Additional Information , Notes , and Details , re.the Main Windows Edition of Spectaculator


There is no lenghy instruction to go with Spectaculator . Mark did a great job adding extra info. with this thread:-

https://worldofspectrum.org/forums/discussion/54196/

And he was using it with Windows 10 ( so an obvious variation springs to mind). It now appears to be the case that there will probably be no further updates to this very good ZX Spectrum emulator for the PC which is a shame as it was probably the "best in class" It is a much liked and well used piece of software so it would be good to know the best ways it can be optimized. In other words :- what are it's strengths and weaknesses? . What is it best at? And what areas are best avoided ?This "first go" at it can be a "rough notes" approach at first ,which could possibly be tidied up later.
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Comments

  • It would be nice if each emulator on WoS had it's own page - same as software/publishers/etc. Then we could have things like this on the page.

    As it is, I can look to adding it to a files download at some point.
    My test signature
  • Yes I seem to remember I paid about £20.00 or so for it years ago . But I am not sure whether the full version is still for sale and what is "distribution status" is.

  • The main limitation for me is that joystick options and configs cannot be saved . This would add a lot of flexibility to the way joysticks and gamepads could be used (I think)
  • The main limitation for me is that joystick options and configs cannot be saved . This would add a lot of flexibility to the way joysticks and gamepads could be used (I think)

    I tried with Spectaculator v8 and this saves/remembers Joysticks-Settings. But I don´t know where these settings are stored, as in Win-Registry I found only those settings under Registry-Key
    HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\spectaculator.com:

    2020-06-18-17-12-20-1-18-06-2020-17-07-04-old-2-18-06-2020-17-09-30-new.png

    Thanked by 1harriusherbartio
  • edited June 18
    Reply to Luzie

    Thanks for that. That is a bit of a breakthrough as far as I am concerned . So it is seen here in the Windows Registry but somehow Spectaculator has saved it as well in its settings menu -somewhere but exact location unknown . That is good to know as presumably now the exact location in the Menu can be tracked down . Good info. And that like this is what this thread is all about.
    Post edited by harriusherbartio on
  • edited June 19
    Using Spectaculator with the Mayflash Genesis PC USB adapter .

    This bit of adapter cable kit has been well documented by Mark (see link above) . I have had inconsistent results using it . . Introducing "3rd party" equipment to a range of differing USB standards , and differing ports on the back of a PC , could always be a bit iffy but I was intrigued as sometimes it worked and sometimes it did not .Loads of variables kick in such as :- the Windows driver for the Mayflash (is it working?) , the quality of the USB ports and making sure the menu is set up properly Earlier tests done by me ruled out the joysticks as being the cause of the variation . I tried a test for the 3rd time today on a PC (and port) with known issues . This is what I did for this test :- in the Spectaculator menu : go to TOOLS , then OPTIONS , then JOYSTICK , then set up Mayflash MD USB Adaptor then check axis button settings are as required . So having done this I found that the game BATTY did not work on the left axis despite having been properly set up in the CHANGE BUTTON SETTINGS menu , But I know that it has worked in the past . So the next thing to try to change is the port at the back of the PC . Maybe this USB port is underpowering it or something similar ..

    I changed the USB port over to one directly fed from the motherboard but it made no difference . So maybe I am not setting up the left axis on the stick properly . I push left on the stick and it says LEFT in the relevant place on the menu but clearly it does not actually do in the game .Right works OK though . So maybe what it says is left is actually something else . But if that was the case why does it SOMETIMES work? All very odd . Well I have done the same thing 3 times now . This is enough to convince me that setting up the menu for a generic Sony controller as a direct USB port plug in ( without the Mayflash obviously) is a lot easier and it seems to work every time .
    Post edited by harriusherbartio on
  • edited June 19
    And I had one final thought . I checked it again to make sure I was in 48k mode with Spectaculator (not 128k) . Kempston should be straightforward in 48k mode but LEFT on the joystick did not work as per above test with the Megadrive cable .
    Post edited by harriusherbartio on
  • edited June 20
    Hi, maybe helpful will be this Joystick/Keyboard-Testprogram:

    file.php?id=9402

    Download: https://forum.tlienhard.com/phpBB3/download/file.php?id=9401
    Post edited by Luzie on
    Thanked by 1harriusherbartio
  • edited June 20
    Thanks Luzie
    That is useful and interesting .

    The cause of the malfunction becomes a little clearer......

