ZX Spectrum Bare Metal

I recently came across this post and thought I would give this a try on one of my spare Raspberry Pi Zeros. A Sinclair ZX Spectrum bare metal emulator that opens almost instantly.

First I went to zxbaremulator and downloaded the images for different raspberry pi models.

spectrumemulator.png

To get this to work, the instruction suggesting copying the all files zip download onto a new formatted fat32 micro sd card or using an image supposed to work on pi 2 & 3’s.

I downloaded etcher.io and copied the relevant pi 2/3 image onto the micro sd card.

I signed up to a website called the oldcomputer.com where you can download back up

theoldcomputer.png

copies of any ROMS you own. You can download various tap and tzx files used by spectrums. As the instruction’s suggested, I copied these onto the root of the sd card and raspberry pi image. I then inserted into the pi and turned on. The pi booted straight into the spectrum emulator. I pressed F1 to select any game rom files but none were shown on the screen. I tried the raspberry pi 2,3  image and copied this onto the micro sd card and tried again but the pi zero would not boot. One final attempt, I tried downloading a Raspbian image. Then renamed the kernel7.img file to kernel7.img.old and copied the all files zip onto the micro sd card. Again no boot.

I suspected the image did not like my pi zero so I tried a new raspberry pi 3 b+. installed Raspbian onto the micro sd card, kernel7.img file to kernel7.img.old and copied the all files zip onto the micro sd card. Copied some tap and tzx files across and this work first time.

It took me a while to work out keyboard controls on a standard UK PC keyboard but this worked for me:

F1 to load the game selection screen. Choose your game and press select then Escape. This takes you back to the home screen. Then press J to type the LOAD command and then Control+P twice to insert the speech marks “”.

The game takes a short while to load and looks like its loading from a tape cassette. I tried chuckie egg for a test. Because i’m using a PC keyboard I tried to remap the maps in the game to the arrow buttons on my keyboard but this didn’t work. In the end I found that using QA,N,M and space worked well for me.

 

Ouya console test

I bought my OUYA console from Game shorty after it was launched successfully on Kickstarter back in 2012 I think. Its an android powered console that allows users to sideload apps. This means you can purchase apps from the OUYA store or other android app providers.

Some apps are free but most require payment straight away or after playing one level of a game. Commercially this console was a failure and I used it for 10 minutes after buying it and its stayed in its box ever since.

The apps and games are ok but I came across a site with guides on how to get apps like XBMC and various emulators onto it. This makes the console more interesting as I can now play games from other retro console like the Sega Megadrive, Commodore 64, Nintendo consoles etc.

Using the Ouya controller can make it difficult to use all the emulators. I found the C64.emu a little difficult at first but after mapping some of the Commodore 64 keys to the Ouya controller buttons helped.

So, step 1, was connecting the OUYA to my TV using the HDMI cable, connect the power adapter and turn on by pushing the small round button. After a few seconds the main menu appeared but the controller did not work. I pushed the small button between the two thumb pads/joysticks on the controller and some LEDS began blinking and shortly after this the controller worked and allowed me to start navigating menus.

Step 2 was configuring the wifi on the OUYA so I can get on the Internet and browse the OUYA store for available apps. The date/time updated soon after this so all good. I already had some apps/games loaded. I checked for available updates but apparently there were none.

Step 3. I came across a site with suggestions on how to make the OUYA more useful. I decided to download and install some retro emulators. This was easy enough.

After this, you need to get some ROM images onto the OUYA and into the right locations for the emulators to pick them up. I had most problems with the C64.emu. I decided to use a USB flash drive which once inserted into OUYA is picked up straight away. You then need to go to http://www.explusalpha.com/home/c64-emu.

Download the BIOS file and put into the root directory of the flash drive and within this folder you need to download the ROM files (as long as you own the original or they are copyright free). I went to https://wowroms.com/en/roms/commodore-64/daley-thompsons-decathlon/127202.html

OUYA c64.emu bios file

Once this is done, you can run the C64.emu emulator, use LOAD GAME and browse to this location on the flash drive and the game will start to run. At first I couldn’t get much to happen but I soon  realised that I would need to set up the Commodore 64 button to OUYA controller key mapping. You can see me doing this in the video:

I’ll do an update to the post when I get some more emulators and games running as well as XBMC.