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Everything posted by MrPix

  1. Can someone explain the problem to me using small words? I have a 512K cart that should work fine on the Phoenix. It's just paging. What's the issue that's causing challenges?
  2. And I 100% support this. I do think he makes an excellent product. I think it's priced about $15 high, personally, but $90 isn't stratospheric. It's the funniest thing. Someone PMd me and asked, "If opcode simply released a bare bones SGM for $45 would you go away?" No. Because it really is about extending the utility of the device and driving innovation. I don't want to harm his business. Doing so would be foolish to me as an SGM-compatible seller. I want to make it easier and cheaper for people to be able to access his games catalog. Mostly, because of Pixelboy - I wanted to increase access to his catalog because he struck me as good people.
  3. I thought you checked out of the convo. You're not very good at keeping your promises, but then nor am I I think opcode is doing it, 100%. AtariAge is literally just a storefront/web shop and has no control over what vendors are willing to sell. I don't know what ColecoVision Fan's role in that transaction was, or their motivations. TPR, honestly, you're a terrible moderator. You're not neutral, and have admonished me repeatedly. You've f-d and threatened and been rude and dismissive. You have not admonished anyone else in this thread for any of the outlandish claims or accusations they have made. I haven't insulted, abused or threatened anyone. I follow a Be Nice, Be Respectful rule in my entire life. As an admin and mod elsewhere, I would never, EVER speak to people I was moderating as rudely as you have. I have continuously tried to answer questions, dispel myths and cite exactly where I am getting my information from. I realized going in that it is essential to opcode that this be controversial. But controversy by itself is not an offense on AA. If you wish to close the thread, do so. I'll take my dozen or so private messages of support as solace. And I'll note publicly that you have taken several moderator actions against many people who had threads closed or who were banned from the site, simply for being inconvenient to opcode. The only common theme of these bannings where people made statements opcode didn't like, opcode turned the threads into drama, and you swung the axe. Are you a mod who answers to private interests? They're certainly not AtariAge's interests, which are for rich and vibrant communities with good and broad economic activity. At the end of the day, AA is a private forum. I don't have a right of free speech here, and I can be silenced or removed at your whim. And your doing so simply reinforces my observation for all to see. But I have done nothing wrong. I have brought no drama. I have posted my intent and goals and reasoning ad nauseam, and this offends opcode, and you are his minion. In fact, I am counting on it. Al, I understand this is your site. I'm sorry this subject is controversial. Truly I am. I just want to make my thing, release a new open hardware product, and relieve a bit of strain that negatively affects several members of the community. I am even open to it being sold continuously though your site, along with several other items I have or am developing. This is the only one that's controversial, and it's only controversial because opcode claims to own the rights to something made in the 80s by Coleco, in the 90s by others several times, and just most recently by him. He has a strong internal dialog that, despite my offer to work with him, I am out for revenge (I truly don't know for what back when he first made this claim, but since then it has a little become a self fulfilling prophesy because I have built up a little contempt for him and his implied threats, accusations and attributions of malice. I really don't care about it enough to deal with him though. I just want to do my thing - which is genuinely my thing, legal, and has been cleared for me by an IP lawyer. If anything, I'm more concerned about the behavior of your mod TPR. I've said my piece above, and I acknowledge he has a job to do. I would be grateful if you'd read the thread including his moderation statements in it and wonder about his fairness, demeanor and intent. I recognize you've known him for a long time, and he's probably a good friend of yours, but what's going on here is not normal. I've read some of his regular posts and he seems like generally a nice and constructive guy, but whenever it comes to an opcode issue, he turns into a vengeful mod with an agenda. I'd really not like to be banned simply for the crime of being articulate. If you would like to PM me, I'd be happy to discuss this matter with you, answer any questions or follow any rules or guidelines you set.
