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about cartridges, molds, colors etc.. etc..


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#51 Kosmic Stardust OFFLINE  

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Posted Tue Oct 22, 2013 1:27 AM

^^That (on cart AtariVox jack) would be awesome!

 

Or maybe someone could put a pair of 9-pin jacks on the top of the cart for players 3 and 4, and play a four player "Smash Bros" style game! :grin:

 

The level would use playfield graphics, 4 characters alternate between player 1 and 2, and each sprite would flicker at 30Hz. Items use the ball or missile sprites. Touch to collect item, tap fire to throw at opponent. When unarmed, tap fire when to attack, hold fire to defend. Up to jump. Percent damage uses color coded health meters at the bottom of the screen instead of numbers. If you have at least one CPU opponent, an Atari Vox could be plugged in and characters would grunt, scream, and taunt one another.


Edited by stardust4ever, Tue Oct 22, 2013 1:56 AM.


#52 bcombee ONLINE  

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Posted Tue Oct 22, 2013 11:17 AM

OK, I had the mold design class... it's a lot to take in.  The injection molding process involves melting plastic pellets, forcing them at high pressure into a metal mold, and figuring out how to release everything from the mold with a reasonable amount of effort.  The design of the runners that channel plastic from the entry point to the mold into the various pieces can be quite complex.  It will be a fun challenge, and the good news is that TechShop has very good design tools for these.

 

One aspect of design that was interesting was how you can design the molds for easy modification.  Specifically, it seems that it won't be too hard to design the molds to the cart end can be either solid or empty with panel holders, so that aspect won't be bad.  I am a bit concerned about the speed of production, although the good news is the machine there is large enough to do both the top and bottom parts on the same mold.

 

As for custom logos on the shell... that's actually looks to also be pretty easy to handle.  I could design the mold to have a small block that is either blank or has a raised part with a logo design.

 

It will take a while to get the other classes in and get a mold designed and milled... I'll update when I've taken the next step.



#53 Kosmic Stardust OFFLINE  

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Posted Tue Oct 22, 2013 1:55 PM


As for custom logos on the shell... that's actually looks to also be pretty easy to handle.  I could design the mold to have a small block that is either blank or has a raised part with a logo design.

This is good. I know carts can be had in bulk anywhere from 50 cents to 2 dollar, but destroying games is an ethical dilemma. What may be garbage to one person is treasure to someone else. Also, scrubbing off sticker goo is a pain, maybe not for one or two carts, but Alberts literally spends hours doing this menial task, when that time could be better spent managing the store or assembling boards, or even a little R&R and more time spent with family. It may be worth the two dollars extra per cart to not have to deal with this. I like the idea that the logo is easily modifiable. Unbranded shells could be sold to people who want to make their own games outside of AA, while official AA carts get the logo. RetroUSB sells their NES cart shells and discrete mapper boards to the general public as well.



#54 tep392 ONLINE  

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Posted Wed Oct 23, 2013 1:27 PM

 If clear shells are used, EP ROMs will need a (preferably metallic) sticker or shield over them to prevent bit-rot due to UV exposure or accidental "nukes." :-o

I don't know about others, but I use one time programable PROM's for the carts I make.  They are much cheaper and no window to worry about.



#55 CPUWIZ OFFLINE  

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Posted Wed Oct 23, 2013 1:30 PM

Where do you get OTP's cheap? :)

#56 tep392 ONLINE  

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Posted Wed Oct 23, 2013 2:23 PM

I guess "cheap" is relative, but I got my 70ns 27c512 chips from Digikey for $1.13 at a quantity of 100.  Jameco is $1.75 for the same part/qty.  The UV EPROM's are $2-$4 depending on the speed.



#57 tep392 ONLINE  

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Posted Wed Oct 23, 2013 2:35 PM

OK, I had the mold design class... it's a lot to take in.  The injection molding process involves melting plastic pellets, forcing them at high pressure into a metal mold, and figuring out how to release everything from the mold with a reasonable amount of effort.  The design of the runners that channel plastic from the entry point to the mold into the various pieces can be quite complex.  It will be a fun challenge, and the good news is that TechShop has very good design tools for these.

