Hi- David Galloway asked me to check out this thread. Pretty cool! A few months ago I only knew about 4 other people who were interested in the Channel F system.
Well, now there are... eight
I created a multigame cart for the system by hacking a Schach (chess) cart. That cart has the dynamic memory interface that creates a real address bus. I had to patch the Maze game since that cart had a 2102 SRAM, and you can't put in your own words in Hangman since I didn't patch that one, but all the other known carts work. I built a cart dumper using a PIC microprocessor and sent it to a couple of guys to dump their hard-to-find carts.
Well... what exactly would creating new cartridges for the system entail? I'm not understanding what Bruce Tomlin means by "the program counter has to be on the ROM..." I know what a program counter is, but I just can't get my head around actually putting in on a cart...
I originally wrote my multigame code by hand-patching Demo Cart 1. There's an F8 disassembler in MESS, and I'd hex edit the binary then disassemble it to make sure I did it right. Someone sent me an F8 assembler, but I can't distribute it. That's what I used to write Lights Out, then to rewrite the multigame code.
Well I think we can use Bruce's F8 assembler for now, the only issue I see with it is that it doesn't produce binary output... what tools would I use to turn the hex file into a raw binary? Also... I propose we take the code to either Bruce's F8 assembler or another custombuilt assembler and have it be our DASM, our default assembler... maybe we can call it Fate
(get it? a pronunciation of "Feight")
I've got a ton of documentation on the 3850 CPU, 3851 PSU (program storage unit), 3853 dynamic memory interface, as well as the F8 system itself. I've disassembled a bunch of the games, and found 3 easter eggs.
Is this documentation available anywhere for me to look at? That'd be wonderful...
What's the goal here? To create an entire system from scratch, or just create some carts? It really isn't too tough to write code when you have an assembler; you just have to think a little oddly. The Channel F doesn't have any RAM that you can read; you have to use the F8's 64 scratchpad registers, which are a little wacky to access.
Well, the goal here is to start a homebrew development community, get some working games, some fun and exciting stuff made, fun to play... and maybe if it's not too ridiculous AtariAge could sell new homebrew Channel F carts? sounds like that might be a stretch but at least some new games to play in emulation and a better understanding of the limits of the Channel F and exactly what it can do
Thanks! it was really good to hear from you, hopefully you'll stick around? Join the mailing list if you want