PGCard by MSXCalamar

PGCard by MSXCalamar

by PAC on 01-05-2018, 20:16
Topic: Development
Languages:

During the RetroMadrid event held last weekend MSXCalamar introduced a new and smart idea to the MSX scene. Do you remember the Bee Cards from Hudson Soft? What about if we use the same concept and we replace the card by a Game Boy Advance cartridge? That's it!

MSXCalamar focused on cost reduction in all aspects and this format is a very good alternative taking into account the availability of Nintendo components and price. They expect a cost about one-third of a current game price.

And there is more to come, the main cartridge board will work as a reader/writer device and will include the electronics in order to control the mapper and power source plus a YM2413 soundchip with audio output. The game board will feature a memory of 4Mbit (512KB).

The project is still on going so if you have any suggestion now is your chance.

Relevant link: PGCard by MSXCalamar (Spanish)

Comments (66)

By erpirao

Paladin (724)

erpirao's picture

01-05-2018, 21:16

For me, it has been a pleasure and a privilege, both to encourage msxcalamar to launch this format and support him throughout the process.
I think that this format can be a great incentive for developers.

We will continue informing.

By PAC

Guardian (4786)

PAC's picture

01-05-2018, 21:44

The concept and features are great, I only hope this new format doesn't affect the development of other new games and/or devices with the current cartridge case. Please don't get me wrong, this is not a criticism. IMHO the MSX cartridge is part of its identity. Using Game Boy cartridges the MSX essence is being lost. I'm a bit purist, I know... Wink

By zett

Champion (426)

zett's picture

01-05-2018, 21:50

dont get the cardrige love ad all. msx is not a game consol. use disks if you want fitting for msx or now modern sd or mini sd. cheap great size and true to the home computer.

By Oniric-Factor

Resident (58)

Oniric-Factor's picture

01-05-2018, 22:50

Well... you can buy the expensier traditional format too, but PG-CARD Doesn't use Gameboy cartridges. It only uses it's case. The feel when you assemble the PG-CARD to the Reader is the same of an ordinary cartridge

By AxelStone

Prophet (2572)

AxelStone's picture

02-05-2018, 09:08

So the PGCard is the new BeeCard, very nice project. Anyway I don't think this idea is at odds with any other format like FDD or SD, at the end the important thing is the game.

By Alexey

Paragon (1579)

Alexey's picture

02-05-2018, 10:33

What bonuses does this project have comparing to the traditional flash cartridges that can be programmed from MSX?

By gdx

Prophet (2156)

gdx's picture

02-05-2018, 10:49

I think the goal is to produce cartridges of MSX game in GBA format instead of MSX format because the case is cheaper (like this).

If it is the case, it's an interesting project but why put an FM chip with an external output?
FM requires several components to get a good sound, a cable and additional equipment. This increases the price of the adapter.
Golden contacts do not increase the price much. However, it is more interesting because it is the same adapter that will be used for each future productions. It is important that it is of good quality. If the adapter fails, all cartridges will become unusable.

By Grauw

Enlighted (7321)

Grauw's picture

02-05-2018, 11:54

Also the mapper logic seems to be on the host cartridge, so the GBA cart just needs a ROM chip?

By AxelStone

Prophet (2572)

AxelStone's picture

02-05-2018, 14:29

Alexey wrote:

What bonuses does this project have comparing to the traditional flash cartridges that can be programmed from MSX?

As news said, the target of this device is not to compete against flash cartridges like MegaFlashRom or Carnivore2, the idea is to introduce an alternative to phisical cartridge format. Nowadays there is a lot of MSX games sold in cartridge, a very expensive device, so this is presented as a cheaper alternative to classic cartridge.

Of course it requires to buy firts the card reader and then you can buy games in GBA cartridge format. Basically is the new BeeCard.

