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RCA Studio II GOLD MINE! An interview with the Studio 2 Production Manager!

RCA Studio II Interview

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#676 Kurt_Woloch OFFLINE  

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Posted Sun Jan 3, 2016 3:41 PM

I just stumbled across this thread again... this is all very interesting. I've now run the emulation of the M1200 and the Visicom in MESS, and there seem to be two types of color display (apparent by the built-in Doodle programs): The M1200 indeed has 8 foreground colors, but it's only able to display one foreground color per 8x8 dot grid. In contrast to that, the Visicom only displays 4 colors on screen, but any pixel is able to have any color of the four, so there are no color clashes.


Edited by Kurt_Woloch, Sun Jan 3, 2016 3:51 PM.


#677 Atari2008 OFFLINE  

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Posted Sun Jan 3, 2016 5:28 PM

It's funny you say that because earlier this year (okay, *last* year :P) I actually did have it out for a little while, set up on the big CRT in my game room with my PlayStation 2 and Atari XEGS. I actually wish I could set it up in its own little corner somewhere with one of my old b/w CRTs because every once in a while I get an itch to mess around with it, but not enough to bother getting it out and setting it up (hooking up the switchbox is sort of an inconvenience).

Or maybe I should just leave it hooked up and displayed with the big LCD in the living room. :-D

I'm still adjusting to this being a new year too.  :P I agree the switchbox is annoying. When I had an RCA S2 (note to self acquire a new one this year because you like quirky game consoles), my desire to play it was usually defeated by having to hook up the switchbox. Plus I have an antenna so I have to unscrew it to put the RCA Studio II in. Maybe when I get an S2 I should set it up on its own TV too. Hook it up to your big LCD, let people be amazed by the hi-res graphics and surround sound.  :grin:



#678 Kurt_Woloch OFFLINE  

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Posted Mon Jan 4, 2016 3:31 AM

OK, having said the above, I set out to see what's the best you can do graphically on one of the color RCA clones, the Visicom. Here's a mock screenshot I've drawn up using the system's built-in Doodle software...

 

Pole_Position_Visicom.PNG



#679 Atari2008 OFFLINE  

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Posted Mon Jan 4, 2016 8:26 AM

That looks really nice! Color does open up more possibility.

#680 flip OFFLINE  

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Posted Tue Jan 5, 2016 10:52 AM

It's funny you say that because earlier this year (okay, *last* year :P) I actually did have it out for a little while, set up on the big CRT in my game room with my PlayStation 2 and Atari XEGS. I actually wish I could set it up in its own little corner somewhere with one of my old b/w CRTs because every once in a while I get an itch to mess around with it, but not enough to bother getting it out and setting it up (hooking up the switchbox is sort of an inconvenience).

Or maybe I should just leave it hooked up and displayed with the big LCD in the living room. :-D

 

It's actually easy enough to get a decent composite signal from the console without big modifications. If anyone is interested, I'll put a post together explaining how to do this...

 

flip



#681 stupus OFFLINE  

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Posted Tue Jan 5, 2016 12:04 PM

Hey all!

 

I received Fabrizio's Trevi system in the mail today. It is very interesting to see a 9th rca compatible system pop up nearly 40 years after its release, with no one ever having found one before or no information ever surfacing about it!

 

I spoke with my friend from Italy Luca and he remembers the Trevi company. They were a manufacturer of small appliances back in the 80's, they also produced car radios around the 90's and were not a major italian brand.

 

He was aware of their 1 pong console from the 70s, but of course not this rca s2 clone.

 

It appears this is a straight sheen/conic system that was made specifically for the Italian market.

 

The console itself has no trevi markings other than the trevi front nameplate that uses the same style design as the sheen.

 

I have not opened it yet but plan to.

 

The box again is identical to the sheen/conic box design with only the name changed to trevi.

 

It also lists the same 13 games in the same order for the other m-1200 systems on the box ends:

 

M1200-01 - School House 2 / Math Fun
M1200-02 - Biorhythm
M1200-03 - Baseball
M1200-04 - Fun with Numbers
M1200-05 - Star Wars
M1200-06 - Bingo
M1200-07 - Pinball
M1200-08 - Concentration / Match
M1200-09 - Tennis / Squash
M1200-10 - School Hose 1 /Computer Quiz
M1200-11 - Speedway Tag
M1200-12 - Space War Intercept

M1200-13 - Gun Fighter / Moonship Battle

 

the system manual is just a generic m-1200 one, with no mention of trevi I don't think. But it is all in Italian, which would be specific to this model.

Inside it also lists the other games that are available and again lists all the same 13, but does not mention - star wars, pinball or concentration match.

However we know they were released for it as those are 3 of the 5 games I received with the system cib.

Omitting these 3 from the manual though would back up the idea that they were definitely the last 3 games made/released. Later than bingo as well of course, which probably was at least planned for a usa release if it didn't actually get one. 

 

So tld1985 if you want to add the game info to your master list please do, we can assume all 13 games exist for trevi, but who knows for sure. We still don't know if tennis or school house 1 exists for any clone system???

