Author Topic: Atari 7800 30th Anniversary?  (Read 1471 times)

Offline retromod

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Atari 7800 30th Anniversary?
« on: March 13, 2014, 08:05:21 AM »
I just read that the Atari 7800 will enter it's 30 year anniversary in june.

According to that Curl will ship the XM module to revive the homebrew scene according to an internal whispering.

I also plan to offer an enhanced Atari 7800 version. low hanging fruit from technical point of view. It may include:

1. special painting and silver switches (look and feel of the sign serie in black/white?)
2. internal PS3 bluetooth adapter for joysticks (and allowing to control the console remotely)
3. stereo/surround is deliverable already but I may release the 3D audio sound extension allowing a full blown sound experience - without changing any game!
4. pause mod via joystick for Atari 2600 and 7800 mode (does any game require both button are pushed at the same time in Atari 7800 mode)?
5. RGB output? My current testings reveals it may be possible to play NTSC AND PAL games which such device so no color issues anymore! But more after the first prototyp is available.

After review of the XM functionality there are room for similar features. A SD card slot within the console to store highscores and games for example. so an expansion port is obsolete as you are able to develop software and store files quicker and easier. This was original planned as an external device but due to european regulations it can't made economically and internally is the way to go to avoid some regulation issues. Most likely it requires an OSD (on screen display) menu which is not a problem. So you push and hold a button during switch on of the console, a menu appear and you are able to choose from the SDCARD content or change some console settings (like mono/stereo/3d audio, PS3 controller pairing, copy cartridge to sdcard etc).

Is it true that the XM expansion uses an original pokey? If so you can't sell them across the world. Because non-ROHS parts are forbidden in several countries if delivered soldered (if you deliver as extra part no problem). Reason is that pokey chips are not ROHS compliant. During import of such device the duty may catch and dump them. This is also outlined in several technical websites explaining in detail why it is not wise using non-ROHS components in your products specially if you plan to export them. It would be wise using an FPGA replacement for the pokey (which is cheaper and allow larger quantities). There were similar issues with some kickstarter projects - my boss supported a bunch of them and all the time the devices were stopped and dumped by european custom due to non-compliant regulations.

How does the highscore card works, I can not find any technical detail about it? I'll guess it must be supported by the game, right? Why not simple freeze the game at a certain point, store them to SDCARD and reload so this does not require any special programming?

It someone able to confirm the anniversary, I have not really found something on the Atari historical archives?
Anyone able to explain how the highscore card works or have a link to technical details?
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Offline TrekMD

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Re: Atari 7800 30th Anniversary?
« Reply #1 on: March 13, 2014, 10:55:21 AM »
The 7800 had more than one release date.  It was first released in the US in June 1984 (limited markets), followed by a re-release in January 1986 in the US and a 1987 release in Europe.  The XM adds RAM, uses a POKEY chip, and it also includes a Yamaha chip for better sound.  It is based on an original design by Atari and the idea is to have these extra components in one centralized unit so it is easier to make carts that take advantage of these features.  The only other way to use these is to make carts with the POKEY chips, extra RAM, etc.  The High Score functionality is, again, based on an original Atari design.  In fact, a number of original carts have the compatibility for this.  I don't know the technical aspects.  We have a thread about the XM here:  Atari 7800 eXpansion Module (XM) and there's a link to the project's page there as well with more info.  Atari Museum has more background info on the technical stuff, including some info on the High Score Cart:  The Atari 7800 ProSystem.

Going to the final frontier, gaming...

Offline retromod

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Re: Atari 7800 30th Anniversary?
« Reply #2 on: March 13, 2014, 11:12:51 AM »
Thanks for the info.

Well the big advantage by implementing features without modification requirements by software is to have the new feature without any further programming or release of software. Crystal clear picture, stereo surround and in the future 3d audio is there even with old titles. A pause function works without special programming and using a PS3 joystick including a SDCARD usage would be seamless, nothing to alter on the game itself and it is 100% compatible with consoles without that features.
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Offline TL

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Re: Atari 7800 30th Anniversary?
« Reply #3 on: March 14, 2014, 21:10:39 PM »
My 7800 wishlist would be:

  • A French RGB model.
  • To own all the amazing homebrews that have been released.
  • Get the few games that I don't have boxes for boxed.
  • Pick up a 7800XM
  • Get versions of Missing In Action and Robotron 2084 that work on PAL machines.

Offline retromod

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Re: Atari 7800 30th Anniversary?
« Reply #4 on: March 15, 2014, 00:05:09 AM »
Quote from: "The Laird"
My 7800 wishlist would be:

  • A French RGB model.
  • To own all the amazing homebrews that have been released.
  • Get the few games that I don't have boxes for boxed.
  • Pick up a 7800XM
  • Get versions of Missing In Action and Robotron 2084 that work on PAL machines.

I own already the french model but it is not the money worth. There is noise on bright fields and vertical lines (greetings to pia/maria design flaw) and without an additional mod xevious can not be played due to color rolling in the back. It suffer from the same weakness other av mods do have. Thats why i offered modified mods for atari 7800. But if my upcoming rgb implementation is successful you are able to play ntsc and pal games on one system without any color issues. I found a way to convert the signals to rgb directly and the used solution offer a pal/ntsc convertion by simple setting a trigger.

Btw i sold an atari 7800 peritel with stereo/surround in january via ebay. I tried to sell the peritel version month before without luck. Another one is in my garage for collection purpose.

I have currently about 50 atari 7800 systems on stock for upcoming mods, some of them in original package.

The sdcard solution built into the console is the first choice of most developer and collector as i have heared. Store your games on it and you have a library available without dealing with cartridges.
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Offline TL

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Re: Atari 7800 30th Anniversary?
« Reply #5 on: March 15, 2014, 18:29:16 PM »
I don't like to mod my consoles, I am a purest so keep them all original.

Offline retromod

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Re: Atari 7800 30th Anniversary?
« Reply #6 on: March 15, 2014, 18:52:57 PM »
Quote from: "The Laird"
I don't like to mod my consoles, I am a purest so keep them all original.

Well all hardcore collector i know have afull original packaged console in the garage and uses a full blown modded for gaming. Else how to connect an original console to modern tv? That does not work specially as most dumped their crt already.
http://www.konsolen-mod.de for mod showroom and configurator

 

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