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  1. The new levels are no longer hacked up and sized to fit over the existing ones in the ROM, these are unaltered LUMPS directly from the editor (not even padded) merged into a new PWAD (JWAD) and appended to the game. Total build time for 19 new levels (From the lumps).... 3 seconds Goodbye spreadsheets, goodbye hex editors, goodbye calculators... just make and export your levels and away you go! Side effect of this is we can now replace any asset in the IWAD easily and without fuss. To Do: Add NRV2 compression to allow even bigger JWADs!
  2. 9 points
    People who hate elevators should take the steps to avoid them.
  3. Herman Schuurman by Klaus Lukaschek Interview taken December 2015 Herman Schuurman had a 36 years career at Texas Instruments, from November 1977 to his retirement in 2013. In March 1978 he got promoted to be Lead Programmer for the Consumer Products Group in Lubbock. The description of his work is taken from LinkedIn for that designation: Software design for advanced personal computer products. Design and implementation of Text to Speech system based on TMS5200 speech synthesizer; TI 99/4A mini memory development system; I/O section of 99/4 Home Computer; I/O section of BASIC interpreter; system software for various peripheral devices. [https://www.linkedin.com/in/herman-schuurman-60584b9/] Q) What was it like to work for TI in the Consumer Products Group? It was a lot of fun. Lubbock is a relatively small community (around 180,000 when I lived there), so we had a tight-knit team there that also got together outside of work. Lubbock itself is desert-like – dry heat in the summer and cold in the winter. It’s part of the south plains; flat as a pancake, with no hills around to speak of. The names of surrounding towns reflect this: Levelland, Plainview, Shallowater, etc… I was hired in for the Personal Computer Division in Lubbock, but I worked for the Consumer Products Group in Almelo, The Netherlands while my American work permit came through the system. In March 1978 I finally moved to Lubbock, having never actually seen the place. Q) Can you describe your relationship to TI as an employee? You almost worked your whole life there. Until recently, TI had a lot of different subdivisions. This allowed me to work from consumer to industrial systems to research, etc… Lately TI has been concentrating more on analog, so I guess it would be more difficult to stick around for your entire career and still have a variety of assignments. Q) How did it came that you left the Consumer Products Group at TI in 1981? I joined the Dallas-based group that Don Bynum originally came from, the Corporate Engineering Center. By the time I left, most of the system design was over, and the team was moving to application design. Q) Can you describe in detail your involvement with the TMS5200 speech synthesizer? The original design for the TMS5100 was done by Larry Brantingham, Paul Breedlove, Richard Wiggins, and Gene Frantz. Gene was heading up the speech group (home of the Speak & Spell) when I joined TI in Lubbock, and Larry moved to TI France (Nice) soon after. I eventually wound up in a group with Richard Wiggins when I joined the Corporate Engineering Center in Dallas. The second generation of the TMS5100, the TMS5200, was used to power the speech peripheral. My involvement with the speech synthesizer was to create the text translation and allophone stringing software in coordination with Kathy Goudie (who worked for Gene), who was responsible for creating the allophone (sound) set and the translation rules. The linked article by Sharon Crook is basically a rehash of the internal documentation on the text to speech software. Q) All TI-99 Speech Synthesizers have the door that was meant for inserting Speech modules, early units even have an interface for such modules. However no modules were released. Do you have an insight on this? Can you enlighten us with a story about how this was planned and later abonded? The speech module came with 200-odd canned speech phrases that could be used in software modules. There was a provision for phrase ROMs to be added later to expand the available vocabulary, but the introduction of the text to speech capability made that a moot point. Q) Can you describe your involvement in the TI-99/4 project? The Home Computer (99/4) project started about a year before I joined the team in Lubbock. I believe the original promotors of the project were Granville Ott and Len Donohoe. I was originally hired to work on the SR-70, a small scientific computer, but by the time I landed in Lubbock, that project had been moved to the Data Systems Group in Austin, and I was put to work on the SR-62, a small self-contained computer that shared most of its software with the Home Computer. In addition to the Home Computer stuff, the SR-62 had a small built-in monitor and a thermal printer. When the Home Computer eventually fell behind schedule, the entire SR-62 team was moved over to complete the 99/4. Since my background was in operating system design, I worked on a lot of I/O related stuff such as the audio cassette, thermal printer, etc. I also was responsible for the I/O section of the BASIC interpreter, including formatted I/O, etc... One of the more complex peripherals was the floppy drive. Bill Nale and I split that design, with Bill responsible for the hardware and the low level software, while I took the file system design and implementation. This was the only time I remember having contact with anyone from Microsoft, even though a lot of 99/4 websites seem to think that Microsoft was responsible for a lot of the software on the 99/4. We had Bob Greenberg come out once to validate the file system design (there were no design changes). Q) The TI Dimension 4 almost looks like the TI-99/4 and is from 1978/1979. Do you know anything about it? Link for Schuurman to the dimension4 atariage Thread It sure looks like an early 99/4; I don’t remember the Dimension 4 name, but it may be an early marketing name for the 99/4. It was definitely not the Z80-based version, since that looked more like a high-end stereo component, including the wooden side panels. Compared to the 99/4 it was extremely fast, since the video was memory mapped (and you had a speedy processor). Before I arrived in Lubbock, there was some work done on a native GPL chip, but by 1978 that had been replaced with an 8-bit TMS9985 based design. Unfortunately, that chip never ran correctly, so we had to eventually fit a 16-bit TMS9900 into an 8-bit design. If you like to see more info on the 9985 design debacle, check out Karl Guttag’s page at http://www.kguttag.com/2013/08/10/if-you-havent-tested-it-it-doesnt-work/. Q) Do you still have a TI-99? If yes, can you describe what you have kept. When was the last time you used it? A few years ago I gave all my 99/4a related hardware and software to Joe Zbiciak, since