Jump to content

John Chow Seymour

  • Posts

  • Joined

  • Last visited

  • Days Won


Everything posted by John Chow Seymour

  1. The AY-3-8910 was first released in 1978, but Yamaha did not begin making its own version (the YM2149) until 1983. During that period, the AY-3-8910s (or variants) made by GI (or other licensees) were used in many arcade games, and also in the Intellivision, Vectrex, and in Apple's Mockingboard--all before Yamaha's involvement. This suggests that the AY-3-8910's trajectory might have continued regardless of whether Yamaha had chosen this or the SID. I had wondered if Yamaha adopting the SID might have delayed their digital-FM synthesis work, but it seems that this was a separate stream of development. Yamaha had licensed Chowning's FM synthesis technology from Stanford way back in the 1970s and released the first commercially viable version of it, in the form of the DX7, in 1982 - the same year the SID (& C64) debuted, and a year before they started making the YM2149. So it's also likely that Yamaha's hypothetical choice of SID over AY-3-8910 would not have disrupted or delayed its FM synth development progress either, which of course, eventually dominated the market. So, we're looking at a period more or less in the mid-80s for most of the hypothetical changes to have taken place. Other than certain arcade boards or home systems sounding more... SID-ish, perhaps one interesting thing to imagine would be that Yamaha adopting the SID instead might have spurred competition between them and GI, or perhaps with Roland if they had licensed the AY line instead. The resulting development race might have improved sound or lowered costs during this period. Of course, one other fun hypothetical consequence to imagine is that it might be easier to get quality SID-replacements today, if the technology hadn't died with Commodore.
  2. He makes reference to an earlier project by Tom 7 aka 'suckerpinch'; that is a video I happened to see a few years ago. It was pretty entertaining and I'm glad to be reminded of it again; here's a link to it for your convenience. It's nice to see that someone has picked up where he left off.
  3. If something I do on one of my modern systems causes a crash (or, more likely, it crashes on its own, heh) then the process of shutting down / restarting can take several minutes. On an 8-bit device, just flip the switch on and off, or hit the 'reset' button if your device has one, and you're right back where you were (usually, staring at code wondering what caused the crash). A family member gifted us an iPad recently -- no one in my household had ever used one before. After four days of attempts, we have yet to successfully get it associated with an Apple ID, which means we can't connect to the store to get any software on it, etc. It's always some new problem: it's supposed to send us a verification code but doesn't, or a mysterious "Cannot login to Apple ID due to a server error", or any number of other things. It was frustrating at first but has now become so rediculous as to be amusing to us. My C64, by comparison, immediately lets me do whatever I want when I turn it on. (So did the Apple ][ I had as a kid.)
  4. It is in many ways! I like python a lot and use it for all kinds of things. I'm an advocate for the use of python by professionals whose expertise is something other than programming. (I won't go on about that here.) But, I did once try to make a game with it once and it was pretty awkward. At that time, I was using the PyGame module to handle graphics. My takeaway from that experience was that Python is not a great environment for game coding. I wonder if anyone has made a module for Python to handle graphics like an 8-bit system would? With a pixel-based understanding of the screen, art assets in tiles, etc. (It's entirely possible someone's made this already and I just haven't heard). As for the PicoSystem, it's a pretty cool little thing, and I'm shocked that they got the price down to only £58.50.
  5. I quite enjoy soldering. I may be looking forward to soldering the X16 kit more than I am to programming for it. SMD were never meant to be soldered by humans, and I am amazed every time I see a video of a human doing repairs by hand on tiny SMD leads.
