Back from holiday, nice to see the sun in full power again, get a bit of a tan. back to normality now, the parts I ordered have finally arrived so I'm now building a few boards up for people to try and make sure they get there before Christmas! - got a few spare at the moment, so if you were waiting for the time to ask about one, get in quick before these are all allocated to people. (have to try and keep one for myself this time, the one in my cab disappeared with the last batch)
Got a few other things to play with for the festive season, built a PC for the lounge using a small aluminium case and an EPIA mini-itx board, neat little thing, may end up using one with the next project, which involves fitting a ZVG board and a PC into my asteroids cab (see www.zektor.com for info)
Found a slight problem with the ingame lock. If you have the board set to freeplay, and are also using the start 1 + start 2 combination to return to the menu, then what happens is that you press one of the start buttons before the other, which starts a new game, which then stops you from returning to the menu! - so, the ingame check (and the slideshow) is automatically disabled for this set of circumstances. If you really want freeplay and the ingame lock, then you need to wire up the optional 'return to menu' button.
Latest batch of PCB's has been sent, so this will finally complete the people on the specials list, which in turn means that they will be up for sale via the website shortly. If you are after one, then e-mail me first, I only send boards out after the money has been received, but I'll also only take money if I have a board here ready to send!
A couple of the email addresses I had for the special list bounced, so if you thought you were on the list, but haven't heard from me then send me a mail to let me know where you are.
A quiet month on the web and multigame front. I've been catching up working on a few mame drivers that I keep meaning to do, so look for me appearing in the read me files soon!
One requested change for the multigame tied in with something I had thought about anyway, so that is now in along with another feature that it then makes possible - the 'return to menu' button is now disabled whilst a game is in play, so you cannot accidentally flip back to the menu just as you were about to get that highest score. The follow on from this is a slideshow - this will flip to the next game every 4 minutes as long as nothing is being played. The slideshow can be enabled or disabled using a new software DIP setting, but the menu lock is a permanent feature (I can't think of why you wouldn't want to use it!)
Finally, on the hardware front, the neo 5 slot is back to being a 6 slot, but the Sega frogger board hack (troubleshooting page) may need a little more work, since the colours are wrong - that could be a fault with the board, but until I get around to fixing it I won't know (I need to grab some 2125 sprite ram chips from somewhere before I can look into it further! - and there's also a chip missing next to the sprite ram which I think is a 74174 - unless you know better)
Not a bad month so far, my Asteroids cab has been rebuilt, bulletproofed and is now functioning correctly, may swop the tube next since the one in there has some nasty spots burnt in. I've also repaired a neo geo 6 slot so I don't have to keep swopping carts so much (actually it's now a 5 slot, since slot 6 doesn't seem to work yet!)
meanwhile, I've had a request for how to convert a board from Eagle (Moon Cresta) to run the multigame. This involves fixing the normal hacks to the memory map - full details on the troubleshooting page.
Some nice weather means I've been sitting in the sun, drinking beer and generally enjoying myself. A new batch is on order, should be here in a week or so, although half are already spoken for! - I will email a few more of you soon though, just to clear the rest away. (Slight delay, the company that make the PCB's closed down for August!)
I've also been repairing the odd galaxian for myself and other multigame people, so added one interesting fault to the repair log.
Well, I have been busy catching up with some other tasks, and working through the list of specials. now around 2/3 of the way through the list, so if you haven't heard from me yet, it should be soon!
Added instructions for making the cables to the assembly page and added the extra button(s) to the install page. Need to put a few more problems and solutions on the troubleshooting page and I think we are there!
The second batch of PCB's has arrived, had a reply from half of the people I mailed about it so far, I'll email some more later in the week if nothing has been heard from them by then.
Instructions for how to use the setup screens has been added. Check it out here. Just need to document the extra wires for the menu button and the player two bomb button on the installation and sort out some troubleshooting tips and we are there! (only a year or so after I started)
Started to get feedback from the first owners - seems to be going well, with no problems experienced fitting them. Any interesting questions along with the answers will get incorporated into the troubleshooting screen.
