[Coladam] Coladam Digest, Vol 88, Issue 9

Jim Notini jnoti2 at comcast.net
Wed Oct 24 07:40:31 CEST 2012


Eduardo,

While I commend your incredible vision concerning this new and improved CV 
idea, I really do fear that there will be a VERY limited market for such an 
item seeing as the retrogaming market for the CV, and especially the ADAM, 
is very small already. Even with full backwards compatibility with the 
current CV library and controllers (Roller Controller with it's odd-ball 
power adapter would have to be supported as well via an adapter or the 
inclusion of a compatible port on the new CV that would act as a 
pass-through to the new power supply), a greatly enhanced CV as you have 
listed out would probably draw the interest of only the hardcore CV fans and 
a small amount of casual CV fans... especially in the price range of 
$150-$175. It's not so much that I am against the idea, so much as I would 
be very fearful of the amount of time and money that you would have to 
invest in such a project. It's a huge risk in my opinion, not the 
development of it because I am sure that you could pull it off, and I 
commend you for even considering it.

Some things that come to mind concerning all the suped-up specs of this 
proposed new CV or CV2...

- while all the spec improvements are awe-inspiring, without a library of 
games that take advantage of them and a group of programmers lined up to 
pump games out, it could be a tough sell except for the fact that it would 
function as a perfect replacement to the aging CV. I know you would have a 
couple game ready by the time of launch, but how many other programmers 
would be willing to write games for it especially seeing as there has only 
been one programmer to date, besides yourself, willing to develop a MegaCart 
game in all the years that it's been available although 2 more (Nanochess 
and Mystery Man) are close to having their MegaCart games released. Aside 
for the fact that the CV2 would be backward compatiible with the CV, I would 
be very weery of purchasing it with only one person supporting it with new 
games that take advantage of it's enhanced hardware features. Even then, I 
don't know how interested I would be in these "improved" games seeing as 
they just wouldn't be the CV style and feel anymore, it would be more on the 
lines of MSX2, Amiga, ST, Super NES or Genesis.

- If I or someone else wanted a vastly improved gaming system, wouldn't it 
be more logical to just pickup a SuperNES or Genesis at ridiculously low 
prices and then have access to either of those system's game libraries which 
number in the 1000s. Most loose carts and even CIB can be had for dirt cheap 
and then there is the option of using their versions of MultiCarts / 
Everdrives. Again, because of the easy availability of all these "newer than 
CV" retro systems, it could prove to be extremely hard sell for a CV2. The 
main advantage the CV2 would hold is compatbility with all existng CV warez, 
which leads me to believe that a more simple design concentrating on the 
improving the CV's main weaknesses of Video Output, Power Supply, Controller 
ICs, overall aging of components, etc.would be the more feasible way to go 
either as a replacement board or as a new system.

One example that comes to mind is the F18A by Matthew Haggerty. I guess I 
should re-read all the enhancements that it provides before using it as an 
example, but it seems to me that the only function it will ever provide when 
installed in a CV or ADAM is improved video output via VGA. Will any CV 
programmers support it and it's enhanced capabilities especially seeing that 
maybe ten CV owners have purchased one and I know with 100% certainty that 
there will not be any ADAM specific software written to take advantage of 
it's features especially seeing as I only know of one person, Tempest, that 
has one.

As far as the listed ADAM enhancements,  very cool to even consider them, 
but all of these proposed enhancements like 16Mb RAM, Ethernet, etc. would 
more than likely go unused. It's actually pretty awesome to even consider 
having such things available on the ADAM, but again, when it all boils down 
to it, the average person in the retro scene just want to play games on all 
this old gear, not perform any serious computer tasks, and any prospective 
new hardware should focus on making this a possibility. So what the ADAM 
World really needs most is an ADAMnet SD Drive like the one developed by 
Else a couple years ago but that uses a menu program to control mounting and 
unmounting of Disk/DDP Image Files versus Else's method of using DIP 
Switches.

Whatever route you decide to take, I know the end result will be an amazing 
product and I wish you the best of luck. Maybe I am just too cautious when 
it comes to matters like this or prefer to keep things simpler.


