ORICART - smart cartridge for Oric by [raxiss]

This is the right place to discuss on how to implement hardware vsync, adding a VIA or AY chipset, puting multiple roms, or how to design a new flash expansion card.
User avatar
kppot
2nd Star Corporal
Posts: 26
Joined: Fri Mar 19, 2021 2:28 pm

Re: ORICART - smart cartridge for Oric by [raxiss]

Post by kppot »

iss wrote:
Sun Apr 04, 2021 9:52 pm
Hello, my fellow Oricians! :)
Amazing!
How many titles (games or demos) may fit this cartridge?

User avatar
xahmol
Flying Officer
Posts: 207
Joined: Sun Jun 28, 2020 7:32 pm
Location: Utrecht, The Netherlands
Contact:

Re: ORICART - smart cartridge for Oric by [raxiss]

Post by xahmol »

iss wrote:
Mon Apr 05, 2021 10:07 am
Yes, it's on the conveyor already :). next.png
Seriously, the next device will offer internet connectivity and I'm very proud with some unique 'inventions' in it (like ROM-less booting :twisted: )
Awesome! By the way, instead of thinking of my complete wish list, if you can make a device like this a reality on the Oric that would be super:
Ultimate II+ for the Commodore 64/128
TIPI for the TI-99/4a

I have both, and the ability to have SD or USB based mass storage devices combined with extra RAM and network access, with the abiity to interchange ROMs, is truly awesome. Both for developing and quick testing on real hardware, as for downloading a new game directly from the internet through to your retro device.

Actually, for the Oric, the Twilighte Board already comes very close if it would be stable on all Orics, also the software side is still under heavy development. Would almost suggest to co-operate (but full understand if you want to go your own way). But I do actually like the promise of Orix as well.

Great stuff! Put me on the pre-order list for the network version ;-)
kppot wrote:
Mon Apr 05, 2021 12:42 pm
Amazing!
How many titles (games or demos) may fit this cartridge?
That depends if you mean titles that fit on an unextended Oric or not ;-) With this, you can easily fill up the whole thing with one game if you want to, only your imagination is the limit ;-) Why not make a 4 megabyte game for the Oric.
As illustration: the UltimateII+ cartridge for the C65/128 has 16 megabytes of extra RAM, which is actually being used for some demos and NUVIE movies now. Although I have to say that somewhat stretches my idea of retrocomputing as there is no way to run such a title on original 80ies hardware alone.....
Last edited by xahmol on Mon Apr 05, 2021 1:26 pm, edited 1 time in total.

User avatar
xahmol
Flying Officer
Posts: 207
Joined: Sun Jun 28, 2020 7:32 pm
Location: Utrecht, The Netherlands
Contact:

Re: ORICART - smart cartridge for Oric by [raxiss]

Post by xahmol »

By the way: if you could extent your OpenOriclib for CC65 with file read/write support for this and hopefully also an EMM (extended memory manager) driver for it, that would be totally great!

(my last C128 project in C was using the C128 EMM driver to access the upper 64 kilobyte of the C128)

User avatar
Chema
Game master
Posts: 2779
Joined: Tue Jan 17, 2006 10:55 am
Location: Gijón, SPAIN
Contact:

Re: ORICART - smart cartridge for Oric by [raxiss]

Post by Chema »

iss wrote:
Mon Apr 05, 2021 1:09 am
...

Are the demo frames being streamed as a video or is something rendered by software: In BadApple (made by @rax!) all frames are LZ-compressed (~400K) and they are decompressed directly to video memory. The sound is PT3 (~8k). Interesting is that during playback there is kind of synchronization between video and audio - just like in real players! :)
Ah, interesting. I wonder if this could be done from floppy... FloppyBuilder has built in decompression and disk access is quite fast. I know this is a demo of your device, but just curious :)

User avatar
xahmol
Flying Officer
Posts: 207
Joined: Sun Jun 28, 2020 7:32 pm
Location: Utrecht, The Netherlands
Contact:

Re: ORICART - smart cartridge for Oric by [raxiss]

Post by xahmol »

This is by the way the movie format the C64 demo scene has developed, maybe helpful as inspiration (although both graphics and sound of course significantly differ from Oric), sorry that it is in German:
https://www.c64-wiki.de/wiki/Nuvie

User avatar
iss
Wing Commander
Posts: 1241
Joined: Sat Apr 03, 2010 5:43 pm
Location: Bulgaria
Contact:

Re: ORICART - smart cartridge for Oric by [raxiss]

Post by iss »

xahmol wrote:
Mon Apr 05, 2021 6:00 pm
...
Thanks for the info - the C64 hardware and software are really great. Hopefully one day Oric will have something like Ultimate II+ or maybe even better :).
Chema wrote:
Mon Apr 05, 2021 3:23 pm
I wonder if this could be done from floppy...
I think it will work from floppy too. When the time allows I'll give it a try but maybe it's worth to be implemented some optimizations like delta frames.

User avatar
Chema
Game master
Posts: 2779
Joined: Tue Jan 17, 2006 10:55 am
Location: Gijón, SPAIN
Contact:

Re: ORICART - smart cartridge for Oric by [raxiss]

Post by Chema »

One question, is there any reason not to put the board vertically? I think it may be more convenient, thinking about space in the desk.

And, if I might suggest something, it might be a good idea to keep functionality simple. A way to store roms (putting a diagnostic ROM would be really interesting) using a PC and little else would be enough to make it a great device!

User avatar
iss
Wing Commander
Posts: 1241
Joined: Sat Apr 03, 2010 5:43 pm
Location: Bulgaria
Contact:

Re: ORICART - smart cartridge for Oric by [raxiss]

Post by iss »

Chema wrote:
Mon Apr 05, 2021 8:13 pm
is there any reason not to put the board vertically?
First - as vertical the board size will be to small to place and route all chips, an alternative is 4-layer PCB but then the price jumps exponentially. We thought about vertical design but with 2 small PCBs as sandwich where the first PCB is "mother" and the second is only the memory (exactly as @Dbug wrote in his post previously) but we rejected the idea because more connectors make the whole thing more unreliable. And second the horizontal design was exactly the @rax wish :) BTW, I forgot to mention that the cartridge will have a 3D printed shell.
Chema wrote:
Mon Apr 05, 2021 8:13 pm
it might be a good idea to keep functionality simple. A way to store roms using a PC...
We absolutely agree to keep it simple as much as possible! For loading content from PC - there is something that I call "flash-pump" but more on this bit later ;).

Thanks for all your feedback guys! All opinions are highly appreciated.

User avatar
Chema
Game master
Posts: 2779
Joined: Tue Jan 17, 2006 10:55 am
Location: Gijón, SPAIN
Contact:

Re: ORICART - smart cartridge for Oric by [raxiss]

Post by Chema »

iss wrote:
Mon Apr 05, 2021 10:18 pm
First - as vertical the board size will be to small to place and route all chips, an alternative is 4-layer PCB but then the price jumps exponentially. We thought about vertical design but with 2 small PCBs as sandwich where the first PCB is "mother" and the second is only the memory (exactly as @Dbug wrote in his post previously) but we rejected the idea because more connectors make the whole thing more unreliable. And second the horizontal design was exactly the @rax wish :) BTW, I forgot to mention that the cartridge will have a 3D printed shell.
Oh, that sounds complicated. I was thinking only to put the connector rotated so the board goes up, even if it goes beyond the height of the Oric. But surely you already considered that...

You may already know, but there is a free hardware project called Dandanator! mini available for Spectrum and CPC which looks similar. Maybe you can get some ideas there...

User avatar
Dbug
Site Admin
Posts: 3644
Joined: Fri Jan 06, 2006 10:00 pm
Location: Oslo, Norway
Contact:

Re: ORICART - smart cartridge for Oric by [raxiss]

Post by Dbug »

Is the Smart Cartridge usable with other devices, like the Speech Synthesize, RS-232 interface, Cumulus/Cumana Reborn/Microdisc?

User avatar
Chema
Game master
Posts: 2779
Joined: Tue Jan 17, 2006 10:55 am
Location: Gijón, SPAIN
Contact:

Re: ORICART - smart cartridge for Oric by [raxiss]

Post by Chema »

Dbug wrote:
Tue Apr 06, 2021 12:25 pm
Is the Smart Cartridge usable with other devices, like the Speech Synthesize, RS-232 interface, Cumulus/Cumana Reborn/Microdisc?
Not sure if you ask about ORICART (most probably yes) or Dandanator! Mini. In any case, I *think* the former is not, because it does not seem to have a second expansion connector :) But the latter does. It has a second edge connector, so you can plug an extra device there. It can detect if a device is trying to use the same addresses and deactivates itself automatically.

