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F18A v1.6-1.8 does not work with Mecha 8 or Mecha 9 with SGM connected


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#1 grips03 OFFLINE  

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Posted Wed Jan 10, 2018 7:15 PM

I tested Mecha 8 and Mecha 9 with F18A firmware:

 

v1.4 = works fine

v1.5 = works fine

v1.6 = black screen

v1.7 = corrupted graphics  (photos below).

v1.8 = black screen

 

It does not matter if you are using Atarimax Ultimate SD cart or original Pixelboy cart.  Same issue in either case.

 

Please note SGM was connected to console for these tests.

If SGM is removed games boot ok, however without SGM sound.

Pressing reset has no effect

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#2 digress OFFLINE  

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Posted Wed Jan 10, 2018 7:41 PM

I just tested it. It does work with f18a v1.8 if...you take out the sgm. But I got the same black screen with f18a v1.8 & sgm  ... and also with mecha 8 for that matter. Both worked fine if I removed the sgm on my f18a system.



#3 grips03 OFFLINE  

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Posted Wed Jan 10, 2018 7:49 PM

Not a good solution.  Mecha 8 and 9 make use of enhanced SGM audio.



#4 NIAD OFFLINE  

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Posted Wed Jan 10, 2018 7:58 PM

To use a line popularized by Coleco.... "The Fun of Discovery".

The unfortunate side to all these additional hardware items is that every game that is available has to be tested thoroughly to insure full compatibility and then again everytime a firmware update is made available.

#5 phattyboombatty OFFLINE  

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Posted Wed Jan 10, 2018 10:36 PM

Honestly, these 2 games by OTG are the only two that I've ever encountered with this odd conflict. They are probably the only two modern homebrew games for the ColecoVision that strictly use the enhanced sound in the SGM.

 

There may be a correlation there.  :ponder:



#6 matthew180 OFFLINE  

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Posted Sat Jan 13, 2018 5:21 PM

Ok, so I will add this to the list of things to test.  Grips03 has done some testing of the F18A firmware revisions that work and don't work (v1.6 and above do not work with these games), but unfortunately a lot changed in v1.6.  Can anyone tell me if these games work under emulation?



#7 Bmack36 OFFLINE  

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Posted Sun Jan 14, 2018 9:35 AM

The rom for Mecha 8 was just released in Dec. Here it is if you need it for testing:
 

http://atariage.com/...ttach_id=545746



#8 Tursi OFFLINE  

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Posted Wed Jan 31, 2018 4:18 PM

Just to help with the troubleshooting here -- any theories for why the SGM would make a difference? The SGM doesn't have any hardware that impacts the video circuitry as I understand, does Mecha8 execute different video startup code when it's detected? 


Edited by Tursi, Wed Jan 31, 2018 4:27 PM.


#9 HDTV1080P OFFLINE  

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Posted Sat Feb 3, 2018 4:37 AM

The best solution would be to change the software code in the game to make it compatible with the SGM when used with the F18a. Lot easier then changing the hardware design. Remember the standalone ADAM computer is only 99.9% compatible with ColecoVision cartridges. Defender and at least one other game cartridge does not work correctly for the standalone ADAM. The solution was that someone back in the 80's made software changes to Defender so that it would work with the standalone ADAM.


Edited by HDTV1080P, Sat Feb 3, 2018 4:37 AM.


#10 Pixelboy OFFLINE  

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Posted Sat Feb 3, 2018 5:23 AM

The best solution would be to change the software code in the game to make it compatible with the SGM when used with the F18a. Lot easier then changing the hardware design.


That's ridiculous. Mecha-8 and Mecha-9 work on original hardware, and that's what the games are meant for. If they don't work on alternate hardware, then that's the fault of the alternate hardware.
 

Remember the standalone ADAM computer is only 99.9% compatible with ColecoVision cartridges. Defender and at least one other game cartridge does not work correctly for the standalone ADAM. The solution was that someone back in the 80's made software changes to Defender so that it would work with the standalone ADAM.


I'm not aware of any version of Defender (or Super Cobra) that was released in the 80's that fixed the issue with the ADAM. Otherwise the ROM would have surfaced by now, and nanochess wouldn't have had to create the fixed ROMs of those two games.

Also, Mecha-8 and Mecha-9 work on the original ADAM. It is not the responsability of homebrew publishers to make their software work on every homebrew variation of a game console. They can try if they want to, but I for one would never guarantee that Team Pixelboy games work on the F18A, or anything other than legacy hardware.

