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The Vidéoway emulation thread

Posted By: plgDavid

The Vidéoway emulation thread - 05/26/15 02:29 PM

Hello!

Recently got my hands on a Vidéoway terminal (after looking for one on and off for a long time). What the hell is that? Well From the official FAQ:

"Videoway was the first interactive, addressable television entertainment system in North America. Implemented by Videotron in 1989, this system was connected to the subscriber’s television and used as a decoder for scrambled channels, as a gaming and movies on demand rental service, as well as a source of interactive information for banners, the weather, the lottery and the stock exchange."
More: http://support.videotron.com/residential/television/faq-videoway

What is interesting is that this is really an 8bit computer that had unique and official ports of Q*Bert and Burgertime, and a lot of clones: Styx (QIX). For many people in the province of Québec, Canada, this was the first glimpse of not only video gaming, but also of interactive TV.

See the games here:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UTSebgSdFBU (Q*Bert at 11sec)
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=80CKvFqFyBU

Before you get exited over the prospect of getting to play these games, I need to tell you that they are (we really hope!) stored in a vault at Videotron (one of the biggest ISPs in here).

The analog cable channels that continuously pushed the blocks of data for those games downstream have been replaced with HD signals in or about 2006/2008. So whether or not the company decides to ever provide these later on for their historical importance is anyone's guess.

More here (french)
http://fr.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vidéoway
And google has plenty.

So! As a nerd, I was always curious to know how this thing worked. What kind of CPU it had, etc, and possibly emulate 'something', even if its just a display saying the cable is not connected. Do some home-brew, a song, whatever.

I hope to provide more info on my progress in this thread as I go along. It's a pet project of mine.

[EDIT] Why is it rare? Because technically these boxes were only rented, never sold to the customers. So they had to give the units back to Videotron when they upgraded. Finding a working unit (from a video game collector) was a nearly a miracle.
Posted By: Shideravan

Re: The Vidéoway emulation thread - 05/26/15 05:19 PM

Very interesting system and a very interesting piece of gaming/computer history, plgDavid smile
Posted By: plgDavid

Re: The Vidéoway emulation thread - 05/27/15 01:03 AM

Part 1: Does it work?



Starting an emulation project with a dead system is much more frustrating. First steps taken were to plug the actual thing and see if it showed anything.
A sign. "Please wait till I connect to a non existent analog network", erm or something like that.

Well to my surprise, yes! This is what I get when plugin it in:



Short vine of the scanning process

This is the (I assume) build-in bootloader code trying to get a signal from the cable company. It loops through analog channels and tries to find data.. unsuccessfully. You can see the typical mid 80's fonts and resolution at work. My guess was always some form of MSX+ VDC, like a V9938 perhaps?

Anyway, I always wondered if by any chance there were some left over data signals on the analog cable even now. My ISP is in _fact_ Videotron on cable modem, so wouldn't hurt to try right?

But No.
Analog is dead DEAD.

Nice screen though!



Posted By: plgDavid

Re: The Vidéoway emulation thread - 05/27/15 01:16 AM

Part 2: What can we learn just with the writings on the device?

Underneath the device contained parts of the answer:


A patent number (and long expired)
http://www.google.com/patents/US4623920

Lots of info on the broadcasting and decoding of data in there, but little on what really interests me:



We need to know more!
Posted By: plgDavid

Re: The Vidéoway emulation thread - 05/27/15 01:27 AM

Part 3: OK open the damn thing already!

There was a pink metal rivet protecting the 30 year old IP on there. (a big fat screw driver took care of it).

Lifting the top casing.... huuuhhh thats a LOT of heavy shielding!

All the analog part being completely useless now, I removed most of those boxes:


OK! Now we are getting closer! ... but does it still work? Yes it does, so the VDC/CPU does not need all that top stuff to display a signal and to boot. Great!

My 20$ is on the middle box with the two pink protection rivets.
Posted By: R. Belmont

Re: The Vidéoway emulation thread - 05/27/15 02:08 AM

There's rather more stuff in there than I was expecting.
Posted By: plgDavid

Re: The Vidéoway emulation thread - 05/27/15 05:18 PM

Part 4: Getting to the CPU.

They really didn't want people to pry into this. So I carefully took metal scissors and cut my way through the casing:


In an uncommon fashion, the DIP chips are soldered in a surface mount manner (not through hole). PROBABLY so that the leads were not accessible from the underside and/or to add extra shielding, who knows.

Removing the sticker on the 40pin chip on the left unveils an MC68A09EP



Other than that:

1xTMS27PC128-20NL (16KiB mask rom)
1xHY6264LJ-10 ( 8KiB static ram)
8xKM41C464J-8 (64k4bit - totaling 256 KiB of dynamic video memory (assumed)
and one big ass 100 pin QFP custom chip from "LSI LOGIC CANADA",
marked "L4A0412 221E158-01 VIDEOWAY NEG 9050 /\ EX0332 HONG KONG"

This is what I think serves as Video Display controller, bus marshaller, address decoder, I/O interface, you name it.

Posted By: plgDavid

Re: The Vidéoway emulation thread - 05/28/15 12:06 AM

Part 5: Dumping the ROM.

De-soldering surface mounted DIP chips is odd but not that hard. the problem is that I really didn't want to break any ROM pins doing so. Removed both CPU and ROM chips, and cleaned the PCB surface carefully afterwards of old solder and flux.




The CPU is replaceable (I have two 68B09E as spares for Arcade stuff), so I went fast on that.... however I especially pampered the ROM chip. Its bent pins carefully inserted in a dual wipe socket and dumped it:





The ROM had those checksums:
CRC(6E5B2615)
SHA1(ED20BC47067F0B8B0176A3193BFFB26D555841F3)

And contained the text seen in the boot picture.

As I always do in my research, I copy the contents of a fresh ROM dump back onto a known good EPROM, and try to see if it behaves the same if I placed it again in the device. And as expected it did.



I'm now confident the dump is good. And the sockets will allow me to move on to the next steps!
(notes the sockets are in fact two SIP's each, so that I can trace the board later)

Posted By: ICEknight

Re: The Vidéoway emulation thread - 05/28/15 02:13 AM

This topic is really interesting. Thank you for showing us the process of dismantling and dumping this thing.

Originally Posted By plgDavid
The analog cable channels that continuously pushed the blocks of data for those games downstream have been replaced with HD signals in or about 2006/2008. So whether or not the company decides to ever provide these later on for their historical importance is anyone's guess.
Do you know if the data used for these games was carried in the same way as the Teletext was in other analogue TV channels?


The data for each page of a channel's Teletext was consecutively included on each frame of the broadcasted image that the receivers got, encoded within the non-visible area. This could have been a very practical way for broadcasting these games' data in succession, with the receiver waiting for the signal of the selected game to begin, then copying the data it gets frame by frame into RAM, then running the game from it.


I'm asking because this Teletext data could actually be saved via good quality VHS recordings. I distinctly remember being able to access a review for the ZX Spectrum version of Bionic Commando while playing a recording of a TV program of that time, many years afterwards (although some TVs were less prone to correctly recognize the signal fully, and sometimes displayed too much garbage along with the readable strings).


So, if the data for these games was handled in a similar way, this would mean that it may be possible to recover some of them or at least part of their data, if somebody still has some good VHS recordings of any programs that were being aired by those channels before they were discontinued.


I hope this can lead to some good news.
Posted By: plgDavid

Re: The Vidéoway emulation thread - 05/28/15 02:55 PM

Part 6: Address space and preliminary emulation.

Since the 6809 interrupt vectors needs to be in the last bytes of the 64KiB address space, it is the first thing you will look at:

SWI3 FFD6
SWI2 FFDB
!FIRQ FFE0
!IRQ FFE3
SWI FFE8
!NMI FFEB
!RESET 4011

4011? that means the ROM is mapped/banked in a few places?

Mirroring the rom in [C000:FFFF] (so that the IRQ vectors are in their right spot) as well as [4000:7FFF] seems to make it boot, but it hangs waiting for bit 6 to be up on $F892 .. this of course means the ROM is not 'seen' in that memory spot (a ROM offset cannot change itself, so this code would not work)...

