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Team Pixelboy News Bulletin - April 14th 2019

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Interesting update: I tried Knightmare on my AtariMax SD cartridge (after making sure I'm using the same software revision that's on the buggy carts, which is indeed the very latest "fixed" version) and I couldn't get the game to crash at the second boss.

 

So Ikrananka is testing his real Knightmare cart on real hardware and he's not seeing the bug, while I do see it during my own tests with the real cart. But I can't make the game crash when I'm running the same software via my AtariMax SD cartridge.

 

I would theorize that there's some kind of subtle technical difference between the MegaCart implementation in the SD cartridge and the MegaCart I'm using for real cartridges, and this subtle difference is causing problems on certain (not all) revisions of the ColecoVision motherboard. This conclusion is arguably a bit convoluted, but it's the best conclusion I can reach given the tests that were done. So I guess all I can do is give people a refund if they want it, for those who are having problems with their Knightmare cartridge. :|

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Posted (edited)

I'm totally grasping at straws here but does the system you're testing your cart on have the centre screw installed on the motherboard and do you have good continuity between pin 13 of your CVs cartridge connector and ground. Lack of continuity here badly affects Penguin Adventure and Risky Rick so perhaps this also can also affect MegaCart games as well in different ways. Just a thought.

Edited by Ikrananka

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I'm too much of a klutz to open up my CV console without breaking something, so I'd rather not try.

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If you have a multimeter you can access both the cart connector and a ground pin on the expansion port without opening up the console.

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Posted (edited)

Seriously though, do you have another CV console you can try that cart on?

 

I'll play the game some more later this week and will report back.

Edited by Ikrananka

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Posted (edited)

Ok, I finally raise my Colecovision from it stasis to test the cart version with it white square on it. Even though I had the shield, it didn't crash when I got hit in the back. It went to game over and went to the title screen because I died to the bat storm that I have forgotten about. Letting the slimes live prevented that storm from happening.

 

I would recommend letting 5-11under or who you're comfortable to check out your Colecovision for the reason Ikrananka stated. It could affect your beta testing effort on the game in progress and can cause confusion to the programmer trying to locate the bugs.

Edited by Kiwi

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Seriously though, do you have another CV console you can try that cart on?

 

I'll play the game some more later this week and will report back.

I do have another CV I can try Knightmare with, but this cannot change the outcome of this investigation. Am I going to ask all my customers to open up their consoles to make sure they are "up to specs" for playing this game? I think not. It makes more sense to simply say "sorry, I guess your Knightmare cart doesn't work with your particular console hardware revision", and offer those who are having problems their money back. The ROM is already available for free anyway (it was released last Christmas).

 

On the other hand, I do wonder how the CollectorVision Phoenix behaves with this game. If real Knightmare carts (not running via Atarimax SD cart) work without issue for some of the people here, then perhaps it will work on the Phoenix just as well.

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I do have another CV I can try Knightmare with, but this cannot change the outcome of this investigation. Am I going to ask all my customers to open up their consoles to make sure they are "up to specs" for playing this game? I think not. It makes more sense to simply say "sorry, I guess your Knightmare cart doesn't work with your particular console hardware revision", and offer those who are having problems their money back. The ROM is already available for free anyway (it was released last Christmas).

 

On the other hand, I do wonder how the CollectorVision Phoenix behaves with this game. If real Knightmare carts (not running via Atarimax SD cart) work without issue for some of the people here, then perhaps it will work on the Phoenix just as well.

 

If someone wants to send a known bad cart to me, I can test it on the phoenix.

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If someone wants to send a known bad cart to me, I can test it on the phoenix.

I have one, obviously. :) Does coleco_master have a Phoenix in his possession? Otherwise I can just ship it to you directly. Be warned though, making it to the second boss takes some practice, because Knightmare is a tough game, especially when the game throws a flurry of bats your way from all directions.

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I do have another CV I can try Knightmare with, but this cannot change the outcome of this investigation. Am I going to ask all my customers to open up their consoles to make sure they are "up to specs" for playing this game? I think not. It makes more sense to simply say "sorry, I guess your Knightmare cart doesn't work with your particular console hardware revision", and offer those who are having problems their money back.

 

I was simply trying to help you determine if the issue perhaps lies with the console and not the cart. I made no comment regarding what you should do based on that outcome.

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I was simply trying to help you determine if the issue perhaps lies with the console and not the cart. I made no comment regarding what you should do based on that outcome.

Understood. I can't spend too much time on this because I'm busy preparing the next releases. :)

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Posted (edited)

I've wondered if it also crash at the next sprite version of the boss with that PCB? I have reached stage 7 without any crash before on the fixed version. I will try to make time to recheck it out, and finally reach stage 8 and complete the loop.

 

Understood. I can't spend too much time on this because I'm busy preparing the next releases. :)

Cool. I'm ready for it.

 

Was playing it today and couldn't even get to the second boss :mad: Will try again tomorrow .

