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Scott Robison

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Everything posted by Scott Robison

  1. David has said that the X8 is not a plan going forward as it turned out to be too different, and that Frank was looking at something that could be more like the X16. So I think you need not worry about fragmenting the ecosystem in that way. Maybe some other new and improved way, but not that way.
  2. This is all true. I was more addressing the USP for what X16 is today, but you're correct, it could be done without those dependencies.
  3. The primary downside to those other products is that in order to use them, you have to violate copyright law in most cases. They don't have to provide ROM images (maybe they do, but it's not a prerequisite) but someone has to acquire the ROM images. I think a good case can be made that the copyright system is broken and that it shouldn't be an issue, but it is. Actually, I guess it is possible to license the ROM images as an individual by purchasing C64 Forever or whatever it is, but I suspect the number who actually do is infinitesimal.
  4. I think your point is certainly reasonable. I can come up with reasons why X16FPGA has some USP, but whether other people will agree is another issue. I think X16 has the potential to break out beyond those who are into FPGA recreations of classic computers at a much more affordable price point than Foenix (sp?) is making available, for example. But that supposes that people are willing to buy into a niche product. Only time will tell on that one. I know I certainly couldn't do it with my YouTube audience (which is 0.0074% the size of David's). Maybe his dream will inspire others, and maybe it won't.
  5. Oh, a fourth USP: Building on from the Commodore heritage. By this I mean more than just the ROM, I mean the system as a whole. 17M+ C64 computers, 1M+ VIC 20, 5M+ C128. I know there are a lot more of other computers out there at this point, but the Commodore and 6502 lineage is going to appeal to a completely different audience than the Sinclair and Z-80 lineage. That doesn't make one better and the other worse, but I think this is the first time someone has tried to put out something like this (FPGA based actual hardware vs emulation on an ARM or other alien hardware platform) at something like this price point. The fact that the Sinclair inspired models have done as well as they have I think indicates the market might really enjoy something like this. Similar space, similar objectives, achieved differently.
  6. I'm not familiar with the ZX-Uno (I mean, I've heard of it but literally know nothing else). The MiSTer is nice, though it currently costs a lot more than we expect an FPGA X16 to cost (though we're guessing on that based on past information that is incomplete).
  7. From a purely legal standpoint, in a pure FPGA solution, the ROM is what makes the X-whatever unique. It is based on intellectual property from Cloanto (the kernal, as the current successor to Commodore) and Microsoft (BASIC, though I don't know how the initial license fee Commodore paid transfers to Cloanto but it seems it does indeed transfer). As such, these are not free to copy to other platforms. So having a retro-inspired computer with legally licensed ROM that is derived from the Commodore heritage is one USP. While it would be possible to port the HDL that makes the hardware to other platforms, it would be "useless" to most people without the ROM, and that is encumbered in its current state. Having a compact FPGA based design that is not subject to some of the downsides of software emulation is another USP. Software emulation is great, and I quite enjoy my The C64, but it isn't ideal. Especially if you think of a Raspberry Pi form factor, an FPGA solution that behaves as a real hardware solution is going to be superior to porting the emulator to an existing SBC platform. While not directly related to the FPGA nature of the original question, a PETSCII inspired keyboard with symbols printed on the keys is a third USP for the project as we understand it at this time. Given some time and less of a time crunch (I have to get ready to go teach some middle schoolers how to write Python) I may be able to come up with more, but I think those three are significant. Whether they are enough to entice people to buy into the platform is another question.
  8. Welcome Sisko. Where are you attending college and what are you majoring in?
  9. A question original posed elsewhere by@Janne Sirén, relocated here to avoid the appearance of me derailing another thread: While the initial question was posed to @Scott Robison I certainly think everyone is welcome to pose their own thoughts.
  10. I'm going to start a new thread to address my thoughts on this to avoid doing more thread derailing than I recently may have contributed to.
  11. I can only hypothesize as I have no inside knowledge, but as an active participant in the thread: off topic posts that were more off topic than most, and possibly me trying to rail against it by insisting there were better places for such replies and perhaps too snide comments on my part in relation to said posts. While I will feel bad if it is *my* post that locked the thread instead of the other posts that managed to lock it, it is hard for me to view locking of that thread at this point as a bad thing given the state of commentary. But I don't want to derail this thread, just answering the question. Start another thread or message me if I can answer more questions.
