Jump to content

Leaderboard

Popular Content

Showing content with the highest reputation on 12/01/20 in all areas

  1. I actually think it is an advantage that the X16 isn't backwards compatible with the C64. That brings the software we all write into focus. If people buy the computer and want to test some games, it will be the games we make, not just Blue Max, Paradroid and Impossible Mission. This is a retrocomputer but it is also a new computer, with a new hardware design and a new video chip and we write new software for it. I like that, it motivates me.
    4 points
  2. I will probably end up with both systems. I have experience with FPGA, so that isn't a religious issue for me. I spend my days on modern computers working in modern languages. In my heart I yearn for simpler times. I deal with so many layers of abstraction in my day to day that the idea of a single core with a single address space gives me a sense of peace. I like X16 because I hopefully will have access to the hardware schematics at some point, so I can understand the system soup to nuts. I also like the possibility of creating my own expansion cards. I'm planning to begin playing with developing some simple programs over winter break. The Mega65 has increased memory and processor power as well as network capabilities which opens some interesting possibilities. I would love to have a system that I could use as part of my daily workflow, and the Mega65 might be able to run a simple remote shell, a code editor and a simple mail client. I totally agree with some of the earlier comments that the community is what makes or breaks projects like these. I am excited to be a part of the X16 community and plan to explore the Mega65 community as well. -Luke
    2 points
  3. For me the X16 appealed more for the following reasons: You will be able to look at the board and kind of "see" how it works. I love that! Memory layout and bank switching is very basic, but also easy to understand. The amount of available memory imposes pressure to optimize. I like that! Graphics is somewhat in between an ATARI ST and the Commodore Amiga, so more 16-bit era like. Which allows for good 2D graphics and I'm very happy what I've achieved so far. The pixelated 320x240 resolution adds to the nostalgic feel. The 8 MHz CPU is fast compared to the C64, but still slow enough so that you have to live with certain limitations, which is part of the fun. But it still allows me to use C for programming with some assembler to get around the mentioned limitations. I'm looking forward to "real" hardware. I'd like to show it to my nephews (now 3 and 6 years old) in a few years, to explain and "show" them how computers actually work. I find it still very important to know about those basics. Even with modern computers this helps to understand why certain things work and others suddenly don't.
    2 points
  4. The X16 also appeals to my desire to experience some of that 8-bit era of programming, through the rose-tinted glasses of modern programming environments and tools. Personally, I've looked at a lot of the other 8-bit projects, whether based on real platforms or not, as having a high possibility of being vaporware, or else being a cash-in from the IP owners. I don't fault the cash-ins for what they are; my nostalgia simply runs in along different veins. I'd rather see cash-ins than abandonment, and the historical preservation factor is no small part of that. But the X16 has the "Dave factor", which to me brings two important qualities to make me interested: Dave has shipped products before. Dave has an audience and community he can easily promote his project with, which may not exist to the same extent for other 8-bit projects. I happen to also appreciate the goal of implementing the system entirely without FPGAs (albeit with asterisks since certain hardware is no longer available), this makes it feel more authentically 8-bit to me, since it's not emulated magic. I actually somewhat hope there will be some hardware quirks discovered post-launch, as long as they aren't too annoying. :3
    2 points
  5. Hello Commandos, As you know the Mega 65 is another great project and based on Commodore's never-released C65 computer. Obviously the hardware is a bit different as it is FPGA-based, but I was curious, what do you prefer about the Commander X16 (chips aside) and its specifications and software, over the Mega 65's OS (if anything). What drew you here? Your friend in retro, Perifractic
    1 point