By DrWh0

Hero (648)

DrWh0's picture

02-05-2018, 15:30

The reader comes in a traditional cartridge, only has a hole on the top to insert game cards (like bee cards in the past), the only differences are:

+ More rom space up to 4Mbits comparing with old bee cards 32-64Kb
+ Cheaper costs of memory comparing the old beecards that TODAY still costs a ton of money
+ Cheaper game enclosures than traditional cartridges (5-6€ per shell vs 0.25-0.50€ using GBA shells)
+ Cheaper game board
+ Cheaper games and more profit for developers
+ Cheaper game boxes using cheaper and abundant gba carts
+ FM included on reader (that is also cheaper) improving the possibilites for developers and users.

@Zett: "really?

"use disks if you want fitting for msx or now modern sd or mini sd" "Modern SD"

Do you know any msx game that needs Gigabytes for justifying a SD format release? can you name one?

The old native formats for msx are tapes, floppys and cartrtridges nothing more, thanks to the expandibility of MSX we can use SD, CF, hard disks, CDROM and custom gamecases.

This product is a traditional cartridge reader with special cards like hudson and electric dreams made in the past

*This board only uses gba shells in order to contain the game electronics , those are not gba games nor recycled ones this design choice is justified by its cost

I don´t see any problem here.........

This is only an additional option, flash cartridges plays on another level and of course the developers can continue using cartridges from the same 5 sources

By gdx

Prophet (2156)

gdx's picture

02-05-2018, 16:57

DrWh0 wrote:

+ FM included in reader (that is also cheaper) improving the possibilites for developers and users.

FM included on reader is not cheaper for users who already have one. This can even interfere when the FM is integrated into the MSX.

By Pablibiris

Paragon (1657)

Pablibiris's picture

02-05-2018, 17:26

FM on board cost about......0.8€ / board? Too much,I know Wink
I preffer to pay this 0.8€ with FM support and have one slot free.
This FM could interfere the same that Carnivore FM or a original FM...that is NOTHING.

Is simple:

The developer can try between 2 options (or borth).

1- Spend more than 25€ (board) + 4€ (case) + 5€ (packaging)...and sell the game in 40€.
2- Spend 5€ (board with case) + 5€ (packaging)...and sell the game in 15€ (for example).

Less costs to the developer...Less costs to the final user. The same feeling of putting a cartridge in your MSX.
I don't understand why to complain about all new developments instead of encouraging them...

By gdx

Prophet (2156)

gdx's picture

02-05-2018, 17:45

Please stop panicking when someone has a different opinion. Nobody complains here. We are trying to get some information.
About Carnivore FM some people have asked how to disable the FM. There is probably a reason. If I am told that this can be disabled, I would be reassured.

By AlesteDX

Resident (60)

AlesteDX's picture

02-05-2018, 17:58

Hi...

This new format can be just the thing I was waiting for: something cheap to begin to buy physical games again.

Regards.

By dioniso

Champion (466)

dioniso's picture

02-05-2018, 20:30

I still remember when the profi-finished Shockware games cost 10 Euro... and people got angry when they rised it up to 12.50 Euro.

By syn

Paragon (1852)

syn's picture

02-05-2018, 20:48

Quote:

the main cartridge board will work as a reader/writer device

does this mean we can use it like a "MegaFlashRomFM" ? Smile aka load a ROM file from your SD/CF card reader into the memory and then play/run it?

By sd_snatcher

Prophet (2775)

sd_snatcher's picture

02-05-2018, 21:50

@Pablibiris

If I understood correctly, the cost difference would only be in the cartridge PCB, right?

But why would the MSX cartridge PCB cost so much more on for the MSX than for the equivalent game in GBA format? I've never seen MSX PCBs to be that expensive when quoted on allpcb.com.

According to this article, the cost for a complete MSX cartridge that includes producing a whole unit: circuit board, cartridge case and sticker, package and cover is around €15 from many of the available sources. So just the case+PCB must cost much less than that.

By syn

Paragon (1852)

syn's picture

02-05-2018, 21:54

on aliexpress gba cartridge cases cost 20-50 cent or so (I only did a quick search a few months back), compare that to a msx cartridge shells at 3-5 euros.

