Playing Atari ST games from hard drive 


  You have Atari ST(E), Mega STE or Falcon equipped with some mass storage and want to refresh memories about old games. Or are newcomer and want to see that old games.
But copying from floppies to hard disk usually works not. Or after copying game works not. Or you downloaded some games from WEB, but don't know how to transfer them onto hard disk in usable and playable form.

Little technical:  RAM allocation of lower 512KB by ST-Falcon for older games : 

Run from Desktop
AUTO run, boot from floppy
With hard disk driver
Games not using TOS
512KB 512KB 512KB
Screen  (32KB)



AES, Desktop (Game, if from AUTO)

AES, Desktop.  30-150KB
Hard disk driver, buffers.  20-200KB

System, GEMDOS, buffers. ~50KB
System, GEMDOS, buffers. ~50KB System, GEMDOS, buffers. ~50KB Game
Bottom Bottom Bottom

  Early ST games were made mostly to run with only 512KB RAM. Therefore often they are placed in low RAM, to have enough space. Problems occur with games which are made for fixed, low RAM location - conflict with hard disk driver or AES, VDI by higher TOS (which occupies more RAM for GEMDos)  versions is inevitable.
  There are games which completely overwrite GEMDOS at RAM bottom - they use not any system functions. Of course they run from bootable floppy, and usually work under any TOS.

The solutions:  making special loaders for game, which will place it on right place after loading  - it works if game uses not system calls. If game uses system calls solution may be running it from AUTO folder. Or special RAMdisk with GEMDos filesystem call bypass. Or Hole.

Supporting small utils:

HOLE:  it creates RAM allocation scheme for lower 512KB as by AUTO run, but game can be started from Desktop. Then RAM allocation by problematic games (those for fixed low RAM locations) will be like this: 

Running with HOLE
Screen initially

Short loader
AES, Desktop
Hard disk driver, buffers

Game (usually at ~$11E00)
System, GEMDOS, buffers. ~50KB

Screen may be under 512KB or right under 1024KB, not relevant. Of course, 1MB is required for Hole. Games running with: Millennium 2,2, Chuckie Egg 2, Monthy Python, Elite, F16 Falcon ....  Good thing is that in most of cases no any modification in game executable/launcher is required.

AUTOlist Run:    for easy launch of games (running only from AUTO) from hard disk

HDTCFIX   Fixes Timer C problems with Hddriver. Small TSR program. Use if game stucks after start, on some point.

Page with details about adapting

Downloadable adapted games

Game (in)compatibility list - add your problems, solutions

Some new adaptations - games which worked not on Mega STE, Falcon before:

ga1.gif  ga2.gif  ga3.gifga4.gif ga5.gif ga6.gif  ga7.gif8   timband.png  SCRSH/supcag.png
SCRSH/ult3t.png   SCRSH/starglg.png

    PP , August, Okt. 2008.

Menu Properties Quick Reference