I've added the wiring to the installation page, except for the extra wires needed for some situations (cocktail player two control and optional menu button). Will get these added in as soon as I can.
Second batch of boards has been ordered, so I'll start emailing the next block of people on the list very soon. Keep an eye on your mailbox!
The first items will be shipped today, and since that means people should be receiving them soon, I thought I had better put up the installation page!
Still playing with cable lengths, wire types to see what the best combination is. I was wondering about supplying the cables and clips for people to make themselves (well, I could put one end on) - that way you would always have the correct length for your PCB - what do you think? - mail me and let me know
Some of the first batch have now been built, and test out OK. Still experimenting with cable lengths for connecting the separate boards, on a single PCB the colour rom link only needs to be about 5", but on a cocktail, the link to the graphics board needs to be about 15".
Anyway, the good news is that the ones I've tested so far all work, so I should be in a position to start sending out by around Tuesday this week
Assembly instructions are nearly there, just need to add a couple of pictures, then it's time to start on the installation and the beginnings of a troubleshooting page.
The parts have arrived!
I'll be building and testing the first set of multi-games over the next few days, and should be in a position to start shipping out assembled ones next week.
Assembly page has been updated with the second PCB and some important notes.
Still waiting for the last set of parts (sockets and pins) but I have some of the bits already, so I have started on the instructions for assembling the kits. If you want to check them out, click here!
Instructions for the other two PCB's and the parts list will be completed over the next few days (as long as the sockets turn up!) and then I will do the installation instructions for those of you who will be receiving the pre-assembled boards shortly.
Well, the bits I was expecting to arrive on the 1st July actually made it but the bits I expected to arrive before that are still outstanding over a week onwards!
I have started on the assembly instructions whilst I assemble the first few, and should have them posted on the site fairly soon.
Only one person from the list that I e-mailed has not responded, so the first batch is pretty much tied up. I'll order the next batch of PCB's fairly soon, so if you have not been emailed yet, I expect to be contacting you before the end of July.
And finally, a totally non-galaxian project : whilst waiting for enough bits to arrive I programmed up a PAL to do CVS to jamma control decode. Only for single player (needs a bigger PAL for 2 player, and a cocktail table - neither of which I have!) but once it tests out OK, I'll stick the program on the site, and also offer pre-programmed PAL's for anyone who needs them. For reasons why this is useful, see the CVS info page.
The PCB's have arrived. I'm just sorting out the orders for the remaining parts, and hopefully will have everything needed for the first batch on the 1st July. The first batch is only a small one, just to make sure that everything is OK, plus I need to sort out the instructions for assembly, installation as I build these. I will email the first recipients from the list next weekend (as I'm about to nip off on a weeks holiday!) - so keep an eye on your mailbox if you emailed me ages ago, I may be mailing you !!
n.b. As soon as I have verified that the PCB is OK, and shipped the first few out I'll be ordering a larger batch, so I would hope to have something for everyone on the list around the end of July.
For a change, nothing to do with the multigame. The pinouts for a rather strange galaxian bootleg EDM-28 have been added to the slowly growing pinouts page.
The first production batch of PCB's has been ordered, some of the components to go on them have been ordered, so hopefully be contacting the first people on the 'specials' list with details.
Fixed a few bugs that chief tester Ivan has noticed, and added a DIP switch to Omega requested by Michael from Canada : you can now select whether the main screen displays 'END' or 'FIN' (no, I couldn't find it in there already, so I just added it myself)
Game 16 has been completed!
I'll be ordering a batch of boards shortly, and whilst I am waiting for those to arrive, myself and Ivan can do some testing to make sure that all the bugs are out!
Visit the multigame page to see the final lineup
The worst of the work on game 16 is done, it runs OK, plays nicely and sounds pretty good. I still have the shared credits, dip switches and maybe some high score saving to add in and we are there!
I've started sorting out the first real order, which won't be a large batch due to the prices of all the parts - this is a hobby, so I can't invest too much - but hopefully, once the first batch are sold I can use the money from that to order a bigger batch of PCB's for the second batch.