Jim


----- Original Message ----- 
From: "Eduardo Mello" <eduardo at opcodegames.com>
To: <coladam at adamcon.org>
Sent: Tuesday, October 23, 2012 10:49 PM
Subject: Re: [Coladam] Coladam Digest, Vol 88, Issue 9


> Jim,
>
> Now how about something a little more advanced than that. How about an
> improved ADAM.
> Because once the SGM is out, I was planning to start working to on an
> improved ColecoVision. So we would expand on that and have an improved
> ADAM based on the new CV architecture. Of course we would need to add
> ADAMnet, which I am not totally familiar with, but I guess that can be
> emulated by a large CPLD.
>
> For the new CV I am planning a Z80 at 7.14MHz, with software
> selectable clock, a V9958 for video, which is TMS9928 compatible but
> offers a number of interesting improvements specially for computer
> applications. It has four new bitmap modes, maximum resolution of
> 512x424 interlaced, 256 simultaneous RGB colors on screen, and a 80
> columns text mode. 16 programmable color palettes from 512 colors on
> all modes, hardware scroll. It also offers a special variation of the
> 256 color modes where we can have 19,000 colors on screen, using YJK
> encoding (a kind of JPEG variation). The V9958 also offers a blitter,
> like some 16 bits from the 80s.
> In addition to that a DMA and interruption controllers. And a couple
> of new sound chips, the extra PSG from the SGM + a YM2151, awesome for
> music.
>
> For the ADAM variation we would add a RTC, a more flexible and
> powerful MMU (perhaps allowing 16MB of RAM to be mapped), a few on
> board connection ports like serial and parallel, and of course
> ADAMnet. And was you mentioned, SD. Perhaps even ethernet, I know that
> you can buy an ethernet controller those days that even includes a
> TCP/IP stack, so you don't need to implement that by software, which
> would be very inefficient anyway using a Z80.
>
> So it would still keep the retro flavor of the original, but expand on
> many areas. Of course I would need help with the base software stuff,
> like OS, BIOS, etc.
>
> But I believe that with good planning it would be possible.
>
> Eduardo
>
> On Tue, Oct 23, 2012 at 9:38 PM, Jim Notini <jnoti2 at comcast.net> wrote:
>> That could be a tall order to accomplish, Shon, to emulate thru the 
>> AtariMax cart.
>>
>> Actually, something on the lines of Opcode's upcoming SGM might be easier 
>> seeing as it's " BASICALLY " (and I say this very lightly as I don't have 
>> the hardware skills to know for sure) a very scalled down Expansion 
>> Module #3 ADAM Logic Board that retains the onboard 32K of RAM, but adds 
>> an additional sound chip.
>>
>> What could be a very interesting project for someone with the abilities 
>> such as Opcode would be to expand upon the SGM and add the necessary 
>> elements of the ADAM Computer (ADAMnet, E.O.S., I/O, 96K of RAM (32K 
>> standard plus 64K expanded to cover programs that require expanded 
>> memory), etc. and do away with items that wouldn't be necessary such as 
>> the Digital Data Drives, BUT replace them with an ADAMnet compatible and 
>> built-in SD Drive. So in essense, you have a miniaturized Expansion 
>> Module #3 (probably could be the size of the originally planned Coleco 
>> SGM) with the additional sound chip that Opcode's SGM provides that would 
>> install in the CV's Expansion Bus. Again, I'm no hardware guru, but it 
>> probably could even be powered by the CV Power Supply. Seeing as this 
>> dream configuration would contain the ADAMnet communications protocol, 
>> one could even connect an ADAM Keyboard and Disk Drive to it as long as 2 
>> ADAMnet ports where provided as well.
>>
>> Something like this could be very enticing for current CV owners who 
>> would have all the benefits of Opcode's SGM along with having a nearly 
>> complete ADAM (everything someone would want) without the space drawback 
>> and then have access to all ADAM software via the SD Drive and disk 
