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Would you support a crowd funded, brand new, Atari 2600 console?

Would you support a crowd funded new Atari 2600?  

111 members have voted

  1. 1. Would you support a kickstarter backed Atari 2600 console?

    • Yes
      92
    • No
      19
  2. 2. How much would you contribute?

    • $5-$10
      28
    • $10-$25
      15
    • $25-$50
      17
    • $50-$100
      29
    • $100-$500
      19
    • $500-$1000
      2
    • $1000 or More
      1


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Just to clarify I only mean cases of dead consoles/computers, I have reused a dead 2600jr case for a rapsberry pi project and still have the board which I hope I can salvage the chips. My proposal is that as these consoles and computers get older that an easy way to keep users/collectors set-ups running. It would be good if there were some willing individuals who could perform salvage operations of dead boards

 

Regarding you point about real cartidge slot absolutely agree, its something that would differentiate from just another emulated clone and as you say a way to preserve prototypes and rare carts

 

Sorry, but i disagree with you on this stance. I do not believe recycling a vintage console shell to be a wise idea. People will buy a console just for the shell and then discard the (potentially working condition or easily fixable) guts, along with vintage chips and all. The idea behind the replacement clone is to supplement the dwindling supply of vintage consoles rather than reduce them.

 

....... I understand that you plan on using SD cards for loading games, but the possibility for cartridge ports, even if it's only for the more common consoles, would definitely make the system more attractive for retro gamers. Also, a cartridge interface would allow collectors to dump carts to the SD card, which is wonderful for preservation of unreleased prototypes and also allows collectors to dump their own games instead of downloading ROMs off the Internet, which is technically illegal, even if you already own said games.

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Peripherals and expansions I'm thinking along the lines of 2 model boards with similar functionality but one physically fitting in a 2600 or 7800 etc shell and the other in a 600xl Possibly even an ITX version - as a start a simple poll would gauge the best way forward, alternatively a "Personality board" with FPGA and most of the complex logic could be universal with 2 levels i.e 8-bit then 16-bit, the personality board would plug into a carrier which is designed to fit an appropriate case - with the right specs these could be created by 3rd party

 

They would both be able to function in pretty much the same way i.e load a an appropriate personality core and load software with from sdcard

 

There needs to be a compromise between features and cost but I would think that having:

1. Atari console version - 7800 cart slot possibly even allowing the xm module to be plugged in?

2. 8-bit computer version with PBI slot and either cart slot or option to add one if possible include more memory typical of some of the common expansions

 

Gotcha. so you're thinking a gut-swap. Yeah I don't think I'd want to do a gut-swap on working vintage equipment. I can make a near limitless array of laser cut cases now that I have unlimited access to one. The benefit of a new case too is it can be smaller than the original. This might not be a big deal to many people but to me it's pretty nice having something real small instead of a huge honkin' thing :-)

 

Have you seen the Mist project which is based on the minimig?

http://harbaum.org/t...ist/index.shtml It had DB9 and USB controlled from the arm processor

 

Yeah that's kinda sorta like my board. I have similar things on my board, though he cheaped out too. It doesn't have a "Real" video DAC, just some resistor ladder stuff. That's the other reason I make my own boards- I put on exactly what I want and tend not to cheap out on things like DACs for video and audio. If you're going 90% of the way, don't cheap out on the last 10% is my thinking.

 

Another one I find interesting is:

http://www.retroleum.co.uk/v6z80p/

 

That one's a bit smaller, has PS/2 ports (no USB), a QFP Z80 (guess he was too lazy to make the Z80 on the FPGA or use something from opencores), and a xilinx FPGA. There two PICs on there too, one appears to handle the controllers. Looks like SRAM too for memory so you're probably going to be limited to 256K or less (suspect that's like a 128K and a 128K SRAM or something, can't quite tell). So long story short, it can run stuff with a Z80 and nothing else since one RAM is connected to the Z80 by the looks of things.

 

As a final note creating a 2600 board with your supercharger core would probably be the quickest to produce? Harmony support either by cart port or embedded would be a bonus a benefit from being compatible with a lot of the newer homebrew

 

I was going to be slightly crazy and look into directly emulating a harmony cart on the FPGA. I am not sure how possible this is but I was going to check into it. I support everything else right now including atarivox. The FPGA right now has no less than three CPU cores embedded in it along with the 2600 hardware. a 6502 core, a 6800 core (supercharger demo unit, loading supercharger bin files), and a PIC18F1320 core for atarivox. I support the serial EEPROM part, too, which can be loaded/saved from an SD card. The only thing I don't currently support is the harmony cart. I can easily add stuff like DPC+ but obviously running arm code would be a tad more difficult, hehe. I don't think it's an insurmountable problem however. I just don't know if I will spend the time to do it. The good thing about arm7 is that it'd give me a road to GBA on the FPGA.

