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ASSUALT FORCE 3D w/Super Charger cartridge


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#1 Gunstar OFFLINE  

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Posted Fri Jun 15, 2007 9:16 PM

Sound cool? I think so. I was browsing through an old Antic magazine today, one given to me that wasn't in my sparadic collection; May 1985 Vol. 4#1, the cover displays "The New Super Ataris" with info on the ST line. Anywho, while browsing, I see this ad on page 27, an ad page, for this "Assault Force 3D" which states:

'Exciting new "real" 3D graphics on 48K disk. Includes Super Charger Power Booster cartridge for fast realistic 3 dimensional graphics. Weave your way through a maze of pyramids and radar dishes as you fight against an onslaught of jets and helicopters. But, remember to keep an eye out for more fuel in this fast paced game.'

I never heard of this game with this "Super Charger Power Booster cartridge before." Does anyone have one of these with this game? How rare is this? I'd sure love to get my hands on it. It's part of a page ad that includes MicroNet networking box for Atari's and Microport parallel Buss board (experimentors PIA board) for XL's which also look very interesting. And I'm not sure if I heard of them either, but the company running the Ad is Microbits Peripheral Products (MPP) in Albany Oregon.

Edited by Gunstar, Fri Jun 15, 2007 9:17 PM.


#2 MrFish ONLINE  

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Posted Fri Jun 15, 2007 11:41 PM

There's some info on Atarimania, but no dumps. This sounds interesting...

#3 Gunstar OFFLINE  

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Posted Fri Jun 15, 2007 11:49 PM

There's some info on Atarimania, but no dumps. This sounds interesting...

Apparently a dump would be worthless without the super charger cartridge to make it work anyway. This is something that would probably have to be found whole and original.

#4 MrFish ONLINE  

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Posted Sat Jun 16, 2007 12:17 AM

There's some info on Atarimania, but no dumps. This sounds interesting...

Apparently a dump would be worthless without the super charger cartridge to make it work anyway. This is something that would probably have to be found whole and original.


I guess I was thinking that you could have a dump of the cartridge also.

#5 Gunstar OFFLINE  

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Posted Sat Jun 16, 2007 1:09 AM

There's some info on Atarimania, but no dumps. This sounds interesting...

Apparently a dump would be worthless without the super charger cartridge to make it work anyway. This is something that would probably have to be found whole and original.


I guess I was thinking that you could have a dump of the cartridge also.


I think the cartridge was a hardware upgrade that was used with the game software, and not just software on a regular Jaguar ROM cartridge, therefore a "dump" is impossible. This is an educated guess of course, but I really don't see how additional software on a cartridge could make the 48k disk software faster or "super charger boosted." It sounds to me like they put some kind of co-processor or floating-point math chip on a cartridge, something like that.

Edited by Gunstar, Sat Jun 16, 2007 1:09 AM.


#6 remowilliams OFFLINE  

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Posted Sat Jun 16, 2007 1:17 AM

This is an educated guess of course, but I really don't see how additional software on a cartridge could make the 48k disk software faster or "super charger boosted." It sounds to me like they put some kind of co-processor or floating-point math chip on a cartridge, something like that.

I think I have some info on this somewhere if I could find it. But my hazy memory of this says that a coprocessor of some kind sounds correct.

#7 www.atarimania.com OFFLINE  

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Posted Sat Jun 16, 2007 1:53 AM

Yes, it's a pretty nice BattleZone clone in colorful wireframe graphics and you're right about the cartridge. You'd probably need a modified version of Atari800Win PLus to run it ;)

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#8 _Fandal_ OFFLINE  

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Posted Sat Jun 16, 2007 2:54 AM

Yes, it's a pretty nice BattleZone clone in colorful wireframe graphics and you're right about the cartridge. You'd probably need a modified version of Atari800Win PLus to run it ;)

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Hey Frog!