    For me it was "no brainer" . I just had to put the Mayflash Megadrive Genesis PC USB controller cable back on the original 1st PC that I had used initially and where it had worked well .When I moved it over it worked again straight away on a port at the back of the 1st PC that I had moved away from . So it all works fine and Batty can played and the left axis works just as it should . However this applied only at the back of the PC . At the front where cable adapters had to be used to cope with old USB standards this was not the case . I had moved away from this PC as I needed the USB port for other things . So the answer will be a powered USB port at the back to provide the extra ports needed for everyday use on the ist PC . The second PC will still be used for "generic" Sony gamepad use . Effectively the emulation will be split between 2 PCS . A solution has been found . It appears that slight unknown differences between PCs and "port cable quality" (for me at least) have a big impact on how the Megadrive cable works.



    But all this is did make me think of another question . How does an emulator cope with Kempston in 128k mode?


    Eventually I hopeto be able to try out a new "Chinese" substitute for the Megadrive Genesis cable but it could take weeks to arrive from China.
    Post edited by harriusherbartio on
  • But all this is did make me think of another question . How does an emulator cope with Kempston in 128k mode?
    I think it behaves identical to 48k mode.

  • edited June 20
    Thanks for that
    Well what I was thinking was that the joysticks for the +2 128K were different so to use a normal joystick you needed a special adapter and I seem to remember the Sinclair joystick was one of the main options ( it is some time since I used a +2though) . So if I understand you correctly you are saying on an emulator it does not make any difference as it is all just software . Well I was just looking for a possible reason for this cables USB sensitivity! .
    And at least I think I have at last established that it can be sensitive ( or maybe I am the only one with a dodgy PC and this type of controller : they are now "out of print" so to speak)


    I now can assess which type of stick is best (Atari type or generic USB controller) . One of my sons said Batty was a lot better with the Zipstick than with a cheapo generic Sony controller . But Sony type controllers appear to be a lot less fussy USB wise . So having the BOB (best of both) is good in cases like this.
    Post edited by harriusherbartio on
  • That was merely to do with the pin wiring of the actual port. You could plug a joystick interface into the back of a +2 and use standard Atari pinout joysticks if you wanted too (kempston or Sinclair)
    Thanked by 1harriusherbartio
  • So I suppose this means you can have Kempston for the +2 as a Spectaculator option without it having a "hissy fit". This is just one of the wonders of modern technology.
  • edited June 20
    I have an external Kempston and an external Sinclair interface on the back of my +3. Both work fine with standard Atari-wired joysticks. It’s a wonder of old technology too!
    Post edited by colonel32 on
    Robin Verhagen-Guest
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  • I wonder if there has been a comprehensive review of the role old Atari style joystick in today's retro computer scene . The Atari can "live" in lots of places like:- 1) the original hardware 2) the ZX-Uno and similar .3) But here in the emulation section it faces tough competition from the gamepads .
  • edited June 21
    Luzie's work got me thinking . I think he is saying that even though there is no visible evidence in Spectaculator's option menu nevertheless Windows does keep records of the joystick options chosen in its registry .And another thing I have noticed that Widows 10 gives a much stronger indicator ( than Windows 7) that a Megadrive Genesis cable is attached (in the bottom right hand corner after boot up it tells you something along the lines ot -"it is installed and rearing to go!").But this is of limited interest now as the Megadrive cable is not generally available now in the UK though it is in Europe I think. I am intrigued however as to how "substitute" cheap Chines cables will perform in this role ( but the one I ordered has not arrived from China yet)

    It appears that the quality of the power supply may be another factor . I have a Super Flower one in the PC where the Mayflash Genesis works but merely a Corsair one in the one where it does not . Power Supply quality issues can sometimes be a hidden factor in whether "add on" stuff works properly on not .Is the Super Flower brand a better power supply brand than a Corsair branded one?

    I have ordered in 2 powered USB2 hubs to help with the extra USB port capacity needed for this extensive and slightly esoteric requirement ( potentially needed are:-1 USB slot for the USB Tynemouth keyboard , 1 USB slot for the Megadrive cable and other for a generic USB gamepad controller) . USB2 powered hubs are "cheap and cheerful" compared to USB 3 and seem to offer much better value than USB3. And another factor is - powered USB3 hubs are actually quite hard to find .
    Post edited by harriusherbartio on

