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REAL TIME CLOCK FOR THE SPEECH SYNTHESIZER/NANO PEB

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Not I... I didn't want to support the various hardware based clocks going forward, I'd rather see support for DSR based clocks. :)

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I did no register-level emulation of the clock device, ONLY the DSR works. So anything that assumes what chipset lies behind it will fail. I don't intend to change that in the future.

 

That's cool, I was just curious. :)

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Could be the menu and other programs are coded to use the MBP clock card, which is just a simple memory mapped device. The specs for that are pretty simple if interested..

 

If I remember right, both REMIND-ME! and BOOT accessed either the MBP or the CorComp clocks. So there IS a standard that someone could reproduce for use on a REAL TI and existing programs could use it.

 

I've probably already run the RTC topic into the ground, but considering how easy a simple clock would be, compared to an F18A or a Nano-PEB, I could just imagine a guy like Matthew making one up.

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I imagine Matthew could actually include a RTC in the F18A itself. That would actually be the obvious place to put it.

 

Have a register that enables/disables the RTC.

Register for setting hour

Register for setting minute

Register for setting seconds

 

Enable the clock and off it goes.

 

To read the clock, either produce some registers that can be read (not sure if that's possible - the 9918s registers are all read only, but I don't know if thats a chip limitation or no read decoding on the TI motherboard?

 

If the registers cant be read, use some VDP memory. In the event that the clock is disabled, those memory locations are just normal VDP ram.

 

Et voila.

 

Matthew will have it done before lunch :-)

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Packing more features inside the F18A makes me feel concerned, I have to admit. As long as it was just an upgrade to connect a VGA monitor it is certainly a good thing, but if there are new specific features you want to exploit, you are going to write programs for something that is not a TI-99/4A anymore.

 

Just a word of caution from me as a Geneve user who always hoped for some more programs that made better use of its capabilities ...

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..you are going to write programs for something that is not a TI-99/4A anymore.

 

Just a word of caution from me as a Geneve user who always hoped for some more programs that made better use of its capabilities ...

 

Already opened that can. If the Geneve's capabilities were never fully realized by software, the F18A cannot be held to account for that. We already see two programs which make great use of its extended color modes, sprites, and what-not. Other still make use the of the 80 column mode. Whether we see more or not is academic.

 

In my opinion, the F18A fulfills a number of promises, the least of which that it provides enhanced functionality in the original console while remaining backward compatible with software and hardware.

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In my opinion, the F18A fulfills a number of promises, the least of which that it provides enhanced functionality in the original console while remaining backward compatible with software and hardware.

 

The backward compatibility and functional block Matthew built-in to the F18A that makes it look and act exactly like the original device, shows the thought and care he put into designing it. To gain access to the extra features, YOU have to turn them on yourself, and that is the USER'S CHOICE. And when you think about it, it's all the individual choice. I personally am not for limiting ones options. I do not believe in dictating ones choices... that would be pure arrogance.

 

I get a charge out of the TI for multiple reasons, one of which is the sheer variety of configurations built to the individuals wants and needs.. One look at the "Photo's of User's Systems" will show you that.

 

Now me, I'd rather have a RTC built into a replacement for the Nano-PEB, but I'll settle for one that I can solder into the Speech Synthesizer. I think anyone should be able to solder a few leads to a couple of traces on the PCB where it plugs into the TI. I have the money set aside, waiting...

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The backward compatibility and functional block Matthew built-in to the F18A that makes it look and act exactly like the original device, shows the thought and care he put into designing it. To gain access to the extra features, YOU have to turn them on yourself, and that is the USER'S CHOICE. And when you think about it, it's all the individual choice. I personally am not for limiting ones options. I do not believe in dictating ones choices... that would be pure arrogance.

 

I get a charge out of the TI for multiple reasons, one of which is the sheer variety of configurations built to the individuals wants and needs.. One look at the "Photo's of User's Systems" will show you that.

