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View Full Version : Some good "show-off" software for the TI-99/4a?



tezza
May 26th, 2014, 01:14 AM
Hi,

I'm starting to explore my TI-99/4a with a view to producing a video on it. At the moment it is the only member of my collection without its own YouTube clip.

I'm having to learn about this machine from scratch. By the time they arrived in New Zealand they were already canned in the US, so they were hardly sold at all here.

I'd like to show off some "typical" software in my videos..ones which give a good indication of the capabilities of the machine. I know there are a HUGE number of titles but can anyone suggest some iconic ones (I have TI Invaders on the list)? I'll make a list and then see if I can find cassette images on the web to convert to Wavs and then load into the real machine for filming.

(P.S. Westlife, I've seen your Youtube effort with this machine. Very good).

Tez

Mr.Amiga500
May 26th, 2014, 07:05 AM
I can't believe vwestlife accidentally cut the TI-99 monitor cable. That must have been tragic, but I just had to laugh about that. :p

TI-99 Burger Time was pretty good, but I don't know any other good software. I'd like to find some myself.

By the way, there are two versions of the black & silver keyboard - one Stackpole/Hi-Tek (square slot) and one by ALPS ("vintage T mount"). The ALPS one is much nicer to type on. A quick way to tell is to look at the "3" key. If it's a flat top "3", then it's Stackpole.

SomeGuy
May 26th, 2014, 07:50 AM
If you have the speech synthesizer, the Parsec cart with its digitized speech is pretty impressive.

Ksarul
May 26th, 2014, 08:10 AM
The somewhat recent Pitfall! cartridge (a homebrew done by Retroclouds) is fantastic, and requires only the console to operate. Titanium and Scramble by Rasmus Moustegaard are two programs that push the machine to levels never seen when the machine was sold are also great candidates, but they require access to 32K memory and assembly (using the E/A, Extended BASIC, or Funnelweb).

Tezza, let me know what cartridges you do have for this machine and I'll look to see what duplicates I have that aren't on your list of available stuff--you do enough for the community as a whole that I will send them to you for the cost of shipping if you are interested. . .I probably have one of the largest collections of TI-99 stuff on the planet. If you do have access to 32K, I could also send you a 512K cartridge board and a pointer to several ROM images that use it with a lot of different games on them. I designed and built the boards to allow people to work with massive multi-cartridges (they usually run about $16 each, assembled, but I can easily send you a bare board and (easy) assembly instructions to avoid the possibility of damage on the way to NZ).

vwestlife
May 26th, 2014, 09:57 AM
One TI-99/4A game which I didn't have on hand when I made my review is Super Demon Attack. It is notable because the sprites are larger and more detailed than on any other system, even compared to the C64 version.


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nTOtK_2f6-I

tezza
May 26th, 2014, 05:01 PM
Thanks for the suggestions so far

@Mr.Amiga500 I'll check out that keyboard when I get home and see which one I've got. I did try one called Burger Time last night in an emulator. Quite low-res but novel and fun.

@westlife. By sheer coincidence I saw Super Demon Attack when I was checking out some carts via emulation last night. I noted it down as a possibility to show. I was impressed by the sprites also.

@Ksarul. If you could spare some carts that would be great! I'd certainly be interested. I have virtually no software for this machine. I have on maths-type education cart and a TI-Invaders one that doesn't work. Thanks a million! My plan for software was to find some cassette images I could convert to WAV files but cartridges would be so much better. I'm assuming they were a very popular format with the TI-99/4a, yes (as opposed to cassette and disk). PM me if you find you have some spare.

I'm pretty sure my unit is only 16k. Could you expand these machines internally and if so how could I find out if it's 16 or 32k? I do have speech synthesizer with the machine luckily.

Tez

Ksarul
May 26th, 2014, 05:25 PM
Now that I know what you have, I'll look through my spares and see what I can put together for you. Cartridges were a popular format (there are well over 300 different ones for this machine--and I have all but a handful of them). Disk and cassette based programs also exist in large numbers (10,000 or so programs, likely more). All machines are 16K internally, unless they have had a modification to add 32K inside them (very uncommon, and definitely aftermarket). The 32K is completely separate from the 16K, as the 16K belongs to the VDP, not to the CPU. Most 32K solutions were external--either as a sidecar that plugged into the side port (the 44-pin connector on the right) or in a Peripheral Expansion Box (PEB) which also had space for a full-height disk drive in it. The PEB was built like a tank and had slots for 8 expansion cards in it, one of which was the interface to the console (using the aforementioned 44-pin connector). I'll PM you once I know what I have duplicates of that I can spare. A TI site at ftp.whtech.com has a huge library of software images, manuals, user group newsletters, and general information for the system, which may also be useful as you can use it in MESS or one of the other emulators available for the TI.

