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Showing content with the highest reputation since 01/26/2021 in Blog Entries

  1. 5 points
    Creating the Retro Gaming Experience To me, sitting infront of a flat screen TV using some emulator and a wireless controller didn't really provide me with the best Retro Gaming experience. When I first tried playing the old games I used to love on emulation, it just felt empty and stale. I wasn't sure why at first, then it hit me. When I was playing the games, I was looking for that nostalgic experience. I wanted to relive the memories of my youth. Unfortunately emulation wasn't sparking that nostalgic memory. I needed a true Retro Gaming experience. I learned then, there was a difference between just playing a retro game at home and actually "experiencing" home retro gaming. I kinda compare it to the experience of playing one of the new Arcade One-Up machines in your house compared to actually going to a real (retro) arcade. Both experiences are extremely different even though you're playing the same game. So it's the atmosphere that plays a big part in contributing to the experience. (I needed to bring the atomsphere back) So a few years ago I decided to create my own Home Retro Gaming experience by creating a retro gaming nook. I had a small space in the corner of my garage to use as a template. This would take a lot of patience and hunting. Though I had plenty of Atari stuff in my collection, I still needed to hunt out the decor I needed for this retro nook. To sit down somewhere and feel like I went back in time. The act of playing on a old CRT TV, being restricted by cords. The earthy tones of the wood paneling. The simplistic decor of the late 70s/early 80s of my youth. To design something that took me back in time would offer the true experience. My first pick-up was this 1977 Sony Trinitron with matching TV Cart: So during the next year-and-a-half I combed eBay, Facebook Marketplace, Craigslist, and local thrift stores. I not only needed the right decor, but I needed it cheap (I didn't really have much of a budget). Once I accumulated enough stuff to make my design reality, it was time to begin. I decided to dedicate a small corner of my garage for a retro corner. I started with the wood paneling. Luckily, many of the home improvement stores still carries wood paneling for very cheap. After getting the wood paneling up, it was only a matter of laying the carpet down and putting the pieces in the place. When all was said and done I only spent around $300 to complete this project. A lot of the cost savings came with patience. waiting to find the right stuff for the right price without overspending (For example, the TV and cart I was able to pick up for $30). Here was the end result. The final Retro Nook came out better than I imagined. Sitting in this corner playing my Atari, I almost thought I was back in 1983. Even the copper colored wing-back chair was the same chair we had a 1983 (my family never had the heart to get rid of it). People have to remember...... Back in the early 80s, most home decor were still from the 70s (unless they recently remodeled). Add a little stale tobacco smoke to the nook to complete the Retro Gaming experience😂. For the rest of the year I often enjoyed disappearing in my little gaming area to relive some of my nostalgic memories. At times my kids even joined me. It was great to show my children how "dad" played games when he was a little boy. During the next summer I decided to do a redesign of my retro corner. I wanted to make it a themed corner, as well as incorporate one of the old cabinet TVs that I have. I have always been a fan of playing original hardware on original hardware. So I have multiple CRT TVs that my children and myself use. I do have a few cabinet TVs and I had one in particular I wanted to use for my new "themed" retro corner. Here is a old cabinet TV I have in my bedroom. It's the TV I used most of the time before I designed my retro corner. Anyways, since I wanted to redesign my retro corner I decided to do it themed design. I decided to go with a Q*Bert theme which was one of my favorite Retro Gaming characters. It took a while to gather all the stuff I needed for the redesign. I already had an old 1970 zenith cabinet TV I wanted to use, but to find the right Q*Bert themed decor was a little challenging (more specifically the wall art). Then I found the perfect piece. A Q*Bert latch hook rug became available and I just had to have it. I was also able to acquire a orange wingback chair for $20. Here is the final design...... This Q*Bert themed design I was extremely happy with. I decided to get rid of the table to bring back the good ole days of having to sit on the floor to play. Coincidentally enough, I finished this design