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decle

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  1. Now before you judge me, remember I'm not an collector now, doesn't mean I wasn't in the past It looks like I have 5 variants of the Golf manual. Two different versions of 1816-0820, a 0820-G1, a 0820-G2 and a 1816-0920-G3. I'm guessing the 0920-G3 is not of interest. This is the baseline 1816-0820... This differs from the US manual as replacement overlay ordering is in the inside front cover rather than the standard Object of the Game page - this page does not appear in the manual at all: and there's an invitation to join the Intellivision Club inside the back cover (which seems to have been taken up in this case): The G1 version drops the Club invitation in favour of some notes, otherwise the contents look to be the same: The G2 variant removes references to the PGA in the text of the manual, making it consistent with the title of the manual (see first sentence of Add Overlays on page 1 for an example): And finally I have what I think is an INTV variant which is numbered 1816-0820. It's printed in black and white on really cheap non-glossy stock and is folded vertically with a single staple. It has the same text as the 0920-G3 version (with the Object of the game page and no PGA reference), but omits the 90 day warranty and replacement overlays order sheet on the the last two pages. It also doesn't have any references to Mattel: Hope this helps.
  2. As I've mentioned before I've not really collected Inty games for ages, however, I do keep an eye out, and whenever I see somewhere selling 2600 stuff I ask about Intellivision games, in the totally unrealistic hope they have a mispriced K/C for £10. I guess like most places, there aren't many retro stores in the UK that cater for anything prior to the SNES / Genesis, so I probably find myself in one maybe once a year if I'm lucky. My family are on vacation in Kent at the moment, where we discovered Level-Up games in Canterbury (https://levelup-games.co.uk/). They had a 2600 on display with some common titles, so I asked Alex, the proprietor, whether he had any Intellivision games. I was ready with my "no worries, I had to ask" response for when he replied "no", but then to my surprise he came back with, "uhh, yes", reached into his small store room and pulled out boxed copies of Golf and Word Fun... This is the first time in well over a decade that I've found any Inty title in the wild, let alone CIB ones! I needed a manual for Golf (told you I'm not a big collector), so I picked it up. However, the Word Fun box was pretty rough, and although Alex knocked it down to £5, I didn't need it, so I left it. We wandered round Canterbury for a bit as my son decided whether to purchase Pokemon Colosseum or Pokemon Diamond, and I pondered. Given how unusual it is to find Inty games and how great Level-Up Games is (going in there requires serious discipline), it would be a shame to leave the Word Fun, besides it's unlikely anyone else would buy it. So, when my son made his decision (Colosseum) and we returned to Alex, I picked it up. As it turned out, this was a good decision. On returning home and checking my collection spready, it turns out I already had the manual for Golf, but I was missing the one for Word Fun! Now, that would have been some non-buyers regret! So, whilst it's not exactly an earth shattering pick-up, it's the best day I've had as a UK Inty non-collector anywhere other than eBay in a loooonnnggg time.
  3. Nice! Thanks for taking the time to do this and report your findings. I've added your results to my list of Brazilian pirate games which I've transferred to a Google spreadsheet that can be viewed here (we've now identified 53 Shock Vision games and 19 IntelliGame titles): https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1Gg49VKGUp8k7y5MeHOFcnsFeO77G8FPPwPOUYrA8yhE/edit?usp=sharing In doing this I've split the Shock Vision and IntelliGame lists onto separate worksheets, and tried to provide links to evidence that supports the assertions made. When it comes to ROM variants I've applied the following rules: Yes - If there is a picture of a doctored title screen or there is a ROM dump to support the variation No - If there is a ROM dump that confirms the game is a standard version No? - If there is a picture of a standard title screen or someone states the game appears to be unchanged Blank - There is no evidence at the moment As always, if anyone has any corrections or additional information please let us know and I'll add it (if we could persuade @cmart604 down into his Inty dungeon for an hour with a Shock Vision adapter and camera, we could probably add a couple more ROM variants to the list! ). Cheers decle