I hadn’t touched it for quite a while. Joe is more into legacy systems, so he had a better use for it. I kept the Panasonic monitor, but it failed a few weeks ago, so now I’m totally out of 99/4a related stuff. Q) Was your Text to Speech system reused for other Speech products from TI or other companies? Not to my knowledge. A remember Ute Marcotte was working on a German version of the text-to-speech rules/allophone set, but I don’t know if that ever made it out. Most of the later interest seemed to be in speaker independent speech recognition, which I worked on several years later in the Telecom Systems group. Q) Having some relationship with Speech, what is your opinion on Apple's Siri? Compared to the early work we did on speaker independent speech recognition, both Siri and Cortana are phenomenal. Of course the amount of CPU power and available memory space are also incomparable. I use the speech recognition on the iPhone quite a bit, and it is really good. Q) Does your name have an origin in the Netherlands or some close-by country? Can you enlighten us? I was born in the Netherlands and spend the first 24 years of my life there. I graduated from the Technische Hogeschool Twente (now known as the University of Twente) in Enschede, the Netherlands. After graduation I joined TI and moved to the USA. Although I graduated in Electrical Engineering, a lot of my background was in embedded systems and Operating Systems design/implementation, which is why I was hired by TI. Q) Do you know how it came that the command to load a program is called "OLD" on the TI? It probably came from the original Dartmouth BASIC, where OLD was used to retrieve a program from storage, and NEW to start a new program. Q) Bill Cosby was the front face for the TI-99 to the public, was it a person the employees looked up to as well? Advertising was all handled by the marketing team, but Bill Cosby was very popular in those days, both from his earlier I Spy series, and through the Fat Albert and the Cosby Kids show. In addition, the fact that he had a Doctor of Education degree didn’t hurt. Q) What was the role of Don Bynum you worked with? Don was working on a redesign of the 99/4 while in the Corporate Engineering Center in TI Dallas (the Ranger). In late 1980 he moved to Lubbock to take over the home computer group from Pete Bonfield (who moved on to become Chairman and Managing Director of ICL in England). He drove the 99/4a and peripheral box efforts, and later the 99/2 and 99/8. I never actually saw it, but he was rumored to have an old piano cabinet with the 99/4a peripheral chain taking up the entire cabinet. A few months after the introduction of the 99/4a I moved from the Lubbock team to Bynum’s old group, the Corporate Engineering Center in Dallas. Q) Was it clear from the beginning that there will be some Text to Speech software or was it some brilliant idea by an employee? I don’t know who came up with the text-to-speech idea with the speech group, and Kathy can’t remember either. I’ll check with Gene Frantz to see if he still remembers. Keep in mind that it was not a given that text-to-speech would actually work acceptably in the 9900 until we actually implemented it. Q) So we could say, that your work on the Text to Speech made the speech modules for the Speech synthesizer irrelevant, right? Yes. Q) On what scientific work was your Text to Speech software based on? Was there any linguist or phonetic scientists involved? TI already had an active speech team located in the Lubbock (one of their best known products is probably the Speak N Spell). The person I worked with, Kathy Goudie, has a Ph.D. in Linguistics, and the allophones used in the text-to-speech software were created from an extensive speech database that had already been developed within the speech team. Q) I couldn't find much information on the SR-62 and the SR-70 computers, have they ever been released? What have the specs of the SR-62 been? Since you said it should have shared its software with the 99/4, this might be interesting for our people to know. Not surprising, since these are internal designators, and neither product ultimately made it to market. The SR-62 was essentially a self-contained home computer with a built-in monitor and a thermal printer. Q) Do you know how much Microsoft or Bill Gates was involved in the TI Basic / System Rom of the 99/4? Microsoft was not involved with the 99/4 development. They (in the form of Bob Greenberg) were contracted to develop BASIC for the SR-70 (which is also sometimes referred to as the 99/7), but the BASIC for the 99/4 was developed in-house. Q) Why was the native GPL chip replaced with the TMS9985? How far was the GPL chip developed? Although it was before my arrival in Lubbock, the GPL chip was supposed to be developed for an external customer. When that customer dropped out, the GPL chip was also dropped, and was replaced by the TMS9985. Q) Accessing peripheral devices through a DSR interface allows us to connect modern devices to the TI without modifying the System Rom. Do you know who came up with the idea on this? Did TI had that before the 99/4 already? It’s been too long to remember the exact details, but it was probably worked out between Bill Nale and me. Bill would have handled the level 1 features (hardware communications, sector read/write, disk formatting), and I would have handled the file related features. Since the hardware was developed concurrently with the software, it allowed me to work on the file system code by simulating the low-level routines on a TI-990 minicomputer, using a large file on the minicomputer hard drive to simulate a floppy disk. Keep in mind that I already developed a similar system for an Intellec-80 (Intel 8080 based) system using 8” floppies as part of my thesis. Q) How did you feel when you heard that TI will leave the home computer market after being involved in setting it all up? Sad, although it was probably inevitable due to the financial losses. I’m still glad I had a chance to work on it though. Q) What was the policy of TI with hardware/software/documentation/schematics on canceled projects? It seems a few lucky employees got a TI-99/8 when TI left the market. Typically you have to get official permission to legally get any of this stuff. That said, it is entirely possible that management at that time gave away some memorabilia. Q) How do you feel when you hear that those machines are still running after all those years and there are some people still doing stuff with them? Absolutely amazed and delighted. I would have never guessed the 99/4 would survive for over 35 years, especially with the typical rapid turn-over in the computer age. Best Regards, Herman Schuurman
  4. 8 points
    Good news: "I've reviewed your application and it would be great to have you as tenants. When would be a good time for you to review and sign a lease?" We can now stop looking for a house to rent.