Posted By: R. Belmont

Re: The Vidéoway emulation thread - 05/28/15 03:08 PM

I'd guess that one of the first stores banks in RAM or I/O or something at F800-FBFF at least. The read-discard-store pattern on F890 and F891 is suggestive of them being IRQ status/enable registers.

The rest of the code looks like bit 6 of F892 is possibly VBL status, and that VBL IRQ is enabled by bit 4 of F891.

F88D is probably a watchdog and system control (ie, banking).
Posted By: plgDavid

Re: The Vidéoway emulation thread - 05/28/15 03:35 PM

Originally Posted By ICEknight

I'm asking because this Teletext data could actually be saved via good quality VHS recordings.


I'm pretty sure that this required full cable channels and dedicated high bandwidth streams, (reading the patent sheds a few lights) higher than what a VHS tape could capture at least. But for a moment, I thought It might be possible!
Posted By: plgDavid

Re: The Vidéoway emulation thread - 05/28/15 03:39 PM

Originally Posted By R. Belmont
I'd guess that one of the first stores banks in RAM or I/O or something at F800-FBFF at least.


Sounds logical.

Originally Posted By R. Belmont

The read-discard-store pattern on F890 and F891 is suggestive of them being IRQ status/enable registers.


Yes That is my assumption as well (remember my posts are a day or more back in my research )

Originally Posted By R. Belmont

The rest of the code looks like bit 6 of F892 is possibly VBL status, and that VBL IRQ is enabled by bit 4 of F891.
F88D is probably a watchdog and system control (ie, banking).


Yes I'm pretty sure the whole 100pinQFP/VDC control regs are memmapped as 128 bytes here [F880;F8FF] (subject of my future post)

Posted By: R. Belmont

Re: The Vidéoway emulation thread - 05/28/15 03:57 PM

I know the posts are behind reality, but I thought I'd demonstrate kind of what my thought process would be on something like this, since a lot of people don't understand how MAME/MESSdev figure out totally undocumented stuff like this. (I'd love to see others do so as well, it could be sort of a friendly competition).
Posted By: Sharkpuncher

Re: The Vidéoway emulation thread - 05/28/15 04:52 PM

Reading about things like this, where some random unknown hardware is documented, picked apart, and gradually emulated, is one of my favorite things about following MAME/MESS through the years. Plus, this device seems to have some interesting (and semi-unique) aspects. So keep up the good work, I'll watch with interest.


OTOH, the little I saw when looking this up suggests that you'd have better luck hoping to randomly come across the scrapped server hardware or discs somehow (which seems unlikely, but we've seen stranger things), as it looks like it was some sort of custom UNIX backend and it streamed the data continuously in a way that probably won't have been captured in any way by a user, since the bandwidth was around 20kbps(?) it was most likely just RF on some normally unused band. It seems like there wasn't much in terms of upstream communication either, other than basic "triggering" events...but it's confusing, the more I read. Was there a similar service that they offered (with these features) that was accessible with a web browser? I'm seeing screenshots of things that I wouldn't think this would be capable of, referring to the Videoway service. But...if subscriber computers were able to be involved somehow, perhaps being able to find strewn remnants of information you can reconstruct might be more likely.
Posted By: ICEknight

Re: The Vidéoway emulation thread - 05/28/15 05:10 PM

Originally Posted By plgDavid
Originally Posted By ICEknight

I'm asking because this Teletext data could actually be saved via good quality VHS recordings.


I'm pretty sure that this required full cable channels and dedicated high bandwidth streams, (reading the patent sheds a few lights) higher than what a VHS tape could capture at least. But for a moment, I thought It might be possible!
I'm talking from experience with regular analogue (PAL) channels, without any special equipment but a VHS recorder.

It worked, patents be damned.
Posted By: plgDavid

Re: The Vidéoway emulation thread - 05/28/15 05:26 PM

Originally Posted By Sharkpuncher
OTOH, the little I saw when looking this up suggests that you'd have better luck hoping to randomly come across the scrapped server hardware or discs somehow (which seems unlikely, but we've seen stranger things),


Knowing how long it took me to find a client box...

