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Pixelboy

Intellivoice for the ColecoVision?

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This is something I wonder about every once in a while: How difficult would it be to create a module (presumably plugged into the front expansion port) that would be the ColecoVision add-on equivalent of the Intellivoice, with the same kind of voice synthesis capabilities?

 

More to the point, suppose one wanted to create such a piece of hardware and use the plastic enclosure of the SGM to house it, would the proposed hardware fit in such a casing?

 

I'm hoping some hardware experts can answer my question. :)

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I was shocked to recently learn the Intellivoice was a sound sample player, not a speech synthesiser.

I guess that's why it had such good dialects.

 

Speech and sound samples have been around since things went digital. Donkey Kong uses samples, pinball uses speech. Berzerk, Astro Blaster, Wizard of Wor, etc.

 

I guess what I'm saying is samples are more flexible, synthesised speech is more restricted to a particular tone.

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Well, okay, so let's make it a sample player. My original question still stands: How difficult would it be to implement? :)

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Back in time, when i was still student in electronics , i built a speach synthetiser i connected to an Oric Atmos via user port.

 

I don't remember the detail , but it was extremely easy , just bought a cheap chip (Tandy sold that) , put few resistor and capacities on a very little PCB..

 

It took us about 4 hours to do that.

 

So i would say , for a coleco hardware expert, i won't be a problem. And could fit without any problem in a SGM case.

 

But on other solution, is to that in software. That's not very complicated. Just need Rom to store the phonems... So on a mega cart it won't be a problem.

 

A little more complex , if you want play the speech without pausing the gameplay , but still doable with big compromise on sound quality.

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Back in time, when i was still student in electronics , i built a speach synthetiser i connected to an Oric Atmos via user port.

 

I don't remember the detail , but it was extremely easy , just bought a cheap chip (Tandy sold that) , put few resistor and capacities on a very little PCB..

 

It took us about 4 hours to do that.

 

So i would say , for a coleco hardware expert, i won't be a problem. And could fit without any problem in a SGM case.

Very interesting. :) I understand that your memory may be fuzzy on the details, but what kind of "chip" was it? Did you use the Atmos' RAM for storing the speech data?

 

 

 

But on other solution, is to that in software. That's not very complicated. Just need Rom to store the phonems... So on a mega cart it won't be a problem.

 

A little more complex , if you want play the speech without pausing the gameplay , but still doable with big compromise on sound quality.

The whole point of a hardware add-on would be to avoid having to pause the gameplay to generate speech... :P

 

I know that the MSX sound chip inside the SGM can output sound in parallel with the CV's native sound chip, so the idea would be for the cartridge software to send a message to the voice add-on to "say something", and the cart software would trust the add-on to do it and continue with normal game processing. This implies that the add-on would contain its own independent "CPU" (if we can call it that) and probably some dedicated RAM, something like the CV's native graphic chip.

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Very interesting. :) I understand that your memory may be fuzzy on the details, but what kind of "chip" was it? Did you use the Atmos' RAM for storing the speech data?

 

 

As far i can remember, the Chip handled all by itself. Nothing specific on the Atmos. I used it just to send text on user port , that the chip would 'read'.

 

I think it was one of the chip listed on that page

 

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Texas_Instruments_LPC_Speech_Chips

 

or something very close.

 

It was sold by Tandy (Radioshark) , back in time in France.

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But then we would need a multi-unit adapter to hook up the SGM and "ColecoVoice" at the same time... playing devil's advocate here Pixelboy.

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But then we would need a multi-unit adapter to hook up the SGM and "ColecoVoice" at the same time... playing devil's advocate here Pixelboy.

Then maybe Eduardo could include this feature in next revisions of the SGM ?

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Then maybe Eduardo could include this feature in next revisions of the SGM ?

 

I really don't think we need to split the SGM user base any more, particularly since - as far as I know - even at this point not all SGM's have been delivered and/or demand met. I would rather see something equivalent to the VecVox/AtariVox that can be added to ANY setup for a low cost and that software can take optional use of if detected. If only there were a way to build something onto a cartridge circuit board to give the capability if desired (even if it added $10 - $20 to the end user price, I think most would pay it). I assume such a thing is not possible, otherwise it would have already been attempted.

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Something like a game genie/pass-thru. Cart->voice module-> Colecovision slot

 

I had actually edited out that thought from my response, assuming it wasn't possible. That would certainly be ideal, but again, if such a thing were possible, I'd have to ask why haven't we seen something like that before? We've certainly seen all kinds of things plugged into the cartridge ports of systems like the Atari 2600, Odyssey2, Intellivision, etc., but never the ColecoVision. It makes me think there's a reason for that (of course, it could be as simple as the presence of the expansion port).

