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So, what TI/99 accessory or add-on should I blow some cash on next?


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#1 Major_Tom_coming_home OFFLINE  

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Posted Sat Apr 15, 2017 9:14 AM

So within the past few weeks I've gotten my first TI/99 and the SD Cartridge. I have ordered a 32K expansion, Atari controller adapter, and a composite video cable from arcadeshopper.com. My interest is games (I'm thinking the same is true for 99% of TI/99 enthusiasts) and I was wondering if there is anything else worthwhile to get such as...

 

The voice synth? is it worth getting and what is a fair price for one? If only a few games support it I would pass, but if it has good support and enhances the experience I might be interested at a reasonable price. I saw a tested working one for $30 but I have no idea if that is a good or a bad price

 

The TI-99/4A Peripheral Expansion Box? Seem to go for a lot of money, but is it worthwhile and do I actually need more than 48K for gaming? I'm thinking it is more of a collector's thing these days. Nothing wrong with that, But I collect other things and for the TI/99 I'm really only interested in adding more gaming functionality.

 

Floppy drive? Would be cool to have if found cheap but I don't see myself loading floppies.  I saw there is some kind of Compact Flash drive on Arcadeshopper. Does it add much new functionality? (games not available as cartridge roms for instance)?

 

Anyways, thanks in advance for your suggestions. It's great to have a community of fellow enthusiasts to be a part of...honestly, for me the community is the best thing about owning retro computers and games. Without the support of a community for things like flash cartridges and memory expansions many of these old systems just wouldn't be worthwhile for anyone other than the most hard core fans. 


Edited by Major_Tom_coming_home, Sat Apr 15, 2017 9:14 AM.


#2 Opry99er OFFLINE  

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Posted Sat Apr 15, 2017 9:31 AM

Man, welcome. :)

You are well on your way to having a great time with your amazing home computer. You have what you need to experience most of the games out there and if that is all you need, then you have an excellent set up!

Now... for many games and applications, you need disk access.... My favorite game, Tunnels of Doom, requires disk access.

There are two main routes available to you currently: the PEB and the NanoPEB.

The PEB is the big beautiful silver box you see below. The NanoPEB replaces your side car 32k you bought and also adds serial and disk functionality through a db9 serial port and a compact flash card.

Either would work, but both have advantages and disadvantages.


Let us know if you need anything, and welcome to the machine. ;)


20170325_030425-01_zpsjq52ux7z.jpeg

#3 Opry99er OFFLINE  

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Posted Sat Apr 15, 2017 9:42 AM

And speech.... oh yes... please get a speech synthesizer... Parsec and Alpiner (arguably the two most popular games for the TI) are sort of lame-ish without speech my friend...

$30 for a tested synth in good shape is reasonable... but if you watch and put feelers out there, you can often find them much cheaper. :D

#4 Airshack OFFLINE  

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Posted Sat Apr 15, 2017 11:09 AM

I'm actually shocked to see you didn't list the F18A (VGA out) mod as one of the first things you purchased! You're in for a real treat because this mod is easy to install and probably gives the best bang for the buck on the TI these days. FlashROM99 may be slightly cooler but the video mod is absolutely essential! You have to see it to believe it because it's just that good! Plus, nice big VGA monitors/TVs are sold at Goodwill anywhere from $5-$20 these days! This mod is so great it makes me wish something comparable was available for my C64 and Atari800. Dude! Get a F18A now! The video is so crisp it'll blow you away. I just can't use a TI anymore without F18A.


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#5 Airshack OFFLINE  

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Posted Sat Apr 15, 2017 11:12 AM

F18A also fixes the sprite flicker issue when more than four sprites coexist on the same horizontal line. If you play the new game SCRAA you'll see the difference! There are several other video enhancements I'll leave for you to discover!


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#6 Airshack OFFLINE  

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Posted Sat Apr 15, 2017 11:13 AM

Colecovision people are installing the F18A into that system as well. Same chips and it's a simple drop-in socketed replacement!


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#7 digdugnate ONLINE  

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Posted Sat Apr 15, 2017 12:41 PM

welcome to the insanity!  this is a super community of hobbyists that are insanely nice and helpful.

 

my 0.03 cents (adjusted for inflation)-

 

I think a Speech Synthesizer is definitely worth $30, especially if it's in really good condition but as others said you might be able to find one a little less expensive- especially if you put out some feelers and don't 100% rely on eBay.  :)  There's a fair number of games that use it, plus you can mess around with it if you're so inclined in Extended Basic/etc.