Most of the stuff on there was just impressions of interactivity. You chose what actually filled the ram of the machine. You could switch from 4 TV channels in special TV shows/sports events. Horoscope and Weather was continuously broadcast... etc.
Posted By: R. Belmont

Re: The Vidéoway emulation thread - 05/28/15 05:34 PM

ICEknight: Teletext is several orders of magnitude less data than something like this.
Posted By: ICEknight

Re: The Vidéoway emulation thread - 05/28/15 07:37 PM

Originally Posted By R. Belmont
ICEknight: Teletext is several orders of magnitude less data than something like this.
Oh drats. =\
Posted By: Sharkpuncher

Re: The Vidéoway emulation thread - 05/28/15 07:48 PM

Originally Posted By plgDavid

Most of the stuff on there was just impressions of interactivity. You chose what actually filled the ram of the machine. You could switch from 4 TV channels in special TV shows/sports events. Horoscope and Weather was continuously broadcast... etc.

Ah, you know, I looked again and part of the things I had seen that confused me, such as this ...now that I look again more closely, were most likely just from the (now defunct) website for the carrier, made to mimic the interface of the unit. Not some sort of actual web interface or anything.

But yeah, either way it's something totally worth picking apart and documenting, considering how uncommon it is to have your hands on one, and even if the end result of emulation is a unit searching for signals that will never arrive. But hey, you never know...
Posted By: plgDavid

Re: The Vidéoway emulation thread - 05/28/15 08:24 PM

Originally Posted By Sharkpuncher
now that I look again more closely, were most likely just from the (now defunct) website for the carrier, made to mimic the interface of the unit. Not some sort of actual web interface or anything.


Yes. You will also find emulator screenshots of the games. they come from Videotron themselves who had emulators for their own developers. If I understand correctly.
Posted By: plgDavid

Re: The Vidéoway emulation thread - 05/29/15 01:22 AM

Part 7) In system reverse-engineering.

Love that part! Its the part that wakes up the real sleuth. No more guess work, lets see (with modern tools) what this thing is doing in real time!

This particular test is done to trace the instructions executed on the hardware itself. What you do is you place Logic Analyzer probes on the address pins of the EPROM (A0 to A13, and also on its !OE pin)
Sadly I only have a 16pin LA right now, so I could only spare ONE extra pin that used on the CPU's A15. Would have loved more but this will do.




You then decode this to a series of addresses reads:

FFFE
FFFF ; reads the RESET vector

4011 ; LDA #$C3
4012
(...) ; same as emu, no branch anyway

loopstart:

4026 ; LDB $F892
4027
4028
4029 ; ANDB #$40
402a
402b ; BEQ $4026
402c

4026
4027
4028
4029
402a
402b
402c

4026
4027
4028
4029
402a
402b
402c

402d ; loop is done, was done exactly 3 times.
402e
(...)

Remember the MAME debugger screenshot from earlier?
You can step in the initialization phase (and more) and see which branches the real device takes, and compare that to the steps taken by your emulators. This tells you a whole lots about everything! But to know everything I would need a 200 pin LA streaming live to my PC. no such thing exists.


Posted By: plgDavid

Re: The Vidéoway emulation thread - 05/30/15 02:30 PM

Part 8) Figuring out the exact address space (ROM)

People working in the Arcade repair business do it quite a lot. They replace the board's CPU by an In-Circuit Emulator, usually a commercial product, the oldest and most trusted of these being the good old Fluke 9010A.



These machines are somewhat expensive, and well (not invented here). So for all my research I've made my own and I can drive any old computer bus from the "comfort of my own PC" (YES!). I've done this for TMS52XX's and Z80's mostly (and lots of things I cant say) and making a 6809E was just a matter of some signal reprogramming and pinout matching..



Ugly but works.

You may wonder what can I do with this?
Well it allows me to read and write single bytes or blocks of data visible to the - now removed - 6809.

This is the perfect tool to figure out the address space of the system: Exactly how the RAM/ROM and special devices are mapped, especially when its not just a matter of tracing a chain of 74LS138's but when a big proprietary chip does all the address decoding which is the case for the Videoway 100pin QFP LSI, which I'll call VideoBob from now on.

