ColecoDS - Improved

CrashMidnick

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Thanks. I will try to do more resets next time. I think I gave up at 3 for DK but most of the time, games are loading just fine.

I used the latest checked in version, this cassette menu is very intuitive and useful. Perfect !
 
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wavemotion

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Not ready for a new build, but did check in 6.5b with PAL support for the Memotech MTX (a British machine) and the Spectravideo SV-318/328. By default, PAL is enabled for Memotech MTX games and disabled for SVI games.

Coleco, ADAM, MSX, SordM5 and SG-1000 were all American and Japanese in origin and are NTSC only.

I've also changed where .sav files are stored - they are now in a SAV sub-directory to keep them grouped together.
 

wavemotion

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Something cool I'm working on for the next release... there are some great Multi-Carts out there by retro enthusiasts for some obscure systems. Most notably I'm looking at the MAGROM for the Memotech MTX and the SC-3000 Survivors Multicart / Megacart.

These binaries have been released in the last couple of years and accumulates a ton of obscure software for some obscure systems in an effort to preserve them. For example, the SC-3000 Multicart contains some 70+ bits of tape-related software that is very difficult to play outside of emulation (admittedly, a lot of it is junk... but a half-dozen games are REALLY good and not available elsewhere). The author has done some technical miracles in getting the tape software to run via a ROM file - and the latest version of MAME supports this. I'm working on getting the same support for ColecoDS - the binary is pretty huge (2MB and 4MB) which means I can't load the entire binary into RAM but I can load it piece-wise from the SD card. The loading might be a little slow - 4 or 5 seconds to load up 1 tape game... but that's still amazing considering it would take many minutes to load these obscure games from real tape in 1983.


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wavemotion

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Still not ready for a new release... but 6.5c is checked in at GitHub with support for the SC-3000 (the computer equivalent of the SG-1000 with more RAM and keyboard support). But, of course, the better news is that it also supports the SC-3000 Survivors Multicart!

Search via google for "SC-3000 Survivors Multicart" and follow the links for the binaries for MAME. You will find 2 binary files... the 2MB one is the multicart that ColecoDS supports - just change the .bin extension to .sc to load in ColecoDS.

There are some really great games on this multicart... I've only played about half so far but really like Satellite Salvage, Pandemonium and most especially Moonbase Alpha! I'm sure there are other great games I haven't discovered yet - it's a lot of content on the one multicart.
 

wavemotion

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https://github.com/wavemotion-dave/ColecoDS

V6.6: 07-Apr-2022 by wavemotion-dave
  • CAS icon implemented to provide a menu of cassette-based actions including swapping tape/disk for multi-load games.
  • SC-3000 emulated more fully with support for the SC-3000 Survivors Multi-Cart (2MB) and MEGA-Cart (4MB).
  • PAL vs NTSC now supported for the Memotech MTX, Spectravideo SVI and SC-3000.
  • SAV files have been streamlined and are now smaller/faster. Old saves won't work. Sorry.
  • Better overall memory handling to keep the program size manageable.
I provide a 1-byte blank Cassette tape for use on the Spectravideo and MSX (remember, those are digital versions of analog tape... so a blank tape starts out - well... blank! The file will grow as stuff gets written to it).

We now support both SC-3000 Survivor carts... the Multi-Cart (2MB) and the MEGA-Cart (4MB) - just rename the files with a .sc extension. The only difference is that the MEGA cart includes more commercial games - it has the same tape-based games (which is the main reason for playing the multi-cart... you can just load individual roms for commercial games). Be aware that we cannot load these Survivor carts into main memory - they are simply too large. So I have to read them in piece-wise from the SD card. This means it will take several seconds to load up a game... make sure you are patient. 5-10 seconds is still lots better than the original 5-minute cassette load times of 1985! Because it's larger, the MEGA cart (4MB) takes longer to load up stuff than the Multi-Cart (2MB).
 
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wavemotion

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https://github.com/wavemotion-dave/ColecoDS

V6.7: 10-Apr-2022 by wavemotion-dave
  • Casio PV-2000 support (.pv rom files) - all 11 games run fine.
  • Improved emulated memory access to gain almost 1 frame of performance.
  • Numerous small cleanups under the hood.

