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speccery

Erik's Tiny PEB

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Thanks! The board does have a serial port, but it is not RS-232 voltage level compliant. An external level converter could be added. It would be easy to write a DSR extension to support the serial port from Basic. It is not hardware compatible with the TMS9902, though. If I implement a follow up board to this one at some point with an actual FPGA we could have hardware compatibility. Anyway for my purposes the USB port is hugely more useful, and a whole lot faster.

 

I personally no longer use my RS232 card, but I know a lot of other guys who do.

 

I think the primary goal of this card though is to provide a full disk and memory system for a standard TI console. The fact my game will be playable on it is a HUGE deal to me! :D

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Thanks! The board does have a serial port, but it is not RS-232 voltage level compliant. An external level converter could be added. It would be easy to write a DSR extension to support the serial port from Basic. It is not hardware compatible with the TMS9902, though. If I implement a follow up board to this one at some point with an actual FPGA we could have hardware compatibility. Anyway for my purposes the USB port is hugely more useful, and a whole lot faster.

 

I'm really hoping that we can maybe standardize some sort of API with all these new RS232 solutions that don't go through the TMS9902. Or, if we're handing the data bus and DSR, I wonder if we can make the CPLD or FPGA "intercept" TMS9902 calls for legacy software.

 

Great job on this unit - I'm excited to see the final deliverable!!!

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I personally no longer use my RS232 card, but I know a lot of other guys who do.

 

I think the primary goal of this card though is to provide a full disk and memory system for a standard TI console. The fact my game will be playable on it is a HUGE deal to me! :D

 

 

I'm looking forward to trying out your game :) Hopefully sometime next week I can do that.

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I'm looking forward to trying out your game :) Hopefully sometime next week I can do that.

 

Well, the binary I sent you just shows the intro and the title screen... There's a lot of other files it needs to work. :)

 

That said, the full game should be useful for the write sector subroutine testing as well.

 

The game engine is only 2/3 complete at the moment, as I still have to bring combat up from my old code base. I'm presently in test mode on the other parts to get them to a demo-able state for Fest West at the end of this month.

 

You can definitely be a play-tester once I get the game to a "playable" state!

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Well, the binary I sent you just shows the intro and the title screen... There's a lot of other files it needs to work. :)

 

That said, the full game should be useful for the write sector subroutine testing as well.

 

The game engine is only 2/3 complete at the moment, as I still have to bring combat up from my old code base. I'm presently in test mode on the other parts to get them to a demo-able state for Fest West at the end of this month.

 

You can definitely be a play-tester once I get the game to a "playable" state!

 

 

That's cool - I thought this was an older game as it looked polished - I'd be happy to be a play tester, I can put my TI then in to good use :)

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Finally posted the video about my "mystery" feature I've been teasing about.

ET-PEB directing sound chip writes to an external synthesizer

 

If you ever wanted to improve or differentiate the sound capabilities of the TI - now there is a way of doing that, taking advantage of the co-processing capability of the ET-PEB.

What happens here is that the ET-PEB captures writes to the TI's sound chip, builds a model of the sound chip status internally, converts the frequencies to notes, and then issues MIDI commands to an external synthesizer to play back the music and sound effects :-D

 

I'm not aware of something like this being done for any retrocomputer in the past. surely there have been MIDI interfaces in the past, but they required dedicated software. The ET-PEB enables all most games to output MIDI without any changes to the games themselves :)

 

If you have suggestions of games to test and use in a video, please let me know. I noticed already that some titles can cause problems, I guess when a single sound channel is being used to play a chord by rotating through different frequencies the ET-PEB still has a bit hard time to keep up. Also MIDI bandwidth is limited. I'm planning to implement a chord detector for that purpose.

 

Let me know what you think!

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I could have a Roland Sound Canvas connected to the TI-99 and use programs like MIDI Master 99 too ? I understand well ?

It could be fantastic ! :)

Don't like so much MIDI for sound effects into the games but some musics can be very good like the Alpiner one.

It could be borking also with a Speech Synth connected, or you will implementing the Speech Synth into the TinyPEB ?

 

I am in love for this peripheral !

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Very cool!

 

I've been working with the TI sound chip for my CRPG, and I have to say... it's a bit disappointing. It's not a horrible sound chip (Apple IIe screech beeps anyone?) but it's incredibly limited. There's only a 10-bit range, for example, so 1024 frequencies maximum. The MSX sound chip was 12-bit. This alone adds two octaves. Plus the way the TI engineers had to tie it to the existing 3mz clock artificially pushes the octave range up, so base notes are nearly impossible to generate.

 

I like this approach a lot, I'm wondering though, is it possible to add a BETTER sound chip to the TI accessed through the CRU mapper?

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Very cool!

 

I like this approach a lot, I'm wondering though, is it possible to add a BETTER sound chip to the TI accessed through the CRU mapper?

If I were to add a better sound chip I would add a DSP and a sound DAC. Texas Instruments happens to be the company that produced the TMS32010, the first DSP to my understanding. My first self built DSP board was with the TMS32025. Edited by speccery
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I decided to write a quick comment as I’ve been silent for a while - things have been busy at work and I have been traveling so unfortunately I haven’t been able to work on the project. I am about to board a flight to Asia, once I get back I hope to do some progress on the ET-PEB.

 

The next step will be to build a few more prototypes so that I can share them with some members of the community to do more testing...

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I was wondering if it would at some point be possible to include a parallel port on the ET-PEB. I am a big fan of the PIO port for ease of interfacing. I know that there are parallel-I2C interface chips out there, but it would be much better if no additional hardware was required.

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Quite a few of the micro controller's pins are already exposed on pins. Might add up to 8 bits even... They could be used as a parallel port too, but that of course would require firmware support.

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For what its worth I realised that the ET-PEB has been now covered twice in the RCR Podcast (Retrocomputing Roundtable), in episodes 168 and 172.

http://rcrpodcast.com

The first one (episode 168) I discovered just by listening - that was nice :-D

The most recent episode 172 talks about the MIDI experiment I did, but I have not yet listened to what was discussed in there, hopefully something nice :) I got notification about it through twitter.

 

I discovered the RCR podcast probably around episode 70 or 80, and have been listening to it ever since. I can wholeheartedly recommend this podcast to anyone interested in retrocomputers, and I bet most of you here already are very much aware of its existence.

Edited by speccery
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I've been lurker and following along with this. So I'm curious, has there been any progress?

Edited by djones60

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Sorry for the extended silence. My time during the summer has been taken mainly by house move. It's been a long project, but pretty much done now. I am hoping I will start to have some time to work on the TI-99/4A soonish. Having said that I haven't yet wired up my development computers yet, let alone the TI, but I will get there.

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