Retro Video Gamer

Retro Gaming => Homebrew Chat => Topic started by: TrekMD on October 05, 2012, 22:15:14 PM

Title: Atari 7800 eXpansion Module (XM)
Post by: TrekMD on October 05, 2012, 22:15:14 PM
So, I have mentioned the XM several times and Shadowrunner was asking what it is. I thought it would be a good idea to start a separate thread for it, so here it is. Full details and progress about the project can be found here (http://http). Essentially it is a module that is attached to the cartridge port of any 7800 console and which includes a POKEY chip, a Yamaha chip, additional RAM, and ports for a keyboard. This allows for enhanced games to be made for the system. The specs are based on the original module Atari intended to release for the system. If you are wondering why this is being done it is because certain 7800 games had additional hardware in the carts (extra RAM or a POKEY chip, for example) which added to the cost of the games. By having this module, the need for having carts with additional hardware is negated as all the extra hardware is in the eXpansion Module itself. Game developers just need to access it through the XM to make exhanced games. Several games are in development already and I started a thread about Donkey Kong POKEY (http://http) as an example.

(http://www.atarimuseum.com/videogames/consoles/7800/expansion/a78xm_box%20mockup_1.jpg)
(http://www.atarimuseum.com/leg/storefront/images/7800exp2.jpg)
(http://www.atarimuseum.com/leg/storefront/images/7800xm4.jpg)
(http://www.atarimuseum.com/videogames/consoles/7800/expansion/photo.JPG)
(http://www.atarimuseum.com/videogames/consoles/7800/expansion/xegs_demo.jpg)
Title: Re: Atari 7800 eXpansion Module (XM)
Post by: Shadowrunner on October 05, 2012, 22:32:30 PM
Wow, very impressive and professional looking.
Thanks for the info Trek.
Title: Re: Atari 7800 eXpansion Module (XM)
Post by: TrekMD on October 05, 2012, 22:35:08 PM
Quote from: "Shadowrunner"
Wow, very impressive and professional looking.
Thanks for the info Trek.

Absolutely!  It was overdue having something posted about it here.  :)
Title: Atari 7800 eXpansion Module (XM)
Post by: zapiy on October 05, 2012, 22:45:37 PM
This is fantastic to see. So much development out there for the retro scene.
Title: Re: Atari 7800 eXpansion Module (XM)
Post by: TL on October 05, 2012, 22:47:58 PM
Once I have the money I will be getting one of these!  8)
Title: Re: Atari 7800 eXpansion Module (XM)
Post by: onthinice on October 06, 2012, 03:46:23 AM
Good to see this is getting closer to completion.
Title: Re: Atari 7800 eXpansion Module (XM)
Post by: TL on October 08, 2012, 16:25:40 PM
[align=center:30foctak]Here is a look at a few of the XM games being developed:

(http://atariage.com/features/shows/cge2010_preview/images/AppleSnaffle_Shot_2.png)
Apple Snaffle

(http://www.atariage.com/forums/uploads/monthly_08_2010/post-21935-12806221582.png)
Dungeon

(http://www.atariage.com/forums/uploads/monthly_03_2010/post-1787-126830865206.png)
Frenzy

(http://www.atariage.com/forums/uploads/monthly_01_2011/post-21935-129434831127.png)
Fruitarian

(http://www.atariage.com/forums/uploads/monthly_01_2010/post-21935-126416530218.gif)
Outpost 23

(http://www.atariage.com/forums/uploads/monthly_10_2009/post-21935-125699707203.gif)
Halloween

(http://www.atariage.com/forums/gallery_ips/1178784781/gallery_4750_216_5723.png)
Pokey Kong[/align:30foctak]
Title: Re: Atari 7800 eXpansion Module (XM)
Post by: Alberto 2K on October 08, 2012, 20:53:27 PM
Some of those pics are very nice!

Halloween looks like an Atic Atac kind of game, I loved it when I was a kid.

I thought the XM was already finished and released.. The wait must be hard seeing promising games like these!
Title: Re: Atari 7800 eXpansion Module (XM)
Post by: TrekMD on October 08, 2012, 20:55:31 PM
Not released yet.  I'm hoping it is out before X-mas!
Title: Re: Atari 7800 eXpansion Module (XM)
Post by: TL on October 08, 2012, 21:05:35 PM
Quote from: "TrekMD"
Not released yet.  I'm hoping it is out before X-mas!

Should that not be XM-as  ;D
Title: Re: Atari 7800 eXpansion Module (XM)
Post by: TrekMD on October 08, 2012, 21:06:26 PM
Quote from: "The Laird"
Quote from: "TrekMD"
Not released yet.  I'm hoping it is out before X-mas!

Should that not be XM-as  ;D

LOL  No, that will make X-mas into XM-as if it does make it by then! 
Title: Re: Atari 7800 eXpansion Module (XM)
Post by: Alberto 2K on October 08, 2012, 21:28:27 PM
At least there is a bunch of games in development that looks nice, I think the XM is going to be a great upgrade for the 7800.
Title: Re: Atari 7800 eXpansion Module (XM)
Post by: TrekMD on December 01, 2012, 01:19:49 AM
An updated was posted yesterday regarding the XM:

NOV 29th - Design is locked down.   No further changes, or modifications whatsoever.   With the holidays coming, I will begin to order in the new boards.   Mark and I will implement the firmware and after the New Year I will prepare the workshop for assembly, and begin to build out the XM's to begin shipping January 30th.  So this is it, no more changes, no more attempts at further compatibility with any further games, the design is locked down and now its time to get past the holiday madness and focus on preparing to build XM's.   I should be able to do 5-6 daily and get them out to first ordered first and go through the list.  I will email people in batches to verify addresses, if I don't get a reply back, they get bumped to the next batch and if I still don't hear I'll keep bumping them until I'm at the end of the list and if I have to start making phone calls or posting on Atariage asking if anyone has heard from such and such a person, I will but I'm not holding anything up any further, time to move forward, everyone has waited long enough and too much time has been invested into this project.

So, now we have a shipping date!  Looking forward to it!
Title: Re: Atari 7800 eXpansion Module (XM)
Post by: zapiy on December 01, 2012, 14:44:22 PM
Are you getting one fella?
Title: Re: Atari 7800 eXpansion Module (XM)
Post by: TrekMD on December 01, 2012, 15:43:13 PM
Quote from: "zapiy"
Are you getting one fella?

Sure thing!  I'm hoping to be in that first batch that ships in January!  :)
Title: Re: Atari 7800 eXpansion Module (XM)
Post by: TrekMD on January 05, 2013, 20:59:34 PM
Well, I figured I'd post an update on this.  The XM is delayed again as Curt is having health issues.  One of his heart valves is not functioning properly and he needs surgery for it.  Apparently they are tying to do a less invasive procedure which will be helpful for his recovery.  What this means is that the January 30th deadline will be missed.  Health comes first, so we can just wish Curt well with his procedure.  :)
Title: Re: Atari 7800 eXpansion Module (XM)
Post by: Cryptic33 on March 05, 2013, 21:56:10 PM
Very impressive and makes me realise I have found the right forum. As mentioned by others, the screen shots are very good. I want to dig out my XE machine now ;)
Title: Re: Atari 7800 eXpansion Module (XM)
Post by: TrekMD on March 05, 2013, 22:59:48 PM
Quote from: "Cryptic33"
Very impressive and makes me realise I have found the right forum. As mentioned by others, the screen shots are very good. I want to dig out my XE machine now ;)

Glad to have you here.  Enjoy!
Title: XM
Post by: TrekMD on March 20, 2013, 01:05:54 AM
Quote from: "The Laird"
You can get Beef Drop and Circus carts with POKEY chips in them though, I have one!

The whole point of the XM is adding the POKEY and RAM which up until now people have had to add to carts themselves. This has made games more expensive and POKEY chips and the right RAM chips are getting scarce now. So the XM isn't really doing anything that 7800 games were not already doing, Atari did plan to actually make an XM back in the day anyway, this XM mostly follows the original plan.

What he said.  :)  The XM stops people from having to cannibalize the existing carts with POKEY chips or extra ram or both. 
Title: Re: XM
Post by: onthinice on March 20, 2013, 12:43:43 PM
Rich kids get the XM. I think DavyK has hit it on the head. Can the 7800 homebrew community support both or will this cause a riff and make the 7800 implode on itself?

With new next gen consoles coming plus the OUYA, I can see some gamers having to choose between retro consoles and modern instead of both.
Title: Re: XM
Post by: TL on March 20, 2013, 12:45:04 PM
Quote from: "onthinice"
Rich kids get the XM. I think DavyK has hit it on the head. Can the 7800 homebrew community support both or will this cause a riff and make the 7800 implode on itself?

The 7800 scene are embracing it already  8)
Title: Re: XM
Post by: onthinice on March 20, 2013, 12:47:33 PM
I wonder how many 7800 owners will buy?
Title: Re: XM
Post by: TL on March 20, 2013, 12:49:39 PM
Quote from: "onthinice"
I wonder how many 7800 owners will buy?