However there was a problem, all my reads were wonky with lots of bad bits. I _kind of_ figured out the memory map just by "bit density", but I needed something better. Upon boot, VideoBob has a mind of its own and doesn't let the CPU access the bus at will unless we tell it to. Which is of course the first line in the firmware!

A quick write to $F88D with a value of C3 has opened up the door, and let me get a clean read of the address space.

Saving all memory from 0 to FFFF gave me this

0000:0FFF Junk... RAM?
1000:3FFF Firmware [1000;3FFF] (Partial)
4000:7FFF Firmware [0000;3FFF] (Complete)
8000:F7FF Junk... RAM?
F800:F87F FF's
F880:F8FF Junk... well in fact VideoBob's lair.
F900:FFFF Firmware [3900:3FFF] (Partial, but enough for IRQ/RESET vectors)

So there are 3 spots with chunks of the main firmware. [1000:3FFF] seems like a perfectly good waste of space to me... unless its banked with RAM somehow?

More later

Posted By: plgDavid

Re: The Vidéoway emulation thread - 05/30/15 03:12 PM

Part 9) Figuring out the exact address space (RAM, more)

We know where the main ROM is visible, now what about the RAM and VideoBob?

Usually you would just write a few patterns here and there, read back and check if parts of what you wrote are copies of what you wrote previously, or if its there at all.

OK, but what do you write? AA$,55$,0,1,2,3,4...FF?
That is boring! What about ... Literature?!

I went to the Gutenberg project, took the first text I found, and WROTE it in the device memory. I used "LE GRAND MEAULNES" by Alain-Fournier.

You can't be fooled by literature much. It doesn't contain blatant word/page synced data!

TOP: Original, Bottom what I read back.


SO!

0000:0FFF UNIQUE RAM (same text and offset as source)

8000:F7FF UNIQUE RAM (same text and offset as source)

F800:F87F FF's (unmapped ...probably)

F880:F88F Weird combination of Read Only and R/W ... VideoBOB!



This means there is a minimum of $8800 (34816 Bytes) of RAM in there.
(possibly more paged)... but this HY6264 only contains $2000 (8KiB)??

I double checked and the HY6264's VCC is not tied to normal VCC but to a lithium battery. Maybe this is the so called "Option Table" from the Patent?

... In any case its probably only seen from VideoBob as its !WR line doesn't budge through writing the entire address space.

So this means either there is more than 32KiB of RAM on VideoBob?.
Or the CPU ram is shared with the Video Ram? A mix of the two?

Posted By: R. Belmont

Re: The Vidéoway emulation thread - 05/30/15 03:17 PM

Very nice. Of course, it's possible the 6264 is banked in somewhere if you give the right VideoBob register the right poke. Or it could be behind an address/data set of registers like VRAM on the SNES.

ETA; this is about the part where I'd find the boot strings and use IDA Pro's cross-referencer to find the code that prints them smile
Posted By: plgDavid

Re: The Vidéoway emulation thread - 05/30/15 06:30 PM

Originally Posted By R. Belmont

ETA; this is about the part where I'd find the boot strings and use IDA Pro's cross-referencer to find the code that prints them smile


Yes I'm about to catch up on that. Also to experiment random poking on VideoBob! Already found stuff like background/border color registers.
Posted By: R. Belmont

Re: The Vidéoway emulation thread - 05/30/15 08:21 PM

A few other questions as long as you have an ICE:

- Does writing values other than 0xC3 to 0xF88D do anything interesting? The binary 11000011 pattern makes me think it's just a magic constant, but it'd be interesting if the individual bits did something.
- Does the bus lock itself again after a certain amount of time? I noticed the disassembled program re-writes the 0xC3 unlock several times.
Posted By: plgDavid

Re: The Vidéoway emulation thread - 05/31/15 03:34 PM

F88D seems to start one or more timers, matter of fact for my current setup setting to 0 helps matters. (as timers screw my "brute force" bus read write)

Note I need to upgrade my "ICE" to something that actually follows the 6809 bus conventions regarding E/Q clock timing.

