[stella] vcs net play ?

Subject: [stella] vcs net play ?
From: Thomas Dunn <td629@xxxxxxxxx>
Date: Fri, 3 Aug 2001 11:16:17 -0700 (PDT)
Hello all,

For a class I'm taking right now, I'm writing a (Java) 2D game
with internet multiplayer capabilities.  I'm just starting to
learn vcs programming, but this popped an idea into my head.
Someone else has probably thought of this before, but I figured
I'd mention it just in case they haven't and it would interest

Quoting from page 2 of the PIA section of the Stella guide:
5.0 Port A - Hand Controllers
Port A is under full software control to be configured as an input
or an output port. It can then be used to read or control various
hand-head controllers with the data bits defined differently
depending on the type of controller used.

So, the port you plug a controller into can act as a plain old I/O
port, right?  My idea is it hook a smart little signal forwarder
(the ? in my diagram) into the second joystick port of the atari.
The smart little box is also plugged into some port (serial port
maybe) of a computer that is online.  Running on the computer is
a client/server program that connects the signals from your atari
to the signals of your friends atari.

+------+                                  +------+
| 2600 |       +----+        +----+       | 2600 |
+-+--+-+       |    |        |    |       +-+--+-+
  |  |   +-+   |Comp|        |Comp|   +-+   /  |
  |  +---|?|---+  A |        | B  +---|?|--|---+
 [o]     +-+   |    |        |    |   +-+   \
            +--+    |        |    +--+      [o]
            |  |    |        |    |  |
            |  +----+        +----+  |
            |                        |
            |       /~~~~~~~~\       |
            +------| Internet |------+
                    \        /

The vcs games using this setup would be two player games where
not only would the other players moves be read from port 2, but
also your moves would need to be forwarded out over port 2 so
the person you are playing the game with would have Your updated
moves.  Maybe some games could even be 'updated' to deal with
this net play?

I'm pretty ignorant when it comes to things hardware (although
that doesn't stop me from pickign up a soldering iron), but
making the smart little signal forwarder doesn't seem like it
would be too tough.  I know I could handle the software on the
computer.  I have a ways to go before I could handle the software
on the vcs though :)

What do you guys think?  Has anything like this been thought
of/attempted before?  Do you think there would be any interest in


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