MSX2+
This page was last modified 14:17, 13 October 2016 by Rderooy. Based on work by Mars2000you and Gdx and others.

Contents

Introduction

After 1986, Microsoft stopped with supporting MSX and ASCII in Japan took over further development of the MSX system. Due to ASCII's lack of interest in European market the MSX2+ was never manufactured and sold outside Japan. Rumours and plans existed in the Netherlands to make a European MSX2+, but they never came to reality.

MSX2+ Standard definition

  • At least 64kB RAM. All official machines have 64kB RAM, most in the form of a memory mapper.
  • 32kB BASIC/BIOS ROM and 16kB SUB ROM (MSX-BASIC version 3.0, with the command SET SCROLL added, for smooth scrolling in BASIC! And of course the new screenmodes 10-12 were added, see below)
  • 16kB KANJI BASIC ROM + KANJI ROM
  • Yamaha V9958 Video Display Processor: backward compatible with TMS-9918/TMS-9928 and V9938 (for more info: V9958 MSX Video Technical Data Book). The V9938 also had light pen support circuitry built in though, which was removed in the V9958, probably because it was never used and the extra room on the chip could be used for the new V9958 features.

Not official, but very common:

  • 16kB DISK ROM
  • 720kB 3,5" floppy drive built in
  • MSX-MUSIC built in: OPLL YM-2413, 9 channel FM synthesizer), 16kB FM-BASIC ROM.
  • RGB connector (the only one that can be used with European monitors due to different TV system used in Japan (NTSC)).
  • CVBS/RF output, which is unusable without NTSC capable TV/monitor.

With the MSX2+ machines two other hardware features became very common:

  • Ren-Sha Turbo: built-in autofire system. The repetition speed can be adjusted with a slider and most implementations have a LED that shows the repetition rate.
  • speed controller: slider that can be moved to slow down the MSX

Note that also some less common MSX2 machines have a Ren-Sha Turbo and/or speed controller. They are mentioned here, because most MSX2+ machines have one or both of these feature. Especially the Sony machines.

Another feature that existed before, but was added to almost all MSX2+ machines is the hardware pause button that pauses the CPU. This pause cannot be circumvented in a software way.

Graphic capabilities

  • Additional feature: hardware scroll, vertical and horizontal
  • New graphic capabilities are the following modes in MSX-BASIC:
Mode Resolution Colors
10 256×212/424 pixels 12499 YUV (at once)
11 256×212/424 pixels 12499 YUV (at once) + 16 out of 512 RGB
12 256×212/424 pixels 19268 YJK (at once)


Note:

- The size of the images is the same as that of a screen 8 MSX2 image (54kB). This is because the YJK modes in the MSX2+ VDP basically store a byte per pixel (just like in screen 8). The difference is that the design of these bytes is such that four bytes create four pixels in YJK Color Space, by storing specific information in individual bits.

- In a nutshell it means that two global colors are defined for a group of four pixels, and each pixel has its own intensity between these two global colors. In practice this runs down to a kind of color spill, like the one in screen 1,2 and 4. Its most typical use is that of a photo screen, as it's less likely that someone will be drawing in this screen. Screen 11 compensates this a bit by supporting an extra 16 screen 5 colors, at the cost of YJK color depth.

- the VDP is in the same mode for screen 10 and 11, but BASIC handles it differently. So when programming the VDP directly, they are the same (both with RGB colors).

  • Additional KANJI screen modes (Japanese text screen modes). Hires graphics not possible. All these modes have the 16 out of 512 colors. They use actually screen 5 or 7 in text mode - see CALL KANJI.
Mode Resolution Character size
0 64×13 characters 8×16 pixels
1 80×13 characters 6×16 pixels
2 64×24 characters interlaced 8×8 pixels
3 80×24 characters interlaced 6×8 pixels


Software

Actually there is not much "pure" MSX2+ software. Some MSX2 games are using optional features of an MSX2+ if they run on an MSX2+ computer. Sometimes only scroll feature is used if MSX2+ is detected. An example is Konami's Space Manbow, which scrolls smoother on MSX2+. Mostly all image viewers gain benefits of MSX2+'s graphic capabilities. Due to the great amount of colours, GIF/BMP and JPG pictures are displayed very well. For several years there has not been any graphic program for screen 11 until a French group made one (Screen 11 designer).

Some MSX2+ software:

  • Columbus, by TENCAS (Italy): drawing program for screen 12.
  • Doozle: micro drawing utility for screen 11/12.
  • Graph Saurus v2.0, by Bit²: drawing program, also supports screen 12.
  • Mous Master: drawing program for screen 12.
  • Screen 11 designer, by FUC: drawing program for screen 11.
  • Dix, by MSX-Engine: game with optional screen 11/12 drawings/pics.
  • F1-Spirit 3D special, by Konami: racing game, using scroll and screen 12 images.
  • Golvellius 2, by Compile: RPG with very nice screen 11 drawings and scroll; there's also an MSX2 version.
  • Laydock 2 - Last Attack, by T&E SOFT: shoot'em up game, uses scroll and screen 11/12.
  • Megadoom, by FCS: platform/shooting game using screen 12 and scroll.
  • Nyacle Racing, by Bit²: (sort of) racing game, with optional screen 12 images.
  • Quinpl, by Bit²: Puzzle-game, with optional screen 12 images.
  • Sea Sardine Side II, by MSX-Magazine (ASCII): game using scroll.
  • Space Manbow, by Konami: shoot'em up game using scroll, optionally. Visually, the game looks identical when played on MSX2, except that on MSX2 the side borders aren't masked (the shaky border phenomenon).
  • Starship Rendez Vous (Special Stage Michelle), by Scap Trust: adult game using screen 12 images, on MSX2 screen 8 is used. On the labyrinth, the game scrolls (by 8 pixels) on MSX2+ and is screen-by-screen on MSX2.
  • Super Cooks, by Compile: RPG, uses scroll, optionally.
  • Twinkle Star, by Yoshida: shoot'em up game, using scroll.
  • Tetris II Special Edition, by RAM: Tetris clone using screen 12.
  • Family Stadium, by Namcot : Baseball game using scroll.
  • Master Of Monsters, by System Soft: Strategic game, with optional screen 12 image .
  • Psy-o-Blade, by T&E Soft: A.V.G with optional screen 12 image.
  • Girls Control, by Hard: shoot'em up game, optional demo with screen 12 images (A bug in game not detecting demo in Turbo R)

See also the list on Generation MSX.

Computers

All MSX2+ computers in Europe are either imported from Japan or have been upgraded from MSX2 (or even MSX1) to MSX2+ internally or with special upgrade kits (Brazil). Real MSX2+ computers were only produced by Panasonic, Sony and Sanyo for the Japanese market:

More recently a team in Korea created the Zemmix Neo and Mini IQ-3000. And there is also a DIY MSX2+ project, the GR8Bit