>> images. While there are a lot of dudes among the ADAM Homebrew software, 
>> there are indeed enough quality titles that could make this a worthwhile 
>> project as well as all the Coleco made ADAM software.
>>
>> Also, if an SD Drive could be developed in the manner mentioned above, it 
>> could be offered as an individual product as well for those that own an 
>> ADAM.
>>
>> Kinda reminds me of a series of articles that Barry Wilson used to write, 
>> "What the ADAM World Really Needs...".
>>   ----- Original Message -----
>>   From: Kevin Powers
>>   To: Jim Notini
>>   Cc: coladam at adamcon.org
>>   Sent: Tuesday, October 23, 2012 6:50 PM
>>   Subject: Re: [Coladam] Coladam Digest, Vol 88, Issue 9
>>
>>
>>   I would love to have access to any of the below!
>>
>>
>>
>>   On Tue, Oct 23, 2012 at 6:19 PM, Jim Notini <jnoti2 at comcast.net> wrote:
>>
>>     Back in the day, late 80's and early 90's, Jim Walters of Walters 
>> Software Co. started producing cartridges for use with the ADAM Computer. 
>> His initial cartridge release was the "SmartDSK Cart", which was a set of 
>> ramdisk utilties, later he drastically updated this cart and changed the 
>> name to "ADAM's DeskTop" and also made it available on a Prom Chip which 
>> could be installed in an open socket on the M.I. Parallel Interface Card. 
>> He also developed a cart called "SmartMATE", which was for use with the 
>> original MFM (and RLL ??? ) line of M.I. Hard Disk Drives... I don't 
>> think that he ever updated this Hard Drive utility for use with M.I.'s 
>> later line of IDE Hard Drives, but if he did, then all we need to do is 
>> track down one of these carts and dump it to a rom image file and then 
>> place on either the AtariMax 128-in-1 USB or Ultimate SD MultiCarts to 
>> use with ADAMcon's new IDE/CF package.
>>
>>     Seeing as Jim Walters spent all the time and effort to get setup to 
>> produce cartridges, he also made available a service to place numerous 
>> ADAM programs onto cart as a special order service. There were 
>> limitations as to what could be placed onto a cart and the program had to 
>> be 32K or smaller... SmartBASIC v1.0 was one of these program that could 
>> be placed onto cart and numerous copies were sold although I haven't seen 
>> one become available since getting back into the scene in late 2009.
>>
>>     Probably the only people that might have some of these different 
>> carts are ADAMcon and Rich Clee seeing as they were smart enough to keep 
>> there original collections all these years as well as acquire numerous 
>> systems over the years from people looking to find a good home for them 
>> when they didn't need them anymore.
>>
>>     I've been meaning to send Jim an email to discuss some things and now 
>> I have even more reason to do so.
>>
>>     Jim
>>
>>
>>
>>     ----- Original Message ----- From: "Kevin Powers" <kjpmail at gmail.com>
>>     To: <coladam at adamcon.org>
>>
>>     Sent: Tuesday, October 23, 2012 4:10 PM
>>     Subject: Re: [Coladam] Coladam Digest, Vol 88, Issue 9
>>
>>
>>
>>       What's this about a SmartBASIC boot cartridge?  And where do I get
>>       one?  And how much does it cost?  And can its ROM be used via the
>>       Atarimax Ultimate SD cart... when/if I get one?
>>
>>
>>
>>
>>         Date: Tue, 23 Oct 2012 04:16:34 GMT
>>         From: "shonmccallum at juno.com" <shonmccallum at juno.com>
>>         Subject: Re: [Coladam] Coladam Digest, Vol 88, Issue 7
>>         To: coladam at adamcon.org
>>         Message-ID: <20121023.001634.21103.3 at webmail08.vgs.untd.com>
>>         Content-Type: text/plain; charset=windows-1252
>>
>>         The Atarimax Ultimate SD cartirdge could be used as a boot 
>> cartridge if someone spends the time to do so. Just like the old 
>> SmartBasic and Walters EOS boot cartridges.
>>
>>
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>>
>>
>>
>>
>>
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