The greatest challenge to any thinker is stating the problem in a way that will allow a solution

Bertrand Russell

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On 13 Aug 2012

Android

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I spent many an hour of my youth on my Atari ST. A few years back I got an emulator on my laptop, and took a trip down memory lane.

That laptop died a while back, and I recently fancied playing one of the old games. Given the relatively low resolution graphics and performance of the ST by today’s standards, I decided to try and get an emulator running on my phone.

I settled on SToid, which looks to run fine on my Galaxy SG2, though note that there are comments on Google’s app store that it has problems on some Android devices, though the developer(s) seem to be quick to respond to users issues.

My only gripe is that mouse emulation is a bit clunky (its too fast to land on smaller items, and if slowed down takes too long to get across the screen), hopefully they’ll manage to implement touch-screen driven movement, rather than presenting a cursor pad, in a future release.

There is also a knack to getting it running. You need to download the TOS separately, and then also any game floppy images. See below for some links. I’ve used v1.04, which was the latest revision before the STE, and haven’t had any problems, but if you have problems running a specific game you can try a different version of TOS.

COPYRIGHT NOTE: If you follow the instructions below you must own an Atari ST and any games that you want to run.
So if they’re in the attic gathering dust, like mine are, then you are all set. To download and run the TOS and any games that you don’t own is illegal (in the UK and no doubt elsewhere). If you have sold or disposed of your ST and/or games, then you have also sold or disposed of your rights to run them.
It is your responsibility to comply with any local legislation in force, laws do vary, so what can be done in one country needn’t be OK in another.

Set-up Instructions

Atari ST TOS screenshot

Atari ST GEM desktop running on SToid

If you’ve going to download TOS and games direct to your phone rather than via a PC (which is probably easiest), you’ll need an app that can unzip files. There are plenty of utils that can do this, though personally I find ES File Explorer File Managerexcellent (and its free).

  1. Install SToid onto your device
  2. Install keyboard (optional, free – provides access to function keys necessary for many games)
  3. Download ToS v1.04
  4. Download individual games – see links below
  5. Decompress the downloaded files (by default they’ll be in /sdcard/download)
  6. Start SToid, first you’ll need to supply your TOS image file, then you’ll need to supply the 1st game disk file

Once you’re run SToid once, it will continue to use the same TOS (you don’t need to resupply it each time). If you need to try a different TOS, clear the app’s data in Android Task Manager.

Game Downloads

Deuteros

Deuteros running on SToid

I’ve used the following sites with success…

…for more see this post on the Atari Forum – http://www.atari-forum.com/viewtopic.php?p=70867

Another good resource is http://www.atari.st/

High battery drain

Whilst battery isn’t a problem in general, I have found that if you “minimise” the app rather than closing it when your finished your battery gets drained as if you were still actively using it.

The actual app that’s responsible for the drain is Mediaserver (according to the phone – its the highest user when my phone is about to die and seems to have kept the phone awake constantly), but I’ve only had the problem when I’ve been using SToid and haven’t exited when finished.

From some very brief research, the Mediaserver app is used by other apps to deliver audio, therefore I’m assuming that SToid doesn’t release Mediaserver or is continuing to send audio to it, even when the app isn’t in the foreground.  Hopefully they’ll fix in a future release (problem exists in v1.1).


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