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Please help with the ColecoVision Opgrade Module


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Poll: Help decide what the Opgrade Module should be (122 member(s) have cast votes)

Please choose the statement(s) which best describe your view about what the OM should be:

  1. OM is a pluggable module for the CV with minimum functionality, lowest possible price (26 votes [18.84%])

    Percentage of vote: 18.84%

  2. OM is a pluggable module with advanced functionality, like A/V outputs (44 votes [31.88%])

    Percentage of vote: 31.88%

  3. OM is a standalone device that can plays all the CV games, and also have the OM functionality (61 votes [44.20%])

    Percentage of vote: 44.20%

  4. Who cares about expansion modules? (4 votes [2.90%])

    Percentage of vote: 2.90%

  5. I have a better idea... (3 votes [2.17%])

    Percentage of vote: 2.17%

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#326 Bill Loguidice OFFLINE  

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Posted Thu Nov 5, 2009 9:18 AM

You asked what we would pay, not what it would cost to build and have a few bucks for your trouble. What would be better is if you were able to say, for instance:

For $75 - $100 we'd have a straight ColecoVision clone

For $100 - $150 we'd have a straight ColecoVision clone, plus feature a, b, c

For $150 - $200 we'd have a straight ColecoVision clone, plus feature a, b, c, d, e, f

For $200 - $250 we'd have a straight ColecoVision clone, plus feature a, b, c, d, e, f, g, h, i

The only one who could guesstimate such a breakdown would be you, my friend... You asked for a price, I gave you $150, which is generally the max I spend on homebrew stuff. If I saw a $150 - $200 price point would get some nifty features, then I would certainly consider going higher, for instance, or maybe if I saw that the tier below the $150 - $200 gets me all the important features and omits some I might not care about, then it might make sense to go there, etc.

#327 opcode OFFLINE  

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Posted Thu Nov 5, 2009 9:27 AM

Have you guys heard about SymbOS?
SymbOS is a real multitasking OS created for Z80 machines. It can use up to 1MB of dynamic memory, supports filesystems up to 128GB and is an 100% graphic OS.
Check this very funny video comparing a MSX running SymbOS versus a Apple Lisa...
http://www.youtube.c...a/0/gk427t_hm9w

Pretty cool OS for our CV2 project...

#328 youki OFFLINE  

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Posted Thu Nov 5, 2009 9:43 AM

Personally i would be very statified with a standard stand alone new CV. I don't care about 16bit graphics, more memory , Keyboard ,mouse and symbOS (i used it few time ago, it is very good but require very good machine... for MSX TurboR it is perfect , for standard Amstrad CPC forget it...) .

I'm ready to pay about 150$ just for a standard new CV.

If you introduce other "fun" things... i'm ok with that only if it still act as a normal coleco and the compatibility is not lost for the profit of another feature.

And Controller for me should be optionnal.

The "only" feature i would really love would be to have a new console with 3 cartrigdes port , one for CV cart, one for MSX Cart , on for SEGA SG 1000 carts. (or at least only 2 , CV and MSX (in that case the possibilities to plug keyboard would be great indeed))

#329 opcode OFFLINE  

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Posted Thu Nov 5, 2009 9:49 AM

You asked what we would pay, not what it would cost to build and have a few bucks for your trouble. What would be better is if you were able to say, for instance:

For $75 - $100 we'd have a straight ColecoVision clone

For $100 - $150 we'd have a straight ColecoVision clone, plus feature a, b, c

For $150 - $200 we'd have a straight ColecoVision clone, plus feature a, b, c, d, e, f

For $200 - $250 we'd have a straight ColecoVision clone, plus feature a, b, c, d, e, f, g, h, i

The only one who could guesstimate such a breakdown would be you, my friend... You asked for a price, I gave you $150, which is generally the max I spend on homebrew stuff. If I saw a $150 - $200 price point would get some nifty features, then I would certainly consider going higher, for instance, or maybe if I saw that the tier below the $150 - $200 gets me all the important features and omits some I might not care about, then it might make sense to go there, etc.