#11 HDTV1080P OFFLINE  

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Posted Sat Feb 3, 2018 5:55 AM

It was not ATARI themselves who changed Defender so that it would work on the standalone ADAM. I believe its was one of the people that created  Copycart 2.0+ that made the changes to Defender or another party. Back in the 80's making backup copies of ColecoVision cartridge rom images to a disk was popular. Someone modified the Defender game rom image on disk so that it would run on the standalone ADAM. Since it was mentioned that the Atarimax Ultimate SD cartridge was being used, this means that a third party could modify the game rom image located on the SD card so that it would run correctly on the F18a when the SGM is plugged in.

 

Maybe future game developers will now have to test all their games on a F18a. However since a small amount of ADAM/ColecoVision owners are using that F18a device, maybe that is not realistic. This is one reason why I have not yet upgraded to the F18a, it appears to not be 100% compatible with all games and programs. Now if the F18a can be firmware flashed with a SD card in the Ultimate SD cartridge to fix this issue, that would be the best option. Back in the 80's there was no firmware upgradable hardware on the ADAM.


Edited by HDTV1080P, Sat Feb 3, 2018 6:01 AM.


#12 grips03 OFFLINE  

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Posted Sat Feb 3, 2018 9:27 AM

The best solution would be to change the software code in the game to make it compatible with the SGM when used with the F18a. Lot easier then changing the hardware design. Remember the standalone ADAM computer is only 99.9% compatible with ColecoVision cartridges. Defender and at least one other game cartridge does not work correctly for the standalone ADAM. The solution was that someone back in the 80's made software changes to Defender so that it would work with the standalone ADAM.

go away.



#13 HDTV1080P OFFLINE  

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Posted Sat Feb 3, 2018 11:01 AM

Ok, so I will add this to the list of things to test.  Grips03 has done some testing of the F18A firmware revisions that work and don't work (v1.6 and above do not work with these games), but unfortunately a lot changed in v1.6.  Can anyone tell me if these games work under emulation?

Can the F18a firmware be updated by a SD card or does one need to take their ColecoVision or ADAM apart to update the firmware? I heard the TI99/4A has a software option to update the F18a without needing to take the computer apart.



#14 NIAD OFFLINE  

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Posted Sat Feb 3, 2018 11:39 AM

Defender and Super Cobra rom dumps were hacked/modified to work on the Adam Computer by Jim Walters and possibly Jim Marshall respectively back in the late 80s and could be played using CopyCart or setup on a self-booting DDP or Disk. NiAD sold Defender CIBs for years and we included a DDP self-booting copy with each sold. The patched versions of these games were lost to the ages until Nanochess spent the time to patch both games about 5 years ago.

The issue with Mecha8 and 9 with some firmware versions of the F18a is no fault of Nanochess, nor is it his resposibility to fix them to work properly. If out of the goodness of his heart that he develops patched versions as rom files that can be used with the AtariMax SD Cart then he will make some people happy.

It's tremendous to see all these advancements made with additional hardware items that expand the capabilities of the CV and Adam, but then comes the prospect of creating compatability issues with existing products.

The only viable solution is for owners of the F18a to maintain a firmware version that is compatible with the Mecha games or for Matthew to figure out what firmware change he made that causes this conflict. You also have to remember that the F18a is not a CV or Adam specific video upgrade, it is a universal product that can be used with systems that have the specific video chip, so a change to it's firmware to correct the Mecha issue can cause issues with other games for numerous other systems like the TI99/4A.

And finally, yes, Tursi developed a way to flash F18a firmware updates using the AtariMax SD Cart.

#15 Pixelboy OFFLINE  

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Posted Sat Feb 3, 2018 12:09 PM

Defender and Super Cobra rom dumps were hacked/modified to work on the Adam Computer by Jim Walters and possibly Jim Marshall respectively back in the late 80s and could be played using CopyCart or setup on a self-booting DDP or Disk. NiAD sold Defender CIBs for years and we included a DDP self-booting copy with each sold. The patched versions of these games were lost to the ages until Nanochess spent the time to patch both games about 5 years ago.


As, well then, I stand corrected. :)

#16 Tarzilla OFFLINE  

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Posted Sat Feb 3, 2018 12:28 PM

The best solution would be to change the software code in the game to make it compatible with the SGM when used with the F18a. Lot easier then changing the hardware design. Remember the standalone ADAM computer is only 99.9% compatible with ColecoVision cartridges. Defender and at least one other game cartridge does not work correctly for the standalone ADAM. The solution was that someone back in the 80's made software changes to Defender so that it would work with the standalone ADAM.


