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Found 28 results

  1. Summary The Aquarius Printer is a 40 column thermal printer that uses a one-way serial connection. It was marketed for the Mattel Aquarius computer and Intellivision's ECS add-on. Its character set is fixed to match the Aquarius computer's character set. Each character is printed as a pattern of 7x10 dots. It has a 3-way switch on the back to control which parts of the Aquarius character set it can print. The switch settings are labelled as Text, Mixed, and Graphics. Contrary to what the Graphics switch setting would typically imply, there is no known way to print arbitrary pixel / bitmap graphics. The printer has a 40 byte buffer for printable characters. When transmitting data, the printer will not print until either the buffer is full, or until a newline or formfeed byte is received. On the front, it has a Power button and a Paper advance button. The Paper advance button does not advance the paper by a fixed amount; instead it advances the paper for as long as the button is pressed. Unlike many printers of its era and later, it does not have a "test mode" that can be entered by pressing and holding a button while simultaneously turning the printer on. While its interface uses standard RS-232 voltages and signaling, its connectors are non-standard, using a 3.5mm mono audio jack and a 2.5mm mono audio jack. An adapter cable is necessary to connect to a computer. Wiring diagrams are available for building adapter cables for connecting to a PC using a 9-pin serial port or to the Intellivision ECS. Software needs to be set to 1200 baud, 8-bit, no parity, 2 stop bits, and use hardware flow control that is either RTS-CTS and/or DTR-DSR hardware flow control depending on the adapter cable's wiring. Internally, it uses the Olivetti PU-1840 print mechanism and thus can use paper from other printers that use the same print mechanism (example: Alphacom Sprinter 40 and VP42). The Olivetti PU-1840 is controlled by a Hitachi HD6801V0P microcontroller. Output Modes Text Mode Only bytes in the ASCII ranges are printable (hexadecimal bytes 20 through 7E) as well as byte 7F. All other bytes do nothing with the following 3 exceptions: 0A, 0D, and 0C. The hexadecimal bytes 0A and 0D are newlines. A pair of these bytes is considered 1 complete newline. Thus 1 complete newline can be any of the following pairs: 0D 0A, 0A 0D, 0A 0A, or 0D 0D. The printer advances the paper one line on the first byte and drops the 2nd byte, as long as the 2nd byte is a 0A or 0D. If other values are inserted between the 2 bytes of a complete newline, the printer will advance the paper 1 newline, print the inserted characters, and then advance the paper a 2nd time (ex: 0D 20 0D). There is an issue where if too many newlines are printed followed immediately by printable data, the printable data is lost. It is presumed that the CTS signal back to the PC is not being processed properly. The hexadecimal byte 0C is formfeed. It advances the paper to next 1 page boundary, with 1 page being approximately 59 lines. Previously printed data is considered part of the page. For example, if 30 lines of printable bytes were sent followed by a 0C, the paper would be advanced 29 lines. There is an issue where if data is transmitted too soon, i.e. before the formfeed has finished, that data may be incorrectly printed in the middle of the formfeed or may be lost. Graphics Mode All characters are printable, based on the Aquarius computer's character set. However, after power up or a short delay between printing sessions, the data needs to be preceded by 0A 0D before the graphics data can be sent. The first 2 bytes of 0A 0D are not printed, but do cause a newline to occur. Any 0A or 0D that appears after the initial 0A 0D pair are printable characters and are not newlines. However, data can NOT be continuously streamed to the printer indefinitely. Somewhere between 880 to 920 bytes, the printer stops responding. It is recommended that long streams of data be separated into smaller chunks with short delays. Mixed Mode The same as Graphics Mode except that 0A and 0D are newlines. These bytes behave the same as they do in Text Mode. Unlike Graphics Mode, there is no need to prepend the printable characters with 0A 0D. There is an issue where, if too many newlines are printed followed immediately by data, the data is lost. It is presumed that the CTS signal back to the PC is not being processed properly or that the printer needs a brief delay after asserting CTS and receiving more bytes. Construction Major components: Hitachi HD6801V0P CPU: Hitachi's version of a Motorola 6801 (enhanced instructions, 4KB ROM and 128 bytes RAM on-chip, serial, GPIO) Olivetti PU-1840 2P Printer mechanism: 280 horizontal dots, thermal paper Hitachi HA17555: a 555 timer chip, presumed to control the baud rate The plastic case has 4 parts: the top shell, bottom shell, paper compartment cover, and the back panel. The back panel contains the serial connectors and the Text/Mixed/Graphics switch. It appears the back panel and the internal space next to it was intended to be replaceable to support other interfaces (Centronics? DE-9 serial? Commodore 64?). The top shell front internally has space for 2 unused punch-outs in the plastic, each with mounting points in an internal metal bracket. Potentially, these could support addition buttons and/or lights. Wiring Adapters / Cables Here are schematics for building either a wiring adapter to connect the Aquarius printer directly to a PC's 9-pin serial port or to the Intellivision ECS. Note that similar schematics elsewhere don't allow a direct connection to a PC since they require additional adapters like null-modem cables. Aquarius Printer Adapter Cables v1.pdf
