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The official "ColecoVision 2" thread

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This may have been stated at some point in the past, so I really do apologize if I simply missed it (I looked, I swear!), but: Based on the most current vision of what the OpMod (sorry, Super Game Module!:) ) is going to be and what the CV2 is going to be, what exactly are the differences? Is the CV2 planned to include everything offered in the SGM, but more? Or are they two very different things? If different, will SGM be compatable with CV2, or only the original?

The design of the CV2 keeps changing, but one thing is for sure: The Super Game Module will not have any modern TV output connectors, while the CV2 will have some (A/V and S-Video at least, perhaps component video too). The SGM will also not have any alternate video chip included, while the CV2 will probably have a backward-compatible modern equivalent (either the V9958, or the V9990). I'm hoping Eduardo will post some pics of some MSX Castlevania demo graphics that he showed me a few years ago, which were done with the V9990 chip. We're talking Turbografx-16-quality graphics here, which can easely rival the Genesis and Super-NES! Not really a factor where legacy ColecoVision games are concerned, but for modern hobbyist projects, the graphic possibilities are rather interesting. :)

 

The CV2 will probably also offer the same features as Opcode's Super Game Module, most notably 24K of RAM, the extra MSX sound chip, and probably the MegaRAM component too. The Compact Flash feature keeps getting bumped and then re-added every month, but with the new hobbyist angle as part of the CV2's equation, there's a good chance that either Compact Flash or SD card will be included.

 

As for future game support, it's a 100% certainty that such Opcode titles are Donkey Kong Arcade, Arkanoid, Goonies and Knightmare (which are first and foremost designed to work with the SGM) will be playable on the CV2. I can't imagine Eduardo not making his future games compatible on both pieces of hardware. :)

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I'm hoping Eduardo will post some pics of some MSX Castlevania demo graphics

 

I think he has already posted a video of that somewhere in a thread here few month ago.

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I'm hoping Eduardo will post some pics of some MSX Castlevania demo graphics

 

I think he has already posted a video of that somewhere in a thread here few month ago.

No, that's not what I'm talking about. IIRC, that video was a demo done on the V9958 (I think).

 

I found the pics I'm talking about in my own records, and attached them below. :)

post-7743-126277755052_thumb.gif

post-7743-126277755967_thumb.gif

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Hi... :)

 

So I have a few questions.

 

Will there be any VDP on SE Module, if so, which ?.

 

 

It will be Yahama V9900 or V9958, or perhaps both of them at CV2 ?.

 

What I think is the compatibility between machines.

 

Will the existing Coleco games operate on a CV2, whose resolution is 256 x 212, where it now is 256 x 192 ?.

 

Or will it switch automatically by inserting the cartridge ?.

 

And will a game (DKA) made for the SE Module also work in CV2 ?.

 

But a game from CV2 will not work in SE Module, if i understand it right ?.

 

EDIT: link: V9990

Edited by ten-four

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Ok, let me clarify some points:

 

- First of all, the CV2 should be almost 100% compatible with the original CV. And I say almost because we don't plan to have the expansion port (at least not in the same format), the V9958/V9990 is 99% compatible with the TMS9928 (it has extra registers and supposing you have a buggy CV game that try to access one of those extra registers by mistake then something weird can happen, in fact the CV BIOS has a bug that makes it incompatible with the V9958, but that has been corrected, but anyway, some games could have that too, I tested several but not all), etc. But anyway, almost every ColecoVision game should run perfectly in the new hardware.

 

- Second thing is that the CV2 should be compatible with the SEM. So we don't plan to release two hardwares that are incompatible. In the "best" case the CV2 should be a superset of the CV+SEM. In the "worst" case it would just have the CV+SEM features and nothing else.

 

- The V9990 is compatible, if you use it the way it was intended for the MSX3... :)

 

Finally the good news: I got some quotes, the ICs are available. And price is ok. The whole A/V chipset but the dual ported VRAM (for the V9990) costs $30 (that includes the sound chips (SN76489AN too), video encoder, video chips and video memories, except for the V9990 VRAM, as I mentioned). The dual ported VRAM I quoted seems to be very expensive, $40 at least for the necessary 4 ICs. I have the option to look for another part or to reduce the VRAM to 256KB, which isn't a big problem with the pattern modes, except that the # of available tiles is reduced from 7.5K to 3.5K per plane. 3.5K is still MegaDrive/Genesis quality if I remember correctly.

But anyway, you get 3 independent scrolling planes, 16 colors per plane from 32K, 128 sprites 16x16, 16 colors per sprites from 4 palettes of 16 colors from 32K. 16 sprites per scanline max. It's halfway between a MegaDrive and a SuperFamicom video wise. It has the planes, colors and sprites from a SuperFamicom, but it can display "only" 80 colors at the same time (versus 256 for the SF versus 64 for the MD) and it doesn't have the FXes of the Super Famicom. Sound wise is is also somewhere between the other two, it has better FM and more channels than a MD but sound isn't as realistic as the SF PCM.