They already have massive pre-orders
Title: Re: XM
Post by: onthinice on March 20, 2013, 12:50:19 PM
Thousands or millions of pre-orders?
Title: Re: XM
Post by: TL on March 20, 2013, 12:51:40 PM
Quote from: "onthinice"
Thousands or millions of pre-orders?

This is the Atari 7800!

We are talking hundreds I would have thought. A large amount of the user base anyway.
Title: Re: XM
Post by: onthinice on March 20, 2013, 12:56:49 PM
Thanks. Sadly, I will not be one of them. Maybe next Christmas!
Title: Re: Atari 7800 eXpansion Module (XM)
Post by: TrekMD on March 20, 2013, 22:25:47 PM
Since the topic of discussion became the XM, I moved the posts about it from the Let's Compare Burger Time thread to this thread. 

And yes, there are hundreds of XM units already presold.  I think the preorder has sold out as well.
Title: Re: Atari 7800 eXpansion Module (XM)
Post by: TL on May 28, 2013, 22:58:51 PM
Latest update:

May 27th - As most have heard, I'm finally feeling better and I've gone back to work on the XM, sadly my partner on this project - Mark (Groovybee) has moved onto some other work and is no longer involved in the XM it would seem.   Mark has been great, he's been a real champion in helping on this project, but it has been a very long process and we all do these things for the love of the hobby, no one is obligated to stay on a project.   However the Rev 3 design was based on idea's and features Marked wanted to incorporate into the XM design, and the BIOS is all Mark's work.   Without Mark's involvement I cannot implement the logic he wanted to put into the design since I don't know what he wanted to lay it out as nor where he wished to tie in. Also some of the features may have required a further modified BIOS to support these features.  I am not a 7800 Coder and I can't write the BIOS.   Mark also has all of the sources to the BIOS so I couldn't alter it anyway.   So I have decided on a compromise - I am going to take many of the benefits from the Rev 3 designs, go back to the Rev 2 which was a working platform and incorporate those Rev 3 improvements where feasible and then use the last stable BIOS Mark had delivered for the project and put everything together.   Perry has a friend who is an Analog Audio guy looking over the Yamaha portion of the XM schematics to see if he can fix some of the shortcomings with the design.

So basically the final design will be a Rev 2.5 design.   I've also decided that once the XM's are released I am putting all of the schematics into PD so those who'd like to tinker, hack and improve upon the XM design.  Perhaps if Mark decides to get back involved in 7800 development at a later time, maybe he will release the BIOS as PD, but that is solely his decision and I would respect either way he would wish to go with that.  My releasing of the schematics doesn't obligate him to release his BIOS.   So I've started working on wedging the 68Pin 1504AS back into the Rev 3 boards, and re-routing the traces and removing all of the additional Bus partitioning and secondary Address Bus lines out of the design and getting to a Rev 2.5 'Hybrid' design which will be functional and do what was initially intended before feature-creep added to the design.

I will post more info in 2 weeks, I'll also see about bringing a working XM to the Too Many Games show June 14-16th in Pennsylvania.
Title: Re: Atari 7800 eXpansion Module (XM)
Post by: Shadowrunner on May 29, 2013, 14:59:26 PM
Doesn't sound like the best news so hopefully this gets sorted out and finished.
Also hope they still plan to produce more units then just the pre orders. I'd been thinking about ordering one but I see the paypal link on the XM site is gone now so looks like I missed out. Hopefully I can still get one when they're finished.
Title: Re: Atari 7800 eXpansion Module (XM)
Post by: TrekMD on May 31, 2013, 03:41:18 AM
Hopefully things get worked out and we get a unit with the working software as version 2.5, as Curt is calling it.  Not sure why Mark decided to stop supporting this but he has been very busy developing games for the Intellivision of late.  Whatever the reason, it certainly adds another wrinkle to this. 
Title: Re: Atari 7800 eXpansion Module (XM)
Post by: zapiy on May 31, 2013, 17:25:41 PM
Sad news but we all know that this hobby of ours is very time consuming and sometimes something has to give.

Best wishes to all.
Title: Re: Atari 7800 eXpansion Module (XM)
Post by: TL on May 31, 2013, 17:37:07 PM
Quote from: "TrekMD"
Hopefully things get worked out and we get a unit with the working software as version 2.5, as Curt is calling it.  Not sure why Mark decided to stop supporting this but he has been very busy developing games for the Intellivision of late.  Whatever the reason, it certainly adds another wrinkle to this.

I think the answer is probably pretty obvious. Especially when you look at the recent replies in that thread on AA.
Title: Re: Atari 7800 eXpansion Module (XM)
Post by: TrekMD on June 01, 2013, 04:16:38 AM
Quote from: "The Laird"
Quote from: "TrekMD"
Hopefully things get worked out and we get a unit with the working software as version 2.5, as Curt is calling it.  Not sure why Mark decided to stop supporting this but he has been very busy developing games for the Intellivision of late.  Whatever the reason, it certainly adds another wrinkle to this.

I think the answer is probably pretty obvious. Especially when you look at the recent replies in that thread on AA.

I haven't been able to read much of anything since I'm still on vacation and can just read bits and pieces.  :)  I'll have to check out the thread on AA.
Title: Re: Atari 7800 eXpansion Module (XM)
Post by: TrekMD on June 17, 2013, 02:00:43 AM
Curt posted a video with a demo of an XM game that I think a lot of people will like.  Take a look...

[align=center:26p7qwzj]icy demo 15JUN13 (http://http)[/align:26p7qwzj]
Title: Re: Atari 7800 eXpansion Module (XM)
Post by: zapiy on June 17, 2013, 13:19:36 PM
Sweet..
Title: Re: Atari 7800 eXpansion Module (XM)
Post by: Alberto 2K on June 18, 2013, 11:32:57 AM
That is a big character! Also the music sounds nice, the XM promises cool games! :)
Title: Re: Atari 7800 eXpansion Module (XM)
Post by: TrekMD on July 20, 2013, 22:19:37 PM
Curt just posted another udpate:

Just wanted to check in with everyone, say hi and let everyone know, things are still progressing along with the XM's ...  most of you saw it was demo'ing at Too Many Games last month and it had a nice selection of XM titles showing off the features of the XM's...

Things are progressing forward, going a nice and steady, once something big to announce is ready I'll make a more substantial update, but just wanted to let everyone know that things are moving along.


Curt
Title: Re: Atari 7800 eXpansion Module (XM)
Post by: 64bitRuss on July 21, 2013, 14:24:38 PM
I have one preordered for a couple of years. I'm going to be moving in a few months and am actually worried about my pre-order, because when I placed a pre-order it was with legacy engineering, and then Curt up and made that 'business' website straight up vanish from the internet. So all my pre-order email confirmations and receipt are with some defunct website and I have no way to update my account or anything when I will eventually have a new address.
Title: Re: Atari 7800 eXpansion Module (XM)
Post by: TrekMD on July 21, 2013, 15:03:20 PM
Curt has said he will be posting a thread and email before he ships to verify addresses given that there are several folks in that situation.  He also moved things to a new site:  Syzygy Co. (http://http).  Has your email information also changed?  Curt is also a member of this forum.  You can send him a PM as well.
Title: Re: Atari 7800 eXpansion Module (XM)
Post by: 64bitRuss on July 21, 2013, 17:32:48 PM
My email is the same, so hopefully I'll have a chance for verification.
Title: Re: Atari 7800 eXpansion Module (XM)
Post by: TrekMD on July 21, 2013, 17:59:55 PM
Quote from: "64bitRuss"
My email is the same, so hopefully I'll have a chance for verification.

You should.  I can always send Curt your info if need be.
Title: Re: Atari 7800 eXpansion Module (XM)
Post by: Gorf on July 21, 2013, 20:42:50 PM
Quote from: "The Laird"
Quote from: "TrekMD"
Hopefully things get worked out and we get a unit with the working software as version 2.5, as Curt is calling it.  Not sure why Mark decided to stop supporting this but he has been very busy developing games for the Intellivision of late.  Whatever the reason, it certainly adds another wrinkle to this.

I think the answer is probably pretty obvious. Especially when you look at the recent replies in that thread on AA.

No doubt Mark has found a new crowd to hang with. Tell me who your friends are....
Title: Re: Atari 7800 eXpansion Module (XM)
Post by: TrekMD on September 09, 2013, 19:11:51 PM
Here is Curt's latest update on the status of the XM:

Just shipped an XM testing unit to Perry (TEP392) for him to test his games on real hardware and then to Bob (Pacmanplus) to test his games.    A demonstration XM unit is going to Albert of Atariage so he can bring to the Portland Retro Game Expo next month.

So the developers are getting to kick the tires and make sure their games are working on real hardware.   Will be getting feedback and proceed with any changes or modifications to the design.

Thanks,

Curt
Title: Re: Atari 7800 eXpansion Module (XM)
Post by: Gorf on September 10, 2013, 21:22:21 PM
Quote from: "TrekMD"
Here is Curt's latest update on the status of the XM:

Just shipped an XM testing unit to Perry (TEP392) for him to test his games on real hardware and then to Bob (Pacmanplus) to test his games.    A demonstration XM unit is going to Albert of Atariage so he can bring to the Portland Retro Game Expo next month.