  6. The graphics for Dragon's Lair were made by an animation studio full of people trained in 2D hand-drawn cel animation. Even if it is possible to 'hijack' the X16's sprite system to try and show frames of cel animation instead of moving sprites, no one here is likely to have the humanpower it would take to create animation like that in the first place. That said, I'm interested in that VIC-20 version; I'll have to search for that. I wonder why someone would port that... the game didn't exactly have good gameplay, it was only really known for the animation. I used to be involved in the SmileBASIC community, back around 2015 or so. This is a commercially available BASIC implementation for the Nintendo 3DS (via the eShop) made by a small Japanese company; I think there's a Switch version now too but I don't have a Switch yet. Anyway, all the user-generated code was available online, and there was a Japanese user who 'ported' - as in, rewrote from scratch in SmileBASIC - all of Megan Man 2. Besides the fact that this was illegal (and kept getting taken down then reuploaded under a different name), MeganMan 2 / Rockman 2 was already available in the eShop for the exact same device. But the reason it was so interesting, and so popular, was that it served as a masterclass in how to code a platform game in BASIC. So lots of us were downloading it and studying how this guy coded it. But, anyway! If the question is, ...then I think the answer is an enthusiastic 'yes'. I can't think of any downsides to doing that. Even better if the engine(s) and libraries are a coordinated community effort rather than one person's labor of love.
  7. So far, when I answer by saying "This call is being recorded for fraud prevention purposes, is that okay?" I get either (A) They immediately hang up. (B) "No sir, it's not being recorded." to which I reply "No no, I'm recording it to prevent fraud" after which they hang up. (C) [BY FAR the most common] the computer-controlled message-spewing system has no idea how to respond to that, and so it cavalierly proceeds to tell me I promised them a $35 donation six weeks ago. I usually respond by saying "It's taped to the back of a tortoise, he'll eventually wander your way."
  8. In these pics, are you attempting to assassinate the tornado?
  9. If he doesn't go for the "there's something on the wing!" gag during the flight I'll be disappointed.
  10. Oh, I think I get it now. It's not about refusing to learn kicad - this designer friend of yours wants his boards done the old(er)-fashioned way as an aesthetic choice. And, that is a very visually appealing board design he has there. I've actually seen some of those acetone board-fab videos before on YouTube, so I know what you're talking about. The process looks quite difficult, but as you say, it's technically do-able (just not at large scales) if you can find someone willing. I hope the designer is able to find someone - maybe try contacting the people who made those YT videos; since they already have an interest in it and have already put time into getting the process down, then maybe they'll take an order, for the right price. Just a thought.
  11. Although my current favorite keyboard is a Logitech K120, that company also makes the worst keyboard I have ever used: the K380. This is the wireless (Bluetooth) keyboard that can switch which device it's connected to; I bought it because it solved a problem I had at the time (lots of computers with small desk space). The connectivity and switching aspect worked great, but the keyboard itself was awful to type on. It would often log two key presses even though I felt like I only pressed it once - on any key. This lead to a lot of doubled letters or unexpected confirmations (if it logged the 'return' key twice when I only intended once). I thought it was faulty so I returned it, got another one of the same model, and had the same problem. I'm assuming the problem lies in the way the keys are made (they're very flat and have a shallow travel distance), but I guess it could be a glitch in the bluetooth connectivity, for all I know.
  12. Neat. What do the three keys on the LH attached module do? Are they custom assignable? Also... no cursor keys? My favorite keyboard was a Dell Quietkey from (I think) the early '90s. I used it well into the modern era, with a PS/2 > USB adapter. Alas, I spilled a drink on it about two years ago and fried part of the traces inside. These days my favorite is a relatively inexpensive Logitech K120 with 'half height' keys.
  13. Ohhhhhh, I finally got it. It took me way too long, but it was @kelli217's trochaic tetrameter clue that finally turned the lightbulb on. Since Mighty Morphin' Power Rangers never had a movie (as far as I know), it must be... Just kidding of course. As you likely know, I got that from xkcd, which also helped with the trochee clue. The only thing that's throwing me off is... I never played any TMNT video game, but I don't recall any magic in the MNT universe, or transformations. So maybe I haven't guessed correctly!
  14. Thank you all who answered. @paulscottrobson's answer happened to be the one that made it the most clear, and after reading that one, I went back to read the other two and they also made more sense. Two last clarifying questions, if no one minds (I hope these questions are helpful to the thread in general)... Why would we need 9 address lines to access a 256 byte window? In my ignorance, that sounds like it's addressable in 8 bits. So when the CPU is writing to the area that is acting as the 'window', it's writing to VRAM instead of CPU RAM? Or the write affects both RAMs?