And it is all done by dedicated ICs, just like the old days, all from the 80s.

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Hi Ole,

 

Ok, all good questions:

 

Hi... :)

 

So I have a few questions.

 

Will there be any VDP on SE Module, if so, which ?.

 

No VDPs in the SEM.

 

 

It will be Yahama V9900 or V9958, or perhaps both of them at CV2 ?.

 

Right, both. That is the way the V9990 was originally intended to be used. The trick is the encoder, the V7040 (notice the ASCII copyright over it, thus a MSX related device). That is the video imposer and encoder. You can select V9958, V9990 or both superimposed. The V9958 gives you the legacy modes and a few improvements like hardware scroll and color palettes, while the V9990 gives you the advanced modes.

 

What I think is the compatibility between machines.

 

Will the existing Coleco games operate on a CV2, whose resolution is 256 x 212, where it now is 256 x 192 ?.

 

All the legacy modes are still 256x192

 

Or will it switch automatically by inserting the cartridge ?.

 

It boots as CV2, the BIOS check for a CV1 cartridge, and if one is found switch the system to CV1 (disable everything isn't suppose to exist, set legacy video modes, etc)

 

And will a game (DKA) made for the SE Module also work in CV2 ?.

 

But a game from CV2 will not work in SE Module, if i understand it right ?.

 

EDIT: link: V9990

 

Technically yes. That is something we are still discussing. Considering how small the market is, I would like to avoid having 3 different platforms. In fact Andre' thinks that if the CV2 is feasible then we should simply cancel the SEM, but I am still giving it some thought.

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Technically yes. That is something we are still discussing. Considering how small the market is, I would like to avoid having 3 different platforms. In fact Andre' thinks that if the CV2 is feasible then we should simply cancel the SEM, but I am still giving it some thought.

 

Hi again... :)

 

I hope you not burn your fingers on SEM Eduardo.

 

I can see an Expanded ColecoVision, but if you go for the fully CV2, I would advise you, do not use more money on that SE Module.

 

You know i'm in for CV2 no matter what, just I'm sure about compatibility.

 

But the choice is yours. :)

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I'm also 10000% for the CV2 instead of the SEM. I don't mind what there is inside , i just want :

 

-CV compatible

-Steering wheel compatible

-a standard easy to find power supply

-possibility to plug standard CV joystick.

-better video output.

-if possible SMALL case!

 

I don't need expansion port.

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Ok, more good news: it seems like the V9990 VRAMs are still made today, and were made in the past by several companies, so finding a more affordable solution shouldn't be a problem.

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I'm also 10000% for the CV2 instead of the SEM. I don't mind what there is inside , i just want :

 

-CV compatible

-Steering wheel compatible

-a standard easy to find power supply

-possibility to plug standard CV joystick.

-better video output.

-if possible SMALL case!

 

I don't need expansion port.

 

I agree with all that, but I would also like it to be compatible with the roller controller. :)

 

I'd buy a CV2 over a SEM any day, honestly.

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I'm also 10000% for the CV2 instead of the SEM. I don't mind what there is inside , i just want :

 

-CV compatible

-Steering wheel compatible

-a standard easy to find power supply

-possibility to plug standard CV joystick.

-better video output.

-if possible SMALL case!

 

I don't need expansion port.

 

I agree with all that, but I would also like it to be compatible with the roller controller. :)

 

I'd buy a CV2 over a SEM any day, honestly.

 

No problems that I can see with the above list, except that the roller needs the original CV power supply, because of the unusual plug...

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I'm also 10000% for the CV2 instead of the SEM. I don't mind what there is inside , i just want :

 

-CV compatible

-Steering wheel compatible

-a standard easy to find power supply

-possibility to plug standard CV joystick.

-better video output.

-if possible SMALL case!

 

I don't need expansion port.

 

I agree with all that, but I would also like it to be compatible with the roller controller. :)

 

I'd buy a CV2 over a SEM any day, honestly.

 

No problems that I can see with the above list, except that the roller needs the original CV power supply, because of the unusual plug...

 

D'oh..forgot about that! Still, shouldn't be much of a problem for the people who have them. Probably won't be supported by much new software, tho.

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I'd vote for scrapping the SEM as well, because the projects seem counterintuitive.

On one hand, I agree with you from a technical standpoint, because I'd really like to have a more modern console with modern TV output as soon as possible. But on the other hand, not being able to play Donkey Kong Arcade, Knightmare and other future Opcode titles on a good'ol ColecoVision seems rather sad to me...

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But on the other hand, not being able to play Donkey Kong Arcade, Knightmare and other future Opcode titles on a good'ol ColecoVision seems rather sad to me...

