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Change of product direction, good and bad news!


What should we do?  

374 members have voted

  1. 1. Should we release the Commander X8?

    • Yes, it should replace Phase-3. It's good enough.
    • Yes, but you should still offer a Phase-3 Commander X16 eventually too.
    • No, don't release the X8, stick with the original plan.
  2. 2. Should we still make a Phase-2 product?

    • Yes, Phase-2 is what I want
    • No, skip and go straight to Phase-3
  3. 3. For the X16 Phase-1, do you prefer a kit or a somewhat more expensive pre-assembled board?



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On 10/7/2021 at 3:16 PM, maktos said:

When the last news was 100% uncertainty and BAD NEWS, any future lack of news is not good or neutral, but bad. I'm sorry, that's just the way it works.

That's the way it works to you. That is your intuition talking. You could be right! I could be wrong. I don't think so. This is not a black and white situation. There are shades of gray, and the fact that you are so convinced that this is the only possible explanation I think continues to demonstrate why one would be cautious to share information that might be misunderstood.

As for "investors" ... I think there are a few people who've invested actual funds in this, primarily David himself and a few trusted associates who are helping to bring this to life. The time people have spent learning the platform, using the emulator, writing software can't be completely disregarded, but this is not a situation where David has taken money from investors and thrown his hands in the air and said "oh well". I pledged to a kickstarter that ended that way: https://www.slashgear.com/superscreen-kickstarter-fails-takes-2-5m-down-the-drain-11549706/ $2.5M gone with nothing to show for it (except for probably some nice stuff for the guy who ran it).

No one here that is opining has lost money on this. Perhaps some opportunity cost, but this project was never going to be one that made people fortunes. It exists to fill a niche for a relatively inexpensive retro-style platform that people can use to get into retro without having to pay exorbitant prices for 30+ year old hardware that might die at any time. Heck, I just on a lark bid on a lot of three non-functional C=64s on ebay a few days ago for parts / repair. I said I'd pay up to $50 for the lot. It's up to $120 (plus $60 s/h) with days left. I can't even buy a broken C=64 for a "reasonable" price.

I do understand where you're coming from, but I think your black and white thinking on the subject is out of line with reality. I guess perception is reality to the perceiver, but I think to most of us it's not as dire as you think.

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I can see why David doesn't tend to respond to messages on here, he wouldn't get anything done, bearing in mind any time he did respond another twenty responses to his response would appear within the hour.

He'll have to be extremely cautious about making any kind of announcement for the same reason.

I'm not saying anyone has done anything wrong, it's just natural with so many possibilities for these machines, so many possible combinations of parts, that people will have so many questions.

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If David came on here and said, "We're waiting for the component shortages to end, which might be 2-3 years. Have patience, guys. We're still bringing this thing to market, it might just be a while."

That would END IT. At least for all those who matter -- the NON-JERKS. Understand the difference?

When David puts forward some info, and that "isn't good enough for some people", that doesn't matter, because those who don't trust David are jerks who should just leave. We don't need to appease naysayers, trolls, troublemakers, etc.

This is about those who take David at face value -- who trust his leadership, who believe in this project. Those are the only people who matter!

My point is that David himself has expressed grave misgivings about the future of this project -- even if I trust David, I have reason to give up on this project at this point. That was never the case, before August 19th.

And thus far, after giving those grave misgivings and listing all the huge obstacles, DAVID HIMSELF hasn't put forward his new plan for us to trust him with (or not). That's a HUGE difference. 

If you can't see that, then I can't help you.

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On 8/21/2021 at 1:31 PM, The 8-Bit Guy said:

... Some people seem confused on why I'm in favor of releasing this [the X8]. 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.

 

On 10/8/2021 at 10:27 AM, maktos said:

If David came on here and said, "We're waiting for the component shortages to end, which might be 2-3 years. Have patience, guys. We're still bringing this thing to market, it might just be a while."

That would END IT. At least for all those who matter -- the NON-JERKS. Understand the difference?

When David puts forward some info, and that "isn't good enough for some people", that doesn't matter, because those who don't trust David are jerks who should just leave. We don't need to appease naysayers, trolls, troublemakers, etc.

