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About Memblers

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  • Birthday 02/18/1981

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  1. There's on a few days left on this, sorry this post was a bit late. Check it out if you like. (spammy disclosure: I'm supplying the boards for this release, so I stand to make a couple bucks (literally) from the cart sales.) It's pretty neat, nice looking, the music is fun. It's made by Optomon, who's well known for some cool Castlevania hacks, but this is completely a homebrew. Clearly a very talented developer to have pulled all this off on their own, the only other credit is to the artist for the cover art and manual illustrations. The NSF is on the Kickstarter if you want to hear the music.
  2. I backed at the $60 tier, but if there were a cheaper cart-only option, I also would have gone with that instead. I just like the carts more than the boxes, manuals, and all that. In a way it makes the release seem a little more classic-style, it's not like you could ever really just buy brand new, loose carts anywhere. It seems like KHan has released NES games in a lot of different ways, so it's always interesting to see how it turns out. There was one (NES port of Atari 2600 ET) that was only available through a mail-in order form that was included in the box with another of his releases.
  3. 3 days left on this. I wanted to point out also, if anyone was planning to try getting a cart after the Kickstarter, it would be best to order now. With this game, I expect the non-KS carts will sell out quickly, and like the way a lot of homebrew stuff goes, soon after that after that you can usually only buy it second-hand.
  4. https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/nescape/nescape-an-escape-room-game-for-the-original-nes/ NEScape! is a new NES game being released soon by KHAN Games. It's fully developed, Kickstarter is being used to raise funds for a CIB physical release. You can also purchase the ROM for $10. Despite it using a relatively unique hardware, the ROM can be played on PowerPak and Everdrive flash cartridges, as well as recent emulators such as Mesen and FCEUX (interim builds since 2016 or so, including RetroArch). Note for full disclosure, I'm supplying the boards for this project, so I stand to make a couple bucks (literally) per cartridge order. The kickstarter page talks a little about the GTROM board the game uses. It's a particularly good board for those who are self-publishing. for it being low cost and coming preassembled and tested (512kB FlashROM, 32kB RAM). The kickstarter has less than 2 weeks remaining.
  5. The Hi-Def and AVS are both great options. Just FYI, the jailbars are an analog effect, presumably caused by electrical interference getting into the power supply and/or video signal. It can't possibly exist in the digital HDMI output. So the countryside is safe, for now.
  6. I talked to Rob (the developer) and it sounds like it should work on the NES and SNES classic. When you beat a boss, it will ask if you want to save, you will need to select no. It uses flash memory for saving, so if it's not emulated then mostly likely nothing will happen (but maybe it could lock up, so better to select no). I have an NES classic but haven't tried modding it yet. If it's running FCEUX, then that does support flash saving.
  7. Candelabra: Estoscerro by Slydog Studios is 100% complete, and this Kickstarter campaign ends in just 3 days..! Check it out: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1545426105/candelabra-estoscerro-a-new-game-for-the-nes/ You can here the full soundtrack here (open in youtube if you want to skip around in the playlist): Here also is a short video review: If a dungeon crawler isn't your cup of tea, check out Rob's other games here (full versions for free): https://slydogstudios.org/
  8. There was an early prototype of the 7800 that was done on single-sided PCB (i.e., traces only on one side.. and an insane amount of wire jumpers). I wonder if that was where "not enough room for a soundchip" started. On the actual 2-layer version, I think they could have made room for another chip. It seems crazy to put a sound chip into every cartridge. I wonder if they would have considered integrating the audio, mapper, and game ROM into the same chip. Possible, but I don't know at what quantity that becomes practical. I haven't programmed anything for the 7800, but have looked into it. I know the NES inside and out. On a technical level, the NES just stomps it, mostly due to the PPU being generally more autonomous and having it's own memory bus brought to the cartridge. While on the 7800, the graphics are more software-controlled, it has some flexibility but it comes at a high cost of CPU time. Pretty much the 7800 can display things that would be really hard to do on NES, but overall it can't keep up with the NES. If you could put a CPU in a 7800 cartridge that runs the game, while the 6502 handles MARIA and other I/O, then the 7800 would definitely be more competitive with the NES. On NES, mappers and the various MMC chips can add a lot of capability, but it's something like >60% of the NES library where the mapper is dead simple, they only bankswitch 16kB or 32kB program pages, and big 4kB pages (that's the full set of 256 tiles), if it pages graphics at all. That includes tons of games like Megaman 1&2, Castlevania, Contra, Zelda 1&2, etc. Would be fun to make a new game and/or cartridge for 7800, I just don't have enough time for new projects.
  9. Anything is possible. Depending on the game, the difficulty would range from extraordinarily difficult, to very easy (if you have the skills/experience and the target program is hospitable). 2 major factors to consider: CPU time - does the game have enough idle time that you can take over? This varies during gameplay, and you have to fit inside the very worst case scenario (and your music program has it's own worst case timings to consider). Still fits in the "possible" category because, in theory, one could rewrite and optimize the game. This would be ridiculous though (unless one greatly enjoys RE'ing software). If there's not enough CPU time, better to just walk away. Or add your own CPU to the cartridge.. Memory - where in memory will the music data and variables sit? This actually may be kind of easy to overcome, as long there is a board with larger ROM/RAM you could migrate it to. If the game's source code was available that would be helpful to refer to, but overall it's of limited use. Assembling 30+ year old source code, or more likely converting it to a modern assembler, may be a bit of a project in itself. But I've never tried to assemble any of the old Atari source code, so I could be wrong. It's amazing that any of the source codes are even available at all. I wouldn't assume that they are the final versions, until you can assemble and do a binary compare.