  4. I'm going by opcode's own words - as this is where I read this: If they shipped them through a third party (ColecoVision Fan) that would muddy the issue even more. I'm putting up money to make a batch, and can make run on batches on demand. I'll happily invest $15,000 or $20,000 into a long and continuous run of SGM compatibles with a couple of extra features for product differentiation. And that's just one product. I'll invest similar sums into a set of other products for the CV and Adam too.
  5. Excellent. Be gone! I have only once before have someone be so rude as to tell me what I'm thinking, what my motivations are, what I'm saying... Apparently me "ignoring suggestions" is a character flaw but you "ignoring suggestions" is a god given right.
  6. I am addressing this. I'm having my own molds made, and will be ordering from a company that partners with mine (we refer work to each other) so I can get smaller batches made (probably 250 at a time) at the same cost as others might get for 2,000 qty batches. I expect to sell NONE of these to people like opcode and pixelboy, etc. because they have their own suppliers. Which is fine. While prototyping my wifi cart, I'm using carbon infused 3D printing - it looks very unique and is stronger than the injection molded ABS, even though the technical quality is lower. I have a full color dye sub printer that prints polymer labels that can have very nice finishes. High gloss. Metallic. Brushes metal finishes. It can print labels of such high quality they're commercial ready. The printer costs about $300 and the labels work out about 50 cents each. It's the same price as having labels professionally made, has equal results, and can be done on a one off basis. As for EPROMs, I recently bought a stock of 650 new 32K EPROMs to fulfill an order for Pixelboy: He cancelled that order, in solidarity with opcode. This made me quite happy as a neighboring business saw my stash and offered me five times the value of his entire order just for the EPROMs and they're now rehomed. That said, I do have another batch of 650 on the way, and 650 cart PCBs with no home to go to, so I have several thousand dollars of company funds tied up in those. I can be sure the PCBs will never find a home, so I will likely shred them and write them down for the tax write off. IF I were running opcode's business, which I am not, the only unidentified expenses are the time spent porting games, and the costs spent on R&D. That said, opcode's margin on the SGM, if he's doing it efficiently, is likely 400% to 600%. Of course, he'd claim he was barely making a profit. I'm generally happy with 250% return on costs. My costs for an SGM compatible are under $10. I could easily afford to supply an opcode-level box/manual for $45. If opcode can't, he isn't running his business efficiently. If he can, he's price-gouging the market. The notion that people can say "well, other markets work normally, but the CV market is different. We have unwritten agreements with each other to not compete" is literally saying "we conspire with each other to control the market and limit access to outsiders by dividing it among ourselves, and we're just super pleased nobody has called the FTC or a state's Attorney General yet." And now it's in writing and screen-capped...
  7. That's an interesting point. With a game cartridge, there are mutable and immutable elements. The mutable elements are the PCB, ROM, and plastic case. They can be aimed at any final game cartridge. Programming can be done on demand. So you could have a generic batch of, say, 1,000 carts (a $10,000 investment or so), take a set of pre-orders on multiple games until you have orders enough to cover those costs, and start making them dedicated by programming and labeling the carts to the specific game. Then there are the immutable parts. A DK manual or box will only ever be a DK manual or box. For many collectors, the quality and condition of the box and manual are a matter of great importance - as important or more so than the gameplay itself. Then there are the consumables. The protection and packaging used for shipping. Imagine a situation where you move to a different town, and you've only lived there for a couple of years, but you go to the local metal fabricator and he refuses to do work for you, because he has done work for one of your competitors. I have tried for several months to buy plastic cartridge shells and none of the people who have or make them will supply them. It's not even for a game cartridge, but for a wifi cartridge. My response is to invest to have my own mold made (it's a few thousand dollars) and then make up the shortfall for anyone else in my position. I've seen your controllers. They're