Try to power up your speed and get the shield with the Blue P and the Light Blue P. Shoot it to make it cycle through the colors. Once you're satisfied with the speed power up, aim to get the white P. This makes you invulnerable, but you're able to shoot in this state. The red P makes you able to crash into enemies and make them explode into bits and pieces Vanguard-style(you're not able to shoot in this state), be sure you're not on the level you need to shoot to reveal a bridge to cross the water :skull: .

For weapon, I recommend getting the sword. That'll melt almost everything. You can power up your weapon twice, so you'll have to shoot the weapon orb and get the same weapon icon twice. I preferred the boomerang so if you miss, you can move to get it to hit your target on the return. Powered up boomerang let you have 3 boomerangs at a time.

 

Remember where the hidden 1ups are. Don't stop shooting so you can reveal those hidden tiles. Also, you gain 1up as you reach a certain amount of points.

The enemies group comes in 4 and 6. Sometimes, you can leave 1 linger to try to skip or delay the next wave of enemies. Good luck!

Edited by Kiwi

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I've wondered if it also crash at the next sprite version of the boss with that PCB? I have reached stage 7 without any crash before on the fixed version. I will try to make time to recheck it out, and finally reach stage 8 and complete the loop.

I marvel at your gaming talents, but you do need to let each boss kill you with his projectiles in order to check if the crash happens. ;)

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I would be surprised if there is a bug in the game, as Knightmare is something I tested extensively. And the same code was later ported for Prometheus, with added hardware scroll and all. No issues. So I agree it must be some hardware issue.

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Posted (edited)

Agreed. And it must be a pretty subtle technicality, as it doesn't happen on all consoles.

 

P.S.: Is your "upgraded" version of Knightmare compatible with the Omni/SGM2, by the way? :)

Edited by Pixelboy

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One last question. Did you test the game just with the PCB? I do recall you stating having to shave some of the plastic before.

 

I admit I am worried since I am a programmer and I don't want my games to bug out due to hardware issue. My the game I just finished is a mega-cart so that's something I can't test on my system on an actual half-mega cart PCB. And also, how to get around the hardware issue via software.

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Posted (edited)

I tested with fully-assembled carts.

 

I believe this is a bug of the one-in-a-million kind. You need to have some specific code doing specific things at a specific time to make the software crash and reset. This is the first time I've ever seen something like this, so I'd say the same problem popping up in another completely different MegaCart game is rather unlikely.

Edited by Pixelboy

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If someone wants to send a known bad cart to me, I can test it on the phoenix.

 

I can ship you my cart or I could try it on my Phoenix assuming I have the latest version. (of the PHX, that is)

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Posted (edited)

 

I can ship you my cart or I could try it on my Phoenix assuming I have the latest version. (of the PHX, that is)

I sent you the latest bit file, so yours should be fine to test. Although even an older version should still be fine for testing. Edited by Bmack36

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Posted (edited)

Quick (yet important) update: A problem has been encountered with cartridges of The Cure (it's the old works-on-AtariMax-cart-but-not-on-real-carts problem) and it's currently being investigated. As a result, I've contacted all the people who pre-ordered the new games except for The Cure, and the majority of those orders shipped earlier today. Once the issue with The Cure is resolved, I will assemble the carts and honor the rest of the recorded pre-orders.

 

All this to say that Uridium, QBIQS, Booming Boy, Multiverse and The Cure have been moved from the "Ongoing Projects" to the "Completed Projects" section of teampixelboy.com. Perhaps I shouldn't have moved The Cure just yet, since copies are not quite ready to ship, but oh well, it's no big deal. :)

 

P.S.: By the way, TPR, were you able to give your Knightmare cartridge a kick in the tires on the Phoenix? :)

Edited by Pixelboy
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Ok, seems like all the mega-cart games you have won't work correctly with your Colecovision. Can you pull out your other one and retest the games again? It seems more like a hardware problem than software problem. The link Ikrananka provided explain the problem and have a solution.

The problem games I recall, is Opcode Penguin Adventure(which resets after starting), and Zanac(which colliding with a power-up will produce a black hole crash.). Which I believe that it failed to switch bank.

 

One thing I'm not sure if Atarimax Ultimate SD pcb is built differently from the half-mega cart pcb. Or do the pcb need to be remade so it doesn't use the ground pin to switch bank or something.

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The Cure just had start-up issues, such as not resetting the sound chip... things that the Atari-Max and emulators don't always react the same with.

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The Cure just had start-up issues, such as not resetting the sound chip... things that the Atari-Max and emulators don't always react the same with.

I'm afraid the boot issues have not all been resolved. At first, I thought the game froze at boot only on the ADAM (which is what led me to do a quick survey among those who pre-ordered The Cure) but it turns out that it also freezes up on the ColecoVision whenever the reset button is pressed.

 

This is obviously not acceptable, so I now have to officially postpone the release of The Cure until this issue has been successfully resolved. I moved The Cure from the "Completed Projects" back to the "Ongoing Projects" section of teampixelboy.com as a result.

 

For the short term, I will be going forward with the 4 other games which are ready to ship, namely QBIQS, Multiverse, Booming Boy and Uridium.

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