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David Murray (8-Bit Guy) new 8/16-bit computer project


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#1 deepthaw OFFLINE  

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Posted Tue Feb 19, 2019 11:33 AM

8-Bit guy is working with some other folks (including Bill Herd) to design his own 8/16-bit computer in the style of classic Commodore machines. 

 



#2 polyex OFFLINE  

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Posted Wed Feb 27, 2019 10:05 AM

Most folks first step is a degree in Computer or Electrical Engineering. 


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#3 Hwlngmad OFFLINE  

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Posted Thu Feb 28, 2019 3:53 PM

Very interesting project.  Will have to see how far he gets.  However, having Bill Herd involved should help get this project to become reality, especially if he (Bill Herd) can significantly help create a Commodore-like product.



#4 gozar OFFLINE  

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Posted Sun Mar 3, 2019 8:35 AM

My favorite part of the video is where he asked others what they didn't like about using their 8-bit computers back in the day, and almost all of the complaints were because they were Commodore people and not Atari or Apple. :-)



#5 Osgeld ONLINE  

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Posted Sun Mar 3, 2019 8:45 AM

meh



#6 butterburp OFFLINE  

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Posted Sat Mar 9, 2019 12:29 PM

Yeah, this is really boring.



#7 Cepp OFFLINE  

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Posted Sun Mar 10, 2019 5:20 AM

Sounds like a cool idea to me, looking forward to see if he makes any headway.

#8 oracle_jedi ONLINE  

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Posted Sun Mar 10, 2019 8:18 PM

Whereas there is some serious technical skills on display in this project, it is not something I find especially interesting.

 

Retro computing for me is a mix of nostalgia, fulfilling cravings from childhood, exploring how different vendors brought unique solutions to common problems against a backdrop of limited resources and limited technology and just playing fun and unusual 8-bit and 16-bit games from a time when you didn't need to invest three months in a game to make any progress, have a controller with 23 buttons, join a clan, or buy your way to success through in-game purchases.

 

David's project will doubtless use a USB-connected generic PC keyboard and output a rock solid display via HDMI or VGA to a generic LCD monitor.  There will be no quirky game library to explore.  No puzzling over why the unit wont power up only to discover it needs a cartridge inserted before it will do anything.  No admiring the kitschy 70s design language.  Or laughing at the goofy picture of the family crowding around the magical computer that we saw on the retail packages of machines like the VIC 20 or Dragon 32.

 

The final product, while very impressive, will probably remind me of a Raspberry Pi, only without the ability to emulate almost every other 8-bit and 16-bit machine.

 

Nonetheless I wish them luck with this.


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#9 Osgeld ONLINE  

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Posted Sun Mar 10, 2019 9:40 PM

I have made a number of computers in my life, I still have a 6809, a cpm compatibly z80 box (in brushed aluminum and pale blue) and a few micro controller based designs. Its fun to do, but making your ideal computer out of whatever is the easy part, its the decades of software and experiences that make our old machines special.

 

Sure, right now in my garage, like if I could reach though the wall where I sit, I can grab my z80 single board computer that's got a 128meg compact flash card and a FTDI EVE2 graphics processor that does 640x480x who the cares amount of colors, open CL and GL acceleration and 16 bit stereo sound, and its not nearly as fun as my 65XE

 

why? 

 

simple the only things I have for it is a crappy port of tiny basic, pong and a snake game with some bitmap display examples 


Edited by Osgeld, Sun Mar 10, 2019 9:57 PM.


#10 damosan OFFLINE  

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Posted Mon Mar 11, 2019 4:57 AM

When he first posted the vid and announced the FB group he was surprised at the popularity.  I think there's a market for something like this but i don't know how large it is.

 

Anywho - the topic of USB ports came up and the team basically said "no thank you...not right now."  In a way I can understand their logic which centers on "It's like building a TCP/IP stack" (difficult) and "no matter how limited we say it is in the beginning we'll get non-stop complaints because Keyboard X doesn't work."

 

It just seems like a bad move not to include any...especially when you can add a Pi Zero daughter board to act as an interface to the universe.  Dave and company didn't want to go that route either.  Which I get.  I'll eventually get one to play around with - but I already have 8 Ataris when I want that nostalgia fix.  That said - I'd love to see a 68k version built.



#11 JamesD OFFLINE  

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Posted Mon Mar 11, 2019 9:24 AM

With all the new, retro 8 bit projects out there, I don't see where this deserves special attention.
 



#12 tschak909 OFFLINE  

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Posted Mon Mar 11, 2019 10:01 AM

Perhaps the biggest thing that people who start projects never think about:

 

"The person starting the project, is the one doing all the work."

