Atari Portable

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Re: Atari Portable

Postby dbsys » Thu Aug 03, 2017 8:01 am

Atarieterno wrote:The cracked versions of most professional programs for musicians do not work reliably, for example Cubase v3 or Score, Notator, Logic ...
In addition the cartridge port is used in the ST for all kinds of musical hardware accessories (SMPTE synchronization, audio recording, more MIDI ports, etc).
For a musician the cartridge port is absolutely necessary.


Yes, well said. That excatly is my experience too.

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Re: Atari Portable

Postby SainT » Thu Aug 03, 2017 8:04 am

joska wrote:I've actually made an "ST pad". Well, an ugly prototype atleast :D

ST pad.jpg

It's based on a MIST and an old laptop screen (with touch overlay) and it's actually working. However, while the pad idea seemed great at the time, it turned out to be almost useless. A pad is something you hold and operate at the same time, or place on a stand to watch a movie or something. But this does not work well with the ST. You need a keyboard and a mouse (or trackpad), and then there is no point in the pad format. I added a permanent support on the back of mine to make it easier to use.

SainT wrote:I'm agreed on the dock I think.


What about something like this?

sketch.png

All in one unit (except for keyboard/mouse), no moveable parts, cartridge friendly :)


Very cool indeed! I was assuming some kind of virtual keyboard support as well for a pad format (it's something that could be handled as an overlay in the CPLD and input handled by a micro acting as they keyboard controller). And potentially DPAD / button for game use as a held unit. So a dock with cart port as you show above would seem a very good plan. Offers the best of both worlds.

Add some mouse and keyboard support and you've got a nice computer.

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Re: Atari Portable

Postby joska » Thu Aug 03, 2017 8:09 am

SainT wrote:So a dock with cart port as you show above would seem a very good plan.


I don't think you need a dock. The stand/cart port could be integrated into the pad as shown in my sketch. That eliminates the need for a dock port and you'll get everything in one unit that can both be held and put on a desk.
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Re: Atari Portable

Postby SainT » Thu Aug 03, 2017 8:24 am

joska wrote:
SainT wrote:So a dock with cart port as you show above would seem a very good plan.


I don't think you need a dock. The stand/cart port could be integrated into the pad as shown in my sketch. That eliminates the need for a dock port and you'll get everything in one unit that can both be held and put on a desk.


I quite like the idea of it also being a portable handheld ST gaming machine... I feel with the cart port type base it would be cumbersome and difficult to hold. Having a dock as well as dpad / button would give far more flexibility without compromising anything -- that I can see anyway.

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Re: Atari Portable

Postby leech » Thu Aug 03, 2017 9:12 am

joska wrote:I've actually made an "ST pad". Well, an ugly prototype atleast :D

ST pad.jpg

It's based on a MIST and an old laptop screen (with touch overlay) and it's actually working. However, while the pad idea seemed great at the time, it turned out to be almost useless. A pad is something you hold and operate at the same time, or place on a stand to watch a movie or something. But this does not work well with the ST. You need a keyboard and a mouse (or trackpad), and then there is no point in the pad format. I added a permanent support on the back of mine to make it easier to use.

SainT wrote:I'm agreed on the dock I think.


What about something like this?

sketch.png

All in one unit (except for keyboard/mouse), no moving parts, cartridge friendly :)


That is awesome! On that note, there were the prototypes for the STylus out there, and I was thinking just the other night about my Transformer T303UA, and trying Hatari on it, but I don't think anything on the ST or even Hatari itself supports a Stylus with pressure detection. I saw a few posts talking about TOS 2.08 having support though, I think.

Only thing I remember having touch screen support was the Atari PoS.
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Re: Atari Portable

Postby leech » Thu Aug 03, 2017 9:16 am

SainT wrote:
joska wrote:
SainT wrote:So a dock with cart port as you show above would seem a very good plan.


I don't think you need a dock. The stand/cart port could be integrated into the pad as shown in my sketch. That eliminates the need for a dock port and you'll get everything in one unit that can both be held and put on a desk.


