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Everything posted by Bryan

  1. OK, you caught me with my pants down: I am NOT, in fact, a copyright lawyer! I apologize if I gave the impression that I actually know what I'm talking about. Actually, Some titles have been put into public domain by their authors, but if you don't know, then you must assume it's still protected. I found the following on a law site, but there's disagreement between different (even reliable) sources on how long the copyright lasts. "When granted, current copyright protection generally lasts for the duration of the life of the author (such as a software programmer) plus 75 years. When the program is a "work for hire" the protection lasts for the earlier of 125 years from the date of creation or 95 years from the date of publication. " Some sites say 50 or 70 years, some indicate that the clock starts when the item is published, not when the author dies. No matter what, most Atari software is covered in any case. By the way, that cat picture cracks me up!!! -Bry
  2. Why... Thank you!! -Bry
  3. If you get no video from the RF jack, your only option is to go in and look for video on the board. If the video circuits are working, then you probably have a bad RF modulator. I have several if you need one. -Bry
  4. I think you'll find the Atari a very different animal. The combinations of things that can be done with the hardware are exponentially higher, but there are some trade offs in terms of color and resolution. The Atari OS is much friendlier, and more expandable. Places like B&C & Best Electronics (check the links section) sell new & used equipment, but ebay is probably the easiest place to find a low price. A 65XE or XEGS are both good choices (although I find the XE keyboard too mushy). My machine of choice is the 800XL (it's just built sturdier), but the XL's video quality is poor (fuzzy) unless some simple modifications are done. Once modified, it looks great on a 1702 or S-Video TV. 1050's are good disk drives to have, but XF551's are much more versatile if you can find one. Here are the most common choices: 130XE (most factory RAM - 128K) 65XE (64K) 800XL (64) 600XL (16K, no monitor output) 1200XL (64K, low production, more elaborate model with some OS quirks) 800 (48K, still a good choice, but upgrades are limited) 400 (16K, membrane keyboard) Drives: 810 (big, noisy, low denisty, tank: will outlast all of us) 1050 ('enhanced' density drive, very common, can be upgraded to double) XF551 (True double density and double sided - supports all formats) Also, there are 3rd party drives aplenty. Indus, Rana, Trak, Percom, and more! Most support true double density in response to Atari's 1.5 density 1050 model. Hope this helps... -Bry
  5. I remember using one to hook up PC floppy drives. It also had a CPM mode where it used the 800 as a terminal, and you ran stuff on the internal Z80. It was really an ambitious idea, but I think the cost killed it. Plus maybe the fact that Atari owners probably didn't buy their machines to run CPM. I've never seen one with a PC upgrade. That might be kinda cool. Remember when DOS compatibility was the holy grail of emulation? Now no one would care. -Bry
  6. Here's another answer. DOS is required to load and save files. The OS has no mechanism to do anything other than boot from a floppy drive. Once DOS is booted, a full disk driver is installed. It is MUCH faster than a 1541. -Bry
  7. The thing that makes the 8-bit fun for me is kinda like the comparison between painting and photography. What give you the most accurate representation? Photography. Why paint? Because creating things within the limitations of your medium can be a lot more fun and expressive than snapping a photo (of course, there's an art to photography too). Today's PCs can create just about any audio visual experience. It's not a matter of if, but when someone does it (with a multi-million dollar budget, probably). Working on the 8-bit is more suited to individuals or small groups. The project is contained by specs of the system, so adding more and more people rarely helps the situation. If the PC is a Large Deep-dish Supreme, then the 8-bit is a Personal Pan Pizza. Sometimes, it's all you need, and satisfying too. Now I'm hungry... see ya later! -Bry P.S. Why doesn't someone hack a Macinstosh into a TI99/4A case and see what we all think of that.