So the developers are getting to kick the tires and make sure their games are working on real hardware.   Will be getting feedback and proceed with any changes or modifications to the design.

Thanks,

Curt

Not all of us developers are getting one. He told me he'd get me one when they shipped....still yet to see one.
Title: Re: Atari 7800 eXpansion Module (XM)
Post by: TrekMD on September 10, 2013, 21:53:14 PM
Maybe he needs a friendly reminder...
Title: Re: Atari 7800 eXpansion Module (XM)
Post by: retromod on December 20, 2013, 14:03:33 PM
Who is the developer of this device? Curt Vendel company szergy? I've seen introductions for more than 5 years and never seen one in real live....
Title: Re: Atari 7800 eXpansion Module (XM)
Post by: TL on December 20, 2013, 14:26:44 PM
Quote from: "retromod"
Who is the developer of this device? Curt Vendel company szergy? I've seen introductions for more than 5 years and never seen one in real live....

Yes, Curt Vendel has been doing this on his own. It's way behind schedule because of other people letting him down.
Title: Re: Atari 7800 eXpansion Module (XM)
Post by: TrekMD on December 20, 2013, 14:36:15 PM
Working units have been demoed at video games events like CGE.  They still have a few things to work out but the project is closer to completion. 
Title: Re: Atari 7800 eXpansion Module (XM)
Post by: Gorf on December 28, 2013, 23:58:37 PM
I think the project has hit a wall unfortunately. Curt needs to get himself someone to replace Groovey Bee, who's latest endevors have proven less than spectacular. But seeing the crowd he now hangs with...it's no surprise his productivity level has drop like a duck shot out of the sky...unless you call porting old worn out games that were hardly smash hits back in the day productive.
Title: Re: Atari 7800 eXpansion Module (XM)
Post by: TrekMD on December 29, 2013, 00:02:43 AM
He had working units demoed at CGE but there still are some bugs to work out.  I hope Curt is able to solve whatever issues he has bumped into.  His last update was last month over in Atari Age:

[font=georgia:2hmwbbee]Hi guys,
 
  Not much to really report, things are moving along well, Perry want to do some synth test code for the Yamaha chip and things are being checked on the final rev board designs.  I want to make another run shortly but each time costs a lot so with all of the test run boards, fixes, changes, updates and then going back - its costing a lot to do this, so going to do another test board set run is being held off for really try to shake out any other changes and such, plus the firmware updates still need to be addressed, so there is much to do but I just wanted to check in and say hi.
 
  Also, I've said this again, there is nothing wrong with people asking about how things are coming along with the XM, I'm not the greatest when it comes to posting updates, but also there is not much to update that would be a major interest to everyone, its just very boring design changes now to iron out compatibility and functionality issues.  So please, cut people a brake if all they want to do is ask.
 
  Everyone have a very Happy Thanksgiving.
 
 
Curt[/font:2hmwbbee]
Title: Re: Atari 7800 eXpansion Module (XM)
Post by: TrekMD on March 10, 2014, 22:03:56 PM
For those who have been eagerly waiting for their XM's (like me), it appears Curt wanted to surprise everyone by releasing the XM for the 30th Anniversary of the 7800 this coming June.  Unfortunately, the surprise is spoiled.  So, I guess we have something to look forward to this summer! 
Title: Re: Atari 7800 eXpansion Module (XM)
Post by: 64bitRuss on March 10, 2014, 22:39:16 PM
I'll believe it when I have it in my hands.
Title: Re: Atari 7800 eXpansion Module (XM)
Post by: TrekMD on March 10, 2014, 23:09:47 PM
Quote from: "64bitRuss"
I'll believe it when I have it in my hands.

I'm sure there are many folks who feel the same way.
Title: Re: Atari 7800 eXpansion Module (XM)
Post by: Gorf on March 10, 2014, 23:54:03 PM
Shame he has to deal with the whole mess practically on his own.
Title: Re: Atari 7800 eXpansion Module (XM)
Post by: TrekMD on March 10, 2014, 23:55:53 PM
Quote from: "Gorf"
Shame he has to deal with the whole mess practically on his own.

That's why it has also taken so long.  It'll be nice to have it for the 30th Anniversary, though.
Title: Re: Atari 7800 eXpansion Module (XM)
Post by: Gorf on March 11, 2014, 00:03:27 AM
Providing he can get it ready by then. Remember, curt is still dealing with serious health issues and if he is smart, he's not overexerting himself.
Title: Re: Atari 7800 eXpansion Module (XM)
Post by: TrekMD on March 11, 2014, 00:04:58 AM
Yep, I know.  He has kept pretty quiet likely because of that. 
Title: Re: Atari 7800 eXpansion Module (XM)
Post by: TrekMD on June 25, 2014, 20:40:36 PM
I wanted to add a brief update.  Curt is undergoing surgery #6 for his heart issues tomorrow.  This, of course, has kept on delaying the release of the XM.  He is hoping to add an update next week and some pictures.  I will keep an eye on any updates and add them here. 
Title: Re: Atari 7800 eXpansion Module (XM)
Post by: bogstandard on June 25, 2014, 20:50:57 PM
Quote from: "Gorf"
Shame he has to deal with the whole mess practically on his own.

I put forth that he should appoint a volunteer for communication.  He doesn't know me from a hole in the wall so I don't think my suggestion went anywhere.  Seems like it would solve some problems, though.
Title: Re: Atari 7800 eXpansion Module (XM)
Post by: TrekMD on June 25, 2014, 20:54:48 PM
Quote from: "theloon"
Quote from: "Gorf"
Shame he has to deal with the whole mess practically on his own.

I put forth that he should appoint a volunteer for communication.  He doesn't know me from a whole in the wall so I don't think my suggestion went anywhere.  Seems like it would solve some problems, though.
I've PM'd him and offered to post updates for him if he thinks it is a viable option. 
Title: Re: Atari 7800 eXpansion Module (XM)
Post by: TL on June 25, 2014, 22:34:53 PM
I have been speaking with Curt quite a lot recently, he has been very kind helping me with something and despite what people think he has been working very hard on the XM.
Title: Re: Atari 7800 eXpansion Module (XM)
Post by: TrekMD on June 25, 2014, 22:37:07 PM
Quote from: "The Laird"
I have been speaking with Curt quite a lot recently, he has been very kind helping me with something and despite what people think he has been working very hard on the XM.
Cool on both counts.  :)
Title: Re: Atari 7800 eXpansion Module (XM)
Post by: retromod on June 25, 2014, 22:45:42 PM
hope all will went fine tomorrow. The A...A... thread about the XM seems to be closed after the typical approach took place in blaming and personal attacks. that's really horrorible what's going on. not understandable at all.
Title: Re: Atari 7800 eXpansion Module (XM)
Post by: TrekMD on June 25, 2014, 22:47:40 PM
Quote from: "retromod"
hope all will went fine tomorrow. The A...A... thread about the XM seems to be closed after the typical approach took place in blaming and personal attacks. that's really horrorible what's going on. not understandable at all.

Good that it was closed. Curt opened a new one and that's how I found out about the surgery.  I truly hope all goes well with the operation.
Title: Re: Atari 7800 eXpansion Module (XM)
Post by: zapiy on June 26, 2014, 19:37:12 PM
Shame to hear of his continued heart issues, hope all goes well.
Title: Re: Atari 7800 eXpansion Module (XM)
Post by: bogstandard on June 26, 2014, 19:55:15 PM
I never quite understood the craziness that seems to follow this project.  Usually there's a bit of hero worship that takes the edge off delays and communication gaps.  People are reviving old shill accounts just to get a rise out of him.

If there is a run after existing orders are filled I might get one.  Probably gift it to the maker of 7800Basic to spur on support.
Title: Re: Atari 7800 eXpansion Module (XM)
Post by: TrekMD on June 26, 2014, 20:03:58 PM
The intent is to continue selling them after the preorders are done but, realistically, given Curt's health issues, I don't know if that'll be possible.  It would be best if someone else were able to take over this once the initial run is done just to take the stress of it off Curt. 
Title: Re: Atari 7800 eXpansion Module (XM)
Post by: retromod on June 26, 2014, 20:51:45 PM
It is Curt's project so the decision how it goes on or what happens is within his scope. that's quite ok, why do all people want to jump in and takeover? If there are really people who can do it why not simple start over and develop a similar project. It is not rocket science....
Title: Re: Atari 7800 eXpansion Module (XM)
Post by: bogstandard on June 26, 2014, 20:58:46 PM
Quote from: "retromod"
It is Curt's project so the decision how it goes on or what happens is within his scope. that's quite ok, why do all people want to jump in and takeover? If there are really people who can do it why not simple start over and develop a similar project. It is not rocket science....