By erpirao

Paladin (724)

erpirao's picture

02-05-2018, 22:59

@sd_snatcher: Actually "starts" from € 15, for very basic cartridges.
As soon as you raise the capacity, the price goes up.
The sale price of the pg-card cartridges (which is not the reader), is expected to be € 15 final sale to the buyer.

the goal is that with a reader, you can use the cartridges themselves, significantly lowering the price.

By Meits

Scribe (5038)

Meits's picture

03-05-2018, 02:04

gdx wrote:

Please stop panicking when someone has a different opinion. Nobody complains here. We are trying to get some information.
About Carnivore FM some people have asked how to disable the FM. There is probably a reason. If I am told that this can be disabled, I would be reassured.

I'm not too happy with the internal MSX-Music of a turbo R. Therefore I have an external MSX-Music in my slot expander hooked to the amplifier by jack while the internal MSX-Music goes to the muted monitor. If I unmute the monitor and unplug the jack from the cartridge, both are audible on the monitor. They do clash. Especially in my case since my MSX-Music's sine waves are inverted and therefore become anti sound to the internal MSX-Music.
So I do understand people who want to be able to disable an extra MSX-Music. Knowing there's a jack output on this cartridge I do believe a simple jack plugged into its connector seperates both MSX-Musics just like in my situation.

By DarkSchneider

Paladin (716)

DarkSchneider's picture

03-05-2018, 08:36

gdx wrote:
DrWh0 wrote:

+ FM included in reader (that is also cheaper) improving the possibilites for developers and users.

FM included on reader is not cheaper for users who already have one. This can even interfere when the FM is integrated into the MSX.

No need to interfere if the software detects and activates correctly the FM. It can assume that the FM slot is the same than the own one (inluded in the cartridge), then simply search for internal one and set bit 0 of address $7FF6 on that slot ID to disable the internal one. This should be probably documented in the cartridge programmer guide if someone didn't know about that.

What I'd like to ask, could be the MSX-Music BIOS recorded into the ROM and use it?

By gdx

Prophet (2156)

gdx's picture

03-05-2018, 10:56

Yes, only internal MSX-Music use address 7FF6h and almost all clones of MSX-Music cartridge do not use addresses 07FF4h and 7FF5h so only I/O ports are used. I think is same for the MSXCalamar. Therefore, it can not be disabled by default without add a switch or another system controllable by software. The specific output for the FM allows to circumvent this problem (and the level) but the FM sound become separate.

By Grauw

Enlighted (7321)

Grauw's picture

03-05-2018, 13:00

DarkSchneider wrote:

No need to interfere if the software detects and activates correctly the FM. It can assume that the FM slot is the same than the own one (inluded in the cartridge), then simply search for internal one and set bit 0 of address $7FF6 on that slot ID to disable the internal one.

That’s incorrect in two ways:

1. Internal MSX-MUSIC does not have that switch. According to the official detection algorithm you’re supposed to search for an internal MSX-MUSIC first (APRLOPLL signature), use that if found, otherwise search for an external MSX-MUSIC (OPLL signature), enable it with 7FF6H (disabled by default), and then use that.

2. The 7FF6H switch is only implemented on the original Panasoft FM-PAC; all homebrew MSX-MUSIC cartridges do not have this logic and pretend to be an internal MSX-MUSIC instead. Always enabled, and impossible to address individually through memory-mapped I/O either.

(Though maybe some of the recent FPGA OPLL emulations do implement the full FM-PAC logic nowadays, not sure, but I’m pretty sure none of the standalone cartridges using a discrete YM2413 OPLL IC do.)

By gdx

Prophet (2156)

gdx's picture

03-05-2018, 13:55

Grauw is right. I wrote internal by mistake.

By DarkSchneider

Paladin (716)

DarkSchneider's picture

03-05-2018, 16:36

Grauw wrote:
DarkSchneider wrote:

No need to interfere if the software detects and activates correctly the FM. It can assume that the FM slot is the same than the own one (inluded in the cartridge), then simply search for internal one and set bit 0 of address $7FF6 on that slot ID to disable the internal one.