I quite like the idea of it also being a portable handheld ST gaming machine... I feel with the cart port type base it would be cumbersome and difficult to hold. Having a dock as well as dpad / button would give far more flexibility without compromising anything -- that I can see anyway.

Lynx needs an ST emulator... with your SDcard, getting .ST files over there would be easy, not that I think the Lynx could handle the emulation.

To dock or not to dock.. I figure as long as it is a proper dock, and not dongle-itis like the new Mac books...
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Re: Atari Portable

Postby joska » Thu Aug 03, 2017 9:23 am

SainT wrote:I feel with the cart port type base it would be cumbersome and difficult to hold.


It doesn't have to look exactly like in my sketch. E.g. you could but the ports on the back, moving them away from the hands.

front.jpg

back.png


(Just sketches, disregard the proportions.)

SainT wrote:Having a dock as well as dpad / button would give far more flexibility without compromising anything -- that I can see anyway.


I think you underestimate the complexities of the dock. You need to bring out the actual data- and addressbus to the dock, and make sure that the connection is absolutely stable. What if someone bumps the table while the machine is running with a cartridge? Even companies like Lenovo, Dell and HP struggle with making a reliable, solid dock for their laptops.

As for the D-pad/buttons - that was my idea as well. I've even gotten as far as hooking some buttons up to a microcontroller, acting as a keyboard/joystick/mouse for my MIST. But the ST is a computer, not a console. Many games requires keyboard and/or mouse. You'd need to have a few (programmable!) buttons, and maybe an analogue stick (3DS pad maybe?) that can act as both a joystick/pad and a mouse. So perfectly possible to get working, but it must be carefully planned and designed to work properly. I lost interest before I got that far.
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Re: Atari Portable

Postby SainT » Thu Aug 03, 2017 10:43 am

joska wrote:
SainT wrote:I feel with the cart port type base it would be cumbersome and difficult to hold.


It doesn't have to look exactly like in my sketch. E.g. you could but the ports on the back, moving them away from the hands.

front.jpg
back.png

(Just sketches, disregard the proportions.)

SainT wrote:Having a dock as well as dpad / button would give far more flexibility without compromising anything -- that I can see anyway.


I think you underestimate the complexities of the dock. You need to bring out the actual data- and addressbus to the dock, and make sure that the connection is absolutely stable. What if someone bumps the table while the machine is running with a cartridge? Even companies like Lenovo, Dell and HP struggle with making a reliable, solid dock for their laptops.

As for the D-pad/buttons - that was my idea as well. I've even gotten as far as hooking some buttons up to a microcontroller, acting as a keyboard/joystick/mouse for my MIST. But the ST is a computer, not a console. Many games requires keyboard and/or mouse. You'd need to have a few (programmable!) buttons, and maybe an analogue stick (3DS pad maybe?) that can act as both a joystick/pad and a mouse. So perfectly possible to get working, but it must be carefully planned and designed to work properly. I lost interest before I got that far.


Yeah, I fully appreciate the potential issues with a dock! :) It would require a mechanical fixing of some kind once attached to make it secure / completely reliable. After all, connections like an IDE style dual pin header / socket and very reliable if they are secured. It could be the dock style part is not just "drop in", but rather something firmly secured.

I certainly appreciate the ST is no console, and some key presses are often required. A virtual keyboard could probably get around the majority of these issues. I just cant help wanting to keep the unit small and potentially usable in more of a pad form factor rather than an "all in one" type ST.

All will become more apparent when I have something to play with. As you've already had more experience with this, you speak from a far more informed point of view than I do. The only missing aspect from your implementation is the virtual keyboard type input, which would work reasonably well for sparse keyboard input (press 1 for Dungeon Master, 2 for Oids, 3 for 3D Pool).

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Re: Atari Portable

Postby joska » Thu Aug 03, 2017 11:17 am

SainT wrote:The only missing aspect from your implementation is the virtual keyboard type input, which would work reasonably well for sparse keyboard input (press 1 for Dungeon Master, 2 for Oids, 3 for 3D Pool).


