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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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#26 Yurkie OFFLINE  

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Posted Mon Aug 3, 2009 1:42 PM

I voted for the CV2. Would be awesome if it had composite and HDMI with score save and was backwards compatible for all classic cv games. Perhaps you could use a cart housing with extra ram inside it and a special female plug for those not wanting a CV2. I take back the cart housing idea, just checked and the expansion connector is wider than a cart. But perhaps it could be small.

#27 opcode OFFLINE  

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Posted Mon Aug 3, 2009 2:05 PM

My fear with a very stripped down version of the OM is that we create something that is more of a quick fix for a couple of upcoming games. No matter how cheap, the OM isn't going to be free, and I suppose people that buy the OM wouldn't be happy when they find out that they need to buy a OCCV to play those games with all the features.

All the more reason why the absolute cheapest option (the plain 16K RAM cart) is the way to go. You can keep all the other bells and whistles for the future OCCV, and when the time comes to upgrade, we could buy back the 16K carts from the customers by offering a discount on the OCCV. We can then resell the 16K RAM carts to other customers who are not willing to buy the OCCV (I'm sure there will be several of those, for a variety of reasons) but still want to play with games like DKA. :)


Ok, lets think a second about it...
Work RAM - no work RAM, no game. So work RAM is a must.
Flash RAM - no flash RAM, no game saving, no new BIOS. The new BIOS, ok, we can live without it. No game saving, now that would be a problem. It isn't a big problem for a game like DK, where you are just saving the high score, in that case flash RAM is just a plus. But how about games where you actually want to save your progress. That would be a huge problem. You could use password though...
MegaRAM - no really a problem with the current games, but how about the MSX MegaROMs we had planned to port? I think MegaRAM should stay, unless we consider that by the time any MegaRAM is ready to release the OCCV should be already out. If that is the case, ok, MegaRAM can wait...
Finally PSG - This is the hardest one. And as you know I already have 100 PSGs here. And we need it for the Arkanoid controller port. And there is a few other technical problems with the sound of some of the games, as you know. So I vote for the PSG to stay.

So that leave us with work RAM plus PSG as the obsolutely necessary for the OM.
With that we would need... let me count here... an edge connector, two decoders, a 32KB RAM, a flip-flop, a PSG, a couple of standard logic and a parallel port, in addition to a few resistors, capacitors and a LED. So probably 7 to 8 ICs. That should fit inside a 4"x4" board for sure.
How about that?

#28 opcode OFFLINE  

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Posted Mon Aug 3, 2009 2:08 PM

I voted for the CV2. Would be awesome if it had composite and HDMI with score save and was backwards compatible for all classic cv games. Perhaps you could use a cart housing with extra ram inside it and a special female plug for those not wanting a CV2. I take back the cart housing idea, just checked and the expansion connector is wider than a cart. But perhaps it could be small.


Hehey, who said HDMI? You need to pay to implement HDMI AFAIK. You need a license. RGB or VGA, yes. HDMI, sorry but no.

#29 CV Gus OFFLINE  

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Posted Mon Aug 3, 2009 2:11 PM

It would seem as though a trap is that anyone smart enough to build such a thing will "...just want to add this..." on and on.

Just what do people want in such a module?

1) Extra memory...but can't you do that already, as with Pac-Man Collection? So this would have to go beyond even that- say, 512K?

2) Less flickering?

3) More colors?

4) A/V outputs?

5) Voice synthesis? Note- rumor has it that Kevin Horton has done this without anything but a regualr CV to work with.

6) Auto-smooth scrolling? But what about the 2 colors/8-pixel line/character space limit?

7) Extra sound capacity?

8) Analog control ability?

What combo? Just one? All eight?


Some things never change: the more you're going to want, the more it will take- in time, in effort, in hardware (and thus...), IN PRICE.


Opcode, just what is possible with an unexpanded CV? Could you do that fantastic DK version if you use a Megacart the way you did for the PMC? The latter was something nobody thought could be done on a CV- well, maybe a half-dozen other people or so. But you actually did it.