right around Halloween. I actually had a old early 80s Q*Bert costume (one of those old vinyl Collegeville costumes). My son decided to humor me and put the costume on so I could do a Halloween photo. I tried to use an aging filter to make the photo look a little less "high def". I'm not professional photographer so I did what I could with my cell phone, lol Here was the end result. MY 2020 DESIGN..... In 2020 I decided to shrink up the design a little. To make something simpler, and to design a area that would mimic a image you would see on a Atari Ad. I used a different TV for this one (1984 Zenith). One of the best parts about having this retro corner is being able to spend time with my kids introducing them too the early gaming experience. Due to Covid-19 and spending a lot of time at home, we were able to spend a lot of time playing games together. All in all, creating a authentic Retro Gaming experience is relatively inexpensive and you only need a very small space. Playing these games takes me back to a simpler time. For some reason I find it more enjoyable playing on my retro setups then I do behind a computer screen or on some other type of emulation. The feel of the carpet, the act of inserting the cartridge, the smell of the TV tubes, the sight of the wood paneling, and being restricted to the limitations of technology all help contribute to the overall Retro Gaming experience. This is what I remember, and I find myself actually enjoying playing these old games more as I disappear in my time machine. COVID-19 The summer of 2020 I came across a old 1979 Sony Trinitron. I decided to do a very quick redesign to include that TV, as well as using my Space Invaders wall art I've been holding onto for a while. After I was done my children's school went to "virtual learning" due to the Coronavirus. My kids decided to turn my Retro Nook into a Virtual Learning Battle Station, (where old technology mixes with new technology..😂). I'll end with one last photo. My most recent setup that I may use if I decide to redesign my Retro Corner in the future. It's my 1976 Zeinth gaming station. It's been a blast having this little retro gaming corner. In the past 3 years I have been able to spend a lot of time in my retro corner playing my old Atari with my kids (and creating awesome memories). Hopefully someday I will be able to dedicate a entire room to the simplicity days before the internet. The days before the constant bombardment of social digital stress. Thank you for reading my blog
  2. 2 points
    Had a pre-modded 7800 sent to me with a UAV that had good s-video but was producing some ugly jail bars in composite. But it was ONLY doing this on 2600 games. I at first suspected something in the wiring of the UAV or the UAV itself and first redid all of that and replaced the UAV. No change. It was then I started to look at things more closely and noticed that this '84 main board all socketed chip board appeared to have a TIA I'd not seen before. The company branding on it is IMP and it had a mid year 1988 date stamp on it indicating it was not likely original to the 7800 to begin with. Since I was able to disconnect the TIA color signal and get crystal clear black n white with the jail bars, I knew it had to be in the color signal. And since the UAV is tapping that signal straight from pin#9 off the TIA there was really only one culprit. I had another semi working 7800 with a more normal looking AMI branded TIA on it. Pulled that and put it into the socket on this troublesome 7800. Sure enough the jail bars are gone! I'm guessing this is a late revision TIA and it likely a CMOS part as it doesn't seem to heat up like most TIA chips do and it just feels a bit different. In any event...stay the hell away from these TIAs in and think about replacing them if you find them in your 2600s or 7800s. Especially if you plan to use composite upgrades or a UAV as it does produce jail bars. I also noticed that color trimmer has to be adjusted but a full 180 between the two chips. So there are some obvious internal differences in how they are designed and made. I've attached some pics to show what I was getting and between the two TIA chips. Here is the section about halfway on the edge of the ColorMatch screen on the Colorbar generator program. You can see the jail bars on the slightly different hue of green on the lower half. Upper half is fine. Here is the green purity screen with the bad TIA. Again, you can see the jail bars and while this is on green, they are present on all colors pretty much. Here is the colorbar screen from the bad TIA IMP branded chip. Again you will see that most of the colors exhibit noticed jail bars on them. It is quite distracting and unusual to see from a UAV board. Here is the actual IMP branded TIA chip that was causing the headaches above: Now here is the colormatch screen edge with the good AMI branded TIA chip. Here is the green purity screen with the good working TIA. Quite a difference here. Here is the colorbar screen on the AMI TIA. While there is still come color bleeding and other artifacts normal with composite on an LCD, you will see that the colors don't have the jail bars as they did with the other TIA chip. And of course, this is what the common AMI branded TIA looks like in most 7800s I've encountered: So if you have nasty jail bars from your composite video out signal, you might look at the TIA as the possible cause. Ivory Tower Collections