Meanwhile the games room is looking a bit different. The pinball has had the first repairs on it and the first enhancements. I finally finished rebuilding my Indiana Jones control panel for the system 1 cab, so that has been converted to give the controls a good test. (incidentally, I removed the fablon and sheet of plastic that someone had fixed to the old panel I bought, and from the remains of the artwork below it was converted from a peter packrat (aargh!) - the very thing that I'm now planning to convert it back to)
so, in between adding the extra routines into game 16, working my way around the room trying to get all the cabs working, and trying to finally add the cabs to the web page - I'm fairly busy !!
As well as the cabs page, I'm also thinking of adding a PAL PAGE - this is where I hope to start collecting images for the PAL chips used on various boards - some makes cannot be locked, and so hopefully someone has read them, and some people have reverse engineered them - but I have a couple of decent games that no longer work because one of the PAL's has died, and there is no image for it to allow me to create a new one. So, assuming that I am not alone in this situation, I want to try and amass a collection of PAL IMAGES for repairs. so, if you have any, please send them to me - along with the game, PAL type and location!
Wow, where does the time go when you're having fun! The delay was caused by a drastic amount of decorating and re-arranging to allow me to fit my new purchase in the games room. With some tweaking it has changed from 1 upright, 5 cabarets and 2 computers to now holding 2 uprights, 4 cabarets, 1 pinball and 2 computers.
Anyway, After a months gap, game 15 makes the line-up. Another old favourite, it's Exodus (AKA Hunt the Red UFO at the edge of time) - normal changes, coinage, dips, single high score entry, dash over to the multigame page for pictures.
so, that means we are into THE FINAL COUNTDOWN, as I will now commence sorting out game 16 to complete the lineup. There are quite a few of you on the list now, and the first batch will probably not be big enough to cover you all, but hang in there - it will happen!
Prices are not totally confirmed, but I've stuck what I expect to be the prices on the page as well, so as long as the suppliers I am planning to use do indeed stock the parts at the prices that their websites claim! (well, at least once I've ordered a part from a website to discover that the price has doubled since they last updated the page)
It may be April fools day, but game 14 has been completed. A much requested game, Devil Fish jumps into the next available slot. Swim across to the multigame page for the full lowdown.
I've also added a new pinouts page as a place to store info on any games that I've either worked out myself, or had great difficulty locating elsewhere on the web. At least if you are after them there is now one additional place that may crop up in the search engine!
After what seems like a lifetime, game 13, Pisces has been completed. Although much more has been happening behind the scenes. Ivan sent me a list of oddities and bugs that have all been sorted out, a couple of enhancements as mentioned below have been done, and I also did some looking at the code for the next game to go into the multigame. so pay the page a visit to look at the new screen shots, and I'll get on with the next new game.
Ivan has done some changes to Mr Do. A couple of bug fixes to prevent problems on some boards and a change to the first screen, although he tells me it's to make it prettier, not harder!
The first set of PCBs have been sent out!
This was a special early version which was sent to Ivan to allow him to continue development on Mr Do's Nightmare, which he has decided isn't scary enough (I thought he was being kind and letting people into the game gently before hitting them with the nasty screens!)
But, having the first PCB installed also led to the first set of ideas and enhancements, so here's the first of these implemented.
When there are more options above or below that you can scroll to, then the arrows pictured will appear.
Updated the multigame page with a couple of pictures of version 2 pcb fitted to my cocktail galaxian board.
Prototype PCB version 2 has been assembled, and is now running correctly. It looks a bit neater than the previous version, which has 7 patch wires and a very interesting looking wirewrap socket to overcome the contention I was getting with the main game PCB.
The coloured cables are the leads that connect to the colour prom board and the graphics board. I'll add some photographs of these later on. (They are not that different from the previous picture I posted). Anyway, this board will soon be on it's way to Ivan but I'm hoping to make a couple of final mods to the board design and get the first batch of PCB's ordered.
One dozen! Video Pool joins the line up. normally only seen on scramble hardware, a version for moon cresta was sent to me recently, and makes an interesting variation on all the shoot-em-ups. check the multigame page for more info.
Additional news, I've started pricing up all of the components needed to actually make the PCB's for everyone who wants one. Just a few extra components to locate and I should be able to announce the prices. There will be a special introduction price for those who are on the list of names. If you are not on it, then email me now!
