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BIGHMW

Can someone please port 8-bit Asteroids to the 5200 so we can have one that actually works?

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9 minutes ago, playsoft said:

Have you checked what values your controllers are returning with that cal program, if so what were they? It might be that you need to calibrate your 5200, when was the last time you opened it up and performed controller calibration? 

I actually wanted to open up my CX52 but because it's a Best Lifetime Gold one I didn't want to void the warranty on it, and, I also tried my new Best Lifetime CX24 7800 stick (through my Pixels Past/AtariAge Redemption 5200 - 7800 Edition I got almost 10 years ago), and found out the problem was not my controllers, it's the program itself, as my other Asteroids-like programs, Star Island (that you successfully converted for both @phuzaxeman and myself, thanks I still enjoy both it and Yar's Strike you also did last year), Delta Space Arena, Meteorites, and Megaoids, all run fine, everything seems normal on those ones. 

 

I also wanted to ask that since I mentioned on this thread that I would be willing to pay someone here on AA to do it, as long as it's not a lot, as I am on a budget, as we have such tremendous programming/converting talent here on AA including you BTW, that if maybe for a fee if you can fix 5200 Asteroids or just simply re-port the 8-bit version to the 5200, which ever is the easier fix, and I can provide both my PayPal address (to send the money) and also the two ROMs in question if you can do this for (not only) me but for others who might want to try it out as well. Thanks. :) 

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You don't have to open the controllers.  If there are any calibration issues with the console, they would need to be fixed inside the console, not the controllers.

 

I maintain that the problems you're experiencing can be fixed with changes to the software.  If some games work better than others with your controllers, it is because they are interpreting the controller input differently.  (For example, some games may be more "forgiving" of minor miscalibrations or accidental changes of direction because they have more of a "dead zone" at the center of the stick's range of motion to mask these changes out, or they may be correcting for them in other ways.)  These input handling routines are specific to each individual game; they are not built in to the console.  A complete conversion of the 400/800 version of Asteroids would have included new routines and controller mappings that were more appropriate for the 5200, but of course, the version of 5200 Asteroids that we have is not a complete conversion—it is a prototype, and presumably somebody at Atari didn't think the inputs worked correctly either, because it was never released.  Re-porting the 400/800 version "from scratch" would only get you another incomplete conversion, and then you'd have to tweak and fix the controls anyway, so one might as well fix the version of 5200 Asteroids that we already have.

 

(Or, take full advantage of the larger cartridge capacity of the 5200, and put that effort into creating a better version of Asteroids instead.  Remember, the 400/800 version was limited to an 8K cartridge—and within those limits, I always thought it was a decent enough approximation of Asteroids—but a version created specifically for the 5200 would not need to be constrained by those limits.  One of the reasons that 5200 Centipede is so much better than 400/800 Centipede, even on equal hardware, is that the programmers of the 5200 version had more ROM space to work with.)

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3 hours ago, jaybird3rd said:

(Or, take full advantage of the larger cartridge capacity of the 5200, and put that effort into creating a better version of Asteroids instead.  Remember, the 400/800 version was limited to an 8K cartridge—and within those limits, I always thought it was a decent enough approximation of Asteroids—but a version created specifically for the 5200 would not need to be constrained by those limits.  One of the reasons that 5200 Centipede is so much better than 400/800 Centipede, even on equal hardware, is that the programmers of the 5200 version had more ROM space to work with.)

That's exactly why @playsoft's 5200 conversion of Yar's Strike was SO much better than the original 400/800 port that @Thelen did back in 2009, as you can see in the included ROMs I am posting below in this post. You can SEE the difference between the two, also, Paul managed to iron out all of the bugs that the OG A8 version had, such as the graphic glitch with the shield pixels in the middle space behind the ion zone on the rotating levels (levels 2, 4, 6, and 8 on it) perhaps maybe he can do the same on Asteroids, at least if your theory is right like based on what he did with Yar's Strike as you can see, the extra ROM space just might do it so he wouldn't be so constrained by the limitations of the A8 port once he uploads that to convert it. We'll see.

 

But anyhow try out his wonderful version of Yar's Strike for the 5200 compared the the original 2009 A8 port for yourself and you'll see. Thanks :)  I hope Paul has his PayPal ID ready so I can maybe sweeten the deal for him to do it. It's time that the original Asteroids be done RIGHT, 4 player modes, and all.

 

 

Yar's Strike.xex Yar's Strike - 5200 Version.bin

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I'd love to see an improved Asteroids for the 5200.  Something similar to the 7800 version, complete with support for four simultaneous players in cooperative and competitive modes, and with flexible control options (joystick, keypad, etc.).  The "3D Asteroids" graphics demo that Tempest posted earlier seems to indicate that someone at Atari was thinking along similar lines.