  6. VolksForth X16 View File VolksForth Readme VolksForth is a 16bit Forth System produced by the German Forth Gesellschaft e.V. The main repository lives here: https://github.com/forth-ev/VolksForth Major development of this system was done between 1985 until 1989. The VolksForth Project was revived in 2005 with the goal to produce a managable Forthsystem for computer systems with restricted system resources. Some modern Forth Systems were influenced by or were derived from VolksForth (GNU-Forth, bigForth). The current Version of VolksForth is 3.81. Version 3.9.x will be interim versions on the way to sync all VolksForth targets and move towards compliance with the 2012 Forth standard. Version 3.8.x is based on the Forth 83 standard, Version 4.00 will be based on the current 2012 Standard (https://forth-standard.org). At this time VolksForth is available for this Systems: VolksForth MS-DOS (Intel x86 architecture i8086/i186/i286/i386/i486 etc) VolksForth 6502 (Commodore 64, Commodore Plus 4, Commander X16, Apple 1, Apple ][, Atari XL/XE) VolksForth Z80 (CP/M, Schneider CPC) VolksForth 68000 (Atari ST, Amiga with EmuTOS) Copyright The VolksForth Sources are made available under the terms of the BSD Lizenz - http://www.opensource.org/licenses/bsd-license.php The Handbook is Copyright (c) 1985 - 2020 Forth Gesellschaft e.V. ( Klaus Schleisiek, Ulrich Hoffmann, Bernd Pennemann, Georg Rehfeld, Dietrich Weineck, Carsten Strotmann). (most of the Information is still in german. We are planning to provide future versions with englisch documentation) Have fun with VolksForth the VolksForth Team Submitter pzembrod Submitted 11/14/20 Category Dev Tools  
    1 point
  7. To be clear, the MEGA 65 isn't going to cost $800+ when it goes to retail sale. Based on the hardware in it, I'm betting it will cost $400-500. Still not "inexpensive", but actually not far off what it would cost to build an Ultimate 64 with all new parts.
    1 point
  8. Hi Dan, I think you might be able to find free PDFs on the interwebs that talk about programming on the C64; that might be enough to get you started. I certainly know that the Commodore 64 User's Guide and Programmer's Reference Guide are out there free, and will teach you Commodore BASIC just fine. And yes, I think that would get you well on your way to understanding Commodore BASIC. For assembly language, there are also online fan pages devoted to 6502 assembly, Commodore and other flavors. That might also do the trick. Ah, I see Matt beat me to the answer. Still, I agree with him. Regards, Rob
    1 point
  9. The original C64 programmer's guide will go a long way to help you understand how the Kernal works, and there are copies in many languages across the web, like here: http://www.classiccmp.org/cini/pdf/Commodore/C64 Programmer's Reference Guide.pdf The X16 programmer's guide on GitHub is pretty good at explaining what has been cut out from there and what has been added: https://github.com/commanderx16/x16-docs/blob/master/Commander X16 Programmer's Reference Guide.md There will be a complete user and programmer's guide that ships with the X16, but between these two docs and support from this forum, you should be all set.
    1 point
  10. It's a saying, "everything but the kitchen sink". Just means that they threw everything into it that they could think of. Personally, the M65 does not speak to me like the X16 does. I have zero desire to own a new computer with a floppy drive, and even less to pay more for a cute toy computer than my serious daily driver personal laptop. If I want to play C64 games, there are emulators for that. If I want a cute toy computer, it's either going to be a Raspberry Pi, where I can run modern software and do things like have low-power servers or custom TV dongles, or the X16 where I can have a fun development target for assembly games and demos that won't break the bank. If the X16 was targeting a $1000 price point, I would not be interested at all, but I would still the admire the technical achievement, like I do for the M65.
    1 point
  11. Having just watched a pretty thorough walk through of the 65, I'm pretty impressed. Sure it was expensive, but it'll get better. Maybe. A couple things that are interesting to me: GO 64 - I can have my cake and eat it too They have shipped 100 units, so it's real(ish). The software development is already pretty mature
    1 point
  12. I'm not a developer, just a standard user interested in reliving my youth. I've been aware of the Mega65 for some time, but I knew relatively little about it (as compared to the X16) before Nostalgia Nerd's video released today. Based on what I saw in the video, it seems really cool. Very capable and showcasing a lot of features. Clearly the price will have to come down, but backwards compatibility and HDMI are both really compelling! That being said, the 'kitchen sink' model they seemed to have followed, such as having both an internal floppy and external peripheral support, having both internal SD and external microSD, and the planned Amiga and AtariST cores for the FPGA really have me concerned that the product won't be cost reduced enough for mass market. Also, the complexity they have gone for also slows down development. I don't doubt the product will eventually come out, but I am concerned how long it will take considering the time already invested and the potential for future issues as they refine the dev kits for mass market. To use a Commodore example, to me the Mega65 appears to be (philosophically) linked to the Commodore 128, whereas the X16 is much closer to the Vic20. My guess is the X16 will appeal more strongly to those interested in 6502 programming (over the Mega65) because of its simplicity and focus, whereas the Mega65 will appeal more to those that want to have maximum hardware compatibility with their existing Commodore collections. For myself personally, I want a new Commodore toy that won't destroy the bank and will (eventually) feature a strong software catalogue of new games pushing the hardware in new and interesting ways.