I think the concern is due to health and motivation reasons he's not going to go past the pre-orders and one additional run.  It'd be awesome if he could pass it to someone else like the Skunkboards when he does call it quits.
Title: Re: Atari 7800 eXpansion Module (XM)
Post by: retromod on June 26, 2014, 21:28:49 PM
After the AA thread it is fully understandable. May be that's the reason for less motivation and the "no further project of that kind" statement. simple wait and see what will happen.
Title: Re: Atari 7800 eXpansion Module (XM)
Post by: TrekMD on June 26, 2014, 21:32:31 PM
Quote from: "retromod"
After the AA thread it is fully understandable. May be that's the reason for less motivation and the "no further project of that kind" statement. simple wait and see what's happen.
I'm sure health issues also come into play here.  It doesn't help, though, being attacked by people for the delay.  It is discouraging. 
Title: Re: Atari 7800 eXpansion Module (XM)
Post by: retromod on June 26, 2014, 21:40:38 PM
Quote from: "TrekMD"
Quote from: "retromod"
After the AA thread it is fully understandable. May be that's the reason for less motivation and the "no further project of that kind" statement. simple wait and see what's happen.
I'm sure health issues also come into play here.  It doesn't help, though, being attacked by people for the delay.  It is discouraging.

specially in that health situation either. but there is no line which is not crossed by some people. Anyway we cross the fingers for Curt...
Title: Re: Atari 7800 eXpansion Module (XM)
Post by: WiggyDiggyPoo on June 27, 2014, 17:35:24 PM
I've no interest in the project directly but personally if I was getting treated like dirt by those I'm trying to provide for.....

I think in the end those who deserve it, will be provided forO0
Title: Re: Atari 7800 eXpansion Module (XM)
Post by: TrekMD on June 27, 2014, 18:04:16 PM
Someone posted that Curt has had his surgery and all went well.  This is great news.
Title: Re: Atari 7800 eXpansion Module (XM)
Post by: zapiy on July 02, 2014, 18:25:44 PM
Very, if you happen to read this Curt... RVG sends you a Get Well Soon message.
Title: Re: Atari 7800 eXpansion Module (XM)
Post by: TrekMD on July 21, 2014, 00:34:41 AM
Curt has posted an update:

[font=georgia:1x7qtql7]Hi everyone...

So here is a quick update. Not much has occurred this year only because I've had several operations and my last in June seems to have fixed an issue that I've had since Dec 12'

The Yamaha audio portion is still questionable, it will be implemented it's just ironing it out.

There appears to be a very big issue with the memory system and keeping data stable.

The bus partitioning needs to be thoroughly tested out.

System console compatibility is the last to-do on the list once these other issues are addressed.

Mark is helping again as he has time as his job and life are extremely hectic so he can only put in a very very limited amount of time to this as right now I can myself as I've been done and just starting to really work again. I have tremendous amounts of bills to catch up on so my job and work are the priority as that time, but the XM gets my attention as I can.

When these major hurdles are fixed, next update post will be made so it will be a while.

Curt[/font:1x7qtql7]
Title: Re: Atari 7800 eXpansion Module (XM)
Post by: Greyfox on July 21, 2014, 00:47:55 AM
This seems to hitting hurtle after hurtle doesn't it for poor Curt?, and is a shame that others have given him a tuff time over it, ignoring his health issue, the saying "Rome wasn't build in a day" but allot of money thus far has been invested and while been an indie project, Curt should of had possibly a manager involved to help him with dealing stressed customers waiting for this, its almost a "Tapper" type situation and Curt being the unlucky bar man serving the drinks :)

I hope and I'm sure he gets out there sooner than later.
Title: Re: Atari 7800 eXpansion Module (XM)
Post by: TrekMD on July 21, 2014, 00:49:35 AM
Now that Mark is helping him again, let's hope they can figure out how to overcome the hurdles soon. 
Title: Re: Atari 7800 eXpansion Module (XM)
Post by: Elektronite on July 22, 2014, 18:36:17 PM
Do you think he will help before or after he finishes Rocketeer?
Title: Re: Atari 7800 eXpansion Module (XM)
Post by: zapiy on July 22, 2014, 18:41:19 PM
Good to hear things are on the go again.
Title: Re: Atari 7800 eXpansion Module (XM)
Post by: TrekMD on July 22, 2014, 20:26:35 PM
Quote from: "Elektronite"
Do you think he will help before or after he finishes Rocketeer?
Only he can answer that!  :)
Title: Re: Atari 7800 eXpansion Module (XM)
Post by: Elektronite on July 23, 2014, 06:46:19 AM
I think most people could guess.
Title: Re: Atari 7800 eXpansion Module (XM)
Post by: TrekMD on September 02, 2014, 04:03:58 AM
Curt has posted an update:

[font=georgia:13fw8s5o]Another update - getting the Yamaha circuit sorted out thanks to Groovybee...

BTW myself, Marty Goldberg and the XM (working rev2) and engineering review samples of the rev3 boards will be at the Syzygy Company booth at CGE in Las Vegas Sept 12-14.[/font:13fw8s5o]

This will be great.  I'll be able to see the XM at CGE! 
Title: Re: Atari 7800 eXpansion Module (XM)
Post by: zapiy on September 02, 2014, 18:34:07 PM
Great news. Looking forward to your thoughts.
Title: Re: Atari 7800 eXpansion Module (XM)
Post by: sloan on October 16, 2014, 00:38:40 AM
4 years in the making and not much to show.
Title: Re: Atari 7800 eXpansion Module (XM)
Post by: TrekMD on October 16, 2014, 00:43:52 AM
It will be coming.  Serious health issue have gotten in the way and dealing with that is more important than anything else.  It was seen at CGE and demonstrated working with some games.  I got some first-hand information on it but I cannot share any details. 
Title: Re: Atari 7800 eXpansion Module (XM)
Post by: retromod on January 07, 2015, 23:16:47 PM
Good news about this extension: curt decided after some critism to stop his new book  >:( and instead focus on this extension to stop bad mouth about his management of this project. There was also a vote to start another xm clone by some hardliners but this was more a poor boy discussion.

Curt stated he will release a stripped version with focus of initial goals of this project. As 100 units were preordered and statement was to release all resources to pd (and together with previous statement after the first shit storm) the route might be clear (if you think about it). There is no further interest in my opinion thats why it is released and tried to get a stripped version completed to get rid of the project. specially as the housing absorbed a lot of the fund money and the project a lot of time. Lost in features and a typical project fault to include investors into product decisions.

A book weight more than an order of 100 items of an extension (economically).. How many profit Are there? 50 dollar? Multiplied by 100 is 5000. as a company i would close my door at this moment. As the housings required a lot of money the next batch is most likely not possible, specially as the addressed audience is not really big. So finally a project for some homebrews only. But people having no memory on "new" games, so the big group only sees the sd card for cheap storage of games. Interested to update its good feelings from the past. All the other features are nice but not a seller according to the feedback.

 Not one extension in console history were successful! Why should an old console be pimped with new features? Makes no sense. If i need better graphics, buy a ps4 or xbox. If you want to play old games use the original hardware may be with mods to get better video and sound from existing games! I personally love the 7800 for xevious and 2600 software library. I do not care about donkey kong xm because with a little interaction the original arcade machine runs on any of my current pc's. Better the xm ever could do! But prior to that i would play it on Coleco.

So what is the benefit? Splitting interest group in users with standard console and users who can play games with xm only? Atari st and amiga failed that way as the number of users per group were too less to be part of any business.

As the xm requires pokey chips this also lowers the overall spare resources. So many other devices requiring pokey to be repaired are the loosers as the overall number of spare parts only gets lower. I rember the time silver brezel of the atari 7800 were available at best electronics, these times are over after people replaced theirs if one small scratch was found. Same with atari 1200xl keyboards.....

So only a rare collector item? What are you thinking about?
Title: Re: Atari 7800 eXpansion Module (XM)
Post by: TrekMD on January 07, 2015, 23:20:03 PM
Where did you get this information from?
Title: Re: Atari 7800 eXpansion Module (XM)
Post by: retromod on January 08, 2015, 00:45:33 AM
Quote from: "TrekMD"
Where did you get this information from?
Facebook atari museum page with link to shit storm.
Title: Re: Atari 7800 eXpansion Module (XM)
Post by: TrekMD on January 08, 2015, 01:47:53 AM
I'm not on Facebook.  I'm hoping this simplified version keeps the High Score, POKEY and extra RAM.  Those three should help make the games better. 

PS:  Any chance you can post some screen grabs? 
Title: Re: Atari 7800 eXpansion Module (XM)
Post by: retromod on January 08, 2015, 09:29:08 AM
here is the information taken from facebook
Title: Re: Atari 7800 eXpansion Module (XM)
Post by: retromod on January 08, 2015, 10:25:58 AM
meanwhile the facebook and atariage thread were "censored" and flames deleted. Sadly to say that even Kierens entry were deleted.
Title: Re: Atari 7800 eXpansion Module (XM)
Post by: TrekMD on January 08, 2015, 11:46:41 AM
Thanks for posting those screen grabs. 
Title: Re: Atari 7800 eXpansion Module (XM)
Post by: WiggyDiggyPoo on January 08, 2015, 12:07:30 PM
Ah Facebook lol There's a reason I can count the people I friend on there in the low 40s lol

Good points Retromod about expansion modules, even the most successful are still viewed as being bad decisions e.g. MCD.