  4. Whilst I appreciate the vote of confidence, I'm only one member of the team working on K/C software that also includes @Lathe26, @Ron The Cat, @Knarfian and @intvnut. I would agree with the sentiment that the Chandlers don't seem to be being well served by their reseller. The quality of the images and descriptions don't seem to be consistent with the sum of money being sought to me. Personally, I find the discrepancies between what is listed, and what is shown on papaintellivision.com are interesting. Specifically, none of the pre-production carts, t-cards or EPROMs are listed in the auction (potentially this is consistent with the t-carts being loaned to Intellivision Productions as stated on papaintellivision). Also, I can only find 29 "loose" tapes shown on papaintellivision, the most interesting of which are 2x Diagnostic Test, Address Lists, BI Tape 2.0, 2x Demo cassettes, General Instruments demo and Household Inventory. Presumably, the auction includes 7 tapes not previously shown, one of which seems to be the hand labelled "BASIC Tape". To bring everyone up to date with the state of our work to preserve K/C software. Unfortunately, @Ron The Cat's K/C has had to be safely packed away since February while some work is done to my house. I hope to get back to Jack Lalanne in a few weeks time. Once Jack is complete, we have Geography Challenge to do, but then I think we will have captured and digitized all the released programs. In addition, we need to put together videos showing Jack Lalanne, Family Budgeting, Crosswords and the Basic Test Tape in operation. At that point, we had intended to contact the Chandlers and the other owners of undocumented K/C tapes we know about, with a view to capturing and digitizing their content, so that it could all be preserved and potentially used by the owners. Although we have the capability within the team to make 4-track recordings, our work doesn't necessarily require tapes being sent to us. We just need a recording of both sides of each tape made on a mid-range stereo hi-fi tape deck to work from. Distribution of the resulting K/C software beyond the original owner would be dependent on obtaining both the tape owner's and copyright holder's permission, presumably Intellivision Entertainment at this point. Obviously, things probably change with any potential sale, however, if a prospective owner of the Chandler collection, or owners of other K/C tapes, would be interested in helping us document and preserve this software, please contact us here on AtariAge. Cheers decle
  5. LOL, dweebs seldom differ. My first thought... "Ooo, the ceramic IC in the ZIF socket looks interesting! " Thanks for the link to the SSS datasheet. It's interesting that it supports bank-switching. I wonder if WSMLB uses a couple of these, I've never opened my copy to look. For those that don't know, the sequence of tech associated with development was... Test harnesses like the Magus or Datawidget were used during development for debugging games. EPROMs in T-cards were used by QA to evaluate games (and other interesting things like TV POWWW). ROM ICs in ceramic packages are likely to be samples of the production ROMs used to confirm the correctness of manufacturing. I would expect these also to be used when bringing a new ROM supplier onboard or possibly a new ROM technology (e.g. a smaller process or bigger ROM). There had been a couple of 12K games released before Pinball (e.g. B17 Bomber), however I notice this is a Solid State Scientific device, rather than a GI one, so perhaps this was part of their being assessed as a supplier? Interestingly, the two ceramic chips in @Rev's images might be from a different manufacturer, perhaps American Microsystems Inc (AMI), although I can't find an example of the particular logo shown here, and according to their 1982 catalog, they didn't manufacture 10-bit ROMs. I guess AMI (or whoever it is) being trialed might explain a SNAFU ROM in a ceramic package with a production date of 1982 week 33, well after the game was released in the fall of 1981. Frog Bog's chip date of 1982 week 12 looks to be more relevant to its release date in May 1982. ROMs in plastic packages and later on chip-on-card "glob tops" were volume production units as they were cheaper than ceramic packages.
  6. Interesting. As you know I'm not a big collector, but I have a Melt-o-vision copy of Sea Battle: Is this another little something I've lucked into that doesn't have an equivalent in the @cmart604 dungeon? I got the cart sealed from a seller in Venezuela about 5 years ago: I don't buy sealed to keep them sealed, but in this case the warped shell prevents me checking to see if it's a ROM variant, or if it even works! Bizarrely the seal hadn't melted, although it was rather more crinkly than usual. The overlays and manual were unscathed, although the glue on the spine of the box has given up. In many ways I like these unusual if worthless things you sometimes stumble on. It's one of my favourite carts, right up there with my Pat Burnell Frog Bog that someone randomly included in a trade in the late 90s:
  7. Back in 1982 Joe Jacobs and Dennis Clark put together a personal version of PlayCable, called PlayComp. This used PDP-11 computers they had at home to "broadcast" games over a serial connection to their development kits based on Jerrold PlayCable adapters. I believe it was the rarest and best version of PlayCable. I've put together a replica of PlayComp that uses modern hardware to run the system on a regular Intellivision Master Component. You can find a short explanatory video, showing PlayComp in use and its advantages over the standard PlayCable service here: Joe, Dennis and the other Jerrold engineers constructed a library of over 40 games for use with PlayComp, and its pre-cursor PlayTape. In addition to the standard Mattel titles, this included games from Activision, Imagic and Coleco (yes, the dreaded Donkey Kong even made it both PlayTape and PlayComp). Overall, I've found PlayComp to be slick and reliable, offering a significantly better user experience that the real PlayCable service, thanks to its use of two-way communication between the server and adapter. So, now I have a PlayCable of my very own (well, sort of). What's more, unlike most adapters, it's not a doorstop, and it's even a variant that @cmart604 doesn't own! Let me know what you think. Now I really must stop being distracted by shiny things, and get back to Jack Lalanne, or @Ron The Cat is going to kill me. Cheers decle
  8. Happy New Year everyone, In amongst the files archived by Joe Jacobs and Dennis Clark are some associated with the menu program that subscribers used to choose PlayCable games. For example, I have previously written about a jukebox program that plays the tunes played by the menu program here: These files are interesting because the menu program was broadcast over the PlayCable service, and therefore, is believed to be lost to time. However, a couple of Joe and Dennis' files are programs that seem to mimic the PlayCable menu, for example DIRTAP is one of the PlayTape titles, that is described as a PlayCable demonstration: It's not known quite how close DIRTAP is to the actual menu program used, for example there are differences when comparing the splash screen with the known images of the menu program (see below) and Ride of the Valkyries is not a tune known to be broadcast. However, the pages of game selection screens do seem to match the descriptions of the menu quite well. DIRTAP is designed to work with a PlayCable adapter modified for PlayTape use. Once a game is selected, DIRTAP hands off to the PlayTape firmware to load the game, and things rapidly come to a grinding halt in JzIntv. However, given that the PlayTape was modified to make using it without a menu easier, DIRTAP is rather redundant, and perhaps explains its description as a PlayCable demonstration. Joe and Dennis also created a DIRTAP variant called DIRHOM, part of a more complex system called they named PlayComp. This was designed to work with their PlayCable development kit to create a personal PlayCable system. This would have been the snappiest version of PlayCable, as in effect you had your own PlayCable server, just sitting, waiting for you to request a game over the development kit serial link. You can find out more about both PlayTape and PlayComp in the latest update to the PlayCable Technical Summary. Both DIRTAP and DIRHOM use a file containing a list of the games available, called a "map". There are several of these map files for PlayTape and PlayComp in the Technology Associates archive, dating from 1981 to 1983. However, one is much older, MAP7.ASM dates from May 1979, and its contents are rather interesting... TITLE "MAP7" PSECT CREDIT:: DECLE 32,74,101,114,114,111,108,100,32,69,108,101,99,116,114,111,110,105,99,115,0 ; Jerrold Electronics DIRLST:: DECLE "DIR1 ",78,70,76,32,70,79,79,84,66,65,76,76,0,128,18 ;NFL FOOTBALL DECLE "BASKET",78,66,65,32,66,65,83,75,69,84,66,65,76,76,0,80,18 ;NBA BASKETBALL DECLE "DIR1 ",78,72,76,32,72,79,67,75,69,89,0,128,18 ;NHL HOCKEY DECLE "BASBAL",66,65,83,69,66,65,76,76,0,112,18 ;BASEBALL DECLE "CARDS ",66,76,65,67,75,74,65,67,75,47,80,79,75,69,82,0,80,18 ;BLACKJACK/POKER DECLE "CHECKR",67,72,69,67,75,69,82,83,0,80,18 ;CHECKERS DECLE "DIR1 ",67,72,69,83,83,0,128,18 ;CHESS DECLE "DIR1 ",66,65,67,75,71,65,77,77,79,78,0,128,18 ;BACKGAMMON DECLE "MATH ",69,76,69,67,32,67,79,77,80,65,78,89,32,77,65,84,72,0,80,18 ;ELEC COMPANY MATH DECLE "DIR1 ",80,85,80,80,69,84,32,84,72,69,65,84,69,82,0,128,18 ;PUPPET THEATER DECLE "DIR1 ",67,79,76,79,82,83,32,38,32,83,72,65,80,69,83,0,128,18 ;COLORS & SHAPES DECLE "DIR1 ",83,80,69,69,68,32,82,69,65,68,73,78,71,0,128,18 ;SPEED READING DECLE "DIR1 ",66,65,84,84,76,69,83,84,65,82,32,71,65,76,65,67,84,0,128,18 ;BATTLESTAR GALACT DECLE "DIR1 ",84,65,78,75,32,66,65,84,84,76,69,0,128,18 ;TANK BATTLE DECLE "DIR1 ",83,69,65,32,66,65,84,84,76,69,0,128,18 ;SEA BATTLE DECLE "DIR1 ",65,73,82,32,66,65,84,84,76,69,0,128,18 ;AIR BATTLE DECLE "DIR1 ",83,75,73,73,78,71,0,128,18 ;SKIING DECLE "DIR1 ",84,69,78,78,73,83,0,128,18 ;TENNIS DECLE "DIR1 ",66,79,87,76,73,78,71,0,128,18 ;BOWLING DECLE "DIR1 ",71,79,76,70,0,128,18 ;GOLF BIDECLE 0 In addition to the familiar early games we see some unreleased titles, Puppet Theater, Colors & Shapes, Speed Reading and Air Battle. Along with these, Armor Battle and Space Battle are listed with their earlier names Tank Battle and Battlestar Galactica. Air Battle went on to become Triple Action Biplanes, and mention of Puppet Theatre had previously been found here, however, it looks as though Colors & Shapes and Speed Reading are previously unknown, at least as Master Component titles. Perhaps something for @cmart604 to be on the lookout for in 2022? Does this mean that Jerrold had access to these prototype games? Perhaps, although I'm a little suspicious that these games have "DIR1" as their PlayCable stream names, rather than the more specific names like "BASBAL", this might indicate that these entries are just placeholders, and there are no other files related to these games in the archive. Anyway, have a great new year. Cheers decle
