General Comments

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stef
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Re: General Comments

Post by stef » Sun May 05, 2019 7:00 pm

Fel wrote:
Sun May 05, 2019 8:34 am
I just ordered/paid for one C256. I want to support this project even if I don't have time to develop anything right now (probably not until 2020).
I was never a Commodore C64 developer but I actually started learning basic programming on a Pet and a VIC20. I spent several years with the Apple II and Atari 8/16 bit computers. Those were the good old days writing games and sharing with my user group. I am a developer now but working on mainframe applications, and have not written even a PC program in years.

Stef, in the future it would be great to have a storefront for software, utilities, resource, tools, etc. where people can share or even sell their creations.

Thanls,
Fel
Fel,
Thank you for supporting the project! It is really appreciated.

In terms of infrastructure to support the machine, I hope this very forum will become the center point for sharing information about the machine and its open source software/tools/etc... As for everything else that would have a physical aspect or a monetary aspect, I will have to think about that. It would be great to have a one-stop shop.

So, I will keep you posted as things are progressing for the release of Rev C and I sure hope that you will eventually find the time to play with it!

Thanks again,

Stefany
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ZeroByte
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Re: General Comments

Post by ZeroByte » Mon May 06, 2019 3:44 am

bzuidgeest wrote:
Wed May 01, 2019 7:17 pm
many other "secret" things
Well grenouye certainly knows how to make people wonder about what is to come...

As zerobyte already said de forum is quiet now but everything needs to start at some point. I really don't believe in the 8-Bit Guy's CX16. ... He really made a point about no fpga's. Then he did some research and now they are adapting a gameduino??? They still seem to have made no choice on audio chips...
Oh, they've chosen an audio chip. It's the AY-3-8910 x2. It's a 3-square wave + 1 noise voice chip, and there is no pulse width control. 50% duty cycle only. They defend this chip with chiptune vids, and even the demo scene level skill sounds 'meh' on that chip. They're even discussing making an FPGA be that chip because current-production clones are inconsistent with each other or something... I mean, I love Gradius for its soundtrack and all, but that had 5 of the chips! AND the timbre is not where the quality in that game comes from, it's the polyphony. I asked why not replicate a better chip like YM2151 or YM2608 if they're going to virtualize the chip anyway. They seem he'll-bent on lackluster A/V specs 'just because 8-bit'

The one and only thing that keeps me interested in CX16 is the size of David's community being enough for a good chance of a workable community of CX16 owners and dev's. Any game I make for CX16 is going to use PCM tracker BGM. The AY is crap for anything other than SFX or hardcore chiptune enthusiasts. (In my opinion of course).

TBH, I wish Foenix would have a better FM chip than OPL, but I see some justification for choosing it, and I'm not going to whine for OPM or OPNA, when the alternative is basically the sound chip equivalent of a flute-o-phone.
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stef
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Re: General Comments

Post by stef » Mon May 06, 2019 6:48 am

ZeroByte wrote:
Mon May 06, 2019 3:44 am
bzuidgeest wrote:
Wed May 01, 2019 7:17 pm
many other "secret" things
Well grenouye certainly knows how to make people wonder about what is to come...

As zerobyte already said de forum is quiet now but everything needs to start at some point. I really don't believe in the 8-Bit Guy's CX16. ... He really made a point about no fpga's. Then he did some research and now they are adapting a gameduino??? They still seem to have made no choice on audio chips...
Oh, they've chosen an audio chip. It's the AY-3-8910 x2. It's a 3-square wave + 1 noise voice chip, and there is no pulse width control. 50% duty cycle only. They defend this chip with chiptune vids, and even the demo scene level skill sounds 'meh' on that chip. They're even discussing making an FPGA be that chip because current-production clones are inconsistent with each other or something... I mean, I love Gradius for its soundtrack and all, but that had 5 of the chips! AND the timbre is not where the quality in that game comes from, it's the polyphony. I asked why not replicate a better chip like YM2151 or YM2608 if they're going to virtualize the chip anyway. They seem he'll-bent on lackluster A/V specs 'just because 8-bit'

The one and only thing that keeps me interested in CX16 is the size of David's community being enough for a good chance of a workable community of CX16 owners and dev's. Any game I make for CX16 is going to use PCM tracker BGM. The AY is crap for anything other than SFX or hardcore chiptune enthusiasts. (In my opinion of course).