Yeah, yeah, I know, that was what I asked. I just wanted to point out that things may be not that simple. But as I said I think we can keep throwing around ideas and in the end if it is decided that $150 is the sweet spot for price, then we can remove less desirable stuff until that price point is reached.
I think we will learn a lot with the module project, and that is one of the good things about going with the module first. In fact the module will give us a start point for the standalone in terms of costs. For example, if the fully assembled board for the module costs $50 to make, than that is our start point for the standalone. From there we will need to include CPU, VDP, PSG, power regulators, oscillators, VRAM, joystick ports and associated circuit, etc. So I believe a plain CV clone would reach $100 pretty easily. Then we will need a case, preferably a custom one, because nobody wants to stare on one of those generic electronic enclosures... Perhaps we could have new controllers but make them an option, that would save a lot...
I just want you guys to understand that such a project, with such limited run, can't be done for the same price you would pay for a commercial product. No matter what, $100 here isn't going to buy you a PS2 level machine.

#330 Bill Loguidice OFFLINE  

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Posted Thu Nov 5, 2009 9:57 AM

Right, but I think the consensus was a new CV with modern A/V outputs, as well as the Opgrade module features. Everything else is just gravy and should be cut if it adds to the cost. For instance, for me, I'd personally be happy with a new CV with modern A/V outputs, Opgrade features and the ability to plug in a keyboard/whatever to allow it to be used as a computer/make it programmable. I can't imagine any other features really being used much by anyone beyond that. The goal should probably be to increase the install base for Opgrade stuff, not further bifurcate an already small user base by creating a third specification to code for.

#331 opcode OFFLINE  

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Posted Thu Nov 5, 2009 10:27 AM

Personally i would be very statified with a standard stand alone new CV. I don't care about 16bit graphics, more memory , Keyboard ,mouse and symbOS (i used it few time ago, it is very good but require very good machine... for MSX TurboR it is perfect , for standard Amstrad CPC forget it...) .

I'm ready to pay about 150$ just for a standard new CV.

If you introduce other "fun" things... i'm ok with that only if it still act as a normal coleco and the compatibility is not lost for the profit of another feature.

And Controller for me should be optionnal.

The "only" feature i would really love would be to have a new console with 3 cartrigdes port , one for CV cart, one for MSX Cart , on for SEGA SG 1000 carts. (or at least only 2 , CV and MSX (in that case the possibilities to plug keyboard would be great indeed))


To emulate MSXes, ADAMs, etc, would be quite expensive, we would need a lot of extra chips, glue logic, etc. Not realistic in my option (the last MSX board I bought cost me around $300).
The other thing is that if we are smart we can use more advanced technology to our advantage. For example, 1MB of RAM can cost almost the same as 128KB of RAM, because 128KB is obsolete, is harder to find etc. And 1MB is good for a development system.
The same is true for CPUs, 16MHz Z80s cost the same as 4MHz Z80s or 8MHz Z80s today, so we could go with a 14MHz system for the same price of a 3.58MHz system, which is good for development and gaming.
Then we replace the whole system glue logic with a CPLD and we can keep the board small.
About your commentary regarding SymbOS and MSX Turbo-R, that is true, SymbOS likes faster machines, but remember we are potentially talking about a system here that is at least as fast, possibly faster than a TR. The Turbo-R CPU, the R800, runs with the handbrake pulled because any access outside the main RAM is slowed back to 3.58MHz by the TR bus controller, in some cases even worst than that, because they wanted to make sure the system was 100% compatible with all MSX cartridges, expansions, etc, and because that CPU wasn’t actually created for the TR, but for the MSX3, what was a much faster system they say, with the V9978/90 accepting data as fast as the R800 could fire. Did you know the R800 is actually slower to access the VDP than a regular MSX1 Z80 (it isn't actually R800's fault, it is a problem with the bus controller slowing the CPU down, more than it would be necessary)? Our system wouldn’t suffer of any of that, first because we aren’t going to try to run legacy software at 14MHz, and second because since the system is brand new, most sub-systems can be created to run at full speed (14Mhz) (a few slower devices can take care of themselves, like the V9958 which has a WAIT line and can slow down the CPU during data transfers, so we don’t need to worry about that like we do with the TMS9918).
But ok, I'm getting too technical and going off-topic here… :)

