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Curt Vendel

7800 XM update

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I don't, and have never had a horse in this race, but as a casual and occasional outside observer, there doesn't seem to be any reason for the 7800XM to exist anymore. Nor has there been for some time, from what I gather.

When/if it finally comes out, there will only be, what, two or three games for it? And it's probably a safe bet that there won't be any more since, as Shawn pointed out, we have the Versa board now. Even those once-exclusive XM games won't need the XM anymore.

At this point the project seems to be about simply trying to recoup, as much as possible, the investments that were made and just being done with it. Which is certainly understandable. But even when/if it's finished and people finally get theirs after so many years, then what? They can play a better version of Donkey Kong that's already going on five years old?

To be clear, I don't mean to dump on the 7800XM project or the people involved with it at all. It was ambitious and would have been an impressive device at the time it was originally planned to have been released, but due to unfortunate circumstances--some of which couldn't have been helped (devastating health problems) and some which could (feature creep)--its time has simply passed.

[/$0.02]

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First I've heard of the VersaBoard. Where can I get one?

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I think the xm would be great so we don't have to depend on Ballblazer carts for pokey . I am not sure what all is trying to be added or done to the xm but if simplified to just being for pokey and maybe even yamaha and thats it . Would that speed up and simplify the project ?

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I ordered mine three or four years ago...and I actually got a tracking number the next day so I thought it was finished.

 

I am still holding my breath, if for no other reason that Homebrew developers are *still working on games for it*.

To be honest, I am to still kind-of holding my breath on the release of this thing... When it's released, everyone (7800 owner) will want one immediately thus I want to be ahead of everybody. I still, also too, have my tracking number archived so I'm still waiting, but I understand that the long waiting period has kind of got me exhaling some if you catch my drift.

 

Wish somebody would put a fork in this one.

Not likely... I still have hope.

Edited by philipj
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How did it turn into this nonsense again?..

We had a update that Curt had a valve job done and we all wished him to get well. Can we leave it at that till the next update comes from tep?

Stay positive everyone! Please.

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How did it turn into this nonsense again?..

We had a update that Curt had a valve job done and we all wished him to get well. Can we leave it at that till the next update comes from tep?

Stay positive everyone! Please.

What nonsense? These are two separate issues at this point. The human factor is obvious and no one seems to take issue with that. The other factor is discussing scenarios to bring this project to some conclusion that one or more people may be OK with as yet another year passes and more potential stumbling blocks arise. I don't see the issue with that. No one is making this personal. We all know how bad this is in all ways. Discussing scenarios responsibly on a discussion forum doesn't seem out of place.

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Well, *I* had a reason for the XM, but eh. Until I had a way to even develop and test for the system in its full (keyboard and SIO) configuration it would be academic anyway.

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What nonsense? These are two separate issues at this point. The human factor is obvious and no one seems to take issue with that. The other factor is discussing scenarios to bring this project to some conclusion that one or more people may be OK with as yet another year passes and more potential stumbling blocks arise. I don't see the issue with that. No one is making this personal. We all know how bad this is in all ways. Discussing scenarios responsibly on a discussion forum doesn't seem out of place.

nonsense... people asking again and again if they can buy VersaBoards that will replacce the xm. People stating the the ym chip was an afterthought when it was there from day 1. This has all been harshed out so much people have changed the facts.
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Regarding the YM chip, I've heard it work and don't know of any roadblocks to including it. I believe Curt has all the chips as well. Regarding Curts health, he's said he is feeling much better since the surgery and sounds enthusiastic to get back to work on the XM. When it's time for another update, which will be when he has new proto's built, we will probably publish it in a blog post and retire this thread.

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I try not to enter into this discussion too much because I currently have no skin in this game, but I just wanted to add my opinion to recent comments about XM being obsolete.

 

If the XM comes out this year or later, the world absolutely has not passed it by. Ballblazer carts are only getting more rare - there's a premium price on AA carts using POKEY as a result. I'm pretty sure Al would be happy to do without the extra hassle in sourcing and harvesting a chip that's only becoming rarer. Personally I'd rather see POKEYs go to repairing A8s and arcade boards, if we can have our POKEY cake and eat it too.

 

I plan to keep adding features to 7800basic that don't require XM functionality, but will absolutely take advantage of it. When XM is released and I get my hands on one, I'll add XM exclusive features to 7800basic. I'll be absolutely giddy to support the YM chip... I've already harvested a bunch of instrument patches from various sources.

 

I get that some people have given up and are pissed. Totally their right, totally understandable. I'm just saying that if Curt's health does turn around and the project gets completed, it won't be for naught.

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Regarding the YM chip, I've heard it work and don't know of any roadblocks to including it. I believe Curt has all the chips as well. Regarding Curts health, he's said he is feeling much better since the surgery and sounds enthusiastic to get back to work on the XM. When it's time for another update, which will be when he has new proto's built, we will probably publish it in a blog post and retire this thread.

That would be great!!:)

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All the games that might have used the XM no longer need it at all and have not needed it for a couple years now. CPUWIZ's Versa Board is available to support both SRAM and POKEY which covers anything any of the homebrews would have taken advantage of if the XM ever came out. The High Score Cart function can be changed to SaveKey for those without a HSC and not a single person wrote any code for the YAMAHA audio chip that the XM was to have.

 

TL;DR : XM isn't, Versa is. All homebrews are good to go.

 

Correct me if I'm wrong but it's not exactly a 1:1 match.

 

*No XEGS Keyboard support.

 

*No SIO port support.

