One exciting aspect of this specific hardware is that it's really, REALLY generic. It will go in almost any socket where a ULA was used and can be configured by FPGA programing to be almost any device. The limits are basically the power and ground pins, and if any pins are not GPIO but just GPI or GPO. This could replace the 8301 or 8302 in a Sinclair QL, a lot of video processing in the earlier Ataris or Commodores - all it takes is the right FPGA code to map pins and to decode the video correctly.
Also, while the MSX market may be quite small here, it is quite large in Japan and other EMEA markets. Also, the UK/EU retro scenes are much more active and those guys (and gals) eat this stuff up.
I think he would sell far more by also having an "unprogrammed" option and people can just read the datasheet, create and install the JEDEC of their choice, etc. He'd find a whole bunch of aftermarket uses for this device.
While it could conceivably be mapped to work in place of the VIC-I or VIC-II, but the reality is, we would more likely install it on a cartridge and map the address and data lines and other lines as needed. The TMS9918 works differently enough to the VIC-I & VIC-II to pose some problems. You have an interesting idea there since it is an FPGA, after all. While initially, I didn't understand the ULA part but after a brief 'look it up', I can see how a FPGA can be useful that way. The key trick is how we print or layout the circuits from the underside pins to the FPGA. With minor modifications of the circuit designs, we can arrange for any known locations for power and ground and route it. This design profile is awesome BECAUSE it would be functional mechanically for most if not all 40-pin DIP based microcontrollers and in some cases, the protector IC and HDMI connector is not needed. Therefore, the brilliance of coming up with drop in replacements chips for our beloved computers components would be awesome. Our limit is ultimately in the FPGA's available logic elements/cells. In the future, I am confident FPGAs 5mm x 5mm will have the amount of logic cells/elements and logic gate resources to make any chip from 1975 to 1995 with enough contacts for any chip up to 208 pins such as having more contacts on the FPGA than a Pentium in a 15mm x 15mm chip for a drop in replacement for Pentium processor. it is all a matter of time that they can even run processors as complex as a Pentium on an FPGA as fast if not faster than even a Pentium processor with less heat dissipation without even needing a heat sink. Of course, that is years down the road but from what I see, we can see our beloved computers having drop in replacements before that in the next 5 years as I can see the Pentium drop in replacement on FPGA in 10 to 15 years.
I think we can see a FAT AGNUS on FPGA on an 8mm x 8mm to 10mm x 10mm FPGA on a PCB that plugs into an 84 pin QFP in the next few years. I can see all kinds of stuff made for our beloved systems whether it is a Sinclair, C64, TI, Apple II, Amiga, or so forth.
The trick is getting the FPGAs inexpensive enough so people can afford to buy all those components without costing a fortune (in the perspective of discretionary funds budget people tend to have on retro-computing).
Edited by Wildstar, Wed Aug 1, 2018 4:07 AM.