  • Casing Cock up

    I received the MONSTER JOYSTICK package today ordered earlier This order was for a 9 Pin Joystick to USB Adapter (Adapter and Casing) @ £12.99 . And a Mini Monster 9 Pin Extension Cable (1.8M or 5.9ft) at £4.49.But Monster forgot to include the outer plastic casing in their package . We have emailed them about this . Monster Joysticks are based in Watford UK . Hopefully when they send this outer plastic case and it is set up with this case , then this package will prove to be a reliable substitute for the Megadrive Genesis Adapter for PC USB which is no longer available in the UK . But I am not going to test it till I get the case as the PCB is static sensitive. So this package is a bit more of a DIY job that has to be assembled but hopefully it will do the job.
  • edited July 1
    The MONSTER 9 Pin Joystick to USB Adapter (The MJZOB9) works with the Game Batty (initial tests) using the Spectaculator Emulator . I used the Konix for this test:-

    This success with it means that old style Atari style joysticks can still be used with emulators (Hoorah!) It was a bit of a gamble though but it appears to have paid off . So far this MONSTER PCB kit appears to be an effective replacement for the Megadrive Genesis Controller Adapter for PC USB which is now no longer available in the UK .I thought at first that case for it had not arrived . In fact it HAD arrived but not in the form I expected .As it turns out ,it was not a conventional outer case for the Monster PCB but 2 bits of flat plastic with nylon bolts packed with the PCB . So they had sent it after all but buried in with the PCB so I had not noticed . So , once I realized this , I put it all together . The bits included were:- the PCB itself , the 2 cables for both ends and the "bolt it together" style case .At first I had no luck with it when first plugged into the PC . But then I noticed that the letters MJZOB9 had shown up in the Spectaculator joystick options menu . I selected that and reset the buttons and played Batty.So it works it seems. This MONSTER adapter has a really long cable . The case though I do not think is as good as a conventional case but it is a lot better than nothing . The sides though are exposed so maybe I will seal them up.I have not figured out what the switch on the side is for yet .And it appears to work OK on the PC that did not work propely with the Megadrive contoller . ( I am still waiting for another , totally different adapter to arrive from China but that was expected to take ages to get here so I am not worried yet)
    Post edited by harriusherbartio on
  • edited July 2
    How to complete the case . I think I will use "ice cream" tub plastic (2 pieces at right angles with right angle sides "doubly" overlaid and bolted down at the top) -easy to do .

    Here is a pics of the PCB . I am glad I bought it:-

    https://monsterjoysticks.com/9-pin-joystick-to-usb-adapter

    But if you want one ,don't forget to get the extra lead and the case . All in all , a bargain , I say
    Post edited by harriusherbartio on
  • edited July 2
    wVx3EFC.jpg



















    Post edited by harriusherbartio on
  • edited July 2
    The only concern I had were the exposed sides . So I cut up some plastic from some ice cream cartons . I bolted it down with the existing bolts . I then I over-wrapped it all with insulation tape . I decided to bury the switch on the side which looked a bit exposed and prone to damage . I can always use tweezers if I need to access it . My approach here was "Cheap and Cheerful" : it should be enough to keep any spilt coffee off the PCB. I suppose this is a cheap way of making cases for special parts . Customers are left to "finish them off " any way they like

    Relevance to Spectaculator? It does show up in the Options Menu!
    Post edited by harriusherbartio on
  • Bonkers but slightly brilliant!!!!
    I wanna tell you a story 'bout a woman I know...
  • Who needs a 3D printer!!!
  • Trouble is I put all back together and it did not show up- it did not work . I have not figured out what is going wrong here yet . I think and hope it is just Windows related problem Stuff not showing up on my PCs has been a common theme.
  • edited July 3
    Testing the USB ports
    So I decided to to the obvious thing and plug in a massive T Flight Hotas X joystick DIRECTY into the front on of this PC to see if Spectaculator would recognise it in the Spectaculator joystick option menu . As first it did not, but after 30 seconds or so I heard the "ping" and there it was in the Spectaulator menu . Next I will try the HOTAS in the new powered USB hub (circa £7.00 each from CPC) . I did that and it did not show up . So maybe the USB2 hub (just purchased) is the problem .So next try if it works from the front? The Tynesoft USB keyboard does NOT work from the Hub but DOES work from the front USB but the Monster is not currently working on this PC on anything -netither from the front USB or Hub .

    The Mayflash was working fine on the other PC so I was reluctant to unplug it as its drivers are clearly recognized-. In fact it is working so well it shows up 3 times in the Spectaculator Menu with the Monster also plugged in ( but with the Monster being still a no show) . The obvious thing is to use the Windows Dual Boot and see if Windows 10 makes any difference:- after a quick install of Spectaculator on Windows 10 I can see the Mayflash shown on joystick 1 and twice on joystick 2 . But the Monster is still a no show .