That’s incorrect in two ways:

1. Internal MSX-MUSIC does not have that switch. According to the official detection algorithm you’re supposed to search for an internal MSX-MUSIC first (APRLOPLL signature), use that if found, otherwise search for an external MSX-MUSIC (OPLL signature), enable it with 7FF6H (disabled by default), and then use that.

2. The 7FF6H switch is only implemented on the original Panasoft FM-PAC; all homebrew MSX-MUSIC cartridges do not have this logic and pretend to be an internal MSX-MUSIC instead. Always enabled, and impossible to address individually through memory-mapped I/O either.

(Though maybe some of the recent FPGA OPLL emulations do implement the full FM-PAC logic nowadays, not sure, but I’m pretty sure none of the standalone cartridges using a discrete YM2413 OPLL IC do.)

What happens to previous software? The official detection of MSX-Music is search only for "OPLL" and then call its INIOPL BIOS function. Things like that should not be supposed to be modified on the fly.

http://map.grauw.nl/resources/datapack/Vol2-3.3FMBIOS.pdf
At 3.3.6.

Quote:

You can search the previous slot, It looks a slot that has the string "OPLL" in from 401CH
address. And on the slot that has the string "OPLL", the address 4110H is the entry of FM BIOS.

When the entry INIOPL of FM BIOS is called, in order to investigate whether FM BIOS exists in
other slots inside, ENASLT is used, a slot is changed, and ID from the 401CH address in ROM
is checked one by one from the slot 0.

It is supposed that you select with that the one you want to use.
Because things like this, I always talk about the importance of standardize in a computer, specially if it is an open one.

I think the offical ones implements the #7FF6 disable option.
https://www.msx.org/news/software/en/oplloff
See that they use that method for the internal one.
Probably is what INIOPL uses for selecting only one when more are attached.

As said before, on MSX what we have is not "FM", is MSX-Music. Then for correct working of the whole system, all devices should be compliant with the standard. If not, then the software must do the work by its own, resulting in a weak solution if anything changes at some moment.

Currently then the solutions could be:
1) Implement the full MSX-Music standard.
2) A switch for disabling the cartridge internal OPLL.

By Grauw

Enlighted (7321)

Grauw's picture

03-05-2018, 16:52

The search algorithm I mentioned is described in the MSX Datapack Vol. 2 section 3.1.4-2. Software that does not use the FM-BIOS should detect the presence MSX-MUSIC according to this method. Since you were mentioning bit 0 of 7FF6H, this algorithm applies.

The search algorithm described in section 3.3.6 (which you quoted later) is specifically for use of the FM BIOS. The BIOS will manage the internal / external FM-PACs, so you can just use the first one you find, even when there are multiple present. Then you also don’t need to deal with 7FF6H.

By Manel46

Master (255)

Manel46's picture

03-05-2018, 16:45

Congratulations to CalamarMsx, for the new hardware.
On the internal "MSX MUSIC" of the TR, we all know that there is a big problem. It has been published how to solve it. I do not dare to manipulate it. This is why MEITS, a great musician, uses "MSX MUSIC" externally, and mutes the audio channel of his TR.
This hardware with its clone fmpac, is great news.

By Grauw

Enlighted (7321)

Grauw's picture

03-05-2018, 16:53

What mapper type does this cartridge use, by the way?

By erpirao

Paladin (724)

erpirao's picture

03-05-2018, 17:12

in the beginning, konami4 was chosen, which is "simple" to implement, but after feedback from retromadrid, it is working in konami5 (it is not clear if it will enter ascii8, by price).

By gdx

Prophet (2156)

gdx's picture

03-05-2018, 17:24

Manel46 wrote:

On the internal "MSX MUSIC" of the TR, we all know that there is a big problem.

I have a Turbo R but there is no big problem. Some sounds are a little softened, that's all. The filter needs a small fix. This is more or less the case for several other MSXs and many sound cartridges.

By Grauw

Enlighted (7321)

Grauw's picture

03-05-2018, 17:51

I guess for Konami5 there is the thing that bank 0 needs to be reinitialised to 0 on reset. Personally Konami4 or 5 are equal to me.