 

The other interesting thing is the games (well for 3 of the 5 I got) include just generic m1200 manuals the same that came with the sheen/conic games. These are in English.

But in addition to these there are full page single sheet manuals on trevi letter head for 4 of the 5 games. These are in Italian and typed up. I am especially curious to translate the one for star wars.

The boxes for the games are the same physical proportions to the sheen/conic boxes, but they are completely there own design/graphics.

The carts however are the generic sheen/conic type with no mention of a brand. But they don't use stick on numbers or names, each label is printed individually.

The games also have little buble wrap pouches for the carts that fit into the boxes, the same the sheen/conic games and some mpt-03 games used.

 

That's about all I can think of to add after going over everything the first time...just wanted to share ;)



#682 CatPix OFFLINE  

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Posted Wed Jan 6, 2016 6:33 AM

OK, having said the above, I set out to see what's the best you can do graphically on one of the color RCA clones, the Visicom. Here's a mock screenshot I've drawn up using the system's built-in Doodle software...

 

attachicon.gifPole_Position_Visicom.PNG

 

It's amazing how adding colors make it feel much more impressive :D



#683 TLD1985 OFFLINE  

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Posted Wed Jan 6, 2016 6:51 AM

wow... a completely unknown studio-ii clone. (and just found the other photos/topic about it).. Really fascinating. Defiantly rarer than the Academy Apollo 80.

 

 

OK, having said the above, I set out to see what's the best you can do graphically on one of the color RCA clones, the Visicom. Here's a mock screenshot I've drawn up using the system's built-in Doodle software...

 

attachicon.gifPole_Position_Visicom.PNG

 

On a real system it would be -impossible- for it to look like that. as colours "bleed\overwrite"each other when you try to do anything to complex.



#684 sut OFFLINE  

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Posted Wed Jan 6, 2016 10:02 AM

Yeah and can you imagine the frame rate if you could produce a game that looks like that ? The Studio 2 would probably implode.

#685 carlsson OFFLINE  

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Posted Wed Jan 6, 2016 10:08 AM

TLD1985: Kurt's mock-up was meant to be run on a Toshiba Visicom, which has a different palette and colour resolution than the M1200 and I suppose other colourized Studio II clones (probably different from a planned Studio III as well). Regarding framerate, I agree that it probably would be something of a role playing racing game.



#686 Kurt_Woloch OFFLINE  

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Posted Wed Jan 6, 2016 10:09 AM

On a real system it would be -impossible- for it to look like that. as colours "bleed\overwrite"each other when you try to do anything to complex.

 

I don't think so... surely it won't be quite as sharp as in my picture, and maybe also the colors are slightly wrong, but what I've shown here is actually a snapshot made in M.E.S.S. 0.155 emulating the Visicom system, and I drew the picture with the system's built-in doddle program, not with any PC software. So, assuming the colors are correct, this picture WOULD be possible on a Visicom system with 4 possible colors per pixel... not on a M1200 because the M1200 has that limit with only one foreground picture per 8x4 square. It just would look a bit less sharp on an actual TV, and maybe the colors are slightly wrong.

 

However, this is a still picture. I don't think the Studio 2 would implode, but I can imagine the frame rate of an actual game like this would be pretty bad. Maybe something like the TI-99 version of Pole Position...  only that everything would move as slowly as the street moves in that one:

 

The other question is the limitation in code size... can you fit enough code into a Visicom cartridge to create such a complex game?



#687 CatPix OFFLINE  

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Posted Wed Jan 6, 2016 9:32 PM

There is always tricks possible with ROM size, as the multicart tells us.

 

But on the other hand, the data speed might be an issue, or a difficulty that the orignal design, that had to deal with blaxk and white only didn't had to deal.

If data speed is too low, then some type of games and demo might be impossible to do on the RCA clones.



#688 carlsson OFFLINE  

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Posted Thu Jan 7, 2016 1:36 AM

Didn't Paul Robson say that Space Invaders was stretching the limitations on number of moving objects? Indeed I haven't really paid attention to the slew of homebrew games that were produced just a few years ago, so perhaps it can be pushed further. Even on a B&W console, something like Night Driver (arcade/2600/VIC-20 etc) might be a challenging programming task, and that one mostly moves the road markers.



#689 slydc OFFLINE  

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Posted Thu Jan 7, 2016 4:31 AM

Below is the entire Toshiba Visicom instruction manual.  I scanned at 600 dpi and then had to scale it 50%.  Uploaded just fine.

 

Thank you so much James! I greatly appreciate this as i didn't get the manual with my Toshiba Visicom

(and the flyer too!) =)

 

Now before i'm going to bed as i'm almost taking the keyboard for my pillow...has anyone ever wanted to

have their Studio II A/V modded ? If so than take a peek here:

 

http://rcastudio2.blogspot.ca/

 

Now i need to catch up my snooze! ;P



#690 carlsson OFFLINE  

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Posted Thu Jan 7, 2016 7:19 AM

Nice! Do the M1200 clones have similar resistors next to the Pixie chip? I noticed you posted an A/V mod for the Visicom before, so that would complete the story if all models are covered.