    1 point
  13. The ”Dave factor” is important for me too. There is a large X16 community already. I just hope people won’t be tired of waiting for the computer to arrive. Besides that I like the balance between limitations and possibilities. As someone mentioned 8 Mhz is perfect, you don’ have to count every cycle but you still have to think about what’s possible. Likewise for the amount of memory and 320x240 is perfect for homemade games. But it’s sad that the 65816 couldn’t be used. 16 bit arithmetics get tedious to implement after a while even if you use macros. I don’t know much about retrocomputers but I have visited the Mega65 site. It looks professional but I wasn’t able to understand much, not even if the computer was ready and for sale. The X16 site is much better. An emulator to download, two reference manuals to read and you’re on your way (still I must admit I struggled with a lot of things in the beginning...)
    1 point
  14. But is it ? I agree with you on the root concepts idea - I've always said people should do something like program a PIC16C84 or a C64 or something like that so they know at root what's going on (some PHP programmer told me "Boolean Algebra's not a thing" any more ...). Not sure we're there. Might be better off doing the Ben Eater design , or something similar to do the basic stuff.
    1 point
  15. I agree. No matter how advanced our main desktop/laptop computers become, it's not like a baby born in 2020 has Ohm's Law, Boolean Logic, and hundreds of other concepts in "factory ROM" or something. You have to start with the absolute basics. If anything, modern computers are near-overwhelming, with no single person able to build one themselves. In a way, it's better to have a much slower computer you can understand/fix than a much more powerful one that is essentially magic. But practically speaking, it's good to have both for different reasons. For me, Dave's goal to keep the system understandable, buildable, hackable (discrete components rather than FPGA) is a big plus.
    1 point
  16. I think it's fair to enjoy both systems for what they bring to the table. I'm interested in both computers, and I feel the Commander will be more of an experimenter's tool, where the MEGA will end up being primarily a modern Commodore 64 replacement. The FPGA doesn't bother me one bit. In fact, I think the Ultimate 64 has proven that an FPGA system can be highly compatible and still superior to the original. Gideon's $240 motherboard is both faster and more powerful than anything ever made for the C64 with discrete components: The 48MHz CPU alone is a first for Commodore 8-bit computers, for example. So both have their place, and I'm more interested in seeing how both fit into the scene than in picking a side.
    1 point
  17. The c65 has some design decisions i really don't like: Built in floppy drive --> Those drives already sucked in the 80s and they still do today. Unreliable, slow and noisy. Case is bulkier and the machine becomes more expensive. But hey, it's the nostalgic touch that counts, isn't it? Minor design flaws (e.g. the chosen battery for the RTC. Would be an easy fix, but the c65 is a very academic project approach ...) And both designs do not offer a simple way to use modern peripherals (except the keyboard on the x16, which i really dig), e.g. USB devices, Bluetooth, Wifi, ... And thus i chose the Mister instead of both, maybe the cores of the x16 and c65 get ported some day. The Mister is obviously done by very grounded and experienced people and that shows in hard- and software-design. But the x16 community is great and the barebone approach has really a very nice touch. So i'd prefer the x16 over the c65 :-).
    1 point
  18. I have one myself as have countless others. It's faster than the CX16 and costs a tenner. But there is one important pro that none of the others have, except for three ; a large potential user base - the three are the Spectrum Next, the Mega 65, and the Commander X16. (there are others that have smaller bases, the Gigatron, RC2014, Zx Uno perhaps and so on). Without that user base you don't have software, an eco system, and without that you have another in the long list of machines that were technically excellent but you couldn't do much with. In the 1980s when I was a lad there were many of them. Neither the Speccy or the C64 is a particularly good design, the aim being to maximise profit for minimum design effort. But there were so many of them people worked round their limitations to often spectacular results. In some ways it's an advantage. Without the option of flashy graphics or sound on a Spectrum, people tried new game ideas instead.
