Newsletter #13

by MSX Resource Center on 18-12-2002, 00:50

Hello and welcome to the thirteenth edition of the MSX Resource Center Newsletter. It's been almost half a year since our last newsletter, which hardly does all the ongoing MSX activity justice, but we finally found some time for this thirteenth edition, packed with MSX news. In this newsletter you'll find a selection of the MSX news from January 31st to present. As you'll see this edition is pretty much dominated by the ongoing MSX revival, everything from the MSX World 2005 fair to ASCII taking pre-orders of the One Chip MSX and Bazix announcing their MSXPLAYer emulator for Series 60 mobile phones. Read all about it, in newsletter 13!

MSX Resource Center
-------------------

We usually start our newsletters with our own milestones, but we might as well drop this custom, since you can safely assume we're growing, and growing fast. So fast even, we're having trouble keeping up with ourselves! This was one of the reasons for yet another change of host, but the website is now running steadily on our very own dedicated server. Which is a good thing too, since we might be attracting even more visitors from Russia in the near future! With preparations underway, and a whole team of dedicated volunteers preparing for a launch in yet another language.

http://www.msx.org/MRC-moves-to-dedicated-webhosting.newspost2826.html
http://www.msx.org/Portuguese%2C-French-and-Russian-translators-wanted.newspost2807.html

Nedstat now boasts more than 2.500.000 visits to the MRC, while February 1st proved to be the busiest MRC day ever, with more than 7500(!) visits that day. This is of course no surprise, since we now have more than 2500 members who can browse through our archive of more than 3000 newsposts. In March, we even had more than 100 newsposts in one single month. Even our photoshoot section is growing, now holding more than 2000 photo's of MSX related events from all around the world.

http://www.msx.org/Nedstat-boasts-2.500.000-visits%21.newspost3015.html
http://www.msx.org/2%2C500-members-at-the-MRC.newspost2665.html
http://www.msx.org/100-newsposts-within-one-month.newspost2851.html
http://www.msx.org/photoshoots.html

As you would expect, our forums grow accordingly. With more than 45.000 posts, the forums are truly a place where people from all over the world can come together and discuss their favorite hobby. Whenever you've got a question, feel free to post it on our forums where hundreds of active MSX users are more than willing to help you out. Of course our forums are also the place to talk about upcoming productions, games, demos, hardware, trading and even a bit of healthy discussing from time to time. If you're not a forum-regular, give it a try, and see what it's like to talk about MSX with people from all over the globe. For those who are forum-regulars, we'd like to thank you for all your input and for keeping the MSX community alive!

http://www.msx.org/forum.html

When it comes to the different languages the MRC is available in, things are going well too. With the Dutch version of the MRC being completely up to date, it now seems that the Spanish version is about to follow with more than 75% of all newsposts translated. The Portuguese version is steadily advancing too, with more than 50% of all news translated to Portuguese. This is the one area of the MRC we could really use some help though, so forgive this shameless plug, and please consider joining our Portuguese translation team if you're a native Portuguese speaker who thinks he/she might have a couple of free minutes per week to help us out. As said, preparations for a Russian MRC are also under way. Naturally, a Japanese MRC is still on our wish-list, but from the looks of things it will stay there for the time being. Should you (or someone you know) be able to help us out by translating from English to Japanese, please let us know by sending us a mail.

We end the news on MRC with a small yet cool commercial break: as you still have some time left to order a genuine, official blue MSX T-Shirt with the characteristic MSX logo printed on it. For only EUR 9,99 you can obtain this cool piece of MSX merchandise. These shirts can be ordered until July 1st, 2005. We're not sure if and when we're going to produce a second batch, so make sure you don't miss out on it!

