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Here's a very random thought.

 

What if you made something in the regular kernel that "encouraged" someone to remove and replace the cart?

That's kind of the novelty of this cart. Basically, you get the title screen, and suddenly, you're playing Pong in RAM.

Remove the cart, and it looks like nothing happens.

 

Replace the cart, and... the mode changes. Or, another game is "unlocked".

I would say *that* would be kind of an oddball feature, but neat, as I've never seen something like that done before.

 

Just my 2 cents-- you can take it or leave it. :)

 

-John

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Here's a very random thought.

 

What if you made something in the regular kernel that "encouraged" someone to remove and replace the cart?

That's kind of the novelty of this cart. Basically, you get the title screen, and suddenly, you're playing Pong in RAM.

Remove the cart, and it looks like nothing happens.

 

Replace the cart, and... the mode changes. Or, another game is "unlocked".

I would say *that* would be kind of an oddball feature, but neat, as I've never seen something like that done before.

 

 

Assuming it's safe to go removing the cartridge like this, it shows you can have multi-cartridge games. Have the ram kernel display the "please insert cartridge #2 and press Reset". Of course if someone doesn't actually insert the cartridge, that could be a problem. ;)

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Here's a very random thought.

 

What if you made something in the regular kernel that "encouraged" someone to remove and replace the cart?

That's kind of the novelty of this cart. Basically, you get the title screen, and suddenly, you're playing Pong in RAM.

Remove the cart, and it looks like nothing happens.

 

Replace the cart, and... the mode changes. Or, another game is "unlocked".

I would say *that* would be kind of an oddball feature, but neat, as I've never seen something like that done before.

 

 

Assuming it's safe to go removing the cartridge like this, it shows you can have multi-cartridge games. Have the ram kernel display the "please insert cartridge #2 and press Reset". Of course if someone doesn't actually insert the cartridge, that could be a problem. ;)

Removing a cart usually works, but inserting a cart can crash the system.

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What if you made something in the regular kernel that "encouraged" someone to remove and replace the cart?

That's kind of the novelty of this cart. Basically, you get the title screen, and suddenly, you're playing Pong in RAM.

Remove the cart, and it looks like nothing happens.

 

Replace the cart, and... the mode changes. Or, another game is "unlocked".

You mean a multi-cart game, with a RAM only screen for swapping carts (with cart autodetection)? That's very easy.

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After some further thought, here's more along the lines of what I'm thinking.

 

There was a game for Playstation called "monster rancher" years ago.

I don't remember much about it, but you could create your own monster by putting 2 random CD's into the PS1, and it would grab a string of data from each, multiply them together or something, and get an address, and that address would show you the creature you "unlocked".

 

My favorite was when I took 2 strange German CD's and put them together, and created an evil looking bunny character. According to the net, it was rare, and awesome.

 

So, what if there was a cartridge that used this sort of setup?

Here's what I'm thinking:

 

1) Game starts, goes to RAM screen.

2) RAM screen says "remove cart, insert any GAME cart, press reset"

3) User picks any 2600 cart they have, puts it in, hits reset

4) The game "rips" a few bytes from the cart, and stores them

5) The RAM screen says "remove GAME cart, insert RAM cart, press reset"

6) User removes cart, inserts RAM cart, and of course, pushes reset

7) Depending on the bytes ripped, something cool happens.

 

a) From the Monster Rancher concept, it could say "you found <creature>!", and give some fighting stats, and then you could play a fighting game in ROM on the RAM cart

b) You could have a few mini games in there, and the way to unlock them is to find which 2600 game unlocks them. :) And, of course, a secret mini-game or splash screen could be hidden for "special" circumstances.

 

So, I'm really thinking of something like that. It encourages people to play their 2600 in a "different way".

People will be psyched to see what each cart they have can unlock.

Additionally, they can post their results of cartridge insertions online somewhere, and it would unlock a whole new database of fun.

And, people with bit-rotted cartridges or one-off prototypes would have different results than other people, which means there would be some fascinating new data gathered.

 

What do you think? I see potential for a lot of fun. :)

 

-John

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[...]

What do you think? I see potential for a lot of fun. :)

 

-John

The proposal would certainly add a new twist/dimension to Atari 2600 gaming. Not only "bit-rotted" cartridges, but just plain ol' dirty contacts could have an impact on the randomness.

 

You get this concept working and the way things go around here, somebody will build is a random data generator cartridge. :)

Edited by BigO

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Thomas, do you think you'll be able to put in a reset option? It's fun to be able to pull out the cartridge and keep playing, but no so much fun to be limited to only one round. I consider resetting to be higher priority than sound.

