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Member Since 10 Apr 2014
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#4280182 How embarrassing for the TI-99/4A!

Posted by FarmerPotato on Today, 3:10 PM

Too boring for Rasmus.. I love the game I own two of the arcade games upright and cocktail table

Sent from my LM-G820 using Tapatalk

I watched this game a lot as a kid. Mostly because no good at it. There was a cocktail version in the restaurant atop Pyramid Plaza in Lubbock TX. (My mental map had a lot of neurons devoted to where the arcade games were.) Sunware/Exceltec had an office on the ground floor. I like to think they came upstairs to play Omega Race.. but shipped Space Patrol.

#4280004 What would you do with dual screens on a 99/4A?

Posted by FarmerPotato on Today, 10:06 AM

Microsurgeon with a full-screen playfield and all the status boxes on the second screen(with a high-color ICU graphic, since we're not limited by the 9918 palette anymore either).


Microsurgeon is one of my favorites! Great idea, its due for a remake. 

  • RXB likes this

#4278304 What would you do with dual screens on a 99/4A?

Posted by FarmerPotato on Mon May 20, 2019 9:34 AM

So Stuart sent me a 9958 with the challenge to re-create a plug in video board upgrade.
I built a 9938+9995 standalone wirewrap 30 years ago, so this is just fun, but it has been done before (OPA SoB, Dijit.)
I got to thinking, what about a DUAL 9958?
The VDP RAM ports could be switched to mirrored, or just one screen getting focus, or operated independently as two ports.
That's seriously weird. What would anyone do with it? Support for a second graphics screen would be easy to add in environments like FORTH. Imagine instead of split-screen bitmap mode, you had one screen for text and coding and another for graphics.
Or two TI BASIC programs operating out of separate VDP RAM, switchable with a button. 
Or the ultimate, a Munch-Man with a super wide screen.

#4276873 TI and the MiniPro TL866 EPROM Programmer

Posted by FarmerPotato on Fri May 17, 2019 12:40 PM

Though for programmable chips like the 16V8Bs, PLCC might be a better choice, just in case you need to update them (unless you plan on doing some form of ISP with the SOIC chips.


I am going with PLCCs, not SOIC.  I got a lifetime supply of PLCC20 and PLCC28 sockets.

There was a TL866II bundle for $84 with 15 adaptors, including PLCC20 to 44.  When it arrives I'll determine what the SOP adaptors really are.


3.3V PLD in PLCC28
ATF22LV10C-10JU-ND  $1.47 DigiKey
5V PLD in PDIP and PLCC28
ATF22V10C-15PU-ND $1.66
ATF22V10C-15JU-ND $1.66
5V PLD in PDIP and PLCC20
ATF16V8B-15PU-ND  $0.89
ATF16V8B-15JU-ND   $0.89
"J" is PLCC (J lead) 1.27mm (0.05") and "P" is PDIP 2.54mm (0.1").

#4273626 Dragon's Lair is sold out!

Posted by FarmerPotato on Sat May 11, 2019 1:53 PM


I really hope people aren't just sitting on these, un-opened and un-played, in the hopes that they will be able to eventually flip them on eBay for a high price.  A homebrew game like this is meant to played and appreciated!   :thumbsup:  :)  It always frustrates me to see the people who have bought a copy of a limited release just to sit on it as it deprives someone else who actually wanted to PLAY the game...  :_(

I'm one of those who ordered extra copies at the end, and I'm happy to report that we often had 2 players at once at Midwest Gaming Classic (this is a really high foot traffic event.)

We still have people excited to see the Pitfall cartridge. Philip was gracious enough to allocate two of them for our show, out of the original sales run.

#4272659 POLL: Proposed Fest 99/4ATX (Austin, TX)