This is about those who take David at face value -- who trust his leadership, who believe in this project. Those are the only people who matter!

My point is that David himself has expressed grave misgivings about the future of this project -- even if I trust David, I have reason to give up on this project at this point. That was never the case, before August 19th.

And thus far, after giving those grave misgivings and listing all the huge obstacles, DAVID HIMSELF hasn't put forward his new plan for us to trust him with (or not). That's a HUGE difference. 

If you can't see that, then I can't help you.

My point is that "David has expressed grave misgivings about the future of this project" is a massive misrepresentation of what David has said.

(1) David has explained that one part of the previously laid out development path is cancelled, and has express uncertainty about whether or not to release the X8 system as already designed, and solicited community feedback to help inform the decision that the team makes.

(2) David, in the original post, didn't express any misgivings about releasing the X16p when it is ready, but warned that it was not as close to being release ready as the X8 system was. Above, he reiterates and clarifies that the X16p is close to being ready, but it's not there yet.

This is where "grave misgivings about the project" goes off the rails as a description of "It's close. It's not quite ready for release yet, but the X16p will definitely be released at some point."

Now, as far as, "it's been TWO MONTHS AND NO CLEAR PLAN!!!!" as the foundation for a decision to panic ... the question becomes, is it certainly the case that two months without an announced clear plan is evidence of trouble? So the rest of this is much more speculative, but that's OK ... whether or not it is the actual situation, it presents one scenario where it would be unreasonable to expect an announced clear plan in a mere eight weeks or so ... so establishing that "two months and no clear plan yet" is by no means unambiguous evidence of trouble.

(3) Objectively, when it was decided more recently that the X8 wasn't "close enough", that would seem to intersect with David's thinking that "most anything made for the X8 could be easily ported to the X16 later". That would seem likely to be true for any Basic program, but when it comes to assembly language programming, that becomes a bit fuzzier.

(4) Information that it was decided that the X8 system as it had been designed was not going to be released ... and that Frank is going to work on a full X16e design ... doesn't pin down exactly what comes next.

So, consider, that what MIGHT come next is flipping the Phase 1 through Phase 3 script, making a more completely upwardly compatible "smaller" FPGA that would more thoroughly support binary X8/X16 compatible assembly language programming, "HighRAM based" system programming, etc.

But ... how would that compare in terms of price-point to a full fledged 512K or greater system RAM X16e? Would the price appeal of the "more compatible X8" starting point still work out?

One way to answer a hardware question with so many unknowns is to do prototypes of the alternatives, and get a firmer idea of the bill of materials for actual system designs, rather than relying on guesswork.

The development path there would be to prototype an X16e, then take that design and redesign it for relying on slimmed down X16 memory map for SPRAM and Block RAM resources hosted entirely on an FPGA in the same family, and evaluate what the price points look like at that stage.

Now, that involves, (A) the team deciding that the X8 design as it stands is not as suitable for a "work on this now, upgrade to X16 later" approach as David was originally thinking ... that takes time ... (B) deciding to get a better idea of the opportunities for a more compatible approach ... (C) Frank laying out a prototype development path and the team agreeing to it ... (D) Frank developing the X16e prototype ... (E) Frank stripping it down to the "more compatible X8" prototype ... (F) decision ... (G) announcement.

Now, would it really be unreasonable for that to have not yet reached (G) in two month's time? I would argue that a month to get to (C) would be reasonable and three months to get to (G) would not be at all surprising.

So I'm not saying this is what is going on, but simply that, to my mind, it's far too early to be panicking because of no public declaration of the new development path two months after David solicited feedback on the strategy of going with the X8 first.

Edited by BruceMcF
two typos
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As one of the official team member I will say first. David has not thrown his hands up at all and if that’s how your are interpreted it, that means only that you concluded that first and are only hearing what you already believe and not what he said. Secondly David is really not that directly involved in the technical aspects of the project. Micheal who is handling the KERNAL development has been very busy. For example the PS/2 code issue. I’m not a code guy, but I was aware of the issue and a solution was proposed. But due to tight schedules, hardware changes, etc. the fixed code was never merged so the current KERNAL is using the incorrect code. The reason it doesn’t work with the faster CPU is because the timeout runs faster too and it reaches the timeout before the keyboard gets ready. The code needs to be updated to prevent that. 
 

