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ANY NEW 800 TO 5200 CONVERSIONS IN THE WORKS?

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As the 5200 was the first system I ever received as a gift when I was a kid and is the reason I fell in love with videogames in the first place it's widely known that the homebrew community, while alive for the 5200, is not as vibrant as the one for the Colecovision. Having said that it was great that some nice people converted many Atari 800 games for play on the 5200 by putting them on standard 5200 carts with nice printed labels. It was great in that it expanded the small 5200 library and built up my collection immensely but there have been no new additions in years. There are many great and definitive 800 games out there such as pooyan, the goonies, jawbreaker 2 etc. Is there any chance we'll see some new conversions down the road? Just curious....

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Thanks for answering my question. I checked out the Atarimax page for your conversion and I have all of them lol. The three games I would really love to see converted to the 5200 are Pooyan, Venture, and the Goonies. Also would be nice to see Blue Max, Aztec Challenge, Bruce Lee, castle wolfenstein, caverns of khafka, conan, karateka, pharaohs curse, king tuts tomb, realm of impossibly and zeppelin. Any chance any of these games get converted? Like I said the first 3 I mentioned would be really nice. Thanks

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Could there be a disassembly of Crystal Castles in order to find where trak-ball support could be added (as with Tempest)? Or is that maybe adding too much to the size of the final file? I can't remember if adding trak-ball support is even possible for Crystal Castles but it seems like it should work, it worked for Tempest and wasn't there a different version of Xari Arena discovered with trak-ball support?

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Could there be a disassembly of Crystal Castles in order to find where trak-ball support could be added (as with Tempest)? Or is that maybe adding too much to the size of the final file? I can't remember if adding trak-ball support is even possible for Crystal Castles but it seems like it should work, it worked for Tempest and wasn't there a different version of Xari Arena discovered with trak-ball support?

I did a joystick mode trak-ball hack some time ago here:

 

http://atariage.com/forums/topic/247585-crystal-castles-no-trackball-support/?p=3439482

Edited by playsoft

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As the 5200 was the first system I ever received as a gift when I was a kid and is the reason I fell in love with videogames in the first place it's widely known that the homebrew community, while alive for the 5200, is not as vibrant as the one for the Colecovision. Having said that it was great that some nice people converted many Atari 800 games for play on the 5200 by putting them on standard 5200 carts with nice printed labels. It was great in that it expanded the small 5200 library and built up my collection immensely but there have been no new additions in years. There are many great and definitive 800 games out there such as pooyan, the goonies, jawbreaker 2 etc. Is there any chance we'll see some new conversions down the road? Just curious....

User Aking made Pooyan available here:

 

http://atariage.com/forums/topic/222141-mistery-5200-game/?p=3286246

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Do programs have to be written in assembly or a certain language to be converted to 5200?

I know there is no basic rom in the 5200 so basic programs wouldn't work. (hmmm, what about the basic cartridge?)

 

What about PILOT or the other languages?

Edited by SINGLE TOOTH

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Thanks for answering my question. I checked out the Atarimax page for your conversion and I have all of them lol. The three games I would really love to see converted to the 5200 are Pooyan, Venture, and the Goonies.

 

An early version of a 5200 port of Venture was leaked (then deleted) last year. Presumably the final version will be released for purchase soon. Details here:

 

http://atariage.com/forums/topic/266538-venture-5200/

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Do programs have to be written in assembly or a certain language to be converted to 5200?

I know there is no basic rom in the 5200 so basic programs wouldn't work. (hmmm, what about the basic cartridge?)

 

What about PILOT or the other languages?

 

Pretty sure every game that has so far been converted for the 5200 has been an assembly language program. A motivated individual could probably convert the 800/XL/XE Basic ROM to the 5200, but without a keyboard, there really wouldn't be much point to doing so.

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Pretty sure every game that has so far been converted for the 5200 has been an assembly language program. A motivated individual could probably convert the 800/XL/XE Basic ROM to the 5200, but without a keyboard, there really wouldn't be much point to doing so.