 

PEBs are definitely awesome, but sometimes they can be pricey (or hard to find).  I'll be adding one to my collection hopefully Monday because I'm wanting the extra RAM and the disk drive.

 

Depending on what you like to do, sometimes you can find a 'Program Recorder' (cassette player) for fairly cheap, or you can use a non-TI one- cassettes can be flaky, though.  You can still get cassettes from Amazon, I ordered some to help supplement my tinkering around with Extended Basic.



#8 Major_Tom_coming_home OFFLINE  

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Posted Sat Apr 15, 2017 3:22 PM

Awesome setup you have there!

 

Can the 32k expansion and NanoPEB be used at the same time? 

 

I'm curious about the advantages and disadvantages of the PEB and NanoPeb. I'm thinking the disadvantages to the PEB must be cost, space, and reliability after 30ish years?

 

Anyway, I'll probably let my wallet cool down for a while but if I decide to get into disks, which would be the better option for someone who wants the minimal hassle? Maybe down the road I'll get the collecting bug but for now I'm okay with mixing new and old to get the most functionality. Thanks!

 

Man, welcome. :)

You are well on your way to having a great time with your amazing home computer. You have what you need to experience most of the games out there and if that is all you need, then you have an excellent set up!

Now... for many games and applications, you need disk access.... My favorite game, Tunnels of Doom, requires disk access.

There are two main routes available to you currently: the PEB and the NanoPEB.

The PEB is the big beautiful silver box you see below. The NanoPEB replaces your side car 32k you bought and also adds serial and disk functionality through a db9 serial port and a compact flash card.

Either would work, but both have advantages and disadvantages.


Let us know if you need anything, and welcome to the machine. ;)


20170325_030425-01_zpsjq52ux7z.jpeg



#9 Major_Tom_coming_home OFFLINE  

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Posted Sat Apr 15, 2017 3:25 PM

Duely noted. I'm not in a hurry and can keep a lookout. I'll probably want to get a spare TI/99 at some point so maybe I'll get one that includes a synth.

And speech.... oh yes... please get a speech synthesizer... Parsec and Alpiner (arguably the two most popular games for the TI) are sort of lame-ish without speech my friend...

$30 for a tested synth in good shape is reasonable... but if you watch and put feelers out there, you can often find them much cheaper. :D



#10 Lee Stewart OFFLINE  

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Posted Sat Apr 15, 2017 3:26 PM

...  Can the 32k expansion and NanoPEB be used at the same time?  ...

 

The nanoPEB has the 32KiB RAM expansion built in.

 

...lee



#11 Major_Tom_coming_home OFFLINE  

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Posted Sat Apr 15, 2017 3:37 PM

Thanks I'll keep the F18 in mind but it will be after disk and speech capability. I really don't mind using composite cables and a crappy CRT television like it was 1985.

Colecovision people are installing the F18A into that system as well. Same chips and it's a simple drop-in socketed replacement!


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#12 Major_Tom_coming_home OFFLINE  

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Posted Sat Apr 15, 2017 3:39 PM

Thanks, as an retro computer geek I have a few cassette players kicking around for my TRS-80 COCO2

welcome to the insanity!  this is a super community of hobbyists that are insanely nice and helpful.

 

my 0.03 cents (adjusted for inflation)-

 

I think a Speech Synthesizer is definitely worth $30, especially if it's in really good condition but as others said you might be able to find one a little less expensive- especially if you put out some feelers and don't 100% rely on eBay.   :)  There's a fair number of games that use it, plus you can mess around with it if you're so inclined in Extended Basic/etc.

 

PEBs are definitely awesome, but sometimes they can be pricey (or hard to find).  I'll be adding one to my collection hopefully Monday because I'm wanting the extra RAM and the disk drive.

 

Depending on what you like to do, sometimes you can find a 'Program Recorder' (cassette player) for fairly cheap, or you can use a non-TI one- cassettes can be flaky, though.  You can still get cassettes from Amazon, I ordered some to help supplement my tinkering around with Extended Basic.



#13 Major_Tom_coming_home OFFLINE  

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Posted Sat Apr 15, 2017 3:41 PM

Oh yeah, I remember seeing this.

 

The nanoPEB has the 32KiB RAM expansion built in.