  2. Had a chance to inventory my extra games. All games have been cleaned and tested. Please send me a PM if you're interested in a title or five; I'll respond with pricing and if that works on your end, I'll take pictures so you know exactly what you would be receiving. All orders of three or more games will ship for free in the US! Here's what I've got available: Intellivision Sealed Astrosmash Las Vegas Poker & Blackjack NFL Football Complete in Box Armor Battle Astrosmash Beauty and the Beast (cart not working) Boxing Demon Attack (with Activision tray) Las Vegas Poker & Blackjack Las Vegas Poker & Blackjack (Sears) Major League Baseball NBA Basketball (x2) NFL Football PGA Golf SOLD Q*bert (thin-style box with top flap) Space Battle (x2) Star Strike Sub Hunt Tennis *NO GAME* Triple Action Utopia (missing manual) Cart Only Armor Battle (minor cosmetic damage) Microsurgeon Pac-Man (Atarisoft) SOLD Pitfall! Triple Action (minor cosmetic damage) Worm Whomper SOLD Manuals Advanced Dungeons & Dragons Ice Trek (rough shape) Lady Bug (rough shape) Mattel Intellivision games booklet Soccer (Sears) Space Battle Tron Solar Sailer SOLD Aquarius Complete in Box Advanced Dungeons & Dragons: Treasure of Tarmin (missing cartridge tray, right keyboard overlay and one controller overlay) Night Stalker Snafu (box is in rough shape; missing one controller overlay) Tron: Deadly Discs Genesis Complete in Box Barney's Hide & Seek Game Risk Box + cart Side Pocket Sports Talk Baseball (missing cover art on box) Cart only Beauty and the Beast: Roar of the Beast Ecco the Dolphin John Madden Football 92 Jurassic Park Lethal Enforcers Lion King Madden 97 Madden 98 NBA Showdown 94 PGA Tour 96 x2 Sonic & Knuckles ToeJam & Earl in Panic on Funkotron Triple Score World of Illusion Starring Disney's Mickey Mouse & Donald Duck X-Men 2: Clone Wars
  3. I have spent months repairing my Aquarius2. Now that she is operational, I thought that I would look at creating some software that was specific to this platform, rather than just an Aquarius game. I have already written and published a couple of new games for the Aquarius (Aquariworm and Bomb Catcher 2), so I thought about adapting one of those rather than starting from scratch... Well! A historic moment! Welcome to the FIRST and ONLY game for the Aquarius2! 😎😁💪 I have created a version of my Bomb Catcher 2 game that only runs on the Aquarius2, which I think is a world first! Granted.. the market is quite small 😆
  4. The below-pictured Aquarius is on its way to me, woo hoo! It's one of the "Computer & Game System" bundles. Seems pristine. Owner says they never even took it out of the box (other than to take some pics), and based on all of the pictures she sent me (more than what I have attached here), I believe it. All packing material, etc. Got what I think was a fair deal ($120 including shipping). Btw, what's up with the 4-game package being cut to one game plus 4K memory? Pretty funny that Mattel just crossed off "4" preceding "Game Cartridges" with a Sharpie and only included one game on some of these bundles. Was that as they were winding down production and running out of games or something? I know it's not just my box because I saw a few listings on eBay with the same modifications to the boxes. Once my Aquarius arrives on my doorstep, I'd like to maximize my enjoyment of this little machine. It seems like @jaybird3rd's Aquaricart is a must, and probably the 32K RAM expansion cart, too. Will likely have him make me a BLBird cart, too. Ideally, I would like to be able to play all of the cartridge and cassette games available for the system (including homebrews), as efficiently and cost-effectively as possible. Has there been any talk of adding all of the third-party cassette titles to a future version of the Aquaricart (beyond the 6-game demo cassette that I see is included already)? I'm guessing that would require some converting of the .CAQ images? I did come across something about converting .CAQ files to .WAV so that cassette games can be played on real hardware but that process seemed really tedious. Aquaricart 2.0 seems like the best idea, am I right? I've also come across mentions of the MicroExpander, but it seems like a DIY project and I don't have the skills for it. Also saw something about having to remove the AY from the MicroExpander if using it in a Mini Expander, which, again, well beyond my skill set. I like the idea of removable media (USB stick) so that you can add files to it, but what files will it work with "out of the box," if you will? Just .BIN and .ROM, therefore running into the same issues with .CAQ files for cassette games? Lots of newbie questions, here, I know. Please excuse my ignorance. Cheers.