  3. 2 points
    In the words of Sinstar, "Beware, I live" As I mentioned in the previous post, I started over with lr-mame2000 (MAME 0.37b5 as a Libretro core) on RetroPie 4.7.1 (current). While mame4all-pi is supposed to be faster, it doesn't do me any good if it doesn't support rotation. It also became obvious that mame4app-pi is basically an unsupported hack. Once I started over I tried the recommended solution of disabling the internal "soundcard" without success, likely due to the same problem of the USB headset being "card 1" rather than "card 0". I then re-enabled the internal soundcard and instead configured the system so the USB headset was "card 0" - and it worked! So this morning I made a stand out of a cardboard box (~20 degree tilt) and tweaked the libretro config to rotate and fill the screen at native resolution (along with rotating Emulationstation). So now the task is to go through ~450 games to see what's playable and what's worth playing. After that I can focus on setting up the front end.
  4. 1 point
    So I worked a little bit on Uncle Hairy's Nosehair. Three things I did. I made the highest speed the nosehair can grow faster. I changed the shape of the nostril. Just to see if I could. And I could. And it looks good to me. I found the title screen music to be quite hideous sounding. So I made a new tune. For it to work good, each song I do for this game must have 32 treble notes and 16 bass notes. I composed a little song in the key of E minor because the TIA sounds are really crappy, and it's hard to make a good-sounding 2600 tune, especially limiting yourself to two channel types, 32 treble notes and 16 bass notes. I am so sleepy I could go to sleep but I don't want to go to sleep because going to sleep means laying on my bed with my eyes closed for at least half an hour trying to go to sleep. Even if I did take a melatonin gummy. They're supposed to taste like blackberries but they taste hideous. Not only that, I sleep for 12 hours every day. So I'm sleeping half my life away. If I needed less sleep, I would sleep less and wake up refreshed after 8 hours. But I don't. I sleep for 12 hours and wake up feeling like I could go back to sleep for another 12. Oh well.
  5. 1 point
    Unfortunately the cardboard box didn't really have the strength to hold he monitor in place. But I wasn't ready to build the final cabinet (i.e. spend $$ on materials). Fortunately I was able to build a replacement using a 12x24 shelf cut along the diagonal and some Ikea scraps which were the perfect length. I used some "hockey tape" to decorate the cut edge. (Not sure what I'm going to do on the final version as I don't feel like spending the $$ to buy the slot cutter to use T moulding.) Then I one of the local 'cade shops decided to have a sale, so I picked up a Sanwa joystick for half price along with buttons, a controller & wiring. This past weekend I made a simple control panel out of a scrap piece of 3/4" MDF - both to mount the buttons so I could start using them, but also to test out my woodworking skills for the joystick mount. For the final version I'm planning on having a 1/8" top-cover to hide the mounting plate & buttons. So far it's worked out great except I had planned to use the player buttons to both insert a coin and start the game. Unfortunately some games don't like this configuration, so it looks like I'll need to have a dedicated coin button. I've ordered Logitech S150 USB speakers and they should be showing up this week next month. I lucked out as the cheap "USB powered" speakers I was planning on using still used a headphone jack for audio rather than USB! (This actually turns out to be quite common for "USB speakers".) Before I found the S150 I was worried that I'd have to go to a more costly option. I'm still going through the games. There's a lot of games which are playable, but not at full FPS. While this doesn't impact the gameplay, it also means the RPi doesn't have the CPU power for good audio. I'm also mulling over how to finish the cabinet. While I'd love to get some custom vinyl made, I'm not sure of the cost. Plenty of time to figure that out later!
