MSX Core Club - The JoyNet Standard
JoyNet
The MSX Joystick Network

General Information

JoyNet is the cheapest way to connect two or more MSX computers.
The JoyNet standard is the result of a recent discussion in the MSX International Mailing List. Some people that contributed for it were: Alex Wulms, Jeroen Smael, Laurens Holst, Maarten ter Huurne, Maico Arts, Patrick Lina, Sean Young and Werner Augusto Roder Kai (me).
It all started during a thread about "connecting PC-MSX", when I posted a message to the mailinglist telling about some interesting experiences that me and my brother (Weber Estevan Roder Kai) were doing with two MSX computers and a cable built by us to play both games "F-16 Fighting Falcon" and "F1 Spirit 3D Special".
You can use JoyNet to play multi-player games, transfer data beetween MSX computers forming a Local Area Network (LAN), or make a stunning multi-MSX megademo, with several MSX computers working synchronized ! Now there is also the possibility of connect an MSX to PC, for transfering data or playing JoyNet games with an emulated MSX.
JoyNet links MSX computers in a ring network. Thus, you will need one JoyNet cable to each computer you want to link.


Hardware:
Standard JoyNet cable for MSX
(to link two or more MSX computers)

To build your standard JoyNet cable you will need the following parts, that surely will not cost you more than US$ 10:

SEND (DIN-5 180/m)   RECV (DIN-5 180/f)
1 --------------+     +---------------1
2 ------------+ |     | +-------------2
3 ----------+ | |     | | +-----------3
5 ----------|-|-|-----|-|-|---+-------5
    | | |     | | |   |
    | | |     | | |   |
    3 7 6     1 2 8   9
     MSX(DB9 /f)
Alternative JoyNet cable for MSX
(to link only two MSX computers)

If you want to build an alternative cable to link always just two MSX computers, you can make a cable like the one used by F1 Spirit 3D Special:

(DB-9 /f)        (DB-9 /f)
1 --------------- 6
2 --------------- 7
3 --------------- 8
6 --------------- 1
7 --------------- 2
8 --------------- 3
9 --------------- 9
But if you can, prefer to build two standard Joynet cables, so futurely you will be able to connect more than two MSX computers, for example in the MSX meetings and everytime you gather with another MSX users.

Standard JoyNet cable for PC
(to link a PC with one or more MSX computers)

You can build this cable to connect the MSX joystick port to PC parallel port, inserting a PC in a JoyNet network.

SEND (DIN-5 180/m)    RECV (DIN-5 180/f)
1 ---------------+    +--------------- 1
2 -----------+   |    |   +----------- 2
3 -------+   |   |    |   |   +------- 3
5 -------|---|---|----|---|---|----+---5
     |   |   |    |   |   |    |
     |   |   |    |   |   |    |
      10   3   2   13  12   4  18~25
PC (DB-25 /m)
Alternative JoyNet cable for PC
(to link a PC with only one MSX)

If you have just one PC and one MSX, you can build this:

(DB-9 female)   (DB-25 male)
1 ------------- 2 
2 ------------- 3 
3 ------------- 4 
6 ------------- 13
7 ------------- 12
8 ------------- 10
   9 ------------- 18~25

Software:
F-16 Fighting Falcon (1984)

[cartridge label] - [box front] - [box back]
[page 1] - [page 2] - [page 3] - [page 4] - [page 5] - [pages 6 and 7] - [page 8]

 This is a combat flight simulator for MSX 1 presented as a 16 Kb ROM cartridge.
To start the game you must press F1 or F2.
If you press F1 you select one player game (play against computer), and then you can select the level with left and right and space (or joystick at port 1).
If you press F2 you select two players game, to play against an human opponent, and then you will need two MSX computers and a JoyNet connection at the joystick port 2 of both MSX computers.

Connect (1990)

[download files of disk 1 - 21 kb ] - [download files of disk 2 - 48 kb]

Connect is a software made to link only two MSX computers. One MSX computer works as 'master' and the other as 'slave'. It enables to the 'master' computer to acess the disk drives of the 'slave' computer. It was made to enlarge the database of a MSX-based BBS from two up to four floppy disks, because if you remember, at that time we didn't have HD interfaces for MSX. It was made by Ries Vriend. To run 'Connect' you will need a JoyNet connection at the joystick port 2 of both MSX computers. But I didn't tested it yet because it's all in Dutch... And I can't understand Dutch...

F1 Spirit 3D Special (1991)

This is a formula one (F1) race game for MSX 2+ presented in two disks by Konami.
You can play against computer in just a single race or in a complete season, or select the combat mode to play against a human opponent.
To play in "combat mode" you will need two MSX2+ computers and a JoyNet connection at the joystick port 2 of both MSX computers.
[picture of people at MSX Jaú 98+ meeting playing it in battle mode]

Triplex (199?)
Triplex is a multiplayer Tetris game made for up to 15 players linked through the MIDI interface of the Philips Music Module Cartridge (MSX Audio). We beg to the programmers to change the communication routines, converting it to the JoyNet standard.

Magical Labyrinth (1995)
Magical Labyrinth is a labyrinth game for up to 4 players made by Gigamix. It is played in only one MSX with the screen splited into 4 parts, and it needs an external hardware called "Ninja Tap Extended" to connect up to 4 joysticks multiplexed into only one joystick port. It would be nice if the programmers from Gigamix could make a JoyNet version of this game for up to 4 MSX computers, but with full screen playing.

Snafu (1998)

Download game with manual in English - snafu.zip - 5 Kb

This is a game like "Tron" or "Laserbikes" made by us. The name "Snafu" is because we first knew it from Intellivision.
We made the first version specially for the MSX JAÚ '98 meeting (may 23,24). It was presented working just with two computers, originally linked with two cables in both joystick ports, like the ones used for F1 Spirit 3D Special. This first version is in BASIC with only the communication routines in Assembly. [picture]
For the MSX JAÚ '98+ (october 30, november 1, 2) we made a new version 100% in Assembly (except for the loader in BASIC...), and we could test it with 4 MSX computers. [picture]
We repeated the presentation with 4 MSX computers at the MSX Jaú 99 meeting [picture], and at the ExpoSAlt 2000 meeting we presented the game with 3 MSX computers. [picture]
Both versions support from 2 up to 14 MSX computers, and only work in MSX computers with 3.58 Mhz clock.



Joywave (1999)

[Download] - joywave.zip - 30 Kb

If you want to play big ".WAV" files on your MSX Turbo-R, but you don't have a hard disk, then this program is for you.
Using JoyWave, you can load a ".WAV" file directly from a PC connected to your MSX through a Joynet cable.
Made by Ricardo Bittencourt, the author of BRMSX.


Programming

There are several ways to stablish communication between two computers, and although the JoyNet software is not standarized, there are some guidelines that should be followed by any communication protocol:


Other JoyNet and related pages:

The Official JoyNet homepage at Datax site by Laurens Holst
(with information about transfer speeds and comunnication protocols)

The hardware section at Maarten Ter Huurne's site
(from there you can download a program to test JoyNet cables)

The "F1 Spirit 3D Special" cable section at Sean Young's site


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