Someone might ask how the crt is going, and how useful this is already. I want to answer it with a little screenshot:
That is a nice little rouge-like game called DeadCold, written in FreePascal for the console. As you can see it runs and the picture looks right. (it’s not perfectly right, but somehow usable). And because a little video tells much more about how this game runs here is also a little video about it:
There are some drawing problems, especially on the messages and sometimes some of the map disappear but not bad I would say. There are also some messages about removing critter failed… but that seems some error in the game code.
The colors is badly hacked for now, and only works for AROS, I’m not sure if I can upload that this status to the official repository, I will work on it a bit more.
On the currently running 36. Chaos Communication Congress 2019 (36C3) there was a little lightning talk (5 min talks) about FreePascal where also the Amiga and Atari support got mentioned (all supported platforms).
Most Tutorials about Pascal use the CRT unit in a very early Lesson. They use it only for ReadKey() to wait for a key at end of Program. It would be of course the same to just use a ReadLn and wait for an Enter.
I tried already to implement CRT before using an old implementation, but exactly this ReadKey implementation does not work at all when KingCON or other console replacements is used.
Now I got a hint in MorphOS Forum (always a very good Source for Implementation hints) to set the console in RAW: mode (using SetMode()) and then just read from the console the pressed keys. If console in raw mode, one can read cursor keys and F keys from the console.
I tried that and on MorphOS and AmigaOS3 it works well, Read blocks until a Button is pressed. But AROS of course is different again 😉 it always returns a Value sometimes 185, sometimes 184, not really know what that means. I thought about some kind of timer event but this should look different.
But finally it works, mapped some keys like F-keys and cursor. Also worked on the output gotoxy and colors, the colors are a little bit tricky, because the Amiga console only supports the first 8 pens (as far as I see it) so I cannot just ObtainBestPen, and the first 8 Pens are usually fixed and not the colors I need. I try to change them with ObtainPen but when they are already taken I just try to find one which has a close color, which does not work very well. Solution unknown.
I compile the example of ReadKey as example3.pas and compiled a little RPG-Game I found which is console based, which is a good testcase for colors and GotoXY. Of course looks not the same as in the DOS console but it is usable.
I guess there was some confusion about the installers I presented the last days… these are not official Releases of FreePascal 3.2. In fact FreePascal 3.2 is not released yet and also no fixed date for it yet.
My work on the installers just show my work preparing the next release that we have a real Amiga style installers with all needed Readme and copyright text that they can serve as official packages and even published on the official FreePascal site.
You can download these packages and test the installer, and that was the purpose of showing them, but please do not distribute them as FreePascal 3.2 releases. (I added also a beta marker at the page and in the ReadMe to make it clear) And do not post news messages about FreePascal 3.2 Release until there is an official announcement.
And as promised the Installer for MorphOS also to the latest Version. I used my old MacMini (with the acient MorphOS3.8) for that, but somehow it is rather slow. Maybe I’m spoiled with my PowerBook now, which feels much faster. But the MacMini is much better for such tries, not destroying my working setup on MorphOS.
As mentioned yesterday the 68k Amiga Installer needed a little bit more work, but now it is working nicely the same way as the other two.
In the video the customized Option selection is shown.
Next I will test the MorphOS installer again and try to make an own Installer for AROS. Thats a little bit tricky because of the Package system they use, which is nice but no support for it in the Installer as far as I can see. Path and assigns are not added to user-startup but should be made via a Package-Startup file, in the folder and a text file in the Envarc: pointing to this Package-Startup File. I did this already for the AROS install process but not with the Install tool.
The release of FreePascal 3.2 gets closer (at least I hope) and with it the first full Release of FPC with complete Support of all Amiga Systems. I created already an Amiga-Style Installer for Amiga OS3 and MorphOS.
Today I added a Installer for Amiga OS 4 which should work on all Amiga OS 4 systems (except the X5000, yes that problem still exists because we have no way to debug it, without such a system available)
I made a little video about the general installation of FreePascal on Amiga OS 4.1 Final Edition Update 1. It needs a reboot at the end, maybe one could add that to the Installer, but I don’t like that when Installers force reboots.
Paolo Besser works on a 64bit Version of Icaros (see also his website about it). I only try my AROS64 bit FreePascal stuff with my old linux hosted AROS 64 version, and there it worked fine. But the ABI of x64 AROS is not fixed yet, so still changes can happen. And there are some changes, Leu for example crashes on the Icaros64 alpha version, Paolo sent me. It crashes very early in the startup code. I started to debug that stuff but it’s very hard to debug at this point, that early in the startup. But my initial guess was more or less right, because the AROS devs tried to implement SMP they changed a lot of structures for additional locks and so on, so the Offsets of fields are moved. Usually an easy job just compare the the new C includes with my pascal counter parts. but it makes it much harder if defines and alignment comes to play, here also. The define was easy, there is a __AROSSYSTEM_SMP__ define which seems to be always enabled, even AROS is not compiled for SMP use (seems still too unstable) which includes and additional spinlock_t to MsgPort and Sempahore, so far so well. But it seems this spinlock_t is huge, by the definition I would say an Integer and a Pointer, but the size needed in the structure to cover up the missing offset shift is much more… something around 256 bytes. The structure is 128 aligned, this could be a key for that.
Usually that is not hard to find out, just make a small C program and test the sizes and offsets of the related structs, but… who have guessed it … on Icaros64 that is not that easy, because the gcc installed does not work, it just crashes. And btw. collect-aros, which we need fore linking in FreePascal also crashes, so for sure no compiling directly on the system.
But just by try and fail/crash and comparing the results of process and task structure to the output of Scout I got a somehow working version, it’s a very dirty hack, but for now it works, Leu works, FPC works (until collect-aros crashes when try to link, but without linking, everything is fine), FP-IDE is working (with the same problem like FPC of course).
There is some more work to really make that structures correct, but for that I will wait until the gcc is working again. The described way to compile stuff for 64bit in C on the icaros webpage using metamake is hilarious if you just want to compile a hello world it’s way overblown. I tried it, but it does not work, also compiling AROS64 from source does not work, I guess you need some pesky parameter when calling configure which, of course, are not described.
I bought a Draco, if you do not know what it is, its a Amiga compatible Clone used for Video editing. It does not have the traditional Amiga Chipset (ECS/AGA) therefore nearly all games will not work. But Workbench based programs and RTG compatible programs will work. For me only interested in FreePascal and stuff its the perfect RTG Amiga and it’s much cheaper than any other Amiga with RTG, Soundcard and a 060 card + 128 MB RAM.
I replaced the (very noisy) Harddisk with a SCSI2SD V6 and removed one of the fans (which was basically for cooling the HD) and now the Draco is nearly silent and very fast, the SCSI2SD V6 reaches the 10 MB/s easily with the Draco SCSI. The Draco also supplies some standard Zorro II slots, I tried a X-Surf 100 to get network access to it (mainly to bring my FreePascal stuff there) but sadly it does not work, even I found some reports that it should work. Maybe the Zorro in my Draco is somehow broken, I cleaned already all the connectors and checked voltages of the power supply but no luck. To get at least slow network I connected an old Raspi via Serial cable to the Draco and used PPP like in the good old days. It reaches the maximum 115.200 baud but even that feels very very slow, at least it works. Maybe later someone can find out whats wrong with the Zorro.
FreePascal works nicely. But some other programs, which should be working (because only use standard API no hardware access) does not for example Delitracker with AHI-Noteplayer seems not really working nicely. Needs a little bit more investigation.