  5. Small update. I found Kyan Pascal in the collection. All information and manuals can be found here: https://atariwiki.org/wiki/Wiki.jsp?page=Pascal#section-Pascal-KyanPascalCopyrightC1985KyanSoftware Kyan Pascal.zip
  6. Rick Payne by Klaus Lukaschek Interview taken December 2015 Rick Payne was born in Swindon, England while his father was in the US Air Force. His LinkedIn Profile is no longer available, so sorry for the lack of his work details. He did work in the Consumer Products Division of TI in the early 1980's - 1980 to 1983. He was in Quality Control working on the TI 99/4A and the TI 99/8 during that time span. He got employed with TI again in 2009, working in semiconductors. Q) How did you get in touch with Texas Instruments? It was 1976 and I was in Technical School in Little Rock, Arkansas. Recruiters from TI came to my school and gave a test to the top 5 students. They were very interested in grade point standing and also class attendance history. TI was the number 1 company to recruit from the school at that time. I passed the test and I was offered a position as a Technician in TI’s calculator division in Lubbock, Texas for 4.44 USD / hour. Q) What was your first day like? This was October 15, 1976 Very exciting and a little nervous. Nothing like I had experienced before in my life. The TI calculator was pretty much known by every culture on the planet. In 1976, TI Lubbock was the hub of TI’s calculator division and manufactured millions a month. Q) Can you describe in detail what you did for Quality Control Engineering? Only the 99/4A console was manufactured in Lubbock. The plug in GROMS (game modules), expansion box / boards, speech synthesizer, modem, joysticks, etc.. were manufactured at other TI sites. The original power supply (internal) and the transformer were manufactured by 3rd party. Epson manufactured the dot matrix printer. I had a few job responsibilities in Quality Control - incoming QC (testing incoming electronic components and circuit boards), submissions to UL, ULC, SA and CE for their safety certification, manufacturing line audits, console failure analysis – from burn-in testing (line failures) and field failures (after sales). I also did the failure testing on the power transformer recall that you ask about. More detail on that later. Q) At which stage of development was the 99/4A when you started at TI? In the summer of 1980 when I transferred from the semiconductor FAB at TI Lubbock to Home Computers, the 99/4 was being manufactured. The 99/4A had not been released from Product Engineering until the summer of 1981. We were in the process of building and testing 99/4A prototypes, Beta units in the summer, fall and winter of 1980 /81. Q) Can you describe in detail your involvement with the 99/4A? Prior to manufacturing release, I worked with Product Engineering to produce a reliable, manufacturable console. I helped to write the quality inspection procedures for each line operation. This would be the specification that the QC line inspectors would use to test and determine a pass / fail. I also spent a month sitting on the assembly line to repair consoles at certain stages. This included the initial power up after wave solder up to final test and inspection, just before packaging. Q) When the 99/4A did go into production, did your group felt it was ready, it was tested enough? The summer of 1981. Yes, All groups signed off on the release to begin manufacturing runs. Q) What is your favorite memory from working in the TI Consumer Products Division? Many memories – Bill Cosby, who was the TI spokesman on TV, visited the manufacturing lines. The popularity of the 99/4A was immense with about 30% market share at the peak. Also, I remember working a lot of over time when the power transformer recall happened – testing, devising and implementing a fix. I learned BASIC programming at this time which I have used a lot in my career. Q) What was the mood like in the office? Did you take a break to play TI-99 games sometimes? The mood was good most of the time - Yes, frequently – TI Invaders and Parsec Q) What tools did you use to test the quality of the products? Most of the tools were equipment built by TI and that plugged into the IO port. Other testing after the console was assembled (final test) was manually performed which required the inspector to pay attention to the monitor for visual and audible function/ quality. Q) How did you test a product? Can you describe that on an example you still remember? Since the output was video and audio, most of the testing was for the tester (human) to use a special GROM that had different test steps. They would view the monitor and listen to the audio – testing the video RAM, video quality, audio tones, joystick interface, etc... Q) Have you been involved in testing software as well? Was that even part of Quality Control Engineering? No, I was not involved in software testing for any of the TI Home Computer products. There was a speech synthesizer lab in Lubbock and I believe that the software group for the GROMS (graphics read only memory) modules was in TI Austin, Texas. Q) Did Quality Control Engineering communicated with the Divison, that did the 990 mini-computers? Did you share tools/processes/standards? The 990 was not manufactured in Lubbock, but used widely across TI for automation control. My first experience with the 990 computer was in 1978 working in IC parametric test as a repair person. These controlled the testers for testing TI’s memory IC’s – TMS4044 and the TMS4116 (used in the 99/4A home computer). We reloaded programs using the paper IBM (Hollerith punch card) cards. You could also use the 16 switches on the front panel to program in Hexadecimal code. – Klaus – My brain is straining to remember back to Feb 1978 - lol Q) The power transformer of the 99/4A was recalled. Did your group get blamed for that? Klaus, it seems that I have the greatest memory of this in the 3 years working in Home Computers at TI. This is the story as I remember it: The power transformer was designed, manufactured by a 3rd party. Used by other manufacturers of computers, games, etc.... There was an Incident of a power transformer on an Apple (Lisa) computer peripheral being shorted, which caused the transformer to over heat (melt) and start a house fire. Since the bezel of the TI 99A was metal, shorting the power transformer was also reported to to cause a shock hazard risk. I personally tested 10 of these transformers – shorted the output and measured the power transformer’s plastic case temperature vs time. NOT GOOD!! TI started a recall / sending their 994/A customers a modified transformer. If you have one, you will see the green / white “check” on the piece that has an inline fuse. So, the “fix” was to place an inline fuse that will open if there is an over current (electrical short) situation - Which I also tested to determine