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LTO Flash! - Intellivision Flash Cartridge Information

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53 minutes ago, intvnut said:

I haven't officially fully opened direct orders, but I should probably go ahead and do so. I think all the stragglers from the original waiting list have come in that are going to.

 

 

 

Looking forward to it!  I'll wait for you to give the greenlight, and then pay promptly.

 

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3 hours ago, intvsteve said:

Strange... Do you happen to have a controller test ROM? IIRC FW Diagnostics ROM may be available, which will work awesome on Sears units, and let you see if there's anything glitchy w/ the controllers independent of the games in question.

Yes, I did try to launch it and it just shows the title screen and doesn't go any further.  I then got my model 1 out and it works fine and the controller test worked properly and all the games work great.  Maybe it's just an issue with my unit, it was just strange that the original titles all seemed to work fine but the newer ROM's all thought I was pressing up with either controller in either port.  Seemed like some compatibility issue like with the model II. Weird.

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Since the demand was so high, I skipped a second LTO Flash for now so that someone else with none has a chance to get it. I'll be interested in the special edition, but if by 'auction' it means going to highest bidder, I'm not gonna fight for it. I think a lotto system would make more sense, unless you really need to squeeze some extra $ out of it to cover some of the costs, which would be understandable.

 

When I get mine back out, which might be a short while, I'll test some stuff with my Model II. I don't remember noticing any issues but I'm not sure. Have others confirmed these same titles working on a model II with no issue? I scrolled back a few pages but didn't see an example of a problem game. Unless someone else has confirmed it working fine on a Model II, I'm willing to check when I can, and would like to find out as well.

 

It reminds me of an issue with using some third party controllers on ColecoVision. Thexder (a modern port) doesn't like it at all. One stick I have from Edladdin includes a battery that you switch on for problem games, but isn't needed for most. It seems to fix most games, but not Thexder. Even using an extension cable on an original controller breaks controls on Thexder.

Edited by Hastor
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2 minutes ago, Hastor said:

Since the demand was so high, I skipped a second LTO Flash for now so that someone else with none has a chance to get it. I'll be interested in the special edition, but if by 'auction' it means going to highest bidder, I'm not gonna fight for it. I think a lotto system would make more sense, unless you really need to squeeze some extra $ out of it to cover some of the costs, which would be understandable.

 

When I get mine back out, which might be a short while, I'll test some stuff with my Model II. I don't remember noticing any issues but I'm not sure. Have others confirmed these same titles working on a model II with no issue? I scrolled back a few pages but didn't see an example of a problem game. Unless someone else has confirmed it working fine on a Model II, I'm willing to check when I can, and would like to find out as well.

 

It reminds me of an issue with using some third party controllers on ColecoVision. Thexder (a modern port) doesn't like it at all. One stick I have from Edladdin includes a battery that you switch on for problem games, but isn't needed for most. It seems to fix most games, but not Thexder. Even using an extension cable on an original controller breaks controls on Thexder.

I'm on the Sears variant, not the Model II...I was using that as an example of some of the compatibility issues wondering if that was the case with the Sears model.  It could just be a problem with my system, I was just checking if I was missing an obvious compatibility issue with the Sears model.

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I'm sure the true experts will chime in with ideas, but from what I recall, the differences are to the EXEC to block out "Mattel Electronics Presents" and then just wiring up the controllers differently.

 

The games you mentioned I think all use IntyBASIC (maybe Space Raid does not). That's the only common thread I see... The games tend to use a common controller input polling loop IIRC, so there's that I suppose.

 

And the controllers are stock Sears controllers? It's almost like there's a shorted pin somewhere. I've observed cases in the past where some games would boot and get to the initial play screen, and others would seem broken, and it had to do w/ bad controllers (or, <ahem> someone hooked the controllers up backward on a 2609....)

 

It's been far too long since I've opened up a Sears unit to see if the controller ports are mounted on the case with a cable running to the mainboard, or if the ports are mounted some other way.

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1 minute ago, intvsteve said:

I'm sure the true experts will chime in with ideas, but from what I recall, the differences are to the EXEC to block out "Mattel Electronics Presents" and then just wiring up the controllers differently.