#332 opcode OFFLINE  

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Posted Thu Nov 5, 2009 10:35 AM

Right, but I think the consensus was a new CV with modern A/V outputs, as well as the Opgrade module features. Everything else is just gravy and should be cut if it adds to the cost. For instance, for me, I'd personally be happy with a new CV with modern A/V outputs, Opgrade features and the ability to plug in a keyboard/whatever to allow it to be used as a computer/make it programmable. I can't imagine any other features really being used much by anyone beyond that. The goal should probably be to increase the install base for Opgrade stuff, not further bifurcate an already small user base by creating a third specification to code for.


Sounds like a good point... Still, some stuff that was cut from the SEM will be necessary with the CV2, for example the CF interface (otherwise where are you going to save all the new games you are going to create)...

#333 opcode OFFLINE  

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Posted Thu Nov 5, 2009 10:59 AM

Ok, Bill, following your idea, here is essential list of components for the standalone:

- All the SEM stuff
- Z80
- VDP (replaced with a V9958)
- VRAM (16KB replaced with 128KB due to V9958 use, not big deal, both are equally obsolete)
- CV PSG
- New video encoder replaces CV original encoder, excellent S-Video output, RGB output (no more RF)
- Joystick port and associated circuit
- Some extra CV glue logic not present in the SEM
- Cartridge slot
- Power regulator (uses regular power supplies)
- Reset circuit or IC
- Switch and button
- Assorted control and logic necessary for the new components

So with that we have basically a CV + SEM. However we just created a 3rd platform because of the V9958, which has a few extra features not present in the TMS9918.

If we decide to go development platform then we should add:

- Keyboard and mouse port
- CF or SD slot
- Faster Z80, because nobody wants to be able to have lunch while a simple 32KB program compiles. 14MHz should do fine, with little to no extra cost
- Extra memory, probably replace the 128KB MegaRAM with 1MB, not a big deal actually
- Some extra control and decoding logic (probably inside the system control CPLD, so no big deal)

Finally if we decide to go with a 16-bit like system we should add:

- V9990 for true 16-bit gaming and serious application graphics (the V9990 doesn't replace the V9958, it was created to be used in parallel, the video output of both is superimposed).
- VRAM 512KB of dual ported memory
- V7040 replaces the Sony encoder. Provides superimposing or selection between video outputs
- YM2151/YM3012 FM sound generator (and DAC) for arcade quality sound

And that is it... :)

#334 128Kgames OFFLINE  

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Posted Thu Nov 5, 2009 12:51 PM

I thought the "standalone" CV was just going to replace the internals on existing consoles, no? I did not realize you were looking to create a entire replacement for the CV. This was what I was referring to back in post # 83, which Pixelboy replied to stating:

"OCCV = One-chip ColecoVision = new motherboard for CV that incorporates the OM.

It's the third option in the poll.
"

Since no one contradicted him, I assumed thats what the standalone was meant to be.

I'm sorta with youki in that I'm not looking for 16-bit upgrades or computer upgrades, however I do want the "standalone" CV to incorporate the upgrades of the Super Game Module add-on, which I thought the "standalone" was supposed to have. Upgraded video/audio out, either the built in flash memory idea or a flash/USB/SD slot of some kind to load and run games from, like your original idea.

I won't through $$$ figures at you because frankly I don't really know what this would cost you in parts, labor etc. When you have an idea of $$$, then I'll chime in.

