What about the idea of a new system that would work as a standalone, but also have a form factor that would fit into the original ColecoVision housing-- and using the 'expansion port' as the door access to the AV ports, the flash card reader, etc? (Or maybe a header-mount type jack to run to the existing back portholes of the CV case) It could be sold as a 'motherboard kit' to retrofit the CV housings out there No case considerations needed!)-- or offered in a basic casing for those without the CV housings. I think it would well serve the fan base to have a modern, dependable system to replace the aging and failing 27 year old hardware.
What I have decided is to go ahead with the expansion module this year, including only what I need for my games.
Then next year, once the OM is released, I can start thinking about the 1chipCV. As I said I bought the FPGA dev kit, there is already an implementation of CV using FPGA, so I am good to go.
And I do, oddly enough, like the idea of a multi system that plays carts if the FPGA is used... not sure of the specs, but could you imagine a system with a single cart port playing multiple systems? Like popping an Atari cart in what looks like a stock CV and it plays!? (Again, not sure what the pinout specs are on the various similar systems, or what adapters may be usable-- but I can envision a hardware based MESS type system. And yes, I'm aware there are cart size/shape limitations too-- a redesigned new case could take that into consideration though) I mean, by my understanding if it's FPGA based, then it's essentially a very precise form of emulation, right? Might as well dress it to impress! Although, I'm still not much in favor of spicing systems up past their original retail specs or capabilities (like sound/video enhancements).
Actually FPGA is hardware simulation. That means that while a multi system with single cartridge slot would be possible, that would require a switch to select the desired system. Supposing the user forget to change the system and plug the wrong cartridge for the selected system type, that would damage the cartridge and or the system. Not a good idea.
Personally I think the idea of a multi system is cool, however that would require too many resources to produce, so I wouldn't go that way. I prefer to concentrate on a single system, which is the CV.
If just the memory module is done, is there a reason to go past the casing style of the Add-A-Halt module? And for that matter, could that functionality be included?
I think that was done using a single switch connected to the wait or bus request line. Pretty easy to do. However that has the inconvenient of not muting the sound, so a better solution would be to use the new BIOS XP to implement pause with all games.
That's why I asked help with the BIOS, but so far nobody shown interest. I guess it is easier to have someone doing the hard work then enjoying it when it is finished.
1. I voted for 3) CV standalone, although I would think 2) is still worthwhile. Getting an AV mod as part of the deal is great, because the CV has the worst RF I've ever seen.
I completely agree, however there are some points to take into account: To do that I need a VDP inside the module. Using the TMS9918 or variations is an option, however those ICs are kind of hard to find nowadays. Other thing is that they cannot produce RGB video output, so I cannot use a modern video encoder, which means less-than-stellar video output. Finally, supposing one already has a modded CV with A/V outs. The added cost of a module with A/V outs wouldn't make sense for that person. Supposing we go with the V9958. Again, you can buy it from China, but then you would need to order dozens of them, lots of money required. And in a year or two the ICs could disappear completely, nobody knows. And again, if one already has a modded CV...
So I think it is a better idea to save that for the 1chipCV, because the video can be produced using FPGA with the best possible picture quality. The other thing I realized reading all the posts is that we have two kinds of mentality towards the module: people who want to play the new games the module allows, and people who just want to play regular CV games on a more reliable machine. For the later I think the 1chipCV is a better option, so that is why I am focusing on just the features I need for the new games with the module.
4. Eduardo mentioned he would use Compact Flash (CF) cards, which I love. Might that allow the sale of games digitally?
It could, but again, I decided to not include that with the pluggable module. CF can wait till the 1chipCV is made, since it isn't essential for any game.
What I am trying to do now is to be practical considering the input I got here. Since a lot of people shown interest on a 1chipCV, I think some of the features make more sense with that option, so such features can wait. For now I will be focusing only on features that are essential for the games I have in mind.
I apologize if I am frustrating some of you here. From the poll it's clear that I cannot make everybody happy. What I am trying to do now is to focus on the minimal features with the Opgrade Module and have it finished by the end of year. The more advanced features can wait till the 1chipCV that I hope to start once the OM is done and released.
Edited by opcode, Fri Aug 7, 2009 6:23 PM.