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Getting Started with the TI-99/4A


Luigi301
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I recently saw the Megademo video and was amazed at what the TI-99 can be coaxed into. I've done plenty of Amiga, Apple II, and CoCo programming but never even used a TI-99. I want to get into the 4A and its interesting 16-bit architecture but I don't know where to start. GROMs, PROMs, too much stuff. What's a basic 4A setup for general use?

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To do assembly you will need a 4a console and 32k ram, a disk drive and controller or equivalent editor assembler cart or one of the software replacements. The easiest way to do this is with either a peripheral expansion box or a nanopeb.

 

Nanos are available sometimes by the mfgr for less than 100.

PEBs are about 100 to 300 depending on what cards and drives are with them.

EBay is a good source. I sell parts and carts on my site at arcadeshopper.com

 

The development thread here has a pinned message with all the tools. A lot of people dev on classic99 (Windows Ti emu) it js99er.net (web based js Ti emu) then transfer to a real ti to test..

 

Greg

 

Sent from my LG-H830 using Tapatalk

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Okay cool. I know the computers themselves are still very cheap on eBay and the peripherals don't look too bad coming from the Amiga world. I'm used to paying $400 for a computer and $200 for an add-on card. It looks more like when I got my C64 - a big box of the computer and assorted parts/software boxes for a little bit of nothing.

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I definitely suggest checking out the Development Resources thread on the subforum here. There are resources for almost ALL languages on the system. There are excellent tutorials out there, many in video format.

 

If you fancy a good read, check out matthew180's Assembly programming primer for the 9900 CPU. Brilliant stuff.

 

Welcome to the fold

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In addition, we have many excellent emulators available, Classic99 being the most user-friendly (IMO) and the author is a regular contributor here. He updates the emulator frequently. (Tursi)

 

If you are into MESS (or MAME now) mizapf is the primary contributor and resident author of the TI emulation there.

 

 

Classic99 has some awesome features like being able to assemble from a text file amongst many other nice features.

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In addition, we have many excellent emulators available, Classic99 being the most user-friendly (IMO) and the author is a regular contributor here. He updates the emulator frequently. (Tursi)

 

If you are into MESS (or MAME now) mizapf is the primary contributor and resident author of the TI emulation there.

 

 

Classic99 has some awesome features like being able to assemble from a text file amongst many other nice features.

 

MESS is the most encompassing and accurate emulation available opensource, but the ramp-up can be steep for some.. It emulates the most TI systems and compatibles and some unique hardware.

There's also PC99 which is pretty damn encompassing, and about impossible to set up and use.. especially the new windows version..

V9t9 is a good emulator and there's a java based one available now.

also theres ti99sim for the sdl capable (win, linux, mac) but it also has some ramp-up..

 

Greg

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I'm new too. I have always been an Amiga guy (still am!) and had a TI99 a few years ago but got rid of it because there didn't seem to be as many options for doing things with it that I wanted to do at the time. Recently I had discovered a lot going on in the TI99 scene and like you was interested. I did my homework and got:

 

1. A TI99/4A (of course)

2. The speech synthesizer (which is not necessary but I like it as it is unique and cool)

3. A FlashRom99 on ebay (to use SD cards for binary files)

4. A F18A for VGA output (again not necessary, but part of the reason I got rid of it years ago was due to no modern video options available at the time)

5. Some sort of joystick adapter to use standard Atari etc sticks (I purchased a Wico command control)

 

After all of this I thought I was ready...and then found that alot of what I wanted to run requires 32K....DOH! There is still a lot that can run in 16K mind you (my SD card has 106 entries of stuff that runs) but quite a bit of stuff that I want to run requires 32K. That said I ordered the 32K sidecar from Arcade Shopper a few minutes ago :)

 

So, for #6, the 32K sidecar. You can leave out #2 and #4 and still do just about everything you need to do, but you will not have speech or VGA output and those are two really REALLY good things :)

 

The cost for everything here (for me) was roughly $280ish dollars (shipping costs included) for everything listed....to give you an idea. Subtract $130 from that if you remove the F18A and speech synthesizer from the equation as they are not "necessary" to run everything....but the experience is certainly greatly enhanced with these items!

Edited by eightbit
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