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MSX vs Atari 800 Vs ZX spectrum/BBC nicro


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#1 2600problems OFFLINE  

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Posted Fri Apr 21, 2017 6:04 PM

 categories:

1.BASIC

2. Games/ports (good/ bad ports of various games)

3. control (i.e did it allow customization of keys or not, how well the games played)

4. Graphics and sound (give a comparison of the different computers sound differences (video or text example)

 

 



#2 JamesD ONLINE  

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Posted Fri Apr 21, 2017 10:49 PM

Nope, not gonna play this game.



#3 2600problems OFFLINE  

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Posted Fri Apr 21, 2017 11:09 PM

let me guess: its been decided before, been done already or been done to death. or maybe you'll come up with another excuse. well?



#4 JamesD ONLINE  

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Posted Fri Apr 21, 2017 11:24 PM

Don't care



#5 2600problems OFFLINE  

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Posted Sat Apr 22, 2017 12:16 AM

i see your point. its no use beating a dead horse.



#6 artrag OFFLINE  

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Posted Sat Apr 22, 2017 10:03 AM

Start from this


#7 JamesD ONLINE  

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Posted Sat Apr 22, 2017 2:10 PM

i see your point. its no use beating a dead horse.

I've just participated in a lot of these and they always turn into a battle of the fanboys.
I also give long explanations rather than "oh yeah, well look at this video" responses, so it gets time consuming and tiresome to participate.
I'll play along but mostly in general terms and then I'm done. Most of this pretty much applies to machines across the board.


They all have BASIC and people did everything they could with it. 
It's kinda pointless to say stuff like Atari BASIC is one of the slowest when there is an updated version that might be one of the fastest.
Now, you'd be better off using some sort of compiler even if it's BASIC, at which point the slowest BASIC might not matter.
And the compiler may add additional commands.
As a general rule, the later the BASIC, the more features it has... unless you are talking about the C64.

This isn't a simple comparison and just asking "BASIC" doesn't exactly give any qualifiers to go on. 


There are three things I usually look at when comparing BASICs.

1. I almost always bring up the ELSE statement (IF THEN ELSE).  

It makes code smaller and faster.  It is also conspicuously missing from many BASICs.

I don't know about all BASICs, but each line of Microsoft BASIC requires storing the line number, the pointer to the next line, and a line terminator.

So every time you can use ELSE, you save at least 4 (5 - 1 for the ELSE token) bytes just to start with.  That doesn't include the additional GOTOs and whatever else that may be required to duplicate the logic without ELSE.  Plus it might save some overhead involved in starting extra lines.
Every line you eliminate from the code also means one less line number the interpreter has to check when searching for a line number for a GOTO or GOSUB.
On a small program it might not be noticeable, but if you have 500 lines of code... it adds up.
Consider this... for 500 lines of BASIC you have 500 lines x 5 bytes = 2500 bytes of RAM used just to store line numbers, pointers to the next line, and line terminators.
If only 50 of those lines use ELSE, you probably saved at least 200 bytes of RAM.  If 100 use ELSE, it's at least 400 bytes.
An updated version of BASIC may cache recently accessed line numbers which eliminates the search through the program most of the time... so it may not matter much speed wise for the interpreter, and what if the updated BASIC also adds ELSE? 
If you compile the code, it makes little if any difference other than making things simpler for the programmer.  
Line numbers, next line pointers, line terminators, searching for line numbers, etc... all go away with a compiler.

2. The other BASIC command I bring up a lot is PRINT USING.  If you want to write business software... it's awesome.  But you can do the same thing by writing your own subroutine or with machine language at the expense of some RAM.  If you aren't doing something that requires advanced number formatting?  You aren't going to care.  But it does make a difference for business software.

3. Extended BASIC features.  More features in a BASIC are certainly nice, but do they make the machine more capable?  
New looping constructs may be nice, but it doesn't do anything that can't be done in another BASIC.
Throw in a little machine language and any BASIC can support sprites, even if they might be completely software driven.
Do I like BASIC support for lines and sprites more than a PEEK POKE orgy?  Definitely.  Is it mandatory to create great software?  No.
If a machine has some sort of Extended BASIC (some graphics and sound commands) that is usually sufficient to make your life easier.
Also keep in mind that Compute! magazine probably published hundreds of games that were just based on custom character sets and almost everything was PRINTed to the screen. 
 

If you want to talk about games, I don't think there is an across the board winner.

Every machine had their share of crappy ports as well as their share of unique gems.
One machine may be more adept at sprites, where another may be better at wire frame graphics.
The Speccy may arguably have the least capable graphics hardware and it's color palette could be described as gaudy... but it may make it faster for some games and it has many unique, fun titles.
Would it be my first choice to play common arcade ports like Donkey Kong?  No, The unique titles like Donkey Kong Reloaded are probably what you'd want one for.
Posting the best looking games will certainly show some of what a machine can do, but that probably doesn't reflect everything out there.  People aren't going to go out of their way to post the ugly ones.

