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Lynx Multicart?

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I think the community is to small for the effort you need to build it. And the cracks in hard and software from this scene are not interested in doing such a project.

You're probably right on that. Oh well, I suppose I can dream. :)

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The only one that I could find in my picture archive is this one:

attachicon.gifLEA.jpg

That is a cool scan there,is that CPUWIZ's old Lynx multicart project?I remember hearing he was working on one back in the early '00s,just couldn't make it fly though.Was that a functioning cart?Neat cart,just too bulky for most folks.Yeah,that would've been a pain in the ass to plug in a Lynx I unit and use without taking the cart door off. :)

I've always understood from folks that a full collection Lynx cart was difficult to do because of the way the various original games ( homebrews too? )are read from the traces on the cart by the Lynx,not in a consistant way for every game as each uses them differently.I've always been surprised that Sean Kelly or someone else hasn't done a multicart with a menu on the screen as the Lynx

games aren't so big as to make an EPROM or a SD cart adaptor an unreal possibility.If the VirtualBoy has it,why can't the Lynx?? ;) And Vectrex and etc have had multicarts for 20yrs now.I've always thought the Lynx needed one but thought it was too obscure a thing for a tech like Ben Heck or John Dondzila to take an interest in.I'm also surprised that Karri or Lynxman haven't tried to do one really.

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I'm also surprised that Karri or Lynxman haven't tried to do one really.

Actually I already did it. It was called "The Black Pearl". Too much Pirates of the Caribbean I presume.

 

The idea was to use an I2C parallell port to control 16 MB flash high address pins. But after I got the hardware together I started to plan the software for chosing the game.

 

At startup it would show a grid of animated icons. By clicking on an icon it would run the game.

 

Somehow I got lost in some code that was supposed to identify which game has been loaded on the cart. The plan was to calculate a hash of the directory and first executable. Based on this the cart loader would have some cool (animated) premade icons for every game out there.

 

Loading the cart would be done by the user. The grid of icons was supposed to grow both horisontally and vertically as more games are loaded.

 

The devflash also had loads of dip-switches to choose a game. That sucks. There is no way you can remember which dip switch setting is which game.

--

Karri

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Actually I already did it. It was called "The Black Pearl". Too much Pirates of the Caribbean I presume.

 

The idea was to use an I2C parallell port to control 16 MB flash high address pins. But after I got the hardware together I started to plan the software for chosing the game.

 

At startup it would show a grid of animated icons. By clicking on an icon it would run the game.

 

Somehow I got lost in some code that was supposed to identify which game has been loaded on the cart. The plan was to calculate a hash of the directory and first executable. Based on this the cart loader would have some cool (animated) premade icons for every game out there.

 

Loading the cart would be done by the user. The grid of icons was supposed to grow both horisontally and vertically as more games are loaded.

 

The devflash also had loads of dip-switches to choose a game. That sucks. There is no way you can remember which dip switch setting is which game.

--

Karri

Yeah,the old Vectrex carts were that way years ago,you had to write the positions down to know which game was which.I liked the on-screen menu versions much better! ;)

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As Developer i must say - horrible!

 

If Games are still in production - especial homebrews- a binary without own a original Cartridge is a nogo and damages the scene. It makes no difference if you use the illegal copy in an emulator or on a multicart.

Lynxmans device is designed for development not for piracy. If it is used in development there is no reason to hold more than one game.

Nonsense

 

Easy to use and economically priced multicarts on Atari's three classic consoles has only helped the homebrew community. Such a thing on the Lynx would help rather than hinder an extremely small homebrew community that doesn't seem to ever release much.

 

Expand the capabilities and you just might have someone of the level of PacManPlus breath new life into this system that frankly has never seen much in the way of homebrew development to date. Not much to protect with how isolated homebrew releases have been over the years.

 

So at the very least it can't be any worse than it already is.

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Scanning through threads just now, there does seem to be more homebrew activity than a few years ago. So perhaps I slightly misjudged the current situation.

 

But otherwise I stand by what I said. Something like a Harmony cartridge for the Lynx is only a win for the Lynx enthusiast.

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Misjudged is right. matashen himself is a homebrewer, and there's been plenty of activity in the scene in recent years.

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What the Lynx really needs is a blank, inexpensive, reprogrammable cart. Then you can easily flash your masterpiece on a cart with a nice sticker, manual and box.

Multicarts are just impractical due to slower startup and limited eeprom functionality.

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What the Lynx really needs is a blank, inexpensive, reprogrammable cart. Then you can easily flash your masterpiece on a cart with a nice sticker, manual and box.

Multicarts are just impractical due to slower startup and limited eeprom functionality.