  5. A while back, I started a thread which was intended to be a place where interested programmers could go to find everything they needed to get started with assembly language programming on the Aquarius. Since then, with the popularity of batari Basic for the Atari 2600 and other homebrew-oriented languages, there has been some interest in developing games for the Aquarius in BASIC, so ... here's another Aquarius thread, just for BASIC programmers! Fortunately, the Aquarius already has its own version of BASIC, and it's built right in to the computer! When you turn on your Aquarius (without a cartridge inserted), or start your favorite Aquarius emulator, you'll be presented with a startup screen for Microsoft BASIC. This is the BASIC interpreter that is built in to the Aquarius OS ROM, and contrary to what you might have read elsewhere, it is a perfectly capable implementation of BASIC; it is not a "crippled" version that is missing such elementary features as the ability to do FOR-NEXT loops. The Extended BASIC cartridge (released in very limited quantities, and available today as part of the Aquaricart) did add a few "missing" features, such as the ability to edit previously entered lines of code, but you can easily live without most of them, and as we'll see, there are even better ways of editing BASIC programs using the tools available today. Speaking of tools, let me begin by posting a few. First is the most recent version of the Virtual Aquarius emulator for Windows, version 0.72a: VirtualAquarius.zip This distribution archive includes the emulator itself, the OS ROM, several cartridge and cassette images, and a few sample BASIC programs in ASCII text format to get you started (more on these later). This is the primary emulator that I will be writing my instructions for in this thread, since it has a few features which are especially useful for BASIC programming but which other Aquarius emulators (such as MESS) presently lack. (There is no "installer" for this emulator; just unpack the ZIP archive into a folder, move the folder to a convenient place, and open the "aquarius.exe" executable inside the folder to start the emulator. It's a few years old now, but I've used Virtual Aquarius under every version of Windows from XP through Windows 8 (in Desktop mode), and it appeared to function perfectly.) Next is a bootloader utility, generously provided by Martin v.d. Steenoven, which will convert completed BASIC programs of up to 16K into cartridge images. You can use these images in Virtual Aquarius like any other cartridge binary, or even burn them to a 16K cartridge ROM for use with a real Aquarius. In either case, your BASIC program will load and start automatically when the Aquarius is started; the users will not even see BASIC. Here is a link to the most recent version of the bootloader from the assembly thread, along with Martin's usage instructions: [AQUARIUS] Machine Language Programming on the Aquarius (Post #52) (Note that it is not necessary to use this bootloader utility until after you have completed your BASIC program. While you are writing your program, you would load it into BASIC for testing, using the procedure I will outline in my next post. If you are interested in putting your first completed program onto a real cartridge, send me a PM; I'll be offering a cartridge publishing service in the near future.) Finally, here is a dump of the original Aquarius Character Generator ROM, containing the default Aquarius character set. This replaces the "reconstructed" character set used by Virtual Aquarius: AquariusCharacterSet.zip To explain why this is important, and how to use the replacement ROM in Virtual Aquarius, I'll quote from the assembly thread: The only other tool you will need is a text editor. Note that a text editor is not the same thing as a word processor: both are writing tools, but the text editor saves your files as plain text, without any formatting information or metadata. Microsoft Windows comes with Notepad, but since this is a very simple editor, many developers choose to use editors which offer more features, such as macros and syntax highlighting. The editor that I usually use on Windows systems is VEDIT by Greenview Data, but just about any editor will do. Even plain old Notepad is a much better alternative than typing a lengthy BASIC program on a real Aquarius!
  6. Welcome to... Aquarius Draw! Aquarius Draw Application: https://aquarius.mattpilz.com/draw/ Aquarius Draw User Manual: https://aquarius.mattpilz.com/help.php Aquarius Draw Online Gallery: https://aquarius.mattpilz.com/gallery.php Introduction What began as a weekend hackathon for my own amusement and to better familiarize myself with the Aquarius, quickly spiraled into a multi-month long initiative to create a very powerful tool for all Aquarius developers and enthusiasts. Aquarius Draw is a free, modern web-based application (desktop-only) that allows you to quickly design and prototype scenery within the technical confines of Aquarius. This artwork can then be exported as a PNG, saved to an online gallery, or output as boilerplate Aquarius BASIC or Machine Language to load onto emulators or the devices themselves. It has a huge variety of features and I recommend reviewing the help documentation as well as opening the Keyboard Shortcut panel (F1) to better familiarize yourself with the system. This should rapidly accelerate a lot of software-based efforts in the future, but also is fun just to draw and experiment with even for non-Aquarius users that want to make retro art. I recommend Chrome (Firefox and Edge also supported). You can use the browser's ZOOM to scale the display so it all fits nicely on your screen: Use only zoom levels of 50% (low resolution), 75% (less than 1080p), 100% (1080p), 125% (1440p) or 200% (4k) to ensure minimal distortion. Feature Highlights Full 256 Character Glyph Selector (Sorted and Original Order) with 16-color Background/Foreground and Large Preview 40x24 Drawable Canvas Area and Personalized Border Toggles and Actions to Fine-Tune Drawing Operations Tile Inspector Stats for User Reference Input/Output Actions for Saving and Loading Scene Data Customizable BASIC and Machine Language (Assembly) Boilerplate Code Output for Testing on Emulators or Devices Dynamic Preview of Output with CRT/Monochrome Simulation Export Scene Images as High Quality PNGs Tile Selection Tool with Cut/Copy/Paste Capabilities Pre-populated Templates (Title Screen, Demonstrations and Examples) Tile-specific POKE Data Generation (Raw, with Lines or as DATA Rows) Optional Public Gallery Upload for Showing Off Your Creations Quick-Type Text (Click into Origin Tile and Type Away) Directional Offsetting to Move Specific Rows/Columns in Specified Direction Fast Fill to Quickly Populate Rows or Columns with Selected Brush GIF Demonstration - Intro GIF Demonstration - Fast Fill GIF Demonstration - Copy and Paste GIF Demonstration - Keyboard Typing Aquarius community member Sean H. designed a variety of very helpful visuals using this editor to demonstrate Aquarius color and graphic theory, or how to make the most out of the very limited color and character set. Each of these are available as templates and can be loaded for analysis. Aquarius Color Theory Aquarius Graphics Theory Have fun!
