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BIGHMW

5200/8-bit combo multicart - is one possible since they're both the same animal???

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(TO THE MODS: this topic is directed at both 5200 and 8-bit owners simultaneously and deliberately, so that's why the double-post)

 

Well fellow 5200 and/or 8-bit/XEGS owners, would it be possible to (perhaps) make a multicart what would work with BOTH 5200 AND 8-bit games in the same unit, whether it be a 5200 or an 8-bit computer/XEGS???

 

I figure that it shouldn't be a problem (except which cartridge shell to house the circuitry in) considering that both they literally run on both the same 6502 processor and utilize the same ANTIC and GTIA graphics chips, the only issue I can see is maybe the OS are different but then if Fred Quimby @batari can offer a dual multicart for 7800 owners (I also own one of those too, and a 2600 Jr.) like the soon-to-be iconic Concerto (released last year) has as it can run both 7800 AND 2600 games (even though you have to merely change the SD card, not much to it) because Concerto has dual firmware capability that allows you to run both (one or the other), then someone can come up with this....

 

.....so who's gonna do it???

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1 minute ago, Cafeman said:

Totally different cartridge slot sizes. I'd say no. 

 

That was my first thought too; but the Atarimax cartridge programmer/dumper -- which is an 8-bit product -- has adapters allowing it to work with 5200 carts, and a host of other system carts as well. So, I don't see that part as being any kind of hindrance.

 

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8 minutes ago, Cafeman said:

Totally different cartridge slot sizes. I'd say no. 

That's the only roadblock I can see, in that case just make one of each, one for 5200 owners and one for 8-bit/XEGS owners, problem solved.

 

There are about 12-15 5200 only games (mostly homebrews like Tempest and the entire Mean Hamster catalog among them) that should be available for 8-bit/XEGS owners to play and some 8-bit games that could work with the 5200 (8-bit titles like Dr. Mario and Bug Attack would work) as well as any programs that require 16K RAM or less.

 

One that work with both .bin as well as .atr, .rom, .car, and .xex files among them would be genius!!! :) 

Edited by BIGHMW

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37 minutes ago, MrFish said:

That was my first thought too; but the Atarimax cartridge programmer/dumper -- which is an 8-bit product -- has adapters allowing it to work with 5200 carts, and a host of other system carts as well. So, I don't see that part as being any kind of hindrance.

That's a separate device. The original buses are completely incompatible:

 

TOP               BOTTOM

D0                1    36    Interlock
D1                2    35    A11
D2                3    34    A12
D3                4    33    A10
D4                5    32    A13
D5                6    31    A9
D6                7    30    Audio In (2-port)
D7                8    29    A8
Enable 80-BF      9    28    Not Connected
Enable 40-7F     10    27    A7
Not Connected    11    26    +12VDC directly from the power adapter
Ground           12    25    Ground
Ground           13    24    Ground (Video In on 2-port)
A6               15    22    A4
A5               16    21    A3
A2               17    20    A1
Interlock        18    19    A0

The 5200 cartridge port is more like a poor man's PBI ;) But Audio In! 👍

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23 minutes ago, ivop said:

That's a separate device. The original buses are completely incompatible:

 

I wasn't saying anything about the other aspects of compatibility; I was just answering @Cafeman's comment about the slot sizes being a hindrance.

 

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Posting in both threads:
Besides the obvious, that being the completely different edge connector the 5200 can address more ROM than the A8 computer line.  Don't hold your breath on this one.  Second obvious issue - the ROMs are different for each machine so there would need to be a different menu for each or a way to only show compatible games.  You might as well take a multi-cart for the 5200 and a multi-cart for the A8 machine, and duct tape then together, double-ender style, because that's all any other solution will be.

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Well I tried, give me that. It's a good thing I have both already it's just that I was thinking of the graphic capabilities in both being the same that one could be pulled off but apparently not, bummer.

