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The C256 Foenix Projekt

  • Hallo Stefany,


    ja, es ist lange her seit wir an letzten gesprochen haben. Bei uns geht alles meistens gut, aber sehr beschäftigt. Hier sind die neuesten Neuigkeiten:


    https://c65gs.blogspot.com/2019/01/livening-cpu-speed-video-mode-and.html

    Es freut mich immer, etwas vom Foenix zu hören. Mit der Tastatur, ja, ich sehe kein Problem mit Ihrer Idee. Ich muss aber mit den Jungs bestätigen, falls es gibt irgendwelches Hindernis, von dem ich kein Bewusstsein habe.


    MfG
    Paul.


    ---


    Hi Stefany,


    Yes, it is a while since we last spoke. Things are going generally well with us on the MEGA65, although we are flat out at the moment. Here is the latest news:


    https://c65gs.blogspot.com/2019/01/livening-cpu-speed-video-mode-and.html


    I always look forward to hearing news about the Phoenix.. Now, regarding the keyboard, I don't see any problem with your idea to re-use our new keyboard. But I will have to check with the team and make sure there is no problem that I am not currently aware of.


    Paul.

  • Paul,


    Thanks for responding...


    First, I think there is an issue with the link.

    I always look forward to hearing news about the Phoenix.. Now, regarding the keyboard, I don't see any problem with your idea to re-use our new keyboard. But I will have to check with the team and make sure there is no problem that I am not currently aware of.

    Hören Sie, zu diesem Zeitpunkt ist es eher so, als würde die Tastatur etwas sehen, ob es eine Möglichkeit gibt. Mit anderen Worten, wenn Sie und / oder Ihr Team dafür geöffnet wären.


    Natürlich wollen wir uns nicht gegenseitig auf die Zehen treten und das verstehe ich vollkommen. Auf der anderen Seite hätte die Möglichkeit, diese Tastatur von Ihnen zu beziehen, möglicherweise einen wirtschaftlichen Vorteil für Sie und mich. Tatsächlich würde dies letztendlich dem Benutzer zugute kommen.


    Wie auch immer, es ist in Ordnung, wenn dies den Teamtest nicht besteht und ich bin mir noch nicht sicher, ob ich diesen Weg trotzdem gehen würde ...


    Vielen Dank für deine Zeit!,



    /////
    Listen, at this point the keyboard thing is more like to see if there could be a possibility. In other words, if you and/or your team would be opened to it.


    Obviously, we don't want to step on each others toes and I perfectly understand that. On the other hand, having the possibility to source that keyboard from you might have economic benefit for you and I. Actually, in the end it would benefit the user.


    Either way, it is fine if this doesn't pass the team test and again, I am not sure still if I would go this way anyway...


    Thanks a lot for your time, it is really appreciated!


    Cheers!


    Stefany :Peace

  • Hallo,

    Ja, etwas mit dem Link war schief gegangen. Hier ist es wieder:


    https://c65gs.blogspot.com/2019/01/livening-cpu-speed-video-mode-and.html

    Regarding the keyboard, I totally agree with you -- I really just wanted to express that it is a decision that I can't take alone.. I hope we can provide you with the keyboards, as I think it makes all the sense in the world.


    Paul.

  • Hi @C256Foenix ,


    I have mixed feelings by looking at your recent video tutorials.


    On one hand I find this machine and the progress you made very interesting, on the other hand I see a few issues that may prevent users from buying it or developing for it:


    A) PS/2-Sockets for keyboard and mouse:
    Are there still any mice with ps/2-plugs around? I would love to see "USB-A"-Sockets for the keyboard and the mouse...


    B) Big SD-Slot:
    If you buy a SD-Card nowerdays, they are mostly Micro-SD-Cards with an Adapter for plugging them into the ancient big SD-Slots. I would love to see a Micro-SD-Slot instead of the big one in order to not use the adapter...


    C) DVI-Connector without Sound:
    In order to connect the C256 Foenix to a modern television set I would love to hear the sound output from this television set instead of having an extra external speaker or some extra cables for connecting the analog output to the television set (if that would be possible..). I could not see that you route a digital sound output to the DVI connector. An even better solution would be a HDMI-Connector on the back of the board... (But I do not know if there are fees to be paid for the HDMI-Connector.)


    D) Big green Battery:
    Is the battery available here in europe? Why aren't you using a standard CR2032-Cell?



    Cheers!
    Thomas

  • In order to connect the C256 Foenix to a modern television set I would love to hear the sound output from this television set instead of having an extra external speaker or some extra cables for connecting the analog output to the television set (if that would be possible..).

