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 Post subject: Re: Limited Edition ColecoVision Ultimate SD
PostPosted: Mon May 24, 2010 5:52 am 
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lucifershalo wrote:
having the 128 in 1 usb cart
can you quickly explained what are the big differences between the 2?
and why should I go for the SD one?


Well, as it stands right now (features are still in development of course), the differences between the 128-in-1 and the Ultimate SD are:

128-in-1: Highest ease of use, full featured and stable Windows GUI software and drivers for WYSIWYG cartridge creation. Very easy for novice users to understand and work with.
Ultimate SD: More of a power-users type of cartridge. No GUI software required or provided, you deposit ROM images on the SD card, create the file/directory layout, etc, using your standard OS file manipulation tools. (Windows Explorer, etc)

128-in-1: Requires Windows with USB support. I've been very careful to maintain backward compatibility all the way from Windows 95 OEM up to Windows 7 x64 Ultimate, but you still need Windows.
Ultimate SD: If you can format/read/write an SD card in FAT16 or FAT32 format, you can use the cartridge. This probably includes every modern OS/device capable of formatting an SD card.

128-in-1: Plays standard sized Colecovision ROM images only, cannot support Mega-Cart or other types of ROM images.
Ultimate SD: Currently supports all the known formats including 32K, Lord of the Dungeon, Mega-Cart (Pac-Man Collection, Mario Bros, etc), and a new 512KB full read/write format.

The hardware in the Ultimate SD is also designed to be more 'future proof' than the current 128-in-1 design. Every part of the SD cart design, the CPU firmware, boot flash, menu software and board hardware can be updated by simply depositing update files on the SD card.

There are also other things, like an API for programmers to load/save game data, interact with the onboard CPU and/or SD card, etc. These bits are probably only of interest to those who want to write games/programs for the Colecovision.

Oh, and the Ultimate SD has a blinky light. Thats important. :mrgreen:

Steve


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 Post subject: Re: Limited Edition ColecoVision Ultimate SD
PostPosted: Thu May 27, 2010 1:00 am 
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Menu Software

Work is still progressing on the menu software for the cartridge.

The cartridge can display screenshots in Patcol format and manuals as standard ASCII text files.

You can display these files by selecting them directly in the menu software, but I have also integrated it so that you can automatically display the manual or screenshot for a game while doing ROM image selection.

Highlighting a ROM image and then pressing '1' on the keypad will display its screenshot, if one exists on the cart, and pressing '3' will display the manual, if it exists on the card.

I will upload a short YouTube video in a bit showing the progress on the menu software as of today.

Release

I should be able to announce details of the pre-ordering soon. There is also going to be an exciting pack-in with each SD cartridge! I should have more news on soon!

Steve


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 Post subject: Re: Limited Edition ColecoVision Ultimate SD
PostPosted: Thu May 27, 2010 1:04 am 
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 Post subject: Re: Limited Edition ColecoVision Ultimate SD
PostPosted: Thu May 27, 2010 4:29 am 

Joined: Mon May 17, 2010 3:24 pm
Posts: 2
Awesome!!!


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 Post subject: Re: Limited Edition ColecoVision Ultimate SD
PostPosted: Fri May 28, 2010 10:38 am 
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Here is some information on reading the writing to the 512KB cartridge memory from your programs.

As explained previously in the 512KB banking mode, there are bank select registers for 16KB read-only pages and 8k/8k split read/write pages.

To read from a bank it is just like any other banked cartridge like a Mega-Cart. You select the bank by touching the appropriate bank select location, the read the banked memory from the banked area at 0xC000 .. 0xFFFF

For example, to read bank zero and then bank one, you might use this SDCC code:

volatile unsigned char * bank_select_area;
volatile unsigned char * banked_memory;

//
// Assign pointer to bank select area for 16KB read-only banks
//
bank_select_area  = (unsigned char *)0xBF80;
banked_memory = (unsigned char *)0xC000;

//
// Select Mega-Cart style bank 0 @ 0xC000
//
bank_select_area[0x00] = 0xFF;

//
// Read first byte of memory in bank 0
//
some_variable = banked_memory[0x0000]


To use the read-write windows and have full read/write access to 512KB of RAM you can use code like the following:

volatile unsigned char * bank_select_area;
volatile unsigned char * banked_memory_read;
volatile unsigned char * banked_memory_write;

