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MIST Experience with Atari 8 Bit


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#1 Blues76 OFFLINE  

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Posted Thu Jan 12, 2017 11:47 AM

Hello, 

 

For those of you that have the MIST, how has been your general experience? 

For the Atari 8-bit, what hasn't worked? what is the general experience when you are using the MIST versus an emulated Atari versus the real hardware? 

 

I'm trying to find out the experience for those that own a MIST -- I hope this thread doesn't become to what's better or what's worst. 

 

I'm trying to find out to see  if I it will be a good experience to have one. 

 

Thanks,



#2 GlowingGhoul OFFLINE  

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Posted Thu Jan 12, 2017 12:16 PM

You'll be happier with real hardware if that's an option. I find the FPGA Atari 8 cores to be less than satisfying. Sound and graphics are a bit "off".  Even emulation is better, but (enhanced) real hardware is the best.



#3 foft OFFLINE  

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Posted Thu Jan 12, 2017 1:01 PM

Watching with interest. Feedback is useful, particularly if specific. :)

#4 mikeyhelikesit OFFLINE  

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Posted Thu Jan 12, 2017 1:29 PM

I have several Atari 400's (one of them modified with as much Ram as an 800). I have 2 in boxes. Several 800's. I also have the 130XE. I think I have 3 of 1050 floppy drives, 2 cassette read/writers. And so much more! Are the emulators making the value of my equipment drop? I have held onto them because I am a packrat. But I also play the games I have from time to time. I have used retropie (but finding the correct emulators to play the roms for the 800 has been a chore). I am not as technical as you all seem to be, but I am learning. I never owned a 2600, my brother told my parents back in the late 70's early 80's to buy a Magnavox Odyssey 2. So I have 20 plus games for that, but my brother did modify the machine to handle any Atari joystick by mounting 2 female jacks on the back. I have seen stuff on e-bay go for $100 to $200 / lot, but I don't know if just having the memorabilia is worth more than the money. I have the boxes for a lot of the consoles and cartridges. Thanks for any input in advance.

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#5 Blues76 OFFLINE  

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Posted Thu Jan 12, 2017 2:11 PM

I have several Atari 400's (one of them modified with as much Ram as an 800). I have 2 in boxes. Several 800's. I also have the 130XE. I think I have 3 of 1050 floppy drives, 2 cassette read/writers. And so much more! Are the emulators making the value of my equipment drop? I have held onto them because I am a packrat. But I also play the games I have from time to time. I have used retropie (but finding the correct emulators to play the roms for the 800 has been a chore). I am not as technical as you all seem to be, but I am learning. I never owned a 2600, my brother told my parents back in the late 70's early 80's to buy a Magnavox Odyssey 2. So I have 20 plus games for that, but my brother did modify the machine to handle any Atari joystick by mounting 2 female jacks on the back. I have seen stuff on e-bay go for $100 to $200 / lot, but I don't know if just having the memorabilia is worth more than the money. I have the boxes for a lot of the consoles and cartridges. Thanks for any input in advance.
Sent from my SM-N900P using Tapatalk

How is this related to the question?

#6 mikeyhelikesit OFFLINE  

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Posted Thu Jan 12, 2017 2:15 PM

First post ever - sorry wrong Forum!

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#7 Blues76 OFFLINE  

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Posted Thu Jan 12, 2017 2:19 PM

First post ever - sorry wrong Forum!

Sent from my SM-N900P using Tapatalk

 

no problem. 



#8 Blues76 OFFLINE  

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Posted Thu Jan 12, 2017 2:19 PM

You'll be happier with real hardware if that's an option. I find the FPGA Atari 8 cores to be less than satisfying. Sound and graphics are a bit "off".  Even emulation is better, but (enhanced) real hardware is the best.

How long about did you purchase the MIST?



#9 GlowingGhoul OFFLINE  

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Posted Thu Jan 12, 2017 2:30 PM

How long about did you purchase the MIST?

2 years ago. And a Turbo Chameleon as well.

 

FPGA system emulation is not for me, not convenient, buggy cores, and most of all, and I know this isn't "specific", but the graphics, sound, even things like scrolling, are just not right. Close enough for some perhaps, but after spending hundreds on FPGA based emulators hoping to get rid of my physical hardware, I ended up getting rid of the FPGA's instead. Ok, I kept the Chameleon, but only because it provides a VGA output when plugged into the real C64 I bought.

