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ST Game cartridge?

Atari ST Game Homebrew

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#1 barnieg OFFLINE  

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Posted Fri Jan 22, 2016 10:51 AM

Has there been any examples of an Atari ST game on a rom cartridge? Currently exploring the possibility of an ST home-brew game but rather than floppy disk doing a limited run on an ST cart.

 

I presume bank switching could be used to overcome the rather limited cartridge capacity?

 

thanks

Barnie



#2 walter_J64bit OFFLINE  

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Posted Fri Jan 22, 2016 11:26 AM

Has there been any examples of an Atari ST game on a rom cartridge? Currently exploring the possibility of an ST home-brew game but rather than floppy disk doing a limited run on an ST cart.

 

I presume bank switching could be used to overcome the rather limited cartridge capacity?

 

thanks

Barnie

I think ParanoidLittleMan was making some carts for the ST.


Edited by walter_J64bit, Fri Jan 22, 2016 11:27 AM.


#3 ataricrypt OFFLINE  

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Posted Fri Jan 22, 2016 11:29 AM

this will be an interesting topic to watch..... :)



#4 ParanoidLittleMan OFFLINE  

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Posted Fri Jan 22, 2016 1:56 PM

Actually, I did some 6 games for cartridge, but only SW part of it. What is of course interesting one. Then all you need is 2 EPROM, PCB ...

 

Bank switching is one way, but it makes it more complicated, and then question is why at all ? Get Satandisk instead. Or build simple ACSI-CF adapter.

 

Using data packing, you can put some 200-400KB game on 128 KB cartridge. Of course, game will run not from cartridge directly, but from RAM.

Games are: Manix, Revenge of Mutant Camels, Wizball, Missile Command, Star Raiders , Joust.

Don't expect Dungeon Master :)



#5 leech ONLINE  

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Posted Fri Jan 22, 2016 4:01 PM

Wow, I would love a Star Raiders and Joust Cartridge.  Wait, I didn't even know Star Raiders came out for the ST.  Loved Joust (every iteration, except the 2600 one where the eggs would fly, wow, that was horrible).



#6 barnieg OFFLINE  

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Posted Fri Jan 22, 2016 4:47 PM

Actually, I did some 6 games for cartridge, but only SW part of it. What is of course interesting one. Then all you need is 2 EPROM, PCB ...
 
Bank switching is one way, but it makes it more complicated, and then question is why at all ? Get Satandisk instead. Or build simple ACSI-CF adapter.
 
Using data packing, you can put some 200-400KB game on 128 KB cartridge. Of course, game will run not from cartridge directly, but from RAM.
Games are: Manix, Revenge of Mutant Camels, Wizball, Missile Command, Star Raiders , Joust.
Don't expect Dungeon Master :)

Partly to see if it's possible. I have a Mist and will be receiving an ste shortly so having a floppy image version is likely.

Would games on bank switched carts allowed the st(e) to have had similar games to say a Sega megadrive/Genesis?

Barnie

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#7 ParanoidLittleMan OFFLINE  

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Posted Sat Jan 23, 2016 3:46 AM

Partly to see if it's possible. I have a Mist and will be receiving an ste shortly so having a floppy image version is likely.

Would games on bank switched carts allowed the st(e) to have had similar games to say a Sega megadrive/Genesis?

Barnie

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Of course that it is possible. But ST cartridge was not designed for games - capacity is small, and then games would cost more than on floppies.

Similar games ?  Games are often similar, regardless from media on which are released :) If you mean similar usage, I don't think that it is possible to make same usage considering code and data access, but for player it may be same. Sega and other cartridge based consoles had much larger cartridge capacity, where complete game with all graphic, audio can fit. Without bank switch. If you go on bank switching, it will need to make some pseudo file system for larger data - where it will switch to proper bank depending on data segment requested - some files may be longer than 128 KB.

Because of that, and because Flash cards are now cheap, and have much bigger capacity than dozens of EPROMs I think that instead bank switching for larger games  we need to use simply mass storage with regular Atari FAT16 filesystem. In other words some adapter like UltraSatan, Satandisk or any other Flash card adapter for Atari.  That may be simply set for automatic run of some game on it. So. will act exactly as some cartridge for user.