I would assume that this module is for games that even a Megacart cannot properly handle, for whatever reason.

The only thing I can suggest is that the module merely expands what a CV can do, while still keeping it a CV. Extra memory (beyond what a Megacart can really do), less flickering, and analog control (although such would be of limited use) would be such a module.

But- the final decision is yours. How many of us here could even design such a thing?

#30 opcode OFFLINE  

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Posted Mon Aug 3, 2009 2:30 PM

A regular CV cartridge can have up to 32KB of ROM memory. The MegaCart can have up to 1MB, thanks to bank switching, where the memory is broken in smaller segments and selected as necessary. But that is ROM memory, used for program and graphic and sound data. You also need RAM memory to control your program, the objects moving on screen and so on. RAM is used for control and variables and can be rewritten anytime, while ROM cannot be changed. The CV offers only 1KB of RAM memory, and that is the problem. While a lot of stuff can be done with 1KB, not all arcade games can be faithfully ported using such amount of RAM. That is why the OM is necessary, to expand the system RAM. The CV doesn't offer an R/W line in the cartridge port, so while technically possible, adding RAM to the cartridge would be difficult and at the same time programming for that would be very cumbersome. That is the reason the expansion port must be used, because the EP offers such lines like R/W.

About hardware smooth scrolling, that doesn't have any impact on the 2 colors/8 pixels limit because of the way the video creates the scroll. The video isn't actually shifting the graphic data a pixel a time as it can seems at first, but instead the video is changing the beginning of the active display. So with hardware scroll you are basically changing the point where the video should start reading the video memory by a certain offset.

Edited by opcode, Mon Aug 3, 2009 2:36 PM.


#31 CV Gus OFFLINE  

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Posted Mon Aug 3, 2009 2:38 PM

Well, then that's one thing the module could take care of!

Would it also make such "super games" less expensive, since all of the necessary enhancements would be in the module, not each and every cartridge- so it would be less expensive after buying several such games?

#32 Pixelboy OFFLINE  

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Posted Mon Aug 3, 2009 2:56 PM

Ok, lets think a second about it...
Work RAM - no work RAM, no game. So work RAM is a must.
Flash RAM - no flash RAM, no game saving, no new BIOS. The new BIOS, ok, we can live without it. No game saving, now that would be a problem. It isn't a big problem for a game like DK, where you are just saving the high score, in that case flash RAM is just a plus. But how about games where you actually want to save your progress. That would be a huge problem. You could use password though...
MegaRAM - no really a problem with the current games, but how about the MSX MegaROMs we had planned to port? I think MegaRAM should stay, unless we consider that by the time any MegaRAM is ready to release the OCCV should be already out. If that is the case, ok, MegaRAM can wait...
Finally PSG - This is the hardest one. And as you know I already have 100 PSGs here. And we need it for the Arkanoid controller port. And there is a few other technical problems with the sound of some of the games, as you know. So I vote for the PSG to stay.

So that leave us with work RAM plus PSG as the obsolutely necessary for the OM.
With that we would need... let me count here... an edge connector, two decoders, a 32KB RAM, a flip-flop, a PSG, a couple of standard logic and a parallel port, in addition to a few resistors, capacitors and a LED. So probably 7 to 8 ICs. That should fit inside a 4"x4" board for sure.
How about that?

Hmmm... That sounds okay to me, but wouldn't you want to save those 100 PSGs so you can put them in the OCCV? Unless those PSGs are not too hard to find...

#33 opcode OFFLINE  

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Posted Mon Aug 3, 2009 3:31 PM

Ok, lets think a second about it...
Work RAM - no work RAM, no game. So work RAM is a must.
Flash RAM - no flash RAM, no game saving, no new BIOS. The new BIOS, ok, we can live without it. No game saving, now that would be a problem. It isn't a big problem for a game like DK, where you are just saving the high score, in that case flash RAM is just a plus. But how about games where you actually want to save your progress. That would be a huge problem. You could use password though...
MegaRAM - no really a problem with the current games, but how about the MSX MegaROMs we had planned to port? I think MegaRAM should stay, unless we consider that by the time any MegaRAM is ready to release the OCCV should be already out. If that is the case, ok, MegaRAM can wait...
Finally PSG - This is the hardest one. And as you know I already have 100 PSGs here. And we need it for the Arkanoid controller port. And there is a few other technical problems with the sound of some of the games, as you know. So I vote for the PSG to stay.

