RE: [stella] 7800 programs -- potential problems?

Subject: RE: [stella] 7800 programs -- potential problems?
From: slapdash@xxxxxxxxxxxx (Russ Perry Jr)
Date: Mon, 17 Jan 2000 18:05:20 -0600
At 1:52 PM 01/17/0, John Saeger wrote:
>Russ Perry Jr wrote:
>> It has come to my attention that there is a dealer out there who
>> believes he has gotten the rights to an encryption method to the
>> 7800; actually, it sounds like it might be PICKLOCK.

>Are you talking about Video 61?

As a matter of fact, yes.  I was going to keep the name out of it,
but a couple other people have surmised the same thing, so there
it is.

>I think it's probably different.  For one thing, PICKLOCK's
>interrupt vector points into the bottom of the 48K memory map,
>requiring a 48K RAM cart or ROM to write games that use interrupts.

I didn't realize PICKLOCK had that constraint; only that you gave
up the 4K area that PICKLOCK resides in.

>It's my understanding that you can only write 8K or 16K 7800 games
>with the Dodgson cart

I'm not sure about that, but Harry tells me it's expandable.  I'm
not sure what the Monitor Cart itself allows you to do.

>we'll know soon enough if there is any similarity between PICKLOCK
>and the Dodgson monitor cart.  We have one on order.  ;-)

Heh.  Well, there might be a quicker way to check...  Look for a
copyright string around $0AA0 in PICKLOCK.  I assume he meant it
was ASCII text...  If there, it's Harry's; if not, we're clear
(well, other than the potential Hasbro issues we've discussed in
the past).

>> The problem is, he's planning to do some stuff and also, having
>> rights to this stuff [...], he says he's
>> prepared to take legal action against infringers.

>I see no problem with their making a profit on their own efforts.

That wasn't my concern -- my concern was that it might stifle
development if programmers are afraid that they'll get sued for
posting anything.  This is issue I haven't yet discussed with
Lance at Video61 -- a development list REQUIRES sharing code;
that brings the risk that a BIN might escape into the wild without
the proper licensing.  How do we balance that out?

>hopefully from the comment I made above, you can figure out that
>PICKLOCK did *not* come from the Dodgeson ROM image.

Well, I wanted to be absolutely sure of that.  I'm trying to warn
Lance that 7800 development has already started, and so he can't
assume that any game released violates his code.  The last thing
we need is court cases ruining the retro scene.

>That being the case, I don't think it's infringing on any of their
>intellectual property, and is therefore none of their concern.

There's still potential for it however...  I had thought PICKLOCK
came from Atari development systems, but Harry got his code (and
then modified it) from Atari.  Well, it struck me that it made
sense that what Atari gave Harry might also have gone into those
dev kits, meaning they were one and the same (potentially), other
than Harry's modifications.

>> On the other hand, he's well prepared to make cartridges for
>> people -- sort of "license" the code to make game releases, so
>> he's not trying to use the courts to keep an exclusive lock on
>> what games are released, but DOES want to profit on what he paid
>> for.

>This is good.  If they're offering a valuable service.

Yes.  Now that it's out that we're talking about Video61, you may
all well know that they've made a whole bunch of new Atari 8-bit
carts, so you can see that their dedication level is up there.

>But fact is it's easy enough to make 7800 carts from old 7800 game
>PCBs.  And there are still plenty of these at O'Sheas.


That begs a question...  Can you put 2600 games on 7800 boards?
Since the O'Shea's carts are SO plentiful, I could see where it
might someday be more cost-effective to buy out O'Shea's than
hope Randy Crihfield can find enough copies of Pac-Man & Combat
at the flea market to keep Hozer Video Games in business.  :-)

||  Russ Perry Jr   2175 S Tonne Dr #105   Arlington Hts IL 60005  ||
||  847-952-9729    slapdash@xxxxxxxxxxxx    VIDEOGAME COLLECTOR!  ||

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