News bits

With the MIDI-PAC out in the open and Tjeerd already busy with making a second batch, we can’t complain. Thank you for your support! For new customers: we’ve made a new Order page were you can select the products you want to order. We will then contact you with the payment details.

Also, the PlaySoniq boxes, sponsored by Sunrise are in. If you bought your PlaySoniq without box, please use the order form to get your PlaySoniq box. The box costs nothing, you only pay shipping. Shipping will be around 10 euro for most European countries. If you know other PlaySoniq users in your neighbourhood maybe you can order together to cut down shipping costs.

MsxKun informs us that he is busy with a program to control the MSX PSG and the SID on the PlaySoniq through a MIDI keyboard. For this you need a Philips Music Module to connect your MIDI controller. This is of course very exciting news. Because using the PlaySoniq as a MIDI controllable syntheziser is one of the idea’s we had when we were designing the PlaySoniq. MsxKun also has plans to build in support for the SEGA Audio chip and the SCC of the PlaySoniq. At the moment this project has a low priority but he is willing to put more time in it, if more people are interested. So please let us or him know! Read all about it on his Spanish blog here: PaxBlog.

Also new is the instruction manual how to mount the Toshiba HX-MU900 MSX Audio expander. If you have a Toshiba Music Module lying around and want some more functionality, this expander might be for you. But you need to have quite some soldering skills to install this upgrade (or know someone who does). Check it out at the Docs section. This product can also be ordered from the Order page.

A while ago we adjusted the Commodore Basic instruction manual (sound chapters) so it would reflect the SID mounted on the PlaySoniq. It also contains the Basic listing, adjusted for use in MSX Basic. You can now download this document from the Docs page, in the PlaySoniq section.

If you read the comments on this site, you can find out how to flash your MIDI-PAC with the FM-PAC basic. Please note that afterwards, you can not use the MIDI-PAC together with a FM-PAC anymore (unless you flash the original rom back). The WORP3 website has a new configuration file for MT-32 users. If you made your own configuration file, please consider sharing them so we can add them to the website for other users. This counts for other MIDI equipment or game specific configs (like playing Aleste with only pianos). The MIDI-PAC will also have support for configuring instruments outside the general midi bank on Roland modules soon. So stay tuned.

Happy MSX-ing!

Advertisements

PlaySoniq tips

Some users report that their FM-PAC is not working with the PlaySoniq. Others report that the joysticks are not working. For FM-PAC support you first have to activate the FM-PAC. After typing CALL MUSIC (or add this enty in the sega.bas file) everything works. Albert Beevendorp wil release a tool with which you can activate the FM-PAC from MSX-DOS. We hope to make this available soon. For joystick support you also have to edit the sega.bas file. By default only the keyboard is active. To change this, change line 120 by entering ‘ 120 OV=4 ‘ and save “sega.bas” again. Please note there’s an overlay matrix in the manual were you can check which option best suits your needs, or the game you want to play. PCEFAN reports that overlay code 3 works best in most situations. Just try and check the results for your configuration.

If you experience soft SCC sound, there a few ways around this. First of all, there’s a volume adjuster on the PCB which you can adjust to balance the SCC mixing. Please check the manual for details. To get full control over the audio mixing, also for mixing OPLL sounds with PSG, MSX with PlaySoniq and our upcoming MIDI-PAC we bought a Behringer VMX-300 3-Channel audio mixer. These can be picked up for about 50 euros at local or webbased trade-in markets. New it’s about 120~150 euros. We got ours for 50.

You can see the VMX-300 and the MIDI-PAC prototype in action here:

Conversion tools for Franky development

Bifi has updated his Franky development page with new conversion tools for cross development from Armando Pérez Abad. These are binaries for Linux, OS-X and Win32 of:

  • SR52SMS
    SCREEN 5 to Franky Mode 4 Tile converter (8*8 pixels)
  • SR52SMSSPR
    SCREEN 5 to Franky Mode 4 Sprite converter (8*16 pixels)
  • C sources of mentioned tools
  • Z80 sources with example code of how to use Franky Mode 4

These tools can be downloaded from http://bifi.msxnet.org/franky/

Franky Mode 4 development tools

Albert Beevendorp (better known as BiFi in the MSX community) just informed us that he has put a developer webpage for Franky online. On this page you will find the latest development tools to program for Franky Mode 4. New tools are currently in development and will be released in the near future. Links to other Sega Master System development tools and information that is useful for developing on Franky is also present. Please check http://bifi.msxnet.org/franky/ for details. Thanks BiFi!

New version of Franky example code

Armando has send us a new version of the Franky example code. the following routines are new or changed:
  • checkfranky changed: New version of detect routine of Franky.
  • checkrefresh: (Thanks to MKII for this code). Check if Franky card is PAL or NTSC (50 or 60hz). hz var is 1 if franky is NTSC and 0 if Franky is PAL. This code is very important for coders to control music replayers. This has to be tested with NTSC Franky cards.
  • keyint flag. You can control the interrupt with this flag. If you want the KEYINT BIOS routine enabled put value != 0 in this var.
The code and rom can be downloaded here:  fsc2v2.zip

Sample code for Franky available

As reported earlier, Kralizec is busy with porting existing games to Franky. Kralizec also started with making code to support MSX compatible screen mode2 on Franky. We asked Armando (main coder) if it would be possible to share his code with the rest of us. Luckely Armando agreed.

His code detects if Franky is present and does all the initializations to ready the Franky screen mode (MSX screen 2 compatible mode).  Also included is the compiled rom file. You need a tool like loadrom for MSX-DOS to load the 32kb rom. The rom first detects if Franky is present, initialize Franky and then shows a snapshot of Arkanoid on Franky and at the same time shows a color rotation on MSX (on the Franky VDP interrupt). Feel free to download, study and use for your existing or new productions. Thank you Armando!

Link to Franky Example code (zip file)

To execute the example rom you need a tool like loadrom which can be downloaded here:

Link to loadrom (lzh file, can be unpacked with Winrar under Windows)

For your convenience we also put the Sega loader tool online:

Link to Sega Loader (zip file)