  7. Hi All. I finally decided to register with Atariage!! I'm glad i did (thank you Jay!). Some of you may be aware of my previous Aquarius game AQUARIWORM that was released last year on physical cassette tape via Cronosoft (the first commercial tape release for the Aquarius in over 35 years!)... Well, just yesterday my new Aquarius game BOMB CATCHER 2 was released! Again, as a physical cassette tape through Cronosoft!! Both Aquariworm and Bomb Catcher 2 are available to purchase from Cronosoft's main site for a very modest fee. I make no money for the sales, it all goes towards keeping the homebrew market alive, thanks to the awesome non-profit Cronosoft. I am a retro computer collector and restorer with over 100 machines (not inc dupes!) in my collection. The Aquarius was my first computer! and I still own it! I love writing games for the wee blue key underdog! Aquariworm is also available as a digital download (BC2 will follow suit) via itch.io and any donations go to the Centre for Computing History Museum in Cambridge. So if you want a couple of new games for your Mattel Aquarius.... then click the link! https://cronosoft.fwscart.com/MATTEL_AQUARIUS/cat5357733_4720275.aspx I'm hoping to code more games for the platform as time goes on, and I'm already working on a platform game.
  8. RetroElectroDad

    Mattel Aquarius

    From the album: RetroElectroDad Computer Collection

    My Mattel Aquarius with mini-expander and extra memory to make it just about usable.

    © Trevor Briscoe

  9. I've just acquired a Mattel Aquarius 16K ram cartridge but I'm not sure if it's working properly or not. When I type PRINT FRE(0) without the cartridge fitted I get 1724 (bytes - 1.7Kbytes). However, when I type the same command with the cartridge installed I get 11964, which is 11.7K. So does this mean I've only got an extra 10K instead of 16K?! Also, when I run a program to poke a value and then immediately read it from addresses 16384 to 32767, it fails to read the same value before it gets to address 32767 (the top of the memory allocated to the external 16K ram), somewhere in the mid 20000s I think. Any help gratefully received 🙂
  10. here is my first attempt on creating Aquarius .rom files from Boriel's ZX-Basic Compiler - i think i'm struggling on the "scramble code" ( http://www.vdsteenov...s/romcheck.html ) or something else? the resulting .rom, the ZX-Basic sources i used, the .asm temporary file (for helping the debug process) and the .sh (bash script on Linux) for the compiling process are all there! the idea was, for now, to do a "cls" with the character 0x41 ("A") and the colour attribute 0x35 (i can't remember now which colours are), and the resulting behaviour looks weird... :S aquarius_borielszxbasiccompiler_experimentalsnippets_201306291704.zip
  11. Hi all, first post so my apologies if this is covered else where but I could't find it. Having recieved my childhood Aquarius from my parents attic I would like to get in to programming some games/stuff for it but have been struggling to get a nice tool chain to compile, link, deploy anything. What I am trying to do. I would like to be able to do the following: Compile my assembler code with an assembler to an object file Compile my c code to an object file Use a linker to link the files together Finally produce a binary file from the resulting linker files Also I would like to dump the machine code the compiler has generated from my code for debugging/learning purposes. Something like objdump provided in gcc. What I have tried I have tried several compilers including sd88k, sdcc but (and this may be due to lack of knowledge) have been unable to get these to do that. The sdcc does have a seperate assembler and c compiler however the assembler is also a linker, it produces .lst files which I assume are the generated assembly instructions from the compiler after any optomisation but it doesn't look right - again could just be me. Finally I have the PDF from Zilog describing the instruction set but can not find out any information about the sections that the assembler should be producing the sdcc produces some but I can not find out any information about them. This is what I have been messing around with at the moment bootstrap.s .module bootstrap .optsdcc -mz80 .area HOME (abs) .org #0x8000 .globl _main .globl _notmain ;-------------------------------------------------------- ; Home ;-------------------------------------------------------- .area _HOME .area _HOME ;-------------------------------------------------------- ; code ;-------------------------------------------------------- .area _CODE _main: .db 98, 97, 114, 114 .db 121, 156, 106, 176 .db 111, 108, 110, 100 .db 101, 168, 199, 112 jr _notmain hang: jr hang notmain.c unsigned int x(unsigned int x); void notmain(void) { unsigned int n = 0; n = x(1); while(1) { } } x.c unsigned int x(unsigned int x) { unsigned int y; unsigned int n = 5; y = x - n; return y + 2; } Batch file for building @echo