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  1. So, I'm just going to answer a few more concerns about the X8. One person said I was clearly in favor of this, or something to that effect. Well, I made that clear at the beginning. I wanted to release it 6 months ago. I haven't tried to cover that up. Several people seemed concerned about how much money I was going to make from this project and how the X8 might reduce that. I know I have said this before, but I'll say it again. This project was NEVER about money for me. In fact, I've made it clear many times that I never intended to profit from this project at all. All profits made from the X16 would be split between Kevin, Frank, Michael, Perifractic, and a few other people. I have told the entire time many times I didn't want anything. I'd rather my "profit" be sacrificed to help reduce the cost of the system. My main goal was to have my dream computer, and that other people would have it too. Now, if it ends up selling millions of units, ok, we'll re-visit that conversation. But that's not likely. I haven't released the emulator for the obvious reason that if this product is to be buried and never see the light of day, I'd rather the emulator just not be out there. So we'll release that if it is decided to go forward with it. I suppose I could find some time next week to port Petscii Robots to the X8 for demonstration, since some people were asking about that. It shouldn't take long. Petscii Robots doesn't use any banked RAM. After all, it was originally designed for a computer with 32K. However, I was going to be using banked RAM for the new soundtrack eventually. But at the same time, having access to the SD card can compensate for that. I could load each song in as needed, for example, rather than storing them all in RAM at once. Some people seem confused on why I'm in favor of releasing this. So I'm going to open up and totally lay it out here. This is my honest opinion on that matter: The X16 has taken much longer to bring to market that I thought. There were many times where development was halted for 6 months or more because of unsolvable bugs. And even though we are close to being able to release a kit fo the X16, it's going to still take more time to get this out the door and the people wanting fully assembled systems will be waiting extra time. The X16 is definitely happening. The X8 is not meant as a replacement for it. But, I felt like the X8 with it's super-low price-tag and easy manufacturing could help keep interest in the project much like "The C64 Mini" did, even though everyone was wanting a full-sized machine. This would keep development on-going, and most anything made for the X8 could easily be ported to the X16 later. I do not believe X8 sales will cannibalize X16p sales. And sales of the X8 could even help to fund more development on the X16 surface-mount version and eventual X8-FPGA version. And for those people that don't want an X8, it seems like the solution is simple. Just don't buy one. Buy the X16p instead. Or wait for phase-2, or whatever.
    13 points
  2. Hello fellow Commandos! In my exciting new role as a fan and forum member I've seen many requests directed at @The 8-Bit Guy asking for info about the Phase 1, X16P case, which he has decided to retire so as to simplify the project. Firstly although I was a fan of the case (pun intended) I respect David's decision. The X16 has always been his baby and we're just along for the ride. To be clear, he has stated the Phase 1 official case is now in the past. Having chatted with David about the questions about the case we agreed it's a good idea for me to present this thread as an unofficial FAQ of sorts, to answer those questions, so the community has access to the same info I had. I'd never want to feel I was withholding useful info as I continue my step back. So in no particular order: Will there be a "vendor badge" sticker / stick-on badge available? I shared all assets with the team as part of my handover, so everything is available to them including logos and badge designs. I think it would be wise to give the team at least a few days (or weeks) to adjust to the team member changes. I think if you can be patient, some well formed options will come to light. For any badges I recommend Marco van de Meulenhof aka BadgeMan. Can we have the case designs to 3D print? Sadly not, mainly as I don't have them. As stated from the start, the case was a modified existing design and I chose this path to cut the end user cost by a total of about $100,000 compared to designing and tooling our own case & keyboard. This means the X16 project does not have full ownership of the design which partly belongs to Sohoo. Standard copyright law applies. Also the X16 project signed a standard confidentiality agreement with them. They own the design starting point and will not license iterations. They also never released their own design files to us. The renders you’ve seen like the above were made by Mat Recardo & I, and are visuals only based on my own changes (see below). There's no internal structure for mounting and it's not exact size. Refining that for 3D printing would be a huge task, and that’s if the project had the rights to do so, which it does not. If providing 3D print plans for the case were an easy possibility I would have made sure that was done for you guys a few days ago. I thought long and hard about the options. Unfortunately I had to conclude that it’s a bit of a minefield. Well give us the model number and we'll model it for 3D printing anyway! The model number is public knowledge, available on Google, and this is the link to the manufacturer's case info page. However, again, the X16 project cannot legally condone or encourage recreating or cloning another party's intellectual property. To do so may jeopardise the X16 project. Other important points to keep in mind: Any price you see quoted on Chinese websites will always increase hugely, and excludes the PSU and modifications. The last unmodified single unit I ordered from the manufacturer as a testing sample cost me $139.75 landed - paid by wire only (keep in mind the factory have no PayPal, no store, etc.) despite what you may see online. Some of my mods included the plastic colour, plastic texture, steel texture, removing DVD tray, removing eject button, screen printing 8-Bit logo, butterfly logo badge engraving, 2nd badge creation, button changes, and more. Structural changes inside also. Oh and team autographs were to be embossed inside. Perifractic I actually replaced the front panel with a whole new design. The reason is the standard one is designed for