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About Knarfian

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    Space Invader

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  • Location
    Michigan, USA
  • Interests
    Emulation, Game Collecting
  1. When I was first working on the Astrocade driver in MESS, I generated this HTML file with the equation I was using in the emulator: http://www.ballyalley.com/ml/ml_docs/astrocade_palette.html I'm honestly not sure if it's been approved upon since then, and I'm not sure I have the python script anymore That said, MAME still uses the same (maybe identical) code to generate the palette: https://github.com/mamedev/mame/blob/4263a71e64377db11392c458b580c5ae83556bc7/src/mame/video/astrocde.cpp#L78 -Frank
  2. Jamie Fenton is the creator of the arcade games Gorf and Robby Roto, as well as the Astrocade game system, OS and Bally Basic. She recently donated a bunch of items to the Computer History Museum in Mountain View, CA. Along with various documents, the collection contains an original development system that was used to create and debug software for these platforms. The development system is called an "icebox" - a floppy disk-based Z80 system used as a substitute "CPU and memory", working with the target system hardware. It was used to write programs in Z80 assembly, as well as Terse - a version of the Forth programming language. An early version of the system ran CP/M, but later it was modified to boot a Terse-based OS. Information from this collection is available here: http://bitsavers.org/pdf/nuttingAssoc/ The MAME team is now working on emulating the development system. It can already boot the Terse-based OS in emulation. A number of disk images were also donated, and they are currently being looked at. They contain source code snippets and binaries for various arcade machines and Astrocade programs, tools for assembly and cross-compiling, as well as some possibly unreleased stuff, such as source code for the unreleased prototype of Ms. Gorf. At this time, it's not clear exactly how much stuff there is, or how much we can get working in emulation. But this is a fairly exciting development and I wanted to share the news!
  3. Physically, the tapes are not much different from ordinary cassettes. The leaders would need to be transparent so that the "end of tape" detection (photodetector) would work. They do seem to come in widely varying lengths. The issues with creating new tapes: A) We need fully remastered images. (I am working on it.) B) You would need to use a 4-track recorder capable of recording all 4 channels at once. C) There is an issue with the way ordinary recorders work. There is a generally a DC-blocking filter (usually a capacitor in series) in an audio channel, which causes some distortion of the waveforms. It's not clear right now if modifying the recorder would be necessary to make it work or not. I will probably do a post in the near future to illustrate this. Another way forward would be to make a solid-state replacement for the drive (and probably the tape drive interface board) itself. The interface is a simple 20-pin header connector, which I have fully documented. (I am currently playing around with an Arduino connected to mine.) It would be possible in the near future to use something like an Teensy3.5 board to with a small touchscreen to replace the whole thing. Of course, if you could put the whole KC on a cartridge...but one thing at a time... -Frank
  4. I wanted to give a quick update to this forum. I have been actively working on restoring the tape images I made so long ago, as well as trying to get the emulation going. In addition to the 3 BASIC programs I mentioned in the last update: Family Budgeting Crosswords 1 Crosswords 3 I finished restoring the data for: Data Cassette (formatted tape for saving your own BASIC programs) Physical Conditioning And I have partially finished: Conversational French So far, the error-correction coding layer on the tapes appears to have been good enough to support full restoration(!) To get things to run in the emulator, I basically need to: 1) Remaster the error-free (hopefully) data into new 4-track .wav files. (Python script) 2) Add support to MAME for the tape drive. In the last week, I added skeleton support for loading tape images. I hope to have partial emulator support for the tape drive soon. I will continue to post updates here. -Frank
  5. I worked on this project with a few other folks - thought it would be of general interest here. We made a version of Adventure which matches the end of the book Ready Player One, and interfaced the Atari to the internet https://www.i3detroit.org/creating-anoraks-adventure/ -Frank
  6. Happy New Year everyone! This is Frank Palazzolo and I just wanted to chime in on this thread. The tape images I am working with came from Dan Blitz's collection, which eventually was sold to Alex Pace. I used two different systems to do the dumps - initially I used a "Gen 1" simple stereo cassette player with two passes. The "Gen 2" system I did consisted of a TASCAM 4-track player/recorder which I modded, working with a data acquisition system. Unfortunately, I didn't get to dump everything with the "Gen 2" system, however. So, I do have recordings of "Super Football", as well as other tapes mentioned on the internet. You would think I have all the data I need - but some of the cassettes had some damage, and the system I cobbled together back then wasn't perfect. I am going through the images now, recovering and verifying the data with some python scripts and by hand as needed. I'll post a link soon with the list of images, and their status as far as recovery goes. I may need help with image recovery at some point - and it may be worth trying to re-acquire some of the images eventually. But I don't even know which ones at this point. So far I have recovered 3 images in their entirety - Family Budgeting, Geography Challenge, and Crosswords1. I haven't run the last 2 in an emulator yet. Can't wait to try it though I am upgrading the emulation in MAME as well, so that it can run the various programs. I believe the emulation of the BASIC programs is complete - I just need to get it back into a recent build of MAME. Emulation of the assembly programs, Physical Conditioning, Conversational French, etc. will probably need some more work in MAME to run properly. Thanks for all the interest - I'm glad to be working on something again that people want to see -Frank
  7. Here are a few really old pictures of the board I was working with...and some of the diagnostic code running: http://avoidspikes.com/dsplib/personal/pictures/INTVKbd.html
  8. Hi - It's been a long time since I thought aboout this stuff - but I hope I can help a bit. Unfortunately I don't own a KC, although I would like to get one eventually. Screen "freaking out": The white text which is generated by the CRT controller chip (The big one with the heatsink) is overlayed on the video signal coming from the game console. There is an adjustment pot somewhere - which might be tweaked. Unfortunately, I can't remember where it is on the board, but it's near an 8-pin Phase-Locked Loop chip, maybe a 565? I do remember though that Doug needed a new CRT controller chip to fix the problem - if the chip is bad it can freak out as the chip gets hotter. I used some cold spray to verify this. The chip is documented here: http://wiki.intellivision.us/index.php?title=TMS9927_CRT_Controller I may still have some - I think I bought more than one. I'll see if I can find them. The little board: I'm fairly certain that I didn't have that board in the 3 consoles I've seen on the inside...not sure what it could be for. I wish I had a console here, I could see what it is near. BASIC cart: Yes, it's possible the cart is bad, or the connection. It would be useful to make sure you have a known good basic cart. The basic actually runs on the 6502. I have an image of an intellivision cart I wrote, which loads code into the 6502 and let's you debug on that CPU. Not sure if that would helps or not - I had put it onto a modified intellicart. Hope this helps! -Frank P. P.S. Joe Z might also have something more to add...if he sees this thread...
  9. Bruce, Thanks for doing this. When I wrote a78sign, I was interested in understanding the crypto techniques that were used. That's why I started from scratch with a crypto library, and attempted to document the algorithm in the code, rather than blindly converting the 68K program. I had partially converted a78sign to vanilla python a while back, but never finished the file parsing part (the crypto works though). If someone wants the code I can dig it up. At any rate, you can build a78sign for Linux and Mac, although no-one ever bothered too. If there is still a demand I can build it for Linux. Thanks, Frank
  10. Hi There, We've got just about all the bugs out the the Fairchild Channel F emulator in MESS, which uses the same processor as the Videobrain. I'm wondering if there is enough info and data around to emulate the Videobrain. For the Channel F, dumping the cartridges was not easy, but it should almost the exact same procedure for the Videobrain.
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