Let me start with some bad news first: I have a cold, or flu, or whatever that is that’s been bugging me for a week now. And not just me I’m afraid – so long story short the Saturn ODEs will have to wait until 2nd or 3rd week of February. Hopefully by then I will have enough of either Rheas or Phoebes to take orders.
Since I’m having some trouble with PCE I decided to do something else, for the fun of it. I got some help too so a lot of time consuming tasks (like checking what signals go to what chips) were done for me. Again long story short I’ve recently made this:
It’s FM Towns Marty ODE I’m calling DocBrown – and the good news is I just got it to boot games this past weekend. Now, obviously it’s a prototype but seems to work pretty well actually, even if right now it needs that FPGA next to it to fix timings on one of the signals that I can’t get right with the MCU alone. I should be able to overcome this with some external logic/PLD though, I already have an idea and if parts arrive soon I can test it next weekend.
So far I’ve tested: Flashback, Loom, Indiana Jones and the Fate of Atlantis and Ultima Underworld – everything works. UU loading time is still terrible but that’s how the game was coded, it does a lot of short reads (tons of small files) and Marty requires drive seek times not to be zero. Still way faster than original drive, plus I found out I might be able to offer a small data transfer speedup via signal overclocking. It’s going to be optional and not enabled by default, and it’s just 10% or so – nothing fancy. Oh and the hardware was designed with CD+G support in mind but I haven’t tested or even coded that yet, first I need to get that core functionality right.
Anyway, if Marty ODE is something you’re interested in buying please leave a short comment – when/if I get it working without FPGA I could order revised PCBs for initial batch. Do note Marty drive is not the same as in regular FM Towns! If it’s the other one you want please leave a comment too, I might just buy that system next 🙂