modern vertical use and has a big hole (release handle) on one edge. You cannot remove holes in injection moulds, you can only add holes. The hole is largely hidden at the bottom in the vertical photos but looks ghastly on the left side when laid horizontally to suit retro aesthetics. You can see the wires and columns through it. I'd never have wanted to release a product like that. It’s only fair I warn you about that hole in the Sohoo case (don't fall into it!). But yes, the above linked case was the starting point 2 years ago. New front panel design: Perifractic To help with realistic expectations, if acquiring one unmodified unit at $140, the photo below is about best one could get it to appear without colour and texture mods, and all the other changes. Obviously the retail product would've looked hugely better: Would it be possible to get the case later as separate purchase? No. The only real way to get that case as depicted is for the team to follow the normal practice and order 1000 units at a price I negotiated down to about $32/unit inc. PSU & box, and I had to fight hard to stop that going up to 2000 units minimum with COVID. My plan was for that to be achieved via crowdfunding at this website. But again I certainly understand the appeal of simplifying the project in light of other complications and concerns re parts and order assembly etc. and fully respect the change of direction, as should we all. I believe this case is no longer an option. What about a different 3D printed case design? In my experience the case is too large for 3D printers and would need to be printed in 2 or 4 sections then clipped/glued together. A line could be factored into the design to make that less unattractive. David has said 3D printing of that size is cost prohibitive so I'm guessing it's unlikely that would be offered directly by the team as an option. How about making a case design available at Protocase or similar? This would be up to the team and community. I had liaised with similar companies before and they actually rejected the project due to some of its specific needs, which always surprised me. Anyone is free to upload their designs anywhere and make them available. What is the form factor? The case is a standard Micro ATX "Slim" model, and can house a Micro ATX or Mini ITX motherboard. At the time of writing the X16P motherboard is Micro ATX, and at the time of writing should fit in any Micro ATX case. The team will hopefully update this should that change (unlikely). What about cases for the other phases? The modified case designs for these are all on file with the team and they have my permission to use them. The same basic copyright situation applies as above re the manufacturer base designs. Rotate__[000-150].mp4 X16C/Mat Recardo/Perifractic X16E/X8/Arne/Perifractic As I conclude my one week handover, I truly hope this extra info and clarity is useful to the community going forward! Your friend in retro, Perifractic http://youtube.com/perifractic | http://patreon.com/perifractic
    9 points
  3. I thought about the whole situation for a bit more. I still think it's best to release the Phase 1 X16 first. About the next steps I'm not so sure any more... Yes - this! Regarding the X8: If it as the same VERA interface, then I will support it. Ok - I would have to throw away all the bespoke sound tracks for the YM 2151 I have sourced. But because of the limited RAM those would not be usable anyway, so my games then will be without any sound. Also graphics would have to be tuned down, and I personally won't make use of the double VRAM on the X16 in the future. But I won't go into the hassle of supporting 2 different VERA interfaces. If I would, then there were different ways of addressing this, which I don't like: Use wrapper functions: impacts performance. Use conditional compilation (cc65) / macros (assembler): harder to maintain, makes code less readable, no impact on performance Maintain different/mixed code bases: even harder to maintain, but also no impact on performance. Yes all of the 3 options would work and also the additional effort is maybe not that big - but it is there and would take away time from the actual fun development. If it is possible: integrate a YM2151 in fpga. So we would be able to use existing music trackers like Deflemask etc. Otherwise it will be hard to create high quality sound tracks. All the instruments and samples need to be recreated, for the YM everything exists. So: please if you release the X8, then make it's VERA interface identical to the X16. And tune down the CPU speed to 8MHz. It would be so hard to explain why the little brother of the X16 is 50% faster. If possible integrate a YM2151 FPGA implementation.
    5 points
  4. Since it is all inside FPGA, is it possible to implement in X8 one more way to accces VRAM - the way it is in X16. Developer would be free to choose either use 256 byte window or 4 registers. I mean, if you already implemented 256 byte window, implementing 4 byte window along side should not be a problem. Thus way X16 programs would run on X8 without modifications.
    5 points
  5. That is impossible in the current state of things. There are not basic commands for graphics or sound like the C128 or Plus/4. Its all pokes and vpokes, that true for sound, sprites, tiles, etc. The only exceptions are simple graphics like putting a pixel or a line on the bitmap. That means if X8 comes out with a vastly different VERA interface it will nuke all the work people have done on the emulated platform that's been out and targeted with development for years. (Edited to add: Its one thing to say 'don't rely on official kernal calls; they may change' and quite another to say 'oh, the core video is getting torn out after 2 years, so sorry!') There's a lot of ways to burn goodwill besides just not delivering on a kickstarterer. Having some rando (to you) subject matter expert dedicate 100+ hours on a an assembler core, or IDE, or music tracker, or etc., etc., etc., only to say "oops, just rewrite your work to use a vastly different VERA" is like slapping that guy in the face. Not only will he be reticent to go all in for your project again, but anyone who watches it happen will be likewise hesitate. The X8 will kill this project and ecosystem in my view. Just go to the 'downloads' section of this site and ask: How much of this stuff would actually work with what has been described as the X8. That sort of pivot would be tantamount to a bait and switch. Sorry if it is rude or uncouth to say so, but somebody has to. EDITED: I've edited to moderate my tone slightly. Sorry for the language prior to the edit.