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1 hour ago, BIGHMW said:

Well I tried, give me that. It's a good thing I have both already it's just that I was thinking of the graphic capabilities in both being the same that one could be pulled off but apparently not, bummer.

Nothing wrong in asking, or wanting this.  In fact, you have 100% validated every Atari fan's issue with the machine.  Tat being - why did you (Atari) split the damn userbase?  We all wanted what you did back then.  At least we can have it now with decently priced flash carts for every system under the sun!

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39 minutes ago, Stephen said:

Nothing wrong in asking, or wanting this.  In fact, you have 100% validated every Atari fan's issue with the machine.  Tat being - why did you (Atari) split the damn userbase?  We all wanted what you did back then.  At least we can have it now with decently priced flash carts for every system under the sun!

 

Maybe the better suggestion is to create an adapter that would allow 5200 joysticks to be used with the 8-bit computers (what??? what in the world are you thinking!?!?) -- abomination that they are. Then the 5200 -> 8-bit conversions could updated to support it. I mean, that's all you're getting with a 5200 anyway; although I suppose you could include the gigantic 5200 trackball that most 5200 owners adore.

 

Edited by MrFish
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14 hours ago, MrFish said:

Maybe the better suggestion is to create an adapter that would allow 5200 joysticks to be used with the 8-bit computers (what??? what in the world are you thinking!?!?) -- abomination that they are. Then the 5200 -> 8-bit conversions could updated to support it. I mean, that's all you're getting with a 5200 anyway; although I suppose you could include the gigantic 5200 trackball that most 5200 owners adore.

To a certain point, I can see reasons for wanting analogue sticks on the A8, but, like I said, only to a point.  They'd really only be useful for paddle games, and unless someone was willing to modify games where analogue control might be advantageous in order to support it, the software support would be very limited.

 

IIRC, there were a handful of games BITD that supported analogue sticks, but those were, at their core, a pair of paddles being twinned together for X/Y movement.  It was essentially the Star Wars yoke approach, but with a stick instead of flight controls.  On the plus side, it did provide two fire buttons per controller, so that was nice.

 

Back to the 5200 controllers: it might be best to have a man-in-the-middle device handling the 15-pin to 9-pin conversion.  I can't see a good way to do keypad or second fire button reads otherwise, and if a digital movement simulation mode similar to the one the CX22 trak-ball used was wanted, it'd be necessary anyway.  If current draw was low enough, it might even be able to be powered from the +5V pin on the joystick port.

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No point really.  Even though the hardware is the same, for any given program you'd need 2 versions.

Generally hardware references are absolute or absolute indexed - in theory you could write a game to use indirection and be compatible with both but it'd be a chore.

Then you have the cart slot difference - in theory I guess you could have a passthrough adaptor on the 5200 where you insert the 8-bit cartridge.  You'd probably need a resident Rom on the passthru device which started up then passed control to the computer cart.

 

So, with much trouble and effort you could make a game that worked on both but the extra expense and effort wouldn't be worth it.

You'd probably need several or more games before the owner started to realise a money saving.

 

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4 hours ago, x=usr(1536) said:

To a certain point, I can see reasons for wanting analogue sticks on the A8, but, like I said, only to a point.  They'd really only be useful for paddle games, and unless someone was willing to modify games where analogue control might be advantageous in order to support it, the software support would be very limited.

 

First of all, I half jest, based on the fact that only select individuals (read: 5200 owners) are willing to go the extra mile to own a pair of (or even one) working, original 5200 joystick. I doubt very many 8-bit computer owners would be willing to splurge; and that's partly affected by -- as you say -- the limited support there would be, at least to start. The fact that code already exists in the original 5200 games themselves should make it less of a chore to graft into an 8-bit version that had support for the 5200 controllers, though.

 

I've listened to the talk about it enough over the years, and even learned some more things recently, where the 5200 to 8-bit conversions have lost subtle but important functionality by not supporting the 5200 controllers.