 

Now me, I'd rather have a RTC built into a replacement for the Nano-PEB, but I'll settle for one that I can solder into the Speech Synthesizer. I think anyone should be able to solder a few leads to a couple of traces on the PCB where it plugs into the TI. I have the money set aside, waiting...

Your quick solder job would be realistically about 30+ jumpers from your clock PCB to the speech card. You will need additional logic to decode the CRU and the memory target. Also a EPROM DSR if you want to be able to get at it through anything other than assembly. Don't forget the PCB to mount all this extra stuff to. I figure your looking at a couple hundred dollars in parts and labor to get the card done and another hundred or so in writing a DSR. And at this price someone would be doing it for about squat.

 

Not trying to flame you, just letting you know what you asking.

Edited by marc.hull

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Oh oh... Here we go with that discussion again :skull:

 

Isn't it worth discussing?

 

As things turn out, there will be more and more feature requests, and we have to face the situation that eventually, software will be written for it, which will require the F18A to be present.

 

It is, of course, an interesting idea to get rid of some limitations. However, the limitations also define a platform, and as I see it, this is going to be a new computer, maybe something like a "TI-99/18A".

 

Thinking of Rasmus' outstanding Titanium and Scramble, the real achievement is to get such a program running on the given resources. If I had not seen it myself, I would not have believed that something like this is possible on the TI-99/4A at all. If we are talking about porting games, we try to get them running with the features given by the platform. This is what porting is all about. It will not be the same similarly challenging task to port the games to an enhanced platform.

 

Just my thoughts. I do not want to spoil the party, actually. :-)

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Isn't it worth discussing?

 

As things turn out, there will be more and more feature requests, and we have to face the situation that eventually, software will be written for it, which will require the F18A to be present.

 

It is, of course, an interesting idea to get rid of some limitations. However, the limitations also define a platform, and as I see it, this is going to be a new computer, maybe something like a "TI-99/18A".

 

Thinking of Rasmus' outstanding Titanium and Scramble, the real achievement is to get such a program running on the given resources. If I had not seen it myself, I would not have believed that something like this is possible on the TI-99/4A at all. If we are talking about porting games, we try to get them running with the features given by the platform. This is what porting is all about. It will not be the same similarly challenging task to port the games to an enhanced platform.

 

Just my thoughts. I do not want to spoil the party, actually. :-)

 

It's a balancing act, I agree. But the nice thing about the F18A is that for the most part it doesn't provide any features that were impossible at the time the 4A still had an active community (the GPU is different in this regard and I would agree that it falls a bit out of line with the rest of the features of the host system). Most of the really nice features such as the scroll and palette registers, the enhanced color modes and the improved sprite handling were all available on contemporary systems, as well as several expansions and enhancements commercially available back in the day for the TI itself.

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Your quick solder job would be realistically about 30+ jumpers from your clock PCB to the speech card. You will need additional logic to decode the CRU and the memory target. Also a EPROM DSR if you want to be able to get at it through anything other than assembly. Don't forget the PCB to mount all this extra stuff to. I figure your looking at a couple hundred dollars in parts and labor to get the card done and another hundred or so in writing a DSR. And at this price someone would be doing it for about squat.

 

Not trying to flame you, just letting you know what you asking.

 

That's cool, no problem. Yeah, 30+ connections would be a little tough on these old eyes (unless someone built a side-car unit), but it would be worth it! In the end, if I screwed it up, all I would damage is a Speech Synthesizer, which is easily replaceable.

 

I figured someone could reverse-engineer an original CC 9900 clock or something.... sort of "borrow the code" right out of the chip. :) Consider how difficult the F18A had to have been, I thought a simple clock would be a walk-in-park for a hardware guru. I guess I was wrong.

 

You know, if someone was willing to consider taking this on, they could ask for commitments a head of time to gauge interest.

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Isn't it worth discussing?

 

As things turn out, there will be more and more feature requests, and we have to face the situation that eventually, software will be written for it, which will require the F18A to be present.

 

It is, of course, an interesting idea to get rid of some limitations. However, the limitations also define a platform, and as I see it, this is going to be a new computer, maybe something like a "TI-99/18A".