 

One aspect of design that was interesting was how you can design the molds for easy modification.  Specifically, it seems that it won't be too hard to design the molds to the cart end can be either solid or empty with panel holders, so that aspect won't be bad.  I am a bit concerned about the speed of production, although the good news is the machine there is large enough to do both the top and bottom parts on the same mold.

 

As for custom logos on the shell... that's actually looks to also be pretty easy to handle.  I could design the mold to have a small block that is either blank or has a raised part with a logo design.

 

It will take a while to get the other classes in and get a mold designed and milled... I'll update when I've taken the next step.

 

It's great to see someone working on a project that will have such a huge impact on the Atari homebrew scene. Thank you!

I'm curious how you plan on designing the cartridge.  Will you be measuring existing carts or do you have drawings for current designs that you can reference?  I wouldn't be surprised if Curt Vendel had some of Atari's original drawings in his archives.  One thing I have noticed is that the newer 2600/7800 carts seem to fit too tightly into 7800 consoles compared to the original 2600 carts that I own. I don't know if that is a flaw with the 7800 or the newer cart shells, but it would be nice to fix that issue with these new shells, if possible.



#58 mkiker2089 OFFLINE  

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Posted Wed Oct 23, 2013 4:19 PM

I too have noticed some Atari carts are tight in the woodgrain models. I don't have the problem with my Sears Arcade 2 however so it must be a difference in the trim around the cartridge slot rather than with the boards or internal cart issues. I wonder if the Jr has a larger opening as well. One would think so since it, the 7800, and SA2 are all about the same age.



#59 mkiker2089 OFFLINE  

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Posted Wed Oct 23, 2013 9:54 PM

Maybe we should revisit the Activision shape? I bought a homebrew in one and made me think

 

1- recylcing Activision carts is good because label rot probably destroyed the original label anyway

2- it's really an elegant design

 

There are advantages to the single label they use also. It will be easier to print, less wasted paper on smaller runs, and less work ligning labels up when placing them. If Sega and Nintendo both did for so long there must be a reason.

 

As for making the carts so they can open without removing the label, that can be done with the single label as well. You'd nee to modify the cart so that the back is just a panel that slips into the top front label area and have screws lower down to secure it. This also is like other cart designs but modified a bit. Of course if the label is made smaller then you can have a more traditional design with a larger back area that sits onto the front.

 

I'm sold on the idea of a single label rather than two labels, any thoughts on it?



#60 Kosmic Stardust OFFLINE  

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Posted Wed Oct 23, 2013 10:03 PM

Maybe we should revisit the Activision shape? I bought a homebrew in one and made me think

 

1- recylcing Activision carts is good because label rot probably destroyed the original label anyway

2- it's really an elegant design

 

There are advantages to the single label they use also. It will be easier to print, less wasted paper on smaller runs, and less work ligning labels up when placing them. If Sega and Nintendo both did for so long there must be a reason.

 

As for making the carts so they can open without removing the label, that can be done with the single label as well. You'd nee to modify the cart so that the back is just a panel that slips into the top front label area and have screws lower down to secure it. This also is like other cart designs but modified a bit. Of course if the label is made smaller then you can have a more traditional design with a larger back area that sits onto the front.

 

I'm sold on the idea of a single label rather than two labels, any thoughts on it?

Don't destroy activision carts. Those are good games, often better than 1st party releases. I'm not sold on the folded label idea. A lot of labels tend to peel up, well I guess 1st party Atari games do that anyway with the number of missing labels I see on store shelves. One of my carts I bought at Game-X-change lost it's label after I bought it. I saw it on the floor and rescued it by fixing it back on the cart with a drop of super glue.

 

Bottom line is that Albert will have to redesign all of the end label templates if a folded cart design is used. My Mystique carts have a similar shape to Activision and even have the rails on the side, but they have separate labels. Maybe an Activision style cart with a separate end label would work?



#61 Osgeld OFFLINE  

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Posted Wed Oct 23, 2013 10:29 PM

. I wonder if the Jr has a larger opening as well. One would think so since it, the 7800, and SA2 are all about the same age.

