Newsletter #16

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

Hello, and welcome to the sixteenth edition of the MSX Resource Center newsletter. As usual, we bring you a summary of the latest MSX news and although we feel like we're repeating ourselves here: boy have we got some news for you! This time, we have news on the brand new MSX computer, the One Chip MSX, that is finally available on pre-order outside Japan. Apart from that you will find out what MSX has to do with the Nindendo Wii, the latest news on the multitasking windowed OS SymbOS, several new MSX game releases and much, much more. Are you ready for it? Good!

MSX Resource Center
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As usual we start with the latest updates on our website. The milestone we achieved this letter was passing the impressive 4,000,000 visitor mark in our Webstats counter, which has been counting visits to the MSX Resource Center even since August 8th, 1996. The vast majority of these visits, with about a million a year, have been registered in the past 3 years. We would never have thought our website would become this big when we started it, and would like to thank everybody who made all this possible once again. Keep visiting our website and spreading the 'MSX' word!

http://www.msx.org/MSX-Resource-Center%3A-4-million-visitors.newspost3974.html

We have also made some minor improvements to our website, allowing you to post reactions to our 'polls'. Right now we would like to know if you still have your first MSX computer. If you have not voted yet, please head over to http://www.msx.org/ and cast your vote! You can find the poll on the right sidebar of our website. We have also updated our MSX contacts list, which shows the contact and MSX skills information on more than 1,200 members of our website. To get (un)listed, all you have to do is log in to the MSX Resource Center and adjust your settings in the 'My account' page.

http://www.msx.org/Reactions-to-polls-and-other-minor-changes.newspost3964.html
http://www.msx.org/MRC-Contacts-List-update.newspost3874.html

MSX-Revival
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Then it's high time for the Big One, as things are evolving rapidly in the MSX revival outside Japan now. Less than a week ago Bazix have started taking pre-orders on the One Chip MSX, the new MSX computer produced by D4 Enterprise Japan. Delivered in a trendy, semi-transparent blue casing and based on an Altera Cyclone FPGA chip, the core of this computer is completely reprogrammable. By default, it's an MSX2 computer with 1MB RAM, a FAT16 compatible MegaSCSI interface via which you can directly load and save data on an SD/MMC card, MSX-MUSIC, SCC+, a PS/2 and 2 USB ports, 2 MSX cartridge slots, VGA, S-Video and Composite outputs and much more. For the full specs, please click on the link below. If you want to pre-order, you have to be quick as Bazix will only take pre-orders until November 21st, 2006.

http://www.msx.org/One-Chip-MSX-available-for-pre-order.newspost3972.html

D4 Enterprise are not only the producers of the One Chip MSX, but also the company behind the popular Japanese retro gaming service Amusement Center (Project EGG) and partners of Konami on the game section of i-revo Japan, via which classic Konami games are being re-distributed. During the Tokyo Gameshow of 2006, Nintendo announced D4E to be one of the partners to deliver retro gaming content in the upcoming Nintendo Wii, in a feature called the Wii Virtual Console. Through this partnership, MSX games will become available in the Wii Virtual Console as well! It looks like a new generation of games are going to be introduced to MSX classics in the near future.

http://www.msx.org/Wii-loves-MSX.newspost3884.html

The last MSX revival news for this newsletter is related to D4 Enterprise as well, as Bazix have just launched the English counterpart of D4E's Amusement Center. At this service, WOOMB.net you can get officially licenced MSX games such as the Aleste, Golvellius and Hydlide series - but also European 'amateur' classics such as D.A.S.S., DiX and Nosh embedded in the official MSX emulator MSXPLAYer. The Japanese games offered on WOOMB - and their manuals - have often been translated to English for the first time, or re-translated to get rid of the Engrish feel. The partnership between D4E and Bazix also works the other way around, which was first illustrated by the Japanese release of Frantic in Project EGG PLUS!.

http://www.msx.org/WOOMB-There-it-is%21.newspost3944.html
http://www.msx.org/Frantic-in-EGG-PLUS%21.newspost3960.html

Challenges
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This is the part where you, passive readers, get off your lazy bums and get some MSX development done once again. The MSXdev competition has certainly achieved that, resulting in no less than 35 brand new MSX1 games in only a few years. For the current edition of MSXdev, which ends on December 31st, 3 games have already been released. You will read more on two of these games further on in this newsletter. Even if you have little MSX development experience, of haven't developed an MSX game for a long time you should consider joining in on this one. It's not only a lot of fun, you can also win a genuine MSX turboR with it! If you develop a 32kB ROM game, you even win one prize automatically: a ROM cartrige with the game 'Griel's quest for the sangraal EX' in a brand-new casing, with a full-color manual and cartridge label.

http://www.msx.org/Shock-the-dev%21-free-ROM-cartridge-for-MSXdev-contestants.newspost3948.html

On the MSX Resource Center, we are currently running a music compo, encouraging MSX composers to make some genuine Italo sounds. Many MSX users will remember the classic MSX tracker sound from the 1990s, which was initiated by Impact. The roots of this sound is a music genre called 'Italo' and the MSX seems to be just the perfect 'Italo computer' around. Do you think you can do as good a - or even a better - job than Impact? Have a go and join in!

http://www.msx.org/MRC-Italo-challenge.newspost3880.html

Utilities
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SymbOS, the amazing multitasking, windowed operating system for MSX (and Amstrad CPC) has been udpated once again, adding linear graphic support in SymSee, which allows to load 4 and 16 colour SGX files of any size and improving some bugs. Although this might not sound too impressive, running SymbOS on your MSX certainly is. On November 19th, SymbOS will be demonstrated during the MSX Club Groningen meeting in the Netherlands. On our active MSX forum, a Pacman for SymbOS has already appeared.

http://www.msx.org/SymbOS-1.1-alpha4.newspost3912.html

SCMD is a new music player for MSX, which allows you to play PCM samples on one or two SCC cartridges, with a maximum of 10 channels at a time. This results in a MOD-like feeling. In an example MP3, especially the drums sound very nice. An MML compiler to create new songs is, of course, available as well.

http://www.msx.org/SCMD-1.08.newspost3970.html

Games & Demos
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Daniel Vik has updated the impressive MSX1 megademo Waves, fixing several bugs and adding some further optimalizations. The result is a stunning demo on a 512kB MegaROM, which uses crystal clear PSG samples, smooth scrolls and cool effects that will make your jaw drop to the floor.

http://www.msx.org/Waves-1.2.newspost3910.html

Karoshi Corporation have, in cooperation with the CEZ Games Studio, released an MSX1 version of the multiplatform game 'Phantomas Saga: Infinity', which was originally released for ZX Spectrum. The MSX1 version of this platform game adds several MSX-only effects.

http://www.msx.org/Phantomas-Saga%3A-Infinity-for-MSX.newspost3980.html

In the MSXdev'06 challenge two games were finished since we last sent our newsletter, resulting in a total of 3 entries. Traffic Jam is a great puzzle game from Imanok, where you have to move the vehicles away that block the road for your car to the exit of each level. The other MSXdev'06 entry is Penguin Café in which you have to guide a little Penguin on his first day as a waiter, serving cold beers to famous MSX clients.

http://www.msx.org/MSXdev06-02%3A-Traffic-Jam-.newspost3971.html
http://www.msx.org/MSXdev06-03%3A-Penguin-Cafe.newspost3973.html

http://www.msx.org/Robosofts-Digital-Music-1-and-Silent-Demo.newspost3846.htmlLast but not least, the Dutch MSX development group RoboSoft have decided to publish their 1990 creations 'Digital Music 1' and 'Silent Demo' as freeware on the MSX Resource Center.

http://www.msx.org/Robosofts-Digital-Music-1-and-Silent-Demo.newspost3846.html

Fairs & Meetings
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On September 9th, 2006 the annual MSX fair in Bussum was held once again. If you missed out on it, or recollect some nice memories of the day, we have just the thing for you: a large photo shoot. Have a look at...

http://www.msx.org/Bussum-2006-photo-shoot.newspost3876.html

On January 20th, 2007 the MSX fair in Nijmegen is to be held for the second time in history. Last year the fair was a huge success and we have all the reasons to believe that success will be surpassed this year. It's a great way to start the MSX year, socializing with other active MSX users, and to get an overview of the latest developments in the MSX community.

http://www.msx.org/Registration-open-for-Nijmegen-2007-Fair.newspost3966.html

MSX Club Groningen have announced their club meetings for 2007. During these meetings, sometimes there are special events such as the One Chip MSX test in September 2006 and the SymbOS demonstration during the upcoming meeting of November 19th. If all goes well, the latest version of the One Chip MSX will be available for testing purposes on this meeting as well.

http://www.msx.org/MSX-Club-Groningen-announce-OCM-test-and-2007-meetings.newspost3879.html

Development
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Arjan Bakker has released the fast compression toolkit used in the succesful game Bombaman, so that it can easily be used in other productions as well. All tools necessary for (de)compression are included in the download available at MSX Resource Center.

http://www.msx.org/Bitbuster-1.2.newspost3928.html

The cross-assembler asMSX has been updated, adding direct support for creating megaROMs. Several macros have been predefined, allowing you to create megaROMs easily. asMSX currently supports ASCII 8kB, ASCII 16kB, Konami and Konami SCC mappers.

http://www.msx.org/asMSX-0.12e.newspost3932.html

MSX in the Media
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Gaming website 1up have published an article on computers and consoles that - somehow - did not make it in the USA. In this article MSX is mentioned, giving it the credit it receives. The article caught a lot of attention on the net, including posts on Slashdot and JoystiQ.

http://www.msx.org/1up-says-MSX-is-Missing-in-America.newspost3959.html

Emulation
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Time for our usual 'emulator updates bonanza' with this time updates for various platforms. Without too much ado, here's the overview in short.

blueMSX has been updated once again, this time as a 'secret release'. One of the main fixes in this release allows you to capture ingame videos. On YouTube, a lot of MSX ingame videos have started to appear thanks to this great feature.

http://www.msx.org/blueMSX-2.6.1-secret-edition.newspost3925.html

jsMSX, the JavaScript MSX emulator that runs on many JavaScript compatible platforms has been udpated, optimizing Z80 code and improving support in Firefox 1.5, Opera 9.0, Internet Explorer 6.0 and Safari.

http://www.msx.org/jsMSX-0.9.2.newspost3855.html

Vincent Dam has released a library that allows you to dump the ROM data from a cartridge inserted in an ASCII or Sunrise Game Reader. This way, the game could be played in other emulators than MSXPLAYer alone. blueMSX is the first emulator to implement this library and support the Game Reader as well.

http://www.msx.org/MSX-Game-Reader-library.newspost3865.html

For your mobile phones, there are new releases of fMSX/S60 (for Symbian Series 60 compliant phones) and MSX80 (for the Nokia 9300, the Nokia 9300i and the Nokia 9500). The first is mainly a maintenance release, adding support for the Nokia N73, while the latter is an early alpha release in which there still is a lot to improve.

http://www.msx.org/fMSXS60-1.13d.newspost3861.html
http://www.msx.org/MSX80-release-2.newspost3916.html

fMSXMAC (for Mac OSX), PSPMSX (for Sony PSP) and fMSXSE (for Windows Mobile) have all been updated as well, allowing you to play your favorite MSX games on your favorite platforms. For an overview of the updates in these releases, please visit the news posts listed below.

http://www.msx.org/fMSXMAC-3.0.2.newspost3886.html
http://www.msx.org/PSPMSX-1.0.6.newspost3915.html
http://www.msx.org/fMSXSE-0.16.newspost3943.html

Websites
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MSX Frappr is a great website which allows MSX users to add their nickname and location (city, country) to a map of the earth. The result is an overview of where MSX users live, proving that MSX is - indeed - everywhere. Don't forget to add yourself!

http://www.msx.org/MSX-Frappr.newspost3873.html

MSX Solutions, the massive MSX maps and walkthroughs website has been updated with the maps of no less than 14 games: Astro Marine Corps Part 1, Barbarian, Bounder, Casanova, Contra, Double Dragon, J.P. Winkle, Livingstone Supongo 2 Part 1, Makaijima - Higemaru, Mobile Planet Suthirus, R-Type, Salamander and The Protector.

http://www.msx.org/MSX-Solutions-Mega-update.newspost3937.html

VGmuseum has rapidly increased the amount of screenshots of 'MSX game endings' on their website, with the support of visitors from the MSX Resource Center. If you were always curious about the enddemos of the Nemesis or Metal Gear series, for instance, you should really have a look hear.

http://www.msx.org/VGmuseum-adds-MSX-endings.newspost3940.html

We end our newsletter with the news that MSX Café has been renamed (and moved) to Passion MSX. The design of the website has been changed, but the contents have remained mainly the same, offering news, forums and other community services in French. Since their launch as PassionMSX, they have published two 'game dossiers', one on Nemesis and one on Nemesis 2, which contain a huge amount of information, screenshots, boxshots and game hints/cheats.

http://www.msx.org/MSX-Caf%E9-becomes-PassionMSX-and-updates-Nemesis-dossier.newspost3958.html
http://www.msx.org/Nemesis-2-dossier-at-PassionMSX.newspost3975.html

Thanks for reading our sixteenth newsletter.

Greetings,

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

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