More later.
Posted By: SkinnyV

Re: The Vidéoway emulation thread - 09/27/16 06:50 PM

Any new progress? I too have been desperatly wanting to have the Videoway cable box emulated but always got stumped by the innexistance of any software dump. I spent a lot of time thinking about how we could get copy of the game or software so an emulator could be developped and my best guest would be some kind of teletext/videotext data stream was used to transfer the code to the videoway RAM but it seem no one ever tried to capture the stream while the system was still up. If we are lucky, we might be able to extract the data from a VHS recording like some already speculated but it's a long shot. I doubt that it was transfered cosntantly like teletext were, it would be too much data. Plus, the game had to load when you would select them from the menu. Our best bet if this kind of signal decoding was possible would be this recording of gameplay from Temporal Inc. Contrary to other gameplay recording, the recording capture the user selecting the game from the menu and also the loading process so if the data was within the reach of the video recorder, we might get something out of it. The guy who uploaded the video is the one that did the PC remake of Temporel Inc and he used the VHS recording of his brother playing to do his remake so I'm sure the tape might be accessible if needed. You can check ou the video I'm refering ot here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hjNg-di_F_U

Other than this, I think it'll take short of a miracle for us to get our hands on any Videoway code.
I spent some time researching the peoples who worked on the Videoway during that time and from what I have gathered, only Videotron and Lotto Quebec were responsible for developping the software for the Videoway. I have personnaly spoke with Rob Sleath, the programmer of the original version of the game Styx for the MSX while he was working at Windmills Studio and asked him a few questions about the Videoway port and it turn out that Videotron only bought the right to the game and had the Videoway port of the game programmed in-house by the Videotron staff. It was a bummer since, if somebody still had the original software and be willing to share it with us, it would be him considering he had already released source code to several of it's old game from the time.

Next I was able to track back several Videoway developper of that era and tried to get in contact with them to get more information. I won't specify name just so they don't start gettign regularly bothered. Out of 6 or 7 ex-videoway employee, only one got back to me and was willing to let me ask a few technical questions. This turned out to be also a dead end as the person in question was apparently not working on any of the games but was developping software thad had to do with the cable box communication with the server head for interactive service. I explained that many peoples would like to try to emulate the old system for nostalgia and historical purpose and showed that thread as an example. The person politely stopped communication abruptly when I asked if they knew anyone that might have kept some of their old videoway software (as programmer often keep copy of their work for posterity) stating that any videoway technical information or code is still the intelectual property of Videotron and that they would never share or divulge any of it. None of the other software developper who worked for the Videoway department got back to me and I suspect that most of them would react the same way considering that all of them still seem to be active and are currently working in the field. I'm hoping that we might be lucky someday and one of them will release the code annonimously or they will retire and won't be as nervous sharing that information with the internet. Or maybe a current employe will find them on an old Videotron and throw us a bone:)

I guess that leave us trying to see with the people who developped some of the game for Lotto Quebec as Temporel Inc. seem to have been developped by them for some reasons.
Posted By: plgDavid

Re: The Vidéoway emulation thread - 09/27/16 07:03 PM

I suspect these guys signed a very deep confidentiality agreement as I tried the same thing with two ex Videoway gamedevs with the same results.

My driver is currently out of date with the current MAME classes (most probably). I would need to brush off on it, funny as I was just thinking of this last week.

I have dumped a boot trace of the device up till the point in shows the "cannot connect" window, so there might be something we can do.
I can also bus pirate the thing to figure out how it works more, but short of homebrews, it is somewhat pointless. Getting access to at LEAST one dump might raise my interest up smile
Posted By: plgDavid

Re: The Vidéoway emulation thread - 09/27/16 07:06 PM

Note about the VHS dump. I'm pretty confident the game code was encoded on extra cable channels using some form of common modem-like encoding of the day. Safe to say I'm 100% confident its not on the tape.
Posted By: Edstrom

Re: The Vidéoway emulation thread - 09/28/16 09:23 AM

Nice project! Not unlikely they used DSM-CC (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/DSM_CC) as transport since it is a cable box. The VHS would not have picked that up but if there was a DTV PVR of the time, any brand, and the DSM-CC was embedded in the same mux as the recorded program you may be able to extract it. It is likely it is embedded since otherwise you'll need two or more tuner/demodulators to be able to download side band data such as software upgrades, EPG posters and apps. I have even worked on a case where they used it if for progressive download of VoD titles.... which is very stupid.