If you want to play Elite, which machine does it run fastest on?  Is it even supported?  A year from now that could change if someone takes up the cause and finishes an Atari version.
What if one of your favorite game turns out to be a text adventure?

Controls vary from one game to the next, so how do you rate that beyond does it have joystick ports?  Are they digital or analog?
Even comparing analog vs digital joysticks is going to depend on the game and which joysticks you are using.
Doubleback on the Tandy CoCo wouldn't work as well without an analog joystick.
And flight sims are just better with analog joysticks, but arcade twitch games are better with digital joysticks.
A keyboard might be the best option for some games just due to the number of different controls.

 

As for sound... the original Spectrum doesn't have a sound chip and the later models do.
I've seen impressive stuff done with every one of those sound chips, and I've even seen really impressive stuff done with a beeper.
Sound chip wars are as bad as computer wars... it depends on who you ask.  
Every chip is a little different and even the simplest one can sound pretty impressive when you start passing enough data to it.
Having what might arguably be the best sound chip doesn't mean that you won't be dying to turn off some really annoying music after the first minute.
It also doesn't guarantee you are going to hear anything special.  
You could program music that is just as good from BASIC as some commercial titles (*cough* MSX Elite).  
 


Edited by JamesD, Sat Apr 22, 2017 2:11 PM.


#8 emkay ONLINE  

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Posted Sat Apr 22, 2017 2:39 PM

Atari 800 70s hardware stretched to the 90s
Spectrum early 80s hardware stretched to the 90s
MSX ....

When MSX arrived it was like the 800 in the 70s, able to have great arcade games at home. It also took the C64 ate it, and excreted it with ease.

#9 2600problems OFFLINE  

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Posted Sat Apr 22, 2017 7:58 PM

the MSX destroying the c64? not that i believe it can't be done but, do you have proof?



#10 artrag OFFLINE  

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Posted Sun Apr 23, 2017 3:05 AM



#11 Rybags OFFLINE  

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Posted Sun Apr 23, 2017 3:40 AM

Original MSX is nothing special.  June 1983 considered the birthdate so under a year younger than the C64.  The hardware standard not astonishing in any way, the sound essentially same as Spectrum, BBC, Atari ST, and the graphics 256x192 with a 16-colour palette.

 

MSX2 (1985), MSX2+ (1988) and MSX TurboR (1990) is where it's at, but just look at those dates.  In 1985 the 16-bit era was beginning and by 1988 8-bit machines were collecting dust in closets everywhere.  Fair enough the TurboR has the R800 CPU which was a backward compatible radically improvement on the Z80.

 

Supposedly Japan had sales of 5 million but success elsewhere was rare.  TBH I doubt I've ever seen more than several of these machines, ever.



#12 artrag OFFLINE  

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Posted Sun Apr 23, 2017 5:53 AM

This is for msx 2


#13 JamesD ONLINE  

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Posted Sun Apr 23, 2017 9:09 AM

Atari 800 70s hardware stretched to the 90s
Spectrum early 80s hardware stretched to the 90s
MSX ....

When MSX arrived it was like the 800 in the 70s, able to have great arcade games at home. It also took the C64 ate it, and excreted it with ease.

FWIW, MSX is 70s technology. 
 



#14 Rybags OFFLINE  

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Posted Sun Apr 23, 2017 10:52 AM

Have to wonder though, if MSX had been a global success, it might have meant the evolution of the PC could have taken a different path.

Really, it was "just another crappy proprietary system" which failed so they (Microsoft) hijacked IBMs offering instead.


Edited by Rybags, Sun Apr 23, 2017 10:52 AM.


#15 emkay ONLINE  

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Posted Sun Apr 23, 2017 2:52 PM

the MSX destroying the c64? not that i believe it can't be done but, do you have proof?







Edited by emkay, Sun Apr 23, 2017 2:53 PM.


#16 artrag OFFLINE  

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Posted Sun Apr 23, 2017 5:09 PM

This is even nicer


#17 2600problems OFFLINE  

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Posted Sun Apr 23, 2017 7:30 PM

okay, i stand corrected. now that my jaw's off the floor, i have a question: is Starfighter's using a separate video processor or is it using scan lines to give the illusion of 3D



#18 Rybags OFFLINE  

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Posted Sun Apr 23, 2017 9:02 PM

Click the title on the video while it's playing to open the YouTube page then expand and read the description text.

 

It's a dead giveaway without even having to go that far.  I was suspicious almost from the start given that the title sequence would be a struggle even for a 30 MHz Amiga, TT or Falcon, let alone a Z80 or 7.25 MHz derivative even with 4x faster maths operations.

 

 


Didn't know MSX had a laserdisc player add-on. This game is so interesting when I heard about it.I always thought this game based on the 1984 film The Last
Starfighter but it's not especially when I think of the name Starfighter. The purpose of this game is to save the galaxy by destroying Orphe, a threat to the universe. Very good use of 3D animation and graphics for its time.

