Newsletter #15

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

Hello and welcome to the 15th edition of the MSX Resource Center Newsletter.

Boy, have we got news for you. In this newsletter, which is only a small excerpt of all the news we have been reporting about since the previous newsletter, you will - amongst others- find out about the brand new One Chip MSX computer (it's really going to happen this time!), a fast multitasking window-based GUI/OS for MSX (for real!), a demo that shows no less than 105 colors on an ordinary MSX1 computer (for real!) and you'll find out what Lenny Kravitz and MSX have to do with each other. Waste no further time, dear MSX friend, and read this very carefully, for we shall only mail this once.

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

As usual we start with a short update on what's been going on on the MSX Resource Center itself recently. We've got three milestones for you this time: on May 23rd the 3,000th member registered an account at the MSX Resource Center. Shortly afterwards, our links corner grew to an impressive selection of 250 links to active MSX websites. On July 28th the 65,535th forum post was placed on our ever active MSX forum. Throughout the years, our MSX forum has become an important meeting place where people can discuss any MSX topic, get answers to all their questions and trade MSX hardware and software. Several new MSX development teams and projects have rooted or grown on the MSX forum thanks to the immense and consistent input of the online MSX community, which has motivated many active MSX developers to continue or regain developing software and hardware for MSX.

http://www.msx.org/MSX-Resource-Center-3%2C000-members.newspost3712.html
http://www.msx.org/MSX-Links-section-250-links.newspost3750.html
http://www.msx.org/MSX-forum-65%2C535-forum-posts.newspost3789.html

Since our last newsletter we also introduced two new features on our website. On our new statistics corner you can have a look at a brief overview on what's happening on the MRC. The hottest news (most views relative to time) and most active discussions (most replies relative to time), the most popular links and downloads, and much, much more: it's all right there on the stats page. The other new feature has given every MRC member - including you! - a short profile page, revealing a bit of information on your MSX skills and recent activity on our website and - if you have chosen to share this information on your 'my account' page - contact info.

http://www.msx.org/MRC-member-profiles.newspost3504.html
http://www.msx.org/MSX-Resource-Center-Statistics.newspost3655.html

Challenges
----------

MRC Challenges and other programming contests have given the activity of MSX developers an amazing boost. I think few of us will ever forget the massive success of MSXdev'05 and MSXdev'04, or the enjoyable and memorable games and demos that resulted from the various MRC challenges. Since our last newsletter, we ran an MSX-BASIC oneliner Challenge and an MSX Scene Music remake challenge. If you're curious to find out how many entries were submitted, what they look/sound like and which ones won the prizes, there is only one way to find out and that's clicking on the links below:

http://www.msx.org/MRC-Oneliner-Challenge-Results.newspost3523.html
http://www.msx.org/MRC-Scene-Music-Remake-challenge-results.newspost3641.html

At the moment, we are running a GFX challenge together with msxgamesbox.com, called MSXArt'06. Actually, MSXArt'06 is two challenges in one: an open MSX Wallpaper drawing competition and an RPG-themed GFX-for-MSX challenge. You can find out more about both challenges, the prizes you can win and the entries that have been submitted so far by clicking on the links below:

http://www.msx.org/MSXArt06-Two-in-one-challenge.newspost3524.html

The highest expectations are, however, focused on the continuation of the amazingly successful MSXdev MSX1 game development competition. With a new team, a fresh website and another step forward in the allowed system specifications, quite a few quality MSX games are bound to get released this year. Several very promising projects have already been announced. In fact, the first entry to this competition was already released, but you will find out more about that game later in this newsletter.

http://www.msx.org/MSXdev06.newspost3667.html

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

We could now taunt you and reveal some other MSX revival news first, but let’s face it: the question whether or not a new, commercially produced MSX computer would ever see the light of day has kept us occupied long enough now. We can now safely say that it is going to happen. A few days ago, D4 Enterprise (the company behind Amusement Center's Project EGG and EGG Plus!) and MSX Association demonstrated the One Chip MSX during two retro-gaming events in Tokyo Japan. Simultaneously, a new website was launched, revealing the specifications, casing and estimated sale price of this new MSX computer.

