Archive for December, 2007

OpenZXRom 2007-12-31 (Here be dragons)

Monday, December 31st, 2007

[Screenshot: Paperboy, with 'Here be dragons: 0x03B5' error] Just sneaking in at the end of the year as if it was releasing to an actual deadline or something, OpenZXRom 2007-12-31 brings eagerly awaited support for the LOAD “” command. This means that it can now handle all the necessary parts of a ‘typical’ Basic loader – CLEAR, LOAD, RANDOMIZE USR – and make a good honest attempt at loading real commercial games from tape. Sometimes it even works: Manic Miner! Egghead 4! Fat Worm Blows A Sparky! They all load and run successfully, exactly the way they’re supposed to. No ifs, no buts.

Even for the programs that do fall over – still the majority – this release marks a turning point. At this stage, it makes sense to dig around and investigate why things are failing and what needs to be added next, rather than just shrugging and saying “well, what do you expect… of course it breaks right now, it’s still in the stupidly early stages”. To that end, the throbbing yellow and magenta border of death has been furnished with new diagnostic error messages like the one in the screenshot. In this example, Paperboy loads up correctly and gets as far as the main menu, but throws a “Here be dragons” error on starting the game – meaning that it’s jumped to an as-yet uncharted location in the ROM. It turns out that 0x03B5 is the address of the ‘beeper’ routine, hinting that that might be a useful addition for a future release…

Download OpenZXRom 2007-12-31

Update: There’s now a page on the ZX Spectrum Technical Info Wikia gathering a chart of OpenZXRom successes and failures.