 

Sadly, even the star flight (like Star Raiders front-view) sequence is from LD rather than them putting in the effort to generate the few dozen moving stars, it seems that normal graphics are only used for the several softsprites that are present at times.  The other dead giveaway is the audio (stuttering and all) - the fidelity probably exceeds even early Soundblaster and AdLib on the PC which came almost 10 years later, but in fact is simply being streamed from the LD as well.

 

All up, not much of a game, you should judge it on the non-LD content because really, LD games never took off in part because of the lack of interaction.  Even some early PC CD games suffered from the same defect, trying to rely on multimedia content to boost otherwise lame and hastily tacked together games.


Edited by Rybags, Sun Apr 23, 2017 9:05 PM.


#19 phoenixdownita OFFLINE  

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Posted Sun Apr 23, 2017 9:29 PM

What's a "nicro"?



#20 emkay ONLINE  

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Posted Mon Apr 24, 2017 12:21 AM

The "Penguin" game zooms sometimes with up to 12 fps. It's "hires" and colors you can look at . Remember? 3.6MHz Zilog CPU with powerful 16 bit commands. Hires color graphics. The characters would give colour clash as was a problem with the Spectrum. But there are 32 sprites around.... And the soundchip.... not just limited to the phonespeaker and 3.6kHz as SID was. It's able to manipulate a channel with clean harmonics for "spreaded" instruments.

The C64 "2" arrived in 1986.... MSX 2 showed the way.



The "Laserdisc" games were real in 1984(!), not just some imaginary "if " ...

It could be interesting to see, what happens , if MSX had such enthusiastic coders around...

Edited by emkay, Mon Apr 24, 2017 12:22 AM.


#21 2600problems OFFLINE  

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Posted Mon Apr 24, 2017 9:07 AM

why is it that whenever I type, all my text goes in backwards? anyway, its micro, not nicro



#22 phoenixdownita OFFLINE  

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Posted Mon Apr 24, 2017 1:20 PM

why is it that whenever I type, all my text goes in backwards? anyway, its micro, not nicro

I know I was just being an ass.

 

And wrt MSX being the ruler it's only "kind of" maybe true-ish now with 30Y of development in hacking the Z80, 9918/9 and the AY-3-8910.

Konami bitd was very good with it, most other companies not so much and you got monochrome sprites and 8x8 char/tile "scrolling" games .... so let's not rewrite history, which proved that it was much easier to get reasonable perfs out of a C64 than any others. The 800 (XL/XE) was right there but it was a low color machine (meaning it's a lot harder to get high color count, possible but not so easy as in the C64 which has a smaller palette compared the 800 but more on-screen colors).

 

And don't get me the one or two examples that already pulled some neat tricks on the MSX bitd (there's always some) as it wasn't mainstream as coders were so jealous of their own tricks back then, now not so much except where huge amount of money is involved.

 

Don't get me wrong I had and enjoyed a lot the MSX (I had it basically at the same time I had my C64) and Konami games recreated the arcade experience at home like the CV did a few years earlier but it was just not enough imho to compete with some of the best C64 games of the time which to be fair looked at now don't really strike much of a chord anymore. Even the MSX2, albeit much much better only had support for one kind of HW assisted scrolling (can't remember which) and yes more tricks can be pulled off on it but still you need time and resources to be devoted to it once more powerful machines were already out, announced, coming (MSX2 is a 1986 machine, the Atari ST shipped in 1985 and it was "16bits" back when it was all about the bits).

 

At the end of the day if you want to see what decently powerful hardware can do (even in spite of modest CPU) I suggest the PCE, it's all in the gfx chip in this case (the sound I personally don't like) but man what a step forward compared to all other 8bit around and many "16bits" computers but it's in 1987.



#23 emkay ONLINE  

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Posted Tue Apr 25, 2017 1:25 AM

At the end of the day if you want to see what decently powerful hardware can do (even in spite of modest CPU) I suggest the PCE, it's all in the gfx chip in this case (the sound I personally don't like) but man what a step forward compared to all other 8bit around and many "16bits" computers but it's in 1987.


Don't get me wrong ;)
I really enjoyed learning programming on the Atari 800XL. But the ST has nothing to do with this. It even was a step back in time, when it arrived. Atari 800 and Amiga have been "pioneered" hardware of their time. But others didn't sleep . The Systems, made in Japan, did faster and faster progress. When the Amiga had it's best "time". In 1989 in Japan.... 32 Bits...

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/FM_Towns

And it was cheaper than the Atari ST ...

#24 artrag OFFLINE  

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Posted Tue Apr 25, 2017 9:20 AM

This is for plain msx2

#25 artrag OFFLINE  

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Posted Tue Apr 25, 2017 9:54 AM

This too, for msx2 and moonsound audio chartridge

Edited by artrag, Tue Apr 25, 2017 9:54 AM.





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