TBH, I wish Foenix would have a better FM chip than OPL, but I see some justification for choosing it, and I'm not going to whine for OPM or OPNA, when the alternative is basically the sound chip equivalent of a flute-o-phone.
ZeroByte, it is difficult to satisfy everybody, but the Foenix has FPGASID, 2 OPL2, CODEC for Capture and Sampling plus the MIDI interface, I don't know what you could possibly want more?

But out of curiosity, if you could choose the FM chip you want, what would it be? I am interested.

Cheers

Stefany
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bzuidgeest
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Re: General Comments

Post by bzuidgeest » Mon May 06, 2019 8:44 am

So... The CX16 which David was very clear about that it should not have and fpga's is getting more and more fpga.... Which other system that actually exists has that to???? Oh I know, the foenix! :D . I think that by the time they are done the price difference with the foenix will be close to zero.

@ZeroByte You could always connect the fm chip of choice to the expansion bus! Make it an add-on. Contributing to the platform does not have to be software only :)
immortalx
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Re: General Comments

Post by immortalx » Mon May 06, 2019 12:53 pm

Hey everybody!
OK first, the switch to the new forum was the nicest move. If I've learned anything by getting older is that, unfortunately, people tend to care more about the wrapping than the content.
The project comes from an ultra-experienced industry veteran and I'm sure that all of us are amazed at the speed things got done. I've seen way less complex projects take ages to complete. But I've also seen mediocre projects have huge success just because they were nicely polished. My point is, little things like the new website/forum and some exposure to media can help propel this project.
Stef, have you thought of reaching out to the demoscene? There are still old-schoolers and new blood that can make the foenix sing. A nice technical demo would certainly have people's eyes wide open.
The other thing I'd like to mention is an older project of someone (many of you probably know about it) called uzebox. It's nothing of the sort of the foenix. It's just a tiny, NES-like homebrew console which had huge success for over a decade. The secret to its success wasn't the low price. It was that the guy provided a C library and an easy to setup toolchain, with lots of documentation. That helped the community make over a 100 games for it. It was just that, easy to program for.
It would be a pity for such a nice machine to be hard to be programmed. So, I'd like to ask: Is there at this time a way to write in higher level (C, C++) languages, or is it all assembly? If not, are there any plans in the future to ease development in such languages?

I truly want this project to succeed and I'm torn between being an early adopter, or waiting a bit for it to mature. I'm afraid I won't be able to program anything for it unless there's some tutorial content and being able to write in C for example.
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Re: General Comments

Post by stef » Mon May 06, 2019 5:36 pm

immortalx wrote:
Mon May 06, 2019 12:53 pm
Hey everybody!
OK first, the switch to the new forum was the nicest move. If I've learned anything by getting older is that, unfortunately, people tend to care more about the wrapping than the content.
The project comes from an ultra-experienced industry veteran and I'm sure that all of us are amazed at the speed things got done. I've seen way less complex projects take ages to complete. But I've also seen mediocre projects have huge success just because they were nicely polished. My point is, little things like the new website/forum and some exposure to media can help propel this project.
Stef, have you thought of reaching out to the demoscene? There are still old-schoolers and new blood that can make the foenix sing. A nice technical demo would certainly have people's eyes wide open.
The other thing I'd like to mention is an older project of someone (many of you probably know about it) called uzebox. It's nothing of the sort of the foenix. It's just a tiny, NES-like homebrew console which had huge success for over a decade. The secret to its success wasn't the low price. It was that the guy provided a C library and an easy to setup toolchain, with lots of documentation. That helped the community make over a 100 games for it. It was just that, easy to program for.
It would be a pity for such a nice machine to be hard to be programmed. So, I'd like to ask: Is there at this time a way to write in higher level (C, C++) languages, or is it all assembly? If not, are there any plans in the future to ease development in such languages?