http://www.msx.org/tshirt.php

Challenges
----------

It's always nice to see when people pick-up on ideas like challenges. The last few months have been dominated mainly by user-organized challenges. After the Airwaves Challenge, organized by poke -1,170, it was Nyyrikki's turn, who came up with the 'International Obfuscated MSX-BASIC Code Contest' on our forums. After 15 entries we've seen anything from small games to code-sculpting and even CPU switching in BASIC! [WYZ] set up his very own 2005 Cracking Challenge on the Karoshi forums. It seemed however the word 'challenge' was a bit of a stretch for some of the better coders in the MSX community. Nonetheless, another nice initiative that proved to be a good pastime for those elite coders out there.

http://www.msx.org/MRC-Airwaves-Challenge-Results.newspost2790.html
http://www.msx.org/IOMBCC-First-three-entries.newspost2738.html
http://www.msx.org/2005-Cracking-Challenge.newspost2972.html

Naturally, there's also our very own MSX in the Media Challenge. Another challenge that hasn't proven very 'challenging' by the way, since entries are literally pouring in as of late. Since counting the actual sightings of 'MSX in de Media' is now simply impossible, we had to revert to counting the events that get MSX in the media. As of now, more than 30 events have gotten MSX in the media.

http://www.msx.org/MSX-in-the-Media-Challenge-Second-edition.newspost2505.html

Karoshi also started a new challenge; Let's Pong! The objective? Make a nice pong clone for the very first generation MSX computers, using 1kB or less memory. That should certainly prove to be a challenge! No deadline has been set yet, but the contest will probably end in August this year.

http://www.msx.org/Lets-Pong-1kB-development-contest.newspost3064.html

MSX-Revival
-----------

MSX is alive and kicking! Never before has this been so evident. A very important last few month, starting with the release of MSX Magazine 3 in April. With a huge amount of interesting articles, certainly not an issue to miss out on. This was also clear from the ranking of MSX Magazine 3 in the sales charts of Rakuten and Amazon Japan where it hit 9th and 10th place respectively, before even being released. As usual, this issue of MSX magazine also came with a CD containing the official MSX emulator MSXPLAYer and hit titles such as Aleste, Princess Maker and Rune Worth. The magazine itself contained interesting articles, like information on the upcoming one chip MSX, the truth behind the V9978, a feature article on ObsoNET, the mandatory interview with Hideo Kojima and many other things.

http://www.msx.org/MSX-Magazine-3-hits-the-streets.newspost2930.html
http://www.msx.org/MSX-Magazine-3-hits-the-charts.newspost2886.html

Another interesting news topic was the announcement by Bazix concerning their new MSXPLAYer for Series 60 phones. In cooperation with the MSX Association and D4 Enterprises of Japan, Bazix hopes to bring MSX to mobile gaming on the European market. Their press release included a number of screenshots, a powerpoint presentation of the lecture given on the MSX World 2005 fair in Japan and a video showing MSXPLAYer for Series 60 phones in action.

http://www.msx.org/Bazix-reveal-info%2C-screenshots-and-movie-on-MSXPLAYer-for-Series-60.newspost2999.html

Of course the most important news of the last few months was the announcement by ASCII they were taking orders for the all new One Chip MSX. On may the 20th, ASCII started taking orders for this brand-new MSX, hoping to reach the goal of 5000 units required for production. With a target price of 19.800,- yens (roughly 145 euros or 185 dollars) this fully featured MSX computer with 256kB RAM, 32MB SDRAM, DOS2, MSX joystick port and cartridge slot, SD card slot, and USB and VGA connectors for future use, even has partial MSX2 support while ASCII has stated an MSX2 update will be available after the initial release. Just 7 days after ASCII had started taking orders, the first milestone of 1000 orders had already been reached. Bazix has already announced it wishes to release a localized version of the One Chip MSX for the European market and is expected to make a formal press statement in the near future.

http://www.msx.org/One-Chip-MSX-Pre-ordering-started.newspost2991.html
http://www.msx.org/ASCII-receives-1000-One-Chip-MSX-orders.newspost3014.html

Hardware
--------

Of course the One Chip MSX is not the only hardware development in the MSX world. A very important one, was the release of the first batch of ObsoNET cartridges in April. This all important step in getting the MSX system online, will hopefully prove to have huge implications for the future. InterNestor lite is already working fully with this new hardware expansion, and the InterNestor Lite Applications Contest has two amazing projects in development; the Fudebrowser web-browser by Ricardo Bittencourt and an IRC client by Carlos de Santa-Ana Garcia.

