64 FAQ - Part 4
and maintained by Robert Jung
All you need
to know about the Atari Jaguar and more... (not for
the faint hearted! - Ed) MyAtari presents the final
instalment of the Jaguar 64 FAQ by Robert Jung.
I want something better
than RF output from my Jaguar. What do I do?
Atari had an S-Video
cable and a Composite video cable available for use
with the Jaguar. See the "Peripherals" section
If you are willing to build your own,
the schematics for the expansion port are as follows:
For Jaguar owners who wish to use
SCART, a Jaguar-to-SCART RGB cable can be made as follows:
How did the ComLynx port
on the Jaguar work? Could I connect my Lynx to it?
The Jaguar does not have
a ComLynx port per se, but has a ComLynx signal on the
system bus. An expansion port add-on would have made
the port available, and developers had announced plans
for such accessories. It is possible to daisy-chain
multiple Jaguars for multiplayer games into a "Jaguar
network". In theory, it would have also been possible
to connect Jaguars and Lynxes, though no plans for cross-system
software were ever finalized.
There was also talk that the Jaguar's
ComLynx signal could allow Lynxes to be used as peripherals:
software could have been developed to allow Lynxes to
be part of a Jaguar game as "smart" controllers.
Again, no actual plans were ever announced.
For enterprising engineers who wish
to build a ComLynx cable for two Jaguars, the following
schematics from email@example.com
are available. USE AT YOUR OWN RISK!
As shown, the
only 3 wires needed for the cable are 2, 3 and 6 (Tx,
Rx, and Ground). All of these wires are on the bottom
connector, so that is a good indicater of which way
the cable plugs in the Jaguar. Shielded and RF-Choked
cables work best. Due to the nature of this connector,
it will be hard to shield this cable completely.
If you cannot find a 12-contact IDE
Card Edge Connector, a 10-contact version can be used.
A quick one can be built with no soldering using JDR
MicroDevices (Part# IDE10). This is made for ribbon
cable, but you can use regular shielded cables with
a little work. As long as lines 2, 3, and 6 remain properly
connected, there should be no difference.
- DO NOT PLUG THIS CABLE IN UPSIDE-DOWN!
You may damage internal components if you plug it
- TURN OFF BOTH JAGUARS BEFORE
CONNECTING. You may damage internal components if
you do not.
- Since there isn't much strengh
in the wires, remove the cable by the connectors.
Agh! My Jaguar is broken!
How can I fix it?
Unfortunately, with the
dissolution of Atari Corp., repair or replacement of
broken Jaguars is no longer available; Atari/JTS does
not have any units remaining for sale or replacement.
On the other hand, with the low price of clearance Jaguars
today, it isn't expensive to buy a new unit. In Great
Britain, Telegames UK will offer to repair your Jaguar
for a fee. They can be reached at:
Kilby Bridge, Wigston,
Leicester LE18 3TE, UK
Where can I get other
information about the Jaguar?
- Instant Replay Newsletter devoted
to the Jaguar, with 7570 South Manor Avenue news
and reviews. Write to Frank Eva Oak Creek, WI 53154
for more information.
- Wild Cat A one-man, home-made
Atari video gaming Phil Patton "fanzine."
Subscvriptions are $12/year 131 Dake Ave. for eight
issues, at 12 pages each Santa Cruz, CA 95062 issue.
Covers all Atari consoles and computers.
Internet/USENET newsgroups and
USENET newsgroup. Contains news for
all Atari video-game systems.