As to other issues, we are dealing with supply chain issues which are not unique to us. You have cargo containers sitting on ships for weeks, you have factories halting production on all but a few lines, the global chip shortages, etc. 

 

And another point, for a project that as of now isn’t a crowdfunded project, how many are this transparent.  We have ongoing tests with the existing boards are a trying to get enough parts to complete a few more boards. Fingers crossed if it goes well there will be only one more board revision and the project will advance to the preorder stage. 

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On 10/8/2021 at 12:12 PM, Lorin Millsap said:

As one of the official team member I will say first. David has not thrown his hands up at all and if that’s how your are interpreted it, that means only that you concluded that first and are only hearing what you already believe and not what he said.

Thank you Lorin. Not being team members, it doesn't matter how much I, BruceMcF, or others make similar statements, we simply cannot fight the disinformation as effectively as you and others on the team can.

I mean, it's not like anyone can truly stop disinformation / fake news. It takes on a life of its own. But I appreciate your effort.

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My thanks to all here who counsel patience.  I second your emotion.  To those who are worried, please chill.  Here's an idea:  if this is going to become a kit, perhaps we should busy ourselves with figuring out where to source discrete and readily available IC components from around the world so the project is not bound to a single source or a single nation of origin for anything.  I've already mentioned an American board manufacturer.  That manufacturer can produce boards from already completed Gerber files to a very high degree of precision.  I'm sure there are others.

I'm also sure that such chips as 74-series logic, RAM, ROM, PIAs, PPIs, etc., and possibly even the 6502 CPU can be sourced from a number of different places around the world.  There are even vendors that offer quantity discounts.  Many of these same vendors also deal in the fiddly bits such as capacitors, resistors, inductors, switches, sockets, plugs, cables, etc.  This ain't rocket science, folks (and I know from rocket science, trust me).  

The dream is to bring this project to life, and, ultimately, to market.  So...let's find ways to help this dream take shape.  Where do I find the parts lists?  Are the Gerbers available (I'll even sign an NDA)?

8-bit Guy, if you're reading, we're here, and we're with you.  Let us help.

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Thank you @Lorin Millsap for your message.

Speaking only for myself, the dearth of messaging *here* about this project is a significant demotivator.

In his video(s), David @The 8-Bit Guy implored his audience to develop software for the platform, that that would be the greatest area of help.

So one would assume that this site (all of commanderx16.com) would be the central clearing house of software, but also of information about the project.

Consistently having to hear 2nd or 3rd hand new information is disappointing and demotivating. (Facebook seems to be the primary source)

If David doesn't read this message I'm asking if you and/or other team members could impress upon him the need to change this.  Facebook could continue to be his touchstone with youtube 8-bit guy channel fans, but anything CommanderX16 related should be communicated here, and Facebook posts could be used to point those users here, for that information.

Not everyone uses Facebook, but everyone *can* pull up a website.

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All I can say is if you want software developed, you HAVE TO get the actual kit in people's hands. I'm sorry, but the truth is this falls on David. He didn't take a risk and get the computer out in kit form, which was his best way to initially release the machine. Now he'll have to slowly build a base if he wants to release the Commander x16, gaining momentum by word of mouth. Only once he has that can it be supported as a pre-built case and computer order. I just hope he wakes up to that, or this project is dead.

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On 10/9/2021 at 1:19 PM, Luckarusky said:

All I can say is if you want software developed, you HAVE TO get the actual kit in people's hands. I'm sorry, but the truth is this falls on David. He didn't take a risk and get the computer out in kit form, which was his best way to initially release the machine. Now he'll have to slowly build a base if he wants to release the Commander x16, gaining momentum by word of mouth. Only once he has that can it be supported as a pre-built case and computer order. I just hope he wakes up to that, or this project is dead.

I haven't read anything that says "kit form is off the table". It would be a good idea though to first know that the kit works when properly assembled. That is the reason why we haven't seen a kit yet, because anything else is just sending people a random assortment of parts with a PCB.

