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Hey everyone, I have been toying around with developing an Atari 2600 enhancement cartridge, but I am not into the scene as much as others. Basically, I love the Atari 2600/800, used to write games for the A800 (but not the 2600, but played them of course), and now I develop gaming hardware, 3D engines, etc.. That said, I have been trying to make sense of the different products available for the 2600. So, after doing some research, seems the Harmony Cartridge does what I wanted to do more or less. I wanted a cartridge with a microSD card, that supported bank switching, RAM, and maybe had some support for features that Atari 2600 home brewers wanted as long as I could add them without shaking the trees too much. I am thinking about everything from added sound support in the cart, to a color LCD screen to RGB LEDs to add special effects. Anyway, I have been developing hardware for about 30 years, and the last 15, I have my own manufacturing in china, so if I did this, I would hope to sell 1000+ carts to break even, thus, I am just wondering about the market size. I found one cart that sold 204 units then the company seemed to go defunct, or the license expired? In any event, if I did this, I would probably put it on kickstarter at some point to get the word out and use that to generate sales, so any "special" features in the cart, hopefully enough people would get it, so it became a standard ideally. But, primarily I would follow the rules for all the bank switching and RAM carts that have been reverse engineered to be compatible. So, I can tell over the years that many of these "super carts" or "multicarts" have been developed, but its not clear to me if they are successful? Seems many never ship, or ship a little, or whatever. Maybe the problem is many developers have not done formal manufacturing and get overwhelmed? Alas, I guess I am putting out an "RFC" of sorts with the simple question -- is there a need for another multi/supercart for the Atari 2600 (sorry 7800 people, I never got into that console, so I will stick with the 2600 for now -- and if there is a need, based on my specs above, is there anything else that is very common that home brewers are desperate to have? As well, as making something that normal 2600 fans can use to play games that range from 4-64K. Finally, I don't want to go nuts on this and make a huge project that never gets done. I have shipped about 50-60 embedded systems over the last 15 years and the one lesson I have learned is keep it simple as possible to serve the purpose, you can always add stuff LATER! Comments? (I will post this on Atari Museum, and Atari 2600 on Facebook as well, so I can get a good cross section of comments, not sure were "developers" hang out primarily). Thanks --
Thanks to Ksarul, I now have a 4 bank, 8K SuperCart to play with. Thanks to --- Ω --- I've loaded 4ADOS into the first bank. But how do I load other programs into the remaining 3 banks? I downloaded the zip files from the mainbyte Supercart project page but it took me the best part of an hour to work out WHICH program on the disk I needed to run to copy stuff into Bank A on the cart. The disk-image supplied there is a mish-mash of random programs. Some run, others don't. Even now, I'm still none the wiser as to HOW I actually go about loading programs into the cart for immediate access. What format do they need to be in? ROM? Program? Ideally, I'd like to get the nanoPEBS's CF7+ Manager program into one bank and the CFHDXS1 program into another. I've not checked if they'll fit into 8K yet, as the Ti-99 talks in BLOCKS and I'm not familiar with converting blocks into kilobytes. Adding 4ADOS from --- Ω --- was just a case of loading the correct program and it copied ITSELF onto the cart but the rest???
First off, I looked through the treads and couldn't find a good description on building a super cart so if there is already a thread just re-direct. Now, A Super Cart is an almost most must have for the TI-99. So I decided to start a thread for those who might want to build one. It doesn't look to difficult for those with average solder skills (I hope I'm not being naive) so here I go. So I got a super cart PCB from arcade shopper and now want to build it. I got about average soldering skills so I don't think that will be a problem and have been testing de-soldering / soldering chips or junk cartridges. I got a E/A cartridge I plan to remove the GROM from and a got a good black shell (hate the beige). I plan to add to the post as I build for anyone interested in building one. First question, I have yet to get the other items on the build list so if anyone knows a good place for getting stuff like CMOS RAM and the such that I can't get from Radio Shack, MicroCenter or Frys please post. I am going to get what I can today from Radio Shack and will post how far I get.