 

the slot on my JR weighs in at 3.264 long by 0.864 wide (inches)


Edited by Osgeld, Wed Oct 23, 2013 10:29 PM.


#62 tep392 ONLINE  

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Posted Thu Oct 24, 2013 7:48 AM

Bottom line is that Albert will have to redesign all of the end label templates if a folded cart design is used. My Mystique carts have a similar shape to Activision and even have the rails on the side, but they have separate labels. Maybe an Activision style cart with a separate end label would work?

 I vote for keeping the same label design.

 

1) It's the original Atari design we have loved for years.

2) The extra time to put two labels on a cart isn't significant for the small homebrew runs.

3) We already have die cut paper available for the standard Atari cart. 

4) What stardust4ever said.



#63 mkiker2089 OFFLINE  

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Posted Wed Apr 16, 2014 10:03 PM

Any updates on this? I know that Vectrex shells are still being made so we can't give up.



#64 mkiker2089 OFFLINE  

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Posted Wed Apr 16, 2014 10:05 PM

I forgot one thing I wanted to ask. How would people feel about an Atari Age logo on the non-label side? I think it would be cool.



#65 Kosmic Stardust OFFLINE  

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Posted Thu Apr 17, 2014 6:01 PM

Do it! RetroUSB NES repro shells exist. Megadrive repro shells exist which have the US/EU design but are also notched to fit Model 1 Japanese Megadrives. Piko of Piko Interactive had NA style SNES repro shells made. RetroUSB did a universal notched PAL style shell. A 2-in-1 2600/7800 shell needs to be made, provided there are no "holes" under the labels. Also, as homebrew shells, they really need to be user servicable, with screws on the back side, instead of under the label.

#66 retroillucid ONLINE  

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Posted Thu Apr 17, 2014 6:06 PM

It's on the way
It will take some time. But we will do it , that's for sure

#67 retroillucid ONLINE  

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Posted Thu Apr 17, 2014 7:44 PM

I forgot to mention, we will be able to offer shells to Atariage with the AA logo on the back of the cart

#68 Kosmic Stardust OFFLINE  

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Posted Thu Apr 17, 2014 8:56 PM

My older AA homebrews without logos will be jealous...

#69 Nathan Strum OFFLINE  

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Posted Thu Apr 17, 2014 10:51 PM

My older AA homebrews without logos will be jealous...

 

Just buy all new ones. Then none of them will feel left out.


  • jhd likes this

#70 Kosmic Stardust OFFLINE  

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Posted Fri Apr 18, 2014 12:26 AM

^^Rebuying whole collection could get pricey, and downright impossible in the case of certain games such as princess rescue... :sad:

#71 Mord ONLINE  

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Posted Fri Apr 18, 2014 1:10 AM

^^Rebuying whole collection could get pricey, and downright impossible in the case of certain games such as princess rescue... :sad:

 

So buy some empty carts and some new labels, pop open the old homebrew and transplant the pcb. Wouldn't be too hard to do I'm sure. ;)



#72 Kosmic Stardust OFFLINE  

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Posted Fri Apr 18, 2014 11:20 AM

Maybe Albert can do a mail-in "upgrade" package on existing brews.

#73 Albert OFFLINE  

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Posted Fri Apr 18, 2014 11:21 AM

Maybe Albert can do a mail-in "upgrade" package on existing brews.

 

Ha



#74 Gemintronic OFFLINE  

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Posted Fri Apr 18, 2014 11:22 AM

First task when my 3D printer comes in is to make glow-in-the-dark 2600 carts.  That way my closet can look like the inside of that suitcase in Pulp Fiction :)

 

UPDATE:  slow-in-the-dark = glow-in-the-dark.  Both sound about right for 3D printing these days :)



#75 Albert OFFLINE  

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Posted Fri Apr 18, 2014 11:23 AM

Slow-in-the-dark.  :D

 

I can imagine buying a high-quality 3D printer to make small runs of carts for special projects.  In another ten years I can see using a 3D printer to churn out carts for all games.  :)

 

 ..Al






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