  8. There are 228 color clocks per scan line (160 visible in Normal PF). The CPU runs at 1 cycle every 2 color clocks, so you have 114 cycles (228/2)_before_ DMA, which can steal up to 80 consecutive cycles (all of them in the visible area of the screen - 160 color clocks) on the 1st line of a row of text. After the 1st row, the characters are read from Antic's internal buffer. In gr.0, just try changing COLBK after a DLI & a WSYNC (putting you at line 0 of a text row) and moving the change point across the screen with NOP's. You'll notice that it jumps from the left border to the right with just 1 NOP. This is because DMA can consume up to ALL of your cycles in that area (not even RAM refresh happens on this line) leaving you with the 34 cycles in the borders, minus the DL and Player reads. 114 total cycles, and 80 of those are in the Playfield and are lost = 34. of those 80, 40 are used for reading character numbers and are cached, and 40 are used for reading the 1st line of character graphic data. For the next 7 lines of the text, the DMA load is about half of the available time: 40 cycles for reading the 2nd+ line of character graphic data. In a line doubled mode, fortunately, Antic reads the 2nd copy of the line from an internal buffer so it can save you a lot of CPU time. Any mode that displays 160 pixels by 4 colors will steal 40 cycles on the 1st line it is displayed on. Hope this helped... -Bry
  9. Can you post the Spieler binary? -Bry
  10. Okay, but according to the screenshots these pictures don't seem to be mixing any new colors. They use the colors in the palettes, some dithering, and the players to alter the background colors in places. Where does the undetectable color mixing (GTIA 'bug') come into play? -Bry
  11. I still don't see what this gains you. Now you have 40 low rez player pixels across the screen. How are they combined with the playfield? In front, behind? Man, I'm confused. From what I can tell so far, you're supposed to be able to change colors on a scanline basis and gets colors that are as "true" as palette colors, but only if you spread the players across the screen!?!? Can someone point me to something that demonstrates the result? Why don't I find anything on the web when I search for MCS Atari Graphics? I don't doubt that there's a genuine trick being described, but I think there are elements of the discussion that are missing (I realize there's a language barrier as well). -Bry
  12. I don't disagree with your cartridge pricing at all. If someone can make something, and gets X$$ for it, then more power to them. My question is, what do you mean by refurbished? This would indicate that something was restored to like-new condition. Is Video 61 removing ROMs from existing circuit boards and removing labels from cartridges, or are they simply using unused New-Old-Stock (surplus) components, or maybe both. Anyway, it's obvious that Sunmark does some custom manufacturing, and everyone has access to this software whether you buy from them or not, so if someone's unhappy with the price, they should come out with a cheaper Alley Cat cartridge. -Bry
  13. I tried a copy I have... I got into the house and pressed L and everything seems fine. This is a copy I've had since the 80's, so its probably not the same as the ones floating around today. I just made these ATR's so try them out. witness.zip
  14. By the way, Bill Williams died a few years ago. -Bry
  15. Does it work as well on NTSC? I seem to recall seeing some flicker when that trick is used (but it could be just because I've never seen it on a PAL TV). Wouldn't it be interesting if CPU time wasn't an issue (like with a CPU upgrade). Then it would purely be a matter of what you could get the machine to do graphically, not how much is going on in memory. Oh well, its better to work within the limits. -Bry
  16. I'm a little lost. What GTIA bug? Are you referring to the illusion of colors being mixed when scan lines colors are alternated or is this something more complex? -Bry
  17. Ooops.. sent 2 copies.. ignore (why is there no delete?)
  18. I remember talking (email) with Mr Dyer a few years ago. He told me about some of the weird things going on at Atari during the Warner days. I don't remember all the details, but he said they were throwing money away right & left. -Bry
  19. I actually like the cheap Gemini copy of the Atari CX40, called the GemStik. Differences: It has rounder edges and a larger yellow fire button, and the boot isn't ribbed "f.y.p." at the base. I also like the Wico bat handles. I hated the Wico Boss. Why make a pistol grip that isn't fixed so it points forward? I find joypads hard to use for fast 'twitchy' games. Ms. Pac on the Lynx is very hard for this reason. -Bry
  20. I think the 65XE was an abbreviation of 65536 bytes. Kind of like how today's hard drives are measured using the 1000 Meg per Gig inflated figure. -Bry
  21. These machines take very different approaches to generating audio/video which makes them each good at different types of games. The 64's hardware is very much like early 80's videogame hardware, has better sprites, but lacks the easy-to-use linear bitmap modes of the Atari. The main difference is that the 64 doesn't have the sophisticated OS that the Atari does with it's driver (IOCB) structures and such. The 64 has only one path of execution, and that is to dump you into BASIC (At least if the Atari loses power, it can boot back up and pick up where it left off). Had the firmware issues of the 64 been ironed out from the start (and heck, the 1541 too - unbearable load times, & why the difficulty of adding a 2nd drive?), it could have been a very friendly machine. Instead, everyone had to live without any reasonable disk management utilities (none came with the 1541) and had to memorize LOAD "BLAHBLAH",8,1 Of course, let's not forget the real 6502 stinker, the Apple II! The dumb terminal that thinks it's a computer! -Bry
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