http://www.msx.org/Obsonet-First-batch-released.newspost2865.html
http://www.msx.org/ObsoNET-review.newspost2949.html

Another interesting hardware development was the MSX-AUDIO BIOS project by FRS. With just a little soldering and a new EPROM, it becomes possible to 'upgrade' cartridges such as the Philips Music Module (and other Y8950 based devices) to be fully compatible with the original MSX-AUDIO standard. This makes it possible to use the standard MSX-AUDIO BASIC commands for playing music and samples, but also allows many Japanese software titles (for instance by Compile) to use the chip instead of the MSX-MUSIC.

http://www.msx.org/MSX-AUDIO-BIOS-for-Philips-Music-Module.newspost2931.html

Also on MSXPro, an article by Rudolf Gutlich on how to expand a MegaRAM Disk from 256, 512 or 768KB memory to 1MB or even 2MB. The article is completed with pinouts and pictures to make things as easy as possible.

http://www.msx.org/MegaRAM-expansion-Documentation.newspost2478.html

Games & Demos
-------------

An interesting development was the awakening of the previously dormant game Iron Star. Iron Star is an MSX 1 compatible game developed by Paulo Larini in the 80's. He started developing this game around 1986, and it took almost four years to finish it. Strangely enough the game was never released, but after 15 years, the MSX-ALL Team in cooperation with the author, finally released this game as freeware!

http://www.msx.org/Iron-Star-released-after-15-years.newspost2864.html

Magapeich released a promo-version of the latest Paxanga game, Yupipati, a high speed game inspired by the classic 'paper, scissors, rock' game. If you'd like to find out what the game is like before you order yourself a copy, this is your chance.

http://www.msx.org/Yupipati-Promo.newspost2870.html

MSXdev '05 continued it's mighty advance... With 15(!) confirmed games already, this great 'contest' will prove to be very successful once again. Confirmed titles now include: COSMIC BATTLE, ZAMBEZE, JACK EXPLORING II, GRIEL'S QUEST FOR THE SANGRAAL, FINAL RACE, MAGICAL STONES, VKSD, CAVERNS OF TITAN, NAMAKE'S BRIDGEDROME, CRAZY BUGGY, MANICOMIO, CHEATING WIVES, COLUMNS, SNOOPY TOWN and a yet to be named project by Infinite.

http://www.msx.org/MSXdev05-Update.newspost2939.html

Infinite released a final version of 4motion, their sublime SCREEN 4 animation engine for MSX. 2 demo's that use 4motion have already been released: Sphere and Wings. Both combine rapid, full-screen animation with great atmospheric Moonsound music. Thanks to the new 4motion engine, these splendid demos can now also be enjoyed on ordinary 3.58MHz MSX2 computers, even from harddisk of Compact Flash in DOS2 if you like. Of course, you still need the 512kB RAM and 512kB Moonsound Sample-RAM these demos use to the max.

http://www.msx.org/Infinite-launch-4-motion-final-and-website.newspost3039.html

Another MSX developer who pushed the MSX2 to its limits is David Heremans who, believe it or not, created a realtime texturemapped 3D engine for MSX2. Of course, these smooth 3D movements can be controlled by the end-user. A must-see previously unreleased Compjoetania TNG release!

http://www.msx.org/Realtime-texturemapped-3D-for-MSX2.newspost2773.html

Marco Rossin released E3D Evolition and Madfish 2. Both products are coded in C and offer user-controllable, filled, multicolor vectorgraphics. Both are really worth looking at.

http://www.msx.org/E3D-Evolution.newspost3031.html
http://www.msx.org/Madfish-2.newspost2772.html

Hans van Gemert was kind enough to submit 35(!) mostly educational programs for the MRC downloads database. There is a nice mouse (or keyboard) controlled interface (in Dutch) that allows you to select any of the programs. Like said, these titles are mainly educational, and include subjects such as language, math and topography.