amazing. Solid bespoke controllers of the highest quality. I am working on a controller, but it is a re-imagining of the standard controller. I decided to do that because I saw the market was being served well for people who want what you make. What you charge represents and is linked to the actual time and effort and materials and design cost, plus experience, that went into making it. It seems we're the same way. My "batch 2" always fixes some things from 1, and 3 from 2. Or I add a feature, or respond to customer feedback. As my initial development costs are amortized to nothing, I remove some of those costs from the selling price. If components get more expensive or harder to get, I just keep the price the same. Most of these changes are in response to my desire to iteratively improve things, but also my mental unhappiness with resting on my laurels. Ah. Bickerstaffe Syndrome. We all think the things we make are somehow special. Our attention to detail. The over engineering. Those careful design tweaks that come from years of experience. We think if someone else comes along and makes something that looks like ours but sells it for less, it somehow devalues our work. It doesn't. you know that item was made thinner, lighter, of cheaper components, or sacrifices elsewhere. If your customers held one of those, they'd know it wasn't yours. It's your attention to detail and quality that differentiates your products. And that's the best value adder of all. Now, if someone could make exactly what you were making to the same quality, fit and finish and sell it for less... What I can be sure of with my compatible is that the board will certainly be of higher quality than opcode's, the case will be of lower quality which will be compensated for by a crisper design and lower cost, and I'm not including a manual or fancy box but just a single sheet that says "this does this, that does that, no, don't plug that in there!"
  8. I've seen this before. What happens is, they're released to the AA store in small batches of 50 or so, and go very quickly. It is an active marketing strategy of creating artificial scarcity. When the market is under supplied to the point where these units trade hands for several hundred dollars between brief periods of unavailability, that's not a problem for opcode but it is a problem for the community - especially for people rejoining it, or younger kids finding out what the fuss of the parents and grandparents was about. It's great for the seller, who always gets the maximum perceived value but it's not in the best interests of the individuals in the community or for growing the community as a whole. Since the SGM only has a perceived value and not a market value, adding other sellers allows the market to decide what the item is worth. There is some value in the SGM. There is a separate added value in the manuals and box. The manuals and box are the majority of the effort and value of the whole opcode SGM experience.
  9. Hehe, you guys! I have been pointed to a Genesis wireless gamepad that has good potential for conversion. I'm just reverse engineering it now. It might just be a case of reprogramming one IC in the receiver dongle. Worst case, a microcontroller for format conversion, but that opens up a LOT of scope.
  10. I just wanted to drop by and say: I just found out elsewhere that I'm following in the messy tracks of someone called juicebox. I don't know who they are or what they did (though from reading some threads they were a bit... yeah...) but I don't work like they do, I don't have any desire to follow in their footsteps or be tarred by the same brush.
  11. I assembled the very first Sam Coupe prototype with Alan Miles and Bruce Gordon, on my desk. I worked at Acorn, developing the ARM CPU in your cellphone and tablet. I co-developed the Thor XVI and the Futura. I have a couple of quite big platforms in the grand scheme of things. You use things I worked on every day. I don't have anything to feel insecure about Look, Eduardo. We've both said our piece. You know where I stand, and I know where you stand. You make your thing. I'll make my thing. People can be informed consumers and make their choice. I guarantee 100% compatibility for Opcode games into the future. You stop posting wild accusations and offering motivations for why I am doing what I'm doing. I'll just get on with quietly doing my stuff. As I make progress I'll post updates occasionally and you can just leave them be as they help you and don't hurt you at all. It's just another expansion your library works on. If the market is saturated, then the technology should be ubiquitous and cheap, and available immediately. You didn't make the implied threat, though you did alert me to it.