  10. Colecovision was my first game system, then we got the Atari expansion for it. Then later I was given a 7800, and that was my main Atari machine. Had maybe 15 games for it, but most of the other kids in the area had one with different games, too. I remember being really excited when we got a new TV, because I was able to move the old one into my bedroom, and soon I grabbed a butter-knife (as a screwdriver) and figured out how to hook it up. Maybe it was xmas 1990 when my grandma gave me a huge box that turned out to be filled with 150+ 2600 and 7800 games, bought the collection from one my relatives. I got a lot of use out of those. It's kinda funny that the very common CX40 joystick mostly reminds me of playing Atari at other people's houses when I was a kid, because I didn't have a CX40 or an original VCS until the mid-90s. By that time, I was more often using a Sega controller.
  11. There is another way, excuse me if sounds a little crazy (because it is). It wouldn't require a modification to the system, however you couldn't use the RF output for audio to your TV (you'd need a separate audio amp/speaker or use an A/V mod to the system). One could make a pass-through cartridge, and plug your normal Atari game into the other end of it. This cartridge would have it's own audio output, and the audio synthesizer of your choice. The cartridge would spy on the CPU bus (let's say with a small-ish FPGA), and react to TIA writes. You would have a table of every possible combination of writes the game could make to the TIA, and use this to handle every combination of output you want to replace this with. With this, I imagine maybe just making a new pitch table so you have the same LFSR synthesis, but with the tones being closer to musically in-tune frequencies. This is a lot of work, for minimal improvement. If you change it too much, what would sound good on one game, probably will sound terrible on another. This meets the goal of requiring no modification to the games, but it is impossible to just look at the TIA writes alone and know the intent of the sound. To go further, the cartridge needs more intelligence. Inevitably, this becomes a thing where you'd have to make game-specific configurations. At this point you might as well also patch the ROM as a Game Genie does, then you can mute the TIA audio and not need the separate audio output anymore. I'm not saying this would be easy to make, just possible. I didn't exactly come up with this just for this thread, I'm actually designing hardware that will have these kind of capabilities.. Not for the 7800 though (and I didn't have this exact type of audio patching in mind), but it's definitely an interesting system that could use a soundchip. I feel the same way about the TIA like you said in your first post, I love it in the 2600, but to me it's just like 7800 doesn't even have a sound chip. I've seen the thread about the HOKEY project, I don't know what chip it is exactly but it's probably similar in capability to what I'm working with. Other than all that crazy hardware, I am working on my own game-music-inspired synth chip (which includes TIA and Lynx-type sounds), but now that I'm seeing that 7800 homebrew actually exists, I wonder if there would be any interest in bringing it to the Atari? But I suppose if the HOKEY turns out well, there won't be much room for another audio expansion.
  12. What I understand of the built-in libraries of CC65 (which is not a lot, I use CA65 all the time but CC65 very rarely), they are more for cross-platform I/O. If you're going platform-specific, you can just ditch it all entirely and be just fine. I think you just have to make your own linker config, beyond that it's ready for whatever code you want. Though I haven't looked at newer versions, in the past it was the same with NES.. it supported it as a target platform, but no one actually used the built-in NES libraries because they were broken (were OK on inaccurate emulators, but not on the hardware). I could point you to some NES-related resources if that would help as an example, you can just just throw away the I/O routines or your replace them with your own.
  13. One of my older plans, that I didn't carry out (because I've radically changed my design plan so many times..), was to use Bud Industries HP-3650 or similar-style enclosure. They have a replaceable panel on the end, one could design a new panel for it and produce it in acrylic with a laser cutter. Or drill out the plastic, easy enough if you just need a round hole. I started looking at some Chinese enclosure suppliers, so far I've only ordered from SZOMK and the prices for what I'm using (USB enclosures and another small type) have been much cheaper than stuff on Digikey and Mouser. They offer cutouts, drilling, silkscreen, and everything but I haven't had to ask about the pricing on those yet.
  14. In my own experience, I find soldering SMT parts to be easier and faster than through-hole. Especially in the case of resistors and caps, you don't need to keep flipping the board over and trimming off leads. Of course I'm talking about SOIC, 0805, and 0603, going smaller than that it starts getting more difficult to hand-solder, and the solder paste stencil and toaster oven method becomes more attractive. SMT boards can be easier to design, when you've got the bottom of the board completely available for routing traces. For the boards, quality and price from China is hard to beat locally. I use MyroPCB and PCBWay, with both of those you can enter your data on their site and get bare board and assembly quotes automatically. You definitely will want SMT if you go that route. The parts themselves will be cheaper, and the assembly will be cheaper. For assembly you can roughly expect something like $0.015 per pin SMT, maybe $0.15 per pin for through-hole. These companies can buy the parts for you, IME this adds like 10% to the parts cost (for their fee and buying some spares). There are some one-time costs, like paying them to make the stencil, and the value really depends on how many of them you want to make. 20 or 50, hand soldering isn't too bad. 100+, outsourcing it probably starts to look like a better deal.
  15. Any luck with this yet? Hi-Def NES is awesome. I don't know if this info is online yet (check game-tech's site), but I was talking to kevtris and I think he mentioned this heat issue showing up in a few cases. The fix was something like replacing a ferrite with a 0.1 Ohm resistor, and this discharges some kind of unexpected build-up on the regulator's input. This is just going by memory of something mentioned in passing in conversation, so please confirm this before modding anything.
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