code, making for very accurate disassembled output. Related to this, the emulation core now tracks accesses to GRPx and PFx registers, automatically marking the addresses as GFX or PGFX sections. This will be improved in future releases, as there are many ways to store data in the graphics registers.
  • Improved output of graphics output in the disassembler, by marking such addresses with a bitmap of the data they represent. This allows player graphics (GFX directive) and playfield graphics (PGFX directive) to really stand out in the disassembly. Related to this, added ability to edit such graphics in either binary or hexidecimal.
  • Added preliminary support for Distella configuration files. Much more work is required in this area, since Stella now contains directives that don’t yet exist in the standalone Distella program. Configuration files are automatically loaded, and debugger commands now exist to load and save configuration directives directly from the debugger.
  • Added the following commands to the debugger prompt:
    • clearconfig, listconfig, loadconfig, saveconfig
      (used for Distella configuration files)
    • code, data, gfx, pgfx, row
      (directives used to override automatic disassembly types)
    • jump (jumps to a specific address in the disassembly)
    • type (gives detailed info for disassembly type of an address)

  • The debugger prompt commands ‘trap’, ‘trapread’ and ‘trapwrite’ now accept a range of addresses as well as a single address.
  • Added ‘data source’ address output for the CPU SP/A/X/Y registers. This is useful for quickly seeing what an operand address resolves into with various load commands.
  • Many commands in the debugger prompt are now case-insensitive; further improvements will be made in future releases.
  • Many improvements to the built-in Distella disassembler. When passing a relative branch or jump, data is now disassembled as code only if the emulation core hasn’t detected it as data. Such ‘preliminary’ code is marked with a ‘*’ in the disassembler, indicating that it is tentative code, and hasn’t actually been executed yet. This allows to quickly see possible code paths, and at the same time eliminate disassembly of addresses that are never used as code sections.
  • Program counter/instruction addresses can now be toggled in the disassembly.
  • Disassembled instructions involving relative branches now show only one byte for the operand, not two bytes.
  • Fixed bug in several text input fields, whereby binary data couldn’t be input (a ‘\’ was required, but the character was blocked).
  • Fixed issues with PAL ROMs on screenmodes smaller than a PAL ROM would require. In this case, the image is centered and clipped to the screen resolution. This prevents the message “PAL ROM not supported” from appearing.
  • Fixed bug in fullscreen OpenGL mode when using ATI video cards; the desktop background was ‘bleeding through’, resulting in a very annoying flickering.
  • Fixed crashes when opening windows larger than the desktop resolution in fullscreen mode; this is now allowed only in windowed mode.
  • Application window centering now also works when switching between video modes, not just when starting the application.
  • Added support for building a Windows version compatible with Windows 98 and 2000 (compiled with Visual Studio 2005). Testing is very limited, since I no longer have access to these systems.
  • Fixed build issues for Innosetup in Windows XP.
  • Fixed bug in OSX version where the name of the application wasn’t being shown in Activity Monitor.
  • State files from older versions will no longer work in this release, because of the extensive changes to the debugger and disassembler.

About Mac Emulators
I am an Old School gamer with roots in emulation and gaming. I love video games, but mostly I love the old ones from our past. Emulation is a way to experience all these old games on your personal computer.

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