  6. 1 point
    If it has anything to do with art, I like to do it, but the results are, well, bad. I was looking at some of the Atari 2600 manuals. The white ones with pictures at the center of the screen that look hand-drawn and sketchy, yet amazingly life-like. I wondered what I could do with Uncle Hairy's Nosehair. In the center is Uncle Hairy, (looking unintentionally a lot like Butthead), pointing to his nosehair. The hand with the scissors is the nephew (you) as he is about to cut the nosehair. To the right, the red fellow is the nosehair demon. And, finally, he's trying to get a box above him. Even though I am not going to use this as real art for the game, I will give this to whomever wants to do the art and say "Make it look like this, but not sucky." And that's if a.) I'm ever going to finish it and b.) someone wants to publish it (I'm counting on neither but hey, it could happen.)
  7. 1 point
    Join Shinto for four short tales of Atari Christmas past in this special edition of the Atari Jaguar Game by Game Podcast. This episode was originally published in 2015, but re-recorded in 2020, mostly to remove all the unlicensed music and replace it with music licensed under Creative Commons. Download or listen to the podcast episode at atarijaguargamebygame.libsyn.com/s01-four-tales-of-atari-christmas-past General Links jaguar.gamebygamepodcast.com Jaguar Game by Game Podcast Store Podcast Episode Guide Michael Current's Awesome Atari History Timelines Forums AtariAge atari.io Intro sound clips (in order) How the Grinch Stole Christmas A Christmas Story A Christmas Carol A Charlie Brown Christmas Music Sleigh Ride by Dee Yan-Key A Christmas Adventure by TRG Banks (get it? Adventure?) The First Blip Blop Noel by DMA-SC, created on an Atari ST Silent Night part 1 by Dexter Britain (which used to be on the Free Music Archive) We Three Kings by Ben DeVries The mystery light gun toy from my childhood After recording the episode, I decided to start looking through some old catalog scans on wishbookweb.com, I was actually able to find the light gun toy I described, in the 1979 Simpson-Sears Canada Christmas Catalog: the L.A.Z.E.R. Light Star! References & Sources 1982 Sears Wishbook Atari 2600 Game by Game Podcast episode 66 (Asteroids) A Christmas Story (1983 motion picture) Ewok Village Radio Shack Armatron Mollie B Polka Party Into the Vertical Blank Festivus Life Day Refrigerator Day How to Train Your Dragon
  8. 1 point
    Just a quick experiment I worked out last night using some additional logic wired into the 7800 so that remote pause can be a thing if you have a controller that is configured to match.
  9. 1 point
    While researching for whether anyone else had found a solution for my audio issues, I discovered that mame4all doesn't support screen rotation. Bogus! So now I'm going to try to use lr-mame2000 (the same version the MAME core code, but built on top of the Libretro platform) on the current release of RetroPie (4.7.1) - hopefully I won't have as many issues (or it won't be such a headache to resolve them).
