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A Brand New Atari 2600 Clone Project

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Seriously RT. That Atari is totally fixable.

Not this one. It's in pieces in a box with pieces of another Atari or two that don't work. Don't know what goes to what or if anything will work after being thrown in a box in pieces. Even when it did work, although it was better than a regular Atari 2600, I wasn't completely dazzled by the video quality. Wasn't as good as photos that other people posted of their screens after an S-Video mod.

 

 

 

And there are lots of Ataris to be fixed.

That's right. There are a lot of crusty old Ataris to be fixed using crusty old parts from other crusty old Ataris. And the quality from S-Video mod to S-Video mod can't be counted on.

 

I'd rather have something new with modern hookups that you can count on. If somebody has the talent and ability to do it, let them. It won't cost you a thing unless you can't keep yourself from buying one when they are finished.

 

Some people used to say a thing like batari Basic couldn't be done, or if it could, you couldn't do much with it except for maybe making a Combat clone. They sure were wrong. And batari Basic gets better every 2 or 3 years. If somebody has the skill, talent, and passion to do it, we will have a new Atari 2600 clone or Atari 7800 clone no matter how hard it is to make. All new replaceable parts and consistent video quality sounds good to me.

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Well don't get me wrong. If somebody does do this, it would be excellent!

 

I fear the dynamics in play right now just won't serve as an incentive to actually do it, that's all.

 

The other part of what I was saying is there is a lot of fun to be had in this hobby, building, fixing, modding. I enjoy doing it and a lot of this stuff isn't as hard as people would think.

 

Finally, a well modded VCS can be counted on. I think you just got a raw deal on that one. Maybe the next one will be better for you. These things are old, but very well made. Most classic Atari stuff is.

 

Cheers, and good luck pounding the drums. Maybe somebody will listen, and we all will be better for it.

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Actually, a lot of this talk reminds me of the mid-late 90's, when people said making 2600 gmaes wasn't possible cause it was expensive, people would never see their money back on it, it was to hard, etc, etc, the list just went on and on. It was really just a cry from those people out there that wanted people to jump into making games for their SNES's or the new fangled 32 bit shit out there. And now, we got how many new games? I mean, seriously, since 2000, I think there's been over 100 titles for the 2600 alone (and that's not coutning all the hacks and homebrews that didn't make it to cart form) True, it's still hard, I admire all those who can make new games (I'd be happy just hacking a game myself :P ) true there's not really money to be made (though I think AA could release it's own compilation Atari Anthology style, and hit a MUCH broader audience) And it's an expensive hobby, weather you go the programmer rout, the player rout or get your own prom burner and make your own stuff (unless you just emulate it) It can be damn expensive, there are several years since 2000, I've spent more on the 2600 than any other console I owned.

 

And, I don't regret it one bit. I play the games like crack, and it's a refreshing change of pace from Gran Turismo, or Halo or whatever.

 

The system will be just like the games, maybe we won't see one before 2010, but I figure within the next 5 years, thee will be an all new fully compatable 2600 made. And we'll be talking about "wouldn't it be cool if...." for something else.

 

The market is there, the knowhow is there, hell, even the money is there, once we get all the interested parties altogether. It's just a matter of time, that's all.

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Seriously RT. That Atari is totally fixable.

Not this one. It's in pieces in a box with pieces of another Atari or two that don't work. Don't know what goes to what or if anything will work after being thrown in a box in pieces. Even when it did work, although it was better than a regular Atari 2600, I wasn't completely dazzled by the video quality. Wasn't as good as photos that other people posted of their screens after an S-Video mod.

 

And there are lots of Ataris to be fixed.

That's right. There are a lot of crusty old Ataris to be fixed using crusty old parts from other crusty old Ataris. And the quality from S-Video mod to S-Video mod can't be counted on.

 

I'd rather have something new with modern hookups that you can count on. If somebody has the talent and ability to do it, let them. It won't cost you a thing unless you can't keep yourself from buying one when they are finished.

 

You have had bad luck, and that doesn't mean others do/will. I could have your system(or maybe both!) going in an hour, if you don't count waiting for the parts to come in the mail.

 

The thing you are overlooking is most of the parts for these "crusty old Ataris" are still available new(remember, 2600s were still sold in the US until 1990). Your supposedly blown TIA is $11.50 http://www.best-electronics-ca.com/custom-i.htm or maybe you just want the whole populated mobo for $35 http://www.best-electronics-ca.com/2600_Tech_Tips.htm#based Quality on whoevers mod you used is not a general fault, it is the modifier's fault.

