Questions and Answers
What is KStella?
KStella is a KDE frontend to the Atari 2600 emulator, Stella. It currently supports the display of snapshots, labels, manuals, the configuration of individual game settings and of course, the ability to play games with just a click of the mouse. All these features are fully customizable to allow maximum flexibility.
What isn't KStella?
KStella is NOT an emulator. It is merely a frontend to Stella, a multi-platform Atari 2600 emulator.
I hear nothing. Where's the sound?
If you're using Stella 1.4 or better, make sure sound is actually enabled in the "Settings->Game Defaults" menu item and the volume is set sufficiently high.
If you're using a version of Stella older than 1.4, then you have to upgrade to Stella 1.4 (KStella 0.9.1 requires at least Stella 1.4).
Finally, make sure that sound is working in other applications on your system. If you're not getting sound elsewhere, you won't get it in Stella either :)
How do I get my joystick up and running?
Consult your distribution for getting the operating system to actually see any joysticks you have installed, since this depends on the kernel and drivers you're using.
Assuming the OS (and SDL) can see your joysticks, Stella 1.4 has greatly improved joystick support. There is now full event-remapping, which allows you to (for example) assign the 'Select' and 'Reset' functions to any button on any joystick.
How do I make the game window always start at the size I want? I'm tired of always pressing the "Alt + =" key :)
Use the 'Alt + =' key for increasing window size and 'Alt + -' key for decreasing window size. Or you can go to the "Settings->Game Defaults" menu item and select window (Zoom Window). Select the maximum size if you always want the largest window possible.
The emulator is taking all my CPU, or the emulation is skipping and making weird sounds. What's going on here?
Most likely it has something to do with the 'accurate' flag. Under Linux kernel 2.4, 'accurate' will give smooth emulation, but this will come at the cost of 100% CPU usage. If you turn off 'accurate', the CPU usage will be very low, but the emulation will become jumpy. It is recommended to use 'accurate' in this case.
Under Linux kernel 2.6, the opposite is true. If you turn on 'accurate', the emulation (particularly the sound) will starting "popping", and you will still have 100% CPU usage. If you turn off 'accurate', the emulation should smooth out and CPU usage will drop. There may still be some slight jitter, but it will be very minor. It is recommended to not use 'accurate' in this case.
You should experiment and see which works better for your system. Of course, if you run at the maximum zoom and your computer is too slow, then no amount of playing with the 'accurate' flag will help. In this case, go to a lower zoom setting, or upgrade your computer :)
This is so cool, what next?
First of all, send an email to me, <email@example.com>, to feed my ego. Then, let me know of any ways I can improve KStella. Also, feel free to send me any snapshots, labels or manuals that are missing.
Where are all the game manuals?
The most popular game manuals have already been converted. If you haven't installed them yet, go the the KStella web page and download them, then install them as described elsewhere in this manual.
I want to convert some manuals, but all the manuals in the 'manuals' directory have weird names :) What do I do.
This is basically the way that KStella works. The only way of associating a manual with a rom is to name the manual with the md5sum of the rom. But you don't need to go to all that trouble. You can simply send me a file as 'filename.html' and I will take care of the rest. A search on Freshmeat should turn up some text-to-html convertors.
I'm not really experienced in using HTML so I wouldn't want to convert manuals. Is there anything else I can do?
There are many things you can do. Other than manuals, the most important things I need are cartridge scans. You may notice that there are many missing scans. If you find some on the internet, or have the actual cartridge and a scanner, then I would appreciate anything you can provide. As well, you needn't restrict the search to scans that I don't have. If you can find some scans that are better than the ones I have, then send them along. Don't worry about resizing, converting or renaming them, I can take care of all that.
Other than that, there are the usual things that open-source developers like. Send me bug reports, praise or criticisms, any feedback is better than none at all :)
I want ROMs, where can I get ROMs?
This is currently a murky legal area. I can't provide roms on my webpage nor can I give you any links. My suggestion is to go to a search engine and search for "Atari 2600 roms". There are sites that have 500-600 games in one 2MB archive. Oh, the days of small code :)
I'm not comfortable with compiling programs, or I have no compiler environment installed. Can you provide binaries for my platform?
Starting with KStella version 0.9.0, I will provide source and binary RPM's for the latest version of Mandrake (currently 10.0).
Otherwise, if anyone feels like creating binaries for their particular platform, send them to me and I'll gladly post them. But be aware that I can offer no support for such packages, only for the ones that I provide myself.
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