what the case temperature was when the fuse opened. Apple was sued – TI took the corrective action and replaced over 400,000 power transformers with the attached inline fuse. Q) With the release of the 99/QI motherboards came an updated ROM v2.2 which prevented third-party modules (Atari, Funware,..) from running. What was your opinion to this step back in the days? I was in involved in the QI (Quality Improved) release. In fact, I was given one of these systems, with expansion box. It had the beige colored top / bottom case and no metal bezel. It looked “friendlier”. My memory is that the motherboard was layed out neater (more efficient) and some circuits had been integrated, there fore less components. TI obviously didn’t learn, they had similar software restrictions with their portable PC. Was this so the owners would be forced to buy TI software? I say “YES” and it was a bad marketing strategy. Q) What do you know about the never released 99/4B and the 99/5? No, Sir Only the work being done in Lubbock on the 99/8. These other products may have been developed in Dallas, where I am now. Q) We lately encountered 99/4As manufactured for Argentina with a different TI title screen. Do you remember any exotica like that which you encountered during your work? It seems like I remember seeing “Power up” screens in different languages. This would have been normal for systems sold to non-English speaking countries. Q) Did you test the Hex-Bus and its devices? No, I did not – I think the CC40 was the first to incorporate TI’s hex bus Q) Did you test the CC-40 Portable as well? No, I remember hearing of this computer when I was leaving the Home Computer Division in Sept 1983 – LDC display, different processor, runs of AA batteries, etc I might have seen one in later years in the office areas – I left TI in 1988 Q) At which stage of development was the 99/8, when you got involved in that project? Q) Can you describe in detail your involvement with the 99/8? Q) Do you have any nice stories about the 99/8? Q) I was under believe that the 99/8 did not happen due to a political decision of TI to leave the home computer market. You wrote on the net that the units had RFI (Radio Frequency Interference) issues and that blocked the 99/8 from being manufactured. I do find that very interesting. Can you explain that in detail? Q) Which part in the machine caused these? How long did these RFI block the 99/8 from production? Did you solve the issues before the internal Quality run was done? Klaus, I will group these questions into one and this will test my memory – As I remember, TI wanted to abandon the RF shield design of the 99/4A. IF you have taken one apart, it is the metal shell that attaches to the mother board. This caused a lot of problems on the 99/4A during drop tests, etc because the RF shield could move and short on other components and caused damage. Of course, the RF shield is a Faraday shield which prevents the RF energy from the clock and video circuits from being transmitted into the air and interfering with other electronics which might be nearby. It also acts to shield incoming RFI, but this is secondary. On the 99/8, the initial design was to use a conductive spray paint that was heavy in Lead. Initial testing showed very good results as a replacement for the bulky metal shield of the 99/4A. However, this was about the time that the US EPA was determining that Lead was a health issue. TI was not able to use the Lead coating that they had spent several months qualifying for RFI on the 99/8. Going to an alternate solution would require time for testing and qualifying. Atari, Commodore had released their products and TI was months away from a possible release. This is what I remember from 32 years ago. Does your 99/8 have a top and bottom case? It would be interesting to know if it has RFI shielding and what method was used. Q) What other hardware was developed or even tested, but never made it to the home computer market? For home computers: I was not involved in R&D. For other products- there was the CB radio, digital watches (manufactured in LED and LCD form for a few years), digital thermometers some stereo audio components. Q) How did it came that you left TI in 1983? I transferred to the semiconductor FAB at TI in Lubbock in Sept 1983 and I left TI in 1988 after 5 years in the FAB. I moved to Austin, TX and worked for the R&D consortium – SEMATECH. This was a great experience working with many bright minds of the semiconductor industry and meeting the co-inventor of the integrated circuit (CEO at the time) Dr. Robert Noyce. Please read about Dr Noyce and Jack Kilby (co-inventor of the integrated circuit at TI). Q) Are you still in touch with other TI employees from that time? Yes, There are a few from Home Computers that I work with today. I can ask Ron Powell about his memory of the 99/8. He was involved with this product more than I. Q) Have you ever visited any TI-99 User Group Meetings or been part of a Usergroup? No, There was a User’s group and a magazine that came out of Round Rock, Texas in the early to mid 1980’s. I subscribed to that. I am sure this does not exist anymore. Q) Have you kept any TI-99 related hardware, software or documents? Good Question Klaus – I gave my 99/4A console, expansion box, speech synthesizer module, joysticks to a friend when I moved from Lubbock. I had schematics for many years of the 99/A, but those are gone now. I feel a little sad when I think of not keeping all of these items. Q) Are you proud that these products still work after that many years? Yes, These were expensive “toys” at the time. I am happy that there are still 99/4A hobbyists keeping the spirit alive today. I hope that there are spare power supplies (internal PCB) available today. This was the #1 field failure of the 99/4A. I think the quality was good – per quality standards for consumer electronics at that time. Q) It seems you are employed with TI again since 2009. Can you describe what has changed since then? Are you in the same location as in the early 80's? I will be 60 yrs old in Jan 2016 – I was 20 when I started working at TI. TI was a household name – consumer electronics – calculators, watches, speak and spell. TI had their profitable semiconductor division making memory and logic chips. TI had a strong Defense electronics division. TI had a materials development division. Many changes at TI Klaus – TI does their calculator manfucaturing in Asia, sold off all of their Defense work to Raytheon and other companies, Closed all of their memory FABs in 1998. It’s a different world and a different work force. One thing remains the same – TI’s Quality in manufacturing is still world class. I work at the Corporate headquarters in Dallas, Texas Q) What are you doing now at TI? I am an Engineer in one of TI’s Semiconductor FABs. The 2nd set of questions (not displayed here) is yet to be answered.