  12. I've emulated the basic logic for the decoder and registers. I spent some of today going through the decoder with a fine tooth comb, since there's an implied threat that someone might try to detect extra features and disable the game. The pause button is done (holds the CPU just doing refresh), the controller ports are a complex matter and will take a couple of weeks to do well. I'll be spending most of next week working out the OSCC timing issues for the Inty RGB board (which I just found out this juice person did something in that area, so it fills me with concern if he ruined things for hardware developers following in his footsteps there too). SD game saving is more an aspirational feature at the moment, because it requires saving the entire memory map, CPU registers and pointers, and then reloading them and putting the next address back in the program counter. This isn't as simple as it sounds I'm not in a hurry. Opcode is looking at shipping in November, but given the current pandemic situation that might all get messed up by the second wave. I know he has a big investment in boxes and boards and etc. and I'd like to see him get through those first so I don't leaving him holding expensive stock. If I put my mind to it, I could probably get to release in about 8 to 10 weeks. However, I have no desire to do that as it would be bad business, and I ironically don't want to tie up Opcode's finances in dead stock.
  13. I wish Coleco was still around. Who else could design a game console, and then make an add-on to turn it into a CP/M machine as capable as any $4,000 S-100 bus computer of the era? I don't know where the idea that "MSX ports is bad" came from. It's just a resentment of "other" like Commodore vs. Atari, maybe? I do know the MSX platform was huge and much more international, and there was so much high quality content written for the platform... Seeing some of it come over to the CV is really refreshing, and I really respect Eduardo's efforts and time investment there. I can't speak for others, but to me homebrew is people writing their own new, original content or riffs, and not trying to pixel match some original arcade classic. I don't see what Eduardo is doing as homebrew as I understand the word, but as proper ports of classics. I think people have higher expectations of ports, so the coding has to be to a higher standard. Opcode is one of the few groups capable of doing that.
  14. I don't think it seems like that. People are free to buy anything they want. Opcode is about the full new CIB experience with great artwork, high quality ports and content, and no expense spared to make everything perfect. That's not the customer I appeal to. People who bought Opcode products may or may not buy mine. I dunno. I'm not going to go after them (although I do spend a lot on advertising and tend to spend it where my competitors are - that's how advertising works.) I don't keep lists of customers, don't mail or interact with past customers or try to build relationships with them - it's a single sale, a warranty period, and no strings. It's a completely different kind of market than Opcode and establishments like that are running. So really, we don't have the same customers at all. Ironically, anyone who bought my SGM-compatible upgrade would be more likely to spend money at Opcode - and have more free money to do so.
  15. I've stated my motivation repeatedly, consistently and unwaveringly. There's no revenge to be had. I'm really not interested in you commenting on matters that can only impact you in a positive way. Frankly, you sound insecure and as if you're projecting. That's how it comes across. I'm trying to make new hardware that's different and distinct from yours, and you don't want me to. It's really that simple. I'm not ignoring them at all. I'm noting them down, googling, finding out what's involved, and wondering just how frosty my reception would be no matter what I tried to do. People can reasonably request what they like. I, as a business owner, will maybe do some of them, or not at all. I decided it was important to make an expansion that was compatible with the majority of existing software. You don't want me to. Why not? You don't control the right to be compatible. Let it go, dude. I just want to get on with designing things, and this is just a huge waste of everyone's time. This has reached the point of absurdity and it's just super destructive for everyone involved.
  16. There are at least three commercially released products before the SGM that had additional RAM and a sound chip. *sigh* I don't know you. I don't know what kind of person you are. You seem to think everyone is out to get you or screw you or get revenge on you. They're not. I've set a price half yours, to sell half of what you're selling. That's a 1:1 match. That's not revenge. That's fair pricing for what you get. I'm looking to build on other people's work and ideas, just like you did. I'm not making a literal SGM clone - I am making something more, that is SGM compatible. If you're threatened by that, compete. Develop an improved SGM too. Or find a way to make it a bit cheaper, because $90 is not cheap, and keeps it to existing users and not new users and kids who buy a console and maybe grab one of your games and then doesn't understand why it's slow or has weak sound or won't work at all. I also deliberately chose to start selling these only after you sold through your fifth batch, which is all pre-sales anyway. So again, where is this revenge you keep talking about? What am I getting revenge for? All slights that exist only in your imagination. Just leave me alone. If I get banned, so be it. That achieves the CV community losing a developer right in the middle of releasing a new RGB adaptor that's *excellent* and open hardware, and a group of Adam expansions and spares. It removes me from the market. Which is the forum's right if they think I'm doing anything illegal (which I am not) or because they just feel like it (which they might). And that would be exactly what I predicted would be your goal in an earlier post - to control who enters the market and has access to customers. Yesterday I lost a $9,500 wholesale CV hardware order because of this closed system. The problem is very real.