From a collecting POV it might be nice to have everything but where do you stop, there s loads of planned yet unreleased expansions for consoles we shouldn't aspire to build and buy them all, or is that what retro is about all of a sudden?
Title: Re: Atari 7800 eXpansion Module (XM)
Post by: retromod on January 08, 2015, 13:46:12 PM
Quote from: "WiggyDiggyPoo"
From a collecting POV it might be nice to have everything but where do you stop, there s loads of planned yet unreleased expansions for consoles we shouldn't aspire to build and buy them all, or is that what retro is about all of a sudden?

well retro means "past" not "future". So expanding an old system is not rocket science with modern components (in term of extending it's function by adding new one). Question is about audience. It make no sense adding a blitter chip to an Atari 7800 or to add additional graphic modes like the VBXE does. The VBXE is a RGB converter for 99% of it's users, nobody cares about the 10 demo applications using the new graphical features.

So an expansion not "improving" existing software like a "mod" does (pause, video signal, stereo etc.) makes not really sense. As it is cheaper and better using a state of the art console getting faster result and be ahead of time even if it is possible to add 1024x768 output mode, blitter chip and new graphic processor, increasing system frequency etc. on an 7800. If you do so you end up in a incompatible version without any software. There are plenty of projects which drive into that direction.
Title: Re: Atari 7800 eXpansion Module (XM)
Post by: Greyfox on January 08, 2015, 13:59:25 PM
I think now personally with zero interest in this add-on but i think they have now severely affected the long term support for this device from customers without a doubt, the 7800 collective is a niche and small group hoping to have an expansion device sold to them as if it was brand new in today's tech, but is in a 4 year development limbo? I think that a lot of faith has been lost in them now, althought Curt can't be blamed because of the man's health, which is more important than some piece of hardware, but 4 years down the line, money paid in and no result? You can't blame the customers either? Its a vicious circle of events. And what is adding fuel to the blaze is that people are not receiving any information they are entitled to receive on it, understandable if there is nothing to update about etc. but curt has been seen online when he's supposed to be inactive due to his health, you can see why people are frowning to this?

I hope that it makes it and works out for both parties the customers and producers, but this will not be forgotten by a lot of people that will never take a risk or invest in something they make or not in the future. Best of luck to them and hope Curt gets well as soon as he can. They have an up hill struggle to climb because of this outcome, they may not feel it, but this scene has a nasty habit of biting you in the arse.
Title: Re: Atari 7800 eXpansion Module (XM)
Post by: WiggyDiggyPoo on January 08, 2015, 14:51:55 PM
@retro I never mentioned mods, just expansion units.

My point was releasing a previously unreleased
 expansion module makes little sense other than from a collecting POV e.g. Building your own Adam expansion module (to original spec) for the Collecovision.
Title: Re: Atari 7800 eXpansion Module (XM)
Post by: retromod on January 08, 2015, 15:28:46 PM
Quote from: "Greyfox"
I hope that it makes it and works out for both parties the customers and producers, but this will not be forgotten by a lot of people that will never take a risk or invest in something they make or not in the future. Best of luck to them and hope Curt gets well as soon as he can. They have an up hill struggle to climb because of this outcome, they may not feel it, but this scene has a nasty habit of biting you in the arse.

well on AA it is your own risk to buy something. specially as you pay it as a gift there is no legal action to get money back at all. It's not about blaming more expectations yet (in this thread).

From product management it makes no sense at all as it is for a dying console (sorry for that but there is no new 7800 anymore and the user base does only decrease over time, kids are not interested at all). As there will be only a small run with 100 units the goal having a new "platform" is not reached as well. 100 is too less to develop anything further. For enthusiast it might be ok but a big problem is you split the (small) user base of 7800 fans again (xm and no xm). It's more like the Atari ST and Amiga desaster as people started to implement faster CPU's and firmware versions so rendering the platform incompatible with each other. That's the killing factor here. It was a good idea about 4 years ago but today it seems to make no sense.

there are 3 possibilities:
1. the XM will released as PD and people start to hack around splitting the user base more and more and more important canibalize the existing device base by hacks and mods to compete with features of modern consoles

or

2. the XM will see about 10 homebrews supporting them then resulting in a collector item and vanish in storage

or

3. there will be additional runs of production and the homebrew scene starts to move away from the original 7800 system founding their own fan base.

I doubt there will be a revive of the Atari 7800 system at all. The software titles for this console are quite limited. From all titles I would play only a hand of them (beside 2600 titles of course). So how often are you playing 7800 only titles?

As I have deep insides into sales statistics and market due to my partnership with a vendor I recognized the overall interests on 2nd/3rd generation consoles are declining since more than half a year. This is also reflected on ebay, discussion groups facebooks and amazon. The fan base aged and the grown up sega/nintendo generation just settled down and started to spent more money on their retro hobby. The offerings on 4th generation consoles increases from month to month. Websites with Sega/Nintendo content having a lot of entries per day.  During christmas the Sega/Nintendo sales were quite high in comparison to Atari/Coleco items. We sold a lot of Atari consoles but only due to new offerings and mods. Games and all accessories were nearly zero on the Atari front. It seems there is currently a change in retro "generation".
Title: Re: Atari 7800 eXpansion Module (XM)
Post by: 64bitRuss on January 08, 2015, 23:35:24 PM
Gee, sorry Curt and whoever this Marty guy is, for putting you in such a bind on asking for some progress to be made on a 4 year old project where nearly $20,000 was accepted in good faith by AA members. I pre-ordered 3 years ago, and still hope to get mine.

All I wanted from this project was more RAM, better audio and hi-score save. The problems with delays really started when some other guy wanted to turn the 7800 into a personal computer and demanded more features be added so he could make text adventures. And then the guy quit the project, after design changes were in progress! The truth is the 7800XM was ready years ago in this 'stripped down' version they are talking about releasing now.
Title: Re: Atari 7800 eXpansion Module (XM)
Post by: zapiy on January 09, 2015, 00:06:35 AM
From a pure engineering point of view this is a work of art, as was alluded to already Curt has had health issues so I suspect that's knocked more wind out of his sails than he would have imagined. Given that time again I suspect he would be updating much more often to fend of this issue..

all I can say now is good luck and I hope it's completed soon..
Title: Re: Atari 7800 eXpansion Module (XM)
Post by: TrekMD on January 09, 2015, 00:08:28 AM
Like I said, I'm happy if the XM just adds the POKEY, RAM, and high score features. The first two exist in Commando and Ballblazer and those games sound great.  The Yamaha chip would be bonus and still contemporary to the system.  I think the main goal was to have this hardware in one add-on to not need to use up chips from carts out there and that's a good enough goal.  Also, games can be programmed to look for a POKEY chip and can be made to work with TIA sound alone or a combination of TIA and POKEY without having to use extra memory. That would make games available to folks with and without the XM.  Beef Drop was programmed that way even before there was an XM being considered.
Title: Re: Atari 7800 eXpansion Module (XM)
Post by: TrekMD on February 08, 2015, 23:33:33 PM
Retro Rogue has posted an update:

- The Yamaha section has been redesigned.

- The memory system has some issues, it's most likely a timing issue that needs to be ironed out.

- Once these are ironed out then the bus partitioning and control system can be fully tested and debugged.

Since there are several revisions of the 7800, if the XM is incompatible with any revision, the serial number(s) will need to be documented and see if there is a corresponding set of serials for a particular incompatible revision of the 7800 and a disclaimer will need to be presented so that anyone who owns that version won't purchase an XM for their system.
Title: Re: Atari 7800 eXpansion Module (XM)
Post by: retromod on February 09, 2015, 16:23:12 PM
Quote from: "TrekMD"
Retro Rogue has posted an update:

- The Yamaha section has been redesigned.

- The memory system has some issues, it's most likely a timing issue that needs to be ironed out.

- Once these are ironed out then the bus partitioning and control system can be fully tested and debugged.

Since there are several revisions of the 7800, if the XM is incompatible with any revision, the serial number(s) will need to be documented and see if there is a corresponding set of serials for a particular incompatible revision of the 7800 and a disclaimer will need to be presented so that anyone who owns that version won't purchase an XM for their system.

No it was marty himself updating on atarimuseum facebook page as aa page is not the info source for any news pn xm... Guess why. Later he posted as retro rogue...
Title: Re: Atari 7800 eXpansion Module (XM)
Post by: TrekMD on March 03, 2015, 00:07:51 AM
Here is the latest update from Curt (posted at AA):

HI,

I see people selling or trading their pre-orders.   Just want those who do this to know that I will contact you when your order is next in queue to ship, if you've sold your XM pre-order, you'll just provide the name & address and email of that person its going to and they'll get an email with the tracking # and the order will ship to them.      I've been at the XM now steady every night addressing things and I have a major update to send to GroovyBee shortly for his review.    Still on track for THIS SPRING to release, no more delays, XM's ship this spring.

