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33 minutes ago, wierd_w said:

I did!

 

Looking good so far!  Looks like we need something to shoot. (both ammo and target.) :) 

 

Painful to control with a keyboard though. No reverse thrust option.

 

 

Yeah reverse thrust is malfunctioning :(. the flight computer barfs, math errors.. Try Joysticks?

 

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I've worked for Activision for over 17 years making game art. Interplay and Electronic Arts before that. I've been in the industry so long I've made games on Amigas all the way to XBox One/PS4 pro and all the stuff you haven't seen yet.  I make stuff on the TI 99/4a BECAUSE of it's limitations. The challenge of trying to accomplish something with the chips in the box. I mainly got the F18a so I could use it with an LCD, but I use it in scanline mode to get a close approximation of what things will look like on a CRT.  And I also have a second one with no modern expansions. It's fine if people want additional functionality but if you want your work seen by many people in this community, you need to keep things within the limits of the base machine with maybe 32k expansion being the exception that most people have.  As has been said many times, the current F18a can do a lot more than anyone's taken advantage of.  If the new one has much more functionality all you've done is create more fragmentation, and why spend time on making something that maybe only 10% of people in a very small community will be able to see/use. That's my 2 cents.

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4 hours ago, LASooner said:

It's fine if people want additional functionality but if you want your work seen by many people in this community, you need to keep things within the limits of the base machine with maybe 32k expansion being the exception that most people have.  

At one point it time, before production of the F18A ceased, there were more people in our little community here using the F18A than people using the standard 9918 based chip.  Artificially suppressing advancement and improvement leads to stagnation and boredom, which would draw or retain fewer users.  If not for the F18A, I would never have stuck around.

4 hours ago, LASooner said:

As has been said many times, the current F18a can do a lot more than anyone's taken advantage of.  If the new one has much more functionality all you've done is create more fragmentation

With a smaller user base, adoption or acceptance sometimes comes more slowly, that sucks, but that is reality.  As with the F18, the additional functionality does NOT have to be used by the end user and it's 100% compatible with all legacy software.  I'm from the camp of "let the market/individual decide", it's an approach that works quite well.

4 hours ago, LASooner said:

and why spend time on making something that maybe only 10% of people in a very small community will be able to see/use. 

Maybe this is part of the hobby he likes working on for himself, and chooses to share with the community?

 

I seem to recall him saying parts availability and the expense of making the original were rising to unsustainable levels, so if he had to do a redesign, why not an improvement too?  There have been many people wanting (even bugging him) more memory and features, so it appears to me he honoring the requests of the community in improving the design while trying to lower costs.  That seems like a valid reason to me!

 

As for fragmentation, I'm not too worried, Matthew seems to take backward compatibility seriously and people always have the option of upgrading... IF THEY WISH.

 

I might also add that the F18A saved more than one console from the garbage heap simply because one of the failure zones in the TI has become some of the video chips.  Being able to simply plug in a replacement to fix a bad console has been invaluable for some. 

 

That's my two cents.

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Because of the expanded video RAM you can already make applications for the MK2 that are not compatible with the F18A. So additional new features won't cause more fragmentation.

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4 hours ago, --- Ω --- said:

At one point it time, before production of the F18A ceased, there were more people in our little community here using the F18A than people using the standard 9918 based chip.  Artificially suppressing advancement and improvement leads to stagnation and boredom, which would draw or retain fewer users.  If not for the F18A, I would never have stuck around.

Except that the TI-99 members of AtariAge do not represent all the TI-99 users around the world. So, making one believe  that people that are using the F18A are more  than people using the standard 9918 based chip is an error.   The easiest way to prove that is to compare the number of F18A sold for the 99/4A computer and the number of TI-99 owners.

Edited by fabrice montupet
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11 minutes ago, fabrice montupet said:

Except that the TI-99 members of AtariAge do not represent all the TI-99 users around the world. So, making one believe  that people that are using the F18A are more  than people using the standard 9918 based chip is an error.   The easiest way to prove that is to compare the number of F18A sold for the 99/4A computer and the number of TI-99 owners.