So that leave us with work RAM plus PSG as the obsolutely necessary for the OM.
With that we would need... let me count here... an edge connector, two decoders, a 32KB RAM, a flip-flop, a PSG, a couple of standard logic and a parallel port, in addition to a few resistors, capacitors and a LED. So probably 7 to 8 ICs. That should fit inside a 4"x4" board for sure.
How about that?

Hmmm... That sounds okay to me, but wouldn't you want to save those 100 PSGs so you can put them in the OCCV? Unless those PSGs are not too hard to find...


It wouldn't be called 1ChipCV if I needed a PSG in addition to the FPGA. ;)

BTW, guess who just arrived. My Altera DE1. I am all set now. If I still have the time today, I can check the CV implementation I have here. :)

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#34 opcode OFFLINE  

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Posted Mon Aug 3, 2009 3:36 PM

Well, then that's one thing the module could take care of!

Would it also make such "super games" less expensive, since all of the necessary enhancements would be in the module, not each and every cartridge- so it would be less expensive after buying several such games?


It could if the MegaRAM is kept in the OM. That way you could hook up your CV to a PC and transfer games.

#35 Pixelboy OFFLINE  

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Posted Mon Aug 3, 2009 4:42 PM

Hmmm... That sounds okay to me, but wouldn't you want to save those 100 PSGs so you can put them in the OCCV? Unless those PSGs are not too hard to find...

It wouldn't be called 1ChipCV if I needed a PSG in addition to the FPGA. ;)

Oh, well then, by all means, let's use those PSGs! :D If DKA was to be released together with this proposed RAM+PSG solution, however, we'd need at least another 100 PSGs. The 100 you have now would clearly not be enough to satisfy the demand of DK fans. ;)

Also, quick idea: Would it be difficult and/or more expensive to integrate the Arkanoid paddle adaptor into this RAM+PSG design? You would then have a smaller 9-pin joystick port (into which the player would connect the Atari 2600 paddle controllers directly) instead of the PSG's normal parallel port. I can't say if it's a good or bad design idea, I'm mostly asking out of curiosity. :)

BTW, guess who just arrived. My Altera DE1. I am all set now. If I still have the time today, I can check the CV implementation I have here. :)

That looks nice. Do let us know your findings. :)

#36 5-11under OFFLINE  

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Posted Mon Aug 3, 2009 6:51 PM

I agree with cybercylon - start up simple, then consider the stand-alone.

Thanks,
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#37 purenergy OFFLINE  

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Posted Mon Aug 3, 2009 7:22 PM

My vote is for a new stand alone console.
It simply comes down to this:
"How long will your current ColecoVision last?"

A new console would bring new life, and possibly add years of enjoyment in classic gaming.
Homebrew games could be written to use the new OM features, or a simple and fun new game for your CV.
No matter what the current generation consoles bring us, game titles on the ColecoVision(and others :)) are here for us to enjoy.

#38 videogametrader OFFLINE  

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Posted Mon Aug 3, 2009 8:23 PM

I think a new ColecoVision system is the way to go. If you can produce it at a cost equal to or just a tad more than what current ColecoVision consoles sell for then I think you would have something great on your hands.

Tom

#39 MegaManFan OFFLINE  

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Posted Tue Aug 4, 2009 3:58 AM

Eduardo if you can pull off the middle option on that list, it'd be fantastic, but I voted for the second option (pluggable with AV outputs) because it seemed more realistic and I still have working CV *knock on wood*

#40 doubledown OFFLINE  

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Posted Tue Aug 4, 2009 8:28 AM

I think a new ColecoVision system is the way to go. If you can produce it at a cost equal to or just a tad more than what current ColecoVision consoles sell for then I think you would have something great on your hands.

Tom


I doubt that a CV on a chip would be able to be sold for $50.00.

