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Flashback Portable VS GamePort ?

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I was just at benheck's website and saw the Gameport and a link to it's site www.gameport.tv . Is it possible that the future of the flashback portable was put on hold due to the development of the Gameport . It currently runs 2600 and colecovision cores and possibly other systems . Any comments????

gameport.bmp

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That thing looks like a POS. I would much rather buy a real ATARI product. These little cheap rip off things are a joke.

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thats a rom box not a flashback 2 authorized 2600

 

There is no question about that. But if you read curts original post on this topic ....

 

"Have a question for everyone -

 

Would everyone be happy if there were a FB2 Portable handheld with 2.5" TFT and a USB connection to a PC to d/l games into it and perhaps push the FB3 back as a later release? "

 

The only way to download to a portable via USB is to use some type on rom box. Someone correct me if i'm wrong.

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thats a rom box not a flashback 2 authorized 2600

 

There is no question about that. But if you read curts original post on this topic ....

 

"Have a question for everyone -

 

Would everyone be happy if there were a FB2 Portable handheld with 2.5" TFT and a USB connection to a PC to d/l games into it and perhaps push the FB3 back as a later release? "

 

The only way to download to a portable via USB is to use some type on rom box. Someone correct me if i'm wrong.

 

you really have no electronics background do you? i only ask because this rom box has no resemblance to the work curt has done on the flashback portable, nor can you who even think it could be.

 

 

the flashback portable has the flashback on a chip cpu. this rom box has a cpu that runs a emulator. very much different devices.

 

im not attacking you or calling you stupid. just when you get hardware designed for the purpose of runing 2600 carts/bins you get more true representation. emulation falls short in stuff like refresh rates and other stuff.

Edited by werejag

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Without knowing the particulars, I would speculate that it is most likely an ARM based SoC system running one of the lighter weight Linux distro's. Running various emulation cores. Sounds like a system similar to GP2X. The case design IMHO is too Gameboy-ish for an all in one system, something a little more universal looking would've been better, again IMHO...

 

My only concern is costing on such a unit in low quantities, look at GP2X, even with its small, but respectable numbers and following, it still isn't below $179 retail, and I've spoken with retailers and the markup is next to nothing.

 

Samsung make a nice ARM920T compatible SoC and there are now a couple of really good complimentary 3D video chips available for use along with the ARM for great video. The real key is putting in a very powerful audio processor to offload all of the audio work, this is essential in getting better performance and framerate from emulators, especially for MAME.

 

I've got a few ARM based SBC's here in the office running Qtopia as I've been working on a multi-use system since last year, its actually not very difficult to do, its getting the costing down and maintaining a rich feature set. I'm more interested in going down something like the Sony Mylo route with a slide out keyboard and having a nice all in one system with headphone jacks and incorporating WiFi into it for email, IM's, browsing and content download. Leveraging VoIP with services like Skype, Vonage, etc... then you'd have a game system, mp3 player, video player, and personal connectivity device that would give you everything in one package.

 

Gameport looks neat, don't knock it before the thing even gets a chance to come out of the door. Still, unless its going to be significantly cheaper then GP2X, it isn't breaking any new ground and you've got a staunch entrenchment of GP2X followers, so Gameport would have a tough go of it, plus there is still GPX and GPX Kids (who came up with that stupid name) waiting in the wings....

 

 

 

Curt

 

 

thats a rom box not a flashback 2 authorized 2600

 

There is no question about that. But if you read curts original post on this topic ....

 

"Have a question for everyone -

 

Would everyone be happy if there were a FB2 Portable handheld with 2.5" TFT and a USB connection to a PC to d/l games into it and perhaps push the FB3 back as a later release? "

 

The only way to download to a portable via USB is to use some type on rom box. Someone correct me if i'm wrong.

 

you really have no electronics background do you? i only ask because this rom box has no resemblance to the work curt has done on the flashback portable, nor can you who even think it could be.

 

 

the flashback portable has the flashback on a chip cpu. this rom box has a cpu that runs a emulator. very much different devices.

