TBBlue v.1.03 – Core 2.00.26, Firmware 1.10C, nextZXOS 2.00B! Sprites! Tilemap mode! Oh my!

TBBlue SD Distribution v.1.03!:

Latest distribution is always found at http://www.specnext.com/latestdistro/

Here’s the latest SD image with everything you need to get your Next updated and running!

OBLIGATORY DISCLAIMER: READ THIS POST IN ITS ENTIRETY BEFORE ASKING FOR HELP

We also now have a git repo which means you can always find the latest and greatest changes to the distribution (sometimes things change by the minute too!) and also contribute (but first read the readme.md file in the git regarding that!)

Git repo is located here at gitlab.com :

In the links below you will find TBBLUE v.1.03 SD card distribution containing the following changes over version 1.0:

System Software & Hardware Features

  • New Firmware file 1.10c which fixes a small bug and prepares your Next for the multicore facilities coming up soon!
  • Updated NextΖΧOS 2.00B with a few bug fixes and as always in two versions: one with Geoff Wearmouth’s Looking Glass v. 1.07 48K ROM and one with the standard ZX Spectrum 48K ROM (Default)!
  • NEW TILEMAP MODE  which adds two ultra fast 40×32 and 80×32 “tile” maps achieving 320 x 256 or 640 x 256 resolutions respectively in a very ULA compatible way. More info in the tilemap.txt document in the c:/docs/extra-hw/tilemap folder in the distribution, the tbblue repo site (see link above) as well as here: https://www.specnext.com/tilemap-mode/
  • NEW Sprite Engine rewritten from scratch by the Unbreakable™ Allen Albright allowing for 128 sprites total (wot?), 100 (say again?) sprites per line (for regular sprites; your experience will vary based on what features you enable), 4-bit colour, scaled AND anchored sprites (oh yeah!)
  • NEW Layer2 PRIORITY colours  devised by the Prophet Almighty™ (us mere mortals call him Jim Bagley) negating the need for complex masking code to get sprites in front and behind Layer2 graphics. All you need is ONE bit set in the second byte of the palette entry and the specific pixel will always be on top of everything! Yep it’s that easy.
  • NEW Colour Mix Modes as proposed and first implemented by The Guru of the Himalayas™ (Yes the one Jim Bagley) further taken into the stratosphere by Professor Core of the Galactic Empire™ (you know him as Allen Albright). You can now highlight or darken (shade) the bottom layer when combined with L2. (More complex code scrapped, more T-Cycles for your insanely good Next projects people! Rejoice I tell you!)

Tools

  • New boot dot command by David “Ancient” Saphier, allowing you to quickly change configurations without having to edit your config.ini or enter the Config Module while booting.
  • Updated Kempston and Overscan by Kev Brady. Now supporting the newest and greatest features of the core!

Demos

  • New TM demo by Allen Albright demonstrating the new tilemap mode.

Games

  • Updated Spectron 2048 by Robin Verhagen-Guest! Not just a screen anymore!
  • Updated WARHAWK  by Messrs Michael Ware and Jim Bagley of Rusty Pixels; Go on, play!

Installation

Prepare the card as per the instructions here. Firmware file will be replaced.

********BIG LETTER WARNINGS*********

USERS OF FlashAir CARDS are advised to perform ALL file copy operations locally on their PC/MAC and NOT over the air.
ALSO WE SUGGEST FORMATTING YOUR SD CARD WITH A CLUSTER SIZE OF 16K or 32K TO AVOID A MINOR CORRUPTION THAT MAY APPEAR IN YOUR config.ini WHILE USING THE EDITOR IN CASE YOU’D WANT TO DOWNGRADE CORES (but why would you do that?). 

*******IMPORTANT NOTES**********

  • If your current CORE is older than 1.10.10 you may experience issues with your keyboard and/or display. Please follow the expanded instructions in the previous versions of the TBBLUE distributions and the Quick Start guide here to flash your core or the quick instructions on step #2 below. (Try the instructions below first and if you get stuck check the previous versions)
  • Default config.ini settings assume an HDMI monitor. If you’re using a VGA monitor you should delete your config.ini file located in c:/tbblue/ and replace it with either of the config.ini.VGA.50Hz or  config.ini.VGA.60Hz files (also located there) renamed to config.ini.  YOU ARE STRONGLY ADVISED TO EXPERIMENT WITH DIFFERENT DISPLAY SETTINGS (Display modes 0 to 6 that is) TO ACHIEVE THE BEST RESULTS FOR YOUR DISPLAY AS THE DEFAULT CHOSEN (HDMI) ALTERS THE TIMINGS SLIGHTLY AND CERTAIN –OLDER– PROGRAMS MAY NOT DISPLAY PROPERLY (especially certain Demos). VGA modes (Settings 0…6) ARE  timing accurate although the user may experience faster execution as each setting with the exception of 0 makes things faster (but keeping timings relative)