 

The games you mentioned I think all use IntyBASIC (maybe Space Raid does not). That's the only common thread I see... The games tend to use a common controller input polling loop IIRC, so there's that I suppose.

 

And the controllers are stock Sears controllers? It's almost like there's a shorted pin somewhere. I've observed cases in the past where some games would boot and get to the initial play screen, and others would seem broken, and it had to do w/ bad controllers (or, <ahem> someone hooked the controllers up backward on a 2609....)

 

It's been far too long since I've opened up a Sears unit to see if the controller ports are mounted on the case with a cable running to the mainboard, or if the ports are mounted some other way.

Yes, original Sears controllers and these have the 9 pin connector like the model II.  When I swap the controllers, both exhibit the same behavior as I thought maybe one of the controllers was messed up.  Like I said though the menu in the LTO flash works fine, and I tried Worm Whomper which as you know is a good test for controller movement and I can move all around the screen just fine, just all of the ROMs I downloaded recently don't work, that Christmas Hero modded game, Copter Command, and it isn't the LTO as it all works great on my model I.  I would think something shorted or broken wouldn't work in any games, but it's just these new roms that I wanted to check out.  Even that controller test rom doesn't get past the title screen, but my model I it works great.  I guess it's just something with my unit.  Very odd though.

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56 minutes ago, ITAdvantage said:

Yes, I did try to launch it and it just shows the title screen and doesn't go any further.  I then got my model 1 out and it works fine and the controller test worked properly and all the games work great.  Maybe it's just an issue with my unit, it was just strange that the original titles all seemed to work fine but the newer ROM's all thought I was pressing up with either controller in either port.  Seemed like some compatibility issue like with the model II. Weird.

I have the Sears Super Video Arcade unit.  I just tried Copter and Christmas HELI using the original white controllers and both games work fine using the LTO.

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1 minute ago, Sinjinhawke said:

I have the Sears Super Video Arcade unit.  I just tried Copter and Christmas HELI using the original white controllers and both games work fine using the LTO.

Ok, then that settles it, must be my unit.  I appreciate you checking that out, it was so weird I was questioning my sanity.  

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3 hours ago, ITAdvantage said:

I'm on the Sears variant, not the Model II...I was using that as an example of some of the compatibility issues wondering if that was the case with the Sears model.  It could just be a problem with my system, I was just checking if I was missing an obvious compatibility issue with the Sears model.

 

3 hours ago, intvsteve said:

The games you mentioned I think all use IntyBASIC (maybe Space Raid does not). That's the only common thread I see... The games tend to use a common controller input polling loop IIRC, so there's that I suppose.

 

And the controllers are stock Sears controllers? It's almost like there's a shorted pin somewhere. I've observed cases in the past where some games would boot and get to the initial play screen, and others would seem broken, and it had to do w/ bad controllers (or, <ahem> someone hooked the controllers up backward on a 2609....)

 

2 hours ago, ITAdvantage said:

Ok, then that settles it, must be my unit.  I appreciate you checking that out, it was so weird I was questioning my sanity.  

 

FWIW, I did much of my development and testing on a Sears unit.  In fact, I think one of the production batches used a Sears unit.  So, no compatibility issues on that front.

 

As @intvsteve mentioned, many games have issues with stuck inputs.  It's common in many IntyBASIC games, as well as some of the classic titles.  In some cases, they wait for both controllers to be fully released, and the release never comes.  In other cases, the controller inputs get merged in a way that makes it impossible to register valid inputs properly.

 

In the LTO Flash! menu, I believe I took some prophylactic steps to allow it to function even if there's some stuck bits.  

 

To test your controller inputs, you probably want something really stripped down.  I don't know whether @freewheel's diagnostics are the right fit.  You really want something dirt simple that just shows what bits are being asserted on each port.  I'm certain I've seen such a ROM here in the forums.  Heck, I'm sure I've written one at some point.  That'll help get to the bottom of this.

 

The last time this came up was when @Lathe26 had a controller issue that was caused by stray current on the I/O bus on an Intellivoice.  Its "wireless controller" support was causing one or two of the bits to get stuck on the controller port.  We eventually figured it out a slightly fancier debug monitor ROM.  In the end, a bit of rubbing alcohol and cotton I think fixed the Intellivoice.