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Final version, now with title and option screen:

- color or B/W mode

- large or small paddles

- slow or fast speed

 

This is ridiculously good!

 

That boot screen has to be the best one ever produced for an Atari 2600 game - whether part of the RAM Challenge or a 32k cartridge!

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Thomas, do you think you'll be able to put in a reset option?

Resetting back to the ROM or resetting to restart the game inside RAM? The first option would require 7 or 8 bytes (BTW: sound requires 5), the later even more bytes.

 

It's fun to be able to pull out the cartridge and keep playing, but no so much fun to be limited to only one round. I consider resetting to be higher priority than sound.

You are only limited to one round if you remove the cart. Else you could simply switch the console off and and on again.

 

I wonder how other people think about this. What's more important?

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This is ridiculously good!

 

That boot screen has to be the best one ever produced for an Atari 2600 game - whether part of the RAM Challenge or a 32k cartridge!

Thanks a lot. I have used a similar screen in Robot City, SWOOPS! etc. before and evolved the code a bit over time. The original idea was derived from an early title screen of Andrew Davie's Qb.

 

Just don't assume that this screen was also done inside 128 bytes. :)

Edited by Thomas Jentzsch

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Resetting back to the ROM or resetting to restart the game inside RAM? The first option would require 7 or 8 bytes (BTW: sound requires 5), the later even more bytes.

I meant restarting the game inside RAM. I understand that it takes a lot of bytes. It was worth thinking about, at least.

 

You are only limited to one round if you remove the cart. Else you could simply switch the console off and and on again.

 

I wonder how other people think about this. What's more important?

I tried an earlier version without sound, and I think I underestimated its importance. I'd choose sound over resetting.

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Thomas, do you think you'll be able to put in a reset option?

Resetting back to the ROM or resetting to restart the game inside RAM? The first option would require 7 or 8 bytes (BTW: sound requires 5), the later even more bytes.

 

It's fun to be able to pull out the cartridge and keep playing, but no so much fun to be limited to only one round. I consider resetting to be higher priority than sound.

You are only limited to one round if you remove the cart. Else you could simply switch the console off and and on again.

 

I wonder how other people think about this. What's more important?

I vote sound over RESET.

 

If you do add it, though, I think RESET to ROM, not RAM.

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Wow. I'd suggest an Ultraminigame competition except there probably wouldn't be much competition.

It'd be funny to see what programmer could do though...

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A bit different, since you are probably allowed to use the existing (or even extra) ROM.

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Excellent.

 

Now you just have to figure out something useful/cool/silly to do with the open cartridge slot. icon_smile.gif

 

How about a cart with LED matrix that shows the game itself. With a hinged mirror, like a hud-type arrangement.

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Today I decided to reduce the (used) ROM size to 1K to be able to compete in the Hackaday 1kB Challenge with one more entry. :)

 

I will simplify the menu by removing the texts and replace them with a symbolic options display.

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Today I decided to reduce the (used) ROM size to 1K to be able to compete in the Hackaday 1kB Challenge with one more entry. :)

 

I will simplify the menu by removing the texts and replace them with a symbolic options display.

Neat. I tested the ROM in my 7800 back in 2015 or thereabouts, loaded it with my Harmony and pulled out the cart. It took a couple tries before it worked, but I soon learned it was best to quickly yank the cart since it's more likely to crash if you do the slow wiggle thing. Does Harmony load 1k ROMs without issue? I don't think I've tried any smaller than 2k.

 

Somebody needs to do a 2k NES game where you pull the cart. All tiles would be likely be FF filled so everything would need to be constructed out of 8x8 or 16x16 blocks.

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The ROM is 2K with 1K all empty. I don't think 1K would work.

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Actually I have no clue. :)

I may try that with a hex editor when you get the updated "1k" version online to try and see. I'm guessing it will either replace the upper register with 00 or FF or mirror the first 1kb. :P

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Here is the first 1K version. To me it seems complete, but for now it is version 0.99. Please let me know if the symbolic option display is OK.

 

With the color and difficulty switches you can affect some in game settings like color, speed and paddle size, which are represented on the title screen.

RAM Pong 1K (NTSC) v0.99.bin

RAM Pong 1K (PAL-60) v0.99.bin

RAM Pong 1K (PAL-50) v0.99.bin

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How do I play it? I press fire at the title screen and a dotted line keeps moving right.

Edited by atari2600land

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