So there may be PVR harddisks out there containing videoway games. I have tools and access to expertise to check that if I am given DTV PVR recordings from then, let me know if I can help.

EDIT: The modem is used for interactivity, that was the normal setup.

EDIT2: Just realized, PVR was introduced 1999 by Tivo & co, so the only chance to find Videoway software this way is if it were broadcasted later than that and we find a really early PVR hdd... slim chance frown

EDIT3: Yeahh and it is analog but has embedded data, hence the data acquisition circuit. There were almost no standards for data transmission at the time so chances are it uses all kinds of tricks like using all over scan lines for data.

EDIT4: I just read the patent, seem that they used 4Mbps HDLC modulated over RF, so no need to store it locally then and no need to put it on the analog signal. Quite cool but unfortunately chances to find the data packets are ceasing to exist...
Posted By: plgDavid

Re: The Vidéoway emulation thread - 09/28/16 02:43 PM

Could go to their building (a block from here) and plant a sign :
"FREE VIDEOWAY GAMES!"
Posted By: Edstrom

Re: The Vidéoway emulation thread - 09/28/16 02:51 PM

It may not be such a bad idea, or to find someone that actually worked with it,
s/he is probably a manager now, and say that we would like to preserve
their legacy games for coming generations to enjoy. They could see it as
free PR to the Minecraft generation... especially if the games mentioned
Videoway and/or Videotron smile
Posted By: plgDavid

Re: The Vidéoway emulation thread - 09/28/16 03:06 PM

They don't seem to care sadly. New is always better. sigh
Posted By: SkinnyV

Re: The Vidéoway emulation thread - 09/28/16 10:58 PM

Videotron do not care and will definitly not lift a finger to provide anything even with the historical preservation argument. I find it pretty narrowminded because I am certain that if they were to make a small plug and play console like they did for the sega genesis, atari and the soon to be released nintendo plug and play system, they would sell a few thousand unit provided it was marketted properly and to the right audience. There is plenty of 30's something that would buy it even at 40-50$ and I can also see many of the older generation would go for it. People tend to forget, but back when the Videoway was sold and used, theres was a huge number of baby boomer and elderly who were hooked on videoway games, and many of those peoples were not used to play any kind of videogame prior. And many of them stopped playing once the illico cable box replaced the videoway.
Posted By: shattered

Re: The Vidéoway emulation thread - 10/02/16 03:10 PM

a bit offtopic, but here's a thread about TV broadcasts of ZX Spectrum software in Ukraine circa 1990-1991 -- apparently they simply sent unmodified audio output from cassette port: http://zx-pk.ru/threads/18394-translyatsiya-spektrumovskogo-softa-po-televizoru.html
Posted By: Edstrom

Re: The Vidéoway emulation thread - 10/02/16 07:34 PM

In Norway there is/were something called dual mono, where the left channel is Swedish and the right channel is Norwegian, one is obviously dubbed. I am thinking that if something similar was the case, like a second or third audio track this could have been embedded in a DTV stream.

I wonder if there was a special Videoway gaming analog channel where the box muted the audio and played some gaming tune while loading the games like you describe. That would have worked but doesn't apply to the patent that was referred.
Posted By: Vas Crabb

Re: The Vidéoway emulation thread - 10/02/16 11:30 PM

Ah dual mono. That was super common on VCDs with Cantonese on one channel and Mandarin on the other.
Posted By: kevenz

Re: The Vidéoway emulation thread - 10/05/16 10:36 PM

This would be awesome if someday we could resurrect Videoway via emulation.