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On 10/9/2021 at 3:19 PM, Luckarusky said:

All I can say is if you want software developed, you HAVE TO get the actual kit in people's hands. I'm sorry, but the truth is this falls on David. He didn't take a risk and get the computer out in kit form, which was his best way to initially release the machine. ...

My question here is why is this in the past tense? The system is not yet read to "get the computer out in kit form", so saying "he didn't take the risk" is an anachronism. Assuming he will not "take the risk" of getting the computer out in kit form seems unwarranted, given the contents of the quote I posted a bit up on this page.

He certainly didn't take the reputation risk of accepting early crowdfund investment, and according to information nearer the head of this thread, instead took the financial risk of funding the project primarily out of his pocket and secondarily those of members of the team willing and able to put money into some aspect of their work on the project.

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On 10/9/2021 at 3:19 PM, Luckarusky said:

All I can say is if you want software developed, you HAVE TO get the actual kit in people's hands. ...

Agreed.

What's also important is that the machine NEEDS its own software for sprite and tilemap creation/editing. If one must use software on a PC to program anything complex on the x16, then what the bloody hell is the point of even having the x16 at all? Just use the PC to make stuff for the PC...

-----

On a personal note, having now read quite a lot about how the VERA is programmed and the implementation of BASIC 2.0, the plain truth is that I am too stupid to program this machine. C and even wacky C++, fine, but my brain just refuses to juggle hex/binary /assembly/register mumbo jumbo. And it's not like it's new to me, I've failed to grasp it for at least 25 years. I'm too stupid to program for PET and VIC20 too. As such, I'd rather continue doing my own thing in languages/platforms that already work for me; i won't be programming for the Commander x16.

So with that said I will step out of the discussions and humbly request for someone to please email me when David's $30-50 version is released? I will be happy to buy it to enjoy other people's creations. Take care.

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On 10/9/2021 at 8:30 PM, Tatwi said:

...

On a personal note, having now read quite a lot about how the VERA is programmed and the implementation of BASIC 2.0, the plain truth is that I am too stupid to program this machine. C and even wacky C++, fine, but my brain just refuses to juggle hex/binary /assembly/register mumbo jumbo. And it's not like it's new to me, I've failed to grasp it for at least 25 years. I'm too stupid to program for PET and VIC20 too. As such, I'd rather continue doing my own thing in languages/platforms that already work for me; i won't be programming for the Commander x16. ...

Bear in mind that Assembly and Basic won't be the only options for programming hosted on the X16. There is going to be others. The fact that they will mostly be loaded from the SD rather than being in the ROM doesn't mean much at all given the speed that it reads files from the SD card.

There's already a Forth, and the beginnings of a Small-C written in Forth, and the list will surely grow.

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On 10/9/2021 at 5:30 PM, Tatwi said:

the plain truth is that I am too stupid to program this machine. C and even wacky C++, fine, but my brain just refuses to juggle hex/binary /assembly/register mumbo jumbo. And it's not like it's new to me, I've failed to grasp it for at least 25 years. I'm too stupid to program for PET and VIC20 too.

Ha, I can relate. I love my 1981 VIC20 and like my 2020 TheVIC20 (despite the TheVIC20's hacky memory expansion issue). I can program the VIC in Basic (with a book of PEEKs and POKEs flopped open nearby) but once hex and assembly come into view my eyes glaze over. Basic 2.0 programs running at the 8-12Mhz speeds of this X-project might make assembly unnecessary in a lot of cases.

I program the old-fashioned way: tapping away at the petscii keyboard and frequent checks of ?FRE(0). No PC or modern PC tools involved. I find it to be almost as engrossing as it was 40 years ago. I only wish there was some way to output TheVIC20 listings to a tractor-feed dot-matrix printer so I could reproduce the full 1980s programming ambiance.

The C128's Basic 7.0 was a thing of beauty. That was a Basic that really opened up access to the computer's capabilities. Note to the 8BG: I demand you implement the X16 project with my pet preference of Basic 7.0 or you will have failed the project and proven in front of the entire world and for all time that you are a terrible leader! Wah-wah-wah!