Posted by FarmerPotato on Thu May 9, 2019 12:43 PM

First, I am not competing with the Fest West in Washington.
In the distant past, Fest West was sponsored by different users groups, most often the Southwest 99ers of Arizona, though in 98 they organized it in Lubbock, TX (1997).
I want to see who is interested in attending a Fest in Austin, TX.
The proposed event will be Friday-Sunday, and be largely structured by what the attendees bring.
The venue will be an air-conditioned classroom, with tables, whiteboard, large TV, and a projector, at ATX Hackerspace on 9700 Dessau Rd. There is a lounge/kitchen/eating area. (Guided tours of members-only areas like electronics lab, laser cutter and 3D printing.)
If anyone wants to do a presentation/stream, you would write that on the whiteboard schedule, but otherwise we would just share about things TI, much like Chi-Friday. Set up your gear, gather in small groups, share, learn, and solve problems.
As a long shot, we could try to get a special guest.
The event would be free, and open to the public (I would expect others from the hackerspace and the local C-64 group.) 
The only charge will be for snacks and Saturday breakfast-lunch.
  • Venue: ATX Hackerspace has air conditioning, a kitchen, and wi-fi. Classroom and lounge for the weekend, at no cost. Guided tours of 3D printing etc. 
  • Format: BarCamp style, attendees can announce a presentation in the classroom, otherwise free form.
  • Security: we can put gear in a locked room overnight. The building is keyed entry. Nothing's ever been stolen from the classroom.
  • Hardware: I can provide  stock P-Boxes, 4A consoles, monitors so you can travel lighter. Electronics lab available.
  • Flights to ATX: SEA-ATX non-stop is nice but $400. For $251 you can go through SFO.
  • Lodging: Super 8 near ATXHS is as low as $58. Marriot $118. There are a lot of options. I can open 2 guest rooms in my house.
  • Transportation: Volunteers will help with airport pickup; Uber is around $35.
  • Food: Saturday: Breakfast Tacos. Lunch: barbecue delivery. Dinner: trip to Chuy's (Tex-Mex.)
Potential side trips are TI's old buildings (now Flex), Altex Electronics, Pinballz Arcade. 


#4265235 Ti99/4a Super Sketch

Posted by FarmerPotato on Fri Apr 26, 2019 10:17 AM

At last year's VCF the Super Sketch proved to be quite popular.  Enough that I will have it up again this year.  I have been making signs for the table and I wanted to make one up for the Super Sketch, only to run into a lack of good historical information.  It was announced at the 1984 CES for $50, which also puts it about a year after the Koalapad, but that seems to be it.


I too can report that the Super Sketch is very popular. At MGC we had adults and kids trying it out. Several drew the whole bird picture. One kid did several of the practice sheets.


I have only my own memories from 1984-5. I knew some folks that purchased it at Unisource Electronics (Lubbock TX computer store with a catalog operation). I first played with it  at a community craft/computer fair where they had the C-64 version.


The one in use at MGC came from a nice TI collection in Wisconsin that I bought in 2010; the owner had a lot of Tenex catalogs. 


Chris Bobbitt reviewed Super Sketch in Micropendium,   Jan 1985. 





The review shows a price of $59.95 and adddress Personal Peripherals, 1505 S Green St, Longview TX 75602.


There is a Unisource ad on page 20 selling it for $44.95.


The review is all As, acknowledging Super Sketch shortcomings, while not calling it a dead end because it can't write to disk, or print.


(Who solved printing, by the way?)

#4261946 Lubbock Texas TI Sites

Posted by FarmerPotato on Sat Apr 20, 2019 7:07 PM

I got my TI up and found the disk file, but when i loaded it into E/A it said something about 'control character missing'.  I will need to look at it some more. :)


I have seen this somewhere, maybe a messed up file.


This error might be returned by  EDIT1 (the editor) or possible ASSM1 (assembler), but the LOADER does not use it.


I think it refers to the last line of the file, which has the editor's tab settings, being an unexpected format.



These are some of the E/A error numbers.  
9  CONTROL CHARACTER REMOVED not used by loader.
A  ILLEGAL TAG (one of D,E,G,H)
E  PROGRAM NOT FOUND   not used by loader

#4260484 Lubbock Texas TI Sites

Posted by FarmerPotato on Thu Apr 18, 2019 11:16 AM

I'm pretty sure it was an internal TI deal.  I was so young that I don't remember which demos that TI bought/published/distributed, but it seemed like they were all music demos he programmed in either Basic, Extended Basic, or Assembly.


I've got an unfinished version of a game called 'Caveman' he was working on in Assembly that was based on the Ringo Starr movie, as well.


His name was Sam Moore, Jr.  :)


Sam Moore Jr was a big influence on me as a kid.
I received a few of his music "videos" through friends. They were generally excellent in quality, so I loaded them many times. 
All of the pop songs were new to me as a kid, so I credit Sam Moore Jr with "educating" me in these pop standards, such as Time in a Bottle, Killing Me Softly, You're So Vain, Yesterday, plus a few classical works like Moonlight Sonata and the jazzy 5th of Beethoven and Bumble Boogie. The graphics were always fun.
Here are listings of what's available in the Tigercub collections of Sam Moore Jr:
Sam Moore Jr disks
600, 601, 602, 603 in PC99 format (use ti99dirto extract files or convert to V9T9 dsk)
600       :     343 used  17 free   90 KB  1S/1D 40T  9 S/T
AMAZEFILE     11  INT/VAR 80    2454 B  122 recs
AMAZEGRACE    10  PROGRAM       2254 B
BERCEUSE/X    35  PROGRAM       8655 B
BUGLEBOOGX    31  PROGRAM       7557 B
BUMBLBOOGB    45  PROGRAM      11116 B
DOGBOOGIEX    38  PROGRAM       9340 B
FORESTROSX    31  PROGRAM       7653 B
LOAD           7  PROGRAM       1410 B
MAINSCRX      17  PROGRAM       3925 B
ODEPUPPYX     34  PROGRAM       8326 B
VARTHEMEX     30  PROGRAM       7181 B
VENUSRHAPX    26  PROGRAM       6297 B
WESTBOOGX     26  PROGRAM       6257 B