Again, those who want to buy one, I'm sure you'll see the buzz here and elsewhere as people get them, post about them and so forth.   I will make announcements of the general purchase date, I am hoping to also work with Albert to also make the XM's for sale directly on AA as well as my store so that people will have multiple places to buy.

Lets...keep the positive vibes going, I'm back and fully recovered and really jazzed about the XM's being finished and going out, thanks.
Title: Re: Atari 7800 eXpansion Module (XM)
Post by: zapiy on March 03, 2015, 09:36:47 AM
What a decent guy.. good luck to him going forward..
Title: Re: Atari 7800 eXpansion Module (XM)
Post by: Shadowrunner on March 03, 2015, 16:01:46 PM
Great news! I was worried with all the drama surrounding this that he would only produce enough for the pre-orders and be done with it. Very cool there will be more available to buy, definitely grabbing one :113:
Title: Re: Atari 7800 eXpansion Module (XM)
Post by: TrekMD on March 03, 2015, 19:16:24 PM
Quote from: "Shadowrunner"
Great news! I was worried with all the drama surrounding this that he would only produce enough for the pre-orders and be done with it. Very cool there will be more available to buy, definitely grabbing one :113:

Yep, that's great news.  It was originally planned that way so it is good to see it will be happening just as planned.
Title: Re: Atari 7800 eXpansion Module (XM)
Post by: TrekMD on June 12, 2015, 04:18:24 AM
Here is the latest update:

Hi everyone,

Just wanted to give everyone an update.

1.  The source for the SIO connectors can no longer provide them.  I put out a request for help on Facebook and have some avenue's I'm looking at.   Need to buy them at no more than $1 each, so that makes it a bit tough, but I'm working on things.

2. Mark has been extremely busy and hasn't had a chance to review over things with me recently.   Work and paying the bills can sometimes get in the way of our hobby.  So I'm sitting tight waiting for him to free up some time.

3.  We had a discussion a while ago about perhaps including a built in game into the XM so that when no cartridge is present, instead of just the test/configuration program coming up from the XM, we'd perhaps have a selection to play a built in game that would use many of the XM features.    If anyone is interested in submitting a built in game, please email me 7800xm@gmail.com and let's discuss.

Thanks,

Curt
Title: Re: Atari 7800 eXpansion Module (XM)
Post by: TrekMD on October 04, 2015, 03:58:24 AM
An updated has been posted today by Curt:

"Two XM modules have arrived at Albert of Atariage's home for the upcoming show.
 
I'd also like to welcome Perry Thuente to the XM Team, he will be assisting with the completion of the XM BIOS. I am extremely happy to have such an amazingly talented coder such as him join the team and volunteer his skills in making the XM the best product possible."
Title: Re: Atari 7800 eXpansion Module (XM)
Post by: Papa on October 04, 2015, 17:40:56 PM
This project has had a LOT of ups and downs.  I wonder if 7800 BASIC will allow for use of the extra chips in the expansion!?
Title: Re: Atari 7800 eXpansion Module (XM)
Post by: TrekMD on October 04, 2015, 17:53:59 PM
Sadly, that is true.  Le'ts just hope it finally get the push it needs to see release.  I think Perry is a great addition to the team.  :)
Title: Re: Atari 7800 eXpansion Module (XM)
Post by: TrekMD on June 11, 2016, 03:25:05 AM
Here is an update posted today by Curt...

Update -

 

Team is back together and back to work.

 

Rev 3.5.1 board released to team late last night.

84 Pin CPLD code completed

BIOS being completed.

New XM "Killer app" games in the work.

Gerber files going to manufacturing for latest test run.

 

All features have been retained, nothing removed or excluded.

 

 

Curt

Title: Re: Atari 7800 eXpansion Module (XM)
Post by: zapiy on June 11, 2016, 10:44:55 AM
Awesome news for the community.


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
Title: Re: Atari 7800 eXpansion Module (XM)
Post by: Shadowrunner on June 11, 2016, 22:16:57 PM
Nice to see it's still being worked on.
Title: Re: Atari 7800 eXpansion Module (XM)
Post by: TrekMD on June 12, 2016, 04:58:54 AM
Indeed!  Can't wait to get mine!  :)
Title: Re: Atari 7800 eXpansion Module (XM)
Post by: TrekMD on May 31, 2017, 02:45:18 AM
It's been a while but a new update has been posted by Curt today.  He, unfortunately, needed to have more cardiac surgery.  Thankfully, he is doing well...

Quote
Hi,

  Just wanted to come on and say hi to everyone.   I escaped the jaws of death again, 7th times a charm, right?   If I have 9 lives, I'm running out.    I am doing very well after yet another heart surgery.   People keep asking me why I keep having all of these operations... the answer is simple:  I love that hospital food :-)

   Well, I've spoken with the XM team, been exchanging files, schematics and board design updates.   Trying to get myself back up to speed and making sure we are all working off the same revision of hardware and the latest BIOS done.

    So looks like everything is back in sync and looking good, I'm running off 4 sample boards tomorrow, should have them by next week.  Then I will be placing all of the sockets on the test boards, then adding components one by one, checking things and building them out.   I have boards going out to 3 specific people for testing and review and once thats done I need to send another to Mitch so he can test on every version 7800 type that exists to see about any compatibility issues, hopefully there wont be any.

    Will be about a month to give everyone a chance to fully test out.  Some people may post messages on their findings of post videos, that's up to them and I encourage it.   I'm just happy to be back to work on things and it feels good to be getting these test boards built out to send to people.

Curt

Title: Re: Atari 7800 eXpansion Module (XM)
Post by: TrekMD on January 02, 2018, 21:47:36 PM
Looks like Curt posted an update today and these will be starting to ship! 

(https://uploads.tapatalk-cdn.com/20180102/9e37f12598066d2f16fbef10e8949f0e.jpg)
Title: Re: Atari 7800 eXpansion Module (XM)
Post by: Shadowrunner on January 03, 2018, 02:12:03 AM
Great news. Nice to see it's finally done!
Title: Re: Atari 7800 eXpansion Module (XM)
Post by: TrekMD on January 03, 2018, 02:27:29 AM
Well, it seems that these may be test units but it is still progress in the right direction.
Title: Re: Atari 7800 eXpansion Module (XM)
Post by: zapiy on January 03, 2018, 12:13:22 PM
Great to see progress.
Title: Re: Atari 7800 eXpansion Module (XM)
Post by: TrekMD on January 03, 2018, 20:23:44 PM
Curt posted this today:

Quote
Hi all:

1. Please hold off emailing me

2. I will be setting up a webpage to submit order receipts & old info to get the 180 pre-orders filled.

3. ONLY pre-orders being filled, no new orders, no requests for new orders yet.

4. No there is no wait list for new orders.

5. These are going out slowly, only doing 6 or so this month until I ramp up but itll still be like 20 or so first month or so as I build them.

6. New orders will be sold through AA when ready.

Will post photos mid Jan of progress.
Title: Re: Atari 7800 eXpansion Module (XM)
Post by: TrekMD on March 25, 2018, 18:24:34 PM
Here is the latest update from Curt:

Quote
Hi everyone....  just wanted to give an update:   Hardware went off to Mark in the UK, another one to Perry was also shipped out and I have something coming back my way that is basically a plugs out exerciser of the entire XM board to try and resolve the remaining roadblocks.

Found a few more minor errors and just built out a new electronics bench to make my work a lot easier.   So I've been adding needed cut & straps to the design and updating the PCB design files.     I have been running additional testing of games, so far everything is running but I still haven't tested SARA equipped games yet so I have that on the to-do list. I have a list of POKEY embedded games that will need to be tested as well to make sure the XM's handle them properly.

I don't have an Xboard but when the time comes I will see about either obtaining one or if Mitch or someone else has one installed I would like to see how they get another with one another.    The cartridge connectors will be arriving from Mouser in the next 2 weeks as well, then its just a matter of nipping off the 4 extra leads from them.  (they are standard 36 pin edge connectors that meet the same specs as the 32 pin Atari versions with the same 8mm tails on them for the needed height for the cartridge connectors.

So I just wanted to just post that things are still in progress and I didn't want to leave everyone in the dark for too long and repeat the mistakes from the past.
Title: Re: Atari 7800 eXpansion Module (XM)
Post by: zapiy on March 30, 2018, 11:06:47 AM
Cheers for the update mate, sounds like progress is being made.
Title: Re: Atari 7800 eXpansion Module (XM)
Post by: TrekMD on March 30, 2018, 13:57:40 PM
Yes it is, indeed.  Can't wait to get my hands on mine!  And it looks like the homebrew developers will start working on XM games again as well.  :)
Title: Re: Atari 7800 eXpansion Module (XM)
Post by: zapiy on March 30, 2018, 15:31:26 PM
Great to hear mate. Might do a feature on this, we need more writers lol..