 

(It probably couldn't be quite as colorful as Asteroids on the 7800, but that might actually be a good thing.  People who don't like the red and green asteroids in the 7800 version always say that they look like meatballs and Brussels sprouts floating in space.)

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4 hours ago, jaybird3rd said:

(Or, take full advantage of the larger cartridge capacity of the 5200, and put that effort into creating a better version of Asteroids instead.  Remember, the 400/800 version was limited to an 8K cartridge—and within those limits, I always thought it was a decent enough approximation of Asteroids—but a version created specifically for the 5200 would not need to be constrained by those limits.  One of the reasons that 5200 Centipede is so much better than 400/800 Centipede, even on equal hardware, is that the programmers of the 5200 version had more ROM space to work with.)

Honestly, ROM size never even occurred to me.  I assumed many of the early 8-bit ports were kind of weak because of inexperience on the hardware.  Were most 5200 games 16K then?

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14 hours ago, Tempest said:

Honestly, ROM size never even occurred to me.  I assumed many of the early 8-bit ports were kind of weak because of inexperience on the hardware.  Were most 5200 games 16K then?

The 5200 still got several 8K games, but I just took a quick look at my image collection in Altirra to compare the games that were released on the 400/800 and subsequently re-released in improved versions on the 5200.  Each of the games I checked seems to have gotten a ROM size increase.  For example, Centipede, Qix, Space Invaders, and Pac-Man were all 8K on the 400/800, and 16K on the 5200.  Dig Dug on the 400/800 was 16K, and 32K on the 5200*.  I can only imagine that the extra ROM space was one of the factors which made the improvements possible; as you say, I'm sure the added experience helped, too.  Both the 400/800 and (prototype) 5200 versions of Asteroids are 8K, but as we know, little about Asteroids was changed in the conversion.

 

* EDIT: 5200 Dig Dig is an interesting case.  As you documented here, the 1983 version of Dig Dug was released for the 5200 and for the 400/800, replacing the 1982 original on the 400/800.  The 400/800 versions were both 16K, yet the 5200 image that I have appears to be 32K.  (It doesn't seem to be just an overdump, either; the two halves of the image are not identical.)  I haven't looked at the image closely, so I'm not sure why the 5200 version would need to be so much larger.

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13 hours ago, Tempest said:

So you had heard about this demo then?  I've had the rom for a while now but kind of forgot about it.  I'll ask if the rom can be released or not.

i recall reading about it some years ago yeah, probably off the rumor mill page on your site funny enough. 

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15 hours ago, BIGHMW said:

I actually wanted to open up my CX52 but because it's a Best Lifetime Gold one I didn't want to void the warranty on it, and, I also tried my new Best Lifetime CX24 7800 stick (through my Pixels Past/AtariAge Redemption 5200 - 7800 Edition I got almost 10 years ago), and found out the problem was not my controllers, it's the program itself, as my other Asteroids-like programs, Star Island (that you successfully converted for both @phuzaxeman and myself, thanks I still enjoy both it and Yar's Strike you also did last year), Delta Space Arena, Meteorites, and Megaoids, all run fine, everything seems normal on those ones. 

 

I also wanted to ask that since I mentioned on this thread that I would be willing to pay someone here on AA to do it, as long as it's not a lot, as I am on a budget, as we have such tremendous programming/converting talent here on AA including you BTW, that if maybe for a fee if you can fix 5200 Asteroids or just simply re-port the 8-bit version to the 5200, which ever is the easier fix, and I can provide both my PayPal address (to send the money) and also the two ROMs in question if you can do this for (not only) me but for others who might want to try it out as well. Thanks. :) 

You open up the console, not the controllers. There are 2 adjustment pots on the 5200 motherboard, one to adjust the colour, one to adjust the controllers. 5200 owners should make themselves familiar with the controller calibration process as it will need doing at some point. You've had your 5200 for 30+ years and have never recalibrated so there's a possibility it might be out. That you don't see the issue with other similar games doesn't necessarily mean your calibration is good as you might be getting away with it on games with simple fixed thresholds but not with Asteroids which uses dynamic thresholds. Checking the values read from your controllers would indicate the state of your controller calibration.

 

I don't think it's worth doing anything with Asteroids unless you can show that your controller calibration is good. I don't mix hobby and money... you couldn't afford my rates anyway 😀

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2 hours ago, playsoft said:

You open up the console, not the controllers. There are 2 adjustment pots on the 5200 motherboard, one to adjust the colour, one to adjust the controllers. 5200 owners should make themselves familiar with the controller calibration process as it will need doing at some point. You've had your 5200 for 30+ years and have never recalibrated so there's a possibility it might be out. That you don't see the issue with other similar games doesn't necessarily mean your calibration is good as you might be getting away with it on games with simple fixed thresholds but not with Asteroids which uses dynamic thresholds. Checking the values read from your controllers would indicate the state of your controller calibration.

