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Skyfox

Ballblazer on 600XL?

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1 hour ago, DrVenkman said:

The Ballblazer cart box says it will work on all XE and XL systems.

I just tried the a8preservation dump of the 1987 cart release in Altirra.

I does not work with 16k. It (at least seemed to) work in 400/800 emulation starting with 32k.

 

49 minutes ago, ZuluGula said:

Does Sys-Check work on 16k 600XL?

Nope, it needs 64k inside the machine.

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15 minutes ago, ivop said:

I wonder how hard it would be to make a 1064 replica with SRAM. I'd say, edge connector, small PCB with 64kB SRAM and minimal logic, pass through edge. Cost at quantity of 10+ probably less than $20 a piece. Note that this is an idea, and I'm not planning on making such a device ;)

No, we can't have this. If you watch @candle video, you will see that his friend asked him exactly for the same what you want, but he said no, "I will make U1MB plus SIDE3 instead".

There's also internal, drop in 64k memory upgrade that require one wire soldered.

https://lotharek.pl/productdetail.php?id=291

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16 minutes ago, ZuluGula said:

No, we can't have this. If you watch @candle video, you will see that his friend asked him exactly for the same what you want, but he said no, "I will make U1MB plus SIDE3 instead".

But that doesn't mean we can't have this. It's just that candle says he won't provide it. Anybody else is free to design their own. The last few days I'm in the mood of posting ideas that others might pick up for a new project, or that lead to other ideas and/or solutions.

 

Quote

There's also internal, drop in 64k memory upgrade that require one wire soldered.

https://lotharek.pl/productdetail.php?id=291

The "problem" is that for some people this is already way too much. Even opening up the computer is challenging for some, let alone remove the shielding when its not screwed to the board. Then, either remove the RAM chips (hopefully socketed, if not...), or remove the resistors going to the RAM chips. But which resistors? And just cut them, leaving the pins in place? Most non-technical people have already stopped here. Then you need to lift a 40-pin chip without breaking its pins, assuming it was already socketed (or desolder, place socket, etc...), And finally one or two more wires to solder.

 

That's not really drop-in IMHO. A 1064 (clone). That's drop-in. Or plug-in, in this case :)

Edited by ivop

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The 5200 ROM space can include the $4000 to $7FFF whereas the A8's can use the two 8K areas of $8000-$9FFF and $A000-$BFFF.

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Just now, Wrathchild said:

The 5200 ROM space can include the $4000 to $7FFF whereas the A8's can use the two 8K areas of $8000-$9FFF and $A000-$BFFF.

It sounds like A8 compatibility would require the 5200 cart to be patched not only for different I/O addresses, but program code too.  Any coders up to the challenge?     

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17 minutes ago, Skyfox said:

It sounds like A8 compatibility would require the 5200 cart to be patched not only for different I/O addresses, but program code too.  Any coders up to the challenge?     

 

Doubtful.  The game already exists on the A8 natively, so no conversion is necessary.

 

If you want to find out if your 600XL is capable of running Ballblazer, grab the ROM of (specifically) the A8 cartridge version and load it in an emulator with the system memory set to 16K.  If that works, track down the cartridge on eBay or similar, or burn one from your ROM image.

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1 hour ago, Skyfox said:

Northern VA, why?

Was going to suggest mailing it to someone who can upgrade the memory for you, or find someone local to do it. 

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1 minute ago, x=usr(1536) said:

 

Doubtful.  The game already exists on the A8 natively, so no conversion is necessary.

 

If you want to find out if your 600XL is capable of running Ballblazer, grab the ROM of (specifically) the A8 cartridge version and load it in an emulator with the system memory set to 16K.  If that works, track down the cartridge on eBay or similar, or burn one from your ROM image.

The native A8 version requires 48k.  The 5200 version only needs 16k, which happens to be what I got.  Is there a noticable difference between the two?

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I never thought there would be a single actively used 600XL with neither an internal nor external (1064) ram extension to 64K left. Collecting reasons aside.

 

Seems I was wrong.

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7 minutes ago, patjomki said:

I never thought there would be a single actively used 600XL with neither an internal nor external (1064) ram extension to 64K left. Collecting reasons aside.

 

Seems I was wrong.

I bought it from Ebay a few months ago for $70.

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3 hours ago, zzip said:

I thought the 600XL could be upgraded to 64K by plugging a 1064 or equivalent into the PBI in the back?   No soldering required?