 

Playing on a colecovision + a Module is totally different than playing on a colecovision IMHO.

 

Mainly for game like Knightmare for instance, i would have the feeling to play a MSX game on a colecovision with a MSX expansion Module. Same feeling i had back in time when i played Atari VCS game on my colecovision using the expansion module #2. Ok , the cartridge slot and the cartridge shape will be 'coleco' , that makes a little difference but not so much.

 

Playing the same games on a CV2 will procur a totally different feeling. You play on a new Colecovision with some improvement. It is a NEW console backward compatible with the old one. In that case , if enough are sold i could also consider to develop new game for it exploiting the new features. But In case of the SEM , i won't develop for it for sure.

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Ok, I have the schematics for the CV2 phase 1 done. My first goal is to reproduce the original CV on a breadboard. The changes I made in my version of the CV compared to the original Coleco version are:

 

- Replaced VDP with V9958

- Replaced 1KB of system RAM with 24KB

- Replaced video encoder with CXA1645 (that isn't the intended final encoder, but it is good enough for now, and it can output composite, S-video and RGB)

- Replaced reset circuit with modern IC

- Replaced power supply

- Removed HEF4066 (since Atari module isn't supported)

- Removed expansion port

 

Once that is done and working fine, we should go to phase 2, where all the glue logic will be replaced by a CPLD. From there we will start to add all sort of improvements, like the new A/V chipset, etc.

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Yep. The SEM is mostly done, I am just waiting for samples of the Oki sound chip to start beta testing. But Andre' thinks (and it seems quite a few people here think the same) that we should forget about it and concentrate on the CV2. He believes the CV2 has much more commercial appeal. What happened was that a few weeks ago I mentioned him my intention of working on a CV clone once the SEM was done and he couldn’t understand why I was wasting my time with the SEM in that case. He told me he always thought the SEM was a very hobbyist, very niche thing, while the clone had a lot more potential. He also gave me several technical reasons why the clone would be a cleaner, more optimized solution and a much more enjoyable product. Since his enthusiasm is infectious, he has this kind of mentor influence on people, I took the bait.

If you ask my personal feelings about the matter, I would like to go with the module, mostly for romantic, nostalgic reasons. On the other hand this project has changed so many times already (it started 5 years ago, believe it or not) that it is becoming frustrating. So I am trying hard to be a little more realistic and down to the earth now. So if I can prove myself that the clone is a very viable thing, and that means, having a prototype, securing chips, etc, then I can abandon the SEM and go with the CV2. If I feel that the clone cannot be done the way I am envisioning it for any reason, then I can resume the SEM, as it is mostly done anyway and leave the clone for some point in the future. My deadline for the CV2 is Q2. If by the end of Q2 I don't have a working prototype with most of the system components, then I will just back up to the SEM again. And in the meantime I can also finish the tests I need to do to complete the SEM (fine tuning the Oki sound output).

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My only question is...

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Who is Andre? I never noticed this name until a short time ago, and now his name seems to pop up quite often.

 

One of my concerns is copyright on the CV BIOS. I've been thinking about a bare-bones CV clone, and had thought about making some changes to the BIOS, but the original source would still not be mine... however, in very small quantities, it wouldn't be something I would be too concerned about. If you are potentially selling high quantities of these, maybe this is of some concern? - or will the BIOS be something a user would have to "find" themselves, and put on an SD or CF card?

 

Thanks,

5-11under

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Who is Andre? I never noticed this name until a short time ago, and now his name seems to pop up quite often.

 

Thanks,

5-11under

 

Hi 5-11under :)

 

Andre are from Nurve Networks LLC., his site are XGameStation.com

 

Eduardo has a very fine partnership with Andre for precisely the SEM and CV2. :D

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Good point the problem of BIOS copyright. :(

 

But it is 28 year old at least. he could be in public domain now ? no? I don't know law about that, but i think there is something like that.

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BIOS you can always rewrite etc. The problem is the use of the ColecoVision name. It seems like RWB/Coleco is no more, but we never know. That is a reason I don't like the idea of going outside the core base. We could try to contact RWB and ask for permition, and risk being told "no" or being asked a lot of money. If we say nothing we risk they getting aware of the project and coming after us to get money.

Creating a new name for the console would be wise, however that would take away some of the charm of the thing.

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Creating a new name for the console would be wise, however that would take away some of the charm of the thing.

Why not just call it the "CV2"? Legally, it should be "distant" enough from the ColecoVision trademark, but at the same time it would be recognizable enough for anyone interested in the ColecoVision.

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Or I could try to contact Mark from RWB and ask... The worst that can happens is he saying "no way", and then we can use something else or simply ignore him. We market the console as the CV2 but ship it as the ColecoVision2.

I have his email here somewhere... Should I give it a try?

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