 

Theoretical question:

 

I wonder if the circuitry for the keyboard input is there? (IC's and such) Obviously the keyboard port/connection isn't and something would have to be soldered in. I wonder if you could somehow get a keyboard working with the hardware. I assume the BIOS would need to be modified to support it.

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Theoretical question:

 

I wonder if the circuitry for the keyboard input is there? (IC's and such) Obviously the keyboard port/connection isn't and something would have to be soldered in. I wonder if you could somehow get a keyboard working with the hardware. I assume the BIOS would need to be modified to support it.

 

Someone more familiar with the 5200's innards could probably speak to the technical challenges involved. But practically, I have to ask... why? Getting a 800XL or 65XE isn't all that expensive, and is almost certainly cheaper than any modification package for the 5200 that might be developed and sold. Don't get me wrong, I love the 5200, and I really appreciate the efforts made by Wrathchild and others to convert games for us to play on it. But at a certain point, the Atari computers are just always going to be better at certain things, such as the programming carts, games that use the keyboard extensively, and programs that make a lot of use of SIO-connected peripherals. Any user who wishes to explore that world would really be better off just biting the bullet and getting an Atari computer... they're fantastic machines that are well worth acquiring and exploring.

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Someone more familiar with the 5200's innards could probably speak to the technical challenges involved. But practically, I have to ask... why? Getting a 800XL or 65XE isn't all that expensive, and is almost certainly cheaper than any modification package for the 5200 that might be developed and sold. Don't get me wrong, I love the 5200, and I really appreciate the efforts made by Wrathchild and others to convert games for us to play on it. But at a certain point, the Atari computers are just always going to be better at certain things, such as the programming carts, games that use the keyboard extensively, and programs that make a lot of use of SIO-connected peripherals. Any user who wishes to explore that world would really be better off just biting the bullet and getting an Atari computer... they're fantastic machines that are well worth acquiring and exploring.

 

I don't really have an answer to why... You're right, there is no real reason do to this. Just curious IF it is remotely possible.

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I don't really have an answer to why... You're right, there is no real reason do to this. Just curious IF it is remotely possible.

 

Fair enough... I'm geeky enough to wonder that too! Let's see if one of our technical wizards has an answer to the technical challenges that would theoretically need to be overcome to make it happen (even though we all accept that it probably wouldn't be worth the effort.)

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Thanks to everyone who responded to my questions. So glad to see there is a binary available for Pooyan. Now the next question...is there a way to get it onto the carts Albert has for sale on Atari Age as a stand alone cart or is just available for a download to a SD cart? Love the individual carts much more than the multicart bit I'll take this game any way I can get it. Also super stoked about a possible 5200 conversion of Venture

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Fair enough... I'm geeky enough to wonder that too! Let's see if one of our technical wizards has an answer to the technical challenges that would theoretically need to be overcome to make it happen (even though we all accept that it probably wouldn't be worth the effort.)

 

It has been said the 5200 is basically a 16K Atari 400. A keyboard for the 5200 was planned. I believe it was mentioned that it would use controller port 2, so that makes it seem much less of a terrible idea. As to whether something convenient, like an XEGS keyboard could be used, I don't know, but a prohibitive amount of BIOS re-writing and component trial and error might be involved. In terms of the value of the final product, I wonder if it would be easier to add 5200 capabilities to your 800/800XL, rather than the other way around, since the 8-bits have so many peripherals plus the added RAM of the 600XL, 800, 800XL, XEGS, etc., but incorporating the analog controls to a system designed for digital games might prove a fearsome task. I would think the main advantages of this unification would be no further need to port 8-bit games to the 5200 and one less console taking up space - kind of like people who use their 7800 as both their 7800 and 2600. In the case of the latter, that would mean building a cart adapter as well. I would assume complete unification either way would go way beyond an expansion board and cart adapter

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Fair enough... I'm geeky enough to wonder that too! Let's see if one of our technical wizards has an answer to the technical challenges that would theoretically need to be overcome to make it happen (even though we all accept that it probably wouldn't be worth the effort.)