http://www.msx.org/Hans-van-Gemert-software.newspost2948.html

Other nice freeware release was Syntax Shooting Disk #1, a free disk with a number of nice shooting games that have appeared on the NV disk magazine, and all 6 issues of the Dutch disk magazine Track.

http://www.msx.org/Syntax-Shooting-disk-1-%28free-edition%29.newspost2741.html

Fairs & Meetings
----------------

On May 14th, 2005, the last edition of this classic Spanish fair promoted by the AAMSX was held. This time the number of visitors decreased because of the lack of standholders, but still there were some new interesting things to report, like the new CallMSX Magazine (no. 4) with a lot of new contents or the Columns beta for up to 2 players shown by Karoshi Corp.

http://www.msx.org/27th-Barcelona-User-Meeting-Photoshoot.newspost2988.html

In the Netherlands, a third edition of Devcon was held, a meeting in the little town of Noordscheschut, where active MSX developers from mostly the Northern regions of the Netherlands gather in order to have a day of MSX gaming, developing and previews.

http://www.msx.org/Devcon-2005-Spring-edition-photoshoot.newspost2920.html

Of course the Japanese MSX World 2005 fair was one of the biggest MSX events of the last few months. As our admin snout visited the fair himself, we were able to bring you a large article and a huge photoshoot of this MSX event, where companies and community gathered to give the more than 1,000 visitors to the fair a day never to forget.

http://www.msx.org/MSX-World-2005.newspost2907.html
http://www.msx.org/MSX-World-2005-Report-and-photoshoot-online.newspost2994.html

There are also a few fairs coming up, such as the Classic Gaming Expo UK, the biggest All-Format Retro gaming event in the UK, which will be held August the 13th, and the Retro Computerdag which will be held September the 10th in Apeldoorn, The Netherlands. We expect to announce the date on which the highly anticipated MSX fair in Bussum is going to be held very soon.

http://www.msx.org/Retro-Computerdag-announced.newspost3007.html
http://www.msx.org/Classic-Gaming-Expo-UK.newspost3022.html

Unfortunately there's also some sad news related to MSX fairs, as the organizers of the MSX fairs in Oss, MSX-NBNO, have decided to discontinue their MSX activities. This means that, at this moment, the MSX fair in Bussum is the only large scale MSX fair in the Netherlands left. More than enough reasons not to miss out on it this year.

http://www.msx.org/MSX-NBNO-end-their-MSX-activities.newspost3069.html

Development
-----------

Of course we also have some news for the active MSX developers. Olivier Hustin, for instance, released a new version of his Vscreen Level Editor. Combined with Vscreen itself, this enables you to create your own smooth-scrolling platform games in SCREEN 4 with great ease. Absolutely worth checking out.

http://www.msx.org/Vscreen-Level-Editor-1.0.newspost3042.html

Another interesting tool for novice developers is Rafael Jannone's GFX library for C, which provides a nice set of rapid graphical routines, ready to be used in your own productions coded in C.

http://www.msx.org/GFX-lib-2005-03-03.newspost2779.html

Until recently, WBASS developers who wanted to change to a different assembler usually had to go to quite some trouble in order to get their sources in a format other assemblers can understand. Thanks to TNI's WB2TXT, you can now easily convert your WBASS2 sources to ordinary text files.

http://www.msx.org/WB2TXT-1.1.newspost2887.html

The thee most popular Z80 assembly cross-compilers, Pasmo, sJASM and tniASM, have been updated as well. With these compilers you can use your PC as a developing environment for MSX, using the raw CPU power of your PC to compile even the largest projects in a split second.

http://www.msx.org/Pasmo-0.5.2.newspost2909.html
http://www.msx.org/SjASM-v0.39f.newspost2705.html
http://www.msx.org/tniASM-0.44.newspost2765.html