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Gotcha. so you're thinking a gut-swap. Yeah I don't think I'd want to do a gut-swap on working vintage equipment. I can make a near limitless array of laser cut cases now that I have unlimited access to one. The benefit of a new case too is it can be smaller than the original. This might not be a big deal to many people but to me it's pretty nice having something real small instead of a huge honkin' thing :-)

Please, no gut swaps. A lot of gamers probably have multiple consoles laying around, and they're going to seize the opportunity to hack them up rather than find them a good home.
I was going to be slightly crazy and look into directly emulating a harmony cart on the FPGA. I am not sure how possible this is but I was going to check into it. I support everything else right now including atarivox. The FPGA right now has no less than three CPU cores embedded in it along with the 2600 hardware. a 6502 core, a 6800 core (supercharger demo unit, loading supercharger bin files), and a PIC18F1320 core for atarivox. I support the serial EEPROM part, too, which can be loaded/saved from an SD card. The only thing I don't currently support is the harmony cart. I can easily add stuff like DPC+ but obviously running arm code would be a tad more difficult, hehe. I don't think it's an insurmountable problem however. I just don't know if I will spend the time to do it. The good thing about arm7 is that it'd give me a road to GBA on the FPGA.

Emulating a flash cart on hardware that loads from an SD card is kind of redundant IMO. DCP+ is good however, and possibly also support for the newer Melody saves. GBA support is great if the "Roles Royce" FPGA can handle it, but don't forget to include GB/GBC too. You'll also want to include support for Super Game Boy enhancements. Hyperkin just put out the Retron4 with GBA support, although I get the impression that it doesn't work with classic Game Boy games. Such a pity, because the Game Boy support could have used the same cart slot like the original GBA. Oh well, I have the Game Cube / game Boy Player for that. Also I'm still a little bummed that they didn't add a slot for 2600/7800 games. Also, with backwards compatability, 5 cart slots = 7 systems! 8 if you throw in an SMS/Genesis adapter. What's the deal with Hyperkin anyway? No love for Atari in the modern age I guess. :roll: Edited by stardust4ever

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Emulating a flash cart on hardware that loads from an SD card is kind of redundant IMO. DCP+ is good however, and possibly also support for the newer Melody saves.

Yeah I wouldn't emulate its interface or anything directly, more for the special cases where games have a 3K? chunk of ARM code they can run like that 32 char demo. I already have my own version of a user interface for loading files. I'm basically going for a system + integrated flash/dev/ram cartridge. That eliminates lots of costs (cart ports, bus drivers etc).

 

GBA support is great if the "Roles Royce" FPGA can handle it, but don't forget to include GB/GBC too.

 

Yeppers, I have GB support mostly done if I can iron out some timing bugs in the LCD controller interface. I did a few thousand tests on it but a few minor details still remain elusive. The CPU and audio and timers part are all done as well as cart mappers since I can play .GBS files (gameboy music which includes code + data similar to .SID or .SAP files). I can make a "bogo LCD driver" that'd work just fine but wouldn't be exactly timing correct, but I'd rather do it the "right" way and have as close to exact cycle timing as possible.

 

Also, with backwards compatability, 5 cart slots = 7 systems! 8 if you throw in an SMS/Genesis adapter. What's the deal with Hyperkin anyway? No love for Atari in the modern age I guess. :roll:

 

Haha, yeah. I mean I *could* make a system with a giant field of cartridge slots on it but I dunno if anyone would buy it. At last count I think it'd take 12 or so cart slots to run everything I currently support, hehe. 2600, GB/GBC, SMS, GG, intellivision, odyssey^2, supervision, adventure vision, NES, famicom, colecovision, sega SG1000. Yep that's 12 cartridge ports I'd need. Add in a few dozen connectors for controllers and keyboards and it gets slightly out of hand. Again sure it'd be possible to make sure a beast but it'd be huuuuuuge and take up the footprint of an Atari 5200 or so. Honestly I think such a beast would be kinda cool actually but highly impractical.

 

The idea of having plug in doodads with the cart port / controller port is a bit saner but it would cost money to make those since they'd need enclosures and PCBs made and then assembled. There's not much shortcut for that unfortunately. I wished it was "China cheap" to get this stuff made but when you buy that $10 famicom clone from china, it's only 10 bucks because they make a zillion of them so tooling costs get spread over 100K or more units. I *am* going to most definitely use the laser cutter to make my enclosures though, I have what amounts to unlimited use of a laser cutter, so I can use it any time for as much as I want, I just gotta buy materials.

