A few thoughts.

Discussion of development and patch submission.
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Joined: Mon 18 Jul, 2022 9:07 pm

A few thoughts.

Post by wishusknight »

Now that I have about 40 or 50 hours into PCEM. I have been conjuring a few idea's in my head for general improvements. Though I have no idea how easy these are or aren't to implement. And these have probably been discussed before. So my apologies if I am rehashing anything. I am also going to give a few thoughts on the windows UI thus far.

I am on windows 7 32bit. Using V17.

I have not yet tried v18. So I am unsure which bugs or changes have been made upto this point. I have been experiencing quite a few bugs on some machine types, but I will list them later once I get digging into V18 in the future. Over all though, this has been an outstanding experience!

1 UI under machine config when a VM is active, and you get the confirmation that a change will reset the vm, is it possible to have an 3rd option for an "ok but on next restart" thing? or a checkbox that states "restart machine now". that way it does not reset the vm that second.

1b Under the same topic, have it so when that dialog box comes up, pressing cancel does not close the machine config window.

2 A "flat out" button. a menu toggle to run the simulated machine as fast as the host computer can possibly run it. Perhaps even a turbo floppy mode, though floppy drives already seems much faster than normal anyway.

3Possability of a "host key" like on virtual box. Like the right control key which can be used to send common key commands to the guest without triggering global events on windows. VirtualBox for example uses [host] + delete to simulate the three finger salute. [host] P for pause, [host] R for hard reset and [host] F for fullscreen toggle. [host] tab is custom configured on my setup for alt+tab on windows guest task switching as well. Something which is currently impossible on a windows machine.

Floppy switching.. PCEM has to be about the most intuitive and friendly disk swapping procedure I have seen. The ability to insert a disk and press enter without having to capture the mouse is really slick. And it being a simple menu item that goes right to an open dialog to the last used folder is also a simple thing that even VMWare Workstation doesn't do. It is by far the least cumbersome implementation I have seen. So much credit is given here. Its simply awesome. I couldn't care if there was a host key for an open dialog. But something like [host] period for drive A and [host] colon for drive b.

4 Another UI request, a menu toggle to have the drive activity lights appear on a bottom status bar of the VM Guest window so the machine window can be closed. Maybe even pick one or two other stats to display like CPU time and emulation speed.

5 Under realism.. A slight damping effect on the floppy activity light. Like having it stay on an extra 5ms after it would normally go off. So it stays on more steady rather than rapid blinking. Call it the "realistic floppy light" option or something. Not really necessary but was just a random thought of something I noticed.

6 Under hardware. The most important request of anything. Please allow a PS2 Mouse option for 386 and 486 class machines that can support it. It often has much better software compatibility and configuration possibilities for extra buttons and what not. I have 4 physical machines in my collection in that age group that support them. Even a generic AT 486 board with a PS2 header!

6b The ability to have both a SCSI card and IDE controller at the same time. This might be a little bit more involved with UI design to keep it intuitive like it currently is, but machines like the IBM PS/2 have no options for ide cdrom. And scsi hard drive configuration is a nightmare on OS/2. This would also allow simulating a soundcard with scsi cdrom and not sacrificing IDE.

6b2.. A speed limiter for IDE or Scsi transfers to simulate relative disc performance. For example there is no way to accurately model MFM performance on anything faster than a base XT. So having a slider to limit it to an arbitrary "per second" transfer rate would be interesting.

6c EMS card addon for XT class computers. This is where I have also seen the most wonky things going on with configuring some machines. Though I am not sure how much of it is characteristic of the original hardware or down to PCEM. Configuring EMS on some XT class machines that have bios and hardware support for it seems currently broken. IE Toshiba T1000 and VTech Laser XT3 Turbo. I used to own the latter and know its easily capable of it and used it.

7 machine type request... 286 Tandy! The TL/2 probably being the easiest to implement. As it shares much of its hardware with the SL/2 already implemented.

8 I also have a few motherboards I can dump the bios on, and give good hardware descriptions of to allow a larger variety of computers to appear in the list if wanted. And cover more of the spectrum of clones out there.

9 The impossible...... Weitek co-pro support? :) There are 3 programs out there that use it...

That is all I can think of for now..
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