A little wishlist if I may...

Support and general discussion.
Post Reply
User avatar
KingDaveRa
Posts: 22
Joined: Thu 06 Oct, 2016 9:00 pm
Location: UK
Contact:

A little wishlist if I may...

Post by KingDaveRa » Sat 08 Apr, 2017 5:07 pm

Apologies if this is the wrong place for this. I've been mulling over a few little suggestions for PCem. Bearing in mind I've zero clue how complex some of these are, it's easy to blindly request, so I appreciate some of these may be a little pie in the sky! If nothing else, I hope this acts as good food for thought/discussion.

1. Networking!
Yeah. This old chestnut. I've noticed the unofficial builds have added it, but I found their implementations severely lacking (or at least, I never got it working). I'd reckon an NE2000 ISA would be a good starting point for a NIC because it's pretty universal and should work anywhere. Something PCI too, like Realtek 8029 because again it's so ubiquitous and should have good support in many OSes. In terms of the 'network' side, I think bridging the NIC to a real network is a good starting point, as is a 'private' LAN. That way multple VMs could communicate in their own little bubble. Could play around with classic networking stuff (Banyan Vines?!) with a server/client. For a networking geek like me, that'd be all sorts of fun.

2. Config loading
Mentioned in another thread. It'd be nice to offer the capability to load a config at startup from a list, which makes launching VMs a lot faster.

3. Time/date offsets
An option to offset the time/date at startup. For example, set it to -20 years (yes, years), and the system clock in the VM is always set to 20 years earlier than the current time. For old betas, time bombed software, and other bits of oddness (or purists like me who want a total timewarp for their virtual PC - don't ask why, I just think it'd be neat!), it could prove very useful. It may also be nice to be able to nail the start time to something specific so every time the VM starts it's set to a a specific date.

4. Display disk activity at the bottom of the window.
Add some icons, buttons, lights, whatever, to the bottom edge of the window in a status bar which could flicker away so you can see what the VM is up to. Could even add a cylinder display for the HDD, much like PCs of old had!

5. Preset hard disk sizes when creating disk images.
Just a dropdown, select some pre-sized disks of 'sane' sizes that aren't odd geometry. I think I've encountered issues where I've randomly picked a number of cynlinders, but since I've been picking actual disk geometry from real disks (I find photos of old hard disks on eBay and use their geometry), I've had much better performance and behaviour of disks. Could just be fluke, but I found PCem V11 was better when I started doing that. It'd also be neat to set a custom name for the disk drive. Who wouldn't like a KingDaveRa-HDD100?!

I still think PCem is one of the best out there. If I can manage to set the dev toolchain up I might try and have a whack at some of these myself. Unfortunately, they'd be crude hacks, as a programmer I am not!

Thanks in advance :)

User avatar
omarsis81
Posts: 728
Joined: Thu 17 Dec, 2015 6:20 pm

Re: A little wishlist if I may...

Post by omarsis81 » Sat 08 Apr, 2017 10:38 pm

We all have tons of ideas and requests, but we can't complain: Sarah works hard on this, we just saw more than 3000 lines of code being added

I agree with most of your requests, especially the number 5. I posted something similar some weeks ago.
Real hard disks names, a droplist of... let's say 20 HDs I think would be enough, plus the current custom

See this post: viewtopic.php?p=4855#p4855

User avatar
leilei
Posts: 697
Joined: Fri 25 Apr, 2014 4:47 pm

Re: A little wishlist if I may...

Post by leilei » Sat 08 Apr, 2017 11:49 pm

2. I have a bunch of batch files to do this instead. i.e. doubleclicking 98-hd7.bat would launch a PMMX300, mounting my 7th and 8th 8gb hard drive images for data with a 1gb 98se boot partition. (for testing)
3. My workaround for this is another pcem folder entirely with 'date purist' bios settings. Outside my usual pcem testing folders full of anachronism, I've already had recreated my old '90s computer setups as close as I could and tried to install the old software I have in the order I can remember. (which is nice for anecdotal reporting)

4. Would be nice but then there's the Linux problem of having this equal functionality in a different toolkit, and as no one has done this GUI overhaul yet I can't see this happening until then. It's already nice to see these indicators while in fullscreen mode BTW.


5. This could clutter. You can already name the image filename to anything you'd want. I've hadn't had odd issues with cylinder counts

User avatar
KingDaveRa
Posts: 22
Joined: Thu 06 Oct, 2016 9:00 pm
Location: UK
Contact:

Re: A little wishlist if I may...