PCB's arrived! - they look good, so I need to populate one and see if they work - although the only reason they wouldn't is because I missed a track off somewhere!
The twelfth game is running now, just needs me to do the normal changes. Then I better get on with it since I'd still like the 16 games for release.
PCB's still not arrived - apparently posted to me two weeks ago, but nothing seen at this end yet. Was hoping to get one assembled ready for the meeting next weekend. Lets hope they turn up by Wednesday otherwise I may have to do some rapid tidying up on version 1 to take with me.
Have decided to add a 'Galaxian Hack' section to the web site. Myself and several friends seem to keep removing various strange hacks to convert the games back to regular galaxians. From now on, we are going to photograph and document some of the weirder ones, and maybe the technical changes that make the difference between the galaxian memory map and the moon cresta memory map (since this seems to be fairly common)
What a difference having the original source code makes! Mr Do's Nightmare creeps into the multigame as game number 11. It already had high score tables and things, so I just had to change the controls used and link a few extra things up. (I even added the apostrophe to the menu)
I started sticking the older news on a separate archive page, so hopefully this page will now load quicker.
PCB's have been paid for, and should be here in 3-5 working days (plus postage time). All games now understand the invert video switch, although I'm still not happy with war of the bugs, since it doesn't play right (although it seems it never played right for player 2 in cocktail mode anyway) so I need to do some more debugging on their original code and see if I can fix another problem!
I have been sent Mr Do's Nightmare by Ivan, so I should really look at putting that in soon, although there are still some other games to be converted across from previous games and from my original games list.
had a change of direction on the game conversion, I have decided to write a program to do the conversion for me (well, the donkey work anyway) which seems a better idea because maybe I could then use it on more that the original program I intended to - so that may make the appearance of Hunchback or Hunchback Olympics in the multigame possible (but not for the original release, maybe for the update pack!)
We now have confirmation that my second attempt at sending the PCB files for the second prototype have gone through OK, have checked out and do indeed fit how I expected on the piece of PCB that they use (they do stock sizes of 16x10cm and I needed to shrink one of the PCB's by 1mm to allow them to fit!)
so whilst that is happening, I'll return to finishing off the flip switch in the rest of the games (war of the bugs is again living up to it's name, and appears to have a bit of a problem in inverted mode - bits of centipede suddenly blow up even though the missile is nowhere near!! - did anybody ever try using this game in cocktail mode before this ?)
so keep looking for news on me getting some extra games in, everything finally seems to be coming together, and I can't wait to get this finished so I can start playing around with some of my other projects.
The gap on the board was big enough to fit the PCB I wanted, and I've finished laying that out, so I should be sending the files off to be etched to get another prototype made up.
The software screen flip is in place, and now works in 6 of the games - I hope someone uses the multigame in a Jamma cabinet after all of this!
Well, the game conversion has about 50% of the code sorted, so I was right, it IS going to be a major task. A rest from that to get back onto the main task, which is the multigame! - several people have already emailed to be put on the list, and I expect to be able to offer them a special price for being first.
Meanwhile, the new PCB has been layed out and checked, and should be sent to have a prototype made up shortly. (I just need to see what fits on the stock size to see what space I need to use up - I'm hoping there's a big enough gap to make another little board I need up)
Next task is to convert another game or two into the multigame, and maybe implement an idea I had today, after watching the messages on UKVAC - a software screen flip so it will work in your normal jamma cabinet.
Well, that was 2002 over!
not much to report on progress on the multigame, but should be getting underway with the remaining games shortly! I'm going to do some experimenting with a game conversion for galaxian hardware, one which I'm certain many people would welcome - I'll let you know how it goes, but I suspect it could be a major task ... but who knows!
but some things have happened - I've almost finalised the PCB layout to remove all the extra wires I added to the prototype to overcome certain problems with galaxian boards, Ivan has done some experimenting with a real PCB to get the sounds sorted for one of the games that may be added (plus his own masterpiece), so if you want to be one of the first people to own one of these kits, let me know as I'm not sure how many will be made in the first batch.