ZX SpecNext Emulation

Half a year late, due to pandemic, "brexit", China, and redesign perfectionism (which I appreciate, but it's delaying), delayed from summer '20 into sometime next spring(?), I'm still eager to get my ZX SpecNext. So in the meantime I do emulation.

I'd played a fair bit with a ZX Spectrum emulator, but SpecNext emulation was harder. After a lot of frustration with "CSpect", which is just a pile of C# crash logs, I tried "ZEsarUX" (hereafter "Zesarux") and with a bit of fiddling, it Just Works at emulating SpecNext.

  • Download from github.com/chernandezba/zesarux, install, run. It's unsigned, so macOS security theatre: right-click, Open (do not trash!), cancel, right-click, Open, Trust.
  • Zesarux FAQ
  • F5 for emulator menu
  • Settings, ZX Vision, disable First aid help (bullshit dialogs on every interaction! You can see most of it with F1 or just waiting 10s on a menu option)
  • Settings, General, disable Window Footer (ugly & useless)
  • Back up to Storage, MMC, select tbblue.mmc, enable MMC Emulation, Paging.
  • Back up to Machine, VTrucco/FB Labs, ZX Spectrum Next, TBBlue.
  • Autoconfigure? Yes. Where? Download. I picked 512M, and tbblue-512M.mmc. Configure? Yes. I picked 60hz, x2 scaling; YMMV.
  • Just wait a few seconds, and TBBlue should transition to "Welcome to NextZXOS" (seen above)
  • Now you're at the standard Speccy menu, right-arrow will increase speed to 28MHz, down a couple to NextBASIC
  • Type in a test program, like 10 print"Hello, Mark!" (have to type ^P for ", ^1 for !, it's a Speccy keyboard, but not the one-key ZX80 keyboard), run
  • save"hello.bas" (again ^P someday that'll be wired into my fingers) and cat to make sure it's there.

Sh-1 brings up the Speccy menu.

You'll need to memorize the keyboard layout in F5, Help, or make a little reference card like I did (for another emulator, on Zesarux Esc is Break, the far right-side keys don't do anything).

The MMC file (which is a disk image that holds your files) and .zesarux config are in home dir, which I dislike but I'm not arguing with it at this point. If I mount a FAT SD card, it should read/write that and it'd be easier to move files on and off, but I don't have one I can spare at the moment. Waiting for mail-order or shopping.

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