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bBasic teaser video...

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RevEng and I cooked up something that might be interesting. :ponder: Who can figure out what you are looking at? I made the video "Blair Witch Project - Shaky Cam Style" on purpose, Trent would probably appreciate it. ;)

 

 

:cool:

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LOL

 

BTW, Albert is not allowed to guess, neither is RevEng obviously. ;)

 

When some of the natives wake up, I bet someone can figure it out. I may just give this very first prototype away, as a winning gift, there is no way this could be faked in the future (well maybe, if you own the original, and you are good enough to repro some of my soldering f'ups).

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Here's my guess: It's demonstrating 16 banks. Before we were limited to 8 banks, but thanks to recently discovered alien technology, we'll soon be using 16 banks.

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64K in 16 banks would make some deep games, or room to splurge on graphics / levels / sprites / animation.

Too early in the morning, I saw a 5200!!! But it's a 2600.

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64K in 16 banks would make some deep games, or room to splurge on graphics / levels / sprites / animation.

 

If my guess of 16 banks is correct, all of the good stuff might still get thrown into the last bank. It sure would be cool if more banks could be used for graphics.

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If my guess of 16 banks is correct, all of the good stuff might still get thrown into the last bank. It sure would be cool if more banks could be used for graphics.

16 banks WOULD be great. Though, as you say, it would be nice if graphics could be pulled from other banks. Is that a particular reason why they have to be in the last bank, aside from batariBasic choosing to put them there?

 

Though I'll admit I don't really know what I'm talking about, that board doesn't look overly complicated, so is this bankswitching method more efficient as well, meaning there could be cheaper bankswitching boards in the future as well?

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I'm having all sorts of trouble shuffling data and code around even in a 16k cart. bB manhandling where graphics and playfields go does make data management tricky sometimes. I've even had problems jumping between banks of memory with goto and gosub statements. Hopefully we'll find ways to mitigate these quirks.

 

Needless to say, CPUWIZ and RevEng have just made the first real RPG possible on the Atari 2600 =)

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I'm pretty sure it was a 2600. At first I thought it might be a 7800, but after the reference to a 5200 I watched it again in slow motion. The "2600" on the silvery chrome or whatever is clearly visible at one point.

 

Graphics and other data that get loaded directly from ROM while drawing the screen have to be in the last bank because that's where the code for the kernel is, and the kernel doesn't change banks as it's drawing the screen. Graphics and data that aren't in the last bank need to be somewhere that's accessible to the kernel at all times (i.e., some location that isn't affected by switching banks)-- such as in RIOT RAM or Superchip RAM.

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I'm pretty sure it was a 2600. At first I thought it might be a 7800, but after the reference to a 5200 I watched it again in slow motion. The "2600" on the silvery chrome or whatever is clearly visible at one point.

 

Graphics and other data that get loaded directly from ROM while drawing the screen have to be in the last bank because that's where the code for the kernel is, and the kernel doesn't change banks as it's drawing the screen. Graphics and data that aren't in the last bank need to be somewhere that's accessible to the kernel at all times (i.e., some location that isn't affected by switching banks)-- such as in RIOT RAM or Superchip RAM.

 

My guess is that the bB kernel may be divided into 2 32k standard kernels here. Which means two different sets of playfields and graphics that cannot be interchanged. So, going from bank 2 to bank 15 may have consequences. All of this is wild speculation, though :)

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.....then finding donor carts would be more of a pain and the cost of production would go up :)

 

Are they that rare? SARA games are what, R3, R4? I honestly don't know.

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Are they that rare? SARA games are what, R3, R4? I honestly don't know.

 

It varies...

 

 

 

NTSC (rarity determined by AtariAge Database)

++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

8k

===

Defender II - R4 red

Stargate - R4 silver

Elevator Action - prototype

 

16k

===

Crack'ed - prototype

Crystal Castles - R2 silver

Dark Chambers - R4 red

Desert Falcon - R4 red

Dig Dug - R2 silver

Jr. Pac-Man - R2 red

Klax - prototype

Millipede - R3 silver

Off the Wall - R5 red

Radar Lock - R4 red

Save Mary! - prototype

Secret Quest - R4 red

Shooting Arcade - prototype

Sprintmaster - R4 red

Super Football - R2 red

 

32k

===

Fatal Run - prototype

 

 

 

PAL (rarity determined by PAL Cart Database)

++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

 

8k

===

Defender II - R5 red

Stargate - R4 silver

 

16k

===

Crystal Castles - R2 silver, R4 red

Dark Chambers - R4 red

Desert Falcon - R3 red

Dig Dug - R2 silver, R8 red

Jr. Pac-Man - R3 red

Klax - R4 red

Millipede - R4 silver, R3 red (with rainbow picture), R4 red

Off the Wall - R3 red

Radar Lock - R3 red

Save Mary! - prototype

Secret Quest - R4 red

Shooting Arcade - prototype

Sprintmaster - R3 red

Super Football - R3 red, R3 Red (7800 end label)

 

32k

===

Fatal Run - R4 red

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Are they that rare? SARA games are what, R3, R4? I honestly don't know.

 

You could be right if the rarity is that low. I'm just wondering if I'll have to scramble to get a certain donor cart for these wonderous 64k wonders to work. If so, I'd like to know so I can start scavenging Flea Markets now! :P

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Now that we've had the reveal, a few points...

  • I have EF/64k bankswitching mostly working in bB. Goto and drawscreen work correctly, but I still need to fix up the return part of bankswitching gosubs. The issues around getting this last bit to work are well understood, it's just a matter of getting a few hours free. When its done, I'll create a new thread for the release.
  • The graphics go in the last bank with the kernel, just as they do with 8k/16k/32k games. As you guys may have noticed, I posted a workaround method that allows for multiple bB kernels in 32k bins, and will release a 64k version of the workaround after I finish this project.
  • The bB compiler needed some updates to make this work. I've made the changes with a light hand and done it in the style of the existing code, but it's not official until batari adopts it.
  • CPUWIZ should be able to produce the 64k boards in quantity, so coders shouldn't need to worry about availability of the hardware.

Hopefully I'll have something more to share in a week or so.

 

[edit - the sample binary is attached, in case someone is really bored]

 

64K_EF_test.bin

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  • CPUWIZ should be able to produce the 64k boards in quantity, so coders shouldn't need to worry about availability of the hardware.

 

Not only that, Albert will be able to support it as well. ;)

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Not only that, Albert will be able to support it as well. ;)

 

This is great news! :) It's really attractive considering that Melody boards seem to be in high demand. Great job guys!! :thumbsup:

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