    Especially because digital displays induce a specific delay that is
    being compensated within the display/TV. By outputting the
    audio to some speakers directly, these would be ahead of the
    picture and would thus need to be connected through an adjustable
    audio delay unit.

  • Hey Freak,


    In normal circumstances, those would be valid points... However, when I embarked in this project, I made a point to design it if it was going to be like in 1987. So, there was no USB in 1987, there was no HDMI in 1987 either, etc...


    Listen, it is easy to put a big ass FPGA in the middle of a board these days and make it do whatever you want. It is little less easy to actually work within a certain sets of constrains that I am imposed myself.


    And honestly, if I didn't imposed those constrains, I would have not bother trying to do anything at all... No Fun.


    I am sorry to disappoint, but the Foenix was not designed to be interfaced to a 2019 style LCD TV, the same way a C64 was not designed to be interfaced to a 2019 style LCD TV either...


    Obviously, DVI doesn't have any sound, but you could use a DVI to HDMI cable. The RCA outputs are line-out compatible that could be connected to the back of the TV.


    The battery is a CR2 and I chose it because it was big and clunky! the same way it was back then...


    I personally hate dealing with micro-sd cards. So, big SD Card, it is.


    And finally, they sell USB to PS2 adapter, that should help to.


    Again, I am sorry that it is not exactly to your liking.


    Regards,


    Stefany

  • I am sorry to disappoint, but the Foenix was not designed to be interfaced to a 2019 style LCD TV, the same way a C64 was not designed to be interfaced to a 2019 style LCD TV either...

    Hi Stefany,


    I highly agree with you that people should use CRTs as they're lag free and
    deliver pleasant and smooth picture and motion. However - they never listen to me.


    In the last two years, I've been a regular visitor to the local electric waste collection
    centers, as our company sold, gave away and finally also threw away studio
    equipment and cabling from 1985. And each and every time I hauled stuff into
    these walk-in containers, I still found dozens of CRT TVs and monitors in there,
    many of them probably still working to some extent.


    Even perfectly working 4:3 TFT monitors are being discarded simply for being 4:3.


    So if you imagine that someone willing to develop for the Foenix has nothing but
    a modern style 16:9 display / TV, how should he deal with the lag issue?
    Incorporate an adjustable software audio buffer in every software running
    on "bare metal"?


    What about the future users? The C64 was successful because a dedicated
    display was optional, and it would work with the existing TV out of the box.
    So do Game/Play-Stations/Boxes of all kinds. Do you expect all audiences
    to be on an enthusiast level? If yes, then I'll just shut up because I would
    seriously not have considered this.


    Same applies to PS/2. Adapters are only mechanical, so the devices have to support
    PS/2 protocol internally. The other way round, USB adapters for PS/2 keyboards and
    mice, are always interpretive. So at the time PS/2 protocol support is being dropped
    by the last few manufacturers, the adapters sold will be useless for the new hardware
    produced.


    For myself, I wouldn't care much as I have kept a lot of old stuff, but even a large
    part of the retro enthusiasts haven't - because they're retro, and not past-contemporary.
    And because keeping clunky stuff is often not tolerated by.. erm.. other household
    members.. anymore.


    So, I read the Foenix to be the "retro of the future". And I have a strong sensing
    that the "future" aspect will need to be very promising in order to provide for any
    future to the project.


    Cheers,


    ius

  • B) Big SD-Slot:
    If you buy a SD-Card nowerdays, they are mostly Micro-SD-Cards with an Adapter for plugging them into the ancient big SD-Slots. I would love to see a Micro-SD-Slot instead of the big one in order to not use the adapter...

    A standard SD slot is a feature, not a bug. Adapting a Micro-SD card for use in a standard slot is simple, with easily available adapters and it does not require any extra space. Adapting a standard SD card to connect to a microSD slot requires very special adapters and additional space to place the adapter.


    Or do you volunteer to buy a microSD card (or a microSD-to-standard card adaptor) for every user that cannot simply use a standard SD card that they cannot use because you got your "no adapter" wish?


    Quote

    I could not see that you route a digital sound output to the DVI connector. An even better solution would be a HDMI-Connector on the back of the board...

    Why would you (physically) route digital audio to a DVI connector - or an HDMI connector? That does not make any sense, it's the encoder that would need the audio signals and the encoder does not care what kind of connector is on the board.


    Quote

    (But I do not know if there are fees to be paid for the HDMI-Connector.)