MOORE#2   :     345 used  15 free   90 KB  1S/1D 40T  9 S/T
5THBEETHVX    47  PROGRAM      11574 B
ALBUMLEAFX    46  PROGRAM      11444 B
IN/MILL/X     38  PROGRAM       9371 B
JUSTWAY/X     38  PROGRAM       9390 B
KILMESOFTX    28  PROGRAM       6819 B
LIGHTFILE     10  INT/VAR 80    2244 B  121 recs
LIGHTLIFX2    16  PROGRAM       3802 B
LOAD           7  PROGRAM       1334 B
OP/23/X       30  PROGRAM       7307 B
TIME-DATA     12  INT/VAR 80    2620 B  134 recs
TIME/BOTX2    28  PROGRAM       6720 B
YESTERDAYX    43  PROGRAM      10607 B

MOORE#3   :     350 used  10 free   90 KB  1S/1D 40T  9 S/T
BOOGOOGIEX    34  PROGRAM       8204 B
GUITAR/X      20  PROGRAM       4773 B
LOAD           7  PROGRAM       1345 B
MOONLSON/X    49  INT/VAR 254  12090 B   48 recs
MORNING/X     40  PROGRAM       9850 B
NOCTURNE      41  PROGRAM      10218 B
OZMEDLEY      42  PROGRAM      10384 B
RONDO         41  PROGRAM      10068 B
SEABOTTOM     23  PROGRAM       5400 B
SENORITA      24  PROGRAM       5804 B
VENBOAT/X     27  PROGRAM       6454 B

MOORE#4   :     339 used  21 free   90 KB  1S/1D 40T  9 S/T
BIGCATBOOG    19  PROGRAM       4457 B
CSONATA       43  PROGRAM      10668 B
GRAYMOUSE     18  PROGRAM       4116 B
KANGAROO      16  PROGRAM       3793 B
LOAD           7  PROGRAM       1502 B
MAPLELEAF     44  PROGRAM      10962 B
MASH4077      40  PROGRAM       9934 B
SILENCIA      14  PROGRAM       3240 B
SNOWSCENE     11  PROGRAM       2393 B
SPLENDORED    38  PROGRAM       9405 B
SUNDAYDRIV    18  PROGRAM       4286 B
WITCHDANCE    42  PROGRAM      10331 B
WITHLOVE      27  PROGRAM       6495 B

#4259765 VINTAGE Games in BASIC

Posted by FarmerPotato on Wed Apr 17, 2019 9:36 AM

For the more interesting programs, the screen width was the main limiting factor. I remember way back when trying to convert a really cool naval warfare game (I think it's in Ahl's second book) but being thwarted by the fact that it required 80 columns...


I spent many after school days and summers working on programs out of the two David H. Ahl books of Creative Computing.


I remember adapting the red book's Seabattle to 28 columns with graphic characters (I especially liked the sea monster.) It's like TI Trek but with a submarine, torpedoes, island base, and sea monsters. (Apt, because the Enterprise is basically a submarine in space.) ("The real name of this program is, "Underwater Pie Lob")


From the first book my favorite was Hammurabi (I never had the TI version from Oldier but Goodies I), a strange lifelong affinity that 30 years later led me to the basement of the Oriental Institute of Chicago.


From the third book of much bigger programs, I adapted Dukedom to look nice in Extended Basic.


I purchased the eBooks of Ahl when he had an official website, and the  BekerBot folio of robot illustrations from the books. I have converted some BekerBots into vector artwork and made one very large gold foil covered version.


Love those BekerBots.



#4256915 Dragon's Lair is sold out!

Posted by FarmerPotato on Sat Apr 13, 2019 12:41 AM

Having fun with Dragon's Lair at Midwest Gaming Classic, Wisconsin Center, Milwaukee.