 

I don't think it's worth doing anything with Asteroids unless you can show that your controller calibration is good. I don't mix hobby and money... you couldn't afford my rates anyway 😀

Can you elaborate more on the console calibration?  When using the 5200 test cart, what values should I be seeing for the various directions?  

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1 hour ago, Tempest said:

Can you elaborate more on the console calibration?  When using the 5200 test cart, what values should I be seeing for the various directions?  

 

If you have a controller in port 1, and centered exactly, then the values should be 112/113 +|- for the HOR reading. the Vertical will vary from console to console I've found, but it will sometimes read around the same value or higher. But the HOR reading is what the service manual focuses on most for a centered reading.

 

I did a video on the process I use to calibrate consoles not that long ago. I go through both the official method using the loopback test board to provide static readings for adjustment and the unofficial methods as well.

 

 

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21 minutes ago, -^CrossBow^- said:

 

 

If you have a controller in port 1, and centered exactly, then the values should be 112/113 +|- for the HOR reading. the Vertical will vary from console to console I've found, but it will sometimes read around the same value or higher. But the HOR reading is what the service manual focuses on most for a centered reading.

 

I did a video on the process I use to calibrate consoles not that long ago. I go through both the official method using the loopback test board to provide static readings for adjustment and the unofficial methods as well.

 

I'll have to go through that.  I actually do have a 4 and 2 port loopback board that I could use.

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You only need the 4-port loopback. As you have to remove the top cover shell to adjust the trimmer anyway, you will find that the two port units use the exact same lower shell with all 4 slots cutout for 4 port still. Point is, the 4 port board will fit into the 2 port unit with the shell removed. And as you are only concerned with the readings for port 1 anyway, it will still work just fine. I even mention that in the video I believe.

 

 

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44 minutes ago, -^CrossBow^- said:

If you have a controller in port 1, and centered exactly, then the values should be 112/113 +|- for the HOR reading. the Vertical will vary from console to console I've found, but it will sometimes read around the same value or higher. But the HOR reading is what the service manual focuses on most for a centered reading.

 

I did a video on the process I use to calibrate consoles not that long ago. I go through both the official method using the loopback test board to provide static readings for adjustment and the unofficial methods as well.

Thank you!  I need to give this a try on my 5200 consoles.  I have a four-port loopback board, and I've done the calibration procedure as described in the manual, but BBSB in particular still gives me trouble with the directionals: depending on how they're tweaked, I can move to the left consistently but not to the right, or vice-versa.  (I'm using Best Electronics upgraded CX-52 sticks, which appear to be in perfect working order.)

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ASIDE: are there schematics for the loop-back test harness? Should be pretty easy to build one from scratch on protoboard or even design a new PCB.

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16 minutes ago, jaybird3rd said:

Thank you!  I need to give this a try on my 5200 consoles.  I have a four-port loopback board, and I've done the calibration procedure as described in the manual, but BBSB in particular still gives me trouble with the directionals: depending on how they're tweaked, I can move to the left consistently but not to the right, or vice-versa.  (I'm using Best Electronics upgraded CX-52 sticks, which appear to be in perfect working order.)

So.... in regards to BBSB, it is in my opinion, the biggest pain to get working. I will tell you that in the case of BBSB I actually seem to need to adjust the values on the HOR to about 115/116 for that game to work. And that likely should work for all other games as well.

 

What I usually do in the case of BBSB is adjust to factory, then I physically adjust the pot arm on the controller it self very slightly until I have BBSB working. It doesn't seem possible to really adjust the trimmer itself for that game alone but perhaps someone can get better luck there. But yeah to get everything working, I adjust to factory spec on the trimmer, then adjust the pot arm on the controller itself from there.

 

10 minutes ago, DrVenkman said:

ASIDE: are there schematics for the loop-back test harness? Should be pretty easy to build one from scratch on protoboard or even design a new PCB.

I've not seen schemes on the loopback directly, but there is another thread in these forums where someone was trying to do just that and I took high quality scans of my loopback board and measured all the values on the components. But really, all that is needed is a board you plug into the controller port 1 with accurate reading resistors on it to provide the static readings needed to adjust the pokey trimmer on the console.

 

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26 minutes ago, -^CrossBow^- said:

So.... in regards to BBSB, it is in my opinion, the biggest pain to get working. I will tell you that in the case of BBSB I actually seem to need to adjust the values on the HOR to about 115/116 for that game to work. And that likely should work for all other games as well.