  7. Only after submitting Dungeon Hunt II to the ABBUC Contest this year, did I discover a number of bugs with the game - particularly with the PAL version. My apologies to everyone affected! Good news however! Thanks to a great deal of time and effort by forum member StefanD I am able to provide the following patch for the game. To use it, enable BASIC, boot the attached disk and follow the prompts - the patch program will fix either the PAL or NTSC version depending upon which choice you make. Thank you for your patience - I hope you find that this patch makes the game more playable and enjoyable! DH2FIX.ATR Again, Thank You Stefan for patch and all the testing!
  8. This absolutely final version increases the difficulty from level 21 and onwards. jwild has tried it and managed to get past level 30. obstacle.dsk obstacle-8.bin obstacle-9.bin
  9. RIP Mark. Like many others, I only really knew him from posts on this forum, but he always came across as a great guy. Perhaps in one of the upcoming 7800 homebrews, a tribute can be included into the game for him.
  10. Here are extracts from an Interview that Dan Eicher did and one that I did. Granville Ott by Dan Eicher May 21, 2004 Granville Ott was the chief architect for the TI-99/4A development. And yet, to TI'ers, he is relativelyunknown. He is listed as a contributor to the Mini Memory (PHM3058), Line-by-Line Assembler(PHM3058L). He is also credited with inventing the GROM and the Graphics Programming Language(GPL), and was the author of a number of patents fundamental to the Home Computer. Q. Do you have any knowledge of a project called Basic Support Module? It was a cartridge that was only available to TI employees. It came with or without 2K RAM and added a number of commands to Basic — almost a cross-breed of the Mini Memory with a bit of Extended Basic put in. A. The initial Basic was a little weaker than we wanted. We had talked to Bill Gates in Albuquerque, NM, but his retargetable Fortran would run too slow on our machine. Q. There is heated debate about TI Basic. We believe the first implementation was done by Microsoft. Is this correct? If so, who set up the deal? Do you know of any details? How much did it cost TI? How was it delivered? How long did it take to write? Was it considered quality code? Who did Extended Basic? A. We talked to Bill Gates before Microsoft, but didn't buy his because of it would be slow. We wrote it ourselves. I don't remember who all worked on it, but I will look at some of my old documentation and try to catch Herman Harrison and ask him. Herman Schuurman by Klaus Lukaschek December 2015 Q. Can you describe your involvement in the TI-99/4 project? A. The Home Computer (99/4) project started about a year before I joined the team in Lubbock. I believe the original promotors of the project were Granville Ott and Len Donohoe. I was originally hired to work on the SR-70, a small scientific computer, but by the time I landed in Lubbock, that project had been moved to the Data Systems Group in Austin, and I was put to work on the SR-62, a small self-contained computer that shared most of its software with the Home Computer. In addition to the Home Computer stuff, the SR-62 had a small built-in monitor and a thermal printer. When the Home Computer eventually fell behind schedule, the entire SR-62 team was moved over to complete the 99/4. Since my background was in operating system design, I worked on a lot of I/O related stuff such as the audio cassette, thermal printer, etc. I also was responsible for the I/O section of the BASIC interpreter, including formatted I/O, etc... One of the more complex peripherals was the floppy drive. Bill Nale and I split that design, with Bill responsible for the hardware and the low level software, while I took the file system design and implementation. This was the only time I remember having contact with anyone from Microsoft, even though a lot of 99/4 websites seem to think that Microsoft was responsible for a lot of the software on the 99/4. We had Bob Greenberg come out once to validate the file system design (there were no design changes). Q. Do you know how it came that the command to load a program is called "OLD" on the TI? A. It probably came from the original Dartmouth BASIC, where OLD was used to retrieve a program from storage, and NEW to start a new program. Q. Do you know how much Microsoft or Bill Gates was involved in the TI Basic / System Rom of the 99/4? A. Microsoft was not involved with the 99/4 development. They (in the form of Bob Greenberg) were contracted to develop BASIC for the SR-70 (which is also sometimes referred to as the 99/7), but the BASIC for the 99/4 was developed in-house. Q. Why was the native GPL chip replaced with the TMS9985? How far was the GPL chip developed? A. Although it was before my arrival in Lubbock, the GPL chip was supposed to be developed for an external customer. When that customer dropped out, the GPL chip was also dropped, and was replaced by the TMS9985.