I truly want this project to succeed and I'm torn between being an early adopter, or waiting a bit for it to mature. I'm afraid I won't be able to program anything for it unless there's some tutorial content and being able to write in C for example.
immortalx,

The demoscene has been in my crosshair for a while now but I know we are not ready for that. The old guard is stuck in its old ways which is very normal, the new blood might be hungry for something new to chew on but either way, the machine needs to be more advanced than it is now. I would think that by fall time, it will be ready for it, maybe before... Who knows. The thing is, I might be fast and experienced but I am still only one person. The actual dev group is doing a fantastic job at helping on the software side but yet, we are still only 5 people overall working on a regular basis on the project and I did that on purpose. Dealing with a lot of developers at the same time requires a lot of time. I spent most of April to build the unit and to cater to my small dev group. Which in one way helped, because now, I am not the only one anymore, but it also hindered my capacity to get further in with the design.

Trust me, everything is being done to make the development easy. The FoenixIDE is a good example of that. The Development platform has a port that allows you to upload and download code/data at will and if you want more Debug info, you can use the normal serial port as a console. The Dev people could tell you all about it. I know this is one of the major things that the machine needs to be. Documentation-wise, people you don't have to worry, you will have all the documentation you will need otherwise, it just defeats the purpose...

Most of the programming is done with Assembly which is very fun by the way and the toolset is geared towards that. However, one of our developers is implementing a GUI environment for the Foenix as we speak. And he is doing it in C with WDC toolset I believe, so he would probably be in a good position to share his experience with us and teach new developers how to go about it.

So, all in all, by the time Rev C is released, we will be way more advanced in the progress of the machine and its tool which will give you a headway into creating the next best thing. Also, I am working on a small demo for my splash screen of the game I want to do which will be offered as an example to help people get in the mood. By then, I hope to have more time to explain my workflow.

Cheers

Stefany

Release Schedule:
C256F Development Platform Rev C - July/August 2019
C256F Official User Release - March/April 2020
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bzuidgeest
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Re: General Comments

Post by bzuidgeest » Mon May 06, 2019 5:51 pm

I wanted to respond ti immortalx his comment, but steff already beat me to it :), but here's my two cent on the topic anyway:

Immortalx,you make some comments I very much agree with. Like steff says, at this point the main languages will be assembly or basic, like the old school computers this device seems to homage. Personally I think assembly is not suitable for larger projects (though powerful when used correctly). Also basic is just that, basic. So I spend a few hours browsing the net looking for a C-compiler. At this moment the best thing out there seems to be the compiler from wdc itself. you can find it at https://wdc65xx.com/WDCTools. The command-line tools seem to work and the basic tide ide they supply seems to stop throwing errors on windows 10 when put in windows xp sp2 compatibility mode. But that is as far as my testing got for now. I think it should be possible to get it working though. So nice to know one of the original six developers is already looking in to it. But even if it works, libraries for the foenix hardware and content creation would still need to be created. And I cannot expect them to have that done by rev C release. But it is the route I'm planning for when I get my hardware. It might challenge my skills to get it set up (if no one else does it before me) and working, but that is part of what this project is about for me.
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Re: General Comments

Post by immortalx » Mon May 06, 2019 6:14 pm

Stef thank you very much for taking the time to respond, despite having such a full schedule! It was nice to hear that ease of development is something you consider.
bzuidgeest, it's nice to hear someone else having the same concerns, and thank you very much for sharing your findings!
ZeroByte
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Re: General Comments

Post by ZeroByte » Mon May 06, 2019 7:57 pm

stef wrote:
Mon May 06, 2019 6:48 am
ZeroByte, it is difficult to satisfy everybody, but the Foenix has FPGASID, 2 OPL2, CODEC for Capture and Sampling plus the MIDI interface, I don't know what you could possibly want more?

But out of curiosity, if you could choose the FM chip you want, what would it be? I am interested.

Cheers

Stefany
I totally get that, and I'm not whining about OPL2 - It was VERY common (being Adlib/SB) and the amount of tools/tunes/material available for it is vast.