off rem set the current working directory to the same location as the batch file pushd "%~dp0" cd ../ call sdcc_paths.bat rem set the current working directory to the same location as the batch file pushd "%~dp0" rem build stuff rem .rel are .o files sdasz80 -l -o out/bootstrap.rel bootstrap.s sdcc -mz80 -c -o out/notmain.rel notmain.c sdcc -mz80 -c -o out/x.rel x.c sdcc -o out/helloworld.ihx out/bootstrap.rel out/notmain.rel out/x.rel packihx out/helloworld.ihx > out/helloworld.hex hex2bin -p 00 -l 4000 out/helloworld.ihx The reason I have random methods in different files was to test linking. Anyway, when trying to run that it doesn't work, it correctly jumps to main but then the address to jump to the method x is incorrect and it jumps to far in memory (using Z80 Simulator IDE)
  12. After about eighteen months of development, I am pleased to announce the availability of the Aquaricart, the first and only multi-cart for the Aquarius Home Computer System! For those who are unfamiliar with it, the Aquaricart is a collection of ALL of the original cartridge software ever released for the Aquarius, along with several unreleased, prototype, and enhanced titles. It also includes the original instruction manuals and overlays, exclusive historical information and trivia, and Quick Reference guides ... all in electronic format, so they can be printed with the Aquarius Thermal Printer or viewed on-screen! NOTE: The original Aquaricart shown above—which was built using repurposed Night Stalker cartridges—has been unavailable for some time. I have since switched to a new form factor based on the Intellivision cartridge design; see here for pictures. In addition to making the cartridges smaller, and easier to ship and store, this new design allowed me to reduce the price to $60 per cartridge (postage extra). Send me a PM, or e-mail me at [email protected], if you're interested! Here is a complete list of the cartridge titles in the Aquaricart collection: AD&D Treasure of Tarmin Astrosmash Biorhythms BurgerTime Chess Demonstration Cartridge Extended BASIC FileForm FinForm Logo Melody Chase Mini Expander Diagnostic (an unreleased Radofin diagnostic tool) Night Stalker Shark! (an incomplete prototype of Intellivision Shark! Shark!) Snafu Space Speller TRON Deadly Discs Utopia X10 Command Console (the software for the unreleased Aquarius X10 home automation system) Zero In Plus, as a bonus: The 1541 OS ROM (an enhanced version of Extended BASIC) The Demonstration Cassette (the six mini-games originally included with the Aquarius on cassette tape—Stalactites, Macho-Man, Torment, Cute Cubes, Alien Quest, and Mad Mould—converted to cartridge format for instantaneous loading) "BurgerTime Plus" (an slightly enhanced BurgerTime which fixes two issues with the original that have always annoyed me: it increases the maximum number of peppers and lives from 9 to 99, and it removes the extra "junk" characters from the screen border) Each of these cartridges, along with the instruction manual text and other extra content, can be accessed through an easy-to-use menu interface that you can control from the keyboard or the hand controllers. Or, if you prefer to skip the menu, you can use the "Quick Boot" feature to jump immediately to the cartridge of your choice on startup. The Aquaricart is fully compatible with a stock Aquarius computer console, so no Mini Expander or extra RAM are required (although some of the cartridges in the collection recommend or require extra RAM). Here is a video by The Immortal John Hancock which demonstrates the Aquarius and the Aquaricart in action: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1HbjOnC-JSE I'm offering fully assembled Aquaricart cartridges for $60 each. They include a color cartridge label and a printed manual. Here is the current design: If you're interested in adding the Aquaricart to your collection, contact me via PM—or, if you're not an AtariAge member, click on my profile and use the e-mail link. Be sure to include your shipping address so I can calculate the postage and give you a final total. If I have an Aquaricart cartridge ready to send, we will exchange information and complete the transaction; otherwise, I will provide an estimate of when it will be available (usually within one week). I won't accept payment unless I have a tested product that is ready for shipment, so you won't be kept waiting for your order any longer than necessary. I'm in the process of putting together a web site for the Aquaricart, which will offer complete scans of the original instruction manuals and other useful Aquarius resources. In the meantime, if you're interested, please see the product thread in the Intellivision/Aquarius subforum for more details and ordering information. You can also follow the eighteen-month development history of the Aquaricart in the original project thread, which includes reviews and testimonials from Aquaricart owners. Thanks for your interest and support!