 

From what I've learned from writing 1, almost 2 games for the 5200, the keyboard circuitry is present, but is heavily modified to support the controller keypads and the top fire buttons. The twelve keypad keys and the Start, Pause, Reset buttons all register as keyboard presses in the 5200, and the top fire button is read as if it were the shift key. Furthermore, the key scanner can only read one controller port at a time, which is a major pain when dealing with simultaneous players, like I did in Ratcatcher.

 

I'm not sure how much additional functionality is there, but given how much they changed things for the 5200, I'd wager not much.

 

Someone more experienced with the hardware side of things would know better than me, though.

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From what I've learned from writing 1, almost 2 games for the 5200, the keyboard circuitry is present, but is heavily modified to support the controller keypads and the top fire buttons. The twelve keypad keys and the Start, Pause, Reset buttons all register as keyboard presses in the 5200, and the top fire button is read as if it were the shift key. Furthermore, the key scanner can only read one controller port at a time, which is a major pain when dealing with simultaneous players, like I did in Ratcatcher.

 

I'm not sure how much additional functionality is there, but given how much they changed things for the 5200, I'd wager not much.

 

Someone more experienced with the hardware side of things would know better than me, though.

 

Maybe the keyboard was expected to go to both controller ports of the 5200, now that I think about it. Does the second button on controller 2 correspond to a different 8-bit key than controller 1 on Ratcatcher? You might have two 5200 controllers come from the keyboard port of an 8-bit, but you would have to also have lines to controller port pin 5 and 9 contacts on the 8-bits for the pots. It is above my head if pins 5 and 9 would work for the x and y axis on 5200 games on an 8-bit or if the games would need to be re-written.

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Does the second button on controller 2 correspond to a different 8-bit key than controller 1 on Ratcatcher?

 

No, the top button on all four ports corresponds to the same shift bit. You have to rotate through the controllers, reading a different one each frame, and remember which one you were looking at when you check for key presses.

 

I always wondered why so few 5200 games used that second button. The real reason is probably because so many games were ports from the 8-bit line and there was only one button there, but I like to pretend that it's because the second button is just such a pain to read.

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No, the top button on all four ports corresponds to the same shift bit. You have to rotate through the controllers, reading a different one each frame, and remember which one you were looking at when you check for key presses.

 

I always wondered why so few 5200 games used that second button. The real reason is probably because so many games were ports from the 8-bit line and there was only one button there, but I like to pretend that it's because the second button is just such a pain to read.

I'm also boggled why the 7800 games didn't use the two buttons more often.

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I'm also boggled why the 7800 games didn't use the two buttons more often.

 

The game that really boggles my mind is the 5200 version of Vanguard. The arcade game had four fire buttons, and you'd think that with the plethora of buttons on the 5200 controller, they'd have come up with a better firing scheme.

 

I loved the arcade Vanguard, and I'm so disappointed with the 5200 port because the firing controls are so stupid. I'm not into hacking ROMs, but if someone fixed Vanguard and gave it sensible firing controls, I'd probably pay for that.

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If I key board was planned did Atari see the 5200 more of a computer or a gate way tool to the Atari computers

I think the keyboard was a case of "everybody else is doing it, so we should too". Around 82/83 the console manufacturers were going peripheral crazy. Everybody wanted to show off their keyboard attachment, their trackball, their 'voice module', their steering wheel, etc.

 

Even when the 7800 was announced, Atari showed off a keyboard attachment.

 

If Atari really wanted the 5200 to be a gateway to their computer line, they should have made it more like a 400/600XL without keyboard, with minimal changes.

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I always wondered were they ever planning an attachment to play the 8 bit computer games right from the 5200 like the 2600 attachment

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If I key board was planned did Atari see the 5200 more of a computer or a gate way tool to the Atari computers

I think it was also a way to try to target a low price-point computer market and compete with the Commodore 64, as in: don't want to buy a $600 computer in addition to your game system? Just buy a keyboard for the console you already have! May have started in 1983 when four companies, including Atari, designed keyboard add-ons for the 2600. A keyboard was also planned for the 7800, but never happened. One was actually released for the Intellivision.

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If I key board was planned did Atari see the 5200 more of a computer or a gate way tool to the Atari computers

One was planned for the ColecoVision as well. I'd either not heard or forgot that.

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