The year is 2014, and so far all the demos and games that have been released on disk have been very basic: Not being able to load while animating means that we have never been able to do any kind of transition effect, and we had to cut the music while loading.
An additional problem has been the primitive level of tool support to create the floppy based software.
Finally, we never had anything that supported anything else that the Microdisc floppy drives1.
Then came the release of Cumulus2 By writing this slideshow I tried to address some of these issues, unfortunately I did not totally manage because the problem is actually difficult, but since I'm releasing the full source code I hope other people will join in and help fix the system :)
So what you get in this production is:
The entire FloppyBuilder tool
The source code of this demo with the floppy builder scripts and data
Boot-sectors that work on Microdisc and Jasmin
Loading code that loads and depack in real-time while doing other stuff
What you do not get (yet) is:
The Jasmin support is only partial, it's probably 10 lines of code to fix the issues (correct IRQ/DRQ/SideSelect handling)
Totally smooth loading that does not impact the music/animation
So there it is, it's not as a breakthrough as I hope it would be, but I guess it's a step in the right direction.
Some numbers for you:
40+ minutes of sound chip music (17 tracks by 11 composers)
53 high resolution pictures
2 character sets
all data is packed on disk and depacked directly in memory at any address
Also some 'firsts' (at least in the Oric world):
first program that uses the entire memory, including page 2, and charsets.
first demo that uses 100% of the floppy disk surface
first demo with a X/Y distorted scroller
first demo that loads while playing music (kind of badly, but...)
first demo that attempts to be Jasmin compatible (and fails to do so3)
longest scroll text
Hope you like it, and that this will motivate you to code something on our good old machine :)
And here is a video of the demo in action:
1. The Microdisc is the official 3" Oric drive, but there was competitors such as the incompatible Jasmin, Byte Drive 500 and Apple II compatible drives.↩
2. Cumulus is a SD Card based Microdisc replacement, more information at http://forum.defence-force.org/viewtopic.php?f=23&t=1012 ↩
3. Hopefully a version 1.1 will fix these shortcomings↩