  11. That is a lovely sentiment and i hope one or more coders could do such a thing.
  12. Wow, what sad, sad news. Drac was always so cheerful and very engaging. One of those people that when you saw his avatar you were interested to see what was written, almost every time.
  13. I could always count on seeing Mark’s posts in an interesting topic. I would enjoy reading his posts and was compelled to read or respond. Thank you Mark for making AtariAge a better place. We miss you already.
  14. Oh no! Drac was one of the long-timers around here and he did so much for the 7800 scene. Even though I didn't personally know him, it's gutting to hear this kind of news. I'll miss seeing his posts. Condolences to his family and friends!
  15. My thoughts and prayers to his family and friends. I know T&P is a frowned-upon phrase nowadays, but it's all I can give, except to say cancer sucks and 45 is way too young.
  16. CURRENT VERSION Update 2020/06/01 RELEASE CANDIDATE 1 Entering final stage of development. I_Ran_RC1_20200601.bin Also created some artwork and now you can support the development buying merchandising from my TeePublic store: https://www.teepublic.com/user/vhzc Update 2020/05/18 NEW BETA! More obstacles, change in some others, and a (I hope) smoother jump. I_Ran_beta_20200518.bin Update 2020/05/14 NEW BETA! The game is almost complete, I have almost no more space for more sprites. Two modes: Normal Order of obstacles predetermined 3 lives checkpoints. Score depends of the screen (i.e. screen 15 gives 15 points) Hard Obstacles appear randomly Only one life No checkpoint 10 points for each obstacle/screen. I_Ran_beta_20200514.bin Hi again guys. I liked the concept of this game, but I wasn't happy with the visuals, so I rewriten it from scratch and gave it a different, more polished look. Now the first public beta is reay, so testing and feedback will be appreciated. I_Ran_beta_20200503.bin ############################################################################### [OLD VERSION] Hi Guys, I want to share a new game I am working in. It' s a endless runner/endurace type of game called "I RAN (so far away)" The mechanics are pretty simple: just run and avoid different obstacles jumping or sliding. In the same rom I also included another simple game I wrote some time ago: DoReMi A reaction game where you must intercept the music notes before they reach the center of the screen. Hi again, there is a new beta. Now the deafult mode is easier and the original mode now is the optional hard mode. You can return to the main menu with select. Some cosmetic changes (background color change in a kinda day/night cycle, change in the fonts adding some icons) A couple of new obstacles. Only tested in emulators, so if somebody can test it in actual hardware could be great IranDoremi0.1b.bin ################################################################### Here is the first beta. I don' t have a way to test it on actual hardware, but I have tested it Stella and Z26. Also zeropagehomebrew featured it in the show. I am open to criticism and suggestions. IranDoremi20190820.bin
  17. Hi there, Here's another one from David Crane. Pretty much follows his normal code framework and pattern. laser_blast.zip
  18. If you're looking for creative ways to use those stickers, check out what my college-age son did with his cap. Pretty snazzy IMO!
  19. I’ve got one of the 8MB boards, but it’s only populated with 4MB unfortunately. This is the 68020 version. Out of all the things they could have done, it would’ve been cool to have had a Falcon gaming computer hybrid from Atari with this much RAM and Jag’s chipset in 1994.
  20. I always found him kind and helpful, and his posts positive and interesting. Very sad to hear this. My prayers are with his family and friends.
  21. Checked with Lufthansa, TV is allowed in carry-on luggage, tight squeeze. Atari stock 130XE + Thinkpad into my backpack. Tomorrow Sunday 10h AM Brussel - Frankfurt, 2 hour wait, Frankfurt - Leipzig, 30 minutes wait, Leipzig train to Zwicksau, 15 min wait, Zwicksau - LengenFeld arrival at 16:30 PM. Looking forward to it.
  22. Very sad, shocking due to his age, and tragic. I did not know Mark, but I was familiar with his posts and presence here as DracIsBack over the past decade. As a fellow Atari enthusiast , he will be missed.
  23. I'm fixing/updating the code/assets to some changes that I've made to my libraries. Also I've done some testing in NTSC mode and it looks ok, but I need to do more testing on later levels.
  24. That's so sad. I never knew him, but he seemed like a pretty cool guy. I will be praying for his family and friends as well.
  25. As many have said I agree as well he was a true 7800 fan and big part of the retro scene and friendly to all people on here. Mark was Atari. I am glad he got to play games like Bentley Bear and Rikki and Vikki before he passed. He knew the 7800 could do it but he got to see that reality. He will be missed. Rest in Peace.
