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About kensu

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    Chopper Commander

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    Milwaukee, WI
  • Currently Playing
    Star Radiers, Berzerk
  1. I just got an Action! Cartridge and it won't work with the Fujinet, which basically renders it next to useless. Fujinet will load instead of the cartridge, and booting with the option key just leads to a black screen. I have confirmed that Action! works with the Fujinet unplugged, and other cartridges work with the fujinet present. Is this a known issue? Anyone have any ideas?
  2. I just got a Fujinet and can't figure out to load or save basic programs to the emulated disk drive. Here is what I tried: 1. Created a new disk image in FujiNet, it was the third-smallest type, like 100K or something like that. 2. I mounted the disk to slot 1. 3. I hit the Option key to boot the machine. Instead of going to BASIC I get a garbled screen. Figuring that it's trying to read from an empty disc, I switched the FujiNet off, restarted the computer and switched FujiNet back on when basic started. I tried to save it using a filename with both D: and D1: but nothing happened. I've searched this forum and the internet in general, but the only thing I've found close to this involves the N: device, and that is much more complicated than what I need. I don't want to open a socket up to another machine, I just want to be able to read and write to the emulated disk drive from BASIC. I also just bought an Action! cart on eBay, I assume I'm going to run into a similar problem? (For that matter, is there a FujiNet manual somewhere? I found nothing like that on the Brewing Academy website.)
  3. In this video, at about the 7 or 8 minute mark John Harris mentions some sort of Atari 8-bit clone made in 1994. The company name he gives is Multiplex Technology, but I have been unable to find any references to anything like that in my google searches. Does anyone know what he's talking about? ,
  4. Four things I've been pondering... 1. Is it possible to replace the CD Rom in a Duo with a faster version? (Nothing modern of course, but maybe a 2x or 4x one. How fast was the original?) I've never seen anyone do this, so I assume it's impossible. 2. How come no one has created a flash version of the Tennokoe Bank card? I've noticed that even the Everdrive doesn't have this functionality. (is there a Tennokoe Bank rom somewhere, would that work?) 3. It's also interesting that there are no mods for replacing the file cabinet with flash memory. 4. I've noticed that the Arcade Card has the 3.0 bios but more RAM. Does this have any noticeable effect on regular games (for instance, do they load faster, or does it make lag disappear in some cases?) Sorry if these questions seem a little naive, I'm a programmer who got his degree in 2008, and I am very aware that things were different back in the very early 90s when this system came out.
  5. I recently got a BPS-Max for my recently acquired Twin Famicom (the BPS-Max is the third party controller that the NES Max was derived from.) It's weird, the roto-disc has this friction mesh on it, which makes it sort of uncomfortable to use... In any case, this got me thinking about the way that the controllers worked on the original Famicom and Twin Famicom, where it had wired controllers. Now, with the few games I've tried it with, the BPS-Max always acts as a Player One controller, and I'm kind of curious about how that works. Is there a hardwired switch in there which turns on whenever something is plugged into the controller expansion export, or is this something that is programmed into each game? I remember hearing that the expansion controller port was used to allow three players on some games (but of course the article I read this is in didn't list any games that did this, I also know that the Famicom also had the four player tap like we had in the States), so I would suspect that there would be a piece of code in the game telling it to read from wired controller 1 OR the expansion port. (but then remember the AV Famicom had pluggable controllers just like the NES! It would seem unlikely they would do that if a bunch of old Famicom games would stop working.) Anyone ever dig around in the Famicom's inner workings and know for sure?
  6. That should've read microcontroller, not microprocessor.
  7. There's always been a dream project I've never got around to doing, where I use a microprocessor to build a box that will let you use USB controllers and keypads with the 5200; thus eliminating the need for the original controller, Masterplay interface, PC joysticker convertor or whatever. I wouldn't have thought of rebuilding the entire system though... (what the FPGA guy is doing looks a lot like the Flashback 5200 I discussed in another thread, I wonder if we could get AtGames interested...)
  8. Wasn't surprised to see WiiU taking the poll by storm; Nintendo hasn't forgotten that games are supposed to be fun, and not just frigging buggy tech demos, like so many these days. I think retrogamers understand that better than anyone. Plus, Wii-U has the Nes Remix games, which to me were killer apps for the system. I also found the Big Controller/Wii Controlers setup to be interesting, like it could lead to the sort of asymmetric multiplayer games that Chris Crawford talked about in one of his books (Mooser Gooser, I think it was called). It doesn't appear anyone is using it for that yet. I also like how you can use the Big Controller like it's a portable system. I think it has more potential than the Wii, whose motions controls were great until the novelty wore off (Skyward Sword was one of the greatest abominations of all-time; if only they let you have the option of playing it with the Class Controller!)
  9. 5200 has two advantages though: unique games (Jr. Pac-Man, Gremlins, Tempest) and the analog Trak-ball. Tempest with the trak-ball was the best experience I have had playing that game outside of an arcade. Analog control also gives you an advantage in Galaxian because the ship can move at two different speeds, allowing you to speed up or finesse.
  10. If you have a multicart, someone dumped the test cart that the field engineers used, that makes it much easier to determine if a certain button is working. It was a godsend when I was working on my keypad adapter. Any good 5200 rom site should have it.
  11. The yellowish tint is actually the original color. See here: http://atariage.com/forums/topic/209722-trakball-question/ (Yeah, I asked the same question after I got mine. )
  12. kensu