Post by KingDaveRa » Sun 09 Apr, 2017 7:53 am

omarsis81 wrote:We all have tons of ideas and requests, but we can't complain: Sarah works hard on this, we just saw more than 3000 lines of code being added

I agree with most of your requests, especially the number 5. I posted something similar some weeks ago.
Real hard disks names, a droplist of... let's say 20 HDs I think would be enough, plus the current custom

See this post: viewtopic.php?p=4855#p4855
That's exactly what I had in mind! If the emulation is already using named hardware devices for everything else, why not emulate named devices in terms of hard disks? To be fair, it adds nothing functionally, other than making me feel warm and fuzzy :D
leilei wrote:2. I have a bunch of batch files to do this instead. i.e. doubleclicking 98-hd7.bat would launch a PMMX300, mounting my 7th and 8th 8gb hard drive images for data with a 1gb 98se boot partition. (for testing)
3. My workaround for this is another pcem folder entirely with 'date purist' bios settings. Outside my usual pcem testing folders full of anachronism, I've already had recreated my old '90s computer setups as close as I could and tried to install the old software I have in the order I can remember. (which is nice for anecdotal reporting)

4. Would be nice but then there's the Linux problem of having this equal functionality in a different toolkit, and as no one has done this GUI overhaul yet I can't see this happening until then. It's already nice to see these indicators while in fullscreen mode BTW.


5. This could clutter. You can already name the image filename to anything you'd want. I've hadn't had odd issues with cylinder counts
2. Up to now I just duplicate the whole PCem folder and have multiple. It's the safest method but it results in a lot of duplicated files.

3. Really? I didn't know that was possible. Can you change the clock, and save it? I've never been able to!

4. That's a good point. I forget there even is a Linux version of PCem.

5. Perhaps, but from the accuracy POV, emulating real hardware makes more sense to see. But then technically, perhaps it shouldn't make any difference.

User avatar
leilei
Posts: 697
Joined: Fri 25 Apr, 2014 4:47 pm

Re: A little wishlist if I may...

Post by leilei » Sun 09 Apr, 2017 11:01 am

3. Yes, uncheck "Synchronize time to host clock". Then you'll be free to date the bios to whatever yesteryear as you please. I still have to keep multiple PCems as I can't have specified separate, BIOS settings yet (i.e. using 430vx to recreate similar other socket 7/slot1 systems i've had)

User avatar
gen_angry
Posts: 80
Joined: Sat 25 Feb, 2017 6:48 am

Re: A little wishlist if I may...

Post by gen_angry » Sun 09 Apr, 2017 4:12 pm

2. I use a batch file: https://pcem-emulator.co.uk/phpBB3/view ... 4576#p4576

No issues so far with this setup but I am limited in a way: if I make two machines using a 430VX for example, the bios settings are 'shared'. They remain completely separate on different platforms.

There's also a strange glitch with v12, if you run and load a config via command line say: '286.cfg', then make a change to the machine's configuration, it will save the config as 'pcem.cfg' rather than the config that you loaded. So that's why in my batch file I have it copy that over. It also means that I'm limited to only running one instance of the emulator at a time or I may overwrite the wrong config data.

For me, these aren't an issue and it works well for now.

User avatar
leilei
Posts: 697
Joined: Fri 25 Apr, 2014 4:47 pm

Re: A little wishlist if I may...

Post by leilei » Sun 09 Apr, 2017 11:43 pm

That's much less a glitch and more of an intended design. Personally I like it that way so I can always go back to what I launched with before after minor tweaking (i.e. testing)

User avatar
gen_angry
Posts: 80
Joined: Sat 25 Feb, 2017 6:48 am

Re: A little wishlist if I may...

Post by gen_angry » Mon 10 Apr, 2017 2:45 am

leilei wrote:That's much less a glitch and more of an intended design. Personally I like it that way so I can always go back to what I launched with before after minor tweaking (i.e. testing)
cool, its not a big deal to me either way. Not like I need to run it more than one at a time anyways :)

User avatar
KingDaveRa
Posts: 22
Joined: Thu 06 Oct, 2016 9:00 pm
Location: UK
Contact:

Re: A little wishlist if I may...

Post by KingDaveRa » Mon 10 Apr, 2017 8:21 pm

leilei wrote:3. Yes, uncheck "Synchronize time to host clock". Then you'll be free to date the bios to whatever yesteryear as you please. I still have to keep multiple PCems as I can't have specified separate, BIOS settings yet (i.e. using 430vx to recreate similar other socket 7/slot1 systems i've had)
I shall try that, thanks!

SA1988
Posts: 246
Joined: Wed 30 Apr, 2014 9:38 am

Re: A little wishlist if I may...

Post by SA1988 » Tue 11 Apr, 2017 7:44 pm

Something in the wild based on this has already got this wishlist :)

robertsig
Posts: 10
Joined: Thu 09 Jun, 2016 1:30 pm

Re: A little wishlist if I may...

Post by robertsig » Tue 11 Apr, 2017 9:19 pm

gen_angry wrote:
leilei wrote:That's much less a glitch and more of an intended design. Personally I like it that way so I can always go back to what I launched with before after minor tweaking (i.e. testing)
cool, its not a big deal to me either way. Not like I need to run it more than one at a time anyways :)
It's a big deal for me. I have multiple copies of the entire PCEM folder now.

Post Reply