The big addition is the obscure Japanese Casio PV-2000 system. Only 11 games were produced for the system - though all of them were well done. It wasn't easy to track down all 11 games... the 'official' TOSEC had only 5 of the games. Many MESS software distributions had only 9 or 10... look for the 2018 or later MESS software list to get all 11.
1649592129839.png


You will also need the PV-2000 rom bios - renamed to pv2000.rom

If you want to know if you have a fully capable ColecoDS setup, you should see this after booting it:

1649592257937.png
 

wavemotion

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Not ready for a new build but 6.7a is checked in with support for the Hanimex Pencil II. This super-obscure Australian console gone largely unnoticed until 2019 when one of the rare games got dumped: Treasure Hunter. It's a fun game - and one that would have been right at home on the venerable Colecovision back in the day.

To play it, you will have to jump through some hoops.

First you need a Pencil II BIOS. In MAME, the pencil2.zip file contains a number of ROM chips... the one you want is mt.u4 (8k) and this must be renamed to pencil2.rom and placed in your BIOS folder.

Second, you need the game. Which, unfortunately, came on 2 ROM chips. So you have to "glue" the two ROMs together. If you can find a late MAME "Software List" from 2020 or later, you will find treasure.zip which contains two ROM files:

pen702a.bin (8k)
pen702b.bin (4k)

You need to glue these together. In windows use the command line:

copy /b pen702a.bin + pen702b.bin TreasureHunt.pen

in Linux:

cat pen702a.bin pen702b.bin > TreasureHunt.pen

This should leave you with a 12k ROM called TreasureHunt.pen which is now playable on your ColecoDS system!

I'll be shocked if anyone other than me gets this game to run... but your effort will allow you to play one of the most rare and obscure games of any retro system!
 

CrashMidnick

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so cool! Yeah, would love to see those. I wonder if any screenshots exist running on real hardware? Or instruction manuals so we know what those games looked like? I hope those are not lost to the ravages of time... :(

I looked for information on French forums but did not find any information except the one we already know.
As you can see on the picture I uploaded, it is written "leboncoin" which is a sale website (grabbed from twitter page of the guy who helped to dump Treasure Hunt). A french guy tried to contact the seller back in the time but he never replied unfortunately. I am pretty sure that those games are still alive and not far from my location, less than 700kms (450 miles) :)
I will post on some retro forums and see if we can get an answer.

For sure, we reach the deep of the obscure things with those games ;)
 

wavemotion

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So I've been trying to get the last of the Z80, TMS9918/9929, SN/AY machines running. The Tatung Einstein is a semi-obscure UK machine which packs a lot of power... it was one of the high-end Z80 machines. But it's just painful to emulate - the only working emulator for it is in MAME and it's not well documented and fairly complex. I've gotten most of the basics working - but can't get the Floppy Drive emulation to work. So for now, all I can run is 'Quickload' .COM files (these are single image files that are intended to be loaded off .DSK disks). That means out of the 100 or so games, I can only run about 15 of them properly.

Not to mention that the joystick wasn't included with the system and so many of the games tend to use keys which I don't have great emulation when it comes to mapping DS buttons to keyboard keys... that whole strategy needs to be re-thought and re-coded. Ugg.

So I'm a little down on this one... Out of the 15 games that run, only about half have controls that work well on the DS. Fortunately this includes a killer version of Jet Set Willy, Manic Miner, Miner Dick and Chuckie Egg. But that's not much to show for 20+ hours of development effort.

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wavemotion

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I spent most of Easter Sunday and the better part of last night working on a major cleanup of the emulator.

I now have universal keyboard key mapping to any NDS buttons. Finally! This should allow all the games that only use the keyboard to play perfectly when those keys are mapped properly.

I also found a bug in the Memotech MTX memory driver...previously we weren't really emulating the MTX500 (32K machine) nor the MTX512 (64K machine) but some kind of hybrid that actually caused problems with a number of games loading properly. This fix brings the MTX compatibility way up... I'd estimate we were way under 60% compatibility and now we are over 80% compatibility... including the "giant" 512k MTX MAGROM which is a compilation of MTX games. Woot!

Unfortunately, the Tatung Einstein driver is still lacking... I've got about 16 games working (perfectly) but another 50-60 games that won't yet run. Still working on it... both of the British machines have given me fits. I think it's payback for my forefathers dumping all their tea in the harbor! :)

All of this comes with a catch: I had to change save states and configuration ... again. There's nothing really wrong with 6.7 so you can stay on that build forever - but for those looking for the future of improved compatibility and more games to run - the upcoming 6.8 will be the start of some great things!

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