To be fair, the ti-99 users around the world who are not actively looking for enhanced chips or chipsets are more than likely in the minority.

 

I don't have any numbers and I'm sure nobody does, but if I were a betting man, I'd bet than the vast majority of active ti-99 users or enthusiasts like myself are on either this forum or a similar one elsewhere in the world. 

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Just to talk about French people, if I have well counted I list 4 (active) french TI-99 users on the TI-99 AtariAge forum. And I can tell you that people in France that are using the TI-99/4A computer are more than four 🙂
Around the world, hudge people are adept to the retrocomputing or retrogaming but feel no need to be present on forums.

Edited by fabrice montupet
typo error

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15 minutes ago, fabrice montupet said:

Just to tall about French people, if I have well counted I list 4 (active) french TI-99 users on the TI-99 AtariAge forum. And I can tell you that people in France that are using the TI-99/4A computer are more than four 🙂
Around the world, hudge people are adept to the retrocomputing or retrogaming but feel no need to be present on forums.

Just to be clear, I'm not saying that new hardware or features don't fragment the community a little bit. I'm only saying that I suggest most people involved in this specific piece of hardware are probably not using it as a daily driver, and are probably aware of and likely willing to spend a few dollars on things that make it better. 

 

If not, they're probably playing munchman (like me) and just seeing what happens in the community through other people they know, maybe owing to you, since you use forums. 

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6 hours ago, fabrice montupet said:

Except that the TI-99 members of AtariAge do not represent all the TI-99 users around the world. So, making one believe  that people that are using the F18A are more  than people using the standard 9918 based chip is an error.

I believe I typed, "in our little community here", (AtariAge) which Matthew is a part of.  It's quite simple really, if someone does not want something, they don't have to buy it.  This TI hobby is different things to different people, but the original post I replied to was publicly questioning why Matthew would even bother to spend the time to make his contribution to the community.   I feel I addressed that and am willing to now let the matter drop.

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I should probably mention that I'm here to buy one of Matthew's chips. Doesn't matter to me if it's old or new. I only want to replace my video processor with something I can plug into an lcd. 

 

Doesn't matter if it's the old version or a new one, and I don't care about features at all. I just want to spend my money on something he made, as soon as possible. 

 

To be clear, I will spend double on an old chip of his. I've been trolling this forum for months just waiting for something to come out, or old stock to be available. I don't care at all about new features. I just want a chip.

 

Please sell me a chip. Mark it up all you want, I don't care. Add all the features you like. That's great. Just sell a chip to me. 

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I'd love to drop that chip into my sys. But I do have to watch my wallet, but Matthew's involvement is definitely something i can't pay for, so I'm hoping for a deal that he can package that I can afford. I just can't wait!!! What a cool and awesome project.

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On 6/27/2018 at 11:49 AM, matthew180 said:

 

The MK2 will run the same core as the original F18A,

Hi Matthew,

 

Do you remember that in an earlier version of your firmware, the F18A included a programmable timer?

My compiler MLC still supports this even if this feature disappeared.

 

Do you plan to put it back into the MK2 or should I remove everything from MLC ?

 

Guillaume.

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13 hours ago, fabrice montupet said:

Just to talk about French people, if I have well counted I list 4 (active) french TI-99 users on the TI-99 AtariAge forum. And I can tell you that people in France that are using the TI-99/4A computer are more than four 🙂
Around the world, hudge people are adept to the retrocomputing or retrogaming but feel no need to be present on forums.

French people usually has the RF modulator but if they want more image quality to use the composite video output as the american model is not possible so, if the connection is made using the the SCART or components output the colors on the display most of times are not correct.

 

In fact this is my case, I'm not Frech, I'm Catalan but I purchased a French TI-99/4A without the modulator/SCART output and due the wrong colors on the display I was lloking for a solution and finally I found the F18A chip. Now I'm excited waiting for the launchment. Most probably there are a lot of people here in Europe that has the same problem but they don't know about the F18A and simply use use the TI-99/4A as it.

