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F18A mod info?


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#1 digdugnate ONLINE  

digdugnate

    Chopper Commander

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Posted Sat Apr 15, 2017 12:44 PM

Good afternoon all!

 

I have been reading about the F18A video mod for the TI, and it's piqued my interest- VGA out, non-flickering sprites?  Yes please!

 

I would like to read some more information on it, though, so could someone point me towards good comprehensive documentation on how it's installed/etc?

 

I can Google, but thought that someone on the forum would provide better information.



#2 chue ONLINE  

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    Space Invader

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Posted Sat Apr 15, 2017 1:00 PM

I haven't installed mine yet, but this seems like a good video on how to do it:

 



#3 Arnuphis OFFLINE  

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Posted Sat Apr 15, 2017 2:01 PM

I would say its an essential purchase. The F18a makes my TI look like a modern computer... with bigger letters on screen of course.. :)



#4 arcadeshopper OFFLINE  

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    River Patroller

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Posted Sat Apr 15, 2017 2:01 PM

codehackcreate.com has all the info, take out 9918a chip, insert f18a and stick ribbon cable out the back and hook to vga, your sounds still come out the regular din port 

vga graphics, fixes sprite bug, allows for enhanced games like super mario bros demo

 

http://atariage.com/...3245944&hl=f18a

http://atariage.com/...728749&hl=+f18a

 

Greg



#5 Asmusr OFFLINE  

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Posted Sat Apr 15, 2017 4:35 PM

The F18A provides so much more than just VGA output and flicker free sprites. Here is a summary:

 

1) Colors
Colors can be redefined with 16 different values for red, green, and blue - in total 4096 different colors. And programs have 4 palettes of 16 colors to choose from. 
 
2) Multicolor character patterns
Characters can have 2, 4 or 8 colors. They can be mirrored in both x and y.
 
3) Bitmap layer
On the optional bitmap layer pixels can be colored individually in either 4 or 16 colors. The 16 color pixels are twice as wide as normal pixels.
 
4) Multicolor sprites
Sprites can have 2, 4 or 8 colors (including the transparent background color). They can be mirrored in both x and y, and linked. The number of possible sprites on a line can be defined from 1 to 32.
 
5) Second character layer
Another layer of characters with 2, 4, or 8 colors and an optional transparent component can be displayed on top of or beneath the sprite layer.
 
6) Hardware scrolling
The F18A has hardware support for smooth scrolling in all directions, individually for each character layer.
 
7) 80 columns text mode
The 80 column mode is compatible with the 9938/9958 (except for the limited RAM) and with optional individual coloring (foreground/background) of each character.
 
8 )  GPU: A 100 MHz CPU is built into the F18A that runs in parallel with the normal CPU and can address video memory only, i.e. it cannot control disk, keyboard/joystick, sound, etc. The GPU is for most parts compatible with the TMS9900 instruction set.
 
9) Scanline interrupts
The GPU and/or the CPU can execute code when a scanline has been drawn.
 
Note that there is still only 16K video RAM available. Characters or sprites with 4 colors take twice as much memory as those with 2 colors. 8 colors take 3 times as much RAM. A bitmap layer covering the whole screen takes 12K. So even though there are many colors available, the F18A does not provide any full screen high color bitmap modes.


#6 digdugnate ONLINE  

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    Chopper Commander

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Posted Sat Apr 15, 2017 4:42 PM

codehackcreate.com has all the info, take out 9918a chip, insert f18a and stick ribbon cable out the back and hook to vga, your sounds still come out the regular din port 

vga graphics, fixes sprite bug, allows for enhanced games like super mario bros demo

 

http://atariage.com/...3245944&hl=f18a

http://atariage.com/...728749&hl=+f18a

 

Greg

thanks! i've been going through their docs on it. fascinating stuff!



#7 RXB OFFLINE  

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    River Patroller

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Posted Sat Apr 15, 2017 7:43 PM

 

The F18A provides so much more than just VGA output and flicker free sprites. Here is a summary:

 

1) Colors
Colors can be redefined with 16 different values for red, green, and blue - in total 4096 different colors. And programs have 4 palettes of 16 colors to choose from. 
 
2) Multicolor character patterns
Characters can have 2, 4 or 8 colors. They can be mirrored in both x and y.
 
3) Bitmap layer
On the optional bitmap layer pixels can be colored individually in either 4 or 16 colors. The 16 color pixels are twice as wide as normal pixels.
 
4) Multicolor sprites
Sprites can have 2, 4 or 8 colors (including the transparent background color). They can be mirrored in both x and y, and linked. The number of possible sprites on a line can be defined from 1 to 32.
 
5) Second character layer
Another layer of characters with 2, 4, or 8 colors and an optional transparent component can be displayed on top of or beneath the sprite layer.
 
6) Hardware scrolling
The F18A has hardware support for smooth scrolling in all directions, individually for each character layer.
 