    5200 Flashback?

    Re: brand name recognition. I just got a Flashback 5 this weekend, and had an interesting conversation with the clerk in the video games section of Toys R Us. He mentioned that they'd had trouble keeping the Atari Flashback 5 in stock, even though they ordered twice as many at the beginning of the holiday season. When I went there (on 1/17) there was only one left. He mentioned that they barely sold any of the other Flashbacks, and they hadn't even had to restock those. What's shocking is that the Atari far outsold the GENESIS FLASHBACK, which I thought would've been a slamdunk. I just checked the sales ranks on Amazon, and this back up what the clerk told me. So maybe having a slightly more expensive prestige version, based around the Atari 8-bit line, would be the second act that At Games is looking for. (Has it occurred to anyone else that we're basically have the same discussion that the Atari execs were having back in 1981 or so?)
  13. kensu

    5200 Flashback?

    To get by the marketing problems you don't refer to it as the 5200 Flashback. You simply call it the Super Atari Flashback (harkening back to the fact that the 5200 was called the SuperSystem). As to the drought of games... you have to realize that it would irresponsible to ignore the hardware commonalities with the 8-Bit line. Therefore I would design something similar to the way that the 7800 worked; you would have something that was basically an XEGS, but with the 5200 controller bus (don't panic, I'll come back to that) along with a chip which contained the 5200 BIOS. That way you could pool the 8-Bit and 5200 libraries and get the best set of games possible. We would use the 5200 controller because it would have the keypad, which would alllow us to map keyboard functions to it. (Naturally the 5200 controller would have to be redesigned, or at least use the same design as the unreleased self-centering models which had hard plastic buttons). As for games... MUST HAVE Pac-Man (5200 version), Galaxian, Jr. Pac-Man, Berzerk, Star Raiders (5200 version), Tempest, Centipede, Pitfall!, Space Invaders NICE TO HAVE Pole Position, Ms. Pac-Man, HERO, Dark Chambers (XEGS), Ballblazer, Rescue on Fractalus, Caverns of Mars, Miner 2049, Asteroids, Space Dugeon Naturally you'd have to get Namco's OK, and even then they'd probably never let you release Jr. Pac-Man.
  14. Didn't the arcade game procedurally generate the maps after a certain point? (Level 12, I think?) That would seem to be a better solution than wasting RAM with the NES data. Can't say I know the first thing about procedural generation, though...
  15. I was just reading the Wikipedia article on Dandy (the predecessor to Gauntlet; that's a complex story for another time). When reading the section on development I noticed this: The game engine was inspired by John Conway's Game of Life. Life is cellular automata; at each "turn" the game examines the squares on the grid that makes up the playfield, and uses a basic calculation to determine whether or not that square should hold a cell. In Dandy this same basic mechanism is used, but the decision was essentially "if the player is on that side of the cell, and there is a monster on the other side, then I will hold a monster on the next turn." This gave the illusion of the monsters chasing the player, when in fact they did not move at all. Like a marquee, the motion was an illusion as they simply turned on or off. This algorithm was easy to implement using the limited resources of the Atari 800; it took the same time to run no matter how many monsters were currently in the map. It also had the property that any dungeon that could be drawn in the editor would run correctly and efficiently, the designer did not have to worry about "correct" placement of the monsters or generators to ensure the map would. Not only was I surprised to learn that the original Dandy was on an Atari 800, but this shows how it got over the limitations of missile/player graphics. I remember that someone attempted to make a 5200 Gauntlet, and I think it used missile/player graphics with each player object representing a group of monsters, and when you killed one it would change the sprite to a group which didn't contain that monster. This approach would seem to work better. I wonder if this would also be fast enough for Galaga, which had similar roadblocks to implementation.
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