 

There's a reason these things seem like the answer to having all systems in a tiny package, and yet haven't become the standard for most people. It's more like an interesting technical demonstration than a refined product.


Edited by GlowingGhoul, Thu Jan 12, 2017 2:33 PM.


#10 R.Cade OFFLINE  

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Posted Thu Jan 12, 2017 2:47 PM

I have had one for about 6 months, and before that I had a Turbo Chameleon which I think uses the same core. The Atari emulation has minimal features** but seems to work well. You can run carts and ATR's and it works in both VGA and 15KHz RGB (which really looks nice).

 

**When I say this, I only mean compared to software emulators. Certainly you can change ROM, RAM size, change disks, use joysticks- all the stuff you would normally be able to do. It has turbo disk and CPU modes. Certainly Altirra has a ton more features, but the core is neat for what it is.

 

I didn't notice any problem with graphics or sound, but I'm not sure I really exploit it to the limits. It seems rock solid with games and scrolling to me, but I do use 15KHz RGB almost exclusively and don't try to do this with VGA or an LCD- that would be asking for trouble since the refresh rates and stretching may cause issues.

 

There are about 20 other cores, most of which are quite impressive. Obviously the ST and Amiga cores are the most developed.


Edited by R.Cade, Thu Jan 12, 2017 3:01 PM.


#11 Farb OFFLINE  

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Posted Thu Jan 12, 2017 4:02 PM

I've run numerous games on the MiST A8 core and haven't seen any problems. I've also used Altirra quite a bit and haven't noticed anything particularly "off" about the graphics, sound or scrolling on MiST. In fact, I remember commenting to a buddy that I thought the horizontal scrolling text in Jumpman's title screen looked much smoother than (non-Altirra) emulators that I had used. That's not to say that anyone else's observations are invalid - it could be one of those things that once you "see" it you can't "unsee" it or there might be issues with specific titles that I haven't tried. I can only say I haven't noticed any anomalies during my admittedly casual usage playing popular game titles.

 
In my opinion, here are some pros and cons:
 
PROS
 
1. Much smaller than a PC (unless you're comparing to an Intel NUC or equivalent which may end up costing significanty more than a MiST).
2. Instant on - it feels like you're turning on an Atari rather than booting a PC.
3. Completely silent.
4. Two built-in joystick ports that you can plug real joysticks into without needing an adapter.
5. Built-in support for the TurboFreezer so you can do save/restore state.
6. It's a more modern device so (hopefully) less likely to fail than original Atari hardware.
 
CONS
 
1. VGA output only.
2. No ATX support so it can only run unprotected or cracked disk images.
3. Doesn't support all types of cartridges (e.g. Bounty Bob Strikes Back).
4. No cassette image support.
5. As someone else mentioned, it doesn't have all the bells and whistles of Altirra. Think of the MiST as stock Atari hardware with 4 built-in disk drives and an optional memory upgrade.
6. It's not a mass-market device so if it does have problems your options are limited.
 
This is not A8 core specific, but I'll also point out that while there are a good number of cores available for MiST, it's much more limited than a PC which can run any number of emulators. If a MiST core doesn't support something you want, you're probably out of luck as opposed to searching for a different PC emulator that may support it. For example, the MiST's sole Apple II core only supports the II+ so it can't run several titles that I'd really like to play.
 
For what it's worth, I have access to all 3 options: a real Atari, a Windows PC and a MiST. The MiST is what I leave hooked up in my basement to a small LCD TV when I want to play an Atari 8-bit or 2600 title because it's so small and unobtrusive.


#12 Blues76 OFFLINE  

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Posted Thu Jan 12, 2017 5:26 PM

 

I've run numerous games on the MiST A8 core and haven't seen any problems. I've also used Altirra quite a bit and haven't noticed anything particularly "off" about the graphics, sound or scrolling on MiST. In fact, I remember commenting to a buddy that I thought the horizontal scrolling text in Jumpman's title screen looked much smoother than (non-Altirra) emulators that I had used. That's not to say that anyone else's observations are invalid - it could be one of those things that once you "see" it you can't "unsee" it or there might be issues with specific titles that I haven't tried. I can only say I haven't noticed any anomalies during my admittedly casual usage playing popular game titles.