 

I added all mine cartridge adaptations to page with Revenge of Mutant Camels:  http://atari.8bitchip.info/cartST.html

Sources included, may try all it in Steem and Hatari.  Total 11 games:  Xenon, Rick Dangerous, Star Wars, Moon Patrol, Buggy Boy is there too .



#8 Lynxpro OFFLINE  

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Posted Sat Jan 23, 2016 9:51 AM

Some people just like cartridges and collecting them.



#9 travistouchdown ONLINE  

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Posted Sun Jan 24, 2016 1:21 AM

Where is the ST Cart slot? 



#10 ParanoidLittleMan OFFLINE  

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Posted Sun Jan 24, 2016 1:59 AM

Some people just like cartridges and collecting them.

Indeed. Maybe exxos.UK can provide boards and programmed EPROMs. Actually, later ones can provide myself. Considering prices best is to go on Flash EPROM chips, with bigger capacity. So can place on 1 card 4-8 games, and select active one with DIP switch for instance.



#11 Thorsten GŁnther OFFLINE  

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Posted Sun Jan 24, 2016 5:23 AM

On th other hand, you also devloped CATA, and all the ST games will snuggly fit onto a CF card should anyone (finally) be willing to mass produce the CATA.



#12 exxosuk OFFLINE  

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Posted Sun Jan 24, 2016 6:28 AM

On th other hand, you also devloped CATA, and all the ST games will snuggly fit onto a CF card should anyone (finally) be willing to mass produce the CATA.

 

I can produce anything, though we are working on CF interface so no need for yet another HD solution on cartridge port. 

 

http://www.exxoshost...SICFS/index.htm



#13 barnieg OFFLINE  

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Posted Mon Jan 25, 2016 12:40 PM

Interesting comments. I'd still like to explore a cart at sometime. In the meantime 720k floppies look like an other option for a a small physical run the main issue of concern are availability of new disks and reliability of drives

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#14 ParanoidLittleMan OFFLINE  

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Posted Mon Jan 25, 2016 1:16 PM

OK folks. Since there is some interest for ST cartridges with games, I think that I can make some quantity. The plan is to make simple cartridges with short games, which can fit (packed) in 128KB space. Because of prices of EPROMs it will be fitted with Flash EPROMs, with bigger capacity where can put 4-8 games, and select active one with DIP switch. That will keep it simple.  I will give concrete price as soon look around for EPROM prices and board manufacturing price.

CATA may come later.

So far I did 11 games, but will be not too hard to do more. I selected for start diverse types, so likely will be able to reuse existing code for others.



#15 walter_J64bit OFFLINE  

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Posted Mon Jan 25, 2016 2:37 PM

I'm keeping an eye on this.



#16 travistouchdown ONLINE  

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Posted Mon Jan 25, 2016 9:27 PM

Sweet! I am very much so up for carts since I have found that discs, be they 5.25, 3.5 or CD/DVD-rom tend to fail sooner or later.....all of them. 



#17 barnieg OFFLINE  

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Posted Wed Jan 27, 2016 7:42 AM

Sweet! I am very much so up for carts since I have found that discs, be they 5.25, 3.5 or CD/DVD-rom tend to fail sooner or later.....all of them. 

That was one of the reasons behind looking at a cart option. Once I've moved out of "home" I'll be better placed to look at my homebrew projects

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#18 DamonicFury OFFLINE  

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Posted Wed Jan 27, 2016 11:25 AM

OK folks. Since there is some interest for ST cartridges with games, I think that I can make some quantity. The plan is to make simple cartridges with short games, which can fit (packed) in 128KB space. Because of prices of EPROMs it will be fitted with Flash EPROMs, with bigger capacity where can put 4-8 games, and select active one with DIP switch. That will keep it simple.  I will give concrete price as soon look around for EPROM prices and board manufacturing price.

CATA may come later.

So far I did 11 games, but will be not too hard to do more. I selected for start diverse types, so likely will be able to reuse existing code for others.