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The idea of having plug in doodads with the cart port / controller port is a bit saner but it would cost money to make those since they'd need enclosures and PCBs made and then assembled. There's not much shortcut for that unfortunately. I wished it was "China cheap" to get this stuff made but when you buy that $10 famicom clone from china, it's only 10 bucks because they make a zillion of them so tooling costs get spread over 100K or more units. I *am* going to most definitely use the laser cutter to make my enclosures though, I have what amounts to unlimited use of a laser cutter, so I can use it any time for as much as I want, I just gotta buy materials.

I believe you should make an expansion port (a pair of DB-9s for the controller interface adapters (Atari, Sega joysticks/pads could be connected directly), and other gamepads use custom a custom DB-9 interface or utilize existing generic USB adapters), and then you can add some sort of EXT port for connecting real cartridges. The EXT port could be designed for add-on boards with cart connectors. Like I said before, if you're running low on I/O pins on the FPGAs, you can always build serial-to-parallel circuits or micro-controllers into the add-on board, even if it adds expense to the add-ons. There are a wide variety of 74HCxxx chips that would likely be suitable for the purpose. I would really love the EXT port for future expansion without cluttering up the main board Retron style. People could simply buy the add-on boards they want/need without adding expense to the main console. Playing existing game carts is an important aspect as well as being able to dump game ROMs or saves. I would probably get add-on boards for NES/Famicom and Atari as those are my favorite retro systems. SNES and Genesis I could simply play the games I have on the systems and the games I don't have on the FPGA or a 16-bit flash cart. Vectrex and other obscure or hard-to-find consoles I'll just play on the FPGA's SD loader.

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http://www.remanufac...14E8CSInx8FA85C :)

 

Destroying working systems no, but replacing dead electronics? Definitely - could be a send in your dead console get a new kevtris board for $???

 

I don't think its wise to do it all your self I think collaboration with existing developers looking for licensees etc is the way to go

 

Stardust4ever: Yep an EXT slot is the way to go add on cart convertors for the most requested popular system can be made available and with the specs its left open for the buyer/3rd party to to create the more obscure adapters

 

Ketris: Its worth considering an embedded Arm type controller like the Mist/Minimig to ease getting some things implemented and the right Arm chip would allow Harmony support - this is where collaboration would be a benefit. I also wouldn't worry about getting everything cycle exact immediately, updates can be released after all and there have always been changes in "real" systems i.e ST to STE or Amiga OCS to ECS for example. The balance is actually getting a product out the door that can generate enough revenue to fund more products.

Edited by barnieg

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I believe you should make an expansion port (a pair of DB-9s for the controller interface adapters (Atari, Sega joysticks/pads could be connected directly), and other gamepads use custom a custom DB-9 interface or utilize existing generic USB adapters),

 

My very first FPGA videogame board I made had two "universal" DB-9 sockets that could accept ANYTHING you could plug in: atari 2600 stuff (everything), genesis, SMS, intellivision 2, and Coleco controllers. I am not sure if I supported vec controllers... I might'a. That design is pretty old now and I would have to try and find my notes on it.

 

and then you can add some sort of EXT port for connecting real cartridges. The EXT port could be designed for add-on boards with cart connectors. Like I said before, if you're running low on I/O pins on the FPGAs, you can always build serial-to-parallel circuits or micro-controllers into the add-on board, even if it adds expense to the add-ons.

 

Yeah I know about using latches to multiplex stuff... it's just slow and inelegant though. I'd rather get a bigger FPGA with more connections. The bigger packages (physically more pins) don't cost much if any more than the QFP ones so that's good.

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http://www.remanufac...14E8CSInx8FA85C :)

 

Destroying working systems no, but replacing dead electronics? Definitely - could be a send in your dead console get a new kevtris board for $???

 

I don't think its wise to do it all your self I think collaboration with existing developers looking for licensees etc is the way to go

 

 

I got two arguments against that. First is usually when I do a "collaboration" I'm the only one "collaborating" and the other person/people just kinda hang along for the ride while I do all the work. Second is the hardware and code are already done. There's not much more to do. The basic bits of the entire project are finished. About the only help I'd need is making the enclosure- I can certainly make it but I mean artistic things for when I cut the plastic. The physical mechanics of cutting the plastic and assembling it is no problem. I have that laser cutter.