Kind of like the Jagtopus?

 

I would like that too. And I would in general like to get homebrews on cards with shells instead of blank PCBs. Lynxman makes his PCBs very nice, but it still feels kind of inferior to other systems where the cartridges have real shells. Of course I guess the problem really is that the whole production for slim cards would be more expensive, and there are not enough useless old games floating around to butcher for shells.

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Kind of like the Jagtopus?

 

I would like that too. And I would in general like to get homebrews on cards with shells instead of blank PCBs. Lynxman makes his PCBs very nice, but it still feels kind of inferior to other systems where the cartridges have real shells. Of course I guess the problem really is that the whole production for slim cards would be more expensive, and there are not enough useless old games floating around to butcher for shells.

I am currently playing around with the idea to base the design on an ARM microcontroller that has 768k flash memory built-in on the chip. If I get the boot-time short enough this could serve out 512k data as a normal Lynx cart. In addition it could simulate an EEPROM.

 

The idea is to have built-in ComLynx programming software. The ARM has a built-in temperature sensor. If the chip is freezing cold it would boot the Lynx into "receive cart image" mode. You could then just dump a lnx file to the ComLynx to get the 512k area programmed. In room temperature the cart would serve the 512k of data as a normal Lynx cart.

 

The price of the chip is around 9€. Perhaps it would be possible to create a 15€ blank cart out of this. The first thing is to find out if this works. I already have everything for testing this, except of time ;)

 

--

Karri

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Gotta factor in the wafer thin design of the Lynx carts. They are essentially PCBs with backing and a sticker that covers up what I assume are "glob-top" ROM chips. It would be hard to put any custom circuits into a space like that. Of course the multicart could be designed like a TG-16 hue-card but it would stick way far out from the console. For the Lynx model I a cart sticking out the side would make it difficult to hold properly and operate the D-pad.

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Nonsense

 

Easy to use and economically priced multicarts on Atari's three classic consoles has only helped the homebrew community. Such a thing on the Lynx would help rather than hinder an extremely small homebrew community that doesn't seem to ever release much.

 

Expand the capabilities and you just might have someone of the level of PacManPlus breath new life into this system that frankly has never seen much in the way of homebrew development to date. Not much to protect with how isolated homebrew releases have been over the years.

 

So at the very least it can't be any worse than it already is.

You are wrong,

i dont know any Developer from the lynx that needs a multicard, it dont helped more than a flashcard. I only need to hold one Game, than fast transfer the next build to test something. I transfer a testfile in about 15 seconds- in this time you are not able to change your SD. A flashcard is more like a original card and perfect for tests. Idont want change anyone of my flashcards against a multicard. Yes i own more than one, if you want test something with comlynx you need more than one card for one testfile, than many testfiles on one card.

Multicards are only for Gamers who dont cares about originals. Lynx Cartridges are not so big. If you have place in your bag for the Lynx and batteries you are also have space enough for this tiny little cartridges to get hours fun playing until the batteries are empty.

 

@108Stars

Production of a original like Plastik-Card is no Problem, but who want buy this when its more expensive, you can read in this posts that the people want have a cheap way handle lots of games on one Card ore Build cheap "it-can-be-everything" card.

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I acknowledged I was wrong about the state of the homebrew Lynx community before anyone ever even replied back to me.

 

That said, I'm quite sure I'm not wrong with the main gist of my post. I've seen what excellent emulation and reprogrammable multicart products have done for the homebrew communities dealing with Atari's late 70's and 1980's era gaming consoles. They've only been assets rather than be detrimental to the efforts of hobbyist programmers.

 

There's no reason why the Lynx community would be any different.

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It's not the question if someone could do it. it's just if it makes sense.

 

The homebrew scene would not benefit, they have what they need. A flashcard for multiple games is only useful for players. I'd like one, but it's also true that Lynx cards are small and thin, and with the small library it's not so hard to carry them around. No big deal.

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If Krikzz could make a Game Gear flash cart, somebody could do the same for the Lynx.

I'm guessing the Lynx community is quite small compared to the GG. It probably just isn't financially feasible.

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I don't even think that the dedicated Lynx fan community is much smaller. Just look at the homebrew scene. But the Game Gear is much better known with non-specialized gamers. Pretty much every 90ies gamer played GG sometime, knows the system and some of its games. So when people are interested in various systems they likely will be interested in GG as well. Lynx on the other hand most people have never played, hell, I'd guess many have never heard of the system or at least not more than the name.

 

So the GG has more mainstream appeal, while the Lynx probably has more dedicated fans, but an overall small group.

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Well, listening in on the conversation I think that there is another angle.