#335 opcode OFFLINE  

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Posted Thu Nov 5, 2009 1:19 PM

I thought the "standalone" CV was just going to replace the internals on existing consoles, no? I did not realize you were looking to create a entire replacement for the CV. This was what I was referring to back in post # 83, which Pixelboy replied to stating:

"OCCV = One-chip ColecoVision = new motherboard for CV that incorporates the OM.

It's the third option in the poll.
"

Since no one contradicted him, I assumed thats what the standalone was meant to be.


You know, every time I go back to the one chip idea I realize that emulating things with FPGAs can lead to some good results, but most the time they aren't 100% perfect. The main advantage is that the final product is very compact usually, but on the other hand, for us hard core fans, even the slightest compatibility issues may be a problem. So for that nothing beats the original chips (though for new designs FPGAs are great).
About a PCB to replace the original (using the same case), that presents a couple of "issues": first is that you would need to destroy a CV, and not everybody has a CV to spare or the desire to destroy one. Second is that would require some technical skill, to replace the PCB, make some extra holes on the enclosure, etc.
With a new case we don't need to destroy any CV and the console comes ready to use. Sure, the case is probably going to cost a few dozen bucks but we get a well polished and hopefully good looking product in trade.
So again, those are just ideas, I am not starting anything until later next year in the best case, so we have some time to keep discussing ideas until there...

#336 128Kgames OFFLINE  

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Posted Thu Nov 5, 2009 1:44 PM

You know, every time I go back to the one chip idea I realize that emulating things with FPGAs can lead to some good results, but most the time they aren't 100% perfect. The main advantage is that the final product is very compact usually, but on the other hand, for us hard core fans, even the slightest compatibility issues may be a problem. So for that nothing beats the original chips (though for new designs FPGAs are great).
About a PCB to replace the original (using the same case), that presents a couple of "issues": first is that you would need to destroy a CV, and not everybody has a CV to spare or the desire to destroy one. Second is that would require some technical skill, to replace the PCB, make some extra holes on the enclosure, etc.
With a new case we don't need to destroy any CV and the console comes ready to use. Sure, the case is probably going to cost a few dozen bucks but we get a well polished and hopefully good looking product in trade.
So again, those are just ideas, I am not starting anything until later next year in the best case, so we have some time to keep discussing ideas until there...


Ah, OK, gotcha, no, if making modifications to an existing case were to come into play that would defeat what I envisioned as a drop in replacement, where you wouldn't be modifying or destroying anything. This would also serve to preserve the original board.

So a PCB couldn't be created to fit into the existing case, utilize the same holes etc. and still have all the upgrades? Come on, if anybody can do it, you can Eduardo! :D

Now, if you could produce a new case, maybe something along the lines of a "mini" ColecoVison like the Atari Flashback 2, that might be pretty cool!

#337 opcode OFFLINE  

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Posted Thu Nov 5, 2009 1:57 PM

Now, if you could produce a new case, maybe something along the lines of a "mini" ColecoVison like the Atari Flashback 2, that might be pretty cool!


That is what I have in mind. A new compact case, with a slightly more modern edge but at the same time something you could instantly recognize as a ColecoVision...
And lets be honest, as much as we love the thing, the CV actually never got high points in the look department, I always thought the 5200 had a more modern, slicker design... :)

#338 VectorGamer OFFLINE  

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Posted Thu Nov 5, 2009 2:34 PM

Graphics===
Would you prefer the new CV to stay in the 8-bit realm or would you like to see it go full throttle to 16-bit graphics? In both cases it would be 99% backward compatible, though the 16-bits graphics option would increase the price like $10~$20.


16-bit works

Computer===
Would you like to see the CV2 having a few computer capabilities, like PS2 keyboard and mouse ports and a simple GUI/OS so that it could be used as a development system for new games or a hobbyist computer? Again the computer option would add to the price a bit (PS2 interfaces, RTC, etc), but nothing major. And try to forget the ADAM while you decide... :)


I wouldn't use it. Maybe you could design it to add on that capability in the future.