  10. 1 point
    I like designing fonts. A long time ago I had a font program that let me import pictures into glyphs. Well, a few years ago, I remembered that old program and decided to hunt for a similar one. Lo and behold, I had to pay to make my fonts be actual fonts. So I did. It was around $30 or something. And after making a few test fonts, it sat on this computer unused. Until tonight. I made a font. It's called Squaresville. You'll see why if you download it. I have attached it here just in case you want to take a look at it. Give me feedback. I didn't do every single symbol (some were impossible), but I made enough so that a standard user could use them. I mean, who uses the square root symbol in a font? I had to give up on the shooting game because I could not for the life of me put in player 0 at all. So I am going back to work doing something I love: Designing fonts. More fonts will come later. This is an Open Type font. I don't know the difference between an Open Type and a True Type font. I spent about 2 hours on it so far, making the glyphs in Paint and then importing them into the program. Squaresville.otf
  11. 1 point
    Disclaimer: This is not meant to be a how-to tutorial or a step-by-step guide. This is merely photos of my upgrades with some description and explanation. But feel free to ask any questions about any aspect of it. This is my blog on all the upgrades, modifications and hacks that have turned a standard 800 into a machine that is still the original vision of Jay Miner's Colleen 800 at heart, and still fully compatible, but includes advancements and upgrades that Atari never envisioned. At it's core, my new 800AI includes an Incognito board which expands it's capabilities to not only that of an XL/XE machine with 64K main memory, but far, far more including; 1MB extended ram multiple OS's and hi-speed SIO, bult-in BASIC and SpartaDOS X, as well as room for other cartridges from any point in the 8-bit era, a CF card virtual HDD and PBI capabilities and much more. Beyond the Incognito the 800 has been upgraded to Stereo sound first, with a DIY dual-POKEY, then replaced with multiple POKEY cores and Covox DSP with the Pokeymax Quad + Covox board. Also a Sophia 2 GTIA replacement and upgrade board (adding more graphic modes) and modern video out with either DVI/HDMI or RGB or VGA. Also a dual PIA board for double the controller output jacks allowing many more exteral devices to be connected and controlled by the 800. An extra SIO jack, Stereo out headphone jack, S-video, composite and mono audio jacks installed for direct connect of standard cables and no more mess of various cables hanging out the side of the 800. The original SIO port is left open for easy temporary connection of peripherals or dead-end SIO peripherals. Fujinet will become a part of the Atari 800AI system as well, and will plug into the side SIO port. Also, a real PBI edge-connector port has been installed on the rear left side of the 800, and is now capable of using any exterior PBI devices, the first of which is a Turbo Freezer. With all these advanced upgrades I felt that just '800" was not good enough anymore, and there needs to be an addition to the name for it's advanced features just like the XL/XE (eXtended Line/eXtended line Enhanced). But another X and some other letter on the end is a bit unimaginative. So I came up with AI for advance(d) plus Incognito, or a playful, if fictional suggestion on the abbreviation A.I., for artificial intelligence. Or maybe in reference to Alpha and Omega, since there's the original 800 in there, but then also the probably final upgrade to the heart of the machine, the Incognito. Yes I know AI is not the same as the Greek letters Alpha and Omega, but it is the first and last letters of ATARI, the beginning and end of the name signifying Alpha and Omega in a way. So AI stands for all of the above. So now I've explained what my 800AI computer is and why, on with the details and photos. The first upgrades I did are Incognito board and a dual-Pokey upgrade (less the actual audio output). And I did some repairs on the keyboard and modified a shift key to be more balanced and sturdy by inserting an extra plunger and spring in an empty key spot below it. Hopefully this will solve a design problem that causes the plunger to crack and stop the new plunger from cracking in the outside corners that make the shift key bind. After the successful incognito and DIY dual POKEY installation, Plans have been changed to a Pokeymax Quad+covox audio upgrade. Quite a leap from just stereo, but I want the best for this upgrade project. The Pokeymax is plugged in the socket and is currently working as a standard Pokey until I get a couple of wires connected to the CPU and audio output with a simple pre-amp circuit to bring it up to line-level audio. I also