 

Thinking of Rasmus' outstanding Titanium and Scramble, the real achievement is to get such a program running on the given resources. If I had not seen it myself, I would not have believed that something like this is possible on the TI-99/4A at all. If we are talking about porting games, we try to get them running with the features given by the platform. This is what porting is all about. It will not be the same similarly challenging task to port the games to an enhanced platform.

 

Just my thoughts. I do not want to spoil the party, actually. :-)

 

I've also noticed how Rasmus took the additional time to write code that checks for the F18A, so if a person decided to remain 'pure' to the original architecture and not upgrade, they can still run the program how 'it would have looked'. In fact, Matthew took great care to do the same with his F18A. Tursi, in his fantastic Classic99 added check boxes in his emulator, so the end user could decide what functions and upgrades they want to emulate. I do not think there is any conflict here at all, it's all about individual choice and everyone in going to great care to insure that there are no issues with that.

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I personally do not want to see the F18A continue an endless cycle of feature changes, because I'm expected to emulate it. I already have three released versions to deal with (unless you can /guarantee/ to me that every single one was upgraded). I probably won't, I will probably stick to 1.5, but it's important to note that's a concern for me. It means emulation will not mirror reality for people who didn't upgrade their F18A.

 

It's not my project, of course, and not my say. :) But I think it's great and it'd be nice to call it wrapped up and just get a crapton of them out there. ;)

 

My personal vision for new hardware going forward is it should only be hardware that expands the system in a compatible manner. The F18A does this. Another register-based clock does not, cause it's just another incompatible "standard", but a DSR-based clock does, because there is old software that knows if (albeit perhaps not much), and new software that is written for it will WORK on the old hardware. That's my two bits (and it has little to do with what you call the machine.)

 

I will say this. I sure wish that we had this stuff 20 years ago. The software, hardware, ideas, and sharing that we are seeing in the last few years is just amazing. But I guess every retro community is seeing that. :)

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I personally do not want to see the F18A continue an endless cycle of feature changes, because I'm expected to emulate it.

 

Darn skippy! ;)

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If I remember right, both REMIND-ME! and BOOT accessed either the MBP or the CorComp clocks. So there IS a standard that someone could reproduce for use on a REAL TI and existing programs could use it.

 

I've probably already run the RTC topic into the ground, but considering how easy a simple clock would be, compared to an F18A or a Nano-PEB, I could just imagine a guy like Matthew making one up.

 

The CorComp clock can be accessed both via DSR and direct. The MBP clock and Geneve clocks are memory-mapped, though at different addresses. The IDE card clock is similar to CorComp but a little tricker, so it is really more of a DSR clock. The HFDC clock works but without battery backup it is a pain to use.

 

I do not know how many other variants are in the wild. I implemented all but the HFDC clock in various software packages. I used the DSR or memory addressing depending on the need as both are documented.

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When it comes to compatibility issues, I'm only aware of one group that messed things up, and that was Texas Instruments themselves, when they came out with their "QI" model. TI went out of their way to make sure that the 'new' model would not work with pre-existing third-party software. To me, that was a crime!

 

I'm nostalgic for the old days when everyone went to the user group meetings to see what the latest and greatest was in new software AND hardware. In fact, it's the still new stuff that keeps me interested. Would anyone bother going to the Chicago TI-Faire if the hobby was stagnant, old and boring? I doubt it, it's the new stuff that keeps people interested and the hobby alive.

 

Tursi's right, we do need to get a crapton of those F18A's out in the wild, as well as and a bunch of other new toys. I think the F18A could be called the new 'standard' when it comes to video. Matthew might be a victim of his own success, changing things up might cause issues. Remember what happened when the creator of the Nano-PEB changed things up without telling anyone?

 

Could we not as a group also agree on other standards? I may be going out on a limb here, but I get the feeling that anybody who is anybody in the remaining TI world comes to, or knows about the Atari Age and Yahoo sites. We, for all intents and purposes are the ones who buy all these new toys, so we as a group could all agree on what's what.