 

im not attacking you or calling you stupid. just when you get hardware designed for the purpose of runing 2600 carts/bins you get more true representation. emulation falls short in stuff like refresh rates and other stuff.

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Errr, no....

 

It is a 2600 on a chip with a separate system handing I/O and Memory scheme management. 2 separate 1MB flash ram systems, one for housekeeping, memory schema's and high-res graphic images/menu. The other is binary storage for the games, and their companion resource files.

 

When plugged into a host PC, the Atari portable goes into drive mode - a USB logo appears on the TFT and now the device looks and acts like a USB thumbdrive.

 

Once unplugged, the system does a software reset, the system first checks the housekeeping memory for any updates to firmware or internal graphics and performs any internal updates. Once complete or if none are present, the system then does an inventory check of the games memory, inventories the resource files, generates the new menu list and initializes the 2600 mode and the menu is presented to the gamer.

 

 

 

Curt

 

 

 

thats a rom box not a flashback 2 authorized 2600

 

There is no question about that. But if you read curts original post on this topic ....

 

"Have a question for everyone -

 

Would everyone be happy if there were a FB2 Portable handheld with 2.5" TFT and a USB connection to a PC to d/l games into it and perhaps push the FB3 back as a later release? "

 

The only way to download to a portable via USB is to use some type on rom box. Someone correct me if i'm wrong.

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I've got a few ARM based SBC's here in the office running Qtopia as I've been working on a multi-use system since last year, its actually not very difficult to do, its getting the costing down and maintaining a rich feature set. I'm more interested in going down something like the Sony Mylo route with a slide out keyboard and having a nice all in one system with headphone jacks and incorporating WiFi into it for email, IM's, browsing and content download. Leveraging VoIP with services like Skype, Vonage, etc... then you'd have a game system, mp3 player, video player, and personal connectivity device that would give you everything in one package.

 

I think there is definitely room for improvement in the GP2X style niche. The GP2X relies on mostly off-the-shelf parts and Gamepark Holdings did kind of a marginal job of industrial design which I think is a big part of why it hasn't gained more traction. So I am not surprised to see other players try their hand at it.

 

The MYLO is a very nice design but kind of a waste that it doesn't do gaming, although I can understand Sony not wanting it to compete with the PSP. There are just too many mobile devices that have similar capabilities under the hood but as shipped contain artificially limited functionality. There is going to be a lengthy process of convergence. It's already happening as we're seeing PDAs go the way of the dodo in favor of smartphones. I'm thinking stuff like the NGage were just ahead of their time. As far as I'm concerned all smartphones should have directional pads suitable for gaming.

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My intention with this topic was more so to know if the flashback portable project my have been put on hold/delayed due to the discovery/knowledge of the gameport .

 

There is no disputing the technical differences and advantages from one unit to the other. In fact only people that work closely to these projects would know all of the differences of these products. That is why I posted this topic to begin with , So that the individuals that don't know can be a little bit more informed about what is currently happening in the gaming industry.

 

It would be safe to say that everyone here is eager to get there hands on a portable that can play their favorite 2600 games and right now the gameport is the only thing we have had a glimpse of that comes close to making that a reality.

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Curt Vendel

 

i was hopeing for atleast 32 meg of memory on the portable. when will it come out?

?

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you really have no electronics background do you? i only ask because this rom box has no resemblance to the work curt has done on the flashback portable, nor can you who even think it could be.

 

 

the flashback portable has the flashback on a chip cpu. this rom box has a cpu that runs a emulator. very much different devices.

 

im not attacking you or calling you stupid. just when you get hardware designed for the purpose of runing 2600 carts/bins you get more true representation. emulation falls short in stuff like refresh rates and other stuff.

 

There was a discussion on IRC about the gameport, it has a CPU and a FPGA and the consoles are running off the FPGA, they are not emulated in software. I will look for the log and post it.

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Curt Vendel

 

i was hopeing for atleast 32 meg of memory on the portable. when will it come out?