 

 

Edited by Papalapa

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11 hours ago, --- Ω --- said:

I believe I typed, "in our little community here", (AtariAge) which Matthew is a part of.

Ok! Precising AtariAge was useful. In your first message, we could thought (at least, it is how I understood it) that you talk about the TI-99 community (which is also little, compared to the Apple II, Commodore ou Atari ones)

Edited by fabrice montupet

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4 hours ago, Papalapa said:

French people usually has the RF modulator

 

Even if RF modulators like the PHA2036 have been sold in France (surely for very old TV sets), French people had mostly a RGB modulator PHA2037 or equal. TV sets had usualy a SCART because it was an obligation for any TV set sold in France from 1980.

Edited by fabrice montupet

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1 hour ago, fabrice montupet said:

Even if RF modulators like the PHA2036 have been sold in France (surely for very old TV sets), French people had mostly a RGB modulator PHA2037 or equal. TV sets had usualy a SCART because it was an obligation for any TV set sold in France from 1980.

As far as I know PHA2037 has the same color problem than the components output on the LCD TVs.

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@Papalapa:
Can you describe me the SCART color problem that you encounter with your TV set?
That said, I answered to the affirmation you made about french people supposed to use mostly RF modulators, that was not right.
For my part, I will have no RGB color rendering problem, I threw away all my TV sets many years ago (tired to pay annual tax for stupid programs). All my old computers use RGB CRT monitors (mainly Sony PVM series, Nec Multisync,  Commodore 1084 and of course the Texas Instruments Color Monitor PHA4100A). On all of these monitors, colors are fantastic with crisp and very stable pictures. I love the CRT rendering, inimitable, it is a part of my very first computing souvenirs 🙂
And I reserve all my LCD monitors to my modern PC and Mac computers.

But I understand that for those who haven't this kind of RGB monitors, or those who have not enough space to use them, a LCD TV set or LCD monitor using a F18A or its successor is the solution.

 

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On 10/28/2019 at 9:50 PM, fabrice montupet said:

@Papalapa:
Can you describe me the SCART color problem that you encounter with your TV set?
That said, I answered to the affirmation you made about french people supposed to use mostly RF modulators, that was not right.
For my part, I will have no RGB color rendering problem, I threw away all my TV sets many years ago (tired to pay annual tax for stupid programs). All my old computers use RGB CRT monitors (mainly Sony PVM series, Nec Multisync,  Commodore 1084 and of course the Texas Instruments Color Monitor PHA4100A). On all of these monitors, colors are fantastic with crisp and very stable pictures. I love the CRT rendering, inimitable, it is a part of my very first computing souvenirs 🙂
And I reserve all my LCD monitors to my modern PC and Mac computers.

But I understand that for those who haven't this kind of RGB monitors, or those who have not enough space to use them, a LCD TV set or LCD monitor using a F18A or its successor is the solution.

 

Here you can see the problem I'm talking about:

 

9L88uk8.jpg

 

Before to know about the F18A MKII I started to look for a good TRC monitor but as you can see there's no more space on the room. On the other hand as not new TRC monitors are manufactured, a second hand one is dangereous because maybe it was working for a long time and TRC life is not infinite and can have loss of quality image and performance.

 

tHh9OHi.jpg

 

I tried a components-to-VGA converter and a components-to-HDMI converter unsuccesfully because they show the same problem on the LCD monitor then, the last option for me is to install the F18A MKII. The rest of my retrocomputers have no problems using composite video or S-Video converted to VGA, but european version of TI-99/4A have not these kind of video outputs.

 

Even there are two guys that built an "small PHA2037" but as you can see in the picture of this post the problem with the LCD monitor remains, and the video is only 100% correct on TRC monitors:

 

 

Bonne journée

 

Edited by Papalapa
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On 10/8/2019 at 10:14 AM, FarmerPotato said:

That said, as a V9938 programmer from way back, I would be excited to see any of the V9938 modes in F18A mk2, but that's not matthew's goal.

I don't like "modes", mostly because they are a pain in the ass.  I don't have the luxury of the original VDP where I can just modify the video timing on a whim to suit a pixel resolution.  The original VDP could (and does) do that to support the various modes.