#691 toymailman OFFLINE  

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Posted Thu Jan 7, 2016 10:13 AM

 

Thank you so much James! I greatly appreciate this as i didn't get the manual with my Toshiba Visicom

(and the flyer too!) =)

 

Now before i'm going to bed as i'm almost taking the keyboard for my pillow...has anyone ever wanted to

have their Studio II A/V modded ? If so than take a peek here:

 

http://rcastudio2.blogspot.ca/

 

Now i need to catch up my snooze! ;P

Wow, that is really awesome!  I have a Rev E system that I want to do the "Rev D" mod to so I can play the multi-cart properly.  This will now be added to that do to list.

 

:thumbsup:  :thumbsup: :thumbsup:  



#692 stupus OFFLINE  

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Posted Wed Jan 13, 2016 9:31 AM

I just confirmed that tennis squash does indeed exist for the soundic victory mpt02.
So very likely for other clones too.

Only one now unconfirmed for any clone system is school house 1.
And if there is 1 game they didn't make for the clones this would be my guess as the 1.

#693 Blazing Lazers ONLINE  

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Posted Wed Jan 13, 2016 9:09 PM

I just confirmed that tennis squash does indeed exist for the soundic victory mpt02.
So very likely for other clones too.

Only one now unconfirmed for any clone system is school house 1.
And if there is 1 game they didn't make for the clones this would be my guess as the 1.

 

Neat! Did a copy finally turn up somewhere? Amazing that the rarity of the foreign titles seems to be the inverse of their US versions!

 

It does make sense that Schoolhouse 1 would not have had a foreign release, given that it requires the extra booklets which are very US -centric, and that none of the foreign clones are known to have any extra materials- even Bingo only had the cartridge and instructions, it seems.



#694 stupus OFFLINE  

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Posted Wed Jan 13, 2016 10:00 PM

Yes, my friend will be sending me a tennis/squash soon. Seen a pic already.

It is funny the early rca games are the least common among the clones and the clone exclusives and late rca games are by far the most common clone games....guess that makes sense though.

And yes, sh1 being us centric makes sense why 1 either they never made it or 2 nobody ever bought it for the clones.

And yes bingo just came in a standard box for the clones with only a manual with no indication of special parts.

#695 ranger_lennier OFFLINE  

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Posted Thu Jan 14, 2016 8:05 AM

It seems strange that manuals list School House 1, even with the alternate name of Computer Quiz, if it never came out, though. But maybe they added all the existing titles to the list before they'd all came out.

#696 stupus OFFLINE  

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Posted Thu Jan 14, 2016 9:24 AM

It is strange, I could see it as just a case of them getting ahead of themselves when printing up the system boxes and manuals.
Maybe they had plans to alter the game for the foreign market and it never came to happen.

I could also see the game existing and just being extremely rare due to the fact nobody was interested in it in the foreign market due to the content.

Hopefully someday we will know more on it :)

#697 CatPix OFFLINE  

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Posted Thu Jan 14, 2016 10:49 AM

It should be interesting to know when the systems came to the market.

MPT models, from what I got, came on the French market around 1983 (there is no traces of MPT models before that date, tho it doesn't mean they didn't existed of course).

So by 1983, getting to the hassle of working to translate a game (as I assume, School House/Computer Quizz sounds like a program based on text :P ) was probably too much compared to the weak amount of money expected to make from entry-level systems.


Edited by CatPix, Thu Jan 14, 2016 10:58 AM.


#698 stupus OFFLINE  

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Posted Thu Jan 14, 2016 11:17 AM

wow, not till 83...where do you draw that data from on the mpt02s? Amazing anybody bought one then! haha :)



#699 CatPix OFFLINE  

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Posted Thu Jan 14, 2016 11:28 AM

From a French gaming magazine that listed the consoles available on the market for Christmas 1982. Tho the MPT02 itself was not listen, the MPT-05 (Radofin 1292 APVS ) and MPT-03 were listed (admittedly, the MPT-03 is way more recent heh).

I had seen and ad from Hanimex listing the MPT-02, but I wasn't so interesd by it at the time and I no longer have it.

 

If you wanna be even more amazed, I have a MPT-05 with the warranty card filled, jsut not sent, with a selling date of 1984!


Edited by CatPix, Thu Jan 14, 2016 11:30 AM.


#700 stupus OFFLINE  

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Posted Thu Jan 14, 2016 11:44 AM

It would make sense for the mpt03 to be for sale in 82 since that is when the arcadia came out and it's a arcadia clone.
The mpt05 is a interton equivalent so I could also see it being sold then too, since the interton was sold till 83. And at least had graphics similar to the o2.
But the mpt02 I would have thought would have been out around 78...my guess would be the clones started right at the demise of the s2....

Edited by stupus, Thu Jan 14, 2016 11:46 AM.





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