Ok, I am back home...
Here is a list of cool things about the SEM:
- It will be possible to download any CV ROM image to a floppy disk and then run it from your CV.
- The SEM will ship with a game manager utility, which will allow you to run CV ROM images from disk, apply "game genie" like codes to existing games, and customize the color palette of your favourite games.
- The SEM can be used as part of a development system.
- New games can be distributed with almost no cost. The user just need to download the game from any website and save it to a floppy.
- The NVRAM sub-system is segmented in 84 save blocks, which can be allocated and used by games though the news BIOS.
- The new video IC takes the place of the original TMS9928 (thanks to the very clever CV architecture), and is completely backward compatible. There is a new video mode which is compatible with the old graphics 2 (used by almost all CV games), but add new features, like configurable color palette, twice as many sprites per scanline, more colorfull sprites and.... tahtah... hardware scroll! Old games can be hacked to use these new features. The new bitmapped video modes are better than the SMS, with more colors to choose from, and many, many patterns (around 4K patterns in the low resolution modes).
- The new sound IC was created by Yamaha back in 1985. But don't let it deceive you. It is even more powerfull than the MegaDrive/Genesis sound subsystem. The built in ADPCM sampler can produce better sound than the MegaDrive PCM with virtually no processing penalty to the sound CPU. The sample playback is completely CPU free.
Plans are to have the SEM base unit (memory and disk sub-systems) released next year (packed with the game manager and a few games in disk), with the A/V unit coming in 2007 (which will fit inside the base unit). The reason is to make the expansion more affordable and a viable option even if you are a very conservative CV user. The second reason is because I already have several games which can use the base unit (with standard CV graphics and sound) ready to release. In fact I don't need to worry about standard games for the next two years... In the meantime I started to work on two SEM exclusive games which I think will leave many CV fans in awe...
We are also planning a complete, expanded CV unit, built inside a compact case.
The current status is: I start this project some months ago. The memory sub-system was completed last month, but then Ademir Carchano, one of the best electronic engineer I know, joined me and he is taking care of all hardware related things now. Mr Carchano was responsible for several 8bit Brazilian computers from the 80s. The BIOS for the memory module and boot up sequence has been written (it takes care of the memory mapper and NVRAM allocation), with more to come in the next months. I early draft of the programmer's manual already exist, and a few key programmers have already received it. Two games in development, with a more planned (an arcade port)...
I will bring more info as it evolves... I need to get back to some games now...