    1 point
  19. Graphically they aren't too far apart, in terms of the tile maps and so on. This isn't surprising as they are both developments of C64/C65. The Mega65 is probably more powerful but a bit messier and confusing. The X16 is relatively simple, you can figure it out mostly straight off (this isn't a criticism). The Mega65 does not have the CX16's problem of the limiting bridge between the processor and the graphic memory. The CX16 has more sprites but less options for replacing them in other ways. There is one huge difference. (And yes I do know why, authenticity). The 6502 in the Mega65 has several changes. One is to widen the address bus so it can access 24 bit addresses (though it is still basically a 6502). Another is the addition of some 32 bit data operations. The last is the clock speed ; it runs at 48Mhz (not sure but about this but it's this sort of order). This is fast enough to put it in the same box as the ARM system David reviewed a while back ; you can write proper retro style games without having to write in Assembler, and you can run a fast enough P-Code system. Having done it on my own system I've a pretty good idea how much "poke" you need to make it work, and the CX16 doesn't quite have it (by a factor of 2-3) without big chunks of assembler. It doesn't bother me writing it, but it handicaps the beginners. The more the merrier though, why not Robotron in BASIC. Both have similar systems software, basically bodging the C64/C65 kernel and BASIC ROM to provide limited support for the extended facilities and interface to SDCards rather than cassette tape. Sound is much of a muchness. For some reason there's a floppy on the prototype (can you buy them any more ?) The other difference is that the M65 has a huge software base, though to be honest this doesn't really matter. If you just want to play Game X on the C64, you can either buy that Mini64 gadget, or simply run it on VICE or similar. It's easier and simpler. If you want to play a game, you want to play a game. Backwards compatibility is nice but overrated IMO, applies to the Spectrum Next as well. They aren't really that different. The last time I looked, the FPGA was doing all the graphics, the PCM, at least some of the audio channels and the SDCard I/O. This leaves you with the CPU, RAM and ROM (which are external on the M65 I think), possibly some audio channels, and a PIA/VIA for interfacing (the keyboard port may be on the FPGA now, I'm not sure). So basically the difference is that the M65 has a CPU in the FPGA and the CX16 doesn't. And the prototype M65 batch is 1000 Euros. Not sure what CX16 is going tobe, other than way more than Dave's £ 30-40 estimate.
    1 point
  20. There have been and are many retro/hobby/oldskool new 8/16-bit style systems in development. They all have pros and cons. I have been waiting for a new computer or games console as an alternative to the current ecosystem. I have a decent PC to play the newest games if I want, but to have a low powered simple easy to use system with new games would be nice. Something cheap, simple and powerful enough to have new fun games. I haven’t considered programming for many years, but the Commander X16 seems easy enough to at least try. The Commander X16 has a powerful enough CPU with a good GPU to make games that should surpass almost any 8-bit system and match 16-bit consoles. If I have read the specs correctly, the Mega65’s CPU is about 6 times faster, but the X16 has a significantly more capable GPU, 16 times more sprites. I know that’s not the whole story, but the X16 should be cheaper and better at games, win win. Also the X16 development team and community are good enough that it might sell many thousands of units, maybe even enough to make it viable for commercial development by pro studios. (Well, we can hope).
    1 point
  21. I'm not sure if I actually care if it's an FPGA. Functional equivalent doesn't bother me. It doesn't bother me AT ALL to use an SD2IEC card on my Commodores. Sure I have a 1541, but the SD card is more reliable. I ordered a Mega 65 so I'll know more about how I feel about it when I get it. I'm very curious how things like this will be received without at least some of the community driving the nostalgia factor. I use my C64 and 128 all the time at least in part because there's some nostalgia for it. But I skipped over the Amiga in my computer journey in the 90s. Went to DOS and then Linux in 1996. I own an Amiga 600 and don't use it because it doesn't resonate with me like a C64 does. Should be a fascinating thing to study really.
    1 point
×
×
  • Create New...

Important Information

Please review our Terms of Use