Edited by VIC-2020
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On 10/7/2021 at 5:42 AM, Ju+Te said:

@sundownAt least for the VERA an FPGA seems to be necessary, unfortunately. So having an FPGA-free X16 based solely on standard "factory new parts" seems not to be an option.

That may be the case for the X16, however, it is not he only system out there in development.

I hear the whole "cannot build a (dream) computer without...... (compromises like FPGA)" all the time everywhere from everyone. I reject it for what it is, nonsense. Rubbish. FALSE (goto start).

There is no barrier to producing a $50 SVGA (or better) hobbyist computer. That is the fact. The only thing lacking is firepower (in the design department). It is not impossible, it is in fact inevitable.

On 10/7/2021 at 8:47 PM, smartroad said:

I was wondering if you were going to go down the FPGA route with no expansion, why not just have a small ARM board and run an emulator? I understand that FPGA is hardware but from the end users perspective it is just a chip on a board doing a thing, it is almost irrelevant if it is fpga hardware or software emulation. Have a custom Linux install for say a Raspberry Pi which can boot straight to the emulator and thats it, a Commander X16/X8 without custom hardware.

Not trying to be controversial but the question is what is more important, the hardware, the software or both? If hardware go Phase 1, if software Phase 3/Arm emulation, if both then Phase 2.

[Quoting the deceased designer in I, Robot]  " That [] is the right question. "

On 10/8/2021 at 6:43 AM, maktos said:

Considering that it doesn't cost anything to post an update.

Have you met the internet ?

The less time you spend on the internet the more productive you are. There have been shows made about the problem with the internet.

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Just adding my thoughts to the discussion about why the Commander X16 is worth the wait.
I've spent all year so far working on a DirectX 12 project, with the goal of designing a 3D game for Windows desktop that's neither an FPS nor a flight sim. It's all being developed in Visual Studio/C++/HLSL, ie. not in Unity or any other game studio. My game framework so far successfully implements many features expected of a modern 3D game environment, including bump mapping, dynamic reflections, real-time shadows, a first-person camera, ability to pick geometry by mouse, and collision detection. It also supports post-processing effects such as HDR tonemapping, bloom and depth of field.
However, after a recent month-long battle to get skeletal mesh animation working (which was finally solved), the burnout finally set in. What got me through each day of DirectX pain was turning to my favorite YouTube channels, namely 8-Bit Guy, LGR, RMC Cave, and Retro Recipes to name a few (see the pattern here?)
Yes, despite being up to my neck fussing with modern PC graphics, I can't wait to wind down on YT with a classic DOS, C64 or Amiga game review, or a show-and-tell with a classic piece of computing hardware from days gone by. So naturally I did see all of David's episodes about the announcement and subsequent progress of the X16, but after sighing wistfully, it was mentally filed away and I thought if only I wasn't committed to modern-day 64-bit game programming for Windows...
So there was a lot of internal conflict going on between what I really wanted to do deep down, and what I 'ought' to be doing. My justification for continuing with the current project was along the lines of, well, imagine if kids and developers had access to today's graphics hardware in the 80s? Wouldn't it be a dream come true? It's a reality today, so why not revel in it and take advantage of the latest technology instead of limiting ourselves to 8-bit era computing power?
Well take it from me... I've found out the hard way that the latest and greatest GPUs and 3D APIs may be a boon for gamers and AAA game studios, but for the indie developer or hobby programmer it can be an absolute nightmare. Firstly, if you aren't able to cope with matrix math or pixel shader lighting equations then 3D programming isn't for you. Assuming you do grasp the math and physics of lighting, then there are the 3D APIs to wrangle. You absolutely MUST have experience with previous versions of Direct3D or OpenGL if you want to program with the latest generation APIs (DX12/Vulkan). Ok, assuming you have previous 3D experience.  Sure, with a few tutorials you'll be able to render a few spinning cubes and even maybe a textured 3D model imported from a tool like Blender. But to populate a reasonably decent game world will take hundreds of hours at the very minimum. Building an animated 3D character and its associated textures and armature rigging alone may take weeks... and of course you'll want more than one game character. Then what about the game world itself, and physics, and AI?
The crunch for me came when I realized my 'game' would never progress beyond the engine phase. There are just too many literal moving parts for an individual game designer/programmer to create and manage on one's own. And of course, when developing for Windows there will be change. We're on the cusp of Windows 11 right now, and that likely means an update to DirectX isn't far behind. In other words, be prepared to push that boulder all the way up to the top of the hill again.
And then I remembered the X16 project and looked at Matt Heffernan's 65C02 assembly tutorials. Luckily I've got some x86 assembly behind me, so I dived right in and I haven't looked back! It's helped me break out of an unending loop and I'm certain I'll have something to show for it at the end. Programming for the X16/VERA graphics chip emulator has brought back the fun and anticipation that had been drained by trying to go it alone with a Windows game. That's why waiting a little longer for the final product (even in kit form) doesn't bother me.
So that's why I'm a convert and I'm sure I'm not alone. As far as I'm concerned the X16 has already achieved its goal to make coding fun again. A bit long but... thanks for reading!
 