Actually, I do have a virtual keyboard, but in the form of a GEM accessory. So not usable in games. I was contemplating the possibility to implement the keyboard as an overlay in the FPGA firmware, but dropped that for two reasons:

1: Many of my favourite games (like Head over Heels) use the keyboard for in-game controls. An on-screen keyboard would not do.
2: I don't have the necessary skills to implement such a thing in FPGA, and was not motivated enough to learn them...

However, in many cases an on-screen keyboard is very useful. I have a resistive touch screen which isn't really usable without a stylus, but an inductive touchscreen would work much better I think.

Mouse positioning is also a bit tricky, since virtually all applications and games that use the mouse use relative positioning like TOS does. So controlling the mouse cursor properly using a touch screen really requires a driver on the Atari side, it can't be solved purely in hardware. I think a touch pad, analogue joystick or something would be required to control the mouse cursor properly. It would even be better than the real thing in some cases, an analogue joystick is far better than the mouse in games like No Second Price or Vroom :)
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Re: Atari Portable

Postby SainT » Thu Aug 03, 2017 12:03 pm

joska wrote:However, in many cases an on-screen keyboard is very useful. I have a resistive touch screen which isn't really usable without a stylus, but an inductive touchscreen would work much better I think.

Mouse positioning is also a bit tricky, since virtually all applications and games that use the mouse use relative positioning like TOS does. So controlling the mouse cursor properly using a touch screen really requires a driver on the Atari side, it can't be solved purely in hardware. I think a touch pad, analogue joystick or something would be required to control the mouse cursor properly. It would even be better than the real thing in some cases, an analogue joystick is far better than the mouse in games like No Second Price or Vroom :)


Yes, agreed, resistive touch is rubbish. A capactive screen would really be required. With a capacitive touch screen though you can implement a track pad type interface pretty well, with a drag to move and a tap for the mouse button. I did this when I converted SainT (emulator) over to iOS and it worked pretty well. You may be able to get standard TOS to work with absolute positioning... I know the keyboard controller can report positions in both relative (which is normal) and absolute. With absolute you could implement touch at a position perfectly.

But, yes, in many cases there is no substitute for a keyboard and mouse. In which case you'd hook up your dock... ;)
Last edited by SainT on Thu Aug 03, 2017 12:11 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Atari Portable

Postby SainT » Thu Aug 03, 2017 12:10 pm

[removed, accidental post]

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Re: Atari Portable

Postby joska » Thu Aug 03, 2017 12:16 pm

SainT wrote:You may be able to get standard TOS to work with absolute positioning... I know the keyboard controller can report positions in both relative (which is normal) and absolute. With absolute you could implement touch at a position perfectly.


Absolutely, but that would require a modification to TOS (and NVDI if you use that) since TOS only use relative positioning. Another possibility could be to have the firmware modify lineA-variables directly in RAM to alter the mousepointer positition. Not sure if that's possible though.
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Re: Atari Portable

Postby jvas » Thu Aug 03, 2017 1:30 pm

SainT wrote:
Yeah, I fully appreciate the potential issues with a dock! :) It would require a mechanical fixing of some kind once attached to make it secure / completely reliable. After all, connections like an IDE style dual pin header / socket and very reliable if they are secured. It could be the dock style part is not just "drop in", but rather something firmly secured.

I certainly appreciate the ST is no console, and some key presses are often required. A virtual keyboard could probably get around the majority of these issues. I just cant help wanting to keep the unit small and potentially usable in more of a pad form factor rather than an "all in one" type ST.

All will become more apparent when I have something to play with. As you've already had more experience with this, you speak from a far more informed point of view than I do. The only missing aspect from your implementation is the virtual keyboard type input, which would work reasonably well for sparse keyboard input (press 1 for Dungeon Master, 2 for Oids, 3 for 3D Pool).


If the card edge connector is sufficient for the cartridge port, I think this would be a good choice for the dock itself, but with higher pin density (PCI or something). Also euro connectors are still manufactured and has high pin density/contact (http://portal.fciconnect.com/Comergent/ ... 9-2028.pdf).

Or this one: http://meritec.com/products/connectors- ... connector/


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