?

 

 

Why on earth would you need 32 megs for 2600 games?

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It would be safe to say that everyone here is eager to get there hands on a portable that can play their favorite 2600 games and right now the gameport is the only thing we have had a glimpse of that comes close to making that a reality.

 

Stella on the GP2X does a fantastic job of emulating the VCS but it's not cheap and the built-in controller is limited (unless maybe you can use a Stelladapter with the docking cradle). Obviously it's a different niche vs. FB Portable. Curt is trying to make something that could fall into the high end of the Jakks stick type of market.

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Curt Vendel

 

i was hopeing for atleast 32 meg of memory on the portable. when will it come out?

?

 

 

Why on earth would you need 32 megs for 2600 games?

Maybe the homebrew market will explode after the FB2 Portable is released... :-D

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Maybe the homebrew market will explode after the FB2 Portable is released... :-D
Let's hope so. It would be interesting to know how Atari feel about the Gameport. Selling a console with the assumption that you can download someone elses software seems very un-ethical to me. Edited by MRB

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It would be interesting to know how Atari feel about the Gameport. Selling a console with the assumption that you can download someone elses software seems very un-ethical to me.

 

I think the presumption is that if you own the cart then you are entitled to transfer the ROM to other media, although I don't think this has been tested in court.

 

Besides that, there are more than enough homebrew efforts to establish fair-use, at least for the 2600 catalog there is.

 

Also, if Atari is so concerned about ROM trading they should have Albert take down the ROMs from AA. They didn't even ask for that even when their 80-in-one was on the store shelves, while Activision did (in deference to Anthology).

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Hi,

I am involved with the project and will bring up a few answers here.

 

The first thing is that due to quite complicated circumpstances, the web site and everything that goes with it went live much earlier than expected and a lot of information is still not on it, this will come.

 

The plastic case was also a preliminary test, it was designed and made in a matter of days for a TV appearance and the proper one is currently being worked on; rest assured it doesn't look like a Gameboy, you will see that the design is surprisingly small.

 

To clear the legal aspect, copying roms you own is not legal in the US, this has been tried in court already; however there is a lot of legitimate use to the product as well, which makes it legal; even under the new law proposal. Now, I am not going to get into the ethics of things (VCRs and MP3 players would be the first guilty devices); if you want to buy again the software you bought 25 years ago, go ahead.

 

The system uses a CPU and a FPGA; the game systems run on the FPGA, the CPU is there mostly to assist with the I/O, setup, etc, although this is not an obligation.

We are not really competing with Curt's portable system; he has a product that caters to the 2600 crowd and I am sure he will take care of the details that matter to the community. We are into the 80s, the 2600 is only one of the platforms supported and we are making decisions based on numerous consoles, therefore we will not address wish lists at the same level of detail as he does.

The GamePort runs literally thousands of games, it is a very different product with different constraints as well.

 

Because we are on AtariAge.com, I can address the 2600 specifics:

The first thing is that the reproduction of the 2600 is as perfect as it can get. There is only one difference in the CPU (I will cover it later). At any time, the values on the bus are identical as the ones for a real machine; we had the 2600 hooked to a logic analyzer, it is a perfect reproduction.

There is NO software emulation for the 2600 BUT for the paddles.

All the known bankswitching modes are supported but the Arcadia/Starpath. This includes fancy cartridges like BurgerTime, etc. For the Starpath games, they can be made to run, but no logic was ever put in the menu system to address the loading of the next part. We document the menu system hardware, so if someone feels like it, it is possible to implement.

Before someone asks: yes, Pitfall II runs. So do GI Joe and Cosmic Ark; and this involves no hacks of any sort, just fidelity to the original.

The 2600 games are not run from storage memory, they are copied to the main RAM, then flags are set to determine the mode in use; Pitfall II and Burgertime have their own modes; Pitfall II has additional logic and BurgerTime a unique bank switching system if I recall correctly.