I am interested in using FlashROM and writing savegames to it or allowing the release of updates... Is this possible with Konami4/5 mappers? Since there is always a region of memory that is covered by bank select registers. ASCII mappers don't, so they seem more suited for it, but I'm not sure...

By DarkSchneider

Paladin (716)

DarkSchneider's picture

03-05-2018, 17:47

Grauw wrote:

The search algorithm I mentioned is described in the MSX Datapack Vol. 2 section 3.1.4-2. Software that does not use the FM-BIOS should detect the presence MSX-MUSIC according to this method. Since you were mentioning bit 0 of 7FF6H, this algorithm applies.

The search algorithm described in section 3.3.6 (which you quoted later) is specifically for use of the FM BIOS. The BIOS will manage the internal / external FM-PACs, so you can just use the first one you find, even when there are multiple present. Then you also don’t need to deal with 7FF6H.

According to that (direct method), if internal is present, you should use it.
If not present, search external and set bit 0 #7FF6.

Then, according to that, any external OPLL must be disabled by default and support the #7FF6 or the FM BIOS to avoid problems with the internal one.

Also, seems that the internal is in practice compatible with the #7FF6 enable/disable (the topic linked before shows it), but it would not be in all cases, i.e. OCM or Zemmix, which I don't know if they support it.

For mapper, I vote for ASCII8.

By Grauw

Enlighted (7321)

Grauw's picture

03-05-2018, 18:59

I don't disagree that it would be good to support 7FF6H as well as memory-mapped I/O for MSX-MUSIC cartridges, problem is that it is is not trivial or cheap to implement using discrete logic ICs. This is why most FM-PAC clones don't implement it, and only FPGA devices with enough logic gates capacity for that do.

I don’t think internal MSX-MUSIC supports the 7FF6H flag... Reading the comments in the oplloff tool news post you linked, it uses a different trick, and although NYYRIKKI does mention 7FF6H has a function on some 2+ model internal MSX-MUSIC as well, it seems to be a different function, to do with bank switching (making it undetectable) rather than enabling I/O ports (so they will still both sound).

By Grauw

Enlighted (7321)

Grauw's picture

03-05-2018, 19:58

What are the three sockets for? One is for an YM2413 OPLL, but what about the other two?

By erpirao

Paladin (724)

erpirao's picture

03-05-2018, 20:48

Grauw wrote:

What are the three sockets for? One is for an YM2413 OPLL, but what about the other two?

Actually the sockets will not go in the final version, and the site will be occupied by logic circuits.

By DrWh0

Hero (648)

DrWh0's picture

03-05-2018, 20:53

@sd_snatcher you cannot compare both:

* Matra cartridges are 32KB-64KB EPROM AT COST (if you buy a lot, in the shop cost 19.95+shipping) not megaroms no FM very long delaysm, in the very same article mentions it

* PG-Card 512KB FLASH faster and bigger, in fact, 15 TIMES BIGGER!!!!

No delays/long waits/restrictions for developers myself had suffered delays for 1-2-3 months in the best cases before publishing a few dozens of cartridges or simply the manufacturers has no stock because they has delivered their units to a more profitable customer or any other reasons.

With those mini-cartridges, developers can buy a lot of cheap empty cards than can write fast at any moment with any content and reutilize as much and fast as needed.

"many available sources" I only know 3, the same as article says, if you know more, please send me it.

By Victor

Champion (389)

Victor's picture

03-05-2018, 21:16

Grauw wrote:

I guess for Konami5 there is the thing that bank 0 needs to be reinitialised to 0 on reset. Personally Konami4 or 5 are equal to me.

KONAMI4 and KONAMI5 are not the same...

KONAMI5 or ASCII8 are the best options...

By erpirao

Paladin (724)

erpirao's picture

03-05-2018, 21:16

Victor wrote:
Grauw wrote:

I guess for Konami5 there is the thing that bank 0 needs to be reinitialised to 0 on reset. Personally Konami4 or 5 are equal to me.

KONAMI4 and KONAMI5 are not the same...

big developer here!

By Victor

Champion (389)

Victor's picture

03-05-2018, 21:48

erpirao wrote:

big developer here!