It can. But try and find a 1064 module these days.  Best doesn't have them now, I believe.  The 64K soldered upgrade is real simple.  Two wires, if I recall correctly.  Don't cancel me.

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24 minutes ago, Skyfox said:

I bought it from Ebay a few months ago for $70.

Keep in mind that I'm also the owner of an unmodified 16K 600XL when I say the following:

 

There is going to be literally zero interest in converting Ballblazer on the 5200 to run on an A8 of any memory capacity below 48K.

 

For giggles, I decided to take a look at the cartridge dump of Ballblazer currently on Atarimania (here) and compare it to the 5200 dump (here) that they also have.  Basically, the A8 dump is 64KB in size, but there's 24KB of unused space in the middle of it at $2000 through $7FFF.  This gives an overall game size of 40KB.

 

On the 5200, the dump is 32KB, which makes sense since that's what a standard 5200 cartridge maxes out at.  This is already 8KB smaller than the A8 version, so expect that things have been removed to make it fit.  There also don't appear to be any unused blocks of null or $FF values to clear out, so 32KB is what it takes.

 

There really isn't any benefit to converting a cut-down version of Ballblazer to run on a platform that already has a version with more features.

 

I get that you want it to run on a 16K system, but memory expansions for 600XLs have been the norm since the mid-'80s.  It's not realistic to expect someone to convert a game in order to run it on what's essentially an edge-case machine these days.

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45 minutes ago, Skyfox said:

I bought it from Ebay a few months ago for $70.

Could you check if Pokey Explorer runs on a real hardware with 16kB of RAM? I specifically designed this last year to be compatible with a non-upgraded 600XL, but was never able to check it on real hardware.

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2 minutes ago, ivop said:

Could you check if Pokey Explorer runs on a real hardware with 16kB of RAM? I specifically designed this last year to be compatible with a non-upgraded 600XL, but was never able to check it on real hardware.

 

Good thing @x=usr(1536) and @Skyfox protected ATARIs legacy. 😉

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Skyfox, what are your favorite games  or applications so far? You mentioned you were intrigued by the Atari’s 256-color palette...

 

As far as upgrading the machine to 64K or more, it is highly recommended but of course not required.

Edited by Sugarland

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1 hour ago, x=usr(1536) said:

Keep in mind that I'm also the owner of an unmodified 16K 600XL when I say the following:

 

There is going to be literally zero interest in converting Ballblazer on the 5200 to run on an A8 of any memory capacity below 48K.

 

For giggles, I decided to take a look at the cartridge dump of Ballblazer currently on Atarimania (here) and compare it to the 5200 dump (here) that they also have.  Basically, the A8 dump is 64KB in size, but there's 24KB of unused space in the middle of it at $2000 through $7FFF.  This gives an overall game size of 40KB.

 

On the 5200, the dump is 32KB, which makes sense since that's what a standard 5200 cartridge maxes out at.  This is already 8KB smaller than the A8 version, so expect that things have been removed to make it fit.  There also don't appear to be any unused blocks of null or $FF values to clear out, so 32KB is what it takes.

 

There really isn't any benefit to converting a cut-down version of Ballblazer to run on a platform that already has a version with more features.

 

I get that you want it to run on a 16K system, but memory expansions for 600XLs have been the norm since the mid-'80s.  It's not realistic to expect someone to convert a game in order to run it on what's essentially an edge-case machine these days.

You're talking about the size of the rom itself, which is not a problem since it's held by Unocart.  It's the ram requirement that is the obstacle and somehow different between the versions.  The 5200 can make do with 16k to run Ballblazer while the A8's need 48k for the same game.  Was the 5200 version coded more efficiently or is it missing features?

 

I don't think "zero interest" is accurate since I'm interested.  And, I bet a lot of other 16k owners would jump at the chance to finally run this classic title.  Think of the millions of poor 400/600XL users around the world who have been deprived of ball blazing, just because nobody has patched the 5200 version to run on their A8 hardware.  If you have the 1337 coding skills to solve this decades-old problem then your name will undoubtedly live on forever in the annals of Atari folklore!

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31 minutes ago, Skyfox said:

You're talking about the size of the rom itself, which is not a problem since it's held by Unocart.

 

It would be the same on a repurposed A8 cartridge PCB.