    5 points
  6. Absolutely. I had already planned to bundle Petscii Robots with the X16. And it can certainly run on the X8 as well.
    5 points
  7. Okay, having read and thought about this a lot more than I had when I answered the poll, I must admit I changed my mind. I now think very few people here will lose interest in the X16 just because they can have an X8 now, and it will allow Dave to get some money to fund further X16 development while giving the people something to play with and pass the time in return. Regarding compatibility, I don't see why the X8 could not easily be modified to use the X16's Vera addressing scheme, at least optionally. The only thing that I have conflicting feelings about is the speed - it would feel "more right" to me if the X16 was not slower than its little brother. Slowing down the X8 to 8MHz by default might avoid the strange feeling of "not really upgrading" when switching to the X16 later. And it would certainly avoid some porting issues later on. So, my revised opinion is: Gimme the X8 now! (Maybe only 6 or 8 MHz though) Phase 1 X16P Kit next Phase 2 for the non-solderers that still want most of the retro experience and expandability
    4 points
  8. 8-bit Dave, when you are ready for those of us who wish to simply donate (no obligation), can you send a notice with link? I want to see this dream come true!
    4 points
  9. So, I just wanted to address some of the questions/concerns about the X8. Just to reiterate, BASIC code should be compatible unless it uses a bunch of pokes and peeks. You could literally take the SD card out of the X8, stick in in the X16 and the code should run. For machine language programs, as for the differences in how the Vera is accessed, it's not nearly as many here are thinking. I saw one person who seemed irate over the idea that we'd be throwing away all of the coding work people have done. It's still the same features, the same registers, and same behaviors. The sprites, the layers, the PSG, it's all the same. The primary difference is how you copy data to VRAM. I suppose with some software this could be a major problem. But in most cases, I suspect it would be less than an hour worth of work to convert a game from X16 to X8 or vice-versa. I haven't actually ported Petscii Robots yet (since I don't know if this product will see the light of day) but I suspect I could have it running on the X8 in maybe an hour or two. It's nowhere nearly as difficult as porting between something like the VIC-20 and C64 which have very different video/audio systems. The reason it has USB, or more specifically, the reason it CAN have USB is because this is all handled by the FPGA. There was no way we could handle USB on a 6502 system due to the enormous complexity of USB. However, the USB support would be limited to keyboards and controllers. For the person that asked why on earth you would want this and compared it to a C64 and then saying a C32 instead. Well, the main benefits are: half the price and immediate availability. As i've mentioned before, the X16e might never see the light of day because it is going to be dependent on the X16p being a success before that gets developed. But we could have this available now. And it will be so darned cheap, there's no reason you couldn't have this along side the X16p, or use this to develop on and wait for the X16e or whatever. For those asking where to donate. I haven't set anything up yet. I've already seen a few paypal donations come in. But I'd rather people wait until we have some official account for the X16 development.
    4 points
  10. I just wanted to chime in about the costs and confusion on the X8. First and foremost, it is really hard to narrow down a cost structure with the crazy chip market at the moment. Hopefully that is a temporary problem. So let me tell you where we would be if the chip market were the same as two years ago. The X8 could be available immediately and be well under $50. I'm not sure how far under $50. I'd say as low as $25 and as high as $50. The Phase 1 system sold as a DYI kit could be well under $300. Maybe under $250. Add another $100 to $150 for a pre-assembled kit. Again, you can't hold me to these numbers because so many things are unknown right now with the cost of chips. But that hopefully puts things in a ballpark for people trying to figure this out. For those trying to figure out what the advantage would be of an X8 versus what is envisioned for the X16 Phase-3 (known as the X16e). Well, the X8 would still be half the price. For example, the X8 might be $35 and the X16e would be like $70. There is simply no way to ever produce an FPGA based X16 as cheaply as the X8 can be produced. And the X8 brings with it most of the functionality and personality of the X16. And it's not an emulator. So, there's that. And there's another more depressing matter to consider. If the X16 doesn't sell well enough to recoup some of the costs we've plunged into it, the X16e will never see the light of day. Where as the X8 could start sales very quickly and actually help fund the entire project. So there's that too.
    4 points
  11. Never in my wildest 1980s dreams did I ever expect to see any computer user say "eh, not so fast, slow down the computer for me please."
    3 points
  12. Thank you, @Perifractic,for this update and clarification. Posts like this give us all insight into just how difficult it is to bring a new product to market, and how much effort and thought the Commander X16 team has already put into the project. I think I speak for everyone in this forum when I say that we appreciate your contributions.
    3 points
  13. @The 8-Bit Guy Donation link please. I'm happy to throw money at the project just to see the dream come true.