  13. So I've been playing some of the games I had back in 80s when I had an actually Aquarius computer (Sold it like 25 years ago and I'm regretting it now). Thanks to those who worked hard to develop Aquarius emulators, now I can playing my childhood favorite games on PC any day. However I wonder if anyone managed to crack/modify games to change some of the parameters such as how many lives you have in the game (nightstalker or astrosmash) or increase weapon and armor level in games like AD&D. Basically I need to do cheats lol. I played around with Night Stalker a little bit using Virtual Aquarius emulator and I tried to get ridiculous number of lives by altering the .bin RAM file I received from using "File --> Save Ram" command. I simply opened the file in hex editor and increased the number of lives to 99 and then loaded the file again in the emulator. It worked visually but as soon as I lose one life, the number gets back to the default value. Can someone explain why this happened? I also wonder if someone successfully managed to crack these games. Kind regards.
  14. BootLoader BASIC is the answer to two requests on the ATARIAGE forums; To be able to start BASIC programs when turning on the Aquarius computer just like a cartridge and to have the most common used machinecoded routines available. After experimenting with a script to convert a .CAQ file into a .BIN file, BootLoader Basic v2.0 is now the new version to create bootable BASIC programs on the Aquarius. Together with the Virtual Aquarius, BLBasic provides a complete environment to create, test and dump your BASIC programs. BLBasic v2.0 adds the following new commands and functions: - GET - Get (an area of) the screen into array Syntax: GET (x1,y1)-(x2,y2), array - PUT - Put array back to screen Syntax: PUT (x1,y1), array, action - SCR - SCReen scrolling or background color Syntax: [ UP | LEFT | DOWN | RIGHT | color ] All these commands can be used in your own ROM file as well. To create your own BASIC ROM: Load the BLBASIC.ROM in the Virtual Aquarius. Next load your BASIC program by typing, quick type or loading cassette. Type the command LDUMP IMPORTANT: Before pressing RETURN check the Virtual Aquarius printer settings! Go to Configure -> Printer and configure the "Filename for Printer Output" Make sure you send the output to a new file (!) After checking the printer settings press RETURN at the LDUMP command Rename the output file extension from .txt to .rom or .bin and load the file into the Virtual Aquarius. NOTE: After the LDUMP statement the created ROM will be in a "STATIC" or "FINAL" state and cannot be changed. Any changes should be done against the original source code (cassette file or quick type text file). BLBasic v2.0.zip The zip file includes the following: README.TXT - this text BLBASIC.ROM - ROM to load into the Virtual Aquarius BLB-Manual.pdf - An enhanced manual in PDF format with many examples and technical information Manual Examples - A folder with all examples from the manual Demo - Demo BLBIRD.TXT to test BLBASIC/LDUMP functionality SOURCEv2.0.ZIP - Z80 assembly code to create BLBASIC Version release: v1.0 - 04/01/2014 - First release v1.1 - 08/01/2014 - Bug fix; Set RESTORE and redirect intermediate mode Bug reported by "pset" at atariage, dd. 07/01/2014 v2.0 - 14/12/2014 - Added commands
  15. Hey everybody! I have a box of shiny, new UM1285-8 RF modulators that I recently purchased as a lot from Alltronics. They're sitting in their factory tray, just itching to be installed in a waiting game system. If anyone would like to buy one or more at $2.50/ea plus shipping, drop me a PM. Left Turn Only, LLC would be happy to send one or more your way. This RF modulator is the one used in Intellivision 1 and 2 units as well as the Aquarius. I believe (but have not directly verified) that the same modulator appears in other Intellivision-compatible units such as the Sears SVA, Tandyvision 1, and INTV SuperPro System. (If anyone would like to verify that for me, just post below.) While I prefer to send Priority Mail for US shipment, it seems overkill for this, as the shipping would be twice as expensive as the part itself. It might make sense if you're buying more than one, though. I believe single units will ship OK in a padded mailer as they're built like tanks. I accept Paypal and personal check, although I will delay shipment for personal checks until they clear. PM for payment info and shipping costs. (TX residents: I will also need to charge you state sales tax.)
