After the Christmas update which included Alex Herbert’s VecFLASH menu I realized it really was high time to finally develop patches for Herbert’s YASI/Protector and Protector LE for the current VecFever firmware. These are truly ground-breaking games, Protector esp. just fantastic, and not only hasn’t aged but in my mind the importance of it even increased over time. I can’t overstate how important this game is for the Vectrex.
For the YASI/Protector combo. existed static, patched versions for the vf since v1 times but these were never updated and by now the source mosty usable as information about internal things which needed adapting. This time around the implementations are quite different: native patch apps load unmodified dumps/binaries and generate 6809 VecFever cart. depending on options which are then started immediately. These patched games load/store their data now just like the physical cart. but the button setup has been changed to the VF overall standard. And Protector/YASI have been separated to be standalone games. Sadly this ‘first a native app, then a 6809 cart.’ setup wasn’t supported by previous fw version’s library since it was unexpected and broke the initialization so the init. had to be adapted and all things recompiled. So all native apps had to be recompiled.
For Protector LE the bonus game has however not been separated, so that it still stays a (small) challenge: you need to get a score of 20k once to unlock ‘Spike Goes Down’.
And please note that the resulting games do only run, just like the originals, in the normal portrait mode.
The combo. binary for Protector/Yasi (PY050712.BIN) was available for a long time on Alex Herbert’s website – herbs64.com – which sadly is now down. But the wayback machine does cover herbs64.com. The limited edition binary however was never released as far as I know. So to play this on the VF you actually have to own one and dump it. You can set the serial no. of your LE for the patched game via the game’s options so that you can keep your cart. safely tucked away afterwards and play its twin on the VF.
For arcade fans I’ve ported the ‘Tomcat SW’ romset – an insanely early Atari game prototype which runs on unmodified Atari 6809 Star Wars hardware (hence the ‘SW’). More a developers very first tinkerings than a prototype even. Nice to start up and look at while reading the arcadeblogger’s entry about Atari’s Tomcat, if nothing else. Thanks to Ian Buxton again for mentioning it again to me, I myself had forgotten about the earlier 6809 Tomcat variant: there exists also a marginally more developed Tomcat romset for an enhanced vector pcb prototype with newer CPUs. This newer one is the one shown in the arcadeblogger blog entry.
v2.46 - added: Protector LE wrapper v2.45 - added: Tomcat SW - added: dynamic creation of afterwards static 6809 cart. - added separate 'Protector' and 'YASI' wrapper for Herbert's Protector&YASI binary and added both to the main page - fix: video option screen boundary rectangle with minimal values for offset plus maximal size resulted in incorrect position - fix: some llander terrain lines and stars with minimal values for screen calibration offset plus maximal size resulted in incorrect position in landscape (same change applied to asteroids/astdel. even though bug was not triggered) v2.44 - changed the serial names output behavior: now for vym/options/hiscores entries names are not sent out, also '#VF:MENU' now also send out when loading failed - fix: Star Wars crashed in landscape mode with very large 'y' calibration enlargement (a fixed portrait mode screen increase was uneccessarily applied in landscape, too) v2.43 - added serial output strings '#VF:MENU' and '#VF:BOOT' (if any menu serial output option is enabled) for more info. to select what to display on a marquee - added '3: MAME INPUT" text string to 'Vector Terminal' connect page - added 'Micro SD Hot-Plug: On/Off' expert option - added input option "VectorLink / 8BitDo SNES Classic" for Robot Arena v2.42 - fixed: inserting a micro sd after powering up w/o one and 'autostart' feature enabled crashed the system this bug got introduced in v2.38 by the delayed hot swap changes - watchdog enable now stored and used for all cart. upon power-up (still disabled by default, though) - added input option "VectorLink / 8BitDo SNES Classic" for QB-3 and Black Widow v2.41 - new expert option: YM Player Bars (ABC / BC CA / CB BA) for stereo-modded Vectrex - Robot Arena: enabled LED support to set it to black since it was the only one not setting the LED on the main page - bzone/bzonplus: added 'input' options and a faster vectrex game mode - QB-3: viewing area improved (screen_x offset)