World-Wide Web Pages:
Go Atari is a web site that sells
Atari software and hardware: http://www.goatari.com/
Telegames UK sells Jaguar consoles,
games, accessories: http://www.telegames.co.uk
The Electric Escape is the official
home of the Jaguar FAQ. http://www.digiserve.com/eescape/atari/Atari.shtml
Jaguar Explorer On-line is a free
electronic newsletter covering the latest news on the
Jaguar (and other Atari-related matters): http://www.atarihq.com/jeo/
Atarinews: On the Prowl is an electronic
newsletter that reports the newest developments in the
Atari gaming community: http://gem.atari.org/~atmosphere/atarinews.html
The Jaguar Community Webring is a
collection of web sites devoted to all aspects of the
Jaguar: http://www.geocities.com/SiliconValley/Vista/6856/JCU-WebRing.html http://clubs.yahoo.com/clubs/jaguarcommunityunited
Carl Forhan's (Songbird Productions)
numerous Lynx and Jaguar projects can be found at:
The Jaguar Development Club and Jaguar
City have joined forces to create a German/English web
site for developers and enthusiasts. http://www.atari-jaguar.de/
The Atari Lynx and Jaguar Club Deutschland
is on the web: http://www.geocities.com/SiliconValley/Park/6679/
General-purpose Atari/Jaguar Web pages:
http://dcpu1.cs.york.ac.uk:6666/~andrew/jaguar/ http://rzserv2.fh-lueneburg.de:8080/Jaguar/ http://www.geocities.com/SiliconValley/Heights/5916/ http://www.cwo.com/~holstine/jz/us640.htm
Also, Yahoo!'s list of Atari Jaguar
web sites can be found at: www.yahoo.com/Recreation/Games/Video_Games/Systems/Atari/Jaguar/
Llamasoft has a web page which contains
updates on upcoming Jaguar projects, as well as ruminations
on lovely llamas, hot music CDs, and other musings from
Jeff Minter: http://www.magicnet.net/~yak/
- Atari Jag-mail J. Sinn runs a
Jaguar e-mail newsletter. For subscription information,
write to firstname.lastname@example.org
(209) 239-1552, 300/1200/2400/9600/14400
bps. Single line.
The BBS is completely
dedicated to Atari products and Atari video game
consoles. Includes screen shots, press releases,
pictures, and other files. Run by Don Thomas of
- Video Game Information Service.
(201) 509-7324, 300/1200/2400/9600/14400 bps. Multiple
Located in West Orange, New Jersy
(USA). The BBS is completely dedicated to video
gaming, and maintains files of cheats and reviews
for all game systems. Carries video-game-related
conferences from other computer networks, including
Fidonet, Worldnet, and Globalnet.
- America On-Line
The PC Games/Video
Games discussion group has areas devoted to the
Atari Lynx and the Atari Jaguar consoles. Use the
keyword PC GAMES, then go to the Video Games discussion
board. From there, select Atari Discussion, then
the console of your choice.
Jaguar roundtable has been established. Type M475;1
to reach it. For assistance regarding the roundtable,
send e-mail to JAGUAR$ on GEnie.
How was development for
the Jaguar done?
Jaguar game development
environments existed for the Atari TT030 computer or
an IBM PC/compatible. Art development could be performed
on any machine, whether a low-end Apple Macintosh or
commercial rendering software such as SoftImage. Wavefront's
"GameWare" was the official 2D/3D graphics
development system; Atari itself used GameWare for in-company
development, and registered third-party Jaguar developers
could buy GameWare licenses at special discount prices.
Estimated price for a developer's
package was $9,000 for the TT030 setup, and $7,500 for
the PC/compatible platform. The package included a Jaguar
development unit, documentation, and development/debugging
software. The Jaguar had modified boot firmware to run
the development board (the "Alpine board"),
and it had a cable coming out to provide signals to
the Alpine board that are not normally present via the
CD-ROM development packages (including
the cartridge development kit) were ranged at about
$8,000, and were upgradeable from the card-only kit.
Software routines packaged with the
system included a multi-channel polyphonic FM/Wavetable
synth; JPEG decompression; video set-up; drawing primitives;
3D rendering with gourad shading, texture mapping, and
camera manipulation. GCC is the primary 68000 C compiler;
support for other languages was not available from Atari,
but developers were free to use whatever tools they
may prefer. The development toolkit ran under DOS, TOS,
or Linux. Work was proceeding on a Linux development
system using the GNU tools.
The centerpiece of the TT030 development
platform was DB, an assembly- language level debugging
tool. The Jaguar and the TT030 were connected with a
parallel cable, and software could be debugged interactively
without interfering with the Jaguar's screen display.
DB supported the use of scripts and aliases, which simplified
the use of complex or common functions.
Support for the development packages
was primarily provided by Brainstorm (Atari France),
who worked closely with Atari Corp.
Atari granted final code approval,
but did not see the need to "censor" games.