 
In my opinion, here are some pros and cons:
 
PROS
 
1. Much smaller than a PC (unless you're comparing to an Intel NUC or equivalent which may end up costing significanty more than a MiST).
2. Instant on - it feels like you're turning on an Atari rather than booting a PC.
3. Completely silent.
4. Two built-in joystick ports that you can plug real joysticks into without needing an adapter.
5. Built-in support for the TurboFreezer so you can do save/restore state.
6. It's a more modern device so (hopefully) less likely to fail than original Atari hardware.
 
CONS
 
1. VGA output only.
2. No ATX support so it can only run unprotected or cracked disk images.
3. Doesn't support all types of cartridges (e.g. Bounty Bob Strikes Back).
4. No cassette image support.
5. As someone else mentioned, it doesn't have all the bells and whistles of Altirra. Think of the MiST as stock Atari hardware with 4 built-in disk drives and an optional memory upgrade.
6. It's not a mass-market device so if it does have problems your options are limited.
 
This is not A8 core specific, but I'll also point out that while there are a good number of cores available for MiST, it's much more limited than a PC which can run any number of emulators. If a MiST core doesn't support something you want, you're probably out of luck as opposed to searching for a different PC emulator that may support it. For example, the MiST's sole Apple II core only supports the II+ so it can't run several titles that I'd really like to play.
 
For what it's worth, I have access to all 3 options: a real Atari, a Windows PC and a MiST. The MiST is what I leave hooked up in my basement to a small LCD TV when I want to play an Atari 8-bit or 2600 title because it's so small and unobtrusive.

 

 

What is the difference running MIST versus the Alitirra board? 



#13 Farb OFFLINE  

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Posted Thu Jan 12, 2017 5:36 PM

I think you might have the names confused. Altirra is the Atari 8-bit emulator that phaeron wrote and maintains. I think you're probably referring to the Altera which is an FPGA development board?

 

If so, there is a feature matrix in the Atari 8-bit core's documentation here:

 

http://www.scrameta....FPGA Manual.pdf



#14 Blues76 OFFLINE  

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Posted Thu Jan 12, 2017 7:55 PM

sorr

I think you might have the names confused. Altirra is the Atari 8-bit emulator that phaeron wrote and maintains. I think you're probably referring to the Altera which is an FPGA development board?
 
If so, there is a feature matrix in the Atari 8-bit core's documentation here:
 
http://www.scrameta....FPGA Manual.pdf

sorry, i didn't realized ... i was under the impression that was another fpga board ... but Yes, i use the emulator

I guess I was tired!

#15 Keatah ONLINE  

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Posted Thu Jan 12, 2017 11:23 PM

I had a MiST on loan to me for about 4 months not too long ago.
I had real hardware when I was a kid.
Today I do most everything "classic computer related" via software emulation. And for the Atari 8-bit lineup that would mean Altirra.

Of all three methods I strongly prefer software emulation due to reliability and versatility, consistency and convenience. It feels like a little bit of magic snuck its way into my humdrum same'ol same'ol PC. Suddenly I'm blown back into 1982! And things are alright again.

I'm too tired and frustrated messna'round with real hardware. It's nice to look at and all that, but a real hassle to keep in "collector's" shape. That and other reasons like space and aesthetics and real practicality & portability. So that's a no-go for me.

My direct experience with MiST was that of playing through a straw. Narrow, vertical, silo-ized and specialized. I find MiST's and other FPGA simulations' lack of amenities to be frustrating and tedious. I've gotten quite used to pushing around and organizing disk images and documentation and having a variety of machine configurations available at SSD speeds. All in one spot.

At best, to me, the MiST is a complementary device. A bit of filler material for the spare bedroom if you will. I could rant for hours on this topic but will stop here.
 



#16 dkerfoot OFFLINE  

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Posted Fri Apr 28, 2017 8:55 PM

Resurrecting an old post to see if there are other folks willing to post their experience with MIST.  I'm seriously considering selling off most of my A8 and ST stuff and buying one.

I should add that I've just never warmed to software emulators.  I'm hoping that holding a real joystick will make the difference.  As it is, most of my A8 stuff sits in boxes for a few years, then I get the urge to mess with it again for a few months.  I end up buying the latest upgrades and gadgets and then it goes back into storage.  My hope is that the box sitting constantly on my desktop would get used more consistently and even if it isn't, at least i'd be freeing up my storage space.  I would probably hang on to one or two A8's, well, because...  :)



#17 _The Doctor__ ONLINE  

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Posted Sat Apr 29, 2017 12:55 AM

Still not ready for prime time IMHO..... gave up...  got rid of.... moved on... sorry

Real hardware is still the only way to fly... I can't get decent play when doing a run against the death star on anything else... deal breaker...