Now you might wonder: didn't we read all about this last year? Well... yes and no. Back then it was ASCII who intended to put the One Chip MSX to market, but only if no less than 5,000 were pre-ordered. It soon showed that the MSX community was not yet satisfied with the specifications of the device, which ran as an MSX1 computer by default, had only one cartridge slot which did not have the 12V pin connected (rendering a Moonsound useless), had no default config stored in ROM, forcing you to use an expensive cable to restore broken FPGA configurations and of which no casing designs were revealed to the public throughout the time it could be pre-ordered. Although an impressive 3,500 One Chip MSX computers were pre-ordered, the MSX community had given a clear signal and ASCII decided not to take the device into production. MSX Association went back to the drawing-boards and came back with a pleasant surprise. Almost all improvements that were suggested by the community have been met. Yes, it's an MSX2 now. Yes, it has two cartridge slots which both do have their 12V pins connected. Yes, it has a default config ROM. Yes, it has a cool semi-transparent blue casing. Yes, it is going to be available outside Japan as well. For all specifications and package contents known to date - and not to mention a good look at the One Chip MSX casing, please head over to...

http://www.msx.org/One-Chip-MSX-MKII.newspost3805.html

After such news, other MSX-Revival announcements can only be left standing in the shadow. The news is interesting and important nonetheless though. Ever since the MSX Revival started in 2001, there was one big company which played a key role in the popularity and 'character' of MSX that did not take part in the MSX revival. Their software was not available in Project EGG and was not supplied on the MSX-Magazine CD-ROMs. Indeed... we are talking about Konami, the creators of such masterpieces as SD-Snatcher (voted best MSX2 game ever), Penguin Adventure (voted best MSX1 game ever), Vampire Killer, the Gradius series, Space Manbow, Hideo Kojima's breakthrough Metal Gear and Metal Gear 2: Solid Snake and - last but not least - Green Beret. :P. As of March 18th, Konami has joined the MSX revival with a dedicated gaming platform called i-Revo. Like Project EGG, it is only available in Japan, but who knows what the future may bring.

http://www.msx.org/MSX-Association-and-Konami.newspost3626.html
http://www.msx.org/Konami-and-IIJ-launch-retro-games-section-on-i-revo.newspost3631.html

Hardware
--------

The MSX community is steadily continuing to introduce new MSX hardware as well. One highly anticipated piece of hardware that is currently in development is called DUMAS. A three-in one cartridge which offers Ethernet connection for MSX (ObsoNET), a 512kB memory mapper and a USB interface. Thanks to the already available InterNestor (lite) software, this cartridge will allow you to connect your MSX to your home network or the internet and - for instance - have a nice chat on IRC, or exchange some files via FTP. A Telnet client is already available as well and when this DUMAS cartridge hits the streets, we assume there will be quite an increase in online MSX software. The USB ports on DUMAS can be used to connect a pen-drive too, which will function similarly to an IDE or Compact Flash interface.

http://www.msx.org/Dumas-more-information-revealed.newspost3672.html

Another neat project is the MSX USB interface. This device allows you to connect your MSX to the USB port of a PC, and then use the hard disk of your PC as if it was a hard disk or floppy drive. You can even run .DSK images straight from your PC's hard disk. Sounds interesting? We thought so!

http://www.msx.org/MSX-USB-Interface-preorder-started.newspost3474.html

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

The tremendous activity of the MSX community really shows when you have a look at the immense amount of MSX games and demos that have been released or announced recently. Looking at the list below, it is hard to imagine that in the early days of the MSX Resource Center, new MSX software was only released sporadically. So here you go: a rough guide to MSX games and demos released in 2006 so far:

First of all, does the name 'X-Tazy' ring a bell? That's right, the impressive shooter for turboR/GFX9000/Moonsound of which - so far - only an introdemo was available publicly. A playable version of the game was demonstrated at Zandvoort 1997, but unfortunately the development of the project stalled. Andre Kuepfer, one of the members of the X-Tazy development team felt this was a real shame and decided it was time to both release the so far unreleased introdemo (new version) and two playable levels of the game and the full source code, utilities, graphics and music ever created for this game in an attempt to bring enough developers back to the project to connect the loose ends and release the game after all. If you're curious about it all, yet don't have a turboR/GFX9000/Moonsound on your desk at the moment --- have no worries, as you can have a look at some splendid XviD/MPEG recordings of it all on your PC at home.

http://www.msx.org/X-Tazy-goes-opensource-2-playable-levels.newspost3816.html
http://www.msx.org/X-Tazy-introdemo-1.2-XviD-video.newspost3757.html
http://www.msx.org/X-Tazy-introdemo-1.2.newspost3687.html

With the MSXdev'06 challenge up and running, the first entry to this contest has already been released. The new MSX development team TOYBOX have released a proper port of the popular game Operation Wolf. Unlike the official MSX version, released by Ocean in 1988, this version does use the capabilities of the MSX1 computer properly, making the game a lot smoother, enjoyable and colorful than its commercially released alternative.

http://www.msx.org/Operation-Wolf-%28MSXdev-01%29.newspost3786.html

Zambeze is a new MSX1 game which was originally intended to be released during the MSXdev'05 programming competition. Luckily the developer, Degora, kept motivated and released the game after all.

http://www.msx.org/Zambeze.newspost3671.html

A game that did get finished in time for the MSXdev'05 competition is Universe: Unknown by Infinite, a development group that has become a steady factor in the high ranks of MSX competitions around the world. The Nemesis/Gradius-flavored Universe: Unkown is not an exception: in MSXdev'05 it reached the second place. A new, improved version of the game is now available as well.

http://www.msx.org/Universe-Unknown%3A-final.newspost3686.html

We end our MSXdev news block with a game which was released in the MSXdev'04 competition: Computer Wars. The game was originally only available in Spanish but thanks to the efforts of mars2000you an English version of the game and its manual are ready for your downloading and gaming pleasure.

http://www.msx.org/Computer-wars-English.newspost3718.html

Last year the MSX community got surprised by an MSX1 demo called Muzix, which was created by an anonymous developer with roots in the ZX-Spectrum scene. The demo and its music got many positive reactions, so the same anonymous developer released another one, called Imported.

http://www.msx.org/Imported.newspost3562.html

Two even more impressive MSX demos, however, were created by Daniel Vik and Vincent van Dam. In their demo 'MSX Unleashed' they revealed a new technique with which it is possible to show no less than 105 different colors on an ordinary MSX1 computer. And it's not the only amazing effect they put in the demo. Curious how it was done? Please do download and enjoy both the MSX Unleashed demo and the Technicolor 105-color slideshow that followed after it.

http://www.msx.org/MSX-Unleashed.newspost3590.html
http://www.msx.org/Technicolor.newspost3604.html

After that bombshell, what more could your MSX computer be capable of? Well... how about full-screen video? With digitized music in the background? The Finnish MSX developer NYYRIKKI did just that and revealed his first steps of converting the popular game Dragon's Lair to MSX by releasing a full-screen, full-color, smooth introdemo video. Seeing it is believing it.

http://www.msx.org/Dragons-Lair-for-MSX2-introdemo.newspost3689.html

Since the MSX fair in Nijmegen, January 2006, Bitwise extended its catalog of Kralizec/Matra software with four games, which can now be obtained at Bitwise during MSX fairs and/or from their website. To top it off, Matra have decided to start delivering MSX software on cartridges again, which are now available at Matra and Bitwise as well. Unfortunately Bitwise will not be present at the upcoming MSX fair in Bussum.

http://www.msx.org/Bitwise-announces-new-game-titles-for-release.newspost3508.html
http://www.msx.org/Matra-and-Bitwise-to-release-games-on-cartridge.newspost3646.html

The Brazilian team ICON games have released an MSX2 remake of the MSX1 game Abu Simbel Profanation (Dinamic), simply called 'Profanation'. Together with 'Breakfree', an eelier ICON games production, the game can be obtained in the new instant-download ICON games web shop.

http://www.msx.org/ICON-games-release-Profanation-MSX2-and-open-webshop.newspost3503.html

Knightmare Gold also brings a popular MSX1 game to the MSX2, yet with a slightly different approach. Working as a patch to the original game, Knightmare Gold extends this Konami game with more colors, smooth scrolls, an 'easy' mode and -if desired- a new re-arranged soundtrack.

http://www.msx.org/Knightmare-Gold-2.0-released.newspost3704.html

Then it's time for some older software, which is now (again) available for download. First of all 'Eat a Worm', a game based on the popular Snake created by Marcel van Tongeren. The two-player mode of this game adds an extra touch to the simple yet addictive game concept.

http://www.msx.org/Eat-a-worm.newspost3500.html

Andre Kuepfer, the man behind the open-sourcing of X-Tazy, also sent us a puzzle game he created in the 1990s. The game, inspired by King's Valley and Pixess, goes by the name of 'Clopy' and only runs on an MSX turboR.

http://www.msx.org/Clopy.newspost3651.html

The Finnish MSX game Miner Machine, inspired by Boulder Dash, was originally released in 1986. Now, more than 20 years later, the game has been declared freeware and can be obtained from our downloads section as well.

http://www.msx.org/Miner-Machine-freeware.newspost3662.html

Last but not least, Max Attar Feingold sent us no less than 8 different programs for MSX (both programs and games) which all are well worth having a look at. The games were developed in the early 1990s and are now available as freeware in our downloads section.

http://www.msx.org/Max-Attar-Feingold-software.newspost3834.html

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

On Saturday the 9th of September it is time for the annual MSX fair in Bussum, the largest and most internationally focused gathering of MSX users in the world. Several stand holders (openMSX, Team Bomba, Sunrise and MSX Resource Center) have decided to give the whole day a nice GFX9000 flavor with demonstrations of old and upcoming software for the best MSX VDP in the world. During the day you can also obtain a GFX9000 yourself for a nice discount price of only 119 euros. Other stand holders on this fair are Bazix, Darkstone, Darkness God of Destroy, Delta Soft, MSX HCCgg, Totally Chaos Team and TNI - the organization of the fair. Apart from the GFX9000 theme there will be demonstrations of - amongst others - SymbOS (read on, my dear friend!), the new One Chip MSX, openMSX and Konami Quiz 2. On the MSX Resource Center stand you can also obtain a free copy of the MSX Resource Center downloads section on CD-ROM, or get yourself one of those cool MSX T-Shirts. We'll see you there! Right?

http://www.msx.org/Bussum-Reminder.newspost3840.html
http://www.msx.org/Bussum-2006-update.newspost3812.html
http://www.msx.org/Bussum-2006-theme%3A-GFX9000.newspost3817.html

As most of you probably already know: the Bussum MSX fair is the continuation of the legendary MSX fairs in Zandvoort, The Netherlands. We already had pictures of quite a lot of MSX fairs from the 1990s in our photo shoots section, but still have some missing years here and there. If you can help us out with completing our archive, it would be highly appreciated. One of the people helping out was Wolf_, who sent us pictures taken during Zandvoort 1994. Enjoy!

http://www.msx.org/photoshoots.html
http://www.msx.org/Zandvoort-1994-photo-shoot.newspost3663.html

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

The better the development tools available, the more MSX developers can squeeze out of our beloved MSX computers. In the past months, there were quite a few development related releases. An overview of the most important releases:

PCM encoder is a toolset which allows you to encode WAV samples and playing them in crystal clear quality on MSX, using the standard PSG sound chip. Sample rates of 8kHz, 11.025kHz, 22.05kHz and even 44.1kHz are currently supported.

http://www.msx.org/PCM-Encoder-0.01.newspost3520.html

A new version of SjASM, a popular Z80 cross-compiler for PC, adds several new features and fixes - such as the possibility to generate a symbol file - which will make the lives of MSX developers using SjASM even easier.

http://www.msx.org/SjASM-0.39g.newspost3537.html

For those who like to keep it simple and code in Pascal, there is a very useful development environment as well, which combines an IDE with a very useful library. It's called MSXPad, and the new version comes with a great tutorial.

http://www.msx.org/MSXPad-1.6.newspost3525.html

There's something for the Hitech-C coders who would like to work with files and directories in MSX-DOS2 as well. Arnold Metselaar has updated LIBDOS2, a library which allows you to do just that easily in C.

http://www.msx.org/LIBDOS2-version-3.newspost3664.html

TinySprite is a nice, to-the-point sprite editor written in JavaScript, which allows you to create MSX sprites on many different platforms. The editor also works offline and supports export to a variety of different MSX compatible formats.

http://www.msx.org/TinySprite-0.4.2.newspost3685.html

In the 1990s FastCopy was an extremely popular disk duplication tool, used by many MSX developers in order to quickly duplicate their software for release on MSX fairs. The tool was so fast due to the fact that it directly addressed the different FDC controllers of the MSX. As of now, the highly educational source code to the utility is available for download on the web.

http://www.msx.org/Fastcopy-source-code-released.newspost3772.html

Marcel Delorme has released the source code to a thread engine he developed for MSX. The thread engine allows developers to create multiple threads running on the MSX simultaneously, which could be interesting for people developing a GUI/OS.

http://www.msx.org/Thread-engine-for-MSX.newspost3800.html

Last but not least, Graphos DS by Ricardo Bittencourt is an MSX1 graphics tool for the Nintendo DS, which cleverly uses the two screens of this portable gaming device.

http://www.msx.org/Graphos-DS.newspost3479.html

Related
-------

Are you still with us? Good, because there's even more exciting MSX news to come starting with some MSX related topics. Let’s start with the Metal Gear series, of which we all (should) know the first ever installment was released on the MSX2 by Konami in 1987. Now, years later, it is one of the most important gaming series in the industry. If you're curious about what Hideo Kojima will bring us next, do have a look at the trailers of the upcoming Playstation 3 game 'Metal Gear Solid 4' and at the Sony PSP game 'Metal Gear Solid - Portable Ops'. We close our block of Metal Gear news with the announcement that - after more than six years of rumors - it now looks inevitable that a Metal Gear movie is to be produced. If you want to know all about it, just follow the links below!

http://www.msx.org/Metal-Gear-Solid-4-trailer.newspost3829.html
http://www.msx.org/Metal-Gear-Solid%3A-Portable-ops-trailer.newspost3828.html
http://www.msx.org/Metal-Gear-the-movie.newspost3701.html

Wolf_ is one of the most well-known composers from the Dutch MSX scene, who was active in the MSX groups RMF, Fuzzy Logic and ROM in the past, and now is back in action with Infinite. We have recently added a collection of MP3 recordings to the MRC, all composed by Wolf_. Some of the mp3s are Moonsound songs, composed and recorded on MSX, others are re-arranges of popular MSX game tunes. The songs dominated our most recent Downloads Top 10 and for good reasons. If you have not heard them yet, pump up the volume of your PC speakers and download them from the link below:

http://www.msx.org/Wolf_-compositions-and-re-arrangements-online.newspost3804.html

Remember the 'teasers' we started this newsletter with? Did we not mention Lenny Kravitz, the rocks tar, had something to do with MSX? Well... here goes... you can actually see several MSX computers and some footage processed on an NMS8280 in a music video to Lenny Kravitz's song 'Breathe'. You don't believe it? Click, read, watch and you will!

http://www.msx.org/Lenny-Kravitz-goes-MSX.newspost3618.html

Did you ever hear of OS-Tans? We had not, until we posted about this. An OS-Tan is an anime-style drawing of a female mascotte to an Operating System. With OS-Tans for -for instance - Windows 95, Windows XP, Linux and Mac OS/X available, MSX could not stay behind. Curious what the (now) official MSX-DOS OS-Tan looks like? You know where to click...

