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ST cartridge/CATA project

Started by Petari, 02-02-2016, 10:28:09

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I was thinking a lot about what and how to do - considering that prices of EPROMs are pretty big in compare with prices of Flash cards, + doing small quantity of PCBs means high price/unit .
So, the idea is to do universal board, what will be good for simple, pure ROM based cartridge, and version for Compact Flash cards - but there must be 2 EPROMs too.
In HW it means 2 versions:
1. Simple 2 EPROM based cartridge, with DIP switch to select 1 from 8 sections - games in fact
2. Mass storage based - AUTOboot via cartridge ROM, then may install usual hard disk driver and go to Desktop or ...

In SW there can be more variants:
8 128 KB sections allow 8-10 shorter games (2 very short can go in one) . I made list of quality games which can fit, and so far there is about 60 title.
Already did: Goldrunner (with options to turn off/on speech and fire sound) , Great Giana Sisters (title music dropped to make it fit) - on machines with blitter will be fine scroll, on those without normal skip. Min RAM 512 KB. Actually, almost all will need only 512 KB.

CF card variant: may use game adaptations in same way as now - via regular GEMDOS hard disk driver.

More interesting would be variant with low level driver, which needs very little RAM to work. That makes possible gaming form mass storage on machines with only 512 KB RAM - hundreds of games. 512KB games will work in most cases, but there are things what can not solve without extra RAM - TOS version problems for instance.
Idea is to use 4 GB card, where will be plenty of space for saving gamestates. After reset, it will not go to Desktop, but in menu, controllable with keyboard and joystick - where user can select what to play, and look statesaves, delete them ...
In any case, there will be lot of work on SW side with this.

So, to summarize :
Simple cartridge with 8 sections for 8-10 games. 512KB RAM enough for most. About 60 quality games seems to fit.
Compact Flash based. SW can be regular hard disk driver + games, APPs ....
Or special low level driver based - then 512KB RAM may be enough for many games. With menu for selecting game. Will not go to Desktop.

I can not give estimated prices at moment, and it will depend from interest: so, please let me know if you are - here, in PM or e-mail.




Interested also !   
CF versions sound better.  :)
My system: Atari STE 4MB, OS: SuperTOS 2.06, HD: US/disk 4gb SDcard ,ppera v0.98 HD drivers, USB mouse adapter by me, PSX controller joy adapter by me,  full list of adaption,s games by Petari.
Second Atari machine: 1040 STF
Other: 2X Lilliput Atari 130 XE




CF / option 2 here also.  You're an Atari ST sorcerer! :D
AtariCrypt . . stay cool & stay ATARI ST
Atari MEGA STe | Atari STe | MiNT OS 1-19 Aranym OS X


Quote from: ataricrypt on 10-02-2016, 20:50:10
CF / option 2 here also.  You're an Atari ST sorcerer! :D

CF is under development ;)

Its not been updated for some time, but I sent Peter next prototypes to test as I'm flooded with all sorts of work at the moment. Maybe there should be a new thread about this project ?