26th of July – Whats up?

Vectorblade Boss 4 intro


Haven’t written anything for quite some time.

So – what have I been up to?
May and June was pretty much occupied by doing Vectorblade stuff. Beta testing was going strong and lots of small and big things had to be done.

Vectorblade is still not 100% finished – but the main game is in a very good condition, little tweaks here and there and a couple niceties etc. Only “big part missing” is still the MH part – and if I finally get sick of it – I will drop that but we’ll see.

Open stuff around Vectorblade:
– Overlays (as usual)
– Box design – which should at some stage come from Jacek
– I have to write the instruction booklet
– and printing of those

And no – still no preorder. There will be no PREORDER – when I am finished, you can order. 100 pieces (first come, first serve – no multis) – and than it goes PD.

The beta stage used to be quite “public” – but since public response was none existent, and the beta information also contained lots of spoilers, I decided to remove the pages from (easy) public access.

I also went to the Revival Retro event in Wallsal and met some other Vectrex people, which was great!

I got a new Vectrex board made by Fred – which I have still to connect.

I talked about “color” Vectrex and did several test programs…

I looked at Peer’s Vectrex course and looked at all the new games that appeared.

I got UV overlays (thx again) and toyed around with them!

I got WireOut and Frontier…

I went to a Joan Baez concert, and Foreigner and … some others…

I got a lot of books, like “The WoW diary” or the “CRPG book” (hehe – for which I wrote an article that was not accepted – a long time ago) and the “Art of Atari” (now the German version, which actually has more content than the US version (which I also got)) etc…

Busy – busy times!

My girlfriend at some stage was persistent I should clean my room… I did – this is currently my open viewable Vectrex collection, right now I can show it – it is at least a little bit orderly :-):

Than about two weeks ago Vectorblade beta took a serious hit.

I was invited to join the PiTrex team (PiTrex Wiki) – and in the last 10 days I was doing much (to much) stuff with PiTrex!

But it was nice to see it grow and one thing led to another… we started off with a little bouncer demo that displayed some sort of distorted text. Than we got a first “direct” vectrex emulator running, than Tailgunner SBT (Static Binary Translation) started working.

We discovered, that it might be neccessary to use a baremetal approach to get the Vectrex display working correctly without jitters…

I started working on the baremetal thingy (…I had never even had a Pi before) – but learning, reading (much MUCH reading), trying out … some days later we had a bare metal approach working. Than in a couple of hours Graham did a first try on Asteroids SBT… and that worked nearly out of the box:

Well – its not ALL easy peasy – and emulation is not 100% neither Tailgunner nor Asteroids – yet! Sound support and such is not done, and we are not yet certain what approach we may take regarding that.

Also the baremetal approach – although with an intriguingly good display has other hassels (like – you must do everything (I mean EVERYTHING) yourself – there is no fopen(…) to open a file on a SD card – you have to implement a raw disk access and on top of that a FAT32 filesystem access…. and so on.

These are not obstacles we can not tackle and master but it will take time before we have a full “product”.

You might also say – Tailgunner? Asteroids? What’s the big deal? That has already perfectly been done by Thomas Sontowski – why do it again?

Yes, true! And I truely admire Thomas and the work he has done on those – and all the others emulators. But it is one thing to see and experience these – and another to be part of it, and actually do work on them yourself.

At least this is my reason – it’s sort of a challenge for me – other people might pour a bucket of ice over their head. That is not my kind of challenge – I keep with bits and bytes.

I guess – Thomas reasons are the more or less the same – a challenge to take and to proof it can be done. It could be done! – Challenge finished. But we all know Thomas watered the mouths of many Vectrex people and many people were not able to obtain a VecFever and play all the good stuff he did.

Graham and Kevin are much more open sourcy than Thomas, and I – well I nearly always am very free with the stuff I do – so if this works out the way it is planned – you WILL be able to obtain a PiTrex and work/play with it.
(but also be assured there will be NO copyrighted ROM images distributed with it).

PiTrex + PiZero W + UART Serial/USB adapter
Assembled and ready to be plugged in

There is already much, MUCH more info on PiTrex and all plans around it available – look at the Wiki – link above.

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7 thoughts on “26th of July – Whats up?

  1. Arthur gill

    Only making 100?. The vectrex community is growing and to limit it to 1st come 1st served on a low number is a bit of a shame. The customers and fans would happily buy this, so finances would be there I am sure for a larger run.

    Please reconsider, as we don’t all have flash carts or want to use an emulator.

    1. Malban Post author

      I will solder all cards myself. 100 is my limit.
      Everything will be free – and everyone will be able to build the same things that I did.

      I like my game and I wil gladly build the said 100. But I am no Vectrex “workforce” – if no one is interested in building more (for their own use, or as a service to others) – why should I burden myself with it? My interest lies in developing, not in marketing – and I am certainly not in it for the money.

  2. Thomas

    Nice to see that the piTrex is coming along: I am curious to see the stability/perf. of their drawing routines myself
    of course, once they are finalized eventually (the raw-metal ones, not any reordering or manual optimizations).
    Btw, my name does not end with a ‘y’ – those guys hail from a different country then the ones ending on my ‘i’.
    Well, my ancestors survived and escaped the eastern part of Germany that became Poland after ww2 but you
    should get the idea.

    1. Malban Post author

      Sorry – corrected.
      Gee – one post two name misspellings – I was totally unconcentrated. – Shame on me.

      On a total unrelated note – my father came from East Prussia.

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