  16. Hi there! From the information i'm finding at http://www.vdsteenoven.com/aquarius/keyboard.html and http://www.vdsteenoven.com/aquarius/iomap.html , it looks like the 14bit information from the keymap is all stored in AF 16bit register? i can't get the bits between 8 and 13, and the B register seems to have no value at all I'm really struggling a lot on understanding it... What would look like in a z80 assembly routine snippet, that you can read all keys pressed? from the $FF i only can read the colscan (A is a 8bit register, i think), so when i press "w", the same happens when i press "t", "i", "e", "y", etc. - How can i distinguish between "w", "t", "i", "e" and "y"? Thanks!
  17. This person is selling an Aquarius with two hand controllers. http://rover.ebay.com/rover/1/711-53200-19255-0/1?ff3=4&pub=5574883395&toolid=10001&campid=5336500554&customid=&mpre=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.ebay.com%2Fitm%2FMattel-Aquarius-Computer-Video-Game-System-with-Original-Box-NICE%2F221262595258%3Frt%3Dnc%26_trksid%3Dp2047675.m1851%26_trkparms%3Daid%253D222002%2526algo%253DSIC.FIT%2526ao%253D1%2526asc%253D163%2526meid%253D282172867397791385%2526pid%253D100005%2526prg%253D1088%2526rk%253D2%2526rkt%253D4%2526sd%253D350844280304%2526 But I've never seen these hand controllers. They look kind of Aquarius-like, but they only have two buttons. And there is no mini-expander, so I wonder where they plug into.... Are these hand controllers unrelated the the Aquarius? Catsfolly
  18. Howdy all... recently was gifted a sweet Mattel Aquarius. What a sweet little Z80 computer. Having never used one before I decided to create a video of my using one for the 1st time. Hope you enjoy! https://youtu.be/4yzHlVO2Bzo I look forward to learning more here in the groups. TJ
  19. I'm thinking of dipping into the Aquarius scene (cue "don't do it!" and "it sucks!" comments) and was curious what you guys think of the pictured bundle. Guy wants $500 OBO and I have a feeling that the $500 is too steep, but it does come with a couple of the harder to find games, Tron Deadly Discs and BurgerTime, along with the more common Utopia and NightStalker. I like collecting CIB games so these boxed games attracted me to this particular bundle. Curious as to everyone's thoughts on what a fair price might be. Thanks!
  20. This guy is my hero. He is still using an Aquarius computer system on a regular basis for his professional job. But he is complaining about the drawbacks; "loading the program from tape" *LOL* Scroll down the page at: http://mysite.mweb.c...ideo/index.html Regs, Martin
  21. This is an update I've been waiting to write for quite a long time, and I thought it best to put it in its own thread, so here goes ... After finishing my work on the Aquaricart in late 2011, I was forced to put my classic computing and gaming projects waaay on the back burner through most of 2012 because of some very stressful and time-consuming responsibilities at work. It couldn't be helped at the time, but I was profoundly annoyed at having to set these projects aside for so long. So, at the beginning of this year, I lightened my workload and resolved to create enough free time to regain my momentum and to get those projects back on track. Here is the first practical result of those efforts ... a prototype of the latest revision of my SuperCart cartridge board, which I've been working on since early February: This represents the solution to one of the most vexing problems I've had since I started publishing Aquarius software on cartridge: the lack of a plentiful and consistent supply of affordable cartridge shells. The solution came about thanks to Joe "intvnut" Zbiciak, and the new Intellivision shells he has designed. Shown in the picture is a "limited edition" version of these new shells; it cannot be used with the Intellivision, but it works very well with the Aquarius, and with other systems whose cartridges are of a similar size but "upside-down" relative to the Intellivision's. Because these shells are "upside-down", and are a different shape than the original Aquarius shells, I had to flip my SuperCart design "upside-down" and re-shape it for the new shells. It took some doing, but I finally have the new design finished to my liking, and the prototypes are functioning perfectly. I'll be sending it off for manufacturing soon. Here's how a fully assembled cartridge looks inside the Mini Expander (the label would face the front), next to an original Aquarius cartridge shell for reference: It's not a perfect cosmetic match for the originals, obviously, but it's still very attractive, and it even fits nicely into the Aquarius console itself. It almost looks like the Aquarius cartridges that Activision might have produced, if they had actually supported the Aquarius. But most importantly, it finally solves the problem of scarcity, for me and for any other Aquarius homebrew developers who might wish to use them. (Its more conventional shape may even allow us to produce boxes for our games, when the time comes.) This new SuperCart board is functionally identical to the originals, so all the technical information that I posted in my original thread is still applicable. I'll probably be changing some of it a bit to make room for some other interesting features I have in mind, but ... that's for the next revision!
