VIC-20 Cartridge combinations

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VIC-20 Cartridge combinations

MiaM
Hi

I'm thinking about making a home made multi cartridge for VIC 20. (Yes,
I know that there are quite a few already but making the hardware is a
hobby for me).

For games it seems rather simple. Some are 4k at A000, some are 8k at
A000, some are bigger with 8k at A000 and more at either 2000 or 6000.
And there's the Scott Adams adventure games at 6000 too. Even though
there are different combinations, no single game cart requires or can
even make any use of any other cartridge (except perhaps in theory
40/80 column cartridges together with an adventure game). So here it's
just a case of mapping one set of rom images to the correct BLK outputs.

But for all other kinds of cartridges there are multiple possible
configurations. The most obvious is to have switchable ram at all
possible places (including the two I/O blocks) in the memory map.

But then there is all kinds of ROM cartridges that might actually be
useful to combine. For example Super Expander (the ROM part),
Programmer's Aid, VIC-MON, Basic 4.0, firmware for different hardware
(IEEE, 40/80 column cards) e.t.c.

(And VIC-MON comes in different varieties for usage at different places
in memory, although AFAIK it's only the 6000 version that were
officially sold, all others are relocations of that).

Also there are more than one monitor to choose from (VIC-MON, HES-MON
and maybe a few others).

Which combinations is of any use?

I'm thinking about a design whith four software writable registers for
freely selecting rom images for 6000, 7000, A000, B000 and some
hardware to reuse one of the registers for 2000 (for games) and perhaps
also reuse one of the registers for 4000 (for a relocated monitor).

Or should I go all the way with registers for each 4k block
2/3/4/5/6/7/A/B000 and for each 1k I/O block?

Combined with on/off for ROM and RAM for each 4k block would probably
make it possible to have any desireable configuration.

I already have a few EPROM:s large enough to contain most images that I
might want, and I also have a few 62256 32k SRAM chips, and some 6264
8k SRAM chips. I also have a few 28256 EEPROM:s, so maybe I'll add both
eprom and eeprom to be able to have the already known images in eprom
and homebrew stuff in eeprom.

Or am I just feature creeping it so it might never be buildt? Perhaps I
should go for a few dip switches to enable/disable rom/ram for each BLK
and use one EPROM for all stand-alone 4k A000 cartridges (i.e. mostly
games) and one EPROM for everything else with combined images
containing Super Expander, Programmers Aid, VIC-MON e.t.c.?

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Re: VIC-20 Cartridge combinations

Marko Mäkelä
On Tue, Jul 18, 2017 at 09:37:21AM +0200, Mia Magnusson wrote:
>But for all other kinds of cartridges there are multiple possible
>configurations. The most obvious is to have switchable ram at all
>possible places (including the two I/O blocks) in the memory map.
...
>I'm thinking about a design whith four software writable registers for
>freely selecting rom images for 6000, 7000, A000, B000 and some
>hardware to reuse one of the registers for 2000 (for games) and perhaps
>also reuse one of the registers for 4000 (for a relocated monitor).

This sounds much like the UltiMem by Jim Brain. I wrote the VICE
emulation for it and ported the menu firmware of my Vic Flash Plugin to
it:

http://www.iki.fi/~msmakela/8bit/ultimem/

I also wrote an image composer program. Unlike the Vic Flash Plugin, the
ROM images are directly stored in the Flash ROM and only bank-switched.
In the Vic Flash Plugin, memory was saved by decompressing the images
from flash to RAM with PuCrunch. With 8 megabytes of flash (instead of
the 4 megabytes in the Vic Flash Plugin), this is no longer necessary,
because there only is about 5 megabytes of Vic-20 software out there.

        Marko

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Re: VIC-20 Cartridge combinations

Jim Brain
In reply to this post by MiaM
On 7/18/2017 2:37 AM, Mia Magnusson wrote:
> Hi
>
> I'm thinking about making a home made multi cartridge for VIC 20. (Yes,
> I know that there are quite a few already but making the hardware is a
> hobby for me).
As Marko Makela notes, Ultimem sounds a lot like your idea.  The project
is open source (I should ensure all the files are online), so you are
free to use it to create your design, or you can grab one, and rewrite
the HDL to suit your needs.  It uses a xc95144xl, 1MiB SRAM, and 8MiB
FLASH ROM.