User avatar
xahmol
Flying Officer
Posts: 207
Joined: Sun Jun 28, 2020 7:32 pm
Location: Utrecht, The Netherlands
Contact:

Re: ORICART - smart cartridge for Oric by [raxiss]

Post by xahmol »

Chema wrote:
Tue Apr 06, 2021 1:01 pm
I *think* the former is not, because it does not seem to have a second expansion connector :)
And that is exactly why I can perfectly understand why as a developer 'keep it simple' is the best way to go, but that I as potential user have some thoughts on it ;-)
It would be really cumbersome to have three or four devices that all do a part of what I want competing for the same expansion port without the possibility to connect them to each other.
That would mean that I have to struggle with connectors that might damage from wear and tear every time I want to switch between using floppy emulation (on the Cumana Reborn), using Orix with its Pi Zero file access over WiFi with the Twilghte board or using this new board.

But also fully aware that I have no right to complain unless I can build it myself, which I most definately can not (nor any hope of being able to do so anytime in the future). Just stating that I still hope for either that 'one device to rule them all' or the ability to connect them to each other.

User avatar
Chema
Game master
Posts: 2779
Joined: Tue Jan 17, 2006 10:55 am
Location: Gijón, SPAIN
Contact:

Re: ORICART - smart cartridge for Oric by [raxiss]

Post by Chema »

Well, it is not at all my project and raxiss may have a completely different view of things (and probably they're right!), but for me it would be enough if it could store roms/games and provide a passthrough (even if only a switch that disables the board at the worst case). That way I can have my disk system plugged in too and chose if I want to load things from ORICCART or from the disk. Same for Erebus (it is already bad enough to have to connect/unconnect Erebus/disk).

Wifi connection is a plus for me, mostly interesting if I can use it to store new roms or game snapshots. Emulating an RS232+modem is a nice-to have, but only if it comes for free (almost).

You know I am not very keen on software that need expansions that did not exist back then (or worse, with technology that did not exist back then), such as memory upgrades (megabytes on an Oric???), graphic cards (hundreds of colors, no color clash, scroll by hardware and hardware sprites??) or CPU accelerators (put an FPGA emulating a 32bit version of the 6502 at dozens of MHz!!??). I am really comfortable with any device that emulates what was available or helps to load software in a more convenient way :) But that is only me!

What I would love is if everything discovered making this kind of hardware extensions could be transferred to other devices, for instance:
- A way to make expansions work on most Orics. There are people that cannot use a Cumana Reborn, a Cumulus or Erebus due to bus problems.
- A way to automatically store game snapshots and load them back. Say, a program that takes Oricutron snapshots and pack them with some header that another program, this time running in the Oric, can load and start. That would solve many problems at once! You can have all games in disks, for instance, with a loader. And games created that way could also be stored in Oricart, maybe even Erebus, without multi-part programs creating problems.

But, again, this is not my project, and I will be glad with anything raxiss come up with!

User avatar
iss
Wing Commander
Posts: 1241
Joined: Sat Apr 03, 2010 5:43 pm
Location: Bulgaria
Contact:

Re: ORICART - smart cartridge for Oric by [raxiss]

Post by iss »

Dbug wrote:
Tue Apr 06, 2021 12:25 pm
Is the Smart Cartridge usable with other devices, like the Speech Synthesize, RS-232 interface, Cumulus/Cumana Reborn/Microdisc?
I think it will work only with the RS323 interface and of course with any device on the printer port.

rax
Pilot Officer
Posts: 92
Joined: Tue Jul 24, 2018 3:16 pm

Re: ORICART - smart cartridge for Oric by [raxiss]

Post by rax »

Hi all :),

I think now is the time to clarify. The idea for this ORICART came from me. I really wanted to have a cartridge that is entirely in the idea of the cartridges that were for Commodore, Spectrum, MXS, NES, SEGA and so on. I wanted a device that had only one purpose and nothing more. I wanted a simple and cheap device. I wanted to have more ram and to switch dynamically (very fast) so that the user does not feel this switching (or delay). This would allow for better and more graphics and sound effects in a game. I wanted to experiment on that. This was my personal whim :)


I want to officially thank for all the work done by ISS (and an apology for all the sleepless nights ).

All of these things that are discussed above will be available in another device that is in development mode. All the tricks learned from the ORICART will be used to build a much smarter and more durable SMART device.

ORICART is just a only step up.

Post Reply