  15. So, I ordered the C256 Foenix Gen X, which will come with a 65C816 processor. It will also come with a slot into which you can insert cards that Stefany sells that allow to use one of your choice of a handful of other processors alongside the built-in 65816. I have no interest in other processors and have not preordered one. I'm a musician and I have been looking for a way to get into chiptune creation more deeply. I am also an 8-bit era programming hobbyist (not expert, but not a newb either). A few years ago I adopted an abandoned C64, nursed it back to health, was pleased to find that its original SID was still working and have been learning to program for the SID directly onboard in assembly. It's fun, but I haven't yet found a workflow that really makes it practical. I started work on programming my own little compositional utility, when news of the Gen X reached me. The Gen X will include five different flavors of sound chip: SN76489 Two Gideon SoftSIDs in FPGA, and two more slots for hardware SID chips (real or emulated) OPM (YM2151, as a JT2151SA - an FPGA version Stefany designed that also incorporates the amp chip that's supposed to always go with the 2151.) OPN2 (YM2612, as a JT2612SA - similarly, an FPGA version) OPL3 (YMF262, apparently as the actual F262 chip) ...also a piezo "PC speaker" for what it's worth, heheh. And, it has a MIDI input (No Output or Thru). I like MIDI a lot, I've been working with it (even at a binary, programming level) for a long time and know its ins and outs well. So what I'd like to do is program (in 65816 assembly) a program that will let me route the incoming 16 MIDI channels to whichever voices of whichever chips I want, and assign MIDI parameters to whichever aspects of those chips I want. I see this as a do-able challenge. The hardest part will actually be learning to make the graphical interface on the C256, since I'm really ignorant about graphics processing, and the Foenix is not the simplest setup to learn learn on. I'll likely do it in character graphics. There is also a tracker (already written) for the existing Foenix systems which should port easily to the Gen X, so while my own MIDI handler is under construction, or if I can't write it after all, I can fall back on the existing Tracker (I don't care for trackers, frankly, but I can use one if that's what's there.) The five chips and MIDI input are also available on the FMX, but as far as I can tell this is not being sold. The chip shortage would have forced Stefany to redesign it to bring it back to market, and my understanding is that she decided to move on to her next thing, the Gen X, instead. So, I've been mostly ignoring the 68k news because that's not my chip of choice. (Stefany has said, however, that it is her favorite CPU.) I should say, I may have misrepresented the A2560: I don't think it's 68SEC000 is built-in after all, I think maybe it has no built-in CPU but the 68SEC000 is the card that it comes with (swappable for other CPU cards). The Foenix systems have not yet involved a 68k CPU, the forthcoming models will be the first to have any flavor of the 68k series. For this reason, the already-developed software all 65816 based. One big project that everyone's trying to make a push for right now is a C-based Kernel that can be compiled for any of the potential CPUs; there's a team working on that one. There are other works in progress. A member named 'vinz67' is working on porting EmuTOS for any of the supported 68k series. Another user named 'gadget' is working on her own OS, aiming to be usable by any of the CPUs. So I guess the short answer to "is there a fair amount of.." is "No, not yet." Or at least, not specifically by the Foenix crew; how compatible existing 68k homebrew material would be, is beyond my knowledge.
  16. I'm wondering if someone could, very briefly, explain/summarize the difference between these two graphics approaches. (Not necessarily @paulscottrobson, your post was just a handy one to quote that mentioned both.) I'm not a graphics guy at all (all my work in assembly has been SIO/text, or sound), and for either the X8 or the X16 I would have to learn how the graphics system works. For anyone else on the forum here who might fall into that same boat, the briefest of comparisons might aid the discussion. Not a tutorial on how to use the two, just maybe a 1-2 paragraph overview, would be greatly appreciated. (Apparently the 'window' approach requires more pins on the FPGA - why? Does one or the other demand more of the CPU's cycles? etc.) If such an explanation already exists (possibly in another thread) then I apologize and would appreciate a link. Thank you!