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On 10/10/2021 at 2:45 AM, Oldrooster said:

That may be the case for the X16, however, it is not he only system out there in development.

I hear the whole "cannot build a (dream) computer without...... (compromises like FPGA)" all the time everywhere from everyone. I reject it for what it is, nonsense. Rubbish. FALSE (goto start).

There is no barrier to producing a $50 SVGA (or better) hobbyist computer. That is the fact. The only thing lacking is firepower (in the design department). It is not impossible, it is in fact inevitable.

I think it is important not to over-generalize here. There is an argument that it is not possible to build Dave's dream computer without a custom fabricated video chip, and the only feasible way to create a custom fabricated video chip at this scale is using an FPGA with the build in hardware that can be wired together to perform the process ...

... which is an argument about Dave's 8bit dream computer.

It is not an argument about an 8bit dream computer in general. If someone has a dream that can be satisfied with a pure tile display, or with a screenbuffer chip, there seem to be options that will work. It's the tile and hardware sprite implemented with a scanline by scanline rowbuffer display that requires either an FPGA to wire the circuit together or an MCU to emulate a notional custom fabricated chip.

So people shouldn't make unwarranted generalizations. It is certainly possible  to dream different specific dreams and avoid the choice between an FPGA implementation and a software emulation of a notional chip.

As for that specific choice, for a system that has a design goal of being built to the extent possible with in production ASIC chips, I have no hesitation in arguing that a netlist wiring of hardware is closer to an ASIC chip than CPU emulating the behavior of a notional chip. But if somebody's dream was a "neo retro 6502 GEOS system", there are plenty of framebuffer chips to choose from.

Edited by BruceMcF
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On 10/10/2021 at 1:26 PM, BruceMcF said:

So people shouldn't make unwarranted generalizations. It is certainly possible  to dream different specific dreams and avoid the choice between an FPGA implementation and a software emulation of a notional chip.

This. So much this. All the this.

I'm 53. I missed certain eras of computing. I wonder if there was as much pushback from earlier generations against ASICs instead of all discrete components? Or if there was pushback against the transistor when it replaced the vacuum tube?

It brings to mind the quote from (I think) Arthur C. Clarke that any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic. My corollary would be "to some people all magic is black magic and to be avoided."

Edited by Scott Robison
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On 10/10/2021 at 4:04 PM, Scott Robison said:

This. So much this. All the this.

I'm 53. I missed certain eras of computing. I wonder if there was as much pushback from earlier generations against ASICs instead of all discrete components? Or if there was pushback against the transistor when it replaced the vacuum tube?

It brings to mind the quote from (I think) Arthur C. Clarke that any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic. My corollary would be "to some people all magic is black magic and to be avoided."

I think that the early ASICs were such an incremental change from discrete components that there might not have been any pushback, but I could easily imagine mini-computer designers arguing "CPU's will never be able to replicate the capabilities and extensibility of a central processing board build from bitslice chips" ...

... and while the computer industry seems like they were enthusiastic in switching from vacuum tubes, the transition was much slower in radio ... remembering how the "cheap transistor radios" of the 60s were "cheap Japanese imports" (which was still a thing in the 60s), while "high quality" radios were still bigger vacuum tube based designs. 