    HDMI is a trademark of one of the companies related to either HDMI standard development or licensing. As far as I know you can license the trademark (and quite a bit of associated stuff) for either 5000 USD per year plus 1 USD per device or 10000 USD per year with no per-device fee and the devices that you want to use it on must pass a compliance test suite. I'm not sure if anyone has ever figured out if the pure use of an HDMI-compatible connector without mentioning the word "HDMI" anywhere (and possibly with a DVI-only data stream) requires licensing or not.

  • Especially because digital displays induce a specific delay that is
    being compensated within the display/TV.

    If you can't bypass that delay, you wouldn't want to use that display for a computer anyway. Delays in TVs are introduced by all those filters which make the picture look worse.

    So, there was no USB in 1987, there was no HDMI in 1987 either, etc...

    So DVI and SD it is? Interesting.
    Also PS/2 is pretty far fetched. Yes, it existed in 1987, but it was mostly unheard of before ATX boards became commonplace in the 90's.
    Of course, the question is not, what existed, but what would they have done. Obviously, they would have chosen interfaces which were commonplace at the time of development. USB and HDMI would be a pretty safe bet.

    May I present some newer gaming boards?

    My thoughts exactly. PS/2 is far from dead.

  • Guys,


    As much as I appreciate people's comments on the different aspect of the system, there is something that most people fail to realize...


    If any of you were going to go and design something where you would spend all your spare times and ultimately spend thousands of dollars of your money, would you go and accept to change your design for everybody that comes along and believe that you are doing is wrong?


    Would you jeopardize your own vision to please the ultimately un-pleaseable? Because in reality and if we are honest with ourselves, we are never satisfied and we will never be satisfied. If I put a USB to please one, someone else will come and will say that I didn't follow my vision.


    In the end, it befalls on me to make the decisions and whatever happens, it will determine the outcome of the project and its success in the community. If I was listening to everybody I would not even bother doing anything because people that don't do anything always are the one to put down the people that do... Too this, too that, not of enough of this, not enough of that...


    And even me, I am guilty of that sin...


    So, how about you let me complete the project and then you can get one and judge it and complain about it... ;o)


    Thanks for yours attention everybody!


    Cheers!
    Stefany

  • I am usually one of those only skimming these threads... my experience, with few exceptions, a challenging project is either heavily discussed but never finished or pops suddenly up, almost finished.


    It is your project with your rules. I look forward to hear about your progress and please don't get caught in endless discussions - that is lost time for your project.


    Best regards
    TX

  • First of all, I really appreciate what Stefany is doing. The C256 is a very promising project and the progress being made is amazing. I don't understand the discussions about the hardware, because I don't think that the hardware and specifications are important at all. The question is: what's the new machine capable of, which the old machine couldn't do? And that's the real problem, because there is one very important feature missing from the C256, as well as the MEGA65: running Doom! The combination of a slow CPU and the non-linear high resolution graphic modes just won't make it work.


    Let's take a brief look at the history of gaming. The most successful gaming platform in the beginning of the 90's was the x86 PC. It was the universal gaming machine, capable of running all kind of games: flight simulators, racing games, 1st-person shooters. It was the big winner in a tough competition - without providing hardware sprites and despite all its drawbacks. Higher resolutions were never used. Almost all games ran in 320x200. It makes me wonder, why all projects, which are trying to make a successor to the C64, just pimp the loser instead of catching up with the winner. There is no benefit in higher resolutions and more sprites, because it does not open the door for any kind of new games. If you carry out a survey and ask people if they would rather play a high-resolution Giana Sisters in 256 colors or a 16 color version of Doom in 320x200@25fps, the answer would be very clear. Doom was the final nail in the coffin for other platforms. I think it needs to be pulled out in order to have success. Whenever there is a new platform, it's the first game being ported. First game ported for new Amiga accelerator cards? Doom! First game ported for the SuperCPU? Doom! It's that "Look what's possible now!" moment, what makes people say: "Yeah, finally!" ;-) It's a tough task to add raycasting acceleration and some basic 3D acceleration, but since graphic chip for the C256 and MEGA65 are FPGA, it's a just software problem and might be fixed later.

  • I think it is wrong to demand Doom running on a 16bit CPU.
    Doom was made on x386 which are 32bit CPUs.
    I would prefer if you demand for -> Castle Wolfenstein. (Wolfenstein 3D) it was developed on a x286 (16-bit CPU).
    So for me it is not Doom, but Wolfenstein which I would like to see on the C256.
    For the MEGA65 I guess it could run some sort of Wolfenstein 3D, but I would prefer a proper Flight Simulator II or upgraded Mercenary,