If I were building a system with FM, I'd put one of the 4-op models in there as an FPGA clone, probably YM2151 (I just bought a few real ones to tinker with connecting to my C64). That's a classic chip and is pretty much the way arcade music sounded in the late 80s/early 90s. Go check out VGMRips.net - the YM2151 is the most-represented FM chip by a wide margin (347 music packs - not tunes, but packs of tunes) and it's only surpassed by the NES APU which has 409 packs. YM2151 is the chip in classics like Street Fighter II, Outrun, Space Harrier, Ghouls-n-Ghosts, Strider, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles - Turtles in Time, Marble Madness, and many many more.

Anyway, that would be my dream FM chip, but OPL2 + SID + PCM is going to be quite capable indeed, and I'm not going to complain at all. The C256F really looks like my dream system.

As for the HW add-on for CX16, I'd be happy to do that, and I think after I get my C64 rockin' one of the 2151 chips via cartridge port, I'll see what might be necessary to adapt it to the CX16 bus port. One problem I have with peripheral HW though is that I would expect to see maybe 1 game project get developed with support for it. Peripherals are always very small niches within the greater ecosystem of their host systems, and when you consider that there will probably never be more than 10k CX16 systems, that means maybe 100 people would have FM boards... Which is why I've been such a pain in their butts over there in their FB group - I don't want to be a pain, but I know that if the base system has no FM, then that's that. I can't expect to enjoy games on-system with FM sound - and that's an aesthetic choice, because PCM-based trackers can theoretically do much better stuff than FM. It's kind of like comparing SNES w/ Genesis/Megadrive music.
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Re: General Comments

Post by stef » Mon May 06, 2019 8:01 pm

ZeroByte wrote:
Mon May 06, 2019 7:57 pm
stef wrote:
Mon May 06, 2019 6:48 am
ZeroByte, it is difficult to satisfy everybody, but the Foenix has FPGASID, 2 OPL2, CODEC for Capture and Sampling plus the MIDI interface, I don't know what you could possibly want more?

But out of curiosity, if you could choose the FM chip you want, what would it be? I am interested.

Cheers

Stefany
I totally get that, and I'm not whining about OPL2 - It was VERY common (being Adlib/SB) and the amount of tools/tunes/material available for it is vast.

If I were building a system with FM, I'd put one of the 4-op models in there as an FPGA clone, probably YM2151 (I just bought a few real ones to tinker with connecting to my C64). That's a classic chip and is pretty much the way arcade music sounded in the late 80s/early 90s. Go check out VGMRips.net - the YM2151 is the most-represented FM chip by a wide margin (347 music packs - not tunes, but packs of tunes) and it's only surpassed by the NES APU which has 409 packs. YM2151 is the chip in classics like Street Fighter II, Outrun, Space Harrier, Ghouls-n-Ghosts, Strider, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles - Turtles in Time, Marble Madness, and many many more.

Anyway, that would be my dream FM chip, but OPL2 + SID + PCM is going to be quite capable indeed, and I'm not going to complain at all. The C256F really looks like my dream system.

As for the HW add-on for CX16, I'd be happy to do that, and I think after I get my C64 rockin' one of the 2151 chips via cartridge port, I'll see what might be necessary to adapt it to the CX16 bus port. One problem I have with peripheral HW though is that I would expect to see maybe 1 game project get developed with support for it. Peripherals are always very small niches within the greater ecosystem of their host systems, and when you consider that there will probably never be more than 10k CX16 systems, that means maybe 100 people would have FM boards... Which is why I've been such a pain in their butts over there in their FB group - I don't want to be a pain, but I know that if the base system has no FM, then that's that. I can't expect to enjoy games on-system with FM sound - and that's an aesthetic choice, because PCM-based trackers can theoretically do much better stuff than FM. It's kind of like comparing SNES w/ Genesis/Megadrive music.
Alright then, if I give you the choice:
YM2612
or
YM2151 + YM3012

Which one would you pick?

S
Mistress of All Villainy
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