 

A new production 2600 would be nice, but the millions already out there are still OK.

Edited by Kenny_McCormic

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You have had bad luck, and that doesn't mean others do/will. I could have your system(or maybe both!) going in an hour, if you don't count waiting for the parts to come in the mail.

 

The thing you are overlooking is most of the parts for these "crusty old Ataris" are still available new(remember, 2600s were still sold in the US until 1990). Your supposedly blown TIA is $11.50 http://www.best-electronics-ca.com/custom-i.htm or maybe you just want the whole populated mobo for $35 http://www.best-electronics-ca.com/2600_Tech_Tips.htm#based Quality on whoevers mod you used is not a general fault, it is the modifier's fault.

 

A new production 2600 would be nice, but the millions already out there are still OK.

If there are still millions out there that haven't been smashed or microwaved by YouTube brats or aren't covered inside and out with dust, mud, or spider poo, there's still the problem that no screenshot from an S-Video modified Atari 2600 ever seems to look the same from Atari to Atari, but that's not the only reason why I'd like a new clone. I'm hoping for a pause button, more controller jacks, and possibly other cool things. Somebody mentioned that wireless controllers would be nice. Who knows what the geniuses around here could come up with?

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Ever think your screen shot issues is camera or television error? I still want to know what everybody's fucking obsession with S-Video is all about. The only reason I want to go so far as composite is because the stereo puts noise on the screen when I really crank it up.

 

Pause would be cool, I can't see it being incredibly difficult to do completely in hardware. I'm the one who mentioned wireless controllers, you could easily stuff modern wireless circuitry and a Li-poly into a CX-40 or CX-30, as opposed to more ports, which make absolutely no sense.

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as opposed to more ports, which make absolutely no sense.

Makes sense to me. I hate unplugging and plugging wires. I usually just stick to joystick games for that reason. Maybe what I need is some sort of y-cable so I could just leave both paddles and joysticks plugged in all the time.

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I still want to know what everybody's f*cking obsession with S-Video is all about.

Maybe because they're sick of patterns, wavy lines, and general fuzziness of the screen when they play:

 

 

 

 

. . . as opposed to more ports, which make absolutely no sense.

How does it make absolutely no sense? Is it that you think no console ever had four controller jacks? My old Xbox has four controller jacks:

 

post-13-125524155193_thumb.jpg

 

Two joysticks would plug into two of the controller jacks and two sets of paddles would plug into the other two controller jacks. The switch between the two sets of controller jacks would either be manual or there would be an added computer chip that would do the switching for you automatically. Then you can play any game you want without constantly plugging and unplugging. Just flip a switch or hit a button (whatever the makers go with). There could be a faint glowing light above the active set of controller jacks so there is no doubt which set is active. If you're afraid people will tangle the controller cables, they'll just have to stop playing while drunk or stupid or buy the new wireless Atari 2600 clone controllers.

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I like "The Cheetah." And we kind of are cheating, right? :ponder:

Please, no more cat names. Those stupid cat names are what killed off Atari the first time, so let's avoid them like the English avoid toothbrushes or the French avoid deodorant or people from the USA avoid American cars. :D

 

 

Actually if we're going to take another stab at this, a 7800 on a chip is what I'd prefer...

 

 

Yes, and there will be no cat names, and no suggestive names of women. We'll just cut to the chase and call it it project fingerbanger.

 

Hey, it's what your finger does to the fire button. What were your dirty minds thinking it was?

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What I'd like to see is a new machine using modern parts, with a TI OMAP (ARM based) system on a chip, plus an FPGA, some RAM, and a cartridge connector. Classic systems could be implimented on the FPGA. If we want ATSC output, the project would need to be big enough to be able to afford a $10,000 annual license fee, so a straight 2600 implimentation with HDMI output would probably be economically infeasable. You would have to find other reasons for the machine to exist, in order to sell it to enough people to make the high up-front costs worthwhile.

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I guess I just have a horrible problem with tangling cords, the X box, N64 and a few more did have 4 ports, and 4 cables hooked up, this was all fine and dandy with the long cords on modern controllers. But I think going to 6 cords that are all 4 feet long will just get too hard to control. Ideally you would get 4 wireless paddles and two wireless joysticks with the system, there would be a switch to power up the wireless receiver, and another to select paddles/joysticks, two controller ports would still be there for various other controllers.