No, the best solution is for the F18A firmware to be updated to fix the error that wasn't there in previous versions...ffs.
The game was extensively tested on original hardware with and without the SGM...anything to do with the F18A is the responsibility of the F18A developer, if they chose to bother, which is their pergoative.

#17 Tursi OFFLINE  

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Posted Sat Feb 3, 2018 8:25 PM

Instead of arguing about whose job it is to fix, can we get back to the issue of trying to narrow down the cases in which it fails? I'm helping Matt out where I can, but I don't have an SGM. I bought Mecha8 and it works just fine on the F18A when the SGM is not present... can anyone tell me what it does differently with the video init when the SGM /is/ attached?

#18 HDTV1080P OFFLINE  

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Posted Sat Feb 3, 2018 8:44 PM

No, the best solution is for the F18A firmware to be updated to fix the error that wasn't there in previous versions...ffs.
The game was extensively tested on original hardware with and without the SGM...anything to do with the F18A is the responsibility of the F18A developer, if they chose to bother, which is their pergoative.

Yes Tarzilla I made an error. The best way to fix the problem would be to release a firmware update to the F18a, which I mentioned later on in this thread after I realized the F18a could be updated. What happen is I forgot the F18a could be updated by firmware. I am still thinking about back in the 80’s when absolutely no hardware existed on the ADAM that could be firmware upgraded. Yes back in the 80’s one could take hardware apart and remove a eprom from a device, and replace it with another eprom that had updated software code, but in my experience that did not happen or was extremely rare.

 

I am starting to get really interested in purchasing a F18a. If the firmware can now be updated with a ATARIMAX USB cartridge or SD cartridge, then that is awesome. This means if we now get firmware support for the ColeocoVision/ADAM with updates that fix bugs using the new video chip, then in theory 100% compatibility could occur with ColecoVision/ADAM software. I just wish there was someway to plug a F18a into the ColecoVision expansion module interface instead of soldering the new chip on a working ColecoVision board.



#19 HDTV1080P OFFLINE  

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Posted Sun Feb 4, 2018 12:21 AM

Defender and Super Cobra rom dumps were hacked/modified to work on the Adam Computer by Jim Walters and possibly Jim Marshall respectively back in the late 80s and could be played using CopyCart or setup on a self-booting DDP or Disk. NiAD sold Defender CIBs for years and we included a DDP self-booting copy with each sold. The patched versions of these games were lost to the ages until Nanochess spent the time to patch both games about 5 years ago.
 

Jim Marshall's mid to late 80's patched versions of Defender and Super Cobra that work with the standalone ADAM computer were not lost to the ages. I have them on 1.44MB 3.5 inch disks. I just need to locate the disk after I hook up my disk drive (I also have a working Super Action Controller tester ROM image on disk). I did not know that someone had to re-patch these games 5 years ago since they were lost. As long as my equipment and disks are still working correctly I should be able to copy the images from a disk to the virtual ADAM microSD emulator.  



#20 Bmack36 OFFLINE  

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Posted Tue Feb 6, 2018 11:20 PM

Just as a FYI, I tried Mecha 8 through atarimax with a 1.7 firmware F18a and SGM and it ran just fine.



#21 HDTV1080P OFFLINE  

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Posted Wed Feb 7, 2018 1:29 AM

Just as a FYI, I tried Mecha 8 through atarimax with a 1.7 firmware F18a and SGM and it ran just fine.

That is awesome that Mecha 8 works fine on your system. However, the original poster mentioned seeing corrupted graphics. Perhaps one of you is using a F18a in a ColecoVision and the other person is using the F18a in a standalone ADAM computer. If so that might explain the corrupted graphics issue since the standalone ADAM has a history of being 99% compatible with ColecoVision game cartridges. The other possibility is that if you both are using identical hardware like the ColecoVision, then maybe the original poster is getting corrupted graphics because of some type of hardware problem with their ColecoVision (Power supply issue, or a 36 old ColecoVision system could have some bad electronics that only effects certain games, or maybe their F18a is not working correctly).

 

The latest firmware is version 1.8. They reported a black screen when using that firmware.  However what is interesting is the original poster said firmware version 1.4 and 1.5 works fine. Its only the newer firmware they are having a issue with.  


Edited by HDTV1080P, Wed Feb 7, 2018 1:34 AM.





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