 

 

Ketris: Its worth considering an embedded Arm type controller like the Mist/Minimig to ease getting some things implemented and the right Arm chip would allow Harmony support - this is where collaboration would be a benefit. I also wouldn't worry about getting everything cycle exact immediately, updates can be released after all and there have always been changes in "real" systems i.e ST to STE or Amiga OCS to ECS for example. The balance is actually getting a product out the door that can generate enough revenue to fund more products.

 

I already have a platform for this based on PIC32 that I am using- I was simply going to port everything over and use it pretty much as-is. If I hadn't designed that stuff in I might've gone for an ARM core instead. You'd have a hard time running harmony cart stuff on the system controller's ARM I think, too.

 

I strive for accuracy and completeness. It's gotta be cycle accurate as possible before I will think about releasing it. I pride myself on regression testing and running everything possible to make sure there's no surprises. All those other FPGA boards you've linked to so far have had several places where their developers weren't very thorough about testing or getting it accurate. I want to avoid this if possible. When I release I strive for 100% accuracy and compatibility. The existing cores I have made, meet those goals as far as I can tell. Yes, I even ran the entire goodNES set and a few hundred personally made dumps of the most obscure games possible and they all work. The 2600 and other cores were tested thoroughly too, but thankfully it was many times easier/faster than goodNES set.

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I think a gut-swap would be awesome. I don't care what's inside, if it works EXACTLY like a real 2600. I really like the aesthetics of the original hardware casing, when playing that console. When I dig out my SNES or Genesis, I enjoy every aspect of the machine; I'd rather stare at them than a Retron3 (or whatever). Same thing with a 2600.

 

Unless you can AV mod yourself (few people can, and they still have to buy a $40 board to do it), it costs a significant amount to buy a 2600 (or 7800), hire someone to mod it, and pay shipping both ways. If I'm willing to do that (and I am), I'd be willing to put that money towards new guts, and the money would probably go a good way towards paying for the new guts. I don't think the 2600 is rare enough that I'm going to worry about saving each one like it's an endangered species. When I quit seeing hundreds on Ebay at a time and quit seeing them in thrift stores, I'll know circumstances have changed.

 

But since the general consensus here seems to be against a gut swap, then how about making the NEW case look exactly like the old 2600? That's probably not cost-effective, which is why I thought the gut swap was a good idea. I think it'll be a while (if ever) before something comes along and de-thrones my AV-modded 2600 (or 7800).

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I think a gut swap would be cool. It would give me an excuse to rescue a broken unit from the dump. That would be a one system only deal then yes? Gut swap or new frame are both cool with me as long as it works well.

 

The real draw for me would be good video output: hdmi, composite, or component. Svideo doesn't help me as none of my tvs old or new have it. I didn't see a single svid tv at Sears or WalMart the other day either which is kinda sad.

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If Kevtris has the skills and equipment then let's make this a whole system. Video game consoles in kit form are for a very special sub-section of retro gamers.

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The 2600 and other cores were tested thoroughly too, but thankfully it was many times easier/faster than goodNES set.

 

 

Does Extra-Terrestrials work? Do the creatures start at the correct positions?

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I would love to see a portable atari 2600 that can use carts. Much like a Stella mod or a Ben heck. I just can't afford that guy's brilliance lol. I would totally drop $100 on a kickstarter for a portable.

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If Kevtris has the skills and equipment then let's make this a whole system. Video game consoles in kit form are for a very special sub-section of retro gamers.

 

I seem to. I got hardware done already and the user interface and I can make enclosures now, so that's a plus :-) Unfortunately it cannot be a kit in the sense of soldering stuff together, but it could certainly be sold as a PCB with the plastic case parts that you assemble yourself. The electronics are all fine pitch surface mount and little tiny resistors/caps so they can only be effectively soldered by machine in any volume. I hand solder the prototypes and it's on the edge of my soldering skillz to do.

 

Does Extra-Terrestrials work? Do the creatures start at the correct positions?

 

I don't know- I was going to give it a shot. It theoretically should since I support the register it uses to reset the H counter. Tonight if I get a chance I will fire the board up and test that and the 32 character test (before it went Harmony) and see if that works, too. I suspect it should since Video Life works OK. That uses a similarish weird method of displaying such a large high rez field. The Robot Tank life counter works too (this can show more than 6 tanks at time) Maybe I will make a video of various "difficult" games running. What's a good list of games? So far I can think of:

 

cosmic ark (starfield)

rabbit transit (starfield)

32 char demo

video life (odd display mode)

extra terrestrials

boulderdash demo

pitfall 2

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Is it possible to create a machine that is a mixture of a real VCS and Stella? All the functions the VCS does would be done with real hardware and then all of Stella's extra features would be added. It would be like a hybrid of the two.