    3 points
  14. Looks similar but one of the many complications I’ve been through is I had to design a new front to replace that. The reason is that one is designed for vertical use and has a huge hole (release handle) on the bottom edge. This is hidden in the main photos but looks ghastly when laid horizontally to suit retro aesthetics. It’s only fair I warn you about that. With the redesign I was also obviously able to remove the DVD tray, eject button, and engrave the butterfly logo and a few other such things. A few changes inside too. But yes, that was the starting point 2 years ago… Please heed the above polite request for patience. Cheers.
    3 points
  15. I think if you go to 8BG's Patreon page and start donating, or increase your donation if already donating, with a quick note to him that you're doing it for X16 support, that might go a long way, and then he doesn't have to do anything but be thankful for all the people who want to help see this dream computer succeed.
    3 points
  16. Regardless of whether a crowd funding platform requires something or not, I have a reputation of integrity to uphold. The last thing I want is people saying that the 8-Bit Guy took their money and didn't deliver on a promise. However, I have been considering doing some sort of crowdfunding where it would literally just be asking for donations to keep this project alive. An infusion of $20,000 with no requirement to repay it would go a LONG way to pushing this product out to the public. $100,000 would guarantee a successful launch. But that's a lot to ask. I know there are several thousand people interested in this. If everyone just donated $5 that would probably be an incredible help.
    3 points
  17. Hi David & crew, I work for an electronics manufacturing company in Tennessee that has the capability to do through-hole and SMT manufacturing. Also, we may be able to help with the power supply issue, as our primary line of products are all power supply-based. I know PCBWay has done a lot to support this project, and I'm not looking to step on any toes. But I thought I would extend a greeting just the same. Send a PM if we can be of assistance. In any case, I'm looking forward to seeing the project through and getting a kit myself.
    3 points
  18. I work with a bespoke SFF case manufacturer. There's no minimum order, the cases are manufactured ad-hoc. The case could be designed from scratch around the X16 and supplied in kit form or fully assembled. Right at the start, before you announced the official case, we were looking at offering our own product to go with the X16. I'd love to work with you and produce an official case, or if you don't want the hassle of managing a new case project maybe we could just produce our own complimentary product? Hope this post doesn't get lost in the noise, please drop me a PM.
    3 points
  19. I've been a musician for over half my life and a video game player for as long as I can remember, and yet somehow these two interests did not combine until about two years ago, when I agreed to do the soundtrack for an Indie video game. That game (finally) launched today! It's a difficult (but cute) puzzle game called "Chromatic Fantasy." The soundtrack (you can listen to it without having to buy it, which is nice) is here on BandCamp. And, the game itself (so far only for Windows) is here on Steam. It's not a retro soundtrack at all; so I'm posting it here in the Off-Topic, Non-Retro forum. If anyone's curious, the soundtrack was composed largely in StaffPad, and some of the native StaffPad sounds ended up in the final mixes combined with a number of sample-based Kontakt instruments. The game designer and I decided that, since it's the kind of game with a lot of head-scratching and staring at the screen in frustration, the soundtrack should be on the calmer, relaxing side. He also wanted it to have that medieval/fantasy feel that supports the game's theme (rescuing cute dragons from an evil wizard). It took me a little to get the feel for writing music in these constraints, but once I got used to it, I ended up producing 18 tracks and over an hour of music. I hope some folks on here might enjoy the music, the game, or both!
    2 points
  20. Judging off 8BITGUY's posts in totality, I sort of feel like the decision was made before the poll went up. He wants to push out the X8 and is looking for community endorsement of that direction. With his avowed commitment to X16 I guess I'm OK with it. Its better than just pulling the damn plug on everything and pulling the website and repos off the nets. I get the sense his fatigue with the whole thing is all too real at this point. EDITED TO ADD: I agree, of course, that having the X8 emulator and details of the specs (including the nuts and bolts about how VERA-JR or whatever we are to call the X8 version works in terms of memory accesses etc) would be a real plus at this point. I want to grab that info, load the "balls.prg" demo from the official REPO and see what it takes to get that working.
    2 points
  21. Gosh, thanks fellow forum member. What's great about the CX16 project is not just the team members, but the forum members are also interesting people. For people who don't know, Perifractic has a Youtube channel where his dogs show off retro hardware, and his fair other half adds sound effects, and it also has assorted other things. But, oh my goodness, I want a CX16c in that cute little case now.
    2 points
  22. I'm not sure. I still get a bad feeling about releasing the X8 now. I'm not so concerned about the team's support for the X16 as much as the community. Let's say they release the X8 now, and a lot of people are excited about making something for X(anything), and so jump on writing software for the X8. Then a couple years down the line the X16 finally comes out. A LOT can happen in just a couple of years, software-wise, from what I've seen on these forums. By then probably a lot of games will have come out, written for the X8. And I can't help but feel that a lot of the hype may have gone down by then. And with the X16 being slower, and the interface to the VERA being a bit more tedious to deal with, will all that many people really be excited to port their stuff to the X16? Sure, people will start to develop things for the X16 at that point, but I feel like it will always be behind the X8. Also, a lot of people may feel their games and whatnot should support both the X8 and X16, which means not being allowed to use too much RAM or VRAM, which means a lot of developers not taking full advantage of the X16's capabilities. Again, this is just a worry, I could be totally wrong. I hope I am. But I feel like I have to put it out there.