Edited by Kenny_McCormic

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HDMI would be overkill and not enough bang-for-buck.

 

Most of these are the updated features mentioned in this thread that I think would be obtainable:

 

-7800 compatibility

-wireless controlls with select/reset. (Likely bluetooth)

-plugs for traditional controls

-pause

-s-video or compnent output

-stereo output

-Harmony compatability (all useful undocumented opcodes implemented)

 

And here are some more controversial ones that can be done, but are more controversial:

-support for 4 joystick controllers

-scan-line doubler (probably too costly)

-built-in optional atarivox, pokey or other sound enhancement

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What I'd like to see is a new machine using modern parts, with a TI OMAP (ARM based) system on a chip, plus an FPGA, some RAM, and a cartridge connector. Classic systems could be implimented on the FPGA. If we want ATSC output, the project would need to be big enough to be able to afford a $10,000 annual license fee, so a straight 2600 implimentation with HDMI output would probably be economically infeasable. You would have to find other reasons for the machine to exist, in order to sell it to enough people to make the high up-front costs worthwhile.

 

 

HDMI would be overkill and not enough bang-for-buck.

 

Most of these are the updated features mentioned in this thread that I think would be obtainable:

 

-7800 compatibility

-wireless controlls with select/reset. (Likely bluetooth)

-plugs for traditional controls

-pause

-s-video or compnent output

-stereo output

-Harmony compatability (all useful undocumented opcodes implemented)

 

And here are some more controversial ones that can be done, but are more controversial:

-support for 4 joystick controllers

-scan-line doubler (probably too costly)

-built-in optional atarivox, pokey or other sound enhancement

 

Personally, I think if we go with some newfangled processor (some 16-32 bit shit) maybe you could have the cart port to play 2600/7800 games, and have a software accessable way to turn it into 32bit mode and then have, say Jax TV game shit make carts that plug into it and play their popular PnP games? I mean, the biggest reason I stay away from PnP, is I can't friggin stand having a whole console dedicated to 1-6 games...let alone having a dozen or so erhem, "consoles" each dedicated to only 1-6 games. Having all those PnP games moded to work on a new cheap TV console that just happens to play 2600/7800 games would just kick all kinds of ass...and most of them are just four button single digital or analog stick games anyways, the 2600 is more than capable of pulling that off, so why not a 2600 compatible game/controller that works with modern stuff?

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Personally, I think if we go with some newfangled processor (some 16-32 bit shit) maybe you could have the cart port to play 2600/7800 games, and have a software accessable way to turn it into 32bit mode and then have, say Jax TV game shit make carts that plug into it and play their popular PnP games? I mean, the biggest reason I stay away from PnP, is I can't friggin stand having a whole console dedicated to 1-6 games...let alone having a dozen or so erhem, "consoles" each dedicated to only 1-6 games. Having all those PnP games moded to work on a new cheap TV console that just happens to play 2600/7800 games would just kick all kinds of ass...and most of them are just four button single digital or analog stick games anyways, the 2600 is more than capable of pulling that off, so why not a 2600 compatible game/controller that works with modern stuff?

How about this simple design:

 

1) FPGA

2) ROM with Jaguar chipset definition and several Jaguar games

3) Microcontroler

4) Jaguar compatible cartridge connector

5) S-Video out, Left and Right audio outs, Controler inputs

 

On startup, the microcontroler would configure the FPGA with either the Jaguar chipset definition, or some other chipset contained on a special cartridge. Other platforms would be made available on these special cartridges, which would themselves have the appropriate cartridge connector on the other end for the cartridges for that platform. For example, you would buy the Atari 2600 platform cartridge, which would have the VCS chipset definition and lots of games, and a cartridge connector for VCS cartridges. Since we are using the Jaguar controlers, the keypad buttons can control the console switches, and there can even be an appropriate overlay. Ideally, paddle and driving controlers would be made available as well.

 

Just a totally crazy idea.

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Sweet!!! When's the release date on that? Can I choose which rock star? When can I pre-order?!?! ;)

 

I think a lot of the people posting here understand that the features need to be limited, there's just some disagreement on which features are important critical.

 

@Kenny_McCormic: implementing S-Video in addition to composite adds a few pennies to the overall cost. IMO there's no reason not to have s-video as an option.