//
// Assign pointer to bank select area for 8Kb Read/Write banks
//
bank_select_area  = (unsigned char *)0xBFC0;
banked_memory_write = (unsigned char *)0xC000;
banked_memory_read = (unsigned char *)0xE000;

//
// Select 8k/8k split bank 0
//
bank_select_area[0] = 0xFF;

//
// Read first byte of memory in bank 0
//
some_variable = banked_memory_read[0x0000]

//
// Write first byte of memory in bank 0
//
banked_memory_write[0x0000] = 0x10;

//
// Add one to first byte of memory in bank 0
//
// Don't use an operator like memory[location]++ because it will generate a write to the read location.
//
banked_memory_write[0x0000] = banked_memory_read[0x0000] + 1;

//
// To copy memory you can use a loop or a pointer based copy library routine like memcpy
//
memcpy(banked_memory_write, some_array_in_local_ram, 0x100);


I'll post some more examples soon showing how to read and write files or blocks of RAM to and from the SD card.


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 Post subject: Re: Limited Edition ColecoVision Ultimate SD
PostPosted: Sun Jun 06, 2010 4:58 pm 

Joined: Sun Jun 06, 2010 4:54 pm
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Quote:
I will only be able accept orders for 100 carts in the pre-order, regardless of what the price might end up being. Right now I have limited time and have to put some limits on what I can produce if I want to actually get it done and in players hands before classes start again.


how could i preorder?

will you ship to Europa?

does it work at a pal machine?

your project
sounds very great"!


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 Post subject: Re: Limited Edition ColecoVision Ultimate SD
PostPosted: Wed Jun 09, 2010 10:04 pm 
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Hi!

Pre-ordering should be in a few weeks. I am waiting on the PCBs. They were supposed to be shipped to me a week ago but have been delayed.

Shipping to all of Europe will be available by Air Mail and EMS. It will work fine in PAL Colecovisions. :-)

Steve
--

baden wrote:
Quote:
I will only be able accept orders for 100 carts in the pre-order, regardless of what the price might end up being. Right now I have limited time and have to put some limits on what I can produce if I want to actually get it done and in players hands before classes start again.


how could i preorder?

will you ship to Europa?

does it work at a pal machine?

your project
sounds very great"!


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 Post subject: Re: Limited Edition ColecoVision Ultimate SD
PostPosted: Mon Jun 14, 2010 10:14 am 

Joined: Thu Jul 16, 2009 11:50 am
Posts: 6
Location: Toledo, Ohio
I wish I had thought to ask this question sooner, since you have the pcb completed now.

Would it be possible to save scores on games?

The "save game state" is awesome! I just think it would be incredible if each game binary on SD card could have a "high scores table" saved.

My guess is that this is not possible, but thought I would bring it up.


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 Post subject: Re: Limited Edition ColecoVision Ultimate SD
PostPosted: Sat Jun 19, 2010 3:24 am 
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Yurkie wrote:
I wish I had thought to ask this question sooner, since you have the pcb completed now.

Would it be possible to save scores on games?

The "save game state" is awesome! I just think it would be incredible if each game binary on SD card could have a "high scores table" saved.

My guess is that this is not possible, but thought I would bring it up.


You're right, it's not possible for a unmodified game program to save/load its high scores from the SD card. The games would need to be modified to be aware of the CPU on the SD card so they can ask it to save and restore the required areas of Colecovision RAM.

For new games the amount of code needed to add something simple like high score save/restore is very small. It may very well be possible to modify existing games to save high scores, but I'm not a ninja Z80 programmer so I wouldn't be able to do it myself. If they were 5200/Atari 8-bit games I'd take a shot at it, but my skill level with disassembling Colecovision games just isn't up to modifying every game out there to be aware of the SD carts CPU.

I should also be able to add support for future cartridges which might have I2C EEPROM for saving high score data. Luc Miron (Pixelboy) is developing such a PCB for his own Colecovision games right now. I'm going to sit down and write the I2C code for that pretty soon and if it works with his prototype I'll add support for simulating the I2C EEPROM with data from the SD card.

Steve


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 Post subject: Re: Limited Edition ColecoVision Ultimate SD
PostPosted: Sat Jun 19, 2010 5:59 am 

Joined: Sun Apr 25, 2010 5:40 pm
Posts: 8
The Ultimate SD Colecovision cartridge from Atarimax will read/write both FAT16 SD and FAT32 SDHC cards. What that means is that up to a 2GB SD memory card can be used and up to a 32GB SDHC memory card can be used in the Ultimate SD Colecovision cartridge. So officially both SD and SDHC cards are supported with the current software.

