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Re: How does the hardware of vector-games work? [Re: Edstrom] #101946 10/08/15 12:25 PM
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Originally Posted By Edstrom
What happened to the VectorMame?

http://www.zektor.com/zvg/vectormame.htm

I think that would be a great generic output device for vector systems, but I can't find any traces of it in the current MAME sources.


VectorMAME only worked on MS-DOS PCs with legacy parallel ports and only with the Vectrex as a practical matter, because who'd want to deprive an otherwise working vector cab of its monitor.

Someone's recently come up with a similar USB solution that works on modern PCs and operating systems, but it *only* works with the Vectrex and there aren't that many of those out there in good condition. (I have one, but I don't really want to screw with it if I don't have to).

Re: How does the hardware of vector-games work? [Re: u-man] #101947 10/08/15 12:45 PM
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Also the ZVG cards are not produced any more.

I kept your link R. Belmont, with the USB-solution: https://trmm.net/Vectrex


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Re: How does the hardware of vector-games work? [Re: u-man] #101948 10/08/15 01:11 PM
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I actually have two working Vectrexes, but I wouldn't scrap one either to interface to MAME over ZVG & co, I rather make a custom cartridge that is connected to my PC which turns the whole Vectrex into a vector engine.

A ZVG like device could be used in one of these laser projects coming back too:
http://hackaday.com/2014/09/20/vector-laser-projector-is-a-lesson-in-design-processes/
http://hackaday.com/2013/03/12/playing-mame-games-on-a-rgb-laser-projector/
http://hackaday.com/2011/11/10/rgb-laser-projector-is-a-jaw-dropping-build/

Once I get a better hang of the full MAME code base I might contribute something in this area but it is rather far down my todo list and right now I hate C++ (again) and device clocks that doesn't start and stop as expected so we might talk about in a few years from now. ;-)

Re: How does the hardware of vector-games work? [Re: Edstrom] #101954 10/08/15 09:30 PM
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Originally Posted By Edstrom
I actually have two working Vectrexes, but I wouldn't scrap one either to interface to MAME over ZVG & co, I rather make a custom cartridge that is connected to my PC which turns the whole Vectrex into a vector engine.


This sounds like a very interesting project. I would be one of the first customers willing to buy such a cartridge smile wink .


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Re: How does the hardware of vector-games work? [Re: u-man] #101957 10/09/15 08:50 AM
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Originally Posted By u-man

This sounds like a very interesting project. I would be one of the first customers willing to buy such a cartridge smile wink .

I am not intending to manufacture anything but maybe I post my findings for others to make their owns if found usable.

Re: How does the hardware of vector-games work? [Re: u-man] #101960 10/09/15 12:07 PM
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Its still a fantastic idea and hopefully do-able for you. I wish you all the best, regarding this smile .


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Re: How does the hardware of vector-games work? [Re: u-man] #102053 10/16/15 11:33 PM
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So I got drunk and scrawled out a description of one part of the core overhaul necessary to properly support perceptually accurate vectors in MAME. Have a look, tell me what you think: https://github.com/mamedev/mame/issues/399

Re: How does the hardware of vector-games work? [Re: u-man] #102056 10/17/15 09:21 AM
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The description sounds very pragmatic and seems to make it easier/possible to render vectors with different brightness and also possible to render adjacent pixel glow?!
Thats a great improvement and will give vector games a more vivid appearance.

Without any deeper knowledge of the MAME sources I probably fail to see the full effect of the proposal, however if I just go to the Vectrex hardware which I know fairly well
I believe it will be difficult to render the ghost vectors of the beam zeroing as mentioned previously, these are sometimes non-linear and I would guess that is caused by the vectrex decharging some capaci/induc-tance in the deflectors.

There are also some home brews that took the Vectrex hardware, no modifications except for the cartdridge, to the extreme:
- http://hackaday.com/2015/04/24/extreme-vectrex-multicart-plays-bad-apple/
- https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_aFXvoTnsBU

Vectrex actually has a preferred fps of 30 refresh cycles per second and the BIOS has a function to zero the beam and wait for the next cycle. The reason is that the beam only lives for so long and lower fps will make the screen flicker. The demo above uses the blank interval to play music on the deflector circuitry with the beam off.

Chew on that for a while, maybe it is too much to expect of an emulator.

Last edited by Edstrom; 10/17/15 09:27 AM.
Re: How does the hardware of vector-games work? [Re: u-man] #102058 10/17/15 09:36 AM
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Hmm. Good point on the vector beam having behavior that isn't directly controlled by the software. I'd imagine other vector monitors have other, similar things going on?

I wonder if another layer of abstraction, like a vector monitor device (C++) that could be inherited from for different vector monitor types would be able to handle this. Every time the beam turns off, the device would track its motion and create a series of short vectors whose intensity would decay at the necessary rate. This would mean the driver wouldn't have to take care of things that are a property of the monitor - it would come "for free" from the monitor device.

Maybe smile
/Andrew

PS. No level of accuracy is too much to expect of an emulator!

Re: How does the hardware of vector-games work? [Re: u-man] #102059 10/17/15 09:51 AM
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I like that, if we had an "analog" monitor device with some properties that could be driven by applying voltages to the deflectors and the beam it would be easy to map that to the actual D/A:s of the Vectrex for instance.

It would also be easy to multiply that to get an colour vector monitor.

I am not sure of the feasibility of emulating an analogue beam however but I suspect we talk about relative slow/few movements compared to a normal sweep based CRT.

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