 

What I usually do in the case of BBSB is adjust to factory, then I physically adjust the pot arm on the controller it self very slightly until I have BBSB working. It doesn't seem possible to really adjust the trimmer itself for that game alone but perhaps someone can get better luck there. But yeah to get everything working, I adjust to factory spec on the trimmer, then adjust the pot arm on the controller itself from there.

Would BBSB work better with a digital joystick using a Masterplay interface or is it one of those games that refuses to work right with it?  Being a 400/800 game originally I'd think that it was designed for regular sticks so they should work.


 

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Digital sticks work fine for BBSB or at least I didn't have any issues with that game on my 5200 using an older AA redemption adapter and Genesis 3 button pad.

 

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Speaking of BBSB, they must have known that the 5200 sticks weren't going to work for this game.  It's subtle, but if you compare the 8-bit to the 5200 version you'll see that they widened all the single block platforms to double block platforms.  I haven't gone through each level to see what else changed, but you can see what I mean in these two screenshots.

 

8-bit

https://www.mobygames.com/game/atari-8-bit/bounty-bob-strikes-back/screenshots/gameShotId,247972/

 

5200

https://www.mobygames.com/game/atari-5200/bounty-bob-strikes-back/screenshots/gameShotId,55853/

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Posted (edited)

I'm no tech guy but I'll try the trim pot on Asteroids and see what happens with the calibration, otherwise it just may simply need just a re-port/conversion of the 400/800 version, like what Star Island was, either way I hope I can get the result I originally wanted with the centering of my ship, too good of a game to let go to waste. I'll give the trim pot a look over, I hope I don't mess up my system, as it's one of those rare 2-port units with a 4-port BIOS in it.

Edited by BIGHMW

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11 minutes ago, BIGHMW said:

as it's one of those rare 2-port units with a 4-port BIOS in it.

Nothing rare about that. None of the 2 ports originally came with 4 port bios chips in them. Just means you got one where someone put a 4 port bios chip in it. You can get replacement 4 port chips made for use in the 5200 with no modification required aside from replacing out the chip. I might even still have one or 2 spare 4 port actual bios chips on hand that I've removed from dead 4 port 5200 parts donor boards.

 

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24 minutes ago, BIGHMW said:

I'm no tech guy but I'll try the trim pot on Asteroids and see what happens with the calibration, otherwise it just may simply need just a re-port/conversion of the 400/800 version.

On 7/1/2021 at 6:41 AM, Stephen said:

All it needs is a simple re-port


Can you please refrain from using  the “simple re-port” term ?

 

If you want someone to actually do this work show some courtesy and appreciation for the work, after all you are not a “tech guy” :)

 

 

 

 

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Posted (edited)
28 minutes ago, BIGHMW said:

I'm no tech guy but I'll try the trim pot on Asteroids and see what happens with the calibration, otherwise it just may simply need just a re-port/conversion of the 400/800 version, like what Star Island was, either way I hope I can get the result I originally wanted with the centering of my ship, too good of a game to let go to waste. I'll give the trim pot a look over, I hope I don't mess up my system, as it's one of those rare 2-port units with a 4-port BIOS in it.

Yeah, try out @playsoft's great conversion of Star Island, a terrific version of Star Castle he did last year that I think you guys will enjoy and want to add onto your SD cards in your Atarimax. Now it, unlike the 1982 5200 port of Asteroids, doesn't have any issues on it so I don't know why it doesn't have any control issues but yet Asteroids does for some reason.

 

But anyway enjoy Star Island, Star Castle made in 1982 by Stedek Software for the 8-bit and converted perfectly to the 5200 last year, special shout-out goes to @phuzaxeman for making me aware of this great game, we all always wished for a 5200/8-bit port of Star Castle especially since the 2600 had that brilliant one that was done a few years ago. I even reviewed it on The Atari Report when it came out last year.

 

 

 

Star Island.bin

Edited by BIGHMW

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2 minutes ago, a6502 said:


Can you please refrain from using  the “simple re-port” term ?

 

If you want someone to actually do this work show some courtesy and appreciation for the work, after all you are not a “tech guy” :)

 

 

 

 

OK I'll do that. Thanks. I'll refrain from using that term.

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1 hour ago, Tempest said:

Speaking of BBSB, they must have known that the 5200 sticks weren't going to work for this game.  It's subtle, but if you compare the 8-bit to the 5200 version you'll see that they widened all the single block platforms to double block platforms.  I haven't gone through each level to see what else changed, but you can see what I mean in these two screenshots.

I noticed that, too, and I figured that had to be the reason.

 

(It seems as if the controller issues in this game could be solved with changes to the programming.  I don't remember the controls in Miner 2049er being so picky.  If nobody else has looked into developing a fix, I might try it myself.)

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