VOGONS


First post, by AaronAsh

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The Gotek floppy emulator is one of the most useful bits of kit in my retro PC; is there a similar equivalent piece of hardware that can emulate a CD/DVD drive using images loaded on some external disk? I've had a Google around but all I've found are the usual software based solutions for Windows (Daemon tools etc...).

The problem I am trying to solve is that I have a few game CD images (extracted from my GoG versions of said games) that were both DOS based and required the CD to be in the drive. I could probably work around these problems piecemeal, but it would be nice if there was an elegant solution like the Gotek.

Is there maybe some other solution to this problem I am missing?

Reply 1 of 16, by PhilsComputerLab

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I'd love to have such a gadget too 😀

Like with a notebook hard drive bay for storage.

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Reply 2 of 16, by brassicGamer

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There was some speculation about this recently:

Re: Do you play games off of their CDs?

apparently the only product on the market that does a similar thing only works via USB, so cannot be considered useful for DOS applications. An all-hardware based emulation solution would be epic.

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Reply 3 of 16, by mrau

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is there any chance to overcome copy-protection mechanisms with such a thing if it were made? one would still need to crack and therefore one could easily have the entire game on hd anyway,no?

Reply 4 of 16, by PhilsComputerLab

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For me it's mostly about DOS. Not sure if there is any mayor copy protection at all.

As soon as you're in Windows 98 you can just use Daemon tools and mount them that way.

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Reply 5 of 16, by hyoenmadan

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Let's go in parts.

First, Virtual CD hardware solutions never got real traction because availability of software solutions for supported operating systems, and the scarce amount of titles which require cd-in-the-drive as verification method for DOS. DOS titles with music tracks in CD are also rare, and these generally will run in windows just fine.

The available solutions have a few things in common: All them are USB, and all them only support Data only ISO sessions. No real support for Audio/Copy Protection or other stuff, because these solutions were conceived mostly to boot systems and install base software from them (Think in older XP CDs, or Linux rescue disks).

Said all that, there are at least 2 open source project about this matter: DriveDroid and CDEmu

DriveDroid is an software host running in androd phones, which use available linux kernel facilities in these phones to emulate and present an USB driver or CD USB drive to host. USB drive is generally always available, but CD USB drive require certain functionality that isn't always available in all phones, and sometimes you need jailbreak your phone and hack your phone kernel to make it available (which you want, or don't want to do).

CDEMU is an self contained solution, made around the widely available Teensy++ board. Source code available for it, and also a more powerful solution with schematics and layout files for PCB making available OSS too.

http://cdemu.blogspot.mx/

Since probably you aren't searching for USB boot-only working solutions, probably none of these would be useful as them are right now. But hey! Nothing stops you to take code and schematics and build a solution suitable to your specific problem, as soon as you contribute back your changes to these projects. I guess is possible to take CDEMU firmware code and hack with it some existent interface, like SCSI2SD, to act as an Virtual CD instead an HDD for example.

This would work for data only CDs, and probably could be extended to handle Hybrid Data/Music CD's. Copy protection MDF/MDS handling would be more dificcult to do, and probably it would require an CPLD/FPGA to be done.

PD: SCSI2SD does basic CDROM support already. You still would need hack it to get audio/hybrid cd support. Copy protection would still require an more advanced CPLD/FPGA.

Reply 6 of 16, by AaronAsh

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Thanks for the replies, a shame none of the solutions seem to provide full functionality (Redbook audio etc...) - guess will just have to burn CDs for those edge case games, there is probably a relatively limited number of them.

Time to start working on a robot arm that picks and loads a selected game disc from a pre-stacked spindle (just hope the one you want isn't at the bottom!),

Reply 8 of 16, by ruthan

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I know that old thread but, this working:
https://www.zalman.com/contents/products/view.html?no=20

I would like to see Gotek like Zip driver emulator for "bigger" floppies.

Im old goal oriented goatman, i care about facts and freedom, not about egos+prejudices. Hoarding=sickness. If you want respect, gain it by your behavior. I hate stupid SW limits, SW=virtual world, everything should be possible if you have enough raw HW.

Reply 10 of 16, by Deksor

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Something for IDE and with audio output would be really nice 😀

Perhaps using the bluepill board which uses a ST32 chip ?

Trying to identify old hardware ? Visit The retro web - Project's thread The Retro Web project - a stason.org/TH99 alternative

Reply 12 of 16, by adalbert

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What about a "hybrid" solution, like using SHSUCDHD software to read CD data contents under DOS from .iso file, and using Arduino/PIC/Raspberry Pi etc. for basic ATAPI emulation (only CD audio music playback control), so the music could be played back from mp3/ogg files on the SD card and routed into sound card with analog cable? That just came to my mind

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Reply 13 of 16, by Deksor

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emosun wrote on 2021-04-04, 21:05:

in theory could this not be done somewhat by making a CF card slot and simply writing the cd contents to a cf card?

I get it wouldnt have the switching between multiple cd's thing but it's a start

This would only solve the "booting from CD" problem. Emulating a CD-Rom is doable in software. However having a CD-Rom and having CD audio is much more trouble.

Trying to identify old hardware ? Visit The retro web - Project's thread The Retro Web project - a stason.org/TH99 alternative

Reply 14 of 16, by emosun

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Deksor wrote on 2021-04-04, 22:35:

having CD audio

ah , yeah thats a problem.

who would have thought running the audio directly from the cd drive straight out the back of the machine wouldn't be a good idea? 🤣. definitely offloaded stuff at the time , but now is just annoying.

Reply 15 of 16, by ruthan

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This probably biggest new age Dos problem, how to get around noisy cds and stil has cd audio. It really needs some hardware emulator, or big upgrade present Dos cd image drive utilities (but its not even possible).

Im old goal oriented goatman, i care about facts and freedom, not about egos+prejudices. Hoarding=sickness. If you want respect, gain it by your behavior. I hate stupid SW limits, SW=virtual world, everything should be possible if you have enough raw HW.

Reply 16 of 16, by cyclone3d

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What about an emulator outputting the CD audio as a digital signal to the pc-speaker and then use that along with either digital in on a sound card or have a decoder to auto detect and switch between digital and regular pc-speaker audio.

The emulator and decoder would have to work together to do that though.

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