installed a second SIO port and due to the placement of these new I/O ports I am combining the Pokeymax audio out with the SIO out on the same circuit board. The first step on the new board was to attach the SIO connector (one of half a dozen new 3D printed ones I bought from The Brewing Academy) to the board and a cable to the new SIO port that is connected at the other end to the original SIO port, continuing the SIO daisy-chain internally in the 800. I went with shielded VGA cabling since I have plenty on hand and it's the best thing to use to ensure no interference in close proximity to the motherboard. The cable is directly soldered to the new SIO connector and it's board, but I installed Dupont connectors to the SIO port on the 800's PSU board for easy removal and installation in the future. I fanned out the pins on the back of the SIO so I had room to plug in the Dupont connectors with the capacitor for the PSU in the way. The next step was to install a headphone jack stereo audio out to the new circuit board and attach a wire harness to the Pokeymax that will run to the new board. I then attached the wire harness to the Pokeymax, with three wires going to the CPU on the CPU board and three wires going to the SIO/Stereo out board. I used a headphone jack style stereo audio out so it would fit on the board with the SIO port, and both will fit nicely where I make cut-outs for them on the underside of the case, leading out the back left recessed area of the 800 case underside. I used DuPont connectors at the audio out for easy separation from the motherboard and CPU board. The only thing left for the Pokeymax upgrade is to make a spot for the audio out wires to go through the heavy shielding. I suppose I'll have to drill a hole through the shielding near the Pokeymax chip. And I just remembered I need to connect the headphone jack's ground to ground on the SIO connector which is connected to ground through the cable to the PSU to ensure proper grounding. (Pictures are not in the order of the descriptions above) The next modification was S-video, composite and mono audio out board directly opposite the 2nd SIO/audio out board, it will be hidden underneath the PSU board and connected to the original monitor port in close proximity. Once that board is done, then I will cut out spots for all the new I/O connectors in the 800's bottom case, then mount the boards and I/O connectors. Next I made a DIY S-video/Composite/mono audio out board. Like the second SIO, these are just direct lines from the nearby monitor jack. As per usual now, at least one end is attached with Dupont Connectors so that all upgrades and boards can be easily separated if need be. I had left/right audio jacks on hand, so the red one has been re-purposed for composite video (I only want this for NTSC high-res games for artifact colors). The mono audio out is white. Instead of attaching a switch to one of the Pokeymax lines to change between mono and Quad-stereo out, I left it so Quad-stereo is always on as I will use the mono out for programs that don't use stereo. And of course, the main reason for the DIY mod board, is a real S-video jack. The S-video on both my Atari's gets fed through either video-to-VGA or video-to-HDMI outs and they don't make the adapters with separate chroma/luma lines. But my 1200XL uses a break-out-box for video which does have separate chroma/luma for when I get my CBM 1084S monitor repaired which does have these inputs. The 800 will always be connected to a converter. (pictures are not in order of descriptions above) Now, except for the power jack, I no longer have to have cables coming out the side of my 800 getting in my way on the desktop. All other I/O will now be discretely placed in the recesses on the underside of the 800 with all cables hidden and running out the back like XL/XE machines. Though I'm out of space there now, since the 800's motherboard fills the rest of the bottom case, my PBI and extra controller ports will have to be mounted to the rear left side of the 800 coming directly out of the back. So all that is left for these upgrades and mods is to cut port holes in the 800's case and mount the boards. Continuing my 800 upgrades and mods, I made a true PBI edge-connector port for the 800. It was already upgraded with full PBI capabilities from the Incognito, but there is a 50-pin (SCSI?) style connector on it that is the gateway to PBI devices being connected. As with my DIY PBI upgrade on my 1200XL, I created and actual PBI edge-connector port on the rear of the 800. With the 1200XL, I salvaged parts from a 600XL for the mod/upgrade. With the 800 I was able to use the a XE ECI-to-PBI adapter that I don't need for an XE and never will, that came with my Turbo Freezer 2011. I still have to get the connector and 50-wire ribbon cable to connect to the Incognito