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Forums > C64 Coding > Advice for fastest 1541 compatible fastloader
2012-08-16 09:22
Didi

Registered: Nov 2011
Posts: 352
Advice for fastest 1541 compatible fastloader

I need advice for a very fast non-IRQ fastloader for 1541 compatible drives which is freely available. I've been away for some years, maybe there has been some new developments the past 10 years.
 
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2012-11-12 20:08
Zaphod

Registered: Jun 2012
Posts: 3
If you are willing to use your own GCR, the fastest non irq loader is Vorpal V1 (25x speedup) or one of it's MANY MANY clones (Warp*25,Laser Load, Heureka Sprint, etc) every one of these was shamelessly ripped from Vorpal, and grants a 25x speedup. The tradeoff is more disk space used, because a less efficient gcr format is used so it can be decoded fast enough to handle an interleave of TWO.

You cannot fastcopy these with a single drive, but ANY NIBBLER, even the simplest and fastest, will copy the disk. This includes those 25 second dual drive copiers, which are actually incredibly basic (and fast) nibblers.

Mafiosino's loader seems to be the fastest screen blanker that uses standard GCR.

The fastest IRQ loader that uses standard GCR is krill's loader. Using non standard GCR, v-max is probably the fastest irq loader.

Note that the vorpal utility kit has been dumped, so you CAN use the original. Heuerka Sprint is also available. With a bit of ASM hackery, it's doable.

Kinda crazy that vorpal v1 is still state of the art in non irq loaders. :)
2012-11-12 23:59
Kabuto
Account closed

Registered: Sep 2004
Posts: 58
This thread reminds me to an idea I had recently albeit it's slightly OT since it won't be the fastest fastloader:

It uses a custom GCR encoding that can fit 7 bits into 8 raw bits. It assumes that any encoding is permitted that does not have 3 "0" bits or 9 "1" bits in a row. That's close to the theoretical limit (about 7.01 bits per 8 raw bits IIRC).

Instead of ridiculously long GCR intervals it uses a kind of arithmetical entropy encoder since different raw bytes have different internal "expressiveness" values - e.g. after a byte ending with bits 00 there can't be a byte starting with 0 while the next bytes after a byte ending with bits 01 won't be limited as much (everything goes as long as it's not 9 1's in a row - within GCR limits of course).

I did a quick pen & paper writeup of a sample decoder - it's possible to decode bytes as they come in from the electronics at realtime into drive memory, however, due to the data rate being so high (about 1 byte every 30 cycles), it will be impossible to transmit the sector just read during the next sector so every track will take like 3 revolutions.
2012-11-13 12:23
Krill

Registered: Apr 2002
Posts: 1306
Zaphod77: The Heureka-Sprint format is encoded on top of plain GCR, so it can be stored on d64 and be copied with standard disk backup software just fine.

Kabuto: Your idea reminds me of one i wrote up on paper (and with a test encoder/decoder), but i didn't come anywhere close to your format/data ratio - in the end i could encode about 270 bytes per block (so slightly more than 80% density, which is better than GCR still), however with the big benefit of fully decoding and checksumming the data on the fly while reading. Can you tell me a bit more about your approach?
2012-11-14 00:23
Kabuto
Account closed

Registered: Sep 2004
Posts: 58
@Krill: in another thread. I don't want to hijack this thread :)
2013-11-28 09:53
theWizard
Account closed

Registered: Jul 2007
Posts: 109
i cant remember the name of it but here is what it looked like maybe someone else can remember the name ..

some swedish guy made it

it wrote to 0400 when it started , blanked the screen to border blue , disk started thump thump thump then a loud crack when it finished .. ( it totally disregarded everything and just loaded zero error checking etc it was fast as f**k) .

it was the fastest loader for a c64 disk i ever seen and it was used in an old demo ( no idea what demo though sorry forgot ) and ported to a normal disk loader , sys to start it was 2048 ( i think )

good luck if you get it take a look at the code from it btw if anyone can remember the name il get it again as well because the disk i have it on is dammaged.
2019-11-18 16:15
AlienTech

Registered: Nov 2019
Posts: 1
Quote: i cant remember the name of it but here is what it looked like maybe someone else can remember the name ..

some swedish guy made it

it wrote to 0400 when it started , blanked the screen to border blue , disk started thump thump thump then a loud crack when it finished .. ( it totally disregarded everything and just loaded zero error checking etc it was fast as f**k) .

it was the fastest loader for a c64 disk i ever seen and it was used in an old demo ( no idea what demo though sorry forgot ) and ported to a normal disk loader , sys to start it was 2048 ( i think )

good luck if you get it take a look at the code from it btw if anyone can remember the name il get it again as well because the disk i have it on is dammaged.


I saw it on a demo of a new Vorpal that Epyx was trying to sell. It used self modifying code on both the computer side as well as the drive side with some look up tables and using pre scrambled bytes which the serial transfer fixed. I dont think it was ever released and written by Scott Neleson. All copy protection companies were afraid of what it represented as they did not think it could get faster and said single rev transfer and read was impossible without losing 50% data storage, yet here was something which code store more than normal data on a disk and did it faster than anyone else thought possible.
2019-11-18 22:28
AlexC

Registered: Jan 2008
Posts: 276
It would be awesome if someone could not only find it but also upload it here ;)
2019-11-21 22:17
almightyc64

Registered: Feb 2006
Posts: 8
Quoting AlienTech
I saw it on a demo of a new Vorpal that Epyx was trying to sell. It used self modifying code on both the computer side as well as the drive side with some look up tables and using pre scrambled bytes which the serial transfer fixed. I dont think it was ever released and written by Scott Neleson. All copy protection companies were afraid of what it represented as they did not think it could get faster and said single rev transfer and read was impossible without losing 50% data storage, yet here was something which code store more than normal data on a disk and did it faster than anyone else thought possible.


I wonder if it was Vorpal v2, if I remember correctly Scott Nelson from Epyx wrote the Vorpal fastload system, and version 2 didn't use any sync marks and couldn't be copied without expanded drive RAM or a parallel cable. It was used on some of Epyx's later titles like Street Sports Basketball.

I wonder if theWizard's message from 2013 describing the fastload system made by someone in Sweden was something like Rapidlok. His description of the sound brings Rapidlok to my mind anyway (used on lots of games from Accolade).
2019-11-22 22:05
Krill

Registered: Apr 2002
Posts: 1306
Meanwhile, LordCrass made a fastloader/disk format to load at one revolution per track: https://www.lemon64.com/forum/viewtopic.php?t=65715 - and it's blazingly fast.

However, it isn't quite stable on real hardware.

Since his work is very similar to what i lined out on paper, i might at some point resume that project and see if it can be made reliable. Or if i can, anyways. =)
2019-11-23 00:31
Frantic

Registered: Mar 2003
Posts: 1388
@krill: That would be damn cool if it worked!
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