  9. Hey all, 2022 brings a new version of the Intellivision development overview, you can download it here: intellivisionDevelopmentBackInTheDay-20220101.pdf This update focuses on two topics: The Magus, or should that be MEGAS. The tools put together by Joe Jacobs and Dennis Clark. The details of the changes are... Magus / MEGAS information (p23-p27) First images of a MEGAS board Lots of technical details Full circuit diagram of a 16K MEGAS More information on Joe Jacobs and Dennis Clarke's development tools (p42-p49) PlayCable development kit and Vector board Details of their software tools such as Foreground, Pick-A-Doodle and DISLX Information regarding a cartridge reader created by Joe Jacobs If you're interested in the work done by Joe and Dennis at Technology Associates, you might also want to have a look at both the write up of their story and the PlayCable Technical Summary. Cheers decle
  10. Happy 2022 everyone, In the ongoing tradition of publishing something to welcome in the New Year, I have an update to the PlayCable technical summary, which you can download here: playCableTechnicalSummary-20220101.pdf This brings you significant new material in the following sections: 6 PlayCable Hardware - All circuit diagrams have been checked and corrected against Jerrold schematics (p13-p19) 7.3 PlayCable Game ROMs - more information about which games were broadcast and when (p28-p31) And did you know there was a quarterly PlayCable newsletter, that got to at least issue 3? 8.1 PlayCable Adapter Emulator - full circuit diagram of the Jerrold version of the PlayCable (p37-p38) 8.2 PlayTape Adapter (p39-p43) Much more information on PlayTape and the changes made to support it A description of DIRTAP a PlayCable demonstration that may have been similar to the menu program used in the broadcast service 8.3 CYBER Development Kit (p47-p48) Information on the changes made and Joe Jacob's Vector board modification to the Master Component Details on PlayComp, Joe and Dennis' CYBER based personal PlayCable service, quite possibly the best PlayCable variant of all. I've also posted a brief description of DIRTAP and PlayComp, which includes a video and some interesting details of the unreleased games. As always any additions or corrections please let me know. And if this lot interests you, then you might want to take a peek at an update to the Intellivision development document here. Cheers decle
  11. Hi all, In amongst the programs in Joe and Dennis' archive is this beauty. It's a jukebox that plays five tunes. Three of these arrangements were broadcast to subscribers homes as part of the PlayCable game menu. We know this because @dave1dmarx posted some contemporary recordings on YouTube that he made as a child. Well, now we can hear these tunes in glorious JzIntv hi-fi. The Entertainer @dave1dmarx 1980s recording: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WvZp_k6s33o 12th Street Rag @dave1dmarx 1980s recording: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lDfvzo4vAsA Music Box Dancer @dave1dmarx 1980s recording: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_0CX0vEg-WE We also get to see what the original PlayCable logo looked like on the Intellivision, and perhaps a glimpse of the colouring of the menu splash screen shown in this clipping: You will notice that The Entertainer has some "bubbles" at the end of the tune. These artefacts are also heard at the end of @dave1dmarx's recording. We originally thought that this might be caused by the omission of an "end of tune" marker, and the music engine subsequently ploughing through memory, blinding trying to play program code and data. However, with access to the jukebox source code, we can now see that for some reason someone has tacked a specific sound effect, called BEBOP, onto the end of the tune. Presumably, this was just some fiddling that accidentally made it to production. @dave1dmarx says that the "bubbles" were removed somewhere between late 1982 and early 1983. The source code for all three of these songs dates from March 1982 and uses a set of macros to define the tune. These macros are played by a common three part harmony music player called TRIHRM that was written by @David Rolfe at APh. David says that this was originally written to be part of the EXEC, but was relegated to an optional library to save on space during development. The other two tunes in the jukebox are also quite interesting. The first is Ride of Valkyries... This is the same tune used to signal victories in both Checkers and Sub