 

If anyone has time to dig up such a ROM, or write one (w/out using IntyBASIC, to rule out any vagaries of the intybasic prolog/epilog code), that's what we need here.

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2 hours ago, intvnut said:

 

 

 

FWIW, I did much of my development and testing on a Sears unit.  In fact, I think one of the production batches used a Sears unit.  So, no compatibility issues on that front.

 

As @intvsteve mentioned, many games have issues with stuck inputs.  It's common in many IntyBASIC games, as well as some of the classic titles.  In some cases, they wait for both controllers to be fully released, and the release never comes.  In other cases, the controller inputs get merged in a way that makes it impossible to register valid inputs properly.

 

In the LTO Flash! menu, I believe I took some prophylactic steps to allow it to function even if there's some stuck bits.  

 

To test your controller inputs, you probably want something really stripped down.  I don't know whether @freewheel's diagnostics are the right fit.  You really want something dirt simple that just shows what bits are being asserted on each port.  I'm certain I've seen such a ROM here in the forums.  Heck, I'm sure I've written one at some point.  That'll help get to the bottom of this.

 

The last time this came up was when @Lathe26 had a controller issue that was caused by stray current on the I/O bus on an Intellivoice.  Its "wireless controller" support was causing one or two of the bits to get stuck on the controller port.  We eventually figured it out a slightly fancier debug monitor ROM.  In the end, a bit of rubbing alcohol and cotton I think fixed the Intellivoice.

 

If anyone has time to dig up such a ROM, or write one (w/out using IntyBASIC, to rule out any vagaries of the intybasic prolog/epilog code), that's what we need here.

I think you're right, there is a stuck input that your LTO and other games are ignoring but the other games I tried aren't.  I don't have my Intellivoice plugged in, and it happens with either controller so it's probably something either in the port or maybe something else is failing.  I will just use my model I for now and mess with it later.  I don't know what it is about the Sears version that I like using it.  It must be the burled walnut veneer as opposed to the stained oak of the model I. 😂

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For those people acquiring the new copies of LTO Flash!, please keep in mind that I do NOT have encrypted ROMS for 'A Tale of Dragons and Swords' nor any other title. They will have to be sent by Left Turn Only once all of the third run is built. So, if you have a new LTO Flash!, and you preordered 'A Tale of Dragons and Swords', please do not request your ROM for another month or so. Thanks. 

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2 minutes ago, Games For Your Intellivision said:

For those people acquiring the new copies of LTO Flash!, please keep in mind that I do NOT have encrypted ROMS for 'A Tale of Dragons and Swords' nor any other title. They will have to be sent by Left Turn Only once all of the third run is built. So, if you have a new LTO Flash!, and you preordered 'A Tale of Dragons and Swords', please do not request your ROM for another month or so. Thanks. 

Just a little confused here - the new ones have some added encryption? I was under the impression they were identical to the original run, and just hanging on to my old one. If the new ones have some encryption method I can't use on my old one from the first run, that means I should get a 2nd run one.

Why does this only affect the new ones?

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17 minutes ago, Hastor said:

Just a little confused here - the new ones have some added encryption? I was under the impression they were identical to the original run, and just hanging on to my old one. If the new ones have some encryption method I can't use on my old one from the first run, that means I should get a 2nd run one.

Why does this only affect the new ones?

No, nothing new. I suspect that what's needed is the information necessary to properly protect ROMs for the new run of carts that are out there.

 

EDIT: There will be ROMs that can be "locked" to a particular cart. Those won't be playable on a different cart.

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3 minutes ago, intvsteve said:

No, nothing new. I suspect that what's needed is the information necessary to properly protect ROMs for the new run of carts that are out there.

 

EDIT: There will be ROMs that can be "locked" to a particular cart. Those won't be playable on a different cart.

Gotcha, I've seen similar stuff elsewhere, but mostly with firmware that only works on a particular cart. The Jag GD has games that will only run on a Jag GD, but it isn't specific to any one cart. I do think this is the first time I've seen it done on the game ROM level (not to say it hasn't elsewhere, but I've got a ton of flash carts and this is a first for me). Whatever works! Just would be crappy if your cart dies, you lose your ROMs too!

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13 minutes ago, Hastor said:

 Just would be crappy if your cart dies, you lose your ROMs too!