Who? Me?!
That's not true, my friend... I'm a really really small developer... I just give my opinion...

By Grauw

Enlighted (7321)

Grauw's picture

03-05-2018, 22:01

I didn’t literally mean the same, I meant it makes no difference to me (I have no preference).

Konami4 is a little more restrictive but it’s no issue for me, and OTOH by fixing the first page to bank 0 the boot code is always there after a reset.

By Victor

Champion (389)

Victor's picture

03-05-2018, 22:04

Grauw wrote:

Konami4 is a little more restrictive but it’s no issue for me, and OTOH by fixing the first page to bank 0 the boot code is always there after a reset.

But in KONAMI4, always page 0 in in 04000-5fffh.. In KONAMI5 you can change to any page in 04000-5fffh

By Grauw

Enlighted (7321)

Grauw's picture

03-05-2018, 23:55

It seems the extra reset logic needed is troublesome, but maybe what I mentioned about boot code is no issue in practice even if you don’t reset the banks to 0? If the code changes page 0, when the user resets the game won’t boot up anymore, unless the coder puts boot code in all code banks… Is that right, or am I missing some detail?

Either way if I worry about this then I guess I could simply not swap page 0. Then again that removes the benefit of Konami5, which is why I concluded it makes no difference to me Smile. It seems mostly a trade-off between a bit more flexibility vs. circuitry simplicity (cost).

By Victor

Champion (389)

Victor's picture

04-05-2018, 05:46

Grauw wrote:

If the code changes page 0, when the user resets the game won’t boot up anymore, unless the coder puts boot code in all code banks… Is that right, or am I missing some detail?

In ASCII16, for example, we have the same issue.. if you make a soft reset the page you have selected previously in 04000-7fffh is the same.. So.. I don't understand where is the problem... If you make a full power off the page will be 0 in both modes...

Grauw wrote:

Either way if I worry about this then I guess I could simply not swap page 0. Then again that removes the benefit of Konami5, which is why I concluded it makes no difference to me Smile. It seems mostly a trade-off between a bit more
flexibility vs. circuitry simplicity (cost).

The idea to select KONAMI5 or ASCII8 is that, with both mapper types, you can simulate the other mapper types (KONAMI4 and ASCII16) and KONAMI5 can by converted to ASCII8 and viceversa.. So, anyone can save any game in this cartridge with a simple program that change the mapper type... I did that in the past... I can change it easily to this cartridge.

And for a diskROM (Nextor type for example), you need ASCII8, KONAMI5 or ASCII16, you can't work correctly with KONAMI4.

By DarkSchneider

Paladin (716)

DarkSchneider's picture

04-05-2018, 08:48

Grauw wrote:

I don't disagree that it would be good to support 7FF6H as well as memory-mapped I/O for MSX-MUSIC cartridges

Memory-mapped I/O (MMIO) could be the solution. Simply do not port-map I/O (PMIO) the cartridge FM, and use it like a SCC. Not port-mapping it there should not be problem with any other one. It would require minor changes for replayers, replacing the ports accesses to memory accesses.
For a cartridge with own custom chips, that cannot be used as an external one, is fine.

By AxelStone

Prophet (2572)

AxelStone's picture

04-05-2018, 10:36

I'm not sure to understand the talk about FM, what is the problem about detection / usage? The routine to detect and initialize it works fine, I've done tests with a lot of possible configurations (FM internal / external, MSX2, 2+, tR) and allways get sound.

By DarkSchneider

Paladin (716)

DarkSchneider's picture

04-05-2018, 10:43

Using the FM BIOS, the problem is the direct usage, as it doesn't features the full MSX-Music implementation.

By Grauw

Enlighted (7321)

Grauw's picture

04-05-2018, 13:30

Grauw wrote:

I am interested in using FlashROM and writing savegames to it or allowing the release of updates... Is this possible with Konami4/5 mappers? Since there is always a region of memory that is covered by bank select registers. ASCII mappers don't, so they seem more suited for it, but I'm not sure...

How about this question? Since with Konami5 for each 8k memory block 2k are covered by a bank select register, it seems not possible to write to flash memory in this region, whereas ASCII8 does not have this problem due to different bank select register mapping…?

By DarkSchneider

Paladin (716)

DarkSchneider's picture

04-05-2018, 13:59

What I know at this moment (internal group chat), is that they are working on that. If possible, some space on the flash could be used for saving.

By Victor

Champion (389)

Victor's picture

04-05-2018, 15:15

Grauw wrote:
Grauw wrote:

I am interested in using FlashROM and writing savegames to it or allowing the release of updates... Is this possible with Konami4/5 mappers? Since there is always a region of memory that is covered by bank select registers. ASCII mappers don't, so they seem more suited for it, but I'm not sure...

How about this question? Since with Konami5 for each 8k memory block 2k are covered by a bank select register, it seems not possible to write to flash memory in this region, whereas ASCII8 does not have this problem due to different bank select register mapping…?

First time I heard that...

By spl

Paragon (1461)

spl's picture

04-05-2018, 16:20

Pablibiris wrote:

FM on board cost about......0.8€ / board? Too much,I know Wink
I preffer to pay this 0.8€ with FM support and have one slot free.
This FM could interfere the same that Carnivore FM or a original FM...that is NOTHING.

Is simple:

The developer can try between 2 options (or borth).

1- Spend more than 25€ (board) + 4€ (case) + 5€ (packaging)...and sell the game in 40€.
2- Spend 5€ (board with case) + 5€ (packaging)...and sell the game in 15€ (for example).

Less costs to the developer...Less costs to the final user. The same feeling of putting a cartridge in your MSX.
I don't understand why to complain about all new developments instead of encouraging them...

You're right! If this device is being sold, I'll buy it! Big smile

By gdx

Prophet (2156)

gdx's picture

04-05-2018, 16:44

I also think Konami5 (or ASCII8) is the best choice as mapper because DSK2ROM use it.

By zett

Champion (426)

zett's picture

04-05-2018, 16:49

DrWh0 wrote:

@Zett: "really?

"use disks if you want fitting for msx or now modern sd or mini sd" "Modern SD"

so wasting some mb for nothing on the cheap is more evil than making a new format and needed a extra slot to place the hardware.
most msxers got a sd reader. so yeah i think that even a easyer cheaper and better solution.

By DarkSchneider

Paladin (716)

DarkSchneider's picture

04-05-2018, 17:14

I am thinking that MMIO the FM has the problem that then the software could not be available in digital format, for flashing into your device and using with your MSX-Music.
Then seems better to put there the logic to allow enable/disable the cartridge OPLL and become disabled by default. The procedure would be like:
- Look for internal. If exists then use that.
- If no internal found, you know you have one in the same slot than the cartridge itself (simply determine the sub-slot in hardware specification, no need for search "OPLL"). This part should be patched for the digital version to detect the MSX-Music correctly.
- Enable the cartridge one.

@zett or include wallpapers and other extra content Smile
I also like more the mass storage devices, but this device is for cheaper cartridge software, that is another target.

By DrWh0

Hero (648)

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05-05-2018, 20:43

I would agree with you if most of homebrew authors does not distribute in digital format

Ask them what they think about digital format for example:

Nerlaska does not release rom for expanded monster hunter
Hikaru Games not releasing their games in digital
FX not releasing digital rom for their enhanced games
Kralizec quit the scene for having working their commercial games on emulators
And list go on............

Regarding a waste of a slot, well that applies to all games released ONLY ON CARTRIDGE (as the list mentioned before), at least with this solution you will use the same reader and only have to change the cards on the reader, most of msx1/msx2 users will be pleased having a FM with a game reader with ONLY one slot, and not everyone wishes to spend the cost of an megaflashroms (because they have an msx1 computer for example) and the like only old msx1 games...

If all authors release their games on digital format and everyone had a MFR/Carnivore I would be agree with you but the real facts is that people like cartridge games

By DarkSchneider

Paladin (716)

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06-05-2018, 09:36

@DrWh0 yep they're system killers Cool

By Victor

Champion (389)

Victor's picture

06-05-2018, 20:52

gdx wrote:

I also think Konami5 (or ASCII8) is the best choice as mapper because DSK2ROM use it.

Yes, but , as Grauws said, ASCII8 is less conflictive.. You can see thtat in DSK2ROM too...

So... Yes... ASCII8 is the best choice...

By gdx

Prophet (2156)

gdx's picture

07-05-2018, 00:53

SCC mapper is not a big problem with flashroms (This only slows down the flashing a bit), and the order of pages at initialization of SCC mapper can be a advantage to make a Basic or 16/32k ROM.

By Grauw

Enlighted (7321)

Grauw's picture

07-05-2018, 01:21

gdx: Can you elaborate how to flash then? Because I’d like to understand how.

By DarkSchneider

Paladin (716)

DarkSchneider's picture

07-05-2018, 07:59

gdx wrote:

and the order of pages at initialization of SCC mapper can be a advantage to make a Basic or 16/32k ROM.

Don't worry about that. All concerning this kind of things (also like the FM initialization) could be added to the programmer guide. Simply put at the beginning of the code and voilà.

By gdx

Prophet (2156)

gdx's picture

07-05-2018, 12:19

Grauw wrote:

Can you elaborate how to flash then?

You can see the source code of FL.COM for it.
https://www.msx.org/forum/msx-talk/development/flload-improv...

This is SCC mapper Rom loader among the set for FlashRom cartridges sold on Repro Factory (MAB, 2048K Flash Kit, etc) that use AMD flash-Rom. The trick is to reselect the page at another address after writing a byte if I remember correctly.

By Grauw

Enlighted (7321)

Grauw's picture

07-05-2018, 13:20

Thanks! If I understand correctly, it relies on the flash ROM latching the address faster than the 74LS670 mapper register updates its outputs? Seems a bit fragile...

By NYYRIKKI

Enlighted (4996)

NYYRIKKI's picture

07-05-2018, 21:41

PGCard seems like a nice option for BeeCard or SoftCard. It seems the idea has been updated for today but I must remind that the original concept was not really a great success either and since the audience is even smaller today I find it hard to believe that this would fly off the shelves any better... There was a bit over dozen titles released for both original card formats and I think almost half of the cards were sold with the adapter. (Not based on any facts, but a feeling)

This might work with some proper marketing & cooperation effort like "buy two games and get adapter for 10€" if you could get enough titles released for it, but it sounds like lots of work and dedication... I wish you good luck though...

Now may I suggest a bit more boring, but "feet on the ground" idea:

If the goal is to sell ROM games in plastic case that can be connected to an adapter I think there is already a cheaper, more common and very well tested solution out there... It is called PDIP. When you combine this idea with ZIF-socket you get reasonably durable, easy to use, very low cost packing solution where you can sell the games in used matchboxes. Smile

By mariocavalcanti

Resident (35)

mariocavalcanti's picture

08-05-2018, 14:47

AlesteDX wrote:

Hi...

This new format can be just the thing I was waiting for: something cheap to begin to buy physical games again.

Regards.

Yes, that seems to be one of the main objectives. The project is cool and curious. It is good to see alternatives like this being born. Smile

By gdx

Prophet (2156)

gdx's picture

08-05-2018, 15:53

Grauw wrote:

it relies on the flash ROM latching the address faster than the 74LS670 mapper register updates its outputs?

No.

By Grauw

Enlighted (7321)

Grauw's picture

08-05-2018, 17:23

That's a compact answer... Then how, I don't get it Smile. The FlashROM write address is determined by the address + the mapper register lines, the value by the data lines. But at the same time you write to the mapper register, which changes the address lines almost immediately, right?

Maybe the 74LS670 latches on the rising edge while the FlashROM latches on the falling edge?

By gdx

Prophet (2156)

gdx's picture

09-05-2018, 11:24

Sorry I did this program 3 years ago and I do not remember the details but I think we need enable flashing mode for each writing of byte for AMD's flashroms so we can reselect the current page by writing at a switching address between each writing of byte. It's something like that.

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