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Let's say I made a game...

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You can hack up an existing board. If it's a 32K game then most of the boards can be modified. If it's a game that requires RAM your options are bit more limited and if you are using a Pokey well you'll be looking for spare Ballblazer carts. I think CPUWIZ makes some 7800 boards if you want to try emailing him. A good board to play with is the one that comes in a Jinks cart, it can handle most non-Pokey games.



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  • We will NOT make cartridges of homebrew games or hacks without the original author's permission. Please secure that permission (or point us to where the author has said it's okay to make cartridges, such as a forum thread) before placing an order.
  • If you order labels of rare Atari 7800 games, we will add the text "REPRODUCTION CARTRIDGE" in small type somewhere on the label. This is to help prevent people from reselling these cartridges on eBay (or elsewhere) as the "real thing" to unsuspecting bidders.
  • Prices above are for single cartridges. Remember, these are built to order and we have to spend some time setting up your label files before we can print them. You are ordering a custom, high-quality product so we feel those prices are reasonable considering the time involved in producing each cartridge. If you want to order multiple cartridges with the same binary and labels, please contact us to discuss volume pricing.

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No, I did not mean to mislead anyone. I have not made anything, but was merely trying to understand how the homebrew games that I see in some of the mags for the 7800 are put onto carts.


Or do most people just write a game and distribute the "bin" file?


That is all, sorry if I made it sound as if I had created a game... I wished I was that far along in my learning. :-D






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What are my options presently?


It depends on your existing skills. If you can solder you can either :


1) Reuse legacy game PCBs. Some are easier than others to modify. You will need to desolder the existing ROM chip on the board, solder in another EPROM and additional components. You might run into issues with worn cart contacts so do some QC on suitable PCBs.

2) Use new PCBs. You'll have shiny new cart contacts and the sundry components used will not be 20+ years old. Either CPUWIZ or Albert would be the men to contact about acquiring new PCBs.


In either case you'll need donor shells. Suitable donor shells can be acquired in bulk lots on ebay (or more slowly over time if you buy smaller lots) or you can put a shout out to the community. Ideally you want to use shells that don't have scratches and nicks in the plastic. However a torn or missing label is fine because that part will be replaced. Used carts can be quite dusty inside so once you remove their contents and label you might want to give the cart shell halves a bit of a soak and a wash.


You'll need a new cart front and end labels for your homebrew game so speak to Albert about that when you have a suitable design. He has the ability to die cut labels so you'll end up with perfect corners.


To get your game onto cart you'll need an EPROM programmer. Good makes can be acquired from eBay for reasonable prices 2nd hand. Older EPROM programmers might use a serial or parallel port (and be DOS based) in which case you'll need an older PC to make them work correctly.


If you can't solder there are also a couple of options :


1) Find somebody in the AA community that can make your game for you. CPUWIZ used to do it (I'm not sure if he does currently) but again, Albert might be able to help you out.


2) Avoid all the hassle and hand the ROM image over to Albert so he can sell it in the AA store on your behalf. You'll get a $5 royalty for every copy sold, which you can cash in or buy other homebrews with. Albert will take care of donor shells, new PCBs and manufacture it to order when somebody buys a copy.


If you decide that you want to make a run of carts yourself then run a pre-order to gauge interest first. Run the list for a couple of weeks. After you've closed the list some people will drop out when it comes time to pay. Don't take that personally, people can change their mind and circumstances change too. Only make as many carts as you need (and some spares just in case) for the people that have paid. For a pre-order you might think about numbering the carts (and as an added bonus the game could display the same number too) or going the whole hog and make a CIB release.

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Excellent synopsis by GroovyBee.


My original post was going to answer your question by contacting Al (I was assuming you didn't to go the route of making it yourself, as it can be a PITA), but when I saw that bennybingo basically answered it how I was going to, I couldn't resist making an (unfunny) joke. ;)


Just out of curiosity, did you plan on doing the full Monty from start to finish in cart making?

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Well, I'd love to say I was going to make a cart from start to finish, and I don't rule it out, but I still have so much to learn! It sounds like the 2600 is substantially easier to make cartridges for, but I still really think the 7800 is cool, so I'm going to continue to tinker with it.


Thanks to all of you, your knowledge to this newbie is really quite invaluable.


I always save your replies for future reference.




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  • 3 weeks later...
  • 1 month later...

I won't give up on you...


I think JohnnyRockets is still fishing for a system to start with. Since his last reply was more than a month ago I doubt he chose the 7800. 7800 dev is still out of reach for non-assembly coders. One person managed to scrounge together enough to start his own C project:



GroovyBee is working on a more robust C library but that is still in the future.

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Heh, cc65 is as good as the human that programmed it, right?


It's a little bit more complicated, I think. cc65 has varying support for different systems. Some libraries are pretty good and others aren't maintained as well.


Don't get me wrong, I love cc65. It's great for testing a function you want to write in assembler. Once you write your assembly functions, you can call them from your C program, but you wouldn't want to write time critical sections in C.

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  • 1 month later...

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