  12. The original thread is very long, so I don't blame anyone for not starting it at this point, but I've read it all (I think). There were many people who bemoaned the fact that X8 would fragment the community, because people would only buy the cheapest thing that was available and would never buy the big brother of the X8, leaving it orphaned, effectively.
  13. Good point. You made my mind up for me. I can by an X8 next month and an X16 FPGA edition six months later.
  14. Sorry to hear about the vanishing money, but welcome back to the states.
  15. That would be good. I was being pointedly snide in that comment. Though it does feel as though this has turned from a thread about X16 & X8 polling and opinions into an almost anything goes mailing list. The topic was effectively "do you think we should release X8 and in what forms should we release X16?" based on the subject and especially the poll. The team designed the systems and wanted input. Repeated admonitions from some to replace part of the established design as it exists today are out of place. Just my opinion of course, I am not a moderator or a member of the project. I don't get to dictate how the forum is used, but surely my opinion of certain topics being out of bounds and expressing such is no less valid than those who post critiques of the design choices made by the team. There are other message boards and the ability to create topics in most or all of them. This thread seems to have served its purpose. I guess I could just walk away from it and ignore it, but I do enjoy tilting at windmills.
  16. Understood. At inception less information was available. People with new information make appropriate (for them) adjustments to their plans based on new information coming to light. I'm all for people making whatever strikes their fancy. Claims that what David wants is simply a matter of optimizing a discrete alternative are taking liberties with the word simply. If it is simple, those who think it is should do it and show it to David. He is not unapproachable. Note that I'm not saying you are clamoring for this. It is a general observation from recent posts. Ultimately some posts seem like they belong in a different thread.
  17. Based on a comment from the Facebook page, the X8 is probably not going to happen as originally described because it wasn't quite similar enough to X16. Apparently a larger FPGA is being investigated. So I would buy an X8 if there was nothing else, but it doesn't appear it will be coming as originally described.
  18. Feels like AS500 is a leet spelling of ass-oo...
  19. Oh, I did. I just meant that while it is good to know that the game can still generate a new map, it still has that one flaw from my perspective. Downloading a few games from back in the day was something I did while my maxi was still on the boat.
  20. Almost definitely. It depends on the exact FPGA part and provisions provided by the team implementing it, but I would be surprised if there wasn't a way to update the FPGA to address potential defects or enhancements after the fact.
  21. I think that seems likely at this point, though we've not been told for a certainty. All in one FPGA solves a number of problems potentially. I think there will still be a less FPGA driven option at some point as well, just that decisions on how and when are still being evaluated.
  22. Exactly. "Possible" and "practical" are very different. MOnSter 6502 would be awesome to have, but it isn't practical from a "doing things" perspective. And the more parts exist in a design, the more things there are to go wrong and to troubleshoot. You can bet that if Amiga team would have used FPGA to do their design work had it been an option at the time. They used discrete wire wrapped components because they had to, not because they wanted to.
  23. That's good to know, thanks. Sadly, it still doesn't solve the PAL vs NTSC timing that makes the audio "wrong".
  24. Thanks for pointing that out. I'm a big proponent of FPGA for implementing things like this. It's bespoke artisan ASIC creation. Sure, if you're planning to sell a million of something, or even tens of thousands of something, it *can* be worth it to go the route of ASIC. Especially if you are willing to call all bugs "features" at some point. That's how the VIC II as we know it today came to be, really. There are things the demo scene has discovered about the chip that were not deliberate features, they're just artifacts of the implementation. The idea though that it is "simply a matter of optimization" to get what Ben Eater created (a cool educational project, to be sure) and transform it into something that checks all the boxes of what David wanted for his dream computer out of nothing but discrete parts seems like a stretch to me. Certainly on anything we'd consider reasonable for a given amount of time or money. The word "simply" seems like a gross understatement in that context. But I'd love to be wrong! It wouldn't be the first time, and probably wouldn't be the last. I'd love to see it, just like I'd love to see a complete C64 made out of all 7400 series chips as the C74 project is trying to do. But it won't be inexpensive or practical, and both those are at the very least unstated goals of the X16.
  25. Indeed. The proof is in the pudding. If it's easy, go do it and show us the better more enlightened way. I know it is hard for some people to find time to do such things when writing, derailing thread topics, and fighting to keep foreign governments from making us appear foolish take so much otherwise productive time... It seems it would be a great investment for the world if one could take the Ben Eater world's worst video card and turn it into something comparable to VERA.
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