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Save Key Review


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#1 pmpddytim OFFLINE  

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Posted Sat Sep 9, 2006 6:50 PM

Yesterday I recieved my "Save Key" from CPUWIZ. The Save Key is a small device that plugs into the controller port on the 2600 (as well as 7800 and Vectrex) that "save(s) game / TV settings and scores on modern homebrew games." According to CPUWIZ the Save key is compatible with the following 2600 homebrew games.

Man Goes Down
Fall Down
Go Fish!
Strat-O-Gems
AStar

I recieved the deluxe version of the unit. This version includes a keychain and a clear coating to protect the pcb and components. The quality is excellent. The PCB looks to be translucent blue and is very attractive. The save key also has a blue LED that lights up when the unit is plugged in. One thing that struck me about this is it size....it sooo small!

Currently, the only combatible game I have is Go Fish!. Being able to keep your high scores is just a great feature and makes the game so much more enjoyable. Hopefully many more homebrews will come out with this as a standard feature.

The save key comes in 3 varieties.
The "Bare" (No keychain or clear coating) - $9.95
The "Deluxe" - $10.95
and the DIY Kit for $7.95

At these prices I can't see why any 2600 homebrew lover wouldn't pick one of these babies up.
Remember the more of these that are out in players hands the more homebrews will take advantage of it.



http://www.atariserv...keyword=savekey

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#2 CPUWIZ OFFLINE  

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Posted Sun Sep 10, 2006 5:21 PM

Thanks for the review, glad at least you like it. Nobody seems to be wanting one of these, I even listed one for $4.99 (which is less than half of the price) on eBay and in 7 days it received no bids. Maybe everyone bought one from Richard already.

BTW, yours is different, the regular ones have a white plug. :)

#3 Richard H. OFFLINE  

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Posted Mon Sep 11, 2006 7:52 AM

Maybe everyone bought one from Richard already.

No, it's just that folk don't know about it's existence.

They need taking to a show, or a game needs writing that only works with a SaveKey

#4 EricDeLee OFFLINE  

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Posted Mon Sep 11, 2006 8:04 AM

I didn't know about this... but then again... I don't have many homebrews.

Whats the odds of something like this to save the scores of all of the original games?!

#5 panamajoe OFFLINE  

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Posted Mon Sep 11, 2006 8:10 AM

I didn't know about this... but then again... I don't have many homebrews.


the SaveKey combined with Strat-O-Gems Deluxe is an absolute MUST-have!
It saves the Highscore and it replays the best Combos you did!
This game is great without the key but simply incredible with it.

#6 Richard H. OFFLINE  

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Posted Mon Sep 11, 2006 8:13 AM

Whats the odds of something like this to save the scores of all of the original games?!

I'm sure it could be done.

There's 245 slots left in the Static Allocation Area (+ 16K, which could be another 256)

#7 Thomas Jentzsch OFFLINE  

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Posted Mon Sep 11, 2006 8:24 AM

...it replays the best Combos you did!

Are you sure this is saved on the key? Wouldn't that require a lot of space? :?

#8 Richard H. OFFLINE  

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Posted Mon Sep 11, 2006 8:34 AM

Are you sure this is saved on the key? Wouldn't that require a lot of space?

Yes.

I think John used the undefined other 16K - I could be wrong though

#9 Breakpack OFFLINE  

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Posted Mon Sep 11, 2006 8:39 AM

That's an innovative gadget u got there CPU.Can reproed original Atari games be hacked to take advantage of this?

#10 panamajoe OFFLINE  

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Posted Mon Sep 11, 2006 9:04 AM

...it replays the best Combos you did!

Are you sure this is saved on the key? Wouldn't that require a lot of space? :?

no idea how it works, but it does and it´s absolutly amazing :cool:

#11 CGQuarterly OFFLINE  

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Posted Mon Sep 11, 2006 9:29 AM

I bought one, and I don't even own any compatible games... Maybe someday I will though (waiting for the holiday sales here on AA). I bought the DIY kit for something like $9 shipped. At that price, why not?

Chris

#12 jbanes OFFLINE  

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Posted Mon Sep 11, 2006 9:59 AM

If I can make a suggestion?

CPUWiz, have you considered working with Albert to rebundle some of the homebrews with the Savekey? e.g. Customers would have the option of purchasing just the supported game, or the game and the Savekey together. It would probably make the device sell a lot better if it was available at the time players purchased a supported game.

You have a really great site, but it's primarily focused on game developers and hardware hackers. You'd reach more players if the key were for sale on a more consumer focused venue like AtariAge. :)

#13 supercat OFFLINE  

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Posted Mon Sep 11, 2006 10:14 AM

I think John used the undefined other 16K - I could be wrong though


Since you maintain the allocation documents:

I use $0100-$01FF (I think) and expect it to remain unmolested by other programs. I also use $3FC0-$3FFF but don't care if other programs trash it. I've been suggesting that you should declare some range, probably $3000-$3FFF as being "scratch pad": any program may write there, but no program should expect data to remain once power is off (since someone might play something else that uses that area). In fact, I only use the 64 bytes of "scratchpad" in Strat-O-Gems, but if I ever code a Boggle game, that would use all 4K.

