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Fnord42

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Everything posted by Fnord42

  1. If the RESTORE key is not used for other purposes by the X16, it shouldn't be hard to just use a tiny avr mcu to listen on the PS/2 lines and trigger the nmi whenever it observes a RESTORE key press. To me, this seems to be a rather clean solution, and nobody would have to drill holes into anything.
  2. So there won't be any kind of autostart feature that loads a certain program from the sdcard directly on boot? I thought there would be...
  3. I noticed that some of the keys on the WASD keyboard don't work in the emulator. For example "40/80 DISPLAY" or "RUN/STOP". I assume this is a shortcoming of the emulator and they will work on the real X16, right? When we have a RUN/STOP key, will ESC continue to work as a substitute for RUN/STOP? What about Ctrl-C? And F4 vs 40/80 DISPLAY? (I'm not really sure what I would prefer, but maybe it's already decided - I'm curious.) Also, I seem to remember that someone said that the RESTORE key will not be used, is that correct?
  4. Come to think of it, a Snow Crash / Cyberpunk themed Habitat-like game for the X16 would be really cool.
  5. I agree - this would be a great feature for an expansion card. And I'm probably not the only one who wants to build one just for the fun of it, so please don't take that away by including it on the mainboard. Seriously, though - I don't think that this would be likely anyway. Including a Wifi module that could probably emulate the whole rest of the system without breaking a sweat would feel like a weird design decision to me. (Yes, I suppose the VERA hardware could probably do that too, but going for an FPGA solution for the video was a necessary, or at least quite reasonable, compromise in my opinion.)
  6. Okay, point taken. I apologize.
  7. My thoughts exactly! Apropos - are there any news regarding the prototype development? It's been rather quiet in that thread here in the forum (but I don't know about the Facebook group).
  8. No, have a look here: https://github.com/commanderx16/x16-docs/blob/master/VERA Programmer's Reference.md The VERA does a fixed resolution of 640x480@60Hz, smaller resolutions are actually done via scaling.
  9. Just uploaded the new version, completely rewritten in assembly. Much more fun! (To write and to play)
  10. Judging from your response, I might have sounded more negative than I had intended. Let me clarify: I don't think that the X16's audio capabilities are disappointing. I was personally a bit disappointed because I had hoped that it could also do MOD files. MOD files have very high retro nostalgia value for me, but that was maybe just a bit much to hope for. Additionally it's probably also a matter of personal preference, because I just don't like the sound of the YM2151 very much. That being said, the current audio capabilities are of course not bad at all - Amiga-like sound capabilities just would have been the icing on the cake for me, so to speak. You guys are doing an awesome job, and I didn't mean to step on anyones toes; sorry if I did.
  11. TBH I am still a bit disappointed about the X16's sound capabilities, mostly because I had hoped it would be able to play MOD files, which does not seem to be possible with the current hardware. (Despite having four(?) different chips with overlapping capabilities, which also feels a bit weird to me.) I assume that it is much too late to change the general design of the X16's sound architecture (and, more importantly, that the core team probably had good reasons to go for the chips they chose, that I am not aware of). But I have been thinking if it might be feasible to build a sound card for the X16 instead. I haven't investigated the topic thoroughly yet, but the fact that there are complete MOD players consisting of not much more than an ATMega32 and a TDA1543, makes it seem quite doable. To clarify, I don't want something that just plays a MOD that you throw at it, but rather the necessary hardware that would enable the X16 to play MOD files (for example as background music in a game) - you should be able to upload samples/instruments and then play them at different frequencies, much like the Amiga's Paula chip did, If I understood it correctly. What do you guys think? Is this a good idea or a bad one, and why?
  12. Awesome, thank you for the explanation! I understand that a "dumb" ROM cartridge would make little sense here, but I was thinking about a "smart" expansion card anyway - for example something that can be used more or less like a disk drive by the X16, but also acts as an FTP server to the outside world, so I can easily transfer files without having to move the sd card all the time.
  13. @rje Which kind of switches did you choose?
