The Tutti "Emulator": A Tomy Tutor Simulator

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Last updated 17 September 2005.


Warning: Tutti is now unsupported

In the bad old days, there was no Tomy Tutor emulator when the emulation craze of the 1990s began. There were a couple of TI-99/4A emulators, the closest living relatives of the Tutor, but no one had sat down with the CLA and tried to figure out how it worked, and I didn't know enough about the 9995 and 9918A to create one myself either.

To fill the void, I threw together the original Tutti simulator in 1998. Rather than emulate the hardware, which at the time I didn't fully understand, it simply tried to act like a Tutor as much as possible -- a simpler undertaking at least at that time. Though it was very limited and only supported the title screen, menu and a small taste of BASIC, it was enough to give non-users a feel for the system. It was well received and eventually went through versions 0.2, 0.2a and (in 2003, the last major update) 0.3. It was written for the Commodore 64 because that's where my skills lay, and also because by writing a version anyone could run under a Commodore emulator, it could be run on any system with a Commodore emulator available (and that meant a lot of computers, not just Winblows, er, Windows). Although it was not a complete simulation in any sense of the word, by 0.3 it supported token portions of GRAPHIC mode, GBASIC, BASIC and the MONitor, and allowed basic elemental operations in all of them.

Tutti's major problem was that the system had to be arduously reverse engineered to filter out all the quirks of its programming, and eventually this became dreadfully inefficient and increasingly difficult for me to put together. As the basics were established, the ability for me to update in a timely fashion got weaker and weaker. Moreover, by this point, other more skillful hackers were looking at the Tomy hardware and determined to come up with their own emulators themselves.

In May 2003 Ian Gledhill released a sluggish but functioning SDL-based emulator for Windows, which although glacially slow, was the first real Tomy Tutor emulator and finally brought cross-computing to the Tutor world. Raphael Nabet eventually released his own driver for the MESS multi-system emulator in version 0.70 based on his own work with the Texas Instruments MESS drivers and his research into the operation of the CLA. I tested this driver out while he was working on it, and it seems to work not only efficiently, but authentically. In fact, MESS is nowadays my own preference for emulating the Tutor despite being Tutti's original author.

For this reason, I have decided to discontinue maintaining Tutti and leave it frozen forever at version 0.3, as most people will not want to bother with it. However, I will leave it available for those architectures that can emulate a Commodore 64 but do not have a MESS port (of which there are a few, though this is dropping as MESS reaches more and more systems). Also, because Tutti does not require ROMs to operate, it is the only emulator or simulator that can be fully legally operated by someone who does not own a Tomy Tutor already.

On the other hand, I will consider resuming work on it if there is interest in my doing so, especially since I was hoping to expand the Tutor interface to allow cross-development and importing Commodore image files, as well as fix a few bugs in the system without impacting compatibility. Also, a modified form of Tutti may emerge to emulate the Pyuuta series as to date the MESS driver is not known to support the Pyuuta Jr. or the original Pyuuta. If this is something you think you would like to see, please let me know at ckaiser@floodgap.com.

The below section is the Tutti instruction and "FAQ" page, more or less the same from its final version (0.3), along with screenshots and downloading instructions. Obviously, it is no longer the only simulator or emulator, but most of the rest is current. I leave it more or less as is. Have fun. -- Cameron Kaiser


Tutti (which stands for TUTor Tiny Implementation) is ... wait for it ... the world's only attempt to even simulate the Tomy Tutor. And as the author, I can tell you, bar none, it really sucks and it probably won't get a whole lot better. But hey, for all you emulator phr33aks out there, this is the best it gets. At least you'll be able to play with something that's 20% of one, right? And you'll be able to tell all your friends about it, who will have no idea what the sam heck you're talking about.

Okay, enough self-deprecation. On with the information ...

Current version

Tutti is in version 0.3. This new version is more a significant maintenance release rather than the big jump forward I was hoping for, but there's a good bit of new stuff as well as bug fixes. Here are the changes:

Questions that would be frequently asked if anyone asked any :-)

Downloading

You can get it from this link (47 blocks, approximately 12K). It's stored as a .prg file, which your real Commodore and most modern emulators can handle directly. Sorry, I won't make this into a .t64 or .d64. You'll just have to figure out Star Commander, which you should do anyway.

Running it

Just LOAD it and RUN it like a BASIC program.

Important keys

Getting back to the menu

In BASIC, type MENU

In graphics mode, get into graphic mode 4 (press MOD three times), and press MON for the MONitor. Then type MENU. If you got into the MONitor but want to stay in graphics mode, type GRAPHIC.

In GBASIC, exit with a line like 99 END, and then type MENU at the MONitor prompt.

Bug reports

These bugs are known, but since Tutti won't be updated further, they won't be fixed. Regardless, send any comments if you like to ckaiser@floodgap.com. Please note that the emulation has always been incomplete. Thanks!

Screenshots

The screenshots have been corrected for the wacky aspect ratio by taking a screenshot from the Commodore at 320x200, taking a 256x200 slice out of it (192 vertical pixels plus 4 border pixels on top and bottom), and stretching it back out to 320x200. In reality, Tutti tends to make the characters a bit squished.

Also, since the VIC-II is not patched in this version, the colours are only approximations of the true palette and are not wholly accurate.


The Tutor banner screen. Tutti reports its version (the real machine also reports its own; my Tutor claims to be version 2.3).


Pick an option, any option.


Shee, what do you have to do for some assistance?


Sacre bleu! You can change the screen colour in BASIC, and even clear it!


Yay! Watch that rocket cursor move, baby!


Sing the sprite alphabet song! A, C, B, D, E, F ... um ... something wrong there ...


Reggae MON! We're jamMON! MON Dieu, these puns are MONstrous! Har har har!


"Why, Dorothy, you've always had the power to go back home!"


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