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Unfortunately it cannot be a kit in the sense of soldering stuff together, but it could certainly be sold as a PCB with the plastic case parts that you assemble yourself.

 

Nothing unfortunate about that. I'd rather someone else get their daily nutritional requirement of lead solder. I grew up with G.I. Joe and Legos so assembly is part of the fun!

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Nothing unfortunate about that. I'd rather someone else get their daily nutritional requirement of lead solder. I grew up with G.I. Joe and Legos so assembly is part of the fun!

Gotta love those fumes. If you're over 18, the toxic effects of lead inhalation are negligible. Lead mostly affects the development of children's nervous systems. In adults, higher doses can lead to infertility, but the toxicity of heavy metals like lead and mercury are often overstated since lead tolerance is around 1/100 in young children, babies, and fetuses compared to adult males, so unless you're a pregnant woman, I wouldn't worry too much about about the trace amounts of lead. Also stating the obvious, but don't put the assembled PCB boards/components in your mouth or let small children around your work area. If you're a cissy about lead you can switch to "lead-free" solder which has a higher melting point and doesn't flow worth crap. Mostly the visible fumes are caused by the non-toxic rosin flux, not actual metallic vapours. I'd be a lot more concerned about mercury vapour leaking from the compact florescent bulbs illuminating the work bench, should you happen to bust or crack one open.

 

Back on topic; for traditional through-hole parts, assembly kits are fine. For surface mount, soldering is a b!tch. I quite enjoyed assembling my UzeBox, btw...

Edited by stardust4ever

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...When I quit seeing hundreds on Ebay at a time and quit seeing them in thrift stores, I'll know circumstances have changed...

Are you including all of the 2600's hanging on the wall of each Fridays restaurant in that calculation?

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Kevtris, a good test rom for your device can be found here, in my development of Circus AtariAge.

 

 

http://www.atariage....25#entry2720683

 

 

Also, I'm looking for more testing of this kernel, so if anyone wants to give that demo a try please do. :)

 

You got it. I tested the 2 or 3 ROM as well as your Circus Atariage demo and a bunch of others. Here's some stills. I can generate video but it's NTSC and this is RGB feeding direct into a monitor (Sony studio monitor to be exact). Pictures taken of the CRT with my camera on a tripod. Just quick and dirty.

 

2or3test.JPG

 

"2 or 3" demo

 

 

balloontrial.JPG

 

"Circus Atariage" demo. I did test all positions and they work as expected.

 

boulderdash.JPG

 

 

Next up is boulderdash playable demo (title screen)

 

 

boulderdash2.JPG

 

playscreen

 

 

cosmicark.JPG

 

 

Cosmic Ark (note: camera's kinda slow so there's blurring. I tried several and all had it because of the fast motion.)

 

extraterrestrials.JPG

 

 

Extra Terrestrials. I let it sit a bit while I fiddled with the camera so most of the screen filled up. The player positions work properly because I support rsynch.

 

pitfall2.JPG

 

Pitfall 2

 

videolife.JPG

 

Video Life (and my head in the reflection!) those black lines are supposed to be there- they demarcate where the edges of the active area are

 

 

anteater.JPG

 

Anteater. I read this used a somewhat unconventional positioning method for the score? writing to hmove during hblank or something? (insect legs blurred due to the camera)

 

goldenskull.JPG

 

In Search of the Golden Skull

 

 

Well that's all I got right now. Anything else anyone wants to see?

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[/size]

Are you including all of the 2600's hanging on the wall of each Fridays restaurant in that calculation?

 

Ha ha. Yeah, and I'm also deducting those made into lamps from the roughly 30 million manufactured.

 

I especially love the way the ones I've seen at TGIF are indiscriminately mounted with long drywall screws in the worst places.

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That's pretty cool! I believe your unit is completely compatible.

 

Since you also have the roms for Anteater and In Search for the Golden Skull, I was wondering do they do cycle 74 hmoves to hide the hmove bar anywhere? I found out that Rocky and Bullwinkle does, in addition to He-Man.

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That's pretty cool! I believe your unit is completely compatible.

 

Since you also have the roms for Anteater and In Search for the Golden Skull, I was wondering do they do cycle 74 hmoves to hide the hmove bar anywhere? I found out that Rocky and Bullwinkle does, in addition to He-Man.

 

Looking at these two screenshots it appears that the left side is shorter, all black.

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