  26. Not to make any one feel bad, but I just placed an order this morning via email, and got a fast response as well as no reduction on my order quantities. My email (subject line: Atari Parts Order)... Hi Bradley, I hope you are doing well with the heat we've been experiencing lately, looks like Indian Summer is coming around the corner. Anyway I was wondering if I could purchase the following (see list below). Still loving that XDM121 printer I got from you, but getting tired of feeding it each sheet individually, and noticed you listed a sheet feeder in your catalog. I didn't see it in your latest on-line addendum so I'm hoping you still have one. Price was taken from the paper catalog, so I will expect to see an adjusted price. QTY P/N DESCRIPTION PRICE EXT 1 CB102024 Single Sheet Feeder for XDM121 printer $49.95 $49.95 2 CO12296 ANTIC (NTSC) $5.00 $10.00 2 CO14887 ANTIC (PAL) $10.00 $20.00 2 CO14805 GTIA (NTSC) $5.00 $10.00 2 CO14889 GTIA (PAL) $10.00 $20.00 2 CO14806 CPU (SALLY) $8.00 $16.00 2 CO12298 PIA 6520 $1.95 $3.90 Total= $129.85 Payment will be by PayPal as usual, and I'll pay the final invoice you send with the added shipping and sales tax. Thank you, -- Michael St. Pierre Here was Bradley's response... OK Michael here is a complete break down of costs for your Atari PayPal order: 1 Atari XDM121 Single Sheet Feeder for XDM121 printer U$D 49.95 (last one Michael) 2 Atari ANTIC (NTSC) CO12296 U$D 10.00 2 Atari GTIA ANTIC (NTSC) CO14805 U$D 10.00 2 Atari ANTIC (PAL) CO14887 U$D 20.00 2 Atari ANTIC (PAL) CO14889 U$D 20.00 2 Atari Custom CPU CO14806 U$D 16.00 2 Atari 6520 PIA CO12298 U$D 16.00 CA Sales Tax U$D 11.69 Shipping to CA 95403 U$D 10.85 Insurance U$D 3.50 ------------------- Total U$D 167.99 Michael our PayPal account number is at the end of this E-Mail. Please cut and paste the above Atari order break down of costs into your PayPal payment. Regards Bradley Koda The only change was the price of the PIA chips, which has gone up significantly. And it was kinda sad that I got the last XDM121 sheet feeder . I was hoping that there would be more available for other people that might be interested after reading my recent review on the printer. I just sent off the payment . This really is business as usual for me and Brad... I send an email with a list of what I need, and he always gets back to me the very same day with an email response like the one posted above. I always try to keep my order emails brief and to the point, while making the effort to create a neat easy to read list of what I want including both a part number and description, as well as the pricing I found. And I treat him kindly as he has always done for me. BTW, that revision 10 catalogue is worth every penny he's asking for. It is a fantastic reference book of everything Atari has ever produced. I enjoy leafing through it all the time.
  27. Chloe, my beautiful Border Collie, on the beach at sunset. ChloeAtSunset.xex
  28. Well, I digressed again so here's your very own update 😉 I managed to get 13 planes at 50hz but the screen is only 184 lines... not as good as I hoped... (they can all be different sprites of course) Back to our regular schedule 😁 spr1943.obx
  29. I am always saddened whenever anyone on this board is ill or passes. Everyone here IS the community and everyone is important to it. I said a prayer for him, may he rest in peace.
  30. Hi guys, New Neo-Geo game project in the works. Called Project Neon. Amazing!! [email protected]_Collect "Big dreams even if they doubt them" ... #new #neogeo #shmup #retrogaming https://www.arcade-projects.com/forums/index.php?thread/10194-project-neon-new-shmup-for-the-neo-geo/ Project Neon: New Shmup for the Neo Geo Wednesday, 5:32am+17 NEW Hey folks! tldr; After developing a simple shmup for the Gameboy Color a few months back, I've decided to team up with some people and go all in on developing a full-blown Shmup for the Neo Geo MVS. Planned "features" Rock solid 60fps action, parallax scrolling and beautiful animated graphics Five distinctive levels (4 freely selectable, 1 unlockable) and screen-filling boss fights Huge variety of enemies and weapons! Tight controls with zero-lag 2 player co-op Vertical monitor setup only (TATE) A rhythm-based game mechanics/bonus stages [Stretch goal] A strangely familiar antagonist Alpha screenshots Running on actual arcade hardware (MVS + Dark Soft Multi-MVS) Game plan going forward - Finish/polish internal prototype within next 4 weeks (the game is already working on actual hardware with buttery-smooth 60fps parallax scrolling, 2 player co-op, lots of enemies and bullet types, etc) - Prepare and launch Kickstarter campaign (30 days) - Finish the game and ship MVS cartridges around September 2020 We'll share much more details as part of the Kickstarter campaign, including all the things we've ticked and put in place already to make sure we set ourselves up for success. It's quite possible that we'll use this thread as the official "smaller updates and feedback" blog, next to the main Kickstarter one of course. More soon! Anthony...
  31. Here's a peak at the boxes for Wizard of Wor Arcade. Dave Dries did a stupendous job with this artwork and design!!
  32. Probably the best find ever in my collection; Space Tunnel and Seamonster by Puzzy CIB! got it with set of of 65XL and 1050 drives and a bunch of games. Never thought I'd own these. Includes manual in both and the cartridges look flawless. Can't wait to test it when I get home.
  33. According to his Wikipedia page, one of Andy Capp's hobbies is pigeon racing. Hmm
  34. Got my Xilinx burner today, also got the adapter kit for my eprom burner. I pulled the 29040 from the u1mb, plugged it into a plcc32 adapter and then into my burner and burnt the old rom you sent me back onto the chip. Plugged it into the u1mb and fired it right up. Now for the code update to the Xilinx chip. Gotta install some software and get trained up, but I have a working machine again, and my burner adapters work too, so I'm pretty stoked. I oughtta change some prompt in the code to XYZZY -- Nothing Happens.... 🙂 Jeff
  35. sorry for so many versions , but ONE last change ( Rom for cart isn't due til Tuesday ...) It was bugging me that after each hole there was no indicator of hole score ( you had to keep track yourself which was ok but not ideal). I had enough space to add ( in base game only) graphics for birdie ( 1 under par) ( a bird) , eagle ( 2 under par) (an eagle) , double eagle ( 3 under par ) ( 2 eagles) , par ( the word par) , bogey , double bogey, and triple bogey ( 1 , 2 or 3 frowny faces , respectively) . Adds a little extra I think ! ProGolfBirdie2.bin ProGolfAugustaNational8-25.bin Desert Course https://atariage.com/forums/topic/292922-pro-golf-16-k-2600-asm-completed/?do=findComment&comment=4344648 ProGolf2600.pdf
  36. If his checks are clearing, then you're right. I wonder if he was dumb enough to do it for points or a percentage of profits. He hasn't been able to update his website, so who knows.
