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Memory Allocation under GS/OS [message #46] Tue, 07 October 2014 10:39 Go to previous message
Oz is currently offline  Oz
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Registered: October 2014
Location: France
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Games need memory to load their resources (graphic, music, sound...). Most of the Apple IIgs files are 32 KB (graphic page size) or 64 KB (DOC Ram sound file). Because of the Bank boundary, it is easy to manipulate 64 KB (or less) files, and harder to deal with larger file. Even code blocks are limited to 64 KB segments.

When it is time to ask GS/OS some chunk of memory, we could of course ask for the exact size we need (18 KB if the graphic we want to load is 18 KB long) but it is more convenient to ask for whole Bank. So we allocate 64 KB space segments, starting from $XX/0000 to $XX/FFFF, and we organize ourselves the inner storage. The 64 KB segments are perfect to store 2 graphic screens (32 KB each), they can be used for loading area (a 32 KB graphic file, once compressed will be smaller than 32 KB) and the unpack area (we need 32 KB to expand the compressed file).

Allocating one Bank also make the address management more easier because we have only one byte (the bank number, from $00/ to $FF/) to manage and not the 3 bytes address ($E1/2000).

Here is a code to allocate the One Bank from GS/OS :

*-------- Allocate 1 bank of 64 KB  --------------------
AllocOneBank   PushLong   #0
               PushLong   #$10000              ; 64 KB
               PushWord   myID                 ; ID of my current Program
               PushWord   #%11000000_00011100
               PushLong   #0
               _NewHandle
               PLX                             ; Handle Low Address
               PLA                             ; Handle High Address (00XX)
               XBA
               STA        AOB_1+2
AOB_1          LDAL       $000001,X            ; Get Bank Address (A=XX/00)
               RTS
*-------------------------------------------------------


We simply ask the Memory Manager (_NewHandle is a Merlin 16+ Macro to call the Memory Manager) a memory block of 64 KB, aligned on a Bank boundary (so we ensure to get the $XX/0000-$XX/FFFF area).

The Memory Manager do not return a pointer to the area but an Memory Handle (= pointer of pointer). Because we don't want to manipulate the area through it's handle, we need to get the pointer (bank address). So we pull from the Stack the address of the Handle (4 bytes) and we read a 16 bit Word containing the Bank byte ($XX/00) of the allocated Bank. We can perform some self-modification of code (patching the LDAL $000001,X address) because our code is running in RAM. This kind of manipulation is not possible in ROM. If the memory allocation failed, the Carry will be raised.

We can use the AllocOneBank routine at the beginning of the source code, after the Tools initialization :

*--------  Memory Allocation  -------------
               JSR        AllocOneBank        ; One Bank for Loading / Unpacking the files
               STA        BankLoadUnpack
*--
               JSR        AllocOneBank        ; One Bank for the Pictures
               STA        BankPicture
*--  
               JSR        AllocOneBank        ; One Bank for the Sound
               BCS        Error               ; Test only the latest allocation
               STA        BankSound
...  
BankLoadUnpack HEX        0000       ; 00XX
BankPicture    HEX        0000
BankSound      HEX        0000


We don't need to care about freeing the memory allocated. The _DisposeAll found at the end of the code will de-allocate everything.

Olivier

[Updated on: Tue, 07 October 2014 12:48]

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