You know modified version of Atari800 emulator (not WinPLus) for use with Assault Force has been written months ago. And author is still waiting for your confirm that it works 100%...

F.

#9 www.atarimania.com OFFLINE  

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Posted Sat Jun 16, 2007 3:27 AM

I didn't want to spill the beans and I forgot that you were waiting for my confirmation. I'll let you know ASAP :)

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#10 emkay OFFLINE  

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Posted Sat Jun 16, 2007 3:43 AM

I wonder what this Cartrigde does exactly.
Are there some screenshots of the game around?

#11 Larry ONLINE  

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Posted Sat Jun 16, 2007 3:55 AM

I think the cartridge was a hardware upgrade that was used with the game software, and not just software on a regular Jaguar ROM cartridge, therefore a "dump" is impossible. This is an educated guess of course, but I really don't see how additional software on a cartridge could make the 48k disk software faster or "super charger boosted." It sounds to me like they put some kind of co-processor or floating-point math chip on a cartridge, something like that.


You are quite correct. According to a note I received from the author, the "SuperCharger" cartridge is an integer math (hardware) cartridge used for fast calculation of the positions of screen objects. It's an ok game, but nothing special, IMO. I was always very fond of the arcade version of Battlezone, and nothing else seemed to quite measure up. I suspect it is pretty rare. However, if modified for an emulator using PC "horsepower" it should be fine.

Side note -- once upon a time, after receiving info about the "SuperCharger," I tried unsuccessfully to convince Ron at CSS to produce a general purpose math cart for the A8 based on the Intel 8087 which could be bought for about $1 each after they were outdated by the 80287's. Of course, using an emulator with a modern PC is still way faster than that would have been.
-Larry

#12 _Fandal_ OFFLINE  

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Posted Sat Jun 16, 2007 4:14 AM

I wonder what this Cartrigde does exactly.
Are there some screenshots of the game around?


Super Charger is basically very simple multiplier and divider. It's used for all 3D calculations so the game itself is really very fast.

Here're some screenshots...

F.

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#13 www.atarimania.com OFFLINE  

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Posted Sat Jun 16, 2007 5:00 AM

Fandal, you have e-mail :)

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#14 HiassofT OFFLINE  

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Posted Sat Jun 16, 2007 5:37 AM

Some 4 years ago I was discussing this with Jindroush (he had the cart) and we tried to identify the chip, but without any success. It's most likely a custom chip.

Here's some of the information he sent me:

The chip is 18 pin, has 4 registers.

0,1,2 are data regs, 3 is command/status.

Command 1, division:
reg3 = 1
reg1 (hi) reg2 (lo) / reg0 = reg2 (res), reg1 (remainder).

If there's error, status is 1, otherwise status is 0.

Command 2, multiplication:
reg3 = 2
reg2 * reg0 = reg1 (hi), reg2 (lo).

BTW: How long does a multiplication / division last (approx. in Atari clock cycles)

They setup 4 registers and then issue 4 nops.

And the cart doesn't work correctly on 2 of my 6 ataris. Namely 130 XE and
800 XE. I know it works on other ataris (including other XEs).

Seems like IO timing problem, because few points on the screen are not
where expected, instead on random(?) places, which suggests error in cart
communication.


If this information is correct, it should be fairly simple to integrate the chip logic into an Atari emulator.

Here are images of the PCB (the smaller IC is most certainly a simple logic gate, the lager IC is the "secret chip"):
Front.jpg Back.jpg

so long,

Hias

#15 Velcro_SP OFFLINE  

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Posted Sat Jun 16, 2007 8:07 AM

Super Charger is basically very simple multiplier and divider. It's used for all 3D calculations so the game itself is really very fast.

Here're some screenshots...

F.


Fandal, thanks for the screenshots and info. There's a lot of colors in those screenshots, and those distant mountains are at GR. 8-equivalents resolution aren't they (and more colors)? I wonder if the Super Charger boosted the graphics as well... Could all be skillful use of mixed screen-modes though.