 

I have to admit, I'm slightly jealous at times of all the extra buttons you get with a 5200 controller. I don't feel the same way about the analogue stick, but given that we already have many options for digital sticks, it might be a nice options for now and then.

 

I wouldn't underestimate a motivated community for supporting hardware that enhances playing games. Look at the support we've now got for genesis controllers, which was close to nil up until just recently.

 

4 hours ago, x=usr(1536) said:

Back to the 5200 controllers: it might be best to have a man-in-the-middle device handling the 15-pin to 9-pin conversion.

 

This is basically what I meant by an "adapter"; but maybe even development of a hybrid 5200/digital stick would be more suited. In fact, such a device would be in demand by 5200 owners too (if it doesn't already exist... maybe it does).

 

Edited by MrFish
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7 hours ago, MrFish said:

First of all, I half jest, based on the fact that only select individuals (read: 5200 owners) are willing to go the extra mile to own a pair of (or even one) working, original 5200 joystick.

I resemble that remark :-D

7 hours ago, MrFish said:

The fact that code already exists in the original 5200 games themselves should make it less of a chore to graft into an 8-bit version that had support for the 5200 controllers, though.

Possibly, yes.  More:

7 hours ago, MrFish said:

I have to admit, I'm slightly jealous at times of all the extra buttons you get with a 5200 controller.

The thing I keep coming back to on this is that Atari chose to use additional pins to register keypad presses, and those pins only exist on the 5200.  They'd have to be somehow multiplexed onto the 9-pin port, and about the best idea I have for that is to treat them like a 2600 keyboard controller once they are.  What I don't know is if a stick, fire button(s), and a keyboard controller can all operate from one port.

 

Besides, from what I understand the titles that were ported from the 5200 to the A8 had the code used to read and process the 5200's analogue controllers largely removed and replaced with code to handle the A8's digital inputs.  Even if the 5200 stick were to somehow be used on the A8, the ported versions wouldn't know what to do with the inputs, and they'd have to be re-hacked to run on the A8 but with the original control logic modified for the adapted controller.

 

Anyway, it's likely academic.  It'd be a neat-to-have, but I can't see a ton of A8 owners clamouring for the experience ;)

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5 minutes ago, x=usr(1536) said:

and about the best idea I have for that is to treat them like a 2600 keyboard controller once they are.

This is what I had in mind also.

  

5 minutes ago, x=usr(1536) said:

What I don't know is if a stick, fire button(s), and a keyboard controller can all operate from one port.

I was already thinking along the lines of using two ports.

 

5 minutes ago, x=usr(1536) said:

Anyway, it's likely academic.  It'd be a neat-to-have, but I can't see a ton of A8 owners clamouring for the experience ;)

The suggestion was mainly aimed at augmenting -- and diminishing -- the originally proposed idea.

I personally don't see myself being too interested either. The appeal would probably only be for hardcore 5200 fans, that also already own an 8-bit computer or would be an incentive for them to get one.

 

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2 minutes ago, MrFish said:

The appeal would probably only be for hardcore 5200 fans, that also already own an 8-bit computer or would be an incentive for them to get one.

Understood, and while I certainly fall into both the 5200 and A8 camps, agreed that it's one of those things where it just seems like the appeal would be very limited.

 

Quite honestly, I'm finding that kicking around the ideas of what something like this could be and how it might work is far more interesting to me than the idea of actually being able to do this on my own machines.

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Does the Eclaire support running 5200 games? If it doesn't already, that would seem the most logical route to system unity.

 

Edited by MrFish

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2 hours ago, x=usr(1536) said:

Anyway, it's likely academic.  It'd be a neat-to-have, but I can't see a ton of A8 owners clamouring for the experience ;)

 

Not I, for sure. I despised those sticks with every fiber of my being. They were horrible!

 

Of course, there are two camps when it comes to the 5200 controllers. I think it's pretty obvious which camp I fall into. As much as I despise them, I know there are just as many that love them.

 

Edited by bfollowell

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