 

That sounds really nice.  It can be a lot of hassle for a new ST owner to get up and running... working floppy drives and software are getting harder to come by!  Being able to run a nice selection of games with just a cart would be a godsend to a new user, and a very nice convenience even for more experienced users.



#19 ParanoidLittleMan OFFLINE  

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Posted Wed Jan 27, 2016 1:00 PM

Yes, work with floppies may be pretty much frustrating, and they are now really obsolete. I even removed floppy drive from my Mega STE, partially because need to test hard disk adaptations for good work on floppy less machines, and just because less hassle.    But simple cartridge solution has flaw that not possible to save anything, so no hi-scores, no game states, positions.  With mass storage it is possible of course.

Considering life time - nothing last forever. Cartridge may last over 20 years, but I doubt that your ST(E) will be operative in 2036, unless you are electronic wizard, and very motivated to keep it alive.



#20 ParanoidLittleMan OFFLINE  

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Posted Tue Feb 2, 2016 3:26 AM

I was thinking a lot about what and how to do - considering that prices of EPROMs are pretty big in compare with prices of Flash cards, + doing small quantity of PCBs means high price/unit .
So, the idea is to do universal board, what will be good for simple, pure ROM based cartridge, and version for Compact Flash cards - but there must be 2 EPROMs too.
In HW it means 2 versions:
1. Simple 2 EPROM based cartridge, with DIP switch to select 1 from 8 sections - games in fact
2. Mass storage based - AUTOboot via cartridge ROM, then may install usual hard disk driver and go to Desktop or ...

In SW there can be more variants:
8 128 KB sections allow 8-10 shorter games (2 very short can go in one) . I made list of quality games which can fit, and so far there is about 60 title.
Already did: Goldrunner (with options to turn off/on speech and fire sound) , Great Giana Sisters (title music dropped to make it fit) - on machines with blitter will be fine scroll, on those without normal skip. Min RAM 512 KB. Actually, almost all will need only 512 KB.

CF card variant: may use game adaptations in same way as now - via regular GEMDOS hard disk driver.

More interesting would be variant with low level driver, which needs very little RAM to work. That makes possible gaming form mass storage on machines with only 512 KB RAM - hundreds of games. 512KB games will work in most cases, but there are things what can not solve without extra RAM - TOS version problems for instance.
Idea is to use 4 GB card, where will be plenty of space for saving gamestates. After reset, it will not go to Desktop, but in menu, controllable with keyboard and joystick - where user can select what to play, and look statesaves, delete them ...
In any case, there will be lot of work on SW side with this.

So, to summarize :
Simple cartridge with 8 sections for 8-10 games. 512KB RAM enough for most. About 60 quality games seems to fit.
Compact Flash based. SW can be regular hard disk driver + games, APPs ....
Or special low level driver based - then 512KB RAM may be enough for many games. With menu for selecting game. Will not go to Desktop.

I can not give estimated prices at moment, and it will depend from interest: so, please let me know if you are - here, in PM or e-mail.



#21 gozar OFFLINE  

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Posted Tue Feb 2, 2016 6:18 AM

So like a Side2? :-)

 

I'd be interested in a CF version, especially if it can act like a hard drive. Then I don't have to hear my howling SH204!



#22 walter_J64bit OFFLINE  

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Posted Tue Feb 2, 2016 2:34 PM

So like a Side2? :-)

 

I'd be interested in a CF version, especially if it can act like a hard drive. Then I don't have to hear my howling SH204!

SH204 I have one too. 



#23 Thorsten GŁnther OFFLINE  

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Posted Tue Feb 2, 2016 5:12 PM

I am also interested in the CF version. Not sure which driver, but as all my machines are 1040STfs and up, I gather the normal driver will work for me.


Edited by Thorsten GŁnther, Tue Feb 2, 2016 5:16 PM.


#24 DamonicFury OFFLINE  

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Posted Wed Feb 3, 2016 3:42 PM

I would be definitely be interested in a multi game cart.  



#25 Inky OFFLINE  

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Posted Wed Feb 3, 2016 3:46 PM

I only know of one cart ever made for the ST in its original run, and that was a RC Helicopter simulation. It used the cart for the custom RC controller.







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