Related
-------

There's just too much MSX Related news to tell you about in this newsletter. Bet sure to check the MRC website, since a lot has been going on around the world. Some of the most interesting MSX related news items were the release of Fantasm Soldier Valis for the mobile Vodafone network in Japan and the inclusion of Metal Gear and Metal Gear 2 in the upcoming Metal Gear Solid 3: Subsistence.

http://www.msx.org/Fantasm-Soldier-Valis-for-Vodafone-Live-Japan.newspost3019.html
http://www.msx.org/Metal-Gear-Solid-3%3A-Subsistence-to-feature-Metal-Gear-1-and-Metal-Gear-2%3A-Solid-Snake.newspost2983.html

Another interesting news item was the publishing of an article in the UK Retro Gamer Magazine that includes information on the Dutch MSX scene from the 90's. Particularly nice for MRC forum regulars, since much of the information was supplied by users of the MRC forums.

http://www.msx.org/Retro-Gamer-talks-about-MSX-in-April-issue.newspost3032.html

Utilities
---------

Lots of new utilities on msx.org, as usual... It's always nice to see so many people are actively developing utilities to make all our MSX-lives a little easier. Some of the new additions since the last newsletter:

Adriano Camargo Rodrigues da Cunha released a new utility for MSX called ONEDRIVE. Inspired by a Brazilian utility called CONTROL.BAS, which enables only the A: drive in an MSX computer system to free a bit of base memory, this version offers the same functionality, but with a few improvements. Be sure to check it out!

http://www.msx.org/ONEDRIVE-1.0.newspost2974.html

Also from Adriano da Cunha, a small utility called SRAMLOAD, which he created some years ago to load 16k/32k ROMs into SRAM (or RAM) cartridges. SRAMLOAD has a number of features, allowing you to load ROMs at addresses 0000, 4000, 8000 or C000 and verifying that they were written correctly.

http://www.msx.org/SRAMLOAD-1.0.newspost2997.html

The PT3 Tools package in our downloads section has been updated. Now, the package also contains the source code needed to play PT2 or PT3 files in your own MSX productions.

http://www.msx.org/PT3TOOLS-1.1-Update.newspost2984.html

Konamiman released a new version of InterNestor Lite, a toolkit for MSX-DOS that allows you to connect your MSX with an ObsoNET or RS232 cartridge to the internet. It includes a few bugfixes and a few new features.

http://www.msx.org/InterNestor-Lite-1.02.newspost2919.html

After the MSX-AUDIO BIOS for Philips Music Modules was released, making the popular Philips Music Module fully MSX-AUDIO compatible, there clearly was a demand for a way to let the Music Module handle FM-BASIC music as well. BiFi released a tool that does just this. After running _MUS2AUD, a CALL MUSIC statement is automatically replaced to CALL AUDIO.

http://www.msx.org/_MUS2AUD.newspost2978.html

Marcel Delorme sent us a new version of V9BMP, a BMP file viewer for GFX9000 (Yamaha V9990). This version adds Gbasic copy format support. Palette data is saved in an ASCII file if needed.

http://www.msx.org/V9BMP-1.1.newspost2935.html

Albert Beevendorp enjoyed the MSX community with Palette Editor, a tool with which you can run MSX1 games in your own custom palette. Now you can finally play the MSX1 games in the original MSX1 palette on MSX2 (the default palettes of both systems differ a bit), or adjust the colors to any of your own liking to give it a different atmosphere. The editor comes with some nice, ready to be used palettes.

http://www.msx.org/Palette-Editor-1.1.newspost2890.html

Konamiman released a new version of his FTP client for MSX, which can be used in combination with InterNestor Lite. A few minor bugfixes now make using your MSX on the internet even easier! For those who really want to hit the internet on MSX with an amazing cool factor, an IRC client for InterNestor Lite has been released as well.

http://www.msx.org/IRC-client-for-Internestor-Lite.newspost2968.html
http://www.msx.org/FTP-client-for-MSX-1.01.newspost2918.html

Sunrise released version 2.40 of the BIOS for their IDE and Compact-Flash interfaces. As of this version the interface can be used on MSX1 as well. When using this version on MSX1 the system does require a disk drive and a memory mapper.