> I'm thinking about a design whith four software writable registers for
> freely selecting rom images for 6000, 7000, A000, B000 and some
I chose 8kB boundaries, and used a single register for RAM1/2/3 and IO2/IO3
> Or should I go all the way with registers for each 4k block
> 2/3/4/5/6/7/A/B000 and for each 1k I/O block?
I found that creating that much granularity for the 1kB chunks was of
little use.
>
> Combined with on/off for ROM and RAM for each 4k block would probably
> make it possible to have any desireable configuration.
I have the following options:

OFF
RAM R/W
ROM R/W
RAM R/O
> Or am I just feature creeping it so it might never be buildt?
Well, I can attest at least one person built a similar unit.

Jim


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Re: VIC-20 Cartridge combinations

traymond
Hi Mia,

You mentioned some other ML cartridge, is there any existing snapshot image of that VIC20 ML Cartridge.

I do have the HesMon cartridge but I believe it only supports the
unexpanded memory, the ML cartridge you mention does it support expanded 
Memory?

Terry Raymond

On Jul 18, 2017 12:11 PM, "Jim Brain" <[hidden email]> wrote:
On 7/18/2017 2:37 AM, Mia Magnusson wrote:
Hi

I'm thinking about making a home made multi cartridge for VIC 20. (Yes,
I know that there are quite a few already but making the hardware is a
hobby for me).
As Marko Makela notes, Ultimem sounds a lot like your idea.  The project is open source (I should ensure all the files are online), so you are free to use it to create your design, or you can grab one, and rewrite the HDL to suit your needs.  It uses a xc95144xl, 1MiB SRAM, and 8MiB FLASH ROM.

I'm thinking about a design whith four software writable registers for
freely selecting rom images for 6000, 7000, A000, B000 and some
I chose 8kB boundaries, and used a single register for RAM1/2/3 and IO2/IO3
Or should I go all the way with registers for each 4k block
2/3/4/5/6/7/A/B000 and for each 1k I/O block?
I found that creating that much granularity for the 1kB chunks was of little use.

Combined with on/off for ROM and RAM for each 4k block would probably
make it possible to have any desireable configuration.
I have the following options:

OFF
RAM R/W
ROM R/W
RAM R/O
Or am I just feature creeping it so it might never be buildt?
Well, I can attest at least one person built a similar unit.

Jim


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Re: VIC-20 Cartridge combinations

MiaM
Den Mon, 24 Jul 2017 09:08:38 -0600 skrev Terry Raymond
<[hidden email]>:
> Hi Mia,
>
> You mentioned some other ML cartridge, is there any existing snapshot
> image of that VIC20 ML Cartridge.
>
> I do have the HesMon cartridge but I believe it only supports the
> unexpanded memory, the ML cartridge you mention does it support
> expanded Memory?

Check out Vicmon here:
http://www.zimmers.net/anonftp/pub/cbm/vic20/roms/tools/4k/index.html

AFAIK the $6000/BLK3 version is what were sold commercially as a
cartridge (atleast by Handic/Datatronic in Sweden).

However an article in a magazine (maybe even Handic/Datatronics own
VIC-News/VIC-Nytt/VIC-Rapport magazine) had clear instructions on how
to use the relocate feature of vic-mon to relocate vic-mon itself.
Officially the instruction were for those who were developing software
for $6000/BLK3 but unofficially it was to make it possible to take
tape/disk copies of the monitor even without having ram cartridge at
$6000/BLK3.

I guess that the non-$6000/BLK3 versions were relocated by some user
before being uploaded to Zimmers/funet. (Especially the $4000/BLK2
version has a far newer timestamp than the other versions).

There is als some "Monitor-sys24576.prg" file there. I don't know
anything about it, maybe it's another copy of vic-mon.

My impression is that vic-mon were a Commodore product that
Handic/Datatronic just made their own copys of, but Handic/Datatronic
had their own in-house software developement so it might be something
they developed themself.

P.S. there seems to be some real assemblers also. Haven't tried any of
them either.
http://www.zimmers.net/anonftp/pub/cbm/vic20/roms/tools/8k/index.html


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(O.o) him achieve world domination.
(> <) Come join the dark side.
/_|_\ We have cookies.

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