I was communicating with Steven at Atarimax in an email regarding adding support for the new SDXC cards. Currently there are 48GB and 64GB SDXC cards on the market and in the future companies plan on releasing 2TB SDXC cards. Atarimax has never tried a SDXC card in the Colecovision Ultimate SD cartridge but in theory they thought it might work at full capacity with a software update. SDXC cards use the new exFAT file system which allows for up to 2TB size SDXC cards. Steven at Atarimax mentioned that they might in the future offer a firmware update for the Colecovision Ultimate SD cartridge that would allow exFAT file support which in theory would support existing size SDXC cards and future 2TB SDXC cards.

Even if the exFAT file system with SDXC support is never added to the Ultimate Colecovision SD cartridge that would be a very small issue. Is any company or individual going to spend several years to make a game or program that takes up to 2TB's of space for the Colecovision or ADAM? I doubt anyone will even need to purchase a 64GB SDXC card for the Colecovision/ADAM. The existing FAT32 file system with 32GB SDHC support in theory will be enough space for all the games and programs that will every be made for the ADAM/Colecovsion system. I would be surprised if anyone comes close to using up all the space on a 32GB size SDHC card.

The good thing is that Atarimax might in the future add exFAT file system support and SDXC support just in case anyone wants to use up to 2TB's worth of storage.
More information on SDXC card technology can be found at the following link if anyone is interested. Windows 7 and Vista service pack 1 or later supports exFAT file system with SDXC cards. Also Windows XP service pack 2 or later supports the new exFAT file format. There are third party companies working on Linux and DOS support for exFAT also.

http://www.sdcard.org/developers/tech/sdxc/using_sdxc


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 Post subject: Re: Limited Edition ColecoVision Ultimate SD
PostPosted: Wed Jun 23, 2010 2:10 am 

Joined: Mon Apr 12, 2010 1:23 am
Posts: 15
There is absolutely no reason for anyone to need SDXC compatibility for a device like this. No one's going to use that size. Even SDHC support isn't needed for the space, but instead needed because SDHC cards are pretty much standard now. So unless SDXC replaces SDHC some time soon, I see no reason to support it.

BTW, standard SD supports up to 4GB, not just 2GB.


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 Post subject: Re: Limited Edition ColecoVision Ultimate SD
PostPosted: Mon Jun 28, 2010 8:29 pm 

Joined: Mon Jun 28, 2010 8:17 pm
Posts: 2
Hi Classics,

For the hybrid mode (RAM and ROM bankswitched), I noticed you have C000-DFFF as read, and E000-FFFF as write. Could you confirm that to be true? I'm thinking of non-SD cartridges using this scheme, and it seems natural to have write lower in memory than read, to be able to connect the appropriate address line to the RAM R/W line. That said, I see one could connect ENE0(bar) to the R/W line, as a solution that is just as simple.

Anyway, if you could confirm the order, that would be appreciated.

I'm looking forward to making an order for one of these. :)

Thanks,
5-11under


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 Post subject: Re: Limited Edition ColecoVision Ultimate SD
PostPosted: Tue Jun 29, 2010 8:21 pm 
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You are correct, its read C000 write E000.

I figured implementing it would require at least a small CPLD so I didn't give that much thought. If you are thinking of making a cart with the least amount of logic possible and that would make it easier let me know.

I've only written two programs that use the Hybrid mode and nobody else is using it yet, so now would be the perfect time to change it.

Steve


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 Post subject: Re: Limited Edition ColecoVision Ultimate SD
PostPosted: Sun Jul 04, 2010 12:05 pm 
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Update: Hardware production is under way, pre-ordering soon!

These are a lot more labor intensive and taking a lot longer to produce that I expected. Since I am doing everything myself it may take a few more weeks until I am confident that I can have them ready to ship within a month of pre-ordering.

The hardware logic, CPU firmware, boot flash, menu software, etc can all be flash upgraded from the SD card, so development on those things will continue after hardware is ready to go.

Steve

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 Post subject: Re: Limited Edition ColecoVision Ultimate SD
PostPosted: Sun Jul 04, 2010 12:11 pm 

Joined: Sat May 22, 2010 4:02 pm
Posts: 2
looks great! Are they still going to be limited? Have any idea how many you will produce? just want to make sure I get my hand on one ;)

thanks,
charles


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