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Pac-Man Collection (ColecoVision) completed. Going beta test

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What I'd really love is some sort of memory that can save high scores for any and all games used with it even old existing games. That would be nice.

Nice, but also physically and practically impossible. :) If the software was not designed to save to an external medium to begin with, then the only way to save your score is to save the entire state of the machine, like most emulators do it today. :)

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Lots of nice ideas. :)

 

Ok, first the NVRAM thing: the idea isn't to remove the NVRAM chip from the module, or even use a NVRAM "cartridge", as that would require the module to have a cartridge slot, connector, etc. What I was thinking is that we could have a special NVRAM Manager cartridge that plugs into the regular CV cartridge slot. The NVRAM Manager would be used to manage all the saved data inside the module. For example, you would remove old data, correct corrupted data blocks and... copy data from the module to the Manager cartridge itself. So here is the full idea: you play your CV games using the module. Games save data into the module's NVRAM. Once you are done, you can remove the game cartridge from the CV, then plug the Memory Manager cartridge. You check all your data, then copy the data you want to the Manager cartridge. You remove the Manage cartridge from the CV and take it with you to a friend's place (who also happens to have a CV with a MemoryPack, of course). Then you plug your Manager cartridge into his CV and copy all data you want to his CV. Oh, and you would also use the Manager cartridge to store any old data whenever you need to free up space for new data in the MP.

About saving data from old games, there is a way: you can replace the CV BIOS using the module (it's fairly easy to do using the expansion port) then you create a sequence (or add a special key to the module) that when pressed will start up the BIOS monitor. The BIOS monitor could then identify the game being played (by ROM signature) or you would select from a menu and a snapshot from the score area for that game would be taken. The only problem is how to restore the high-score back. Again, you would start up the BIOS monitor and select the game from a menu, or better yet, have another key in the module to do that. So you have two keys, a backup key and a restore key. The BIOS would use ROM signature to identify the game in both cases.

About the pass thru port, that is a good idea. You probably cannot use the MP with the expansion modules #1 and #3 for several reasons, but that would make possible to have extra expansions in the future.

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Things you would do with the NVRAM (using some the games we have under development as an example):

 

- Donkey Kong Arcade: save high-score table, save DIP switch settings.

- Knightmare: save high-score, save last visited levels so warp areas would work from a game session to another (the game has some warp areas that send you straigh to levels that you have already visited, but that is reset everytime you turn off the console)

- Goonies: save high-score, save last completed levels so you can restart from there with no need for passwords

- King's Valley: save high-score, save custom created levels

 

And of course the whole thing would be open to all CV developers to use, so they can come with their own ideas too.

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Well it all sounds very well and good, let's start making them! ;) :D

 

In all reality though that is one of my favorite things about the ADAM Super Game Packs, the high score table. Especially when I get a used game that already has saved high scores from 20 years ago. Its even funnier when some crafty and clever children decided to enter swear words as their names! Always good stuff.

Edited by doubledown

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About saving data from old games, there is a way: you can replace the CV BIOS using the module (it's fairly easy to do using the expansion port) then you create a sequence (or add a special key to the module) that when pressed will start up the BIOS monitor. The BIOS monitor could then identify the game being played (by ROM signature) or you would select from a menu and a snapshot from the score area for that game would be taken. The only problem is how to restore the high-score back. Again, you would start up the BIOS monitor and select the game from a menu, or better yet, have another key in the module to do that. So you have two keys, a backup key and a restore key. The BIOS would use ROM signature to identify the game in both cases.

So what you're suggesting here is a CV Game Genie. ;) You could just devise a generalized interface that would allow any byte from RAM to be stored in the NVRAM Manager cartridge. You could then restore that byte address in RAM at will. Interesting, in theory...

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About saving data from old games, there is a way: you can replace the CV BIOS using the module (it's fairly easy to do using the expansion port) then you create a sequence (or add a special key to the module) that when pressed will start up the BIOS monitor. The BIOS monitor could then identify the game being played (by ROM signature) or you would select from a menu and a snapshot from the score area for that game would be taken. The only problem is how to restore the high-score back. Again, you would start up the BIOS monitor and select the game from a menu, or better yet, have another key in the module to do that. So you have two keys, a backup key and a restore key. The BIOS would use ROM signature to identify the game in both cases.

So what you're suggesting here is a CV Game Genie. ;) You could just devise a generalized interface that would allow any byte from RAM to be stored in the NVRAM Manager cartridge. You could then restore that byte address in RAM at will. Interesting, in theory...

 

Since I don't know much about the GG, I cannot say it is similar or not. But I think you got the idea.

Back when I first thought about the Expansion Module, I had planned it to include a floppy disk and read game images from disk to RAM, which then would simulate the cartridge. In that case, it would be possible to change even the game code on the fly, like I believe the GG does. I also remember doing some research about Compact Flashes and finding out that CF are very easy to implement, because basically they already have a parallel memory interface, unlike, lets say, SD cards.