and create the physical buss. On the 1200XL I purchased a length of 50-wire rainbow ribbon cable for it, and of course had to make all connections directly to the IC's, instead of a connector to plug in. I also made an enclosure for the Turbo Freezer's PBI board, with a connector on it for the actual Turbo Freezer housed in a cartridge case. I just used an old, small, project box that has been laying around for years, the board didn't quite fit, so it has "wings" out the side, but I think it still looks better than a bare board, and I'll paint it to match the 800. The Sophia 2 board upgrade was the next and second to last upgrade (dual PIA IC's will be the final upgrade). Since it's a plug-in board I didn't bother taking pictures of the Sophia 2, though I did removed the original socket for the GTIA chip on the CPU board and installed a precision socket to lower it's profile so it can fit inside the shielding were the CPU board is hidden. After that, I had to cut an opening in the heavy metal shielding so the video cable from the board could "escape." I decided to place the Sophia board in between the Shielding and PSU board's heat sink vertically as there was few other choices with the modifications I've already made. I next cut out a spot on the back of the 800's upper case half to mount the Sophia 2 board. I again used E6000 adhesive to mount it as I did for the PBI and other audio/video upgrade boards. It's strong and will hold the upgrades in place without the need for screws and bolts and holes drilled, yet easily removable, if needed with a razor blade and peeling away excess. Later on, when the dual-PIA board is installed, another 2-4 controller ports will be mounted next to the DVI output. This bog is not yet completed as I still have to install another multi-part upgrade/modification to my 800 will be dual PIA board to be used for additional controller ports. This upgrade and mod is there are still more than two controller ports when I'm using the 800 Incognito in XL/XE modes and ports 3 and 4 are used for Port B memory banking. I also will be using more than 4 ports, even in 800 mode on the Incognito along with a half-dozen AtariLab Interface devices and DIY clones of the AtariLab Interfaces for help in a future project of building a robot, with an Atari 800 brain, that will eventually be autonomous, but while in the research. experimentation and prototype building stage it will be controlled through the 8 controller ports. AtariLab Interfaces are basically break-out-boxes that make it easier as I can use standard RCA cords between the Atari and all the sensors for the robot to know where it is and avoid obstacles or interact and also Ardruino boards that will control arms and trax of the Robot as well. The intention being a 100% 8-bit robot Some other changes or previous upgrades and fixes to the 800 include: luma output resister change mod (for improving picture clarity as luma is over-boosted for today's standards), The RF has been disconnected to avoid interference from signal bleed on S-video and composite, the channel switch has been re-purposed for a mono/Quad stereo switch, a wire modification to the right cartridge port (and trace cut on the left port) so that a needed signal is available so that The!Cart and MyIDE II will work in the left cartridge slot on the 800 and internal RGB-LED lighting and keyboard lighting. I also have a Fujinet on the way for this 800 too. Another possible upgrade would be a MIDI board. The problem with more upgrades is locations to mount them internally in the 800. There is still plenty of room on the left side of the 800,, but the issue is that anything mounted internally there would either need port extension modifications so I can mount them on the back by the DVI and 2nd PIA controller ports. Obviously there is the left side of the 800 to mount jacks, but I just went through a lot of trouble getting rid of side ports with cables in the way, and I don't want to start populating the left side either.
  12. 1 point
    I ordered a bunch(2) bet goodies from Michael Hill at bitfixer.com; a PETdisk MAX and a ROMulator. The former is a floppy drive emulator that plugs into the PET's IEEE-488 port, the latter is a RAM/ROM replacement daughterboard that plugs in between the motherboard and the 6502. When I got my PET 4016-N, I immediately knew I had to upgrade my RAM to 32k and have some form of disk drive. The thing is, Commodore punched holes through where the 8 extra 4116 SRAM chips would go on the motherboard to prevent people from doing... exactly what I was trying to do; upgrade the RAM to 32k. I could have used a bunch of jumper wires to restore all the missing traces, but the last thing I wanted to do was to short something out on a $500 computer. I discovered something called the PetVet, and its successor; the