 

Regarding wireless vs. wired controllers: Even though I'd love to see them perhaps wireless controls is something that should be tackled in a different project, something that might be useful on the original hardware as well.

 

If it's going to be a "n-in-1" game console, the money people are going to want that part closed-off, so only they can license titles. We'd have to leave it to them, and develop solely in "legacy" 2600/7800 mode.

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Yeah, basically that's my point. The reason Atari doesn't look to good on modern TV's, is they have simply moved on and aren't properly compatible with the signal the 2600 outputs. That it works at all is a not so minor miracle that people seem to ignore though. But yeah, a custom chip added after TIA basically, to pre process the image into something a modern day TV is compatible with is basically what I'm talking about. You could even have a few built in features like auto stretching, fill screen, or a more traditional look...

 

 

Maybe that TIA signal modernizer is the best place to start. It would be of help to people with composite/SVHS modded 2600s and it would also help with the FlashBack II. I understand the FBII and composite modded 2600s are both subject to many TVs not working correctly with them. My own experiences with an FBII are as follows

 

circa 1999 Phillips TV - picture is in black and white

Ikegami monitor (not sure of model) - no picture

circa 2003 projector - rolling torn picture with flashes of color

32" 1080p Spectre TV - mostly works. some titles like Yar's return have some distortion and/or cause the TV to lose sync occasionally. some graphics show downscaling artifacts same any other NTSC I feed this TV.

 

Oddly enough, the most modern of the display devices I have access to worked the best though noticibly impaired at times. I know the FBII is working correctly. It is just that it successfully re-implements the TIA design and that was meant to work with analog TVs that could handle some fast and loose video just because most of them at the time were connected to rabbit ears.

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Oh, so it's a Jaguar project too, now?

 

So the pointlessness bomb has just exploded. Pointlessly. Splattering pointlessness all about. Pointlessness now paints the landscape.

 

I rest my case.

 

-tet

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Oh, so it's a Jaguar project too, now?

 

So the pointlessness bomb has just exploded. Pointlessly. Splattering pointlessness all about. Pointlessness now paints the landscape.

 

I rest my case.

Oh no! Different types of ideas were posted! Now we'll never have an Atari 2600 or Atari 7800 clone! :lol:

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I think the n-in-1 is a very good idea as a vehicle to expand the potential user base and make it profitable. Even if the "modern" mode is basically a 7800 plus some low-hanging-fruit enhancements.

 

I could see "plays classic games too" as being a draw to parents who used to game.

 

All of the carts should use the same 2600/7800 form to avoid unnecessary cost. The modern carts could be signed (differently than the 7800) and if they look too clunky for a modern system there's no reason they couldn't be half height.

 

I'd also suggest the controllers go the inexpensive-to-manufacture-and-familliar-to-kids gamepad route, with the standard 9-pin.

 

Too far?

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Too far?

Can you go too far when posting ideas? Brainstorm until lightning shoots out of your ears.

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Has it ever occurred to you guys that you can have most of those features you call for by putting an emulator onto an Eee Box or a similar PC that doesn't take up much space + depending on what you want some additional hardware (controllers etc.) + some minor configuration file hackery? This is exactly what I do...I have an Eee Box connected to my TV, Debian with freevo running on top. I don't use most of freevo's Music/TV/Movie features, I mostly use it as emulator launcher. Pause? Sure I can pause my games. If the emulator supports it, I can even save and restore states. It plays NES/SNES/whatever games. I can play Metal Slug on it. I operate the thing completely by Gamepad, except when I install additional stuff. Then I either hook an USB keyboard onto it or connect to it from my PC.

 

Sure a hardware clone has a certain coolness factor from a hacker's point of view. But for my own usage I prefer my Eee Box.

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Has it ever occurred to you guys . . .

Until an emulator can act, look, and

exactly like a real Atari 2600, an emulator will only be for times when you don't have an Atari 2600, can't easily get to your Atari 2600, or you want to quickly try a game (such as a homebrew).

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And what makes you think a hardware clone is going to "act, look, and sound like a real Atari 2600"?

 

Especially the sound bit can be pretty hard to get right, and after all you are video modding your 2600s to get better pictures out of them than from "a real Atari 2600". Doesn't make sense to me. If you want the real thing, use the real thing. If you want an improved version you may aswell consider all possibilities, including software emulation which does have its merit.

 

Weren't you calling for a brainstorming?

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