  22. After about eighteen months of development, I am pleased to announce the availability of the Aquaricart, the first and only multi-cart for the Aquarius Home Computer System! NOTE: The original Aquaricart shown above—which was built using repurposed Night Stalker cartridges—has been unavailable for some time. I have since switched to a new form factor based on the Intellivision cartridge design; see here for pictures. In addition to making the cartridges smaller, and easier to ship and store, this new design allowed me to reduce the price to $60 per cartridge (postage extra). Send me a PM, or e-mail me at [email protected], if you're interested! For those who are unfamiliar with it, the Aquaricart is a collection of ALL of the original cartridge software ever released for the Aquarius, along with several unreleased, prototype, and enhanced titles. It also includes the original instruction manuals and overlays, exclusive historical information and trivia, and Quick Reference guides ... all in electronic format, so they can be printed with the Aquarius Thermal Printer or viewed on-screen! Here is a complete list of the cartridge titles in the Aquaricart collection: AD&D Treasure of Tarmin Astrosmash Biorhythms BurgerTime Chess Demonstration Cartridge Extended BASIC FileForm FinForm Logo Melody Chase Mini Expander Diagnostic (an unreleased Radofin diagnostic tool) Night Stalker Shark! (an incomplete prototype of Intellivision Shark! Shark!) Snafu Space Speller TRON Deadly Discs Utopia X10 Command Console (the software for the unreleased Aquarius X10 home automation system) Zero In Plus, as a bonus: The 1541 OS ROM (an enhanced version of Extended BASIC) The Demonstration Cassette (the six mini-games originally included with the Aquarius on cassette tape—Stalactites, Macho-Man, Torment, Cute Cubes, Alien Quest, and Mad Mould—converted to cartridge format for instantaneous loading) "BurgerTime Plus" (an slightly enhanced BurgerTime which fixes two issues with the original that have always annoyed me: it increases the maximum number of peppers and lives from 9 to 99, and it removes the extra "junk" characters from the screen border) Each of these cartridges, along with the instruction manual text and other extra content, can be accessed through an easy-to-use menu interface that you can control from the keyboard or the hand controllers. Or, if you prefer to skip the menu, you can use the "Quick Boot" feature to jump immediately to the cartridge of your choice on startup. The Aquaricart is fully compatible with a stock Aquarius computer console, so no Mini Expander or extra RAM are required (although some of the cartridges in the collection recommend or require extra RAM). Here is a video by The Immortal John Hancock which demonstrates the Aquarius and the Aquaricart in action: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1HbjOnC-JSE I'm offering fully assembled Aquaricart cartridges for $60 each. They include a color cartridge label and a printed manual. Here is the current design: If you're interested in adding the Aquaricart to your collection, contact me via PM—or, if you're not an AtariAge member, click on my profile and use the e-mail link. Be sure to include your shipping address so I can calculate the postage and give you a final total. If I have an Aquaricart cartridge ready to send, we will exchange information and complete the transaction; otherwise, I will provide an estimate of when it will be available (usually within one week). I won't accept payment unless I have a tested product that is ready for shipment, so you won't be kept waiting for your order any longer than necessary. I'm in the process of putting together a web site for the Aquaricart, which will offer complete scans of the original instruction manuals and other useful Aquarius resources. In the meantime, if you're interested, you can follow the eighteen-month development history of the Aquaricart in the original project thread, which includes testimonials from fellow Aquarius owners. Thanks for your interest and support!
  23. We've finally finished the reverse-engineering and testing of the open-source Aquarius motherboards. Enjoy them in good health, and promote the platform! https://github.com/1stage/Aquarius-Motherboard-1-1-0
  24. Looks like vdsteenoven.com went over a bandwidth for his image host. Can someone post the various magazines/books related to the Aquarius? i.e. http://www.vdsteenoven.com/aquarius/pfuser-vol1.php p.s. If you haven't already, join our Aquarius group on Facebook https://www.facebook.com/groups/1816932675303748/ Thanks Carlos
  25. I resolved at the beginning of this year to get caught up on a number of Aquarius projects this summer, and I think I'm going to begin by dusting off an idea that I had previously put on the shelf ... an inexpensive 32K RAM module: As you may know, 32K is the largest amount of (flat) RAM that you can add to the Aquarius without using the space reserved for cartridge software. Mattel's original 32K module was big and bulky and was produced only in very limited quantities, but it's now possible to create a much more efficient version of this module using SRAM. I designed my first prototypes around the same time I was designing the Aquaricart, and I built a few more for collectors who wanted them, but I decided against making it into a product at the time because I thought it would be a better value to integrate that extra RAM into my enhanced Mini Expander design instead. But the new Mini Expander is going to take a lot longer to finish than I planned, and in the meantime, I've heard from several people who already own the original Mini Expander and wouldn't necessarily want to buy another one just for the extra RAM. So, I thought there would be value in offering a standalone 32K RAM module, particularly for programmers who need the extra RAM for their projects, or those who are interested in playing the many Aquarius cassette games which required expanded RAM. I've begun the layout for the new boards, and I hope to have them finished and manufactured by the end of next month. The cost per module will be just under $30, not including shipping, so I hope it will be an affordable and easy upgrade for anyone who owns an Aquarius. I'll post updates, including ordering information, as they become available.
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