#41 Pixelboy OFFLINE  

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Posted Tue Aug 4, 2009 8:51 AM

I doubt that a CV on a chip would be able to be sold for $50.00.

The FPGA alone will probably cost that much. :)

#42 tremoloman2006 OFFLINE  

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Posted Tue Aug 4, 2009 8:59 AM

I voted for "OM is a pluggable module with advanced functionality, like A/V outputs". I don't get the same feeling unless I'm using actual hardware. Call me crazy but it's true.

#43 CV Gus OFFLINE  

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Posted Tue Aug 4, 2009 9:27 AM

My vote would be for a module you can plug into a CV- like the Atari 2600 module- that could still play regulay CV games. It would add memory, less flickering (maybe?), and possibly the use of analog controllers.

But why not just stick to those super CV games? If DK and DKJr. can be done on a megacart as in those YouTube demos, then why not do it that way? Isn't a module supposed to be for games that cannot really be done on a parent console?

Just my one farthing...

#44 5-11under OFFLINE  

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Posted Tue Aug 4, 2009 9:31 AM

Hi Opcode,

I'm curious how much RAM is required for your upcoming projects?

Thanks,
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#45 Pixelboy OFFLINE  

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Posted Tue Aug 4, 2009 9:33 AM

My vote would be for a module you can plug into a CV- like the Atari 2600 module- that could still play regulay CV games. It would add memory, less flickering (maybe?), and possibly the use of analog controllers.

But why not just stick to those super CV games? If DK and DKJr. can be done on a megacart as in those YouTube demos, then why not do it that way? Isn't a module supposed to be for games that cannot really be done on a parent console?

Just my one farthing...

I think you've got your "farths" all mixed up. ;)

DKA can indeed be done on a MegaCart (and it is, in reality), but the MegaCart does not offer more RAM, which DKA needs. So DKA requires both a MegaCart and the Opgrade Module (or more specifically, the 16K of extra RAM that the Opgrade Module offers).

#46 CV Gus OFFLINE  

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Posted Tue Aug 4, 2009 9:37 AM

What do you mean by "DKA?"

I'm thinking of the 4-screen version of DKJr., which I have for the CV on cartridge. It cannot be more than the usual 32K ROM, but, although rough around the edges, it is complete. You said that DK version is on a Megacart; if it works, then why woiuld extra RAM be needed?

#47 youki OFFLINE  

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Posted Tue Aug 4, 2009 9:44 AM

DKA stands for Donkey Kong Arcade.

For the need of additionnal RAM , we already had a discussion about that in another thread.
(look in homebrew discussion section the thread on donkey kong arcade).

It is seems more ram is necessary to connect a fridge to allow mario to have a cold beer instead of pauline kiss at the end of the level. He runs too much so he'd prefer a beer than a kiss... :D (just kidding)

#48 CV Gus OFFLINE  

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Posted Tue Aug 4, 2009 9:48 AM

I guess what I meant was, what part(s) of what that demo showed couldn't be done on a Megacart? If there was to be no module, then what would DK be like?

Please keep it in layman terms. My only area of "expertise" is with controllers and such. Such as it is.

#49 Pixelboy OFFLINE  

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Posted Tue Aug 4, 2009 9:51 AM

DKA stands for Donkey Kong Arcade.

For the need of additionnal RAM , we already had a discussion about that in another thread.
(look in homebrew discussion section the thread on donkey kong arcade).

It is seems more ram is necessary to connect a fridge to allow mario to have a cold beer instead of pauline kiss at the end of the level. He runs too much so he'd prefer a beer than a kiss... :D (just kidding)

:lol:

Yeah, I was referring to Donkey Kong Arcade. The original arcade game requires 4K of RAM if I remember correctly, so the ColecoVision port also requires 4K, and according to Eduardo, squeezing the port into 1K of RAM is not possible.

#50 CV Gus OFFLINE  

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Posted Tue Aug 4, 2009 9:54 AM

You mean that this is to be "emulated," like the Pac-Man games?

The extra RAM cannot be added via the cartridge?




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