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Bryan

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Everything posted by Bryan

  1. Yeah, as far as the ports go, I think they were trying to hide things that might be considered unsightly on an appliance. Remember that this was likely the consumer's first video game device. So, wood and silver switches on the front, and ports on the back.
  2. 1st of all, consumer video products used RF unless they were expensive devices that needed to be more flexible. VCRs could handle composite because they could be linked together. Video games had RF because everything supported it. Even by the mid '80s, only premium TVs had AV jacks. The NES got people seriously considering TVs with this feature. The 2600 was a cheap legacy product in 1986. It's no surprise they didn't add features that late in the game.
    1. Show previous comments  1 more
    2. doctorclu

      doctorclu

      I loved the cover art of Synapse titles. It had this eiree/cool look to it that just drew you in.

    3. Bryan

      Bryan

      I talked to Tim Boxell a few years ago about possibly creating some posters from the originals. We kinda lost touch.

    4. jaybird3rd

      jaybird3rd

      I'd love to see some Synapse posters, even if it's a compilation of all the boxes in one poster. Very nice artwork.

    5. Show next comments  3 more
  3. The part of the emulator that really needs work is the DSP/Jerry code. It was supposed to do all the graphics, sound, and hit detection. At this point it's at the "Hey, let's show Atari we got something running" stage. I do kinda wish I had the time to look at it again.
  4. I imagine that the channel filters are helpful for reducing noise when playing samples on SID.
  5. The trick to the C64 player is code that takes the same number of cycles between register updates, no matter what. So, something similar could be done on the Atari. It's a similar optimization problem to polling super-fast SIO or displaying a Rasta Converter image. The player would need to turn off DMA, and handle lost refresh cycles. The second part is coming up with 256-ish voltage levels through volume manipulations.
  6. I was there during part of the CatBox debacle. I went with Tom to the factory who made the metal cases and I saw stacks of unfinished parts at ICD. Tom says that he lost his database after taking preorders, and maybe that's true, but I know he was also running on a very lean budget and he probably needed more money to finish another batch. Several people have contacted me over the years asking me what happened, and all I know is Tom always told me he was going to finish them and figure it all out someday, which of course never happened.
  7. And it makes tons of julienne fries!
  8. Even then, I'd finish some 8-bit projects first.
  9. Tom is pretty quick as long as you can fit the whole job inside it. The only thing we did on Tom was the CPU emulation, I think. I can remember 2 tricks that really helped. One was saving each byte of the game as a 32-bit word that had the next 3 bytes included (1 to 4 expansion of the data**). The idea was to never make another bus fetch necessary when processing a single instruction. Once you know the length of the current instruction, you can start the next one fetching. The other trick was to put some LUTs in Tom to shave cycles off of common instructions, especially regarding setting the flags. The idea was that Jerry would be free to do everything else. Tom would pass a list of time-stamped register updates to Jerry and the sound and video would be made from those. The 68000 would only be used for maintenance things here and there. The idea was to hit the bus as little as possible since that's where the Jag steps on its own balls. ** A 2600 cartridge would be copied to RAM like this: B0, B1, B2, B3, B4, B5 -> becomes -> B3B2B1B0, B4B3B2B1, B5B4B3B2 etc.. This way, you can always have 4 bytes loaded in a register starting at any arbitrary byte position and just shift them down.
  10. Well, the next things I worked on were some PC projects with Tom Harker of ICD. None of them panned out, though.
  11. You're welcome. Somewhere I've got my documents from that time. I may have even posted some of them, I can't remember. Did your project have anything to do with Atari?
  12. I'll post the Virtual VCS story here real quick: A friend (Damien Jones) and I had some contacts at Atari from our ST-era projects. We decided to get Combat running on Damien's TT030 and then show it to Atari to pitch the idea of an emulator for the Jaguar. We cheated and basically re-wrote Combat line-by-line from the 6507 code, but they rewarded us with an Alpine system and asked us to demo an emulator within 90 days. Our contact was J. Patton. We cranked out the first Virtual VCS demo in a little over a month (not cheating this time) and J. said everyone was impressed and to keep working on it while they got a contract together including a $300K advance. Weeks passed without any word from Atari and without returns to our calls. Eventually, J. handed us to Bill Rehbock who didn't want us to work on Virtual VCS, but rather a driving game I can only describe as AtariKarts with weapons. We were a bit defeated, but we agreed. After that, Atari went silent and then cancelled all projects a few months later. We knew people who got advance money from Atari and were then cut loose, but we never got that far. Later, we heard about the in-house attempt at a VCS emulator and found out from Dave Staugas that he had seen our emulator and was impressed at how fast it ran since he was having trouble getting past about 70-80% speed. I believe we would have delivered a quality product if we'd been given the chance. Eventually we sold everything we had to Carl Forhan and somehow he didn't end up with a ready-to-run image of Virtual VCS and had to reconstruct it. I still don't know what happened, but it was a chaotic time. I still use the tsd (temporary sanity designs) logo on my Atari projects.
  13. Unfortunately, no. Carl Forhan said the version he got from us didn't compile without some work, so I'll never know what actually happened and if he got the last version. We also made a video tape of all the Jaguar stuff we wrote and that got lost as well.
  14. That's pretty much what I did when I begged my parents for an ST. I don't get this at all. There are so many better causes out there and all this will do is buy time. The brick and mortar problem remains. When the new Atari goes bankrupt, I say we have an AtariAge fundraiser to allow Albert to buy up the assets and turn this place into the real Atari.
  15. It's hard to answer these questions because so little is known. If it looked to be an awesome product, then I'd be happier about the retro branding. Right now this is like a wagon rolling into town selling bottles of Atari VCS cure-all elixir.
  16. It's so cool to see this running again. Damien Jones and I wrote it (Damien was majorly into fractals and did that title screen & my biggest contribution was the 6507 emulator on Tom) and we did a ton of testing to figure out how to shave wait states on the RAM bus. We were so sure Atari was going to love it. They said they did but kept putting us off because Dave Staugas was also working on an emulator in house (although we didn't know that at the time) so we stopped working on it. Soon after the Jag was gone. I now use the TSD logo on all my Atari PCB projects.
  17. I've been so wrapped up with this Ataribox stuff, I haven't checked to see who else might be rendering nice consoles these days.
  18. I do plan on continuing. If I ever stop, I'll release everything. I'll probably release all the Rev D stuff when I finish Rev E anyway. I don't want to list the features yet because I don't know how much will make it in there, but a big one is to implement an optional chroma boost that things like the 1200XL and early 2600's had.
  19. Hey everyone. I'm down to my last 12 or so UAV Rev D boards and I'm going to take a short break to design Rev E, which will hopefully be the final revision. Basically I want to add a couple features and make it easier to assemble and ship in a timely fashion (as I don't always have a free day to be hunched over my workbench). If you anticipate needing a UAV board soon, I wanted to give you the heads up since it will probably be a few months before the next one is done and then another 30 days or so to manufacture them.
  20. Yeah, to me a CRT is still the standard for how something should look. I've noticed that the prices of the better CRT TVs (mostly Trinitrons) is starting to go up as well.
  21. I built something like that once. I kept meaning to go back and simplify it but never did.
  22. I don't get too sentimental about it because it wasn't really an Atari chip to begin with. Somewhere I read that Yamaha wasn't interested in selling its FM sound chips to Atari once they heard that the ST would include MIDI ports and might compete with their sequencers.
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