  17. I've got to be honest, I have never heard of the Astrocade. Taking a brief look at the specs, it looks like it has a very unique video system that might be quite difficult to replace. Well, yes, but that applies to anything. Do we really need a Phoenix? Or a SGM2? Or a Mega Cart? Each one of those things by itself is really meaningless. It's all the things combined together that make for a rich and varied community with something to be a community over. The common shared love of the games. I think it's ironic. If I did an FPGA implementation of the CV straight off, it would be functionally very close to the Phoenix. I'd probably be able to get it to market for $99 or less. It wouldn't introduce a single new thing, but I don't think anyone would consider it a threat to the Phoenix' business model. While it would work identically, nobody would think they own the CV. I could package up a MiSTer CV core on a little custom board and write the HDL for controller support and probably get that out for $50. But that would do nothing for the community, hurt the Phoenix (which is quite nice, if a little less than it could have been) Opcode has in two separate places stated that this might be the last batch of SGM. If that's the case, what support would those games have in the future? If it's really true, and not a marketing gimmick, that's a threat to the sales of anyone who makes or ports games that use the SGM. If people genuinely are worried that Opcode will stop porting games, but Opcode is signaling the intent to stop making the hardware it runs on... Already, if people want one and they don't appear at the right time, they're looking at a year+ wait. It's not a stock item. It's so essential to the community it needs to be a stock item, cheap and readily available - like the multitude of joysticks, controllers and gamepads that can be bought for $10 from every street corner. Like I said before. It's complicated, and shades of gray.
  18. I don't think they would do that. If they did, a lot of people would have a problem with it including the FTC. However, most of the added benefits I propose are 100% passive. Every existing game will work on it. New games could use the extended features or not. That's up to them. I'm not out here forcing people to do or not do things. Chase your own bliss. Opcode's entire catalog. PixelBoy's entire catalog. Every game for the CV ever released.
  19. I can sell it for $15 and make a profit. I'm offering it for $45 because it doesn't have a case, box or manual. I'll include a nice custom ABS case if there are 100 interested people. I am not out for "revenge" and don't understand why people think that. I can afford to make 10,000 and give them away for free with free shipping. If I were after revenge I would do something like that. I set the price at half Opcode's price because I think that is a fair value. Ironically, with a lower barrier to entry, people will have more reason to buy Opcode games. It's a cart that has wifi and can download games from companies like Opcode, meaning you always have the latest updates, bug fixes, new content etc. I do, and I think the option could be quite exciting. It's really about promoting and encouraging original content and new gameplay authentic to the 80s style. I have half-written a basically functional game that needs three or four players. Each round, one is selected as the survivor, and the others are zombies. It creates some interesting game dynamics. It has elements of Pacman, snake, and some more recent games where you can't see what's going on unless it's line of sight. It's just tricky to go much further because I'm an engineer, not an artist. No, I don't think so, but that would be a worthwhile separate thread.
  20. I am working on a replacement PCB using modern components and the same form factor as the existing CV, in spare time. However, it is a very long term project. I'm more aimed at the Adam side of things, and wish to replace the top board, which is 'most of' the CV. However, that would be competing with the Phoenix and would cost about the same so it isn't very compelling. Building 80s style boards out of discrete components is expensive. I have neither the time nor inclination to repeat CollectorVision's work of porting the CV hardware to Verilog or VHDL. When that job is completed, I would likely just make a single run to cover interest, and that's it. The design would be published as open hardware and people would be able to order their own PCBs and assemble their CV replacements themselves.