  17. The website could be a little more clear about the different models and their releases, but, if I understand correctly: What's shipping in September are two models in the new "A2560" line, an MC68SEC000-based version of her existing Foenix U and U+ consoles, as well as the original (65C816-based) versions of the U and U+ which were unavailable for a while. These will begin shipping in about three weeks (so, late September). The Gen X is still slated for October or November. Apparently there's also an MC68SEC000-based version of the Gen X in the pipeline, called the A2560X, launching around the same time as the Gen X. (Both have the slot for a second processor; the difference is the built-in processor is the 65816 on one and 68SEC000 on the other. Maybe also something different about graphics, I don't know, I'm not a graphics guy.) And, somehow, a keyboard-case variant. We're over here arguing about whether the X8 should be allowed to ship or not and she's over there bringing to market whatever 3 or 4 new versions popped into her head this year. We'll see how these two different approaches play out. Personally I'm pleased to be in both communities. (Also, as a music guy, I'm so excited by the idea of having five sound chips in a system that I can program to work however I want, that I am optimistic about the Gen X. I did indeed put my money in for a pre-order, a few months ago.)
  18. If you get a chance, show us a picture! Even if it's still empty for now. Would be cool to see.
  19. That game looks like fun! And the creator seems very nice. Thank you for sharing it!
  20. Yeah I'd never even heard of the first game, and while I had heard of the last one I'd never seen the box art (and didn't expect it to look like that!).
  21. I haven't yet, but I am looking forward to it. I was sort of waiting for the audio chipset to be finalized, and sort of waiting for real hardware, but mostly just busy with other life stuff. I hear there's already a tracker for it - or for the emulator, anyway. I'm hoping I have time between now and launch to finally get the emulator going and familiarize myself with it.
  22. Here's something a little different. I sometimes watch this one comedy/cartooning YouTube channel called "Drawfee" (Like "Coffee" but with drawing, because they used to only stream in the mornings before work). Their humor is sometimes a little Millennial for me (references I don't get, mostly) but it's usually fun. Anyway! Last week they did a challenge based on old video game box art. One of them would describe the original box art, and another one had to draw it without seeing the original, just based on the description. So we could borrow their drawings for our own little forum game here. I'll show you three of their resulting drawings, and we'll see if the forum can get what the original game was. They actually did four drawings - the one I left out was too obvious, it's everyone's go-to example of terrible game box art, the North American release of Mega Man. If you want to watch the original, it's here. (Spoilers for the answers, of course).
  23. So, here's another way of looking at it. The goal of the project was always to make cool stuff for the people who share this hobby (8-bit computing). Frank came up with this X8 thing because he was doing what talented hobbyists do: making cool stuff. And so, the Commander project resulted in two devices. The community is already enjoying that result: in this very thread people are discussing hypothetically how to port from one to the other, how to program so that things will work on both, etc. In other words, we're already doing exactly the kind of stuff this community likes doing. It looks like, if you release both, there will be more for the community to enjoy. I don't know that you have to worry about 'fragmenting' the user base. In particular, the idea that people will now only program for the X8 as the 'lowest common platform' doesn't really apply in a situation where the software isn't being made commercially anyway. (If people only wanted to code for the bestselling platforms in order to make money, they'd code for Win/Mac/iOS/Android.) My guess is that people will code for both the X8 and the X16 because they're both fun to code for. If the community is split between the two, it's not necessarily bad, it's just the community enjoying more cool stuff. (So, keep the X8 as awesome as possible and leave at full speed!)
  24. Aww... don't do to the X8 what Jobs did to the Apple II line... throttle the speed just so it wouldn't compete with the Macintosh line. (Did that actually happen or is that an urban legend?) (Sorry to pick out @Fabio, several other people in this thread also suggested it.)
  • Create New...

Important Information

Please review our Terms of Use