Hunt. It also appears in the Easter Egg found in Conversational French. @David Rolfe explains that "it's a Caltech tradition to blast 'Ride of the Valkyries' through the dorms as a wake-up call when final exams come. This is no small thing; no one who attended Caltech can hear 'Ride' without feeling a rush of serious PTSD. So it wouldn't be surprising if a 'Ride' rendition were to come out of APh". My belief is that this tune was written by APh and found its way to Jerrold in a Checkers ROM image or cartridge. The source code for Ride of the Valkyries dates back to September 1979 is encoded using regular CP-1610 instructions rather than macros. This might suggest it was constructed by ripping it from a ROM disassembly, rather than it being from built from legit source code. Further evidence for this hypothesis is that the version of TRIHRM found in the jukebox differs from David's original EXEC version. Instead, it seems to have been taken from Checkers and then tweaked slightly to integrate it into the music player framework. The final tune is an arrangement of Take Me Out To The Ball Game... This is the oldest of the tunes, dating back to June 1979. Like Ride of Valkyries it is encoded using regular CP-1610 instructions. Perhaps some of the instructions were not decoded correctly and this is why there are some odd notes? I was wondering whether this song was intended to be used as the title screen or victory tune in MLB Baseball. Talking to David, he remembers working on the tune with Hal Finney, but he doesn't recall what it was to be used for. On a related note, there are also a number of sound board programs that seem to have been used to test out sound effects that were taken from games. Most of these effects are the bleeps and bloops familiar to us all, such as YER OUT! However, a there are a couple of interesting ones. The first is GALSONG, the theme tune to Battlestar Galactica: We know from this interview with Hal Finney that Space Battle originally had a version of the BSG theme in it, which was removed when Mattel didn't get the licence for the name. Perhaps this is that version of the tune? We also know that Jerrold had access to a pre-release version of Las Vegas Roulette and Slots, maybe they had an early copy of Space Battle too? Before anyone gets excited, although there are PlayTape versions of Baseball and Space Battle in the archive, they're just the regular production versions. Finally, there is SUPSONG, a version of the Superman theme... The tunes for both GALSONG and SUPSONG date from mid 1981, and are encoded as data statements, rather than being macros or regular CPU instructions. Although the sound board version of SUPSONG dates from 1981, references to it can be found in other code going as far back as August 1979. David thinks this tune may also have been written by Hal, but he doesn't know what it was intended to be used for. So there we have the Jerrold Music Jukebox and sound board. As someone who likes a banging 8-bit chip tune, I think they're pretty cool. For those that got this far, your reward is a ROM image for a new rendition of 12th Street Rag, complete with 6-voice ECS support... 12thStreetRag.rom Cheers decle
  12. Happy Intellivision Day 2021! Following our work on Conversational French, we've captured and digitized Spelling Challenge. Like Conversational French and Jack Lalanne, Spelling Challenge was written by APh for Mattel. We know from the 2004 CGE panel that Peter Kaminiski was one of the programmers (24:40). Now don't get your hopes up! It's unlikely that Spelling Challenge is going to blow you away. The premise is that by correctly spelling words you help a monkey to feed a crocodile with coconuts. What is it with Mattel's educational primate fixation? Having shaken the coconuts from the tree, they have to be floated into the air using balloons, before they're picked off by a passing bird which ferries them to the crocodile!? Why this convoluted process? Don't know! Sounds like an idea generated at the end of a particularly long and liquid lunch to me. The result is that you have to spell each word correctly three times to complete a level. The game comes with five predefined lists, each containing 20 words. The words to be spelled in the first two lessons are represented by sounds, in the remaining lists they're just spoken. The player can also record their own lesson of up to 20 words with associated noises or spoken cues, providing unlimited spelling entertainment! Here's a quick "highlights" video: OK, so calling these highlights is probably stretching things. Even for an edutainment title Spelling Challenge is pretty lack lustre. Having to spell each word three times turns each list into a bit of a slog, it's missing the competitive, two player aspect of Math Fun or Word Fun, and it doesn't provide a timer, score or track your progress. For the completionists, here are the full set of lessons (apologies for the changes in exposure on scene changes, this is caused by my cheaping out on an AV capture device). For Animal Sounds we've provided a full play-through of all three game phases so you can see