 

99.9% of the time, you have to resign yourself to the simple fact that if you aren't the one pushing things forward, it won't go forward. 

 

So, when asking for input from a community, you have to accept, that 99.9% of it, will be completely askew of _YOU_.

 

What do I mean by this?

 

Simple, every single decision made, must be made with the understanding of precisely what you're capable of, the resources you are able to command, despite any principled stances, and everybody's perspective is different, as to what people feel are important. If you do not understand what you have, or what you are capable of, and reconcile that with what you want to be able to achieve, you will get nowhere.

 

The Commander 16 project right now is coming to grips with a certain amount of public exposure, due to the somewhat celebrity status attached to the person who started it. Most people are ill-equipped for handling the influx of ....input, for lack of a better word...and if you feel the least bit squeamish about saying _NO_...you will drown under the weight of all that input.

 

TL:DR: Things that ultimately exist, are things that shipped. Pare it down, Get that first iteration done. Get the smallest feature set you can put together done. If you want more, after that, you do another iteration.

 

Trying to get it perfect the first time, will kill you, and the fear of failing, or not getting it perfect, kills more dreams before they ever get a chance to even see if they are viable, than anything else I can think of. 

 

-Thom


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#13 crsdawg OFFLINE  

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Posted Mon Mar 11, 2019 10:13 AM

With all the new, retro 8 bit projects out there, I don't see where this deserves special attention.
 

I could give a couple reasons. For starters, David is a pretty popular YouTuber. YT gets a lot of hate on this site for some reason, but those bring a lot of interest into this hobby from people who otherwise wouldn't care. He has a substantial following that could lead to a homebrew scene. That's probably a stretch, but the device might at least get active user support if he sells enough of them (for instance, a public forum that actually gets posted to). It's not guaranteed, but he has a reach an unknown guy will not have. Also, he seems to be in it out of passion and not for profit. His last Kickstarter campaign was handled extremely well and is fulfilling orders either on time or early (I'm not sure of his timeline off the top of my head). The big thing, I feel, is Bill Herd's support. I like David and feel like he is doing this project for the right reasons, but having the designer of the C128 on board gives the project weight and credibility. 

 

The problem I have with the project, like many have said, with so many modern retro 8-bit computers already out there or in production...what makes this one special. Having David and Bill helps, but I don't think that is enough. If they went into a direction that focused on making the computer the spiritual successor to the C64 (sort of, what the C128 should have been). I think it would be more interesting. As it stands, with no guaranteed backwards compatibility to the C64 and a lot of modern hardware being considered in it's build sheet (might as well use a r pie  or PC and emulate), I'm just not sure it there is a reason for it's existence (outside of being a vanity project). It's like a cool idea that doesn't really have a purpose. 

 

I think he is capable of building and delivering it, and will be able to sell them to his fans. The question is will people actually use the thing seriously? Maybe if he pushes it personally and on his YT channel makes some games for it...a few others makes some games. I don't know, I wish them the best, but it still feels like they are running uphill. 


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#14 Bill Loguidice OFFLINE  

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Posted Mon Mar 11, 2019 10:46 AM

Fortunately, with projects like the MEGA65 and Ultimate 64, we already have modern C-64/65+ remakes, as well as of course all the vintage hardware we'll probably ever need (at least in our effective lifetimes). That's why I have no problems with these super niche generic 8-bit+ computer projects. We don't necessarily need more of the same, so there's no reason for these not to be out there for those who find them interesting (I'm not one of them at this point).



#15 JamesD OFFLINE  

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Posted Mon Mar 11, 2019 6:19 PM

I could give a couple reasons. For starters, David is a pretty popular YouTuber. YT gets a lot of hate on this site for some reason, but those bring a lot of interest into this hobby from people who otherwise wouldn't care. ...

I'm familiar with the project, and I was stating my opinion. 

A computer is only as good as the software on it, so if this isn't backwards compatible, it's not attractive to me at all.
If it's just a fast C64 with some added features, that could already be done with MIST.
At this point, I'm not sure we know exactly what Bill's level of involvement either.
*edit*
And I don't give two shnizzles how popular someone is on youtube.


Edited by JamesD, Mon Mar 11, 2019 6:19 PM.


#16 mr_me OFFLINE  

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Posted Tue Mar 12, 2019 9:00 AM

If someone wanted to learn to program a commodore 64, I'd recommend the computer you already have and an emulator.

#17 polyex OFFLINE  

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Posted Wed Mar 13, 2019 1:18 AM

I would just use TempleOS (templeos.org) , gives you a fun coding environment that runs on modern 64 bit hardware. Everything runs in ring-0 , so it feels very retro with regards to how much control you have.



#18 tschak909 OFFLINE  

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Posