Newsletter #8

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

And they thought MSX was dead... here's another MSX Resource Center newsletter to prove 'them' wrong. Once again we bring you a summary of the latest news. Clearly, there is a lot going on in the MSX Community. The amount of visitors that reach our website seems to be increasing every day and we never before had so many news posts in such a short time span. Also, our active forums showed they can give developers new ideas. The new Meridian, the Vscreen engine, the fMSX for Nokia mobile phones and the Woei!
and Maggoo page promo demo you will read more about in this newsletter all have a clear link with our MSX forums. Some of them even originated from ideas in our forums. So if you have any ideas on new MSX software, or need ideas on the software you're developing, come to our forums and post about it! Already there are more than 10.000 forum posts, while more than 1500 members have registered to our website. Our downloads are going steady as well with literally thousands of downloads in total.

www.msx.org/newspost1492.html - 10.000 forum posts
www.msx.org/newspost1589.html - 1500 members!
www.msx.org/newspost1557.html - MSX Freeware downloads top 10 - November 2003

Furthermore we added several very interesting things to our website. First and foremost, we are now offering our website in Spanish as well! On es.msx.org/ you can have a look at the MSX Resource Center in Spanish. Although several parts of our website still need to be translated we already decided to take the next step and introduce our website in Dutch soon. We can still use some help of motivated English to Dutch translators. (We're also looking for English to Japanese and English to (Brazilian)
Portuguese translators, by the way).

www.msx.org/newspost1532.html - MSX Resource Center available in Spanish
www.msx.org/newspost1562.html - Spanish Forum opened
www.msx.org/newspost1567.html - Dutch translators wanted

But we have even more new things to offer. How about some cool MSX Resource Center merchandise like a T-Shirt or Coffee-mug with our logo on it? You can buy it all in our merchandise section. With buying one of these items you show your support to the MSX Resource Center because a small fee on every item goes to our website. The real MSX fans also want real MSX software of course, which you can buy online in our new webshop! Until the end of this year we have some nice special offers for you. Go check it out and support the MSX developers! (We are also looking for new products to offer, please contact us if you want to make your products available through our webshop)

www.msx.org/newspost1369.html - MSX Resource Center merchandise
www.msx.org/newspost1468.html - Online webshop opened
www.msx.org/newspost1514.html - Webshop: special offers

Revival
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Like last year, the MSX Revival will reach its peak during the last months of the year. On November 30th the MSX Magazine Festival will be held in Akihabara, Tokyo. During this event the second MSX Magazine, containing a new version of MSXPLAYer capable of emulating the turboR and running on various platforms will be released. It is also possible to already pre-order this new MSX Magazine. Earlier this year ASCII held another MSX Magazine Festival to celebrate MSX's 20th birthday and the good sales of MSX Magazine 1 (more than 50.000 copies sold). A DVD of VHS-tape of this event is available at Tako-system.

www.msx.org/newspost1497.html - Amazon starts pre-ordering of MSX Magazine 2
www.msx.org/newspost1343.html - MSX Festival DVD & VHS

The MSX Revival has got more to offer than only a magazine and an emulator. The MSX-BASIC for Robo-Education project has turned out to be very successful. After winning an important science price, the Japanese Ministry of Education decided to use MSX-BASIC for Robo-Education to teach young students how to code. The system is to be used in many, if not all high schools in Japan. Another new MSX product is the MSX Game Reader, which allows you to connect ROM-cartridges to your PC using USB. This way you can
play MSX games directly from cartridge in MSXPLAYer. We previously announced this product as the 'USB ROM Cartridge'. As we speak more than 1800 Game Readers were already pre-ordered. Last but not least the MSX Association also released a limited edition MSXPC. This hybrid machine is no ordinary PC, it has all components fit into the keyboard, making it look a lot like MSX computers. It even has a cartridge slot built-in and comes with MSXPLAYer so you can play all your favorite MSX games on it! At first, MSX Association planned to sell only 100 MSXPC's. Due to popular demand, probably 200 will be produced.

www.msx.org/newspost1349.html - MSX BASIC for Robo-Education wins science price
www.msx.org/newspost1444.html - MSX Revival - first rumors of a second wave
www.msx.org/newspost1522.html - MSX Revival - second wave
www.msx.org/newspost1535.html - MSXPC - more than 100 sold
www.msx.org/newspost1575.html - MSX Game Reader Sales - halfway there
www.msx.org/newspost1585.html - MSXPC and Game Reader status

Fairs and meetings
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The first fairs of 2004 have been announced: on January 17th MSX-NBNO will host another MSX fair in Oss. We really enjoyed us last year, and will surely be there with a nice stand. CGV Tilburg have announced their next MSX fair as well, which will take place on April 24th. For a complete overview of upcoming MSX fairs and meetings all over the world, check out our new list of MSX Fairs and Meetings.

www.msx.org/newspost1389.html - MSX Fair Oss 2004
www.msx.org/newspost1601.html - MSX Fair Tilburg 2004
www.msx.org/newspost1392.html - MSX Fairs and Meetings list

Another new initiative is the North Netherlands computer meeting. Not a fair, yet a relatively small meeting for active MSX developers to meet each other, discuss their latest findings and to create new MSX products. However, whether or not this event will take place (and when) will be up to you, you can sign in if you want to visit this special meeting.

www.msx.org/newspost1534.html - North Netherlands computer meeting
www.msx.org/forumtopic1443.html - North Netherlands computer meeting (forum thread)

Hardware
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We also reported about three interesting hardware developments. In Japan, Tsujikawa has taken the next step towards his one-chip MSX: the ESE MSX2 prototype has progressed a lot, adding MSX2 compatibility, a cartridge slot and MMC for storage. In Brazil the LSI-USP team have succeeded in creating a TMS9918 compatible VDP in FPGA adding interesting new features like a 512x384 resolution with 16bit color. Last but not least, Leonardo Padial has added an all-in-one sound cartridge (PSG+SCC+OPLL) to his range of MSX hardware expansions.

www.msx.org/newspost1337.html - ESE MSX2
www.msx.org/newspost1559.html - MSX VDP in FPGA
www.msx.org/newspost1545.html - New soundcard from LPE Electronics

Software
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2003 has been a very good year for MSX. This clearly shows when we look at all the software that's been released so far already. Have a look at the most recent software developments since our latest newsletter:

Believe it or not, on January 17th 2004 a new MSX game will be released by Sunrise/Team Bomba. It's the long awaited Bombaman, a very impressive Bomberman clone for MSX with a story mode, multiplayer functionality and more. You can already have a look at a nice promo (needless to say the final game will be even better) and pre-order the game at Sunrise. You will get a nice DVD box packed with extra's.

www.msx.org/newspost1467.html - Bombaman - pre-ordering possible
www.msx.org/newspost1478.html - Bombaman promo

Another new game is the freeware BASIC game AcaBoom which works on any MSX1 (or higher) computer with 32kB RAM (probably 16kB RAM systems can handle this game as well). You can run the game from either disk or cassette as both versions are offered on his website. AcaBoom is an entertaining puzzle game developed by Andrea Rossetti. He is looking forward to receive your high-scores.

www.msx.org/newspost1603.html - AcaBoom: new puzzle game for MSX-1

Vscreen is a very promising universal platform game engine. Say what? It's a tool that allows MSX users with limited programming skills to create their own stunning platform games. The results so far are already astonishing. Soon Olivier Hustion, the developer of Vscreen, will release a new version which adds new features like trampolines, switches and more. You can request new features on our forums. Be sure to keep track of our front-page if you don't want to miss the new releases.

www.msx.org/newspost1548.html - Vscreen 0.6
www.msx.org/forumtopic1563.html - Vscreen: Ideas for the future

Michiel de Vries has been working a lot on Meridian. His latest public release is Meridian 3.0 beta2 which makes it possible to play MIDI and Meridian files on Sunrise's Moonsound cartridge. Usability of this sequencer/tracker is getting better and better thanks to its powerful windows-engine and intuitive menu's. In this new release many features requested by the users on our forums have been implemented. Soon, Michiel will release an even better version which adds better tuned OPL4 playback and the first MIDI-IN functionality. It's not possible to record extra tracks in the sequencer yet, but in the 2OP/4OP/PCM/DRUM and Program Editors you can already use your Moonsound as a cool and impressive sound module!

www.msx.org/newspost1321.html - Meridian 3.0 beta2
www.msx.org/forumtopic1083.html - Meridian 3.0 beta - suggestions for the future

Marcel Delorme has been working on two products for the Sunrise GFX9000: Magic 1.60 and V9bmp 0.95. V9bmp shows BMP-pictures on your GFX9000. It is very quick, user-friendly and it's image quality is impressive. Magic is a skin able music replayer for Moonblaster Wave songs, especially for those who have both a GFX9000 and a Moonsound. More GFX9000 software comes from Poisonic, who created a simple yet nice effect in G-BASIC.

www.msx.org/newspost1374.html - Magic 1.60
www.msx.org/newspost1423.html - V9bmp 0.95
www.msx.org/newspost1570.html - G-BASIC demo by Poisonic

On our forums we challenged our visitors to develop simple 'scroll 'n logo' demo's again. So far we have received two very nice demo's. The WOEI! demo, created by Team Bomba (yes, the people who are making Bombaman) and Maggoo's MSX page promo (indeed, the developer of Vscreen). We know of at least two other entries which will come in sooner or later, but would like to encourage you, readers of this newsletter, to grab your MSX and start developing such a demo as well! Both the WOEI! and Maggoo demo contain some impressive effects and are definitely worth checking out.

www.msx.org/newspost1448.html - Team Bomba releases WOEI! demo
www.msx.org/newspost1459.html - Maggoo's MSX page promo
www.msx.org/forumtopic1357.html - Return of the scroll & logo demo's

Patriek Lesparre of TNI is known for his coding skills ever since he released the first version of GEM, his Gameboy Emulator for MSX. He took this emulator to another level by supporting the GFX9000 and a lot of optimization. The result is amazing: Nintendo Gameboy games running on acceptable speed on an MSX computer. Who would have thought that's possible!

www.msx.org/newspost1461.html - GEM 0.8

Another thing that was assumed to be impossible was connecting an MSX to the internet. Both Uzix (combined with FudeBrowZer) and InterNestor succeeded in this, so Néstor Soriano, developer of InterNestor took his project to the next level: lowering system requirements. InterNestor Lite 0.1 is the first results. All you need is an MSX2 with 128kB RAM, DOS1 or DOS2 and an RS232 interface. More boundaries are broken by Adriano da Cunha, developer of the impressive UNIX port for MSX: UZIX. He succeeded in supporting a Multiterminal (dual head) configuration in his UZIX operating system, using a Brazilian 80-columns cartridge. In the future Adriano hopes to support the
GFX9000 as well. In the end both Internestor Lite and UZIX might lead to a GFX9000 GUI and/or browser.

www.msx.org/newspost1485.html - Internestor Lite 1.0
www.msx.org/newspost1552.html - Multi terminal MSX with Uzix
www.msx.org/forumtopic1602.html - GFX9000 GUI and web browser

MSXForm is a utility for Microsoft Windows which allows you to format 2DD disks in a MSX-compatible format. This tool is very useful for Windows XP users, as it is very hard to format DD disks in this OS. But also other Windows users benefit from this tool. PC-Formatted DD disks often hang MSX computers at boot.

www.msx.org/newspost1518.html - MSXForm

Emulation
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Just before we sent this newsletter a new MSX emulator was released: blueMSX is an emulator that aims at a user-frienldy interface, low system requirements and a 'close to real' MSX experience. Quite some things were already improved compared to fMSX2.7 in this initial release.

www.msx.org/newspost1606.html - blueMSX 1.0.1

openMSX keeps improving and improving. The latest version also emulates MSX-MIDI, as featured on MSX turboR computers, MSX-RS232 (8255 UART), and PCM input (sampling). Furthermore several interesting things were added like a debugging device, which is the first step in making openMSX the ideal MSX emulator for developers. But, finally, the openMSX team also offer an interesting tool for people who don't want to spend hours on configurations: openMSX Catapult for either Linux or Windows helps you to quickly change the configuration settings and run the emulator with selected disk images, rom images and/or tape images.

www.msx.org/newspost1470.html - openMSX 0.3.3
www.msx.org/newspost1505.html - openMSX Catapult for Linux
www.msx.org/newspost1530.html - openMSX Catapult for Windows 1.2

Do you want to carry your MSX games with you? Do you want to play them while waiting on a train? You can if you are the lucky owner of a Nokia Series 60 phone (3650/6600/7650 of N-Gage) or a GamePark GP32 handheld. fMSX32/RU is an MSX emulator for the GamePark handheld while fMSX/S60 brings MSX to your Nokia phones. Interesting side note: the idea for developing fMSX/S60 and many of its implemented features originated from a forum thread on our website.

www.msx.org/newspost1595.html - fMSX32/RU
www.msx.org/newspost1543.html - fMSX/S60 0.96
www.msx.org/forumtopic961.html - Symbian emulator?

Another interesting development is this Roland MT-32 emulator. As you might know, the Roland MT-32 was a legendary and extremely popular sound module, supported by several MSX games like Microcabin's Illusion City. This Rolan MT-32 emulator allows you to listen to these MSX games as if an MT-32 was connected to it.

www.msx.org/newspost1507.html - Roland MT-32 emulator

Development
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MSX developers can always use documentation and tools that make their lives easier. Both tniASM and SjASM are cross-compilers that compile Z80 at a high rate of speed, keeping the demands of a (demanding) end-user in mind. If you ever wanted to develop software for the GFX9000 you need information in the heart of this video card: the Yamaha V9990. MSX Banzai! offers a complete and very interesting V9990 programmers manual. A must-read!

www.msx.org/newspost1493.html - tniASM 0.4
www.msx.org/newspost1596.html - SjASM 0.37
www.msx.org/newspost1519.html - MSXBanzai! - V9990 programmers manual added

Internet
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Of course the MSX Resource Center isn't the only active MSX website in the world. There are many, many, many others who keep the MSX community alive. Here is a selection of the websites that have appeared, restyled or updated since our most recent newsletter. You can find more information on the updates in the news posts:

New websites:

www.msx.org/newspost1436.html - Fuzzy Logic back in business
www.msx.org/newspost1450.html - Maggoo's MSX page
www.msx.org/newspost1588.html - HispaMSX website
www.msx.org/newspost1577.html - MSX Reloaded

Restyles and updates

www.msx.org/newspost1388.html - MSX Banzai! restyled
www.msx.org/newspost1377.html - Sargon website updated
www.msx.org/newspost1477.html - Generation MSX adds Arabix software to database
www.msx.org/newspost1506.html - MSXposse restyled
www.msx.org/newspost1541.html - MSX Info pages updated

And with that we have reached the end of our eighth MSX Resource Center newsletter. We hope you enjoyed reading it. Of course this is just a selection of the many news posts we have placed recently. If you want to receive all the MSX news be sure to check www.msx.org/ every day!

Greetings,

The MSX Resource Center team.