all the animations. However, for the other lessons we only show shaking the coconuts from the tree. The balloon and bird sections have the same animations as Animal Sounds, and once the coconuts are on the ground, you've heard all the pre-recorded audio content: List 2 - Animal Sounds - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=g4wyZ95WZ7o List 3 - Sounds Like... - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FOwUUB3CiV0 List 4 - Spell It Right! - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RzalCbEH4ZE List 5 - Toughies - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a-vetPWAVpE List 6 - Words In Space - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=X1owRxV5yN0 And finally, you can record your own lists like this: Edit Home Spelling List - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9z6fP67kIlk As was mentioned in the Conversational French "making of" video, the Kitty Faker cannot record audio, so we can't demonstrate using a home word list. So far, we've not found Easter Eggs in Spelling Challenge. The nearest to one is the rather cryptic text "SIGNAL for condition not ENABLEd" found in one of the program records (the capitalisation is as it's written in the program). We've not worked out how this message is triggered or what it means yet. As noted by @Lathe26, the K/C software was pretty expensive, with recommended prices between $50 and $70. As a comparison, a regular Inty cart cost $25 at the time, and a tape from the album chart was between $7 and $10. Spelling Challenge's program and audio amounts to about 8 minutes of content on the tape (1:15 of program and 6:30 of audio samples). Although, as @intvnut has pointed out, at 12K decles of program, the game is quite a bit bigger than something like Math Fun. Was it value for money? We leave it to you to decide. Again, credit to @Knarfian, @Ron The Cat, @Lathe26 and @intvnut for their help in bringing this to you. Right, on to Jack Lalanne! Cheers decle
  13. Very cool Super Pro Intellivision Kartridge Reader?
  14. Hi all, This is a big one, in some ways it's the culmination of several years of work by @Knarfian, @Lathe26, @intvnut, @Ron The Cat and myself. We have finally completed the restoration of Conversational French, probably the most technically advanced of all the Intellivision Keyboard Component software. To share it with you we have put together 21!? videos showing the full hour and three quarters of Mimi Schroeder's language course. Let's start with a highlights reel for those who just want to see the best bits and don't want to get bogged down in the details... Why is Conversational French the most advanced Keyboard Component tape? Whilst many of the PowerPoint style slides it contains, such as the Mona Lisa, are quite cool for the time, for me the most impressive content is the lip sync'd animation of Mimi. I would have been blown away if I'd seen it running on a home machine in 1980. I know this is the case because I did see Dancing Demon at my local Radio Shack at around that time (it was written in 1979), and I thought that was really cool. It should be noted that our videos probably don't do this animation justice. There is quite a bit of wow and flutter on the recordings we're working from, which means the lip-sync wanders a bit. Then there's the use of audio, both pre-recorded and home recorded. Only Conversational French and Spelling Challenge make use of the K/C microphone and clearly it's totally integral to Mimi's course. Finally, there's something that's not obvious. French Tape A manages to squeeze an hour of content onto a 30 minute cassette. It does this by having lessons recorded on both the Read Only and Read/Write tracks. The program and audio content are carefully aligned so that when you record your responses to the lessons on the Read Only track, it doesn't obliterate Mimi's audio for the lesson recorded on the Read/Write track. Very cunning, although it complicates our digital K/C tape replacement. Whilst investigating bugs in our initial digitization of Tape A, we came across some hidden credits. At 1.5K decles in size, it's probably the largest Easter Egg in the original Intellivision software library... ...Many thanks to Mark Stroberg for putting these credits in, and to everyone he listed, for their hard work on this piece of software. To trigger the credits, you hold down 1 & 9 on the left controller and 0 & 8 on the right controller as Mimi starts her introduction. This is acknowledged by a bing before she talks. The credits are then triggered by choosing 6 to save any progress and quit. So, how did we archive Conversational French and get it running again? Well, here's an over long and yet strangely unsatisfactory explanation... Finally we have the full contents of the course. In all, there are five lessons split across two tapes. Each lesson is further broken into between two and five parts. We've put together an individual video for each part lesson, linked below... Tape A Mimi's Introduction - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JjWO35vE8rs Lesson 1 - Customs Customs I - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aEzKvNdcrO8 Customs II - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FeqKqz3MbSU Customs III - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=I7EYZzvzPWk Review - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=j471b-b2CHQ Taxi - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jSMx8SOtHV8 Lesson 2 - Hotel Bedroom I - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cLiD2eQlUgI Bedroom II - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GIjsoatp7Xc Bathroom - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0dapQKVakx0 Money - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1s253xgIFN8 Tape B Lesson 3 - Restaurant Restaurant I - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EPaC7PKG9yQ Restaurant II - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yCVkLyWvih4 Review - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mgHwGU04g0Y Lesson 4 - Tour Tour I - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wq-R5_gDjPM Tour II - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0F-WqLU1hfc Tour III - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=StChw0lUWEs Lesson 5 - Train Train 1 - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EbUceCDCrx8 Train 2 - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aejOgOuLPns So there you have it, Conversational French in all its glory. Unfortunately, for copyright reasons we can't share software with you, and even if we were to there is no way to use it at the moment without a Keyboard Component and Kitty Faker. However, we hope you enjoyed seeing what you missed out on at your local Frederick & Nelson all those years ago... We are well on the way to preserving the other Keyboard Component tapes and hope to have more videos showcasing this rare software soon. Special thanks to @Ron The Cat, @Knarfian, @Lathe26, @intvnut, @David Rolfe, Bill & Mimi Schroeder, Mark Stroberg, Tom Boellstorff and Braxton Soderman for their help in preserving Conversational French and their memories of putting it together in the first place. Cheers decle
  15. Looking through the source code of Math Fun we've discovered some unknown, or at least informally documented bits and pieces. Problem types: As is described in the manual, there are 18 difficulty levels, broken into major colours and minor numbers (Black-1 through Red-2). Internally these levels are numbered 0-17 and each relates to a particular problem type. The types are defined in a table found in PROBLM.ASM (comments are mine): PRBTBL: PTBL SADD ; Black-1 Single digit addition PTBL SSUB ; Black-2 Single digit subtraction PTBL DADDNC ; Black-3 Double digit addition - no carry PTBL DADDC ; Black-4 Double digit addition with carry PTBL DSUBNB ; Blue-1 Double digit subtraction no borrow PTBL DSUBB ; Blue-2 Double digit subtraction with borrow PTBL TADDNC ; Blue-3 Triple digit addition no carry PTBL TADD1C ; Blue-4 Triple digit addition one carry PTBL TADD2C ; Yellow-1 Triple digit addition two carries PTBL TSUBNB ; Yellow-2 Triple digit subtraction no borrow PTBL TSUB1B ; Yellow-3 Triple digit subtraction one borrow PTBL TSUB2B ; Yellow-4 Triple digit subtraction two borrows PTBL SMULT ; Purple-1 Single digit multiplication PTBL SDIV ; Purple-2 Single digit division PTBL M1MULT ; Purple-3 Single x multi-digit multiplication PTBL DMULT ; Purple-4 Double x double-digit multiplication PTBL D1DIV ; Red-1 Multi by single-digit division PTBL DDIV ; Red-2 Multi by double-digit division When you choose a level, you're setting the highest problem difficulty that can be used in a game. This maximum value is stored in addresses $16f and $170 for player 1 and 2 respectively. Problem difficulty adjustment: I was careful to state that the maximum difficulty the player chooses was for the whole game. There is a separate, current difficulty level which is used to generate the next problem. This is always less than or equal to the overall game difficulty. Its value is stored in addresses $171 and $172 for player 1 and 2. The game can choose any problem type up to and including the current problem difficulty when setting a question. By changing the current problem difficulty, the game can adjust the challenge for each player independently. This is mentioned multiple times in the manual. At the start of the game the next problem difficulty is set to be three less than the overall game level. This means that the game starts slightly easier before ramping up to its ultimate challenge. A quirk of this is that you are guaranteed to get a single-digit addition problem as the first question on all the black levels. From here the current difficulty is adjusted based on the player's performance. Get a question right and the difficulty goes up by one, limited by the overall game difficulty. Answer incorrectly and the difficulty is dropped by two. It is possible to drop the current difficulty down from level red-2 to level black-1 by answering nine consecutive questions incorrectly. One page 1.5 (the page numbering is a bit weird in my copy), the manual suggests that the rate of progress answering puzzles may also