ROMulator. Created by Michael Hill at bitfixer.com, it's an FPGA based device that serves as a RAM and ROM replacement for the Commodore PET, or really, any 6502 based computer, which means it'll also revive PETs with bad ROM or RAM. Hill also made a neat gadget called the PETdisk, a floppy drive emulator for the Commodore PET. Priced at just $40, it's much more reasonable than an SD2PET or a genuine Commodore floppy drive. The catch is, it's out of stock. However, Michael designed a newer model with more functions and with a cheaper price tag ($30); the PETdisk 2.0, or the PETdisk MAX. I gladly ordered one of each. So, here they are. From the left, the ROMulator, PETdisk 2.0, and a little thingy that plugs into the option ROM slot of the PET to provide the juice the PETdisk MAX needs to operate. And of course, the little cable to connect the ROM power thingy to the PETdisk MAX itself. The PETdisk MAX has a bunch of haphazardly mounted devices on its rear; a Micro SD card interface and what's apparently a little WiFi module (more on that later--much later). This device was only very recently finished, so there is no documentation available for it yet, and the firmware is to be updated in the near future. There is also a 24 pin edge connector on the very back so you can connect other IEEE-488 devices to your PET while leaving the PETdisk MAX plugged in. The ROMulator has a socket on the top where your 6502 goes in, and the ROMulator plugs into the socket on the motherboard where the 6502 originally was. There is also a pin header for plugging into an RPi for programming purposes. There is also a 4 position DIP switch for ROM configurations. Here it is, all plugged into the PET. The red wire is just long enough to reach from the ROM socket to the PETdisk MAX. Yay, 31743 bytes free! Now I can run all the (not so) awesome PET games that require 32k! ...or I could downgrade to BASIC 2.0 because why the hell not. All the standard commands work, you know, LOAD"FILENAME",8 and stuff. However, BASIC 4.0 disk commands such as DIRECTORY, DLOAD, and DSAVE does not seem to work; I get a DEVICE NOT PRESENT error. Perhaps the issue will be resolved in a future firmware upgrade. Also worth noting is the fact that the current firmware ONLY supports PRG files. No SEQ, No REL, no D64. Just PRG. All in all, both the PETdisk and ROMulator are a must for every PET owner. I, admittedly, don't own an SD2PET so I don't know how good it is, but I don't think it's three times as good as the PETdisk MAX. I think now would be a good time to note that the PETdisk MAX can utilize that WiFi module for using a web server as a network drive. Not a feature that I will use myself, but it's something the PETdisk MAX has but the SD2PET doesn't. As for the ROMulator, there's really no question as I've yet to find a competing product; and also the fact that it does its job well. Oh, and also the fact that bitfixer is located in the US is a plus, since the folks that make the SD2PET and stuff are over in the UK. You can't buy the PETdisk MAX at the bitfixer store at the moment (as of January 25th, 2021); Michael hasn't updated the website yet. However you could try and contact him to see if he has any to sell. Well, there you are. If you own a PET, don't hesitate to snag these. They're awesome.
  13. 1 point
    On January 21st 2021, Julia (Archivist at The Strong National Museum of Play) announced on Twitter, that collection of Michael and Muffy Berlyn papers are now available on a museum called The Strong National Museum of Play, which is in New York. In the page from the museum it says, they have a lot of Bubsy archives such as: “Bubsy” – game proposal, tech specs, cost documents, notes; 1991 “Bubsy” – game design documentation, bug lists, notes, memos; 1991-1992 “Bubsy” – marketing folder with photographs, 1991 ... They even have some concept arts of Bubsy 3D and some VHSes! Read more about it here: 119.2588.pdf Or read it on the website: http://archives.museumofplay.org/repositories/3/resources/219
  14. 1 point
  15. 1 point
    I finally compiled all the different Eagle parts I had drawn over the last year into a single Eagle library and adjusted them to be more or less uniform in look. While I was at it, I also added all missing chips and connectors. Currently, it contains the following parts: 74LS08 74LS14 74LS51 74LS74 74LS138 74LS158 74LS375 4050 4051 4164 6502C/Sally 6520A/PIA 27128/OS PROM ANTIC BASIC ROM Cartridge Cartridge Socket EP8212 GTIA Joystick Port Keyboard Socket LM358 MMU Monitor Jack Parallel Bus Interface Parallel Bus Interface Device POKEY Power Jack RF Modulator SIO Jack Basically, it's everything you find on an 800XL motherboard. Update 2014-04-29: added conversion to Eagle 6.5.0 (XML file format). atari.lbr.gz eagle-6.5.0-atari.lbr.gz
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