Edited by BruceMcF
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I suggest you release the X8, and call it X16.
Because you guys have been working for years on this and proven how serious you are about this.
Now, I'd like to see, how serious this community really is about this project.
Is the community able to leverage on the full capabilities of it, and provide a number of titles that makes the Commander a thriving 8-bit platform?

Who needs more RAM, when loading from flash is fast?
Who needs more VRAM? I don't want to play Wing Commander on the Commander X16, I can do that on an Amiga just as well.
Heck, even a 12 MHz CPU already feels like it's missing the point of this project.

I think the X8 is the perfect way to find out, what this community really is ready to contribute.
The X8 won't fail because of too less RAM.
It will only fail because people love to dream and talk about things much more than actually contributing to it, and developing for it.

Call the X8 X16, because it's fine as it is, and it allows this 8-bit platform to come to live.

And only if the X8 proves to be successful, go back to the original plan, because only then you (and we all) know, that the additional investment is worth more of both, your time and money.

Thanks for working on this! (you made me look into 6502 assembler again 🙂 )

(on another note: I'm not on Facebook, so I'd highly appreciate a different channel as primary source of news @The 8-Bit Guy)

Edited by delMar
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While I don't share the grave interpretation @maktos put forward, I do have to agree it seems like a mistake to not post any kind of follow-up yet. I don't share the idea that saying nothing is better in this instance, nor that saying something might require unreasonable commitments. So I think its pros would outweigh any cons. IMO.

The audience here does not seem like an unreasonable bunch, so there is that. It also seems David does post on Facebook, so there is that as well. A quick summary to similar effect or even just a quick word every now in the spirit of "planning still going on!" would seem like a generally good idea given the significance of this thread.

In fact it is something that I readily expected when reading through this thread a few weeks back and was surprised to find out did not happen already.

Edited by Janne Sirén
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On 10/10/2021 at 2:46 PM, Janne Sirén said:

While I don't share the grave interpretation @maktos put forward, I do have to agree it seems like a mistake to not post any kind of follow-up yet.

I can agree with this just because of perception. The grave interpretation was I think what was being argued against, not that updates wouldn't be welcome. Just that I can understand why updates haven't been forthcoming.

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On 10/11/2021 at 6:26 AM, BruceMcF said:

I think it is important not to over-generalize here. There is an argument that it is not possible to build Dave's dream computer without a custom fabricated video chip, and the only feasible way to create a custom fabricated video chip at this scale is using an FPGA with the build in hardware that can be wired together to perform the process ...

... which is an argument about Dave's 8bit dream computer.

It is not an argument about an 8bit dream computer in general. If someone has a dream that can be satisfied with a pure tile display, or with a screenbuffer chip, there seem to be options that will work. It's the tile and hardware sprite implemented with a scanline by scanline rowbuffer display that requires either an FPGA to wire the circuit together or an MCU to emulate a notional custom fabricated chip.

So people shouldn't make unwarranted generalizations. It is certainly possible  to dream different specific dreams and avoid the choice between an FPGA implementation and a software emulation of a notional chip.

As for that specific choice, for a system that has a design goal of being built to the extent possible with in production ASIC chips, I have no hesitation in arguing that a netlist wiring of hardware is closer to an ASIC chip than CPU emulating the behavior of a notional chip. But if somebody's dream was a "neo retro 6502 GEOS system", there are plenty of framebuffer chips to choose from.

So what you seem to me to be saying is that there is no possibility of satisfying the 'dream computer' objective of no FPGA because the choice for the X16 has been defined as it MUST have FPGA, not because it cant be done, rather the choice being made is that it should not be done. Whereas it could be done by simply designing the computer and optimizing the hardware, by which I mean a similar thing to cutting down software bloatware which everyone understands and then doing that same thing, but for hardware, for example, I watched Ben Eaters lovely video card tutorial for beginners and saw he seems to be using extra components that are not needed, perhaps for clarity ? for students. FPGA or ASIC seems to be a way to throw your hands up and say we don't have a hardware optimizer, so here is our bloatware hardware swept up into neat ASIC trashbag and Surface mounted onto the PCB for all time. I see it as akin to giving up.

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