This brings me to the CPU's difference, one (originally illegal) opcode was changed: the 6507 has two set of registers; execution of that instruction toggles the set in use and, while one set points to the 2600's context, the second one can access the 2600's ram and storage memory in the menu system. one the second context, the CPU runs at 4x the speed but there are a few caveats as this was used primarily to interface with the menu. But this allows things such as unlimited lives (you can lock a certain number of memory addresses) or any kind of cheats.

There is a screen overlay system used for all consoles to emulate the keypads; Due to the nature of the 2600, there is no way to pause a game and keep the display active, so when used the background of the screen goes black. On most other systems, the background just dims and the game is frozen while you do your selection.

 

The video output is very clean with a 12 bit R-2R DAC; while the sound system is stereo, it doesn't affect the 2600 as both channels output the same for this system. The audio output is a 1-bit sigma delta DAC at 28mhz.

 

The tools will be open source; they are currently written for Windows (VC++), so if there are people interested to do Linux/Mac ports, you can contact one of us on the site. We did not invest much time on the software side, most of the tools are pure command line so far. Same for the menu system in the GamePort, it has similar specs as the SNES for the video and plays samples like the Amiga for the audio, yet the menus are simple text mode with no sound for now, this will eventually change.

 

We originally announced the 2600 and Coleco/MSX as those cleared legal hurdles easily; Things are changing very fast; some systems will never be made, such as the Vectrex due to their architecture, but most of the 80s will be there!

 

We are going to set up a Q&A bulletin board on the website and a mailing list for those that want to be updated with the release date, etc. (target is for fall)

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Before someone asks: yes, Pitfall II runs.

 

Which would mean you've implemented the DPC chip in programmable logic, a major milestone indeed!

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mr Gameport

 

what is the target price of your device???

Edited by werejag

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Hi,

I am involved with the project and will bring up a few answers here.

 

The system uses a CPU and a FPGA; the game systems run on the FPGA, the CPU is there mostly to assist with the I/O, setup, etc, although this is not an obligation.

 

...

HOLY CRAP! :lust: :D

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The spec's sound good, but I find it rather interesting...

 

Gameport sounds exactly like Eric Carbill's "System X" project he posted onto his website a few years back -

 

A system around an Spartan 3 FPGA that allowed cores to be loaded into it so it could be a 2600, arcade machine, etc... He even mentions how it could be made to be a portable.

 

 

 

 

Curt

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So will this thing handle NES,7800,Genesis and\or SMS? And I will second the motion for a projected retail price tag if you would please.

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According to the GP forums, $50-$75, depending how it's purchased (online vs. retail).

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To clear the legal aspect, copying roms you own is not legal in the US, this has been tried in court already; however there is a lot of legitimate use to the product as well, which makes it legal; even under the new law proposal. Now, I am not going to get into the ethics of things (VCRs and MP3 players would be the first guilty devices); if you want to buy again the software you bought 25 years ago, go ahead.

I'm not a lawyer, but I'm not certain that this is strictly true. The previous case (Atari v. JS&A) found that ROM backup devices were unnecessary due to the fact that cartriges were such robust devices. In the opinion of the court, cartridges did not fall under the "archival" clause of copyright law which was intended to protect against volatile media such as magnetic disks. With this defense out of the way, the court was unable to find a legal reason for the JS&A device to exist.

 

The current existence of emulators and new devices changes that equation. In order to use your property, you need to space-shift the data into a form that can be read by the device. This may fall under the same fair-use arguments that made VCRs legal. (see Sony Corp. of America v. Universal City Studios, Inc.)

 

It would be interesting to see if any company would attempt to test this in court. (Generally speaking, devices to archive 30 year old ROMs simply hasn't been a big enough deal.) Keep in mind, however, that it's NOT legal to download a copy from someone else. In order to show fair use (which I would remind the reader has not been tested in a court of law), you must copy the ROM from a cartridge yourself.

 

Standard disclaimer: I am not a lawyer, this is not legal advice, and I don't play one on TV either. Only on the internets. :P

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