http://www.msx.org/Sunrise-release-MSX1-compatible-driver-for-IDE-and-CF.newspost2846.html

Emulation
---------

The news items concerning emulation are also way too numerous to summarize in this newsletter. Be sure to check the Emulation section of our News Topics, since much, much more has happened in MSX-emulation-land! A few hi-lights:

An interesting new addition to the wide range of MSX emulators out there was fMSX for PSP. This brand-new emulator is evolving rapidly, reaching version 0.6 in just a couple of weeks. Another new MSX emulator for the PSP is the HitBit emulator, currently at version 0.05. If you have a PSP, be sure to check them out!

http://www.msx.org/fMSX-for-PSP-0.6.newspost3060.html
http://www.msx.org/fMSX-for-PSP-0.2-and-HitBit-emulator-for-PSP-0.05.newspost3044.html

fMSX itself, the mother of most MSX emulators, has had a major upgrade as well, the latest version being 3.0, adding dirasdisk a directdraw driver, and several improvements to its accuracy.

http://www.msx.org/fMSX-3.0.newspost2722.html

C-BIOS is steadily improving as well, now reaching version 0.21. A new logo was added, both for MSX1 and MSX2, and the ROM searching routines were re-written and now recognize all ROMs. This new version of the BIOS also prints an error message if BASIC roms are inserted. A couple of bug-fixes further increase compatibility.

http://www.msx.org/C-BIOS-0.21.newspost3047.html

A new version of MESS, the Multiple Emulator Super System based on MAME was also released. As usual, this version incorporated all changes which were made to the latest version of MAME and some emulation specific changes. As for MSX emulation, regressions caused by Z80 port changes were fixed and the code to mode 2 support of the 8255 PPI was rewritten.

http://www.msx.org/MESS-0.97.newspost3041.html

fMSX32, the MSX emulator for Gamepark GP32 was updated. fMSX32 developer rlyeh released a preview version of the version he is to release on 'f-day', a day on which he will release many different emulators for GP32 at once. In this new version graphics, sound and compatibility were improved drastically.

http://www.msx.org/fMSX32-f-day-preview-edition.newspost3049.html

With all these emulators around, a head-to-head comparison of MSX Emulators for Windows might help you out a bit in order to pick the emulator that fits your needs. After a long period of silence, the MSX Emulator Comparison has been rewritten and is now kept up-to-date whenever new MSX emulators are released.

http://www.msx.org/MSX-Emulator-Comparison.articlepage8.html

Well, as you can see and read a lot happened! It is always nice to see enthusiastic people who participate in our Challenges, keep our forums alive and who created and use (new) demos, games en utilities with a lot of pleasure. Thanks for the support and keep in mind: if you see anything, anywhere concerning MSX, please let us know!

If you want to keep track of the latest MSX news, reactions and forum posts, you can use our differnent RSS feeds. At the moment the MRC offers three different RSS feeds:

http://www.msx.org/newsfeed.php - The latest MSX news
http://www.msx.org/forumfeed.php - The many discussions on our ever-growing forums
http://www.msx.org/reactionsfeed.php - Reactions to our newsposts, photoshoots and articles

Greetings,

The MSX Resource Center Crew
http://www.msx.org/

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Comments (2)

By Manuel

Ascended (15631)

Manuel's picture

22-12-2005, 15:40


With all these emulators around, a head-to-head comparison of MSX Emulators for Windows might help you out a bit in order to pick the emulator that fits your needs. After a long period of silence, the MSX Emulator Comparison has been rewritten and is now kept up-to-date whenever new MSX emulators are released.

Wasn't the latest update (according to the ChangeLog) in April 2005? That is: before Newsletter 13? Or am I mistaken?

By Manuel

Ascended (15631)

Manuel's picture

22-12-2005, 15:42

oh wait, this IS newsletter 13! Smile Sorry, I thought I was reading newsletter 14. Feel free to remove these reactions.