 

In the F18A's case, I have to make all the modes fit into a single video timing, since the actual video signal resolution and timing going to the monitor never changes; it is always [email protected]

 

Modes exist in old video chips because they were easy enough, otherwise they designers would not have included them (silicon was expensive back then).

 

If anyone is seriously interested in helping work on the HDL in the video timing area, let me know.  I would be very happy to not have to think any more about the best way to map 240, 256, and 480 pixels into formats like 480p, 720p, 1080p, etc.

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On 10/23/2019 at 1:46 PM, ja2who said:

It's been a couple of weeks, how are things coming along on the MK2?

It has been some time.  Sept and Oct have been very busy for me and I have had little time to work on the MK2.  It never goes as fast as I want.

 

The WIP is:

* Decouple the pixel generation from the video timing.  This is necessary to fix the video timing for real and support the DVI resolution of 720x480.  This will also make it easier / possible to implement other resolutions if I become crazy and decide to do some 9938 modes and such.

 

* The above also requires rewriting the sprite and tile generation modules, which is what is taking the most time.

 

* Finish the DVI encoder.

 

* Build the new prototype boards that have been sitting on my bench for weeks.

 

* Design the VGA header.

 

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On 10/28/2019 at 12:25 AM, moulinaie said:

Hi Matthew,

 

Do you remember that in an earlier version of your firmware, the F18A included a programmable timer?

My compiler MLC still supports this even if this feature disappeared.

 

Do you plan to put it back into the MK2 or should I remove everything from MLC ?

 

Guillaume.

The F18A does have a 65536-second counter with 10-nanosecond resolution, returned via 5-bytes in the expanded status register.  I was giving serious consideration to removing it though.  I don't think it has ever been used, which makes me wonder if it has any actual value.

 

Having this counter also forces me to keep the internal F18A clock at 100MHz, which is now making it hard to implement the new video timing since having a clock that is slightly higher, i.e. 102MHz would help greatly.  This is my actual motivation for removing the timer.  Optionally I was thinking about having a simpler timer, like a free-running 32-bit timer, and provide the clock frequency so the time could be derived.  This is what modern computer do.

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1 hour ago, matthew180 said:

The F18A does have a 65536-second counter with 10-nanosecond resolution, returned via 5-bytes in the expanded status register.  I was giving serious consideration to removing it though.  I don't think it has ever been used, which makes me wonder if it has any actual value.

 

Having this counter also forces me to keep the internal F18A clock at 100MHz, which is now making it hard to implement the new video timing since having a clock that is slightly higher, i.e. 102MHz would help greatly.  This is my actual motivation for removing the timer.  Optionally I was thinking about having a simpler timer, like a free-running 32-bit timer, and provide the clock frequency so the time could be derived.  This is what modern computer do.

Hi Matthew,

 

You told me that very few people were interested in it. So you can make it simplier. Imagine a 2-bytes counter that is incremented every 1/64 sec.

This is enough for the TI I think, and you can go up to 1024 sec (close to 17 minutes). For the programmer, it's very easy to use as it fits into a word and that you can shift right 6 bits to get the seconds with no intensive operations. If the counter can be read and written, the programmer can reset it to zero whenever he needs to, so you don't have to manage a complicated programmable timer with start, stop, reset functions.

 

Guillaume.

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2 hours ago, matthew180 said:

It has been some time.  Sept and Oct have been very busy for me and I have had little time to work on the MK2.  It never goes as fast as I want.

 

The WIP is:

* Decouple the pixel generation from the video timing.  This is necessary to fix the video timing for real and support the DVI resolution of 720x480.  This will also make it easier / possible to implement other resolutions if I become crazy and decide to do some 9938 modes and such.

 

* The above also requires rewriting the sprite and tile generation modules, which is what is taking the most time.

 

* Finish the DVI encoder.

 

* Build the new prototype boards that have been sitting on my bench for weeks.

 

* Design the VGA header.

 

It sounds a lot of time to carry out all this job...

 

At this point will be not possible to build a new F18A VGA batch to sell?

 

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