#18 Farb OFFLINE  

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Posted Sun Apr 30, 2017 4:07 PM

Resurrecting an old post to see if there are other folks willing to post their experience with MIST.  I'm seriously considering selling off most of my A8 and ST stuff and buying one.

 

Not too long ago, myself and a buddy were playing a ridiculous amount of Jumpman on a 130XE, MIST and Altirra (depending on whose house we were at) using original Atari joysticks (built-in port on the MIST and a 2600daptor on Altirra). We frequently saw a very slight lag in the response of the joystick on Altirra. The lag, while maybe not noticeable to most, was definitely noticeable to someone who had experience playing on real hardware and it made the game feel wrong. My buddy flat out refused to even play it on Altirra. We saw this behavior on a desktop PC using a TV via HDMI and a laptop using the built-in display. We tried two different 2600daptors and a Retrolink USB to Atari adapter. The MIST did not exhibit this effect and overall we didn't "feel" any difference vs. playing it on real Atari hardware.

 

I'm not saying this was any fault with Altirra itself. It may have been a Windows 10 issue, a driver issue, an unknown Altirra or Windows setting that needed to change, etc. I never did figure out what was causing it and we just played on the MIST or 130XE instead.



#19 mytek ONLINE  

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Posted Mon May 1, 2017 1:08 AM

Just curious, how much does the Mist cost?

- Michael

#20 lemiel OFFLINE  

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Posted Mon May 1, 2017 2:10 AM

220 Euro here http://lotharek.pl/product.php?pid=201

#21 scotty OFFLINE  

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Posted Wed Aug 16, 2017 6:53 PM

The GetHub link is dead with the source code and the binaries.  Can someone please post them here?



#22 santosp OFFLINE  

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Posted Fri Aug 18, 2017 1:11 PM

https://github.com/mist-devel



#23 R.Cade OFFLINE  

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Posted Fri Aug 18, 2017 1:21 PM

The core that is used for MiST (and Turbo Chameleon) is pretty good. It runs at VGA or 15Khz, and seems very compatible... I've played with it a good bit without noticeable problems. It doesn't have all the bells and whistles (by a long shot) of something like Altirra, but it is a nice stand alone solution.


Edited by R.Cade, Fri Aug 18, 2017 1:22 PM.


#24 Keatah ONLINE  

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Posted Sat Aug 19, 2017 12:40 AM

8 months after making this post and having played with more FPGA rigs, my experiences and commentary would remain the same if asked today.

http://atariage.com/...-bit/?p=3670782

 

Additionally I'll support this post.

http://atariage.com/...-bit/?p=3670439

 

..and add that most all FPGA systems feel isolated and stripped down compared against the amenities of Software Emulation. And you still need a PC around for support and disk image organization. SE is cool because most actively developed emus continue to gain new features. Not just bug-fixes, but genuine new features & tools. The slight inaccuracies or faults in presentation are way overshadowed by those tool and features and convenience.

 

Real physical hardware may provide an authentic experience. But I don't really want to mess around with intermittent connections and bad capacitors and 40+ year old parts that are falling out of tolerance. I prefer to use a nuc or stb and consider it disposable and replaceable if necessary. Much less frustrating. Years ago I might've got down and dirty with the circuitry. Today I'd rather get into configuration and software issues if there's going to be any trouble.

 

I also don't get too excited (though I used to) about custom hardware configurations and add-ons. Yes those are cool and add interesting capability. But most software libraries are built around basic stock hardware and what the general public could readily purchase at the quintessential department store. Again, niche.

 

As exciting and potential a playground FPGA may be, I prefer the vast open landscape of SE.



#25 Larry ONLINE  

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Posted Tue Aug 29, 2017 6:46 AM

I'm thinking about a MIST, also, but mainly for the system flexibility it offers.  I have tons of real Atari hardware, so I'll certainly keep a good portion of that for when I feeling especially nostalgic.  Definitely going to "downsize" on real hardware, though.

 

Looking at Lotharek's site, what is a MIST 1.3+ -- just means it includes a case?

 

Last -- anyone interested in selling one?  If so, send me a PM.

 

-Larry






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