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Since I don't know much about the GG, I cannot say it is similar or not. But I think you got the idea.

The Game Genie just sets specific values at specific addresses in RAM, nothing more (well, as far as the NES version is concerned anyway, I don't know if later incarnations of the device have more features).

 

Back when I first thought about the Expansion Module, I had planned it to include a floppy disk and read game images from disk to RAM, which then would simulate the cartridge. In that case, it would be possible to change even the game code on the fly, like I believe the GG does.

Well, with the MegaCart, this idea is rather obsolete. :) But just for the sake of discussion, would it be theoretically possible to remap the upper 32K of the CV's global 64K adressing range to use RAM (inside the device plugged in the expansion port) instead of the software data normally read from the cartridge port?

Edited by Pixelboy

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Absolutely MAGNIFICENT!!!!!!!!!!!!

 

Opcode, all involved- you've outdone yourselves. And the inclusion of Pac-Man Plus- which I haven't played since 1983!- just makes it even better.

 

I esp. like the way you handled the mazes in Ms. Pac-Man.

 

Of all the versions I have of Pac-Man and Ms. Pac-Man, these look to be the best. Even the NES version of the former pales next to this one.

 

And all one one cartridge! What a bargain!

 

:D :D :D :D :D :D :D :D :D :D :D :D :D :D

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Back when I first thought about the Expansion Module, I had planned it to include a floppy disk and read game images from disk to RAM, which then would simulate the cartridge. In that case, it would be possible to change even the game code on the fly, like I believe the GG does.

Well, with the MegaCart, this idea is rather obsolete. :) But just for the sake of discussion, would it be theoretically possible to remap the upper 32K of the CV's global 64K adressing range to use RAM (inside the device plugged in the expansion port) instead of the software data normally read from the cartridge port?

 

Yep, and that is what I was talking about. :)

CFs have another interesting advantage: it can emulates IDE, so you get a IDE drive with minimum hardware.

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You could just devise a generalized interface that would allow any byte from RAM to be stored in the NVRAM Manager cartridge. You could then restore that byte address in RAM at will. Interesting, in theory...

Then, in order to save and restore high scores, you would merely need a list of the address where each existing game keeps it's high score and with the push of a button, save or restore that score, depending on the ROM signature. Someone just needs to go look at all the old games and determine what address the high score is at.

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Hi guys,

 

Just to give a little update, Pac-Man Collection cartridges were sent to the beta testers this week. Beta testing should last till late November.

 

Eduardo

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Jess Ragan posted a preview video of Pac-Man Collection on Youtube. Be warned though that the sprite flickering in the video is pretty bad, the sprites even disappear in some places. Definitively it doesn't make the actual game justice, because flickering is a lot better than that when you play the game in a real TV. In fact I can say that the actual flickering is as good as it could technically be. Sprites are multiplexed at 60Hz, meaning that most the time sprites will be displayed on screen 30 times a second or more. That means that every sprite will display during at least one of the interlaced fields that comprise a frame on a NTSC TV.

And the sprite driver routine is also very smart; it multiplexes sprites at a scanline basis, making sure that each sprite gets as much screen time as possible.

Of course all of that is very subjective, but I can guaranty that the flickering is very subtle most of the time and doesn’t get in the way of gameplay.

 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4WrsIT1N1CM

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Jess Ragan posted a preview video of Pac-Man Collection on Youtube. Be warned though that the sprite flickering in the video is pretty bad, the sprites even disappear in some places. Definitively it doesn't make the actual game justice, because flickering is a lot better than that when you play the game in a real TV. In fact I can say that the actual flickering is as good as it could technically be. Sprites are multiplexed at 60Hz, meaning that most the time sprites will be displayed on screen 30 times a second or more. That means that every sprite will display during at least one of the interlaced fields that comprise a frame on a NTSC TV.

And the sprite driver routine is also very smart; it multiplexes sprites at a scanline basis, making sure that each sprite gets as much screen time as possible.

Of course all of that is very subjective, but I can guaranty that the flickering is very subtle most of the time and doesn’t get in the way of gameplay.

 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4WrsIT1N1CM

Is that the actual game sounds of Ms.Pac-Man coming from the Coleco version?It sounds JUST like the arcade! :-o

Nice!

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That looks and sounds great. If this would've been available back in the CV's normal lifetime it would have outsold every other single CV game easily. Maybe even all of them put together.

I am so very much looking forward to getting this.

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It's a very, very close conversion. I can't think of another port off the top of my head that's as faithful as this one. Even the Dreamcast conversion on Namco Museum comes up short by comparison.

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WOW! This looks AWESOME! I had been following this thread with great interest, and was drooling at the screenshots, but seeing the vid has left me speechless. Wow the graphics and sound are awesome!

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:lust: :lust: :lust:

Superb work Eduardo - I can't wait for Christmas.

Post removed at Eduardo's request.

Edited by Pixelboy

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