Maximum possible tape loading speed ?

For experts to discuss very technical stuff and newbies to ask why the Spectrum they bought off ebay doesn't work.
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Ast A. Moore
Dynamite Dan
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Re: Maximum possible tape loading speed ?

Post by Ast A. Moore » Fri Sep 20, 2019 4:15 pm

zxbruno wrote:
Fri Sep 20, 2019 3:05 pm
Maybe we should explore more fast-loading options instead of just sticking to old school tape loading or instant (non-gratifying) loading.
Like I said, my loader is capable of providing very high loading speeds (it’s quite trivial, actually). I’ve only kept it capped at 3x to maintain actual compatibility with tapes (and low-end tape players). Instant loading has never been my cup of tea, but I can completely understand the people who prefer it over the traditional loading methods.

When I feel like it, I update modern games with my loader, but for the most part, I sense there’s little to no demand for it—people just use DivMMC and the like to load games. Heck, the majority of people use emulators anyway. :D
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Every man should plant a tree, build a house, and write a ZX Spectrum game.

Author of A Yankee in Iraq, a 50 fps shoot-’em-up—the first game to utilize the floating bus on the +2A/+3,
and zasm Z80 Assembler syntax highlighter.

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Seven.FFF
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Re: Maximum possible tape loading speed ?

Post by Seven.FFF » Fri Sep 20, 2019 4:30 pm

Yes, it’s a pity, but custom loaders are downright incompatible with modern digital container files and instant loading hardware.

For example, tap files can only be used on hardware if they have standard loaders; tzx files can only be used with virtual tape players like tzxduinos, etc.

For that reason, I’m cheered by the Pi accelerator developments on the Next. We have proof of concept demonstrations of a general purpose lightweight linux supervisor that can run scriptable custom commands, and can talk over a fast wide bus to the Next hardware. The user can pick a tzx file from the browser, then the Next can autoinstall a Linux handler for tzx files, then upload a file, and go into tape loading mode. The handler converts this to a temporary WAV, and plays it through what it sees as a digital I2S soundcard, but what the Next sees as digital input on either the EAR socket or the stereo specdrum/soundrive DAC (switchable depending on how you want to use it). It’s basically like a TOSlink connection.

It’s all reasonably straightforward stuff, but there’s real magic in having it be seamless, dynamic and with an extensible mechanism - one that is open to end user HLL programmers rather than bare metal geniuses, at that. Fun times!

Ast’s uberfast loader should work fine on this, for example!
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