[Coco] Using DriveWire to write network software

Mark D. Overholser marko555.os2 at gmail.com
Wed Mar 29 12:40:59 EDT 2017

On 29-Mar-17 07:35, Steve Strowbridge wrote:
> Sounds like a couple of topics happening at once, related to general
> networking, protocols and drivewire, I'll leave that discussion to the
> legitimately smart people, myself not included :)

A Networked Game would require "tackling" several Topics at once..

Luckily, this is one of my favorite topics...

> Regarding on-line gaming, while I'm sure this is a very realistic
> possibility to have some sort of passive, and in-line adapter that would
> accept a remote user's CoCo Joystick input, that only solves the problem of
> the controller, it doesn't address any of the client/server issues of both
> people being in literally the "same game", so, if a hardware route was
> devised, then something like a Skype screen share would be required, so the
> other person could see the actual game they were participating with.  That
> solution is pretty easy to implement with existing technologies, and the
> only downside I see, is the lag/latency of the screen sharing, which may
> not be optimal for rapid reflex type games.

If you remember back to 1993, and the MS-DOS DOOM, there was a Two 
Player Mode that used the RS-232 Serial Port and a Null Modem Cable... 
As I Recall, ( and a little Google Search confirmed ), that Data 
Exchange for DOOM on RS-232 is at 8 N 1 9600.  Which is 960 Characters 
per second.. ( with 8 Data Bits, 1 Stop Bit and No Parity )

Each Computer was Playing the Full Game, only the Player State ( and 
changes to the Environment ) were being Exchanged between the Two 
Machines..   The Bit-Banger Serial Port on the CoCo is capable of 9600 
bps, so I think Networked CoCos are very possible.

> So, a more grand, and elegant solution would be a revised emulator that
> supports multiplayer, at that point the controller issue is already
> virtualized, so it's really just figuring out how to have the "shared
> experience" with two people in real-time or as close as possible.

Does VCC or Mame for the CoCo support the Serial Ports??   This would 
also possible for networked gaming..

> So maybe re-inventing a wheel is a bigger challenge than a hardware device,
> but something to think about.

DriveWire is a Possible Network Transport, so is the Lantronix, UDS-10s 
also the CoCoNIC in development or even another Networking option, 
including Wireless...   ( ESP 8266 WiFi Modules )

> If I may also be so bold as to suggest, that if the mega multi player
> emulator was to become "a thing" it would be great if that product could be
> as plug and play/user friendly as possible for non-techies, and, if even
> possible, as cross platform as possible, maybe even extending to things
> like Android/IOS and game consoles?

Starting with MAME/MESS, and adding Network Support would be the start 
of the Goal..  But each Emulated Platform would need a Network Layer 
Designed..  And Games ( and other applications ) would need to be 
Patched or Designed to support the Networking.

> This solution opens the doors for new CoCo software development to a much
> larger audience of non technophiles, and possible meaning even more "sales"?

A World Wide Audience...   With Retro Computing becoming a Specilized 
Interest, our "User Group" is not just local, but World Wide.. 
Networking Classic Hardware is another way of Socializing with "Members 
of our User Group"...

> Since I'm just responsible for creating the wish, I will use the philosophy
> of "Go Big or Go Home" :)

My notes I have been "compiling" for the past year are to make 
supporting Multiple Platforms a Goal from the Beginning..   I am hoping 
that is "Big Enough"


> Steve Strowbridge, aka
> The Original Gamer Stevie Strow
> http://ogsteviestrow.com
> ogsteviestrow at gmail.com


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