be a factor in question difficulty... ...however, I've not found any evidence for this. Reverse-entry is not reverse-entry, at least not all the time When I made my original video about the Math Fun prototype, I included this comment from MASTER.ASM... ;*** NOTE *** MODIFICATIONS TO INPUT ROUTINES ALLOWING RIGHT TO LEFT ENTRY ; FOR +,-,* MADE 5/5/82 BY KJM, AFTER RESEARCH DONE BY CJH ; A FEW WEEKS EARLIER What I failed to notice at the time was that this suggests that reverse entry does not apply to division problems. Sure enough, the comment is correct. Forward entry is used for division problems, even in the reverse entry version of the game... ;GIVEN ADDRESS OF FLAGS IN R2, NUMBER PRESSED IN R0, PLAYER IN R1: ;SET THE FLAG TO SAY THAT A NUMBER HAS BEEN PRESSED. FIGURE THE NEW ANSWER ;BASED ON THIS NUMBER BEING USED, AND UPDATE THE ANSWER DISPLAY AND THE ;ANSWER ITSELF IF THE NEW ANSWER IS LEGAL. DIVISION IS ANSWERED LEFT TO ;RIGHT; ALL ELSE ANSWERED RIGHT TO LEFT. IF THIS IS NOT DIVISION, ;INCREMENT THE EXPONENT FOR THE CURRENT ANSWER IF THIS NUMBER IS USED. This is probably evidence that the real intent of reverse-entry was to support solving problems using the step-by-step methods taught in schools. These typically involve writing the problem down and working through it on paper. For addition, subtraction and multiplication these techniques work from units, through tens to hundreds, but for division they work from hundreds, through tens to units. These approaches allow students to break the question down, solving partial problems and reducing the amount of working that has to be maintained in the player's head. This makes solving larger problems using mental arithmetic significantly easier, but makes entering answers to some of the easier problems, notably single digit multiplications like 9x7 rather unintuitive. Personally, I wish we had the reverse-entry version, rather than the forward-entry variant, when we were kids as it would have made it possible to play harder levels without resorting to pen and paper. Perhaps a better name for the reverse-entry variant is the "work-it-out" or "schools" version. Which would make the original forward-entry version the "know-the-answer" or "mental-math-eureka" variant. Blue really is the the colour I was a little unconvinced by the violet ($d) colour used in the background of the prototype. It made me suspect that this was a ROM hack put together by the Jerrold engineers. However, there is some evidence in the production code that it was intentional. In INIT.ASM from the production code we see the following comment... MOV #UANSW1,R5 ; ** NOW IN 8 BIT RAM -LMZ ** MOV R0,@R5 ; " MOV R0,@R5 ; " MOV R0,@R5 ; " MOV R0,@R5 ; " DOBLNK: CALL BLANK ;BLANK SCREEN (LIGHT BLUE) This suggests that the intention was that the colour stack was initially set to light blue ($d), also known as violet. Then later in the code we find a commented out switch to green when setting up the game screen... ;ROUTINE TO SET UP SCREEN SCRNSET: ;** MOV #CH.GREEN,R1 ;** MOV R1,.BCOLTAB ;CHANGE BACKGROUND STACK BACK CALL BLANK ;FILL THE SCREEN WITH BLANKS So, it looks as though the original intention was to have a light blue background for the selection screen, but then green for the game. However, our prototype originates from a period where the switch to green was commented out, but before the colour stack entries in the cartridge headers were changed. Leaving it with a light blue background throughout. Cut the music already We can see that someone really didn't like the Electric Company theme tune. In addition to the second half being cut, Larry Zwick added the following code during game setup: MOV R1,.KEYDSP CLR R5 ; ** AND LAST, TURN OFF THEME MUSIC MOV R5,.SPRIO ; ** -LMZ ** This isn't present in the prototype, and as a consequence the tune plays to completion, even if you get through the selection quickly and onto the game screen. In the production release it is cut short once the Gorillas come into view. Animal switcheroo There seems to have been a change in the animals setting the questions at some point during development. In the code, the antelope is labelled a horse, and the kangaroo is named cat2. What I have always thought is a sheep is identified as a zebra, and seems to have been added as a bit of an afterthought, as it is not defined with the rest of the zoo. On page 2 of the manual there is something that looks suspiciously like a camel, which does not appear in the game at all. This creature also appears in the mock-up (notice the probable violation of the 2 colour rule) shown in all the game catalogues... Although the graphics are the same, the colours of a number of the animals were also changed between the prototype and the final release. I believe the easiest way to get hold of a reverse-entry cartridge is to target the white label INTV version of the game. I don't know that they are all reverse-entry, but certainly my copy is. It may also be a good idea to go after games in the later flip-top boxes that don't feature "The Electric Company" branding on the front...
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