  14. That doesn't sound too bad - so the CPU could for example instruct an expansion card to write data directly to a specified memory area without having to squeeze everything through the 32 bytes of dedicated ram. Missing autostart capabilities are probably not much of an issue, if that can be done via sd card. I hope it will be possible to run multiple autostart programs in a row, so I can load the drivers for my expansion cards and still autostart my boot menu system or favorite game or whatever. Maybe an Expansion card can even detect a reboot via the characteristic memory access patterns of the bootup process and act upon that. Not sure if that is a feasible approach, but It seems not too far off. (I once built a Kickstart switch for the Amiga 500 that was controlled entirely via "magic" memory access patterns, so that I could switch the ROM without needing a hardware switch. (I didn't want to damage the case.)) On the other hand, an autostart program could just tell the card when a reboot has happened.
  15. While I agree that Kickstarter will probably bring in some more people, I must say that most of the Kickstarter projects that I backed, I heard about outside of Kickstarter first. Also, keep in mind that the team has some rather popular youtube channels, and Hackaday and other media will quite probably cover the campaign, too. So I don't expect that it will be a problem to find enough interested people for the first batch of Commander X16s. If interest is lower than expected, Kickstarter might still be an option, but I have no idea if the gained audience would be worth the Kickstarter fees.
  16. So, the expansion ports are seperate from the user port? Can an expansion card override ROM functions and/or make the CPU run code on power on? (In other words: can an expansion card provide its own drivers, without the need of an extra disk?)
  17. "Cherry MX Blue Equivalent Switches"... But the TKL one does indeed look quite nice. Still, compared to what else is out there, for a custom printed Cherry MX keyboard that is not mass manufactured (I believe they build it especially for each order, right?) $200 (roughly 170€) is not too much. Of course, you're free to disagree.
  18. I'm a bit surprised - can you name a keyboard with Cherry MX switches for 49€? I couldn't find anything below 100€ when I last looked for one.
  19. IMHO, if you are the type of person who prefers mechanical key switches, the price of the WASD keyboard is okay for what you get. If you can live just as well with a rubber dome keyboard, it's probably not worth it. Unfortunately (for my wallet) I just recently found out that I appear to belong to the first group.
  20. Okay, since I cannot select two^H^H^Hthree best answers, I'll quote them here and select this post instead.
  21. Nice, so there won't be a shortage of timers. I assume the 6522 timers can be used to trigger an interrupt? I'll have to read up on the 6522 anyway. Okay, that sounds good. I don't think I have to worry about the interrupt taking longer than 16ms - it only checks the counter and sets a bit, but the actual work is being done elsewhere. For now, I'll stick with the vsync interrupt, but the cycle counter could come in handy at some point. Thank you!
  22. Hi, I'd like to have some timers for various purposes in my program and I'm wondering what would be the best way to accomplish that. What I came up with is just using the vsync interrupt to count down my timer variables and set a corresponding bit in another variable when one of them hits zero. The main program then just has to check the timer_trigger variable at a convenient time and reset the counter if necessary. The thing is, I'm not sure if I can just assume the vsync frequency to be 60Hz in all situations. If not, is there a better way to do it?
  23. I also think that an X16 kit would be great - I'd buy one for sure. But I can also see why the team is hesitant about it. Let's face it - there's no way that there won't be at least a handful of idiots that think "not for beginners, eh? come on, how hard can it be?", then f*ck it up and blame the team for it. This will of course cost resources (and nerves), and so I understand that the kit option is something that they don't want to decide on right now. Many projects fail because they get side-tracked and change their plan and/or goals too often along the way, so they never finish in the end. (I've backed more than one of those on Kickstarter.) But I have the impression that the X16 team does a pretty good job at avoiding this, and postponing the decision about a kit version is certainly an aspect of that. TL;DR: If kits will be available, I'll want one, but it's a good thing not to rush the decision.
  24. I had similar thoughts recently. A C64/C128/X16 seems to be a good platform for teaching beginners, since BASIC is easy, and the device offers almost no distractions from that. Switch it on - you have BASIC. No knowledge required up to this point and you are ready to start. I like that a lot. I think BASIC is well suited for teaching the basic concepts (ba-dum-tss), and later you can move on to other languages on other platforms. There is, of course, the matter of acquiring the hardware...
  25. That's a valid point. Oddly enough, I don't mind at all that Vera is FPGA-based - probably because it is a completely new thing anyway. I think having every major component of the system as a discrete part adds to the feeling of being able to understand how everything works together. (Again, not really rational - I'm aware that a well documented FPGA design doesn't have to be worse in that regard.)
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