 

...lee



#14 Airshack OFFLINE  

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Posted Sat Apr 15, 2017 3:57 PM

http://codehackcreate.com/archives/30


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#15 Airshack OFFLINE  

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Posted Sat Apr 15, 2017 3:57 PM

https://youtu.be/Cp57qmpcUnY


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#16 Major_Tom_coming_home OFFLINE  

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Posted Sat Apr 15, 2017 4:42 PM

Definitely on my wish list. But for now in the immortal words of the Angry Video Game Nerd: "The only way to play an <<insert name of system>>  is on an old piece of shit like this"  <<Points to 1970's faux wood grain television with dials on it>>. 




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#17 digdugnate ONLINE  

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Posted Sun Apr 16, 2017 7:12 AM

lol- i'm not quite as big a traditionalist when it comes to video.  :)  i bought an aftermarket RCA to DIN cable and a $99 el cheapo Wal Mart flat panel.  

 

It does quite well for what I need! hehe



#18 schmitzi OFFLINE  

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Posted Sun Apr 16, 2017 9:08 AM

F18A also fixes the sprite flicker issue when more than four sprites coexist on the same horizontal line. If you play the new game SCRAA you'll see the difference! There are several other video enhancements I'll leave for you to discover!


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Spoiler
Spoiler
Spoiler
Spoiler
Spoiler
Spoiler



#19 Airshack OFFLINE  

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Posted Sun Apr 16, 2017 1:35 PM

I'd argue that the F18A mod is so great that the day you see the crisp VGA from a TI-99/4A is the day you'll begin "minding" the standard video output.

Seriously, once you see that video you'll never ever ever want to go back!


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#20 Airshack OFFLINE  

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Posted Sun Apr 16, 2017 1:36 PM

It totally killed my Atari and Commodore buzz as well because they have that old blurry video too.


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#21 Airshack OFFLINE  

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Posted Sun Apr 16, 2017 1:42 PM

F18A reveals video images as they were designed to be viewed. I don't know of any programmer whom planned ghosting and blur as a feature for TI. This was the case for the Atari VCS (2600) to get additional colors but not on the TI. Blur, ghosting, and uneven screen colors are not a "feature" I miss with the F18A.


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Edited by Airshack, Sun Apr 16, 2017 1:42 PM.


#22 Airshack OFFLINE  

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Posted Sun Apr 16, 2017 1:44 PM

 
 
 
 

Spoiler
Spoiler
Spoiler
Spoiler
Spoiler
Spoiler


SCRAA = Sparkdrummer's Challenge: Rescue at AtariAge.


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#23 --- Ω --- OFFLINE  

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Posted Sun Apr 16, 2017 2:35 PM

SCRAA = Sparkdrummer's Challenge: Rescue at AtariAge.


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The game is totally.... tumblr_mv00n22k4g1s24m93o1_400.gif

 

The world-wide unveiling will be the 29th at Fest West 2017.  We'll see how long it takes to get on here on Atari Age afterwards!   :P

 

Oh yes, for all you Fest West attendees... it's on the CD.



#24 --- Ω --- OFFLINE  

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Posted Sun Apr 16, 2017 2:51 PM

I'd argue that the F18A mod is so great that the day you see the crisp VGA from a TI-99/4A is the day you'll begin "minding" the standard video output.

 

No kidding!  If it were not for the F18A, I would never have dived back into the deep end of the TI pool.  Even if you are not a religious person, once you see it you just might say....

 

hallelujah.jpg?w=470&h=228



#25 PeBo OFFLINE  

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Posted Sun Apr 16, 2017 9:12 PM

lol- i'm not quite as big a traditionalist when it comes to video.   :)  i bought an aftermarket RCA to DIN cable and a $99 el cheapo Wal Mart flat panel.  

 

It does quite well for what I need! hehe

 

 

I get it...I have both a stock console and an F18A upgraded one. Before I installed an F18A, I was more than happy with the picture I was getting with an RCA to VGA convertor (not perfect, but better than using an RF modulator). And while others have sung the praises of the multiple sprites per line, and 80 column text (multiplan becomes mederately useable!!), along with other niceties (like emulator quality display), I say a picture (or a few) is worth a thousand words. (sorry, my tablet has a crappy camera)

 

These images were converted to Scanline Paletted F18A bitmaps with Tursi's « convert9918 » program, and are being displayed on my 4A using « slideshow99 » (I've got about 100 images converted and saved as CF7 volumes if anyone is interested).

 

If you've ever seen images created with Spectrum 512 on an Atari ST, this is the picture quality of these images on a TI-99/4A. Now there's some wow factor...ST static image quality on a 4A!!!

 

So Major_Tom_coming_home, without hesitation,  I join the chorus of those suggesting your next toy should be an F18A. (and how the heck else are ya going to play Super Mario Bros!?)

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