  37. Thank you! It's a very good game! Do you think resume the development of Restless II? I like it 🙂
  38. Well, it's done. Sophia Rev C installed on my 1200XL. I did an initial test fit with the board installed and the DVI connector hanging out the back. Then I did the permanent install. As part of the install I did the following: 1. Bridged R63 (SIO power mod). My SIO2SD now works on the 1200XL. 2. Desoldered and removed the RF modulator. I needed the space to install the DVI connector card. 3. Utilized the supplied dupont pins to solder the DVI card to the ground plane where the RF modulator used to be. 4. Cut a hole in the case for the DVI connector. 5. Forgot to run the chroma signal to the monitor jack. Don't really need it, but it would be nice for completeness. I had to use the socket supplied with the kit to raise the sophia board to clear other components Desoldering and pulling the RF modulator was about the scariest thing I've done in a while, but it went pretty smoothly. I cut the case hole for the DVI connector a bit larger than necessary, this was my only screwup. In the end, everything is working as it should and I am very pleased with the result. The picture quality is unreal. The upper RF shield is uninstalled until I can cut an opening for the sophia board, It sits too high for the shield to go on properly.
  39. 2 points
    With all the comics that are being mined for movie material, I'm surprised that nobody has adapted the SwordQuest comic series yet. If SwordQuest were to be made into a movie or a miniseries, we might even get some new games out of it, which would be great; the original Atari games could actually use a remake.
  40. Cyclone II will have three shaft length options: Option #1: Normal length (same as Cyclone I), this is good on control panels up to 1/4 inch thick. Option #2: Long length, this is good on control panels up to 1/2 inch thick. Option #3: Extra long length, this is good on control panels up to 3/4 inch thick. I decided to do this because I had a buyer that couldn't use the original Cyclone Spinner in his 1Up-Arcade because the shaft of the spinner was not long enough to accommodate the (almost) 1/2 inch thick control panel. With "Option #2" this time around Cyclone II will be able to be used in all those 1Up-Arcade Rpi conversions. "Option #3" will be good for those users that want to mount the Cyclone II in a full size MAME arcade cabinet with a standard 3/4 inch thick arcade control panel. I'm still a month or two from having the new Cyclone II's ready to sell, but I wanted to put this out there for you guys to think about before you decide to purchase because the shaft length can not be changed after I ship out the spinner control. More info to come...
  41. Hello guys As far as I know, BASICXE will work with non-upgraded computers. Only when you enter "EXTEND" will it use extended memory. Sincerely Mathy
  42. And here's that semi update 😎 I just focused on the ModeE precompiled sprites so there's NO SCROLLING YET Managed to get 10 12x13... probably not where it needs to be because I'm expecting a big drop in performance once I get the scrolling going. Plus it's going to take massive amounts of memory...hopefully it'll still fit in 64KB The precompiled sprites are fairly standard I guess: -Immediate mode AND/OR for regular sprite data -skip everything if no sprite data -immediate mode LDA for full sprite data The one thing I'm not sure others do, is to store the screen pointers (one per sprite line) in the ZP so when I draw a sprite I don't need to draw each line individually, I just jump to the code and return once everything is drawn. Of course updating these ZP pointers is costly (and needs to be done when clearing too) but still the performance is decent. The background restore is a bit more problematic and I think slower than the actual drawing!! There's no precompiled code for this part and I'm not sure if it would work that well. For the 1943 update I draw vertical slices which is about 10-15% faster than horizontal drawing and takes less memory. It should work for vertical/horizontal scrollers but it's probably not very good if there is parallax. This subhunter update draws horizontally which will work better with all these parallaxes. I'm going to focus on the scrolling and perhaps revisit the sprite restore later. subh2_0824.obx
  43. Looks great! Keep us posted when the Kickstarter opens up
  44. I managed find the bridge. There was a spot on U9 where the trace from pin 5 is really close to the pad on pin 4 with the tiniest bit of solder between the two. I needed a magnifying glass to find it.
  45. I am imagining a pretty fun Barge game! Deflect incoming shots with your Luke Laser Sword, also mow down Jabba’s crew as they advance toward you in waves, knocking them into the Sarlacc pit every now and then to appease it! Watch out for flying Boba Fetts!
  46. Cheers @NostAlgae37 And to redeem myself for my vegetable faux pas ... a present from me to you. 😃 I've pre-orded the latest special edition VCS as a peace offering. I hope you enjoy it! ....... if it turns up that is!!!
  47. Remember in ye oldyn thymes when you had to use a box of crayons, a book, excel(!!) and a hex editor to add new levels? pfft! PWADS.
  48. http://www.atarimania.com/game-atari-2600-vcs-star-wars-return-of-the-jedi-death-star-battle_7928.html
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