Every game was given one man-month of compatibility
and quality testing before it was approved. Atari offered
technical support via FAX, mail, electronic mail and
voice. Atari allowed developers to source their own
cartridges, documentation and shells if desired. Jaguar
software is encrypted with a proprietary key, thus preventing
unauthorized developers from releasing Jaguar software.
Cross Products (SNASM) offered an
alternative Jaguar Development system. It came with
a multi-windowed debugger, assemblers, compilers, and
SCSI support, for approximately $3,700. The package
allowed for full screen, source level debugging of multiple
processors, in C or assembler. This was software only
for the IBM PC; the Jaguar development hardware (Alpine
board, modified Jaguar, etc.) had to be purchased separately
Ambitious hobbists have started their
own unendorsed Jaguar development efforts, with several
"home-brewed" development systems and electronic
documentation of the Jaguar's inner workings. Several
games have been written for play on the "Jaguar
Server" development system (requires some hardware
modification to an existing Jaguar, and an IBM PC or
Atari ST computer).
Information about these efforts may
be found on the web at the following sites:
In addition, the Jaguar Development
Club of Germany has made the official Jaguar development
manual available exclusively for downloading on their
home page (http://jdc.atari-computer.de/manual.htm).
Where is the encryption
key for Jaguar games? Now that Hasbro has declared the
Jaguar an "open system", the key should be
available to the public, right?
Wrong. Even though Hasbro
has officially declared the Jaguar to be an "open"
system, they have not released the encryption code for
Jaguar games because they do not know what (or where)
it is. Hasbro's declaration of openness on the Jaguar
simply means that developers and hackers are free to
use any means they can to develop and sell Jaguar games
-- whether they do this by figuring out the encryption
key, bypassing the Jaguar's startup checks, or using
any other techniques, Hasbro's lawyers will not bother
anyone along the way.
As of this writing, the unofficial
word in the Jaguar community is that the few people
who DO have access to the Jaguar's encryption key are
trying to make sure that they're "safe" --
that if they release the keys, they won't be prosecuted
by some other company for some other reason.
But all hope is not lost! According
to Scott LeGrand of 4Play, former Atari engineer Dave
Staugas has mentioned that the Jaguar's startup encryption
check has a "back door" in the software --
a safety measure to be used in case the "real"
encryption key was lost. Investigation in this direction
is currently continuing, and the latest (unconfirmed)
theory is that the encryption (and the back door) works
- A 512-bit key is applied to the
memory data, and then a 32-bit checksum is used
- The bottom 8K or so of ROM memory
is filled with a key generated from the cartridge
data. When a Jaguar boots, this 8K of data is combined
with the ROM data to generate the 32-bit checksum.
- If the checksum is valid, the
cartridge is allowed to run.
- The "back door" checksum
value is: 03D0 DEAD (hex). And yes, it IS a cheeky
reference to the Jaguar's then-current competitor...
More details about the Jaguar encryption process
will be added as it becomes publicly available.
Since the Jaguar encryption
code is missing, does that mean there's no way for people
to write their own Jaguar games? Is the whole "open
system" thing a crock?
Not at all! Hobbists
and developers have been writing their own Jaguar games
for a while now; the lack of an encryption key simply
means they can't distribute the game to non-developers.
But wait! In response to this need
comes JUGS, the Jaguar Unmodified Game Server. JUGS
is a computer hardware/software package that allows
you to download Jaguar games from your personal computer
to a Jaguar and then run them. With dozens of homebrewed
Jaguar programs in existence, this opens up a new source
of software for the Jaguar enthusiast.
To use JUGS, you need the following:
- A copy of the game BattleSphere.
- An IBM-compatible PC with a RS-232
- A JagLink interface. For more
information about JUGS, ordering information, and
available developer titles, visit http://www.buyjugs.com/
update: 4th December 2000
This file is not maintained by, overseen
by, endorsed, or otherwise associated with Atari Corp.,
JTS, or any of its subsidiaries. It's just a collection
of questions and answers, with a few news tidbits thrown
in. Robert tries to get the latest news and information
into this FAQ; however,he's only human, and might miss
something important due to real-life demands.
The latest version of this FAQ is
available here. Send corrections,
news, updates, comments, questions or other stuff to
magazine - Feature #4, April 2001