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The only reason why I didn't mention the expansion port was because someone could use it for the SGM or steering wheel (thinking of Pole Position with "prepare to qualify") the roller controller. Just because you can build out that way shouldn't limit the other ways.

 

*Been reading the Pole Position thread too.*

Edited by privateers69

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The only reason why I didn't mention the expansion port was because someone could use it for the SGM or steering wheel (thinking of Pole Position with "prepare to qualify") the roller controller. Just because you can build out that way shouldn't limit the other ways.

 

*Been reading the Pole Position thread too.*

 

Only the add-on Adam, Atari 2600 module, and SGM use the expansion port. I'm not sure if daisy chaining is possible.

 

I would think the "Prepare to Qualify" can be done using traditional methods since it's not in-game. No add-on required.

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Then maybe Eduardo could include this feature in next revisions of the SGM ?

Actually, what I think I would prefer is a brand new add-on module that is equipped with the speech generation feature and also a bar-code reader. Then it could be described as a true "complement" to the existing SGM.

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Only the add-on Adam, Atari 2600 module, and SGM use the expansion port. I'm not sure if daisy chaining is possible.

You forget that the Expansion Module #3 has an expansion port itself, so you can plug the Expansion Module #1 into the Expansion Module #3.

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Actually, what I think I would prefer is a brand new add-on module that is equipped with the speech generation feature and also a bar-code reader. Then it could be described as a true "complement" to the existing SGM.

 

Not a bad idea actually :)

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Not a bad idea actually :)

Question is, would all those electronic parts (for the speech and the bar-code reader) fit inside the existing SGM casing? That's the real question here. :P

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Question is, would all those electronic parts (for the speech and the bar-code reader) fit inside the existing SGM casing? That's the real question here. :P

Is that a big deal if you don't include the Barcode reader?

 

I mean, I don't really know what are your plans for this, but how many games would really use that feature?

Don't get me wrong though, I like the concept and everything but if you take example on the one that was released for the Famicom, it was not very succesful

 

Or I completely missed the point of your idea for the Colecovision version ....wich is quite possible! :P ;) :)

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You forget that the Expansion Module #3 has an expansion port itself, so you can plug the Expansion Module #1 into the Expansion Module #3.

I'm not sure of the physical limitations of the Expansion Port on the ColecoVision, which is the same exact port on the Stand-Alone and Expansion Module #3 ADAMs, but BITD both Eve Electronics and Orhanware made multi-unit adapter ribbon cables that allowed for 2 or 3 expansion devices (AutoDialer, Speech Synthesizer, 80 Column Unit, Serial and Parallel interfaces, etc.) to be attached to this port and used at the same time. There was also the mother of all ADAM expansion units called the EVE VD-MB 80 Column Unit which housed an ADAM power supply, an 80 column interface and four more expansion slots inside the unit... so it would seem that possibilities are not limited except by the power considerations.

 

Ideally, any new device such as a ColecoVoice and Bar Code Reader could all be incorporated into the SGM just for the sake of having to deal only with one device, but more importantly that everything could fit into the SGM's case for the sake of saving thousands of dollars on the creation of a housing, mold, etc., etc.

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Is that a big deal if you don't include the Barcode reader?

Of course not. It's all theoretical talk anyway. :)

 

 

I mean, I don't really know what are your plans for this, but how many games would really use that feature?

Don't get me wrong though, I like the concept and everything but if you take example on the one that was released for the Famicom, it was not very succesful

 

Or I completely missed the point of your idea for the Colecovision version ....wich is quite possible! :P ;) :)

Well, if I did get into producing such an add-on, I would make it part of a bigger package, which would probably include a boardgame with player pieces and/or playing cards with bar codes on them, together with a game cartridge that would use both the speech feature and the bar code reader.

 

But again, that's completely theoretical talk on my part. :P

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Of course not. It's all theoretical talk anyway. :)

 

 

 

Well, if I did get into producing such an add-on, I would make it part of a bigger package, which would probably include a boardgame with player pieces and/or playing cards with bar codes on them, together with a game cartridge that would use both the speech feature and the bar code reader.

 

But again, that's completely theoretical talk on my part. :P

Very interesting idea. Admittedly I didn't quite get the bar code reader thing until you mentioned playing cards. I now get it.

 

After thinking about this more, I would bet that more people would be interest in a sound module than the SGM. I'm just guessing, but I have a feeling a sound module would be cheaper to implement as well. The hard part will be getting the programers to program for it.

 

One other thought. If sound can be passed from the expansion port, why not put a head phone jack and volume control on it too? Seems like that would be a no brainer at that point. Just a thought.

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