Spread the word high and wide, stuff like this needs to be put into an article.
Title: Re: Atari 7800 eXpansion Module (XM)
Post by: TrekMD on March 30, 2018, 15:39:06 PM
For sure.  Once it is out we should definitely do a feature about it.
Title: Re: Atari 7800 eXpansion Module (XM)
Post by: TrekMD on June 10, 2018, 23:33:27 PM
Curt posted a picture of one of the units being assembled today...

(https://i.imgur.com/ymSLYTf.jpg)
Title: Re: Atari 7800 eXpansion Module (XM)
Post by: TrekMD on June 13, 2018, 01:05:25 AM
Posted by Curt...

Hi Several updates:

1. I was able to boot from the BIOS chip socket finally, but there looks like there may be a timing issue and getting some pixel garbage on the screen when the code from the BIOS socket is booted with no cart installed, but with a card installed and booting not from the cart but from the BIOS socket the garbage pixels don't display.

Randomly at times when its booted with no cart and booting from the BIOS, the left direction of the joystick doesn't respond, so some funky things going out, could be on the 245 bus divider or elsewhere. Mark recommended a slower ACT version of the 245 so I've gotten some in and I'll try those out.

2. I have a 3rd XM on the bench assembling because test unit 2 was shipped to Perry (TEP392) and it just arrived to him today and he posted pics over on Atariage

So progress is being made and once this timing issue is resolved and the BIOS boots stable then next sections can be populated and tested.
Title: Re: Atari 7800 eXpansion Module (XM)
Post by: TrekMD on October 11, 2018, 03:29:51 AM
Progress is being made with the XM.  Curt posted this today:

Quote
Another hurdle overcome ---  timing is much better.   Just ran a few quick tests with some carts that previously didn't work: 

2600 Games:
Berzerk Voice Enhanced - WORKING
Spy Hunter - WORKING
Krockcart - WORKING

So I am going to take some notes tonight, do some further testing and I am going to test on the High Score keeping capabilities and see how things are progressing. 

Will keep everyone posted :-)

Quote
I tested several regular 7800 carts, some of the homebrews, so far all are working, Activision F18 is also working, that was a problem for the early Rev 2.0 boards, Roman's 48K boards all work.  I tested Bob's Pac Man 320 and Ms Pac Man 320... had lock ups and other oddities with them I'm not seeing - can't wait until POKEY testing comes and they can use the POKEY.   I will test Ball Blazer tomorrow and Commando was a previous cart that was a problem.

 

If all goes well, once I get to the POKEY build out and testing I'm going to need to get Bentley and Burger Time carts to test, so I'll buy those from Albert.    Also if once I get to that point, I will probably be sending a fully assembled XM to Bob (PacManPlus) so he can do some testing directly himself...

 

When the POKEY is installed the Keyboard tests can also be done, which means I can test with an XE GS keyboard and then test with Michaels (Mytek) XEGS Keyboard adapter and try that out...

 

Getting rather jazzed... so I am going to do a little more work for an hour, gotta get some sleep, need to take my daughter to school in the morning and then tomorrow I'll have some time to do more testing and start checking the NvRAM and SRAM tests.

 

Hoping to post up some video's tomorrow if time permits.
Title: Re: Atari 7800 eXpansion Module (XM)
Post by: TrekMD on October 17, 2018, 12:14:54 PM
Latest update:

Quote
Well... I wont be able to run a test of Gyruss audio just yet, but I am beginning to place the resistors and caps onto the board for the analog ground and +5 section of the board and add in the needed resistors and caps for the LC2274 OpAmp that will handle the onboard Pokey and a cartridge Pokey if present to pass the audio through the XM into the 7800...  so I should be doing some testing on the POKEY soon, Mark is looking at the address lines and timing of the SRAM and he's got one heck of a nice testing rig he build around an Atmega644, its pretty darned cool.

 

Perry's DK/XM and Beefdrop VE arrived so I'll be able to test with those soon and I'm putting together the parts he'll need for his OpAmp and Yamaha section so he can hopefully show us some of his creative magic I know he's been dying to put to the test on real hardware.

 

Once the Pokey audio is done, the keyboard subsystem was already working on Rev 2.0, I'll give it a thorough testing on the Rev 3.5 and put together some demo video's of it working with the XEGS keyboard and I also am really itching to test of Michael's (Mytek) XEGS to PS/2 keyboard adapter on the XM, so I'll hook up an IBM keyboard I have put to the side for just the occasion :-)

 

But we are moving forward and some very good solid progress is being made, gonna be calling on Mitch Orman hopefully soon to give the XM's the Compatibitity run down with every version of 7800 consoles ever made so he can give us a final word on what, if any versions may or may not like a part of a whole XM so we'll know if there is any issues with any of the various versions as each had its own quirky fixes & issues with games.

 
Title: Re: Atari 7800 eXpansion Module (XM)
Post by: zapiy on October 18, 2018, 09:30:40 AM
Sounds like he is making some inroads at last.
Title: Re: Atari 7800 eXpansion Module (XM)
Post by: TrekMD on October 18, 2018, 12:10:11 PM
Yes, they are.  There are still some naysayers but this is certainly heading in the right direction.
Title: Re: Atari 7800 eXpansion Module (XM)
Post by: TrekMD on December 25, 2018, 19:52:13 PM
Latest update from Curt...

Quote

We are getting very close to completing the hardware shake out, I've been focusing my free time on the 7800XM and on my arcade controller projects, once the New Year starts, like around Jan 15th, www.7800xm.com will go live with a form for people to fill out that Pre-Ordered so that things can get squared away and I can start preparing things.    Still a bit to do, the final production BIOS needs to be completed as the one being used now is a heavy duty one that is really beating the crap out of the hardware so that it can be shaken out and corrected for final production.   Mitch Orman has helped me out substantially letting me borrow several of his versions of 7800 for hw compatibility testing.    Still need to go through games some more and also to complete some internal house keeping tasks, but things are getting closer than ever.    Developers will get the first runs of the XM's and I'm sure everyone can totally understand why, they need these first because they are the ones who are going to be exploring its capabilities and exploiting them, to start putting together a whole new line of games that when plugged into an XM, they will sense the available features and enabled the enhancements.

 

I can't tell developers what to do, but it is my hope, that with many of the new games, unless it is some such as the need for the extended memory, that they will code their games to work with and without the XM's so everyone can enjoy them.
Title: Re: Atari 7800 eXpansion Module (XM)
Post by: zapiy on January 02, 2019, 23:20:42 PM
Great news.
Title: Re: Atari 7800 eXpansion Module (XM)
Post by: TrekMD on January 02, 2019, 23:22:24 PM
Yes it is!
Title: Re: Atari 7800 eXpansion Module (XM)
Post by: TrekMD on January 15, 2019, 02:06:47 AM
Here is the latest update:

Hi everyone,

Okay, the existing pre-orders page is up for everyone who had already ordered an XM and needs to submit their order information and updated mailing address. Even if your mailing address never changed, please go to the page and submit your information so I can start preparing shipping labels and order of who's order goes out first.

Sorry, if you have not already purchased a 7800XM, this is not an order page for new orders. You have to wait until everyone who ordered and is has been extremely patient since 2010 waiting for their 7800XM's gets theirs first. Once I start shipping these pre-orders out, then new orders will be taken on that page and here through the Atariage store.

PRE-ORDERS INFORMATION PAGE:

http://www.7800xm.com

thanks.

Curt
Title: Re: Atari 7800 eXpansion Module (XM)
Post by: Shadowrunner on January 15, 2019, 15:04:27 PM
Sounds like it's getting close. Good news!
Title: Re: Atari 7800 eXpansion Module (XM)
Post by: TrekMD on January 15, 2019, 16:51:18 PM
Indeed!  Can't wait to see what the naysayers will say when these get to people's hands.  There have been so many people stating that this thing will never see release, saying that Curt is a crook, etc. 
Title: Re: Atari 7800 eXpansion Module (XM)
Post by: TrekMD on October 12, 2019, 18:15:14 PM
Curt has stared posting updates again. Looks like work is ongoing for this.  Here is the latest update...

Finished all of the lines into the QFP.    Mark suggested adding in an IRQ and moving the CLK2 line to an standard I/O and not using the PLD GCLK2 input, so I made those changes.  I also add several PLD I/O pin test points since there were several unused I/O pins on the left side of the QFP.   Sent over the updated Schematics and Board files to Mark and Perry so they can give everything and 2nd and 3rd set of eyes before I run off the test boards.  Be nice to run off boards without any further cut & straps and to move the design from its testing & development design to the final design.

(https://i.imgur.com/kDFTtsO.png)
Title: Re: Atari 7800 eXpansion Module (XM)
Post by: TrekMD on November 02, 2019, 14:35:37 PM
Two more updates...

(https://i.imgur.com/wh9VGcB.png)

(https://i.imgur.com/nh0Jyo8.png)
Title: Re: Atari 7800 eXpansion Module (XM)
Post by: TrekMD on January 04, 2020, 16:02:10 PM
Here is the latest update from Curt:

Booting up of the 1st production shipping 7800XM, has the basic functionality on it just to show it booting and working in both 2600 and 7800 mode.   This particular one is going to PacManPlus (Bob) and another to Perry Thuente next week and the other 3 are going to Mitch Orman, RevEng and Mark Ball so that they can start developing games for the XM and also to heavily stress test them.   These I'm just hand building to make sure everything is good before I move to mass building.   But lo and behold, the shipments are starting.   As I ship (as Jinx suggested) I'll post up who's orders are shipping out, please don't start PM'ing me asking when yours is going out, I'll be contacting everyone, so when I contact you, yours is shipping.