http://www.msx.org/MSX-DOS-girl.newspost3751.html

Utilities
---------

We heard it oh so many times before. A window-based multitasking Operating System for the MSX. Several were announced in history, some previews were released. Most were horribly slow, very limited in features, needed a high-spec MSX setup or a combination of the three. Other systems, like the Amstrad CPC, did have window-based multitasking OS-es. SymbOS for instance. Now if an Amstrad CPC can do that, why can't an MSX? It was exactly this question that lured Prodatron -developer of SymbOS- to the MRC fora and started porting SymbOS to MSX. Within a very short time span he got the hang of coding for the MSX, grew to love the MSX in general and the VDP in specific and... released several highly impressive preview versions well worth having a look at.

http://www.msx.org/SymbOS-for-MSX-preview.newspost3722.html
http://www.msx.org/SymbOS-1.1-alpha.newspost3798.html

If you have worked your way through this entire MRC Newsletter, you now know that Daniel Vik has managed to create a routine with which no less than 105 colors can be shown on an ordinary MSX1 computer. If you're interested in creating such pictures yourself... you can! Daniel Vik released BMPTO105, a tool which converts BMP images to 105-color MSX files.

http://www.msx.org/BMPTO105.newspost3603.html

Emulation
---------

There was quite a lot of emulation activity recently as well, with various new releases for various platforms. With the newsletter being long enough as it is already, we'll stick to a quick and dirty summary of the new releases.

Both openMSX and blueMSX, the most accurate and popular MSX emulators available, were updated with many improvements on both sides. With blueMSX being available only for Windows, the choice between the two will mainly be a matter of personal taste. For Linux, Mac OS/X and many other platforms, openMSX is the way to go. For an overview of all the changes, you guessed it, click on the links below.

http://www.msx.org/blueMSX-2.5.newspost3769.html
http://www.msx.org/blueMSX-Launcher-1.4.newspost3770.html
http://www.msx.org/openMSX-0.6.1.newspost3792.html

For the Nintendo Gameboy Advance, both BrMSXGBA and MSX-Advance were released, whereas an emulator for the new Nintendo portable, the Nintendo DS, has already been released as well. If you chose for the other nextgen portable, the Sony PSP, rest assured: there's an MSX emulator for you too!

http://www.msx.org/BrMSXGBA-.newspost3559.html
http://www.msx.org/MSX-Advance-0.2.newspost3682.html
http://www.msx.org/fmsxDS-0.06.newspost3572.html
http://www.msx.org/PSPMSX-v1.0.5.newspost3737.html

A few days ago, the first public release of jsMSX hit the web, making it the worlds first MSX emulator ever to be written completely in JavaScript.

http://www.msx.org/jsMSX-0.9.1.newspost3827.html

Ever wanted to play MSX games on your mobile phone? Well. you can! With fMSX/S60 you can run MSX games in amazingly high quality on a Nokia Series 60 mobile phone, whereas fmsxSE brings proper MSX entertainment to a wide range of Windows Mobile devices.

http://www.msx.org/fmsxSE-0.14.newspost3821.html
http://www.msx.org/fMSXS60-1.10.newspost3519.html
http://www.msx.org/fMSXS60-1.11d.newspost3835.html

Websites
--------

This news is just in: MSX Posse have just massively updated and restyled their website, migrating from a forum-only service to an all-round community website with MSX news, a photo shoots gallery with old (!) and new photo shoots taken on MSX events, a chatbox and links corner.

http://www.msx.org/MSXposse-restyled.newspost3841.html

Moai Tech has released the third edition of their webzine 'Moai Tech'. In this edition - which is unfortunately only available in Spanish due to a lack of translators - you can find articles on MSXdev'05, the 28th MSX user meeting in Barcelona, an interview with Matra, a review of the new Kralizec game Dahku and much, much more.

http://www.msx.org/Moai-Tech-webzine-3.newspost3605.html

bgMSX is a brand new MSX website which is entirely focused on MSX music, which offers streaming and downloadable versions of popular MSX game and demo music. Shortly after its launch, an impressive 926 songs are already available on the website and a very entertaining 'How many MSX songs do you know'-quiz was added to the website.

http://www.msx.org/bgMSX-New-site-dedicated-to-MSX-music.newspost3716.html
http://www.msx.org/bgMSX-How-many-MSX-songs-do-you-know.newspost3815.html

Greetings,

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

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