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MTX Plus+ Software


MTXPlus+ was designed to be 100% compatible with the original MTX computer, to the extent that it would be able to run original MTX software without modification - albeit that some of the software would only be useable at the same clock speed as the MTX (4MHz). The only significant incompatibility in the design is that loading and saving to cassette tape is not supported.

I decided that including tape support would be of very limited benefit and certainly not worth the effort. Cassette tape recorders have been obsolete for years and are becoming harder to find, even in the world of retro computers. Although an audio interface could have been included to allow sound files to be loaded and saved from/to, for example, a PC sound card, there are far better ways of adding cheap, removable, storage facilities. Since Lez's kit of parts included a Compact Flash (CF) card reader, this was the obvious choice for MTXPlus+.

Even though the use of CF storage for MTX based computers is something of a novelty, the use of  alternative media to cassette tape is not. Software emulators, including Andy Key's excellent MEMU, support a variety of file formats and Andy's REMEMOrizer hardware add-on for the MTX supports the same file formats using SD card. Andy's site has a good explanation of the various file formats on his site, but in brief, the most common file types are :-

Type Description
.mtx a binary copy of an MTX tape file (probably the most common file type seen)
.run games for the SDX disk system to be run from MTX Disc BASIC
.bas games for the FDX or SDX disk systems, to be run from the associated BASIC program
.com games for the FDX or SDX disk CP/M systems to be run from CP/M

To simplify file exchange between MTXPlus+ and other MTX based systems, MTXPlus+ will support the same file types on FAT32 formatted CF media. Initially, the basic system will support .run and .mtx files through the MTX BASIC "Load" and "Save" commands. Martin has written software to integrate CF with the original MTX ROM, the original ROM tape routines have been patched to call CF functions in the MTXPlus+ support ROM.

Martin increased the number of .run files available while developing MAGROM by converting other file formats to .run for MAGROM to fill up the 512KB flash on the board. Not all .run files have been successfully used with MAGROM and it is likely that some files will also fail to load from the CF interface of MTXPlus+.

Martin has suggested that it would be good to document the results from testing various software programs with the CF card interface, test results can be found on the Software Compatibility page.

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