    2 points
  23. Wow. This is very noble of you, and I for one am grateful that this community has someone like you in it. It's impressive that you can will projects like the Commander X16 into existence fueled on enthusiasm alone. That said, I was also hoping you would be making a reasonable amount of profit for your efforts. Frankly, you deserve it, but there's another reason as well. Not to get into a macro-economical debate, but one of the benefits of capitalism is that it's supposed to put resources into the hands of those who have proven to best utilize them. You, sir, are one of those people. I feel the retro community would be better off with a wealthier 8-bit Guy who has more resources and more financial motivation to continue taking on inspiring projects.
    2 points
  24. The way I see it, people can choose if they want the X8, X16 or both. Personally, I'd love to buy both but funds won't allow it, but I'd gladly buy an X8, even if it's just a working populated board (I've recently got a mini 3D printer so I could print a case).. I don't see sales of an X8 dimishing sales of the X16.. But I agree, the X8 can keep interest in the project alive. I mentioned above that I'd gladly pay the mentioned $50 for an X8 and I'd add $10 or $20 extra to help development of the X16. I've watched the videos you and Perifractic have done with great interest (I've always wanted to design my own computer) and I'd consider it a great sadness if nothing came of all the hard work everyone has put into it.
    2 points
  25. Keeping up the spirit, I just finished a RPi Zero W "hat" that can be used to connect to the X16 over I2C. It was less than 2 € for 5 pcs + postage, so I also ordered the part.
    2 points
  26. (yeah, I'm posting a lot on this thread, but this subject has me very jazzed) Something occurred to me, by mentioning the incompatibility between the VIC20 and the C64: you touched on something very interesting. The C64 was a success *because* 1) it was better in most ways and 2) incompatible with the VIC20, an already successful computer (which was the first computer to sell a million units). This is proven out by what happened with the C128. A nice computer, but a roaring success? Not so much. And also to a lesser extent the C16 and Plus/4 are another example. The X8 actually seems better in many ways. Faster clock speed, USB, more efficient video access, as you said, etc. Yes, less RAM, but with fast access to external storage, is this a big handicap? Is it a handicap at all? The X8 seems like a cool product, and at the price you mentioned, very accessible. But should it be compatible with the X16? I'm thinking now, probably not. Why did you make the choices you did with X16? Discrete chips, and everything else. I seem to remember you being pretty dead set against anything FPGA, but now you're arguing fairly strongly for the first product you release to be one that seems to be at cross purposes with all of that. But it is cheap, and it's available now. Cheap and fast does tend to be a bad strategy most of the time, I have to say. These are tough decisions.
    2 points
  27. Maybe you're right that it would only take a couple/few hours to retool those programs to the X8. I don't know, and WE (this community) CAN'T know since the X8's detailed specs are simply not available AT ALL. (Compare that with all the ample tech details we've had on the X16). As a result, I find its very difficult to have a meaningful discussion about it. But just from what you said describing the X8 so far, it looks to me like probably none of the top downloads on the X16 site would work without retooling them, and how difficult that would be certainly depends on those non-public technical details. Because its not necessarily JUST the VERA, is it? A lot of people are using banked RAM in their programs, for example. So why not put those details out. Just the technical description of how the X8 works. What's the memory map. What are the specific details of reading writing VERA? Etc. Reading between the lines, and from your last few posts in particular, it seems obvious that you personally are strongly leaning toward the decision to push the X8 and its what you want to do. But since you do seem genuinely interested in securing community sentiment in that direction, I would think it might help to get the tech details for the modified VERA addressing and maybe, perhaps, get the emulator out there! It would let people get some empirical experience with the process of converting something that relies on X16 VERA etc. into working with X8 VERA etc. I'd love to tackle all the 'offical' BASIC programs in the DEMOs directory of the official repo and see how they go. One more question which I hope I haven't missed in prior posts (this thread has moved fast): Current docs on the official X16 repo indicate that $A000 to $BFFF (the 8K banked ram area) is initialized to BANK1 as the default for the User, with the X16 reserving BANK0 for Kernal Variables and Buffers. If the X8 has no banking, what happens with range $A000 to $BFFF?
    2 points
  28. Did you not use any of the X16's banked RAM, for resources that you now have to manage differently on the X8? You're asking us to choose or not choose a product we know very little about. We've had years now to familiarize with the X16, and what, a little over 24 hours, and 2 or 3 posts to find out about the X8, pretty lopsided... Reading between the lines, you seem anxious to get the X8 out, what's the hurry? Could we not have more time, more info, and access to the emulator? And then get feedback?