In the untimely event your LTO Flash! dies, I will swap out the board.  At that time, we can also arrange to get you updated encrypted ROMs for the new board.

 

I do try to keep a stock of boards for RMA purposes.  I have had a handful of failed boards returned.  The most common failure mode looks like a static electricity hit in the middle of the connector. 

 

To avoid that fate, pick up your cart by the sides, not the ends, particularly in the cold, dry months.

 

42 minutes ago, Games For Your Intellivision said:

For those people acquiring the new copies of LTO Flash!, please keep in mind that I do NOT have encrypted ROMS for 'A Tale of Dragons and Swords' nor any other title.

I hope to get to this in the next few days. I have been swamped every evening, as I also still have other Intellivision hardware and software commitments to fulfill in addition to wrangling LTO Flash! orders.

 

Lately, I spend a few hours a day on Intellivision commitments after work.

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1 hour ago, intvsteve said:

There will be ROMs that can be "locked" to a particular cart. Those won't be playable on a different cart.

BTW, we use this for two purposes:

  1. Beta-testing new games in development.  Previously, we burned these onto boards and mailed them around, and that gets quite expensive.  Shipping a board two ways costs more than the board itself, and can be quite slow.
  2. Selling ROMs to individuals.  That's been discussed to death, so I don't intend to rehash it.  The short version, though, is that LTO Flash supports that business model.  And, as I said, if your LTO Flash board fails, we can arrange for you to get corresponding ROMs for the replacement board.

The new batch of boards obviously has a new batch of keys.  I need to program up and test the blank boards that remain, so that they're covered as well.  That's actually the main blocking item at this point.

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Just curious, and don't mean to divert the topic at all, but is this the only flash cart that supports that business model? Nothing against it at all, just hadn't seen it elsewhere among my many flash carts.

While I've seen ROMs locked to only work on Skunkboard or Jaguar GD, that isn't about selling to individuals, but preventing mass duplication and sale of standalone carts containing those ROMs.

 

I'm on board, just curious as to whether this is unique to this cart. Also, other than the one mentioned above, are there any other ROMs that can be bought for the LTO Flash currently?

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12 hours ago, Steve Jones said:

All the Elekronite roms are LTO locked to your specific LTO.

Yes, that is the case currently. 

 

Some games require the JLP/LTO Flash! features, such as flash memory or extra memory or in some rare cases, added math functions. They can function in JZINTV but not in other emulators. 

 

We are considering releasing a couple of our roms for free, and we have the option of encrypting them to work on ALL LTO Flash! units. So, the point is, that you can tie a rom to ALL LTO Flash! cartridges, or individual LTO Flash! cartridges. Individually locked ROMS must be produced at Left Turn Only. 

 

To be clear, ROMS for ALL LTO Flash! cartridges must be produced at Left Turn Only as well, but there's only one ROM versus 900 or so. 

Edited by Games For Your Intellivision
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ROMs that don't work on any LTO Flash! nor any software based emulators are far easier to create. 🤣 Just write a few lines of gibberish that will pass the IntyBASIC compiler and wait for the execution to go off into the wilderness or whatever jzintv writes as the error message.

 

Or well, I suppose technically those ROMs still would work, but not execute in any intended way.

Edited by carlsson
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On 1/14/2021 at 1:48 PM, ITAdvantage said:

Just wanted to report I mailed a check to Joe, he promptly sent out my LTO flash which I received.  It was packed well, arrived quickly in perfect condition and I am beyond thrilled.  Just wanted to give @intvnut props for an excellent transaction and express my appreciation for his efforts.  I know these are a pain in the @$$ to make, but know this community is beyond grateful for providing us this amazing device.

I had the same experience, paid with check and my LTO Flash already arrived yesterday!  It will probably take me longer to find where I stored my Intv than it did to get the LTO Flash.  :)  Thanks @intvnut

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Looks like the LTO Flash Menu will work with Linux

 

I can run it with Ubuntu Bionic .Just for the heck of it I also tried using Fedora v33 and it also seems to work, so by default it should also run on old skool Redhat 

 

I do not get my LTO until Saturday so I wont know for sure if everything works perfectly until i plug in the LTO and assign the USB to it

Edited by rietveld
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