tezza
May 26th, 2014, 05:33 PM
Now that I know what you have, I'll look through my spares and see what I can put together for you. Cartridges were a popular format (there are well over 300 different ones for this machine--and I have all but a handful of them). Disk and cassette based programs also exist in large numbers (10,000 or so programs, likely more). All machines are 16K internally, unless they have had a modification to add 32K inside them (very uncommon, and definitely aftermarket). The 32K is completely separate from the 16K, as the 16K belongs to the VDP, not to the CPU. Most 32K solutions were external--either as a sidecar that plugged into the side port (the 44-pin connector on the right) or in a Peripheral Expansion Box (PEB) which also had space for a full-height disk drive in it. The PEB was built like a tank and had slots for 8 expansion cards in it, one of which was the interface to the console (using the aforementioned 44-pin connector). I'll PM you once I know what I have duplicates of that I can spare. A TI site at ftp.whtech.com has a huge library of software images, manuals, user group newsletters, and general information for the system, which may also be useful as you can use it in MESS or one of the other emulators available for the TI.

Much obliged! My unit is certainly 16k.

Tez

mnbvcxz
May 26th, 2014, 05:45 PM
There are sites that show you how to install 32k ram internally or you can occasionally buy a nanopeb with has 32k ram, CF card disk emulator and a serial port, the unit plugs into the expansion port on the side.

tezza
May 27th, 2014, 12:58 AM
By the way, there are two versions of the black & silver keyboard - one Stackpole/Hi-Tek (square slot) and one by ALPS ("vintage T mount"). The ALPS one is much nicer to type on. A quick way to tell is to look at the "3" key. If it's a flat top "3", then it's Stackpole.

Mine's an ALPS.

Tez

tezza
May 27th, 2014, 01:00 AM
...or you can occasionally buy a nanopeb with has 32k ram, CF card disk emulator and a serial port, the unit plugs into the expansion port on the side.
Yes, I've been waiting to see if one of these comes on e-bay. Gubbish from these forums is exploring designing some kind of SD storage solution also.

Tez

Ksarul
May 31st, 2014, 05:11 AM
Tezza, after a short hunt yesterday, it looks like I have a least a dozen different duplicates I can send to you. I'll check to see what it costs to post them to NZ on Friday (the one day a week that I have for personal activity that the wife doesn't grumble too much about).

Ksarul
May 31st, 2014, 05:15 AM
On NanoPEBs (or the CF7 variant that has a parallel out instead of serial), the easiest way to get one is to message the seller (Schmutzig1952) and ask. He'll usually let you know when he has the next batch of them up.

tezza
June 1st, 2014, 02:44 AM
Tezza, after a short hunt yesterday, it looks like I have a least a dozen different duplicates I can send to you. I'll check to see what it costs to post them to NZ on Friday (the one day a week that I have for personal activity that the wife doesn't grumble too much about).

That's great! After checking I've found I actually have three carts. Minus Mission, Number Magic and Munch Man.

Lemme know postage and then a paypal account I can reimburse you.

BTW, something else I've learnt about the TI-99/4a. I was checking out software in an emulator and kept seeing these references to BACK and AID etc. I'd scan the keys for these names to no avail. What the hell were they referring to?

Later I was looking at some images of the computer on the web and the answer was revealed. That little card strip at the top. That's where those words were. My model was missing that strip hence the confusion..lol

I found a high res picture of the TI-99/4a and cut out an image of the strip. I should be able to print out this and put it in the slot above the keys. It's not perfect but it should do.

Cheers

Tez

tezza
June 1st, 2014, 02:48 AM
On NanoPEBs (or the CF7 variant that has a parallel out instead of serial), the easiest way to get one is to message the seller (Schmutzig1952) and ask. He'll usually let you know when he has the next batch of them up.

Thanks, I'll do that.

Tez

Ksarul
June 1st, 2014, 08:24 AM
I'll send you an original keyboard strip too, Tezza. I have a lot of those. . .if you go to the Italian TI user's group page, you can get templates for almost all of the original TI keyboard strip varieties, and then some. Here's the link:

http://www.ti99iuc.it/web/index.php?pageid=155&pagina=database_ultimi&sezione=2

tezza
June 1st, 2014, 07:20 PM
I'll send you an original keyboard strip too, Tezza. I have a lot of those. . .if you go to the Italian TI user's group page, you can get templates for almost all of the original TI keyboard strip varieties, and then some. Here's the link:

http://www.ti99iuc.it/web/index.php?pageid=155&pagina=database_ultimi&sezione=2

That would be great, thanks!

Thanks for the link. It's amazing what can be found on the web!

Tez