 

I'll use the RTC as an example: Would it be possible, as Tursi wants, to have a DSR only clock, but one that is battery backed? If so, could one little routine be written, that when loaded BEFORE a pre-existing software program make the DSR clock appear to be hardware? This routine would NOT have to be used by everyone, just the people who want to use the old software like REMIND-ME! or the BOOT program or whatever else may be out there. Now this new DSR clock would open up opportunities for future development of NEW software for the community. I see the day when all of us could have time-stamped files, calendar programs even home automation all done with our little hobby box. There could be dozens of uses for a RTC on the TI and it does not have to be practical, this is a hobby.

 

To me half the fun is seeing what we can get this old gal to do, just like in the old days. I agree with Tursi 100%, it's too bad this kind of involvement , participation and development was not going on 20 years ago.

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To me half the fun is seeing what we can get this old gal to do...

:thumbsup: I with you on that! Pushing the old girl to her limits is the central goal in my interest these days with the machine. I've got a lot more learning to do before I myself do anything of the sort, but it's cool to see what people are doing already :).

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Matthew might be a victim of his own success, changing things up might cause issues. Remember what happened when the creator of the Nano-PEB changed things up without telling anyone?

 

AFAIK Matthew hasn't changed anything, only fixed bugs.

 

I think it would be really cool with an F18A game that used all the new features, but in the end it's up to the individual developer which hardware he wants to support. It's all about having fun while we're doing whatever we're doing.

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I think it would be really cool with an F18A game that used all the new features, but in the end it's up to the individual developer which hardware he wants to support. It's all about having fun while we're doing whatever we're doing.

 

What new features? You mean it can get better than what YOU have already done in Scramble?!? Well, consider my mind blown! I'd love to see that too! Are you possibly one of those individual developers? ;)

Oh, BTW, :thumbsup: :thumbsup: :thumbsup: :thumbsup: :thumbsup: :thumbsup: :thumbsup: :thumbsup: :thumbsup: :thumbsup: :thumbsup: :thumbsup: :thumbsup: :thumbsup: :thumbsup: :thumbsup: :thumbsup: :thumbsup: :thumbsup: :thumbsup: :thumbsup: :thumbsup: :thumbsup: :thumbsup: :thumbsup: , I agree, it IS all about having fun.

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What new features? You mean it can get better than what YOU have already done in Scramble?!? Well, consider my mind blown! I'd love to see that too! Are you possibly one of those individual developers? ;)

 

 

Multi-colored tiles (up to 8 colors) and diagonal scrolling to mention a few. For the latter, take a look at Matthew's 'Rasmus scroll' demo (on a real console, please):

http://atariage.com/forums/topic/207586-f18a-programming-info-and-resources/?do=findComment&comment=2676606

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Multi-colored tiles (up to 8 colors) and diagonal scrolling to mention a few. For the latter, take a look at Matthew's 'Rasmus scroll' demo (on a real console, please):

http://atariage.com/forums/topic/207586-f18a-programming-info-and-resources/?do=findComment&comment=2676606

 

The diagonal scrolling is fun, but you've already proven that there's a nice approximation possible on the 9918a as well. The biggest benefit of the scroll registers (apart from freeing up precious CPU cycles for game logic) is the fact that you do away with the color restrictions and that you don't need to keep transition tiles in memory.

 

Before settling on the F18A, when I was working on a project of my own to replace the 9918a with a Sega Master System VDP (which is backwards compatible with the 9918a) - sort of like in the Franky VDP cartridge for the MSX - I did a little proof of concept to see what the memory impact would be of using 4bpp tiles and sprites in the 16k afforded by the 9918a and clearly the possibilities are quite endless and we could easily see master system alike quality games on the TI.

 

Edited by TheMole

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It is, of course, an interesting idea to get rid of some limitations. However, the limitations also define a platform, and as I see it, this is going to be a new computer …

Absolutely. :thumbsup:

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