Mike's packaging material is on the easel. The poster art is on the joystick console :)






#4253013 Assembly on the 99/4A

Posted by FarmerPotato on Sat Apr 6, 2019 4:01 PM

I measure how fast I can blast 4k of bitmap data, for 1 frame of a 16x16 tile area of the screen. I store the pattern and color in chars 00-7F (each bank) for one frame.
checkr is a routine that blasts a 4x4 checkerboard pattern into the color table with a scrolled offset of 0-7. Registers are in PAD.
* Timing
Full blast 4k. Pat tbl all >F0 with vmsw 2k, color table with checkr 2k. All in CPU RAM. Music playing.
; 512 frames in 51 seconds with 2 vsync waits in a row.  10 fps or 6 ticks/frame
; 512 frames in 40 seconds with 1 vsync wait.  12 fps or 5 ticks/frame. 
; 512 frames in 38 seconds with 0 vsync wait. Still around 5 ticks.
half blast 2k. color table only with checkr.
    ; 512 frames in 24 seconds. 21 fps or 3 ticks/frame.
half blast 2k. Inner loop of checkr in PAD.
    ; 512 frames in 21 seconds. 25 fps or 2-3 ticks/frame.
no music
; 512 frames in 17 seconds. 30 fps. 2 ticks/frame.
Cycle Analysis of checkr: T(a73e-a794)
N    Cy  N*Cy
1024 26 26624 movb r4,*r15 (8 movb per unrolled loop)
128 10  1280 dec r2
128 10  1280 jne 
Total 29184 cycles
average cycles measured in checkr: 30352
    Times two, or 60700 cycles.
Trying movb r4,@VDPWD takes 30 cycles. Slower than movb r4,*r15. Adds 4096 cycles.
Time to move code into pad:
60 + 20*(38+14+14) = 1380
So do this once.
; full bandwidth, supposedly optimized vdp blitter.
; fill all the bytes that would be written if the whole field had been calculated.
; move this routine to >8380    
padck1 equ >8380
ck1    movb r3,*vd
    movb r3,*vd
    movb r3,*vd
    movb r3,*vd
    movb r4,*vd
    movb r4,*vd
    movb r4,*vd
    movb r4,*vd
    dec  r2
    jne  ck1
    b    @ck2

; move code into pad. call this once.
    li   r0,padck1
    li   r1,ck1
    li   r2,(ck1$-ck1)
ck0 mov  *r1+,*r0+
    dec  r2
    jne  ck0

    li   r2,>80  ; loops 
    mov  r9,r0
    neg  r0
    andi r0,7
    sla  r0,1
    ai   r0,padck1
    b    *r0     ; jump into partial move
ck2    mov  r9,r0
    neg  r0
    andi r0,7
    jeq  ck3
; partial last char causes all the trouble. we could wrap but clobbering 0 would look awful.
    movb r3,*vd
    dec r0
    jeq ck3
    movb r3,*vd
    dec r0
    jeq ck3
    movb r3,*vd
    dec r0
    jeq ck3
    movb r3,*vd
    dec r0
    jeq ck3
    movb r4,*vd
    dec r0
    jeq ck3
    movb r4,*vd
    dec r0
    jeq ck3
    movb r4,*vd

ck3 rt
Next steps:
Moving data from a buffer in CPU RAM will be a large hit.
Since at best 2k takes 2 ticks, even 6 ticks for 4k, page flipping will be essential. I will have to  break up the blitting into sections, as Rasmus suggested. Perhaps doing other processing in between (though there is only a finite amount of processing to do per frame. sprites move at most 1 pixel per frame.)
While I would like to have full bitmap scrolling, other ideas are:
1. My current scheme is 2 tiles, with 2*2 permutations (space above space, space above block, block above space, block above block). There are two frames. On each tick, I update 4 patterns in the next frame, then update the SIT. Total 32+256 bytes.
2. Idea. Making the background out of only 5 tiles, with all permutations of 5*5*8 stored in the pattern/color table. Then to update the frame, write 256 bytes of SIT (in 16 rows of 16.) This is still awfully limiting. Total 256 bytes.
3. Idea. Have 11 tiles, and update all 11*11 permutations for a frame. Write SIT. Total 2.5k.
4. Reduce the scrolling area width or height.

#4252201 Name that Game

Posted by FarmerPotato on Fri Apr 5, 2019 11:53 AM

Here it is:



#4252138 Name that Game

Posted by FarmerPotato on Fri Apr 5, 2019 9:49 AM

Markus of Marinus, by our maestro Opry99er.

#4251519 SDD 99

Posted by FarmerPotato on Thu Apr 4, 2019 11:30 AM

I think I had around 3000 hours into TIPI sideport before I released it as a Beta (it is still beta)



Oh wow.


From where I see it, you make it look easy. 3000 hours is why it looks perfect (:


I have about 300 hours into FORTI-2. I was afraid I was just slow. (it's got an awful timing bug with the 9900 running code out of its memory, though data access works.)