 

Personally, I'd like to see the XBoard - or a clone - go back into production. 128K RAM and Dual POKEY. A lot of 7800s would require socketing and soldering but a lot of 7800 fans already do similar - or pay others to do it for them - via AV Mods. You wouldn't have HSC, SIO, XEGS keyboard, and no YM2151 though. Still, it would make for a healthier home-brew hardware scene...VERSA, XBoards, and the eventual XM and Concerto [or other SD solutions].

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I try not to enter into this discussion too much because I currently have no skin in this game, but I just wanted to add my opinion to recent comments about XM being obsolete.

 

If the XM comes out this year or later, the world absolutely has not passed it by. Ballblazer carts are only getting more rare - there's a premium price on AA carts using POKEY as a result. I'm pretty sure Al would be happy to do without the extra hassle in sourcing and harvesting a chip that's only becoming rarer. Personally I'd rather see POKEYs go to repairing A8s and arcade boards, if we can have our POKEY cake and eat it too.

 

I plan to keep adding features to 7800basic that don't require XM functionality, but will absolutely take advantage of it. When XM is released and I get my hands on one, I'll add XM exclusive features to 7800basic. I'll be absolutely giddy to support the YM chip... I've already harvested a bunch of instrument patches from various sources.

 

I get that some people have given up and are pissed. Totally their right, totally understandable. I'm just saying that if Curt's health does turn around and the project gets completed, it won't be for naught.

 

Just throwing this out there but the PIC32 can [supposedly] accurately emulate/replicate Quad POKEY *and* Dual SID at the same time. There's vids of it on Youtube playing back Atari Coin's Quad POKEY-based Star Wars audio accurately. Aside from the obvious additional engineering involved to get it working in a 7800, that might be an option to address the dwindling supplies of POKEY chips unless some eccentric millionaire throws down cash to WDC or someone similar in order to crank out a modern run of POKEY chips...

 

I'd like to be *that* eccentric millionaire but Power Ball and Mega Millions have been so-far uncooperative.

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Just throwing this out there but the PIC32 can [supposedly] accurately emulate/replicate Quad POKEY *and* Dual SID at the same time. There's vids of it on Youtube playing back Atari Coin's Quad POKEY-based Star Wars audio accurately.[...]

For sure this is a possibility. This is pretty much what HOKEY is, but using an ARM chip instead of a PIC32 MIPS chip. You can see in the HOKEY thread I even raised the possibility of quad POKEY, SID, etc. (I see you're in the thread too, so I know I'm not saying anything you don't know here)

 

Unfortunately, HOKEY seems stalled at the moment, so we don't know when it will be finished. I don't think anyone is going to take on another POKEY replacement project in the meantime, though certainly it would be welcomed if they did.

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Correct me if I'm wrong but it's not exactly a 1:1 match.

 

*No XEGS Keyboard support.

 

*No SIO port support.

 

Personally, I'd like to see the XBoard - or a clone - go back into production. 128K RAM and Dual POKEY. A lot of 7800s would require socketing and soldering but a lot of 7800 fans already do similar - or pay others to do it for them - via AV Mods. You wouldn't have HSC, SIO, XEGS keyboard, and no YM2151 though. Still, it would make for a healthier home-brew hardware scene...VERSA, XBoards, and the eventual XM and Concerto [or other SD solutions].

 

Read what I wrote. I only spoke of all homebrews currently in the mix. I don't know of a single homebrew in the works that uses the SIO port or XEGS keyboard. Do you?

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Heh, I actually went out and Bought an XEGS for the keyboard for this!!!

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Heh, I actually went out and Bought an XEGS for the keyboard for this!!!

Me too, -- I got the keyboard and the computer. (Wish it had the light gun...)

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Me too, -- I got the keyboard and the computer. (Wish it had the light gun...)

Get a modded Sega lightgun if you must go for the lightgun experience. The XG-1 is not the best choice.

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Heh, I actually went out and Bought an XEGS for the keyboard for this!!!

 

 

Me too, -- I got the keyboard and the computer. (Wish it had the light gun...)

 

But alas, nothing is coded correct?

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You know that XM module had me, and still got me pretty inspired... I remember years ago at JS2 I use to mention the use of a YM2151 sound chip on a Atari 7800 for the simple fact that Atari had the "Atari System 1" that used the chip. It was always a what if scenario, just curious why Atari never used it in the 7800 console. I know GCC had they own sound processor for the 7800 and it would've been nice to see that kind of chip in the 7800.

 

I wish I can make my own module for the 7800... It would be something special with an extra processor to aid the already slightly better than the 2600 CMOS. I hope this XM gets released.

Edited by philipj

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But alas, nothing is coded correct?

Zork or something like that could be made on basic and the keyboard would have a use.

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Zork or something like that could be made on basic and the keyboard would have a use.

 

It certainly might be a fun novelty to play a text adventure on the Atari 7800 with XM, but I can't imagine that being a primary driver for the keyboard. I think I'd personally rather see the keyboard put to use for more sophisticated Atari 7800-centric games than recreating text adventures available on every other computer system. With that said, if the XM ever did see the light of day, I suspect the keyboard functionality would see little support outside of maybe some demo stuff. Who knows, though?

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It certainly might be a fun novelty to play a text adventure on the Atari 7800 with XM, but I can't imagine that being a primary driver for the keyboard. I think I'd personally rather see the keyboard put to use for more sophisticated Atari 7800-centric games than recreating text adventures available on every other computer system. With that said, if the XM ever did see the light of day, I suspect the keyboard functionality would see little support outside of maybe some demo stuff. Who knows, though?

Atari 7800 + XM + keyboard + Internet connection + new custom browser + AtariAge = Extreme retro nerdgasm (RARE!)

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