    Could it be confusing the Monster with a Mayflash ? I dont think so . Unless the Monster does not like it's case ( I took anti static precautions when casing it up) I am stuck for an answer .

    So time to flick the switch on the Monster and try it again in Windows 7 .I have now cut a switch hole in my DIY case. This time I get a message with it plugged into the Hub . It says "Device Driver software not successfully installed" . So why am I getting this meaasge when it did install successfully a couple of days ago ( I am assuming it is referring to the Monster so I checked :it gives location as #004 Hub 009 so it seems to be referring to the MONSTER plugged in here) So in Device Manger I got "Update driver software for unknown device ". Then " Windows has determined that the driver for your device is up to date" . But it is still a no show .

    So if I am geeting it right Widows has found the device but does not "like" it . So how does one make Windows "like" a device ? Maybe I should google that
    Post edited by harriusherbartio on
  • edited July 3
    Well removing the "plug in" USB Bluettooth knocked me off the interenet so I now know the MONSTER is not being picked up in the HUB as it is now the only remaining device in it . This is because under DEVICE MANAGER it says "Generic USB Hub - no devices shown" (it is plugged in here). So either the MONSTER does not like my DIY case or it is bust . Time to remove the DIY case from the Monster perhaps? This is very annoying as it was working fine a couple of days ago.
    Just to be sure I swapped it back to the other PC (where it started today) .

    I got the ping noise when I plugged it in to the front side USB port. I then got the message "Installing driver software" and HID Boot Searching Windows update and "USB Input Device Installed" . But when I looked in the Spectaculator Menu the Monster number for it did not show up . So I think the Monster device is OK but Windows seems to be erratic about installing the right driver software for it . Is this the right conclusion? Any informed comment on this point welcome.
    Post edited by harriusherbartio on
  • edited July 7
    "USB Device not Recognized One of the USB devices attached to this computer has malfunctioned , and Windows does not recognize it . Click here". So I click and it says "USB Driver software installed successfully" ( But unfortunately it was the Tynesoft USB keyboard I think ,not the MONSTER device) , But at this does show that Windows can take its time in recognizing devices

    This was the message that appeared on the bottom right of the screen on the computer that has NEVER recognized the MONSTER USB device ( one other PC did recognized it just once until it was unplugged )

    Luzie's ideas on the Registry settings were very interesting . I think my 2 PC have totally different Registry settings ( after taking a quick look) . Another aspect is the type of USB port used . I noticed that my Tynesoft USB keyboard did not respond to a USB hub , but it was perfectly fine when moved to a USB port at the front of the PC .

    So there are a lot of variables to consider:-
    1) The PC itself:- Which one is being used?
    2) The USB port type used. For instance is it on an external powered hub or not?.
    3) The Registry settings.These can vary a lot between 2 different PCs.
    4) Window's abilty to recognise the USB device . Why does one PC recognize the MONSTER device at first ( and straightaway) but then all other subsequent attempts to get it nagain (after it is unplugged) fail on both PCs? So it is never recognised again after that

    Maybe the Registry settings have been altered significantly by plugging in and unplugging these devices . Does Windows get confused when this is done? It is also possible the Monster device has been damaged or developed a fault .

    Luckily for me there are various tutorials on You Tube for sorting this kind of stuff out .Here is one of these:-

    https://youtube.com/watch?v=a51ebmVaqN4

    Post edited by harriusherbartio on
  • edited July 22
    MONSTER update
    I decided to have another go with it on a spare laptop (not used with it before) . I got Windows saying along the lines that the device firmware was not supporting it . So I emailed Monster Joysticks and they said :- " I have recently spotted an incompatibilty on the firmware , firstly change the position of the switch so that it is nearer the 9 pin connector and use the HID Boot flash .....:-

    vusb.wikidot.com/project:hidbootflash

    Well I will have to take my time doing that . At least I have got and answer . I am pleased that a possible solution has been found . After all the MONSTER did work first time I used it . I will take my time and attempt the firmware upgrade .

    I think it is worth the effort because I want to use old style joysticks with the Spectaculator emulator . Yes I accept it is a bit of a niche interest but definitely worth pursuing .Another factor is that I now leave the one Megadrive Genesis adapter plugged in to a permanent USB slot on the PC computer ( because the guarantees it works evert time without "driver" type issues) This is a bit limiting so having the MONSTER as a back up option will be useful . I just have to figure out this firmware upgrade.
    Post edited by harriusherbartio on
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