  21. Ok. Let's deconstruct this. It's interesting. I'll work from the top down: The SGM2 appears to be some kind of MSX-like add-on. It's even being developed by Brazilians, where MSX was so popular it was manufactured locally, and that is the only place left where the old ICs are still available - even if only in very limited quantities. So the SGM2 is so different it's not really part of the conversation. The SGM is functionality that in '82 was still quite expensive to provide, so it was split out as an optional extra. The RAM part of the functionality has always existed in principle in the Adam. In '82 this required 8 or 16 DRAMs and with Coleco's house style of designing usually had complex requirements including 12V and -5V supplies, and the ubiquitous refresh. The sound part of the functionality was simply a matter of arcade boards using sound chip X, and the CV using the cheaper sound chip Y. It's hard to get the full complexity of the sound from those arcade boards without that AY-3-8910 - it has some interesting capabilities. It was also used as an IO expander on many of the boards. Coleco just slapped it in there, mapped the registers to IO space, and didn't use the IO features at all. The SGM (as re-implemented by Eduardo's gang) doesn't change anything in the CV. It adds a layer of basic functionality. It uses a primitive paging scheme to enable/disable 24K and to map 8K. When you plug it in, it is disabled until explicitly enabled by software. It is, in effect, a dongle that can be used to enable or disable functionality. It's a Superset. An SGM-equipped CV is still 100% a CV. The compatible I am producing is also a superset. It has the 32K of RAM - I would have liked to included 512K of paged SRAM, but the primitive paging system the SGM uses wouldn't support it. The CV and Adam... The CV logic is incorporated within the Adam, but the Adam uses a different and far superior paging system - the CV doesn't even have an effective paging/mapping system by default. The Adam is a Superset of the CV with some minor changes that are easily disabled. The only problematic element of the SGM in the Adam is that Coleco laid out a clear path for how to page memory and the SGM doesn't use it. It's academic, because if an SGM and SGM-capable cart are in an Adam, those Adam elements are disabled on reset anyway. What could I add to that, compatibly, for a retail cost less than the SGM currently ($90 plus shipping)? Audio out. Two more controller ports, which could flexibly map as 3 and 4, or to 1 and 2 but work as Amiga/Atari/Genesis format converters. Pause button. Save state to SD, pick up at the exact same point later. SD-loaded games. 512K or 2MB SRAM, paged. CP/M. AdamNet. Do I need a killer app? No. It already exists.
  22. 100%. I don't want the drama. It's a distraction, and very disruptive to the whole community. I'd really prefer to talk to things that could easily be added to an SGM compatible to make it more interesting.
  23. I quoted your suggestion. It was not snarky. My style of snarky is very different to that. I am an admin and mod on several forums, so I appreciate your position. People tend to be ambiguous when responding to warnings and I was trying to be as direct and unambiguous as I could. Also, American isn't my first language. How else could I have replied to your instruction to communicate that it was understood? And again, explicitly, I am asking sincerely not snarkily. I am complying with your wishes.
  24. I have my own experiences with Intel and Digital. While contracting with Acorn/ARM I was assigned to Digital to work on the StrongARM. At the time the Intel lawsuit was mid-stride, and the end result was that Intel ended up owning the StrongARM IP and an ARM license. Ironic that Intel sold off that IP to someone else and let go of the biggest ever market advantage they ever had.
  25. That's absolutely not how it was intended. You suggested that I should try an approach and I was demonstrating to you that I am trying that approach. It's tough that typing takes out the human inflection. If you heard me say it aloud you'd have smirked and said, "well ok then, that's better." I'm not engaging the negative people. I'm answering questions. I'm trying to show you respect and a bit of humility. It's hard for me to steer the conversation anywhere other than where the 50 or so angry people want to steer it. I am ignoring them. If you want we can talk in PMs? I am trying to be as constructive as I can be under very trying circumstances, because someone before me was apparently a jack hole. I welcome any guidance in PMs.
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