    2 points
  29. Yes, @The 8-Bit Guy this was the most important missing option in Question 1: 1. Option 4: Yes, release the X16 kit in beta to a limited number of selected developers willing to build or pay for a built board, then once the the X16 is ready for full release, release the X16p, X16c and X8 at the same time. No wait for the X16e, so no Osborne effects either way. If that option had been available, that would have been my vote: use the X8 to avoid the x16e development phase altogether. As a side benefit, this would also give time to contact Stefanie to see if she can help @Frank van den Hoef integrate a soft YM2151 core into the X8 design on an FPGA that can handle both. Then you have the same audio feature set, the X8 is a subset of the same video feature set, and you have much less "feature fracturing" between X16 and X8. Given the raft of FM chips and FPGA soft cores of FM chips on the Feonix256, having the YM2151 in the X8 would also narrow the porting gap between X16 software and the Feonix256.
    2 points
  30. @The 8-Bit Guy There are a few fundraising channels which could fuel the X16 project well past a fundraiser The Commander X16 store is not functional. This seems like low hanging fruit for someone who knows how to put these kind of deals together with t-shirt and knick-knack companies that will slap logos and familiar catch phrases on products of hopefully good quality. Raffles are a great fundraiser, and the better the prize the more money can be raised from increased interest. For example, some of the early X16 hardware or other related vintage hardware as raffle prizes. Live streaming something involving the X16 project from someone deeply involved. For example, live coding a game such as PETscii Robots and offering programming Q&A to viewers. This is what comes to mind to help with funding. There's probably some better ideas, but this is what is popping into my head right now.
    2 points
  31. That is a great idea to ask for donations. I would be more than happy to donate to the project; would love to see an X16 and get one. Perhaps pre-orders could help too maybe?
    2 points
  32. You know, thinking about this, we just don't know enough about the X8. First off, why was it created in the first place? Hats off to Frank for doing it, the guy is just a super genius, to be sure. But was it something like "USB is too hard? Hold my beer." or what? I'm a bit puzzled by its very existence, while still being impressed by it. (12 Mhz!) @The 8-Bit Guy, you said there was an emulator. As part of this feedback process about how to go forward, can't we get access to the emulator? You said 64K of RAM yes? So are the ROMs switchable, a la the C64? How is the RAM vs ROM treated then, if not very similar to the C64? Have you fully ported Petscii Robots to the X8? What were the pain points, if any, in that process? Or were the X16 and X8 versions simply developed in parallel? In all honesty, the X8 does really muddy the waters. Doing both the X16 and the X8 just seems like "too much". The choice, as hard as it is, probably need to come down to: which one do you kill? And at this moment, I for one, am not sure which. Like, would snes controllers be usable with usb adapters, on the X8? Like this: https://www.amazon.com/Tomee-SNES-USB-Controller-Adapter-pc/dp/B00HM3QCT6 Is the IEC port really needed? I haven't done much sound work yet, but is the Yamaha chip critical? And USB is more tantalizing than old, tired PS/2, to be honest. As I think about this more, it seems like we're talking more and more about a VERA ecosystem. It's doing the I/O, the sound, the graphics, and basically the X8 sounds like a VERA ate a 65C02, met a nice USB interface and moved out on its own. So if you basically have the "VERA ecosystem" and it's processor agnostic, then you have the X8, as a standalone, but then you'll want to make add-on cards for C64, the Vic 20, and why not other 65xx systems, like the Apple II, and others? Maybe just embracing the VERA is the way forward.
    2 points
  33. You guys have put so much work into this project and you've got a bunch of fans. Now it's time for US to put up or shut up. Find a way, like kickstarter, to get commitments on purchases and lets get this moving. It worked well for the Spectrum Next project. What started out as a passion project shouldn't put you guys in the poor house. Time to ask fans to start helping out and at least this fan is ready. We all prefer to have the X16 I think, but there's room for lesser options too if it helps keep you guys solvent and keeps the project going.
    2 points
  34. If you release the x8 with a $5 development fee tacked on to the final price, it will be the easiest way to raise extra capital for the next step.
    2 points
  35. Three editions: 1. X16 DIP DIY kit. 2. X16 Phase 2 Pre-assembled complete system with keyboard bundle and case. 3. X8 Phase 3 low cost pre-assembled PCB only.
    2 points
  36. That sounds like Patreon to me. I just doubled my monthly Patreon donation to you... well from $1 to $2, ha! Is that the right kind of help? If it's a matter of "need the money now", I could just bump it up for a month then settle it back down.
    2 points
  37. That isn’t quite right. It’s actually pretty simple: The X16 case design used an existing design as a basis to cut end user costs (as stated in the other thread and since the start). I then designed changes to that to customise it. We therefore cannot give out the full 3D files because we do not own 100% of them (we don’t own the basis / the original design). Analogy: Imagine you wrote a song, and someone else added a new verse and chorus, then they gave your song away for free. It also isn’t “legal issues”, just standard copyright law. More clarity is in the other thread as I don’t want to detract from David’s goal of this thread.
    2 points
  38. This thread leads me to conflate Perifractic and Michael Corleone: "Just when I thought I was out, they pull me back in!"