7) 80 columns text mode
The 80 column mode is compatible with the 9938/9958 (except for the missing RAM) and with optional individual coloring (foreground/background) of each character.
 
8 )  GPU: A 100 MHz CPU is built into the F18A that runs in parallel with the normal CPU and can address video memory only, i.e. it cannot control disk, keyboard/joystick, sound, etc. The GPU is for most parts compatible with the TMS9900 instruction set.
 
9) Scanline interrupts
The GPU and/or the CPU can perform code when a scanline has been drawn.
 
Note that there is still only 16K video RAM available. Characters or sprites with 4 colors take twice as much memory as those with 2 colors. 8 colors take 3 times as much RAM. A bitmap layer covering the whole screen takes 12K. So even though there are many colors available, the F18A does not provide any full screen high color bitmap modes.

 

 

You know when i get SAMS RXB done and released it will free up 447 bytes of VDP memory (pointers and temp storage) and remove all strings, symbols and VDP stack from VDP, all moved to SAMS  RAM.

 

Of course this requires a P-Box with a SAMS card, or  a SAMS version not built yet stand alone or internal card like the F18.

 

Now that would be very cool a 1meg RAM SAMS and F18 in just a console. Anyway by next year this SAMS RXB project should be complete.


Edited by RXB, Sat Apr 15, 2017 7:44 PM.


#8 digdugnate ONLINE  

digdugnate

    Chopper Commander

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Posted Sun Apr 16, 2017 7:08 AM

this is all super cool info.  i have a couple of consoles that i can 'experiment' on so i might pick up an F18A (hornet, hehe) board.  i'm not *quite* ready to do something like that on my mostly-pristine silver and black one yet. :)

 

mmm, brushed aluminum.....  /homerdrool



#9 eightbit OFFLINE  

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Posted Mon Apr 17, 2017 9:20 PM

That install looks really easy, very much like the ECS indivision for the Amiga. I will have to get one of these!



#10 matthew180 ONLINE  

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    River Patroller

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Posted Tue Apr 18, 2017 11:09 AM

Installing the F18A into the 99/4A is pretty easy since the original 9918A VDP is already in a socket.  The hardest part is disassembling the console and modding the case for the VGA header.  If you search this sub-forum you will find threads where people have posted their F18A installs.  Admittedly I have little modding / install info on my website, but I'm planning on correcting that.  For now the best place to get help, suggestions, info, etc. is here in the forum.

 

Also, I don't feel right pushing my own creations in the forum, so once again *Thank You* to everyone here for the advocacy and kind comments about the F18A.  It is this kind of appreciation that is the biggest reward and motivation for doing these kinds of projects.



#11 dphirschler OFFLINE  

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    Moonsweeper

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Posted Thu Apr 20, 2017 5:26 PM

You can also check out this post:
http://atariage.com/...-their-console/

 

Darryl



#12 eightbit OFFLINE  

eightbit

    River Patroller

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Posted Thu Apr 20, 2017 7:52 PM

Installing the F18A into the 99/4A is pretty easy since the original 9918A VDP is already in a socket.  The hardest part is disassembling the console and modding the case for the VGA header.  If you search this sub-forum you will find threads where people have posted their F18A installs.  Admittedly I have little modding / install info on my website, but I'm planning on correcting that.  For now the best place to get help, suggestions, info, etc. is here in the forum.

 

Also, I don't feel right pushing my own creations in the forum, so once again *Thank You* to everyone here for the advocacy and kind comments about the F18A.  It is this kind of appreciation that is the biggest reward and motivation for doing these kinds of projects.

 

 

Thank you as well Matthew. I actually ordered mine last night (my name is Bruce, order 520) as it looks like a fantastic piece of kit and I keep seeing the quantity left on your website decreasing ;)


Edited by eightbit, Thu Apr 20, 2017 7:54 PM.


#13 digdugnate ONLINE  

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Posted Fri Apr 21, 2017 6:07 AM

just.. have.. to. wait.. a couple.. of weeks....

 

(aggro from my household budgetkeeper.  ;)  i've bought quite enough TI stuff for a bit.)



#14 PeBo OFFLINE  

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Posted Yesterday, 8:07 AM

just.. have.. to. wait.. a couple.. of weeks....

 

(aggro from my household budgetkeeper.   ;)  i've bought quite enough TI stuff for a bit.)

 

Ah c'mon...If you're going to have a vintage computer hobby, you have to grow a thick skin against the icy stares, stern looks, angered glances and hours (days, weeks?) of stone cold silence!

 

YOU have to live with the knowledge that any day you could arrive home to find the "budgetkeeper" sitting at the dining room table with a newly arrived USPS delivery and a "I thought we had talked about this" look.

 

And after all, what is more important??? Your toys, or your continued financial health? (In my case, it's between my toys and my continued GENERAL health, since she's way bigger than me, but at least being Canadian, we have universal health care, so my injuries don't eat into my TI budget)






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