 

The homebrew scene might have what they need to develop game on the Lynx. That much is true. But the other angle is that such a cart might actually popularize an otherwise niche game console. I code for the fun of it. But it would be nice to have more people playing Lynx games (maybe including mine). Ultimately more programmers for the Lynx would be even better. But for more programmers (that might do it for the players first and for the fun second) there need to be more players. For more players there needs to be a cheap and easy way to play the games. All nice that we want to respect the copyright laws, but in reality the roms are easily findable on the web and I guess that everyone who wants to can play the games on an emulator of choice within 15 minutes after starting to search for it.

 

My opinion is that it is better to embrace what is unavoidable in the first place. I spoke to enough hardware geniuses in the past months to know that there will eventually be one that will spend some time and come up with the multicart. It might be someone with good intentions, or one who wants to monetize on the multicart. How about beating the latter to the punch and try to regulate the multicart's purpose. Use it to popularize the platform, attract players to the Lynx, and the programmers will follow right behind. That way we can grow both the player/fan and homebrew community and get more new games. Everybody wins.

 

Had Atari taken a similar course in creating a loved platform with a large player base on the Lynx, there would have been more 3rd party game studios interested in creating the games for it. More games means more players, means an upward spiral instead of the actual downward one we saw happen. Here's a means to make that happen anyway. I am pretty sure that the homebrew scene has learned enough in the past few years to create effective copy protection countermeasures to prevent piracy of the homebrews. We might even come up with ways to protect the original commercial games.

 

Take GadgetUK and obschan: both have (nearly) released wonderful games for the Lynx. I believe that both have given Alien and Luchenstein3D to the community. Free to use, not to be sold. They might eventually publish it on a cartridge, but chances are they will move on to a new game or (hopefully not) a new platform. But who will be able to play those great games on real hardware. Probably only the few homebrew heroes that have a Flashcart. Not the other fans out there who would love to do so. They'll play it on the emulator and will not experience it on the console itself.

 

One other thing: I do own every commercial game cartridge for the Lynx and a part of the homebrew games. While I might take the Lynx with me to play on, I would not dare take cartridges like Double Dragon, Raiden and let alone Eye of the Beholder with me. They might get damaged, stolen or lost in other ways. The multicart would really help out here and allow me to play the games anyway.

 

My five cents.

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Good point.

 

As a hobby I create open software like Solitaire. The point is to show off. "Look what I could do with the Lynx hardware! Cool?"

 

During recent years we have seen some really amazing coding. The falling snowflakes in Alpine Games. 3D demos, Fire demos. Even scrolling text vanishing in infinity like in Star Wars.

 

Coding for the Lynx is fun. Like creating Linux. Linus Torvalds actually wrote a book called "Just for Fun". His point is: "Most good programmers do programming not because they expect to get paid or get adulation by the public, but because it is fun to program."

 

A multicart is a good tool for enjoying titles you own, fun games and demos.

 

It is also ok to ask people to respect copyrights. A multicart does not change anything here. Even now you can use flash carts, burn EPROMS or run games in Handy.

 

The fact is that the Lynx is only a piece of computer archeology today. These discussions about piracy are more about ethics than economy.

 

Karri

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I am actually with LX.NET. Don't think because I point out the reasons for some not wanting a flashcard like that I would not want one myself.

 

I just think it's important to see both sides of the medal, and LX.NET explained that well.

 

Notions like wanting to sell your Lynx collection to just play the ROMs don't sit well with me, eventhough I understand that in practice no company will get hurt, and it may actually further lower market prices for Lynx games. But granted, that cannot be helped, and the real Lynx fans will still want the original games anyway.

 

I think the bigger issue is for one, not seeing the advantage in development, and secondly even seeing the danger for ROM dumps of new homebrews increased. We had found that seller not long ago who was selling free Lynx homebrews as well as bootlegs of Telegames releases.

 

As far as that is concerned, people like matashen put up 1000's of Euros up-front to manufacture the ards, and they may understandably fear they will not sell out when a multicard is available and people are tempted to just play illegal ROMs on it.

Now I am not sure if this would happen; Reboot has shown us with their Jaguar releases, which were all available for free as downloads that the majority of fans will still buy the physical copy. Then again, Jaguar fans are obviously completely nuts, and Lynx-fans would not pay the prices Jag fans do to begin with.

 

What I find interesting is the notion of handling such a project with the homebrewers in the boat. Having no coding skills I do not know how that works, but afair Battlesphere does not run on the Skunkboard. So maybe something could be thought of with he flashcard reading only parts of the memory for booting that are used by all official games, and future homebrews could use different places in memory if the homebrewer wants flashcard protection?

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