    2 points
  39. P.S. Based on multiple comments asking for the case designs to 3D print, I should also briefly address that. Posting here so as not to distract from David’s main thread. As stated from the start, the case was a modified existing design. This means the X16 project does not have full ownership of the design which partly belongs to Sohoo. Knowing them quite well I think splitting out who owns what part would be insurmountable. Their interest was in us purchasing hardware rather than licensing 3D print files. One final issue is that over the course of our dealings they would never release 3D files to me prior to an order being placed. The renders you’ve seen were made by us and are visuals only; no internal structure for mounting. Refining that would be another task, and that’s if the project had the rights to, which it doesn’t. I believe the issue with their PSU was just very bad luck (it happens with any manufacturer), and they were willing to send us 5 units at cost for soak testing. To close, if providing 3D print plans for the case were an easy possibility I would have made sure that was done for you guys a few days ago. I thought long and hard about the options. Unfortunately I had to conclude that it’s a bit of a minefield. The only real way to get that case as depicted is for the team to order 1000 units (at $29), as @The 8-Bit Guy indicated and I had to fight hard to stop that going up to 2000 after Covid hit. My hope was that a crowdfund via this website would’ve enabled that with a copacker handling the literal heavy lifting. But I certainly understand the appeal of simplifying the project in light of other complications and concerns re parts and order assembly etc. and fully respect the change of direction. I hope this extra info and clarity is useful to the community going forward. Thank you.
    2 points
  40. I have clicked the poll. I hope it is the last one. Here are a few of my thoughts for what they are worth. 1. Decide SOON and stick with it. Shifting sands cause people to stop working on projects that are the life's blood of an ecosystem for this thing being a success. Beware of poll-based decisions. There are people (not me, I'm just a johnny come lately) on these boards who have hundreds of hours of time and effort on your platform. Their voices ought to count louder than just poll clicks from drive by internet denizens. Message them privately. Get their phone numbers. Have a discussion. Listen. 2. Spend money on people instead of stuff. Sure there are dev costs, but why keyboards need to be ordered already I can't quite understand. Speaking of People: Once hardware is locked down to what it will be period, then I would gladly drop $$ into a crowd-fund if needed to provide a pool of compensation to induce Michael to put finishing the kernal and basic as his top priority. If you look at the things other projects are getting stuck on, and just read through the GitHub and see what he's done, I think you will have to realize he's not just the 'kernal guy' -- he's possibly one of the internet's preeminent experts on the Commodore kernal. Just look at what WORKS, and works right without any issues, on the emulator so far is a testament to that. Do NOT lose his participation! He's an MVP. And the sooner you get the Kernal and BASIC to a final point to where people can document not just the official kernal calls, but have the FP library addresses set in stone and all the important stuff like "VARTAB" and "TEXTTAB" set in stone (or close!) the better for development. 3. The 'X8" is in my opinion a cop-out option that you seem to be tempted to put out and wash your hands of this whole episode moving forward. I urge you not to. The Plus/4 died in part because of the Commodore 16 and even Commodore handicapping things well below the Plus/4 capabilities so it would work on the lesser machine. Don't spend all this time only to submarine everyone's work with a lower common denominator. 4. Consider bringing in someone to be a project manager to drive the project with deadlines and decisions that don't amount to internet bike shedding etc. I'm not sure how a youtube creator could have the time to take that role, but I think it would help.
    2 points
  41. None of the available answers reflects my opinions on this, so I'll just leave a comment here. Should we release the Commander X8? Yes, but only if it's made compatible with the X16 from a programmer's perspective. I don't think, as others already said, that two different hardware platforms are a good idea. We can live with less RAM (no banking), as long as the memory map stasy the same for both X8 and X16, and also VERA addressing mode should be the same. Ideally, a program should be able to detect X8 easily and decide if it can run on the more limited X8 hardware: if it can, no changes should be required to the code, except for coping with the limitations. Having a stripped-down version of the X16 would be nice for developers, that can start making progress on a real hardware instead of the emulator. It could be a good thing to see how much real interest there is for the X16 and help finance the project. Should we still make a Phase-2 product? Only if it is as feature complete as the Phase-1 board. It could be good to have a mass-produced PCBA if there is enough people that can't afford the DIY kit of Phase-1 or simply doesn't have the tools or skills to build it, but still wants to enjoy a retro-style computer and be part of the community around it, without missing anything that would be made for Phase-1 hardware. I see Phase-2 as the non-DIY option of Phase-1. Release Phase-1 as a kit for those you can buy it and build it, and leave Phase-2 for all the others, but they should be functionally the same hardware, only in a different package that makes it cheaper and good for mass-production. If that's done, we don't even need a Phase-3, more so if you release the X8. For the X16 Phase-1, do you prefer a kit or a somewhat more expensive pre-assembled board? After all the things you said about assembly of a Phase-1 board, I think this should be only released as a DIY kit, without the option to buy it pre-assembled. That should be left for Phase-2, that should be hardware compatible with Phase-1 in every aspect, including expansions. Again, I don't see a point in having the Phase-3 if it's essentially an emulator "in hardware". It would make sense only if it's as feature complete as Phase-1 and compatible in every aspect, including expansions. Then it could replace Phase-2 of course. But I understand this might not be a viable option with an "FPGA does it all" kind of solution. A one chip solution would still make sense to me if the X16 becomes such a huge success that you're going to make a handheld gaming console out of it, with display and keypad included. Otherwise I don't see it as useful. Basically, what I don't want is 4 different hardware platforms. Software should run mostly unchanged on anything you release under the X16 project. I understand you are calling X8 that way right because it's sufficiently different to not be an X16, otherwise you would've called it Phase-0 maybe, but... really I am afraid it could drive away people from the X16, thinking the X8 is just good enough. It could make sense only to raise some funds initially, but call it "X16-mini" or something, and make it fully compatible with X16 architecture. Sort of an appetizer for the real deal: a DIY kit with only DIP parts, released first mostly for developers or education, and an SMD version suitable for mass-production, released afterwards for everyone who could not afford the kit.