Flashing the new core

1. For people with functioning keyboards after boot and/or membranes (but which also have PS/2 keyboards)

Let the machine boot normally, then press and hold U on your PS/2 keyboard, then tap momentarily on F1 (still holding U) and release U when you see the updater module. Press Y, wait until all flashing is completed, then power down the Next and REMOVE ALL CABLES. Wait a little and then plug everything back up again. If you have a VGA you need to replace your config.ini (see above) or edit it and set the second number after the machine type to 0. If you’re in Brazil, Japan, the USA or Canada or any country that uses normally an NTSC TV signal (or a PAL 60 signal), chances are your monitor only supports 60Hz, so go ahead and tap F3 now -or alternatively you can change the [50_60] setting to 1 from config.ini or by editing the settings at boot time with the EDITOR module (Press SPACEBAR when prompted on boot then press to edit your settings)

2. For people with Perixx PS/2 keyboards and/or keyboards with a similar controller on board AND people with membranes that are not functioning or having trouble entering the UPDATER module.
  • Enter AntiBrick (AB) mode by removing all cables (including HDMI), pressing and holding M1 and Drive (simulaneously), then reapplying power (no HDMI or VGA yet) waiting a few seconds (2-3) and releasing the buttons, then reconnecting the display lead that worked for you previously. Press Y for update. If Y cannot be pressed then the press M1 button for or Drive button for N
  • Follow the instructions in Step 1 to boot the system.

Download the distribution

 TBBLUE distribution v.1.03 WITH source code files (zip format) (Download Here)

 TBBLUE distribution v.1.03 WITH source code files (7z format) (Download Here)

 TBBLUE distribution v.1.03 WITHOUT source code files (zip format) (Download Here)

 TBBLUE distribution v.1.03 WITHOUT source code files (7z format) (Download Here)

Credits

TBBLUE: Victor Trucco
Contributors: Fabio Belavenuto, Garry Lancaster, Allen Albright, Mark Smith

Dreamworld Pogie: Lyndon J Sharp/Phoebus Dokos (WASP –  http://www.wearespectrumprogrammers.co.uk/) / Distributed under License
Orb Run: Matt Davies (https://github.com/next-dev/nx)/ Distributed under License
Spectron 2084: Robin Verhagen-Guest / Distributed under License
Nxtel2: Robin Verhagen-Guest / Distributed under License
nextDAW: Gari Biasillo (http://nextdaw.biasillo.com)
Warhawk: Michael Ware, Jim Bagley, Lobo Trans, Space Fractal / Distributed under License
The Hollow Earth Hypothesis: Lampros Potamianos  (WASP –  http://www.wearespectrumprogrammers.co.uk/) / Distributed under License
Nextoid!: Lampros Potamianos  (WASP –  http://www.wearespectrumprogrammers.co.uk/) / Distributed under License
3D Monster Maze, 3D Defender, Trashman: Malcolm Evans / Distributed under License
Hibernated1: Stefan Vogt (http://8-bit.info/) / Distributed under License
cave81: Marco Varesio / Distributed under License
Mouse driver: Tim Gilberts and Chris Cowley
UART driver: Tim Gilberts
RTC driver: Tim Gilberts
PS/2 keymap: Phoebus Dokos  (WASP –  http://www.wearespectrumprogrammers.co.uk/)
NextZXOS: Garry Lancaster (http://www.worldofspectrum.org/zxplus3e/)
Looking Glass: Geoff Wearmouth (https://twitter.com/warmtoffee)
ZX80/81 Emulators: Paul Farrow (http://www.fruitcake.plus.com)
Demos: David Saphier (http://zxbasic.uk/), Geoff Wearmouth, Michael Ware, Jim Bagley, Gari Biasillo, Robin Verhagen-Guest
Utilities: Jim Bagley, Geoff Wearmouth, John M Kerr (http://mycodehere.blogspot.com), Kev Brady, César Hernández Bañó
Dot Commands: Allen Albright, Tim Gilberts, Jim Bagley, Garry Lancaster, David Saphier, Gari Biasillo, Victor Trucco, Marco Varesio

SPECIAL ACKNOWLEDGMENTS (Again, because TWICE is NOT ENOUGH)

The following people made this release possible and I don’t have enough words to thank them!
BUG HUNTING: Kev “The Terminator” Brady. He Hastas La Vistas Bugs!, Tim “Prifathro” Gilberts, Geoff “Warm Toffee” Wearmouth, Garry “Relentless” Lancaster, Allen “Professor X” Albright. Marco “SOD” Varesio
BUG FIXING: EVERYONE (Garry, Jim, Allen, Robin “The Unexpected Demon” ,Tim, Michael, Lampros, Gari, Kev, Geoff, David, Marco)
TESTING: Kev Brady (he doesn’t sleep, honest), Tim “Fampir” Gilberts (he neither!), Gari “I eat Verdi For Breakfast” Biasillo, Marco “z88dk and loving it” Varesio and of course Someone Else (not David)™

Thank you guys, I couldn’t have done it without you!!!!!

And last but not least; ultra kudos go to Mike “Teddy Roosevelt” Cadwallader; who’s the reason why we’re all getting our cased Nexts!