 

31 minutes ago, Skyfox said:

It's the ram requirement that is the obstacle and somehow different between the versions.  The 5200 can make do with 16k to run Ballblazer while the A8's need 48k for the same game.  Was the 5200 version coded more efficiently or is it missing features?

 

The 5200 version is the A8 version; they share the same codebase.  For differences, see the following:

 

http://www.ataricompendium.com/game_library/easter_eggs/5200/52ballblazer.html

 

31 minutes ago, Skyfox said:

I don't think "zero interest" is accurate since I'm interested.

 

Right, but whether you, or I, or anyone else with a 16K machine is interested doesn't matter.  Doing this conversion would be wasted effort because we're an incredibly small pool.

 

31 minutes ago, Skyfox said:

And, I bet a lot of other 16k owners would jump at the chance to finally run this classic title.

 

Since we're speculating, let me set odds on that now: 50:1 against.

 

31 minutes ago, Skyfox said:

Think of the millions of poor 400/600XL users around the world who have been deprived of ball blazing, just because nobody has patched the 5200 version to run on their A8 hardware.  If you have the 1337 coding skills to solve this decades-old problem then your name will undoubtedly live on forever in the annals of Atari folklore!

You're in for a long wait.  In the meantime, you may want to refer to p.59 of the following issue:

 

http://www.atarimania.com/mags/pdf/analog_no_15.pdf

 

It might give you some ideas of things to do with the interstitial time.

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@Skyfox - Lotharek sells an internal 64K RAM upgrade/replacement board.  It is super simple to install because *all* NTSC 600XLs have fully socketed motherboards and the installation requires only one wire to be soldered.  Even an amateur should be able to accomplish it with relative ease.  You might really want to consider this.

https://lotharek.pl/productdetail.php?id=291

 

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the 5200 can run the game because the CPU only addresses the ROM chip inside the cart, not the system RAM. this ROM chip permanently contains the whole game code. the CPU processes the code instructions as normal - memory locations in the code are directed to the ROM chip in the cart. Consoles dont need much system memory (RAM) because the individual cartridges provide the memory - in ROM chip form.

 

conversely, for a tape or disk game - data is slowly loaded into RAM piece by piece and the CPU then executes it from RAM.

 

i think the problem you are facing is the UNOcart (im assuming) emulates the cartridge in software i.e. it visibly appears to boot as a cart but it just actually loads the game data into RAM the same as tape or disk (albeit much quicker) and unfortunately it uses RAM locations that are beyond your 16kb limit.

what we need is someone with a 16k 600XL and an original Atari made ballblazer cart - i think it should work. i have the cart but my 600XL has the 64kb mod...!

 

i hope this makes sense 😁

 

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1 minute ago, xrbrevin said:

i think the problem you are facing is the UNOcart (im assuming) emulates the cartridge in software i.e. it visibly appears to boot as a cart but it just actually loads the game data into RAM the same as tape or disk 

That is absolutely incorrect.

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3 minutes ago, DrVenkman said:

That is absolutely incorrect

feel free to explain if you wish to help

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Just now, xrbrevin said:

feel free to explain if you wish to help

The UNO cart does not load anything into Atari RAM beyond what the emulated cartridge does itself. I have an UNO and know very well how it works. If you set it for Atari BASIC and use it with a 64K Atari, you'll see 37902 bytes free, just like built-in BASIC or an Atari BASIC cartridge. If you tell it to emulate a bankswitched cart like OSS Action!, it will look to the Atari exactly like an OSS original ROM cart. Etc.

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The 600xl memory expansion can also be done without touching the motherboard and only doing connection between legs of the chips.. If one chip die in the process (unlikely) , you just replace it. Those chips are very common and can be obtained for $5 or less. 

 

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1 minute ago, manterola said:

The 600xl memory expansion can also be done without touching the motherboard and only doing connection between legs of the chips.. If one chip die in the process (unlikely) , you just replace it. Those chips are very common and can be obtained for $5 or less. 

 

Indeed. That's exactly how I did mine, using @Mathy's website instructions to verify which pins to connect. Replace the two DRAM chips, solder three wires. Done. 

 

 

IMG_4715.JPG

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25 minutes ago, xrbrevin said:

what we need is someone with a 16k 600XL and an original Atari made ballblazer cart - i think it should work. i have the cart but my 600XL has the 64kb mod...!

I have both an un-modded 600XL and an original Ballblazer cartridge and can absolutely confirm that the cart will not run on this machine. 

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