    2 points
  42. Ditto, and I don't think $200 for that service is at all unreasonable. I realize others need/want the costs to stay as low as possible, so the only way appease the masses is to sell the kit with an assembly upgrade option for those who prefer it. I think the one thing that is universal is that a X16 exists, and we can buy it. Drop the X8 for now. While interesting and also fun, it's not what attracted most of us here to begin with. If you have to ship with some minor unresolved issues, then do it, just so long as you are confident that those can be corrected once they're in people's hands (assuming they are not show stopping issues of course). I think most of the folks here trust the team and have faith this isn't a take the money and run situation.
    2 points
  43. Yes, it would absolutely have a negative effect. Not only if you release an X8, but I think that creating phase-2 and/or phase-3 versions of the X16 would further dilute what an "X16" is to the layperson. Earlier, ZeroByte wrote "I never had any interest in phase 3. A Raspberry Pi running an emulator would give the same experience." and I think that he is not alone in thinking that. To further expand on that, I don't really see much point in the phase-2 version either; to me it just seems like a cut-down version without purpose. Having multiple SKUs with differing feature sets will fracture the user base. This is already going to be a somewhat niche product, why fracture that into two, three, or even four segments? I think that only offering 3 different variations of the phase-1, the only phase, is the correct move: as a kit with or without a case, or fully pre-assembled in a case. From my perspective, the X16 is all about learning; I think the future of the X16 will be determined based on the quality of the documentation it comes with. You want everyone who uses one, young and old, to be able to say "look at those chips, I know what every one does and how it all works together!". I think going with the vintage IBM style of documentation would be appropriate; Include three-ring binder(s) and plenty of thorough, easy-to-understand paperwork, detailing every aspect of using, diagnosing, and developing for the system. I believe having a physical copy of the documentation is vital. Having the docs solely on the internet or a phone app would be distracting. It also fits with the "Old Style, but Modern Perspective" theme. Consider the potential users of this system. I think that the demographic is tech geeks and children. At this point you can probably stop thinking about the geeks since everyone who's seen your videos has probably already made up their mind about whether or not they will purchase one when they're ready. That only really leaves children. How will they feel when they open the box? The first time they turn it on? The first time that they look at the documentation? The first time that they need to troubleshoot? First impressions are really important, especially with children. This is why I think that having good docs will go a very long way. Of course it is possible to overdo it though; lots of paperwork can be intimidating.
    2 points
  44. Phase 2 would likely have 1 or possibly 2 expansion slots compatible with the phase-1 system. Phase 3 would have no expansion capabilities.
    2 points
  45. I've stepped back from active design work in the project and David has stated his position re not offering a case, but I've added an answer to the FAQ.
    1 point
  46. Preorders are a really good Idea... Maybe some Numbers of Dev Boards to a slightly higher price Like the mega65 did it.
    1 point
  47. I'd be very weary of releasing the X8 version first. It will definitely cannibalize sales of the X16 in two respects - 1) it will satisfy 90% of the demand since it can do about 90% of the work that the full X16 can do and 2) if there are any issues it will taint the expectations of the full X16 model before it sees the light of day. Your comparison to the C128 is also pretty apt - if I were you I'd hold it in reserve and treat it more like an Atari 2600jr, a later model to sell to those who couldn't afford or justify the full price. On the assembled/non-assembled board - a choice is fine with a markup, but the maybe that too can be a release in waves - first available loose, then over time you offer it fully assembled. This from a guy who had very little skill in soldering.
    1 point
  48. Commander X8 is what this project should have been from the start. Wasn't the whole point supposed to be retro bare-metal programming on a reliable, relatively inexpensive platform? Write off X16 as a bad idea and release the X8. I never understood why anyone cares what package the transistors live in, surface mount vs. through-hole, etc. It's the architecture that matters, not the appearance. An FPGA 6502 core is no different than a discrete 6502. Heck, all of WDCs new work is cores in FPGAs. The biggest problem isn't manufacturing, it's licensing. If you don't own your kernel (sic) you don't own your product.
    1 point
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