#14 Richard H. OFFLINE  

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Posted Mon Sep 11, 2006 10:29 AM

I've been suggesting that you should declare some range, probably $3000-$3FFF as being "scratch pad"

OK, as the other 16K is still undefined, and this scratch pad area would use 64 slots, it might be a good idea to just divide up the rest as slots.

#15 Lord Helmet OFFLINE  

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Posted Mon Sep 11, 2006 10:37 AM

I have one of these. I use it with Strat-O-Gems. I really think the Save Key will sell better once there are more games out there that support it, or if people knew that their game was Save Key compatable (the games that are compatable need a Save Key logo on the label some where.

#16 Richard H. OFFLINE  

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Posted Mon Sep 11, 2006 12:07 PM

OK, I've updated the allocation page to include the scratchpad area and extended memory

#17 llabnip OFFLINE  

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Posted Mon Sep 11, 2006 1:25 PM

I've got one of these Savekeys and it's GREAT! Man Goes Down uses it and that alone is worth the price! It's so very small - and I'm a little nervous taking it in and out of my controller port for fear of breaking it (I have 2 systems - a 2600 and 7800 which I use this on). But it works great - and it's really amazing to see high-scores and other related data be saved and restored on the games which support it. Let's home for even more AtariVOX/SaveKey games in the future!

PS - for those that are confused - the AtariVOX is a neat device with both speech synthesis and a nice Non-volatile memory save area (for high scores, level data, settings, etc) which new games can be programmed to use. The SaveKey is just the Non-volatile memory area (i.e. no speech synthesis).

#18 panamajoe OFFLINE  

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Posted Mon Sep 11, 2006 1:44 PM

bundeling the savekey with the games that support it and adding some "savekey compatible" stickers to those games is a great idea!
Hopefully that will encourage developers to add savekey support to their new games...

#19 Albert ONLINE  

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Posted Wed Nov 29, 2006 4:41 PM

Yesterday I recieved my "Save Key" from CPUWIZ. The Save Key is a small device that plugs into the controller port on the 2600 (as well as 7800 and Vectrex) that "save(s) game / TV settings and scores on modern homebrew games." According to CPUWIZ the Save key is compatible with the following 2600 homebrew games.

Man Goes Down
Fall Down
Go Fish!
Strat-O-Gems
AStar

Are you sure about AStar? I just tried it with an AtariVox plugged in and I don't see it saving anything obvious.

..Al

#20 Robert M OFFLINE  

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Posted Wed Nov 29, 2006 7:37 PM

Is there a standard library for the SaveKey? I can't find anything to help me as a programmer add support to my programs. :?:

Cheers!

#21 Albert ONLINE  

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Posted Wed Nov 29, 2006 8:58 PM

Are you sure about AStar? I just tried it with an AtariVox plugged in and I don't see it saving anything obvious.

..Al

I got an answer from Aaron Curtis (the game's developer) about this. AStar does take advantage of the AtariVox--it keeps track of each level you complete, so you can solve a level or three, turn the system off, and then come back to complete more later. This allows you to finish them all without having to do so in one sitting. I updated the AStar and AtariVox pages in the store accordingly.

..Al

#22 mos6507 OFFLINE  

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Posted Wed Nov 29, 2006 9:07 PM

One disadvantage of AtariVox and the SaveKey is they tie up the 2nd controller port. That keeps it from being used for multiplayer games such as Medieval Mayhem. This limitation will go away for games that are hosted on Chimera carts, which provide up to 2 extra controller ports.

#23 Uzumaki OFFLINE  

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Posted Wed Nov 29, 2006 9:12 PM

So the Save Key can be used in a large RPG type game to save progress like the battery backed saves of NES era games? I may pick one up soon if someone can do a large Dragon Warrior, Ultima, or Zelda style game for the 2600

#24 Richard H. OFFLINE  

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Posted Thu Nov 30, 2006 8:59 AM

Robert,

See the I2C section of the driver for code. Then take a look at the allocation page and let me know if you want some pages reserving and I'll update the list.


So the Save Key can be used in a large RPG type game to save progress like the battery backed saves of NES era games? I may pick one up soon if someone can do a large Dragon Warrior, Ultima, or Zelda style game for the 2600

Yes, and it doesn't require a battery (life span is 1 million writes and 200+ years data retention)

#25 jpfalcon2003 OFFLINE  

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Posted Fri Dec 1, 2006 3:04 AM

This may be a future purchase for me.




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