There's a video on his AA post:  https://atariage.com/forums/topic/273865-happy-new-year-xm-shipping-this-month/?do=findComment&comment=4424120
Title: Re: Atari 7800 eXpansion Module (XM)
Post by: zapiy on January 05, 2020, 23:56:02 PM
Great stuff. Thanks for keeping this alive bud.


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
Title: Re: Atari 7800 eXpansion Module (XM)
Post by: TrekMD on January 07, 2020, 00:37:03 AM
I just learned that these have STARTED TO SHIP!   YES! 
Title: Re: Atari 7800 eXpansion Module (XM)
Post by: TrekMD on January 19, 2020, 18:19:12 PM
So, these are indeed shipping!  Slowly but they are. Right now the developers are getting the first ones so they can test their games.  Here are some videos that Curt has posted...

https://youtu.be/KQV4XY7VeyE

https://youtu.be/6VaFlq-UABE

https://youtu.be/g4VSI8pcQEg

Title: Re: Atari 7800 eXpansion Module (XM)
Post by: Shadowrunner on January 20, 2020, 17:47:45 PM
Well that didn't take long lol. Nice to see it's finished!
Title: Re: Atari 7800 eXpansion Module (XM)
Post by: TrekMD on January 20, 2020, 22:47:53 PM
It took seven heart surgeries and several other health issues (and 10 years) but it is finally coming!  This will open the door to 7800 development where adding hardware to carts becomes unnecessary. 
Title: Re: Atari 7800 eXpansion Module (XM)
Post by: Vadergb on January 23, 2020, 23:53:07 PM
I remember seeing the original posts on this forum from way back. So it's great to see them get to releasing it! I have a soft spot for the 7800 and 2600 and the YouTube videos are a great way of showcasing the product. That high score chip feature is amazing.
Title: Re: Atari 7800 eXpansion Module (XM)
Post by: TrekMD on January 28, 2020, 12:13:56 PM
Here's another update from Curt...

 Got a lot of good news from Bob and Perry over the weekend, they've been testing a great deal of games and so far they've all worked.   Perry also testing a game I've been concerned about which was Serpentine because it has its own onboard memory on the cart and it plays perfectly well with the XM.   Would be interesting to look into doing an XM version of Serpentine where the cart won't need the RAM but can use the onboard XM RAM instead and reduce the cost of the cartridge.

 

One final thing being implemented is creating the signature for the POKEY boards being sold and to have the XM recognize them and have the XM check for POKEY and turn off its own, so that's being worked out and should be implemented shortly.   But so far nothing seems to be holding back from continuing forward with completing the final BIOS.  I just ordered in a new batch of boards with the fixes to the 3 straps that were needed and added a nested footprint for future FRAM chips for the High Score function so Dallas or FM chips could be used and both footprints are there.

 

Mytek suggested looking at JLCPCB he uses for the 1088XL's... their prices are fantastic, only downside is they don't have purple soldermask.  No one is really going to be seeing the boards much, so color doesn't really matter so I'm giving them a short and did a run of boards with them and I'll have them in by Monday or Tuesday to build out another batch of boards.
Title: Re: Atari 7800 eXpansion Module (XM)
Post by: TrekMD on April 04, 2020, 15:35:20 PM
Here's the latest update from Curt:

Hi,

 

    Update:   The new boards that correct the deep timing issue arrived and I have built one of them out and did testing with RevEng's ROF Test program and now the timing issue is resolved.   I will complete this board (only did the left side of the board with all of the memory components) now I'll finish the Audio and I/O section on the right side and do some additional testing.

 

   Mark has given me the first pass and a small revision of his End User BIOS... all I can say is, its even better than expected... let me allow him to finish it and then I can post a full walk through of all of the area's of the menu.  Its a beautifully polished design and it really rounds on things.   So, while we are all stuck in COVID limbo, I've been working away, so has Mark and I am going to check in with all of the Dev's and see how they are progressing.  I saw Bob's great update announcement and I think he made a great choice in just getting himself used to working with his XM to develop on and hopefully we'll see what the guys are up to.

 

  Everyone please stay safe and hopefully once we get through this crap and everything gets back to some type of normalcy, then these units can go out to everyone, but the downtime is definitely being put to very good use to complete these final items.

 

Curt
Title: Re: Atari 7800 eXpansion Module (XM)
Post by: TrekMD on May 11, 2020, 03:46:10 AM
(http://www.8bitrocket.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/05/S3E7.png)

If you want to learn more about the XM and where things stand currently, you can listen to this episode of Into the Vertical Blank.  It's an interview with Curt Vendel:  S3:E7 Discussion with Curt Vendel about the Atari 7800 XM Module (http://www.8bitrocket.com/2020/05/01/s3e7-discussion-with-curt-vendel-about-the-atari-7800-xm-module/).
Title: Re: Atari 7800 eXpansion Module (XM)
Post by: davyk on May 11, 2020, 09:25:44 AM
I've been lukewarm to the XM as it's not really a 7800 any more but I have to say I'm getting a trifle excited about this now.

Title: Re: Atari 7800 eXpansion Module (XM)
Post by: TrekMD on May 11, 2020, 12:04:23 PM
I think that's something people have said but it is still a 7800. The XM only adds functions that were meant to be included in the system back then and that would have been added to carts.  The cost of those carts became too expensive, though, and we only got two games that had POKEY and another handful that had added memory.  By having it all in one unit, there is no longer a need for carts to have extra hardware.  So, having learned so much of what was intended for the 7800, I see adding the XM as the 7800 as it was meant to be.
Title: Re: Atari 7800 eXpansion Module (XM)
Post by: davyk on May 11, 2020, 12:35:33 PM
I have had a 7800 for a long time but it's a PAL unit and I've been loathe to invest too much in games for it; reason being the usual PAL compromises from that era giving us a less than optimal game experience here. It's also not that great as an RF video device - my 2600 gives me a better picture. I use a 4:3 CRT with RGB SCART for retro gaming but I still use RF for my 2600 and 7800. :)

So I'd be interested to know exactly what all this entails. I really like the look of it. I have a PAL 7800, a US 4 switch 2600 with composite mod and a PAL 6 switch + a Harmony. I've also bought a few homebrews such as Pacman Collection and Medieval Mayhem from the atariage site.

I was quite active for a while there creating PAL60 ROMs for 2600 games on the atariage website as well. Have given some feedback on projects that were asking people to run demo programs and give feedback on overscan etc.

So I am somewhat invested in old Atari tech - but I'd be in for this alone if it gave me a way of playing 7800/2600 games using composite with high score support for 7800 games. The real bonus is the homebrew scene. Really like the look of some of the homebrew games - stuff like the Circus remake look great for example.

Given what I have I can jump a few different ways. Is my best way forward to get an NTSC 7800 (modded for composite) and XM or is it an all-in-1 unit?
Title: Re: Atari 7800 eXpansion Module (XM)
Post by: davyk on May 11, 2020, 14:35:57 PM
Heh - just read the OP!!!

So it's a module that you plug into the cartridge port. Very clever.


Will it work with a PAL system?
Title: Re: Atari 7800 eXpansion Module (XM)
Post by: TrekMD on May 11, 2020, 14:39:33 PM
Yep, it's a module that you attach to the console.  It essentially adds what could be added to every cart but in the one module.  Makes it easier to develop games that use those features without having to spend the money on each and every cart.  I believe it will work with all 7800 versions based on what Curt has been saying  If you can, listen to the podcast.  He explains a lot there.
Title: Re: Atari 7800 eXpansion Module (XM)
Post by: davyk on May 11, 2020, 14:40:43 PM

Cheers.
Title: Re: Atari 7800 eXpansion Module (XM)
Post by: TrekMD on July 05, 2020, 02:27:28 AM
A short update was posted today by Curt...

I've already shipped out to quite a few 7800 developers.  Only thing I'm waiting for is the beta of the Consumer BIOS so it can be fully testing out on the final boards (the last version now has the Motor line on the SIO connected, just a very minor change.  All hardware work is done.   I also need the final Consumer BIOS so the manual can be written.   This is a rather extensive piece of software, as well as a rather impressive one as well.   It will actually redefine several of the console buttons during power up to allow certain functions and settings to be done as the console boots.   I already have an early version of the Consumer BIOS and it blew my mind when I tried it out, but many area's were not yet completed.   Any of the 7800 coders... well, a coder on any of these consoles will tell you, the software side takes time.   There are 3 people working on the BIOS and the Dev's have all seen a sneak peak of an early version of it as well as Albert.   I'm just putting together boards and readying them on my end.
SimplePortal 2.3.7 © 2008-2021, SimplePortal