Oh, btw, what would be the absolute maximum you would pay for such a CV compatible console?


$150

#339 opcode OFFLINE  

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Posted Thu Nov 5, 2009 3:06 PM

16-bit works

... about computer...
I wouldn't use it. Maybe you could design it to add on that capability in the future.

$150


So the only consensus so far is price.... :)

#340 evg2000 OFFLINE  

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Posted Thu Nov 5, 2009 4:29 PM

up to $200 for lots of bells and whistles.

16-bit works

... about computer...
I wouldn't use it. Maybe you could design it to add on that capability in the future.

$150


So the only consensus so far is price.... :)



#341 opcode OFFLINE  

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Posted Thu Nov 5, 2009 4:47 PM

up to $200 for lots of bells and whistles.

16-bit works

... about computer...
I wouldn't use it. Maybe you could design it to add on that capability in the future.

$150


So the only consensus so far is price.... :)


And with that no consensus at all... But I suppose that is part of the fun... :)

#342 VectorGamer OFFLINE  

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Posted Thu Nov 5, 2009 5:10 PM

For $200 I'll take the XXXpansion Module!

#343 retroillucid OFFLINE  

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Posted Thu Nov 5, 2009 5:16 PM

up to $200 for lots of bells and whistles.

16-bit works

... about computer...
I wouldn't use it. Maybe you could design it to add on that capability in the future.

$150


So the only consensus so far is price.... :)


And with that no consensus at all... But I suppose that is part of the fun... :)



I'll not care to pay 200$ and more to get SGM, as long as the hardware is great
I'll also care for the plastic casing, I expect it'll look like the coleco's unreleased Super Game Module
As an addict CV fan I am, having this unit will make dream come true! :)

Anyway, no matter the price will be, I'll buy it anyway, like all of your products, I'm sold! ;)

Keep up the incredible works!

#344 ApolloBoy OFFLINE  

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Posted Fri Nov 6, 2009 2:21 AM

Ok, Bill, following your idea, here is essential list of components for the standalone:

- All the SEM stuff
- Z80
- VDP (replaced with a V9958)
- VRAM (16KB replaced with 128KB due to V9958 use, not big deal, both are equally obsolete)
- CV PSG
- New video encoder replaces CV original encoder, excellent S-Video output, RGB output (no more RF)
- Joystick port and associated circuit
- Some extra CV glue logic not present in the SEM
- Cartridge slot
- Power regulator (uses regular power supplies)
- Reset circuit or IC
- Switch and button
- Assorted control and logic necessary for the new components


That sounds awesome! I can't wait to see what the standalone is gonna look like...

#345 opcode OFFLINE  

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Posted Sun Nov 8, 2009 4:15 PM

For those interested in the module, please check the latest news here:

http://www.atariage....ost__p__1875611

Edited by opcode, Sun Nov 8, 2009 4:16 PM.


#346 HDTV1080P OFFLINE  

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Posted Fri Dec 4, 2009 5:51 PM

For those interested in the module, please check the latest news here:

http://www.atariage....ost__p__1875611

Thank you very much for supporting the Coleco Adam and Colecovision with new games. My understanding is that the new expansion module #4 (Opgrade module) you are designing would not work with a standalone ADAM computer according to the info on your website. That is a disappointment for ADAM owners.

http://www.opcodegames.com/

My question is well the new Expansion module #4 (Opgrade Module) have a front expansion module interface to plug the Expansion module #1 Atari 2600 adapter into it or an Expansion module #3 the Coleco ADAM adapter into it?

It is really great you are making new games and hardware for the existing Colecovision. You would be able to sell more Opgrade modules if you built a standalone "Colecovision II" video game system. Many of the Colecovisions and ADAM computers from the early 80's are breaking. The best solution would be to make an entire new videogame system called the "Colecovision II" that would include your Opgrade module built in.

Here is a link to some ideals and suggestions I made regarding an improved "ColecoVision II" videogame system.

http://www.atariage....eo-game-system/




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