#16 Rybags OFFLINE  

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Posted Sat Jun 16, 2007 8:18 AM

The A8 has no facility for video input, or mixing external sources.

Those mountains look Gr.15ish to me - the slope of the mountain on the right gives it away, it would be 45 degrees if it was a diagonal in Gr.8

But, the idea of a coprocessor in a cart is a good one - pity it wasn't more widespread.

#17 Gunstar OFFLINE  

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Posted Sat Jun 16, 2007 11:21 AM

Well, I'm very biased toward emulators and only use real hardware, so I've GOT to find a copy of this cart&game!

#18 gambler172 OFFLINE  

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Posted Sat Jun 16, 2007 11:51 AM

Well, I'm very biased toward emulators and only use real hardware, so I've GOT to find a copy of this cart&game!

Hi Gunstar
maybe i can get one for you.How much do you want to pay for this?
greetings gambler172

#19 MrFish ONLINE  

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Posted Sat Jun 16, 2007 12:13 PM

There's some info on Atarimania, but no dumps. This sounds interesting...

Apparently a dump would be worthless without the super charger cartridge to make it work anyway. This is something that would probably have to be found whole and original.


I guess I was thinking that you could have a dump of the cartridge also.


I think the cartridge was a hardware upgrade that was used with the game software, and not just software on a regular Jaguar ROM cartridge, therefore a "dump" is impossible. This is an educated guess of course, but I really don't see how additional software on a cartridge could make the 48k disk software faster or "super charger boosted." It sounds to me like they put some kind of co-processor or floating-point math chip on a cartridge, something like that.


I assumed that was probably the case also. But, since I didn't know anything specific about it (until a few minutes ago), I thought it may also just be some kind of a gimmick.

I think this is a cool way to approach enhancing the A-8's hardware. This is more elegant than the typical upgrades which require internal modifications. I'm not a big fan of "hacked up" A-8 internals.

#20 Gunstar OFFLINE  

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Posted Sat Jun 16, 2007 12:32 PM

Well, I'm very biased toward emulators and only use real hardware, so I've GOT to find a copy of this cart&game!

Hi Gunstar
maybe i can get one for you.How much do you want to pay for this?
greetings gambler172


I guess I'd pay fair market value, what ever that is, unless it's hundreds or more dollars, then I couldn't afford it right now. I can only assume it pretty rare, since I don't recall anyone responding to my question about rarity yet. But if I can get it for somewhere between $0-100 I give it serious consideration. When I said I've got to get it, I sort of meant "some day" but someday can be sooner rather than later...

#21 JayoK OFFLINE  

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Posted Sat Jun 16, 2007 12:53 PM

... Microport parallel Buss board (experimentors PIA board) for XL's which also look very interesting


Wow - I remember buying one of these. Basically it was a 6521B PIA and memory address decoding logic with a few pull-up resistors. All this was supplied on a professionally manufactured PCB with break out pins. Only ever managed to get PORTA going on the PIA though and then lost interest. Was expensive at the time, but it did give a nice PCB and something to finally plug into the PBI.

Edited by JayoK, Sat Jun 16, 2007 12:53 PM.


#22 miker OFFLINE  

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Posted Sat Jun 16, 2007 1:38 PM

Hm... what about hacking this game for using it without this chip? Maybe for adding some fast mltiply/divede procedure(s)...

#23 classics OFFLINE  

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Posted Sat Jun 16, 2007 5:59 PM

Is there anywhere I can download the game itself? (I know it won't run without the hardware.)

Steve

#24 www.atarimania.com OFFLINE  

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Posted Sat Jun 16, 2007 7:56 PM

OK, here is the disk: http://www.atarimani...t_Force_3_D.zip

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#25 classics OFFLINE  

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Posted Sat Jun 16, 2007 8:26 PM

Very nice, thanks. :)

Steve




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