I'm from quebec and it wasn't available where i lived but i remember watching ads on tv and it souned like the Future !! well the future of 1990 smile

here's an ad: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WiOTxCRAUgA

This machine did some crazy stuff back in the days..... before the internet.
Posted By: Dullaron

Re: The Vidéoway emulation thread - 10/06/16 03:57 AM

Man I wish I had that. I had a shitty Tandy instead with no games.
Posted By: plgDavid

Re: The Vidéoway emulation thread - 10/08/16 07:27 PM

Originally Posted By kevenz


"Les amateurs de Nintendo sont fous des jeux" hahaha
Posted By: SkinnyV

Re: The Vidéoway emulation thread - 12/02/16 08:12 PM

I continued looking around and then something interesting came up at https://codewalr.us/index.php?topic=1462.0.
There was apparently a guy that had a videoway emulator and the chess game available on his website around 1999, the page is archived but sadly the files were not. We were soo close!

You can check it out at https://web.archive.org/web/20050120154624/http://www.ourfamilysbox.com/~meunierc/tvnw/

It seem legit as the guy's linked in list the following:

Software Developer & Contractor
Vidéoway Multimédia Inc.
1995 – 1997 (2 years)
Develop and design Vidéoway games and application programs (C, C++, 6809 Assembly). Occasionally led teams of up to 5 software developers.
• Developed game of Parcheesi, and “Home Finder” classifieds database search, for a user base of 180'000 customers (Quebec and UK).
• Developed techniques for rapid application design and prototyping on Vidéoway, resulting in shorter time for software development and release.
• Created a Vidéoway binary simulator for Windows (Motorola 6809 emulation), shortening the development cycle by reducing the need to use test hardware.

I'll try to get in touch with this guy since he was already distributing the file online before. Crossing finger!
Posted By: Just Desserts

Re: The Vidéoway emulation thread - 12/02/16 08:52 PM

Originally Posted By SkinnyV
I'll try to get in touch with this guy since he was already distributing the file online before. Crossing finger!


Tabarnak, that's fucking awesome! Great find! smile
Posted By: Stiletto

Re: The Vidéoway emulation thread - 12/02/16 09:10 PM

Originally Posted By SkinnyV
I'll try to get in touch with this guy since he was already distributing the file online before. Crossing finger!


Great find, SkinnyV - and that's coming from someone who knows great finds. laugh
Posted By: SkinnyV

Re: The Vidéoway emulation thread - 12/02/16 10:04 PM

Thanks guy but the real credit goes to DJ Omnimaga from https://codewalr.us for finding it first. Then again he was able to find it after he got interested from reading this thread here so I guess we're all a bit responsible;)

I tried to find the file on all the archived version of the site and even from his older site but no luck so far. I tried to contact the programmer but I am not sure if I'll get an answer from him. But browsing through all the stuff on his old website was pretty funny, even found the site of his then fiancee with information about surprise party that was planned for the guy back in 2000. She even left an address and phone number on that old web page but this is probably where the ''creepy'' line should be drawn Xp
Posted By: plgDavid

Re: The Vidéoway emulation thread - 12/05/16 03:41 PM

Don't want to rain on anyone's parade, but I already exchanged many emails with the dude through LinkedIn.

He won't be helping I'm afraid. His emu dumps also, he tells me were heavily modified to work in his emu.

Still if anyone gets that rom, it would surely be interesting to look at. archive.org does not have it of couse.

PS: Many points for the Tabarnak JD smile
Posted By: plgDavid

Re: The Vidéoway emulation thread - 12/05/16 03:43 PM

If someone can tell me how to easily make a 'rebaser' setting for the new build scripts to include just a few drivers for a VC2015 compile, I'll be happy to commit my skeleton driver and firmware rom.
Posted By: Edstrom

Re: The Vidéoway emulation thread - 12/11/16 07:26 PM

I can clean it up if you want, I am doing a lot of rebasing work right now so I am in the zone atm smile Or you can send it all to the submission page
Posted By: plgDavid

Re: The Vidéoway emulation thread - 12/14/16 01:21 AM

Thats OK. make SUBTARGET=tiny vs2015 helped a lot smile
I'll clean it up over the break and possibly have it show something.

yeah my driver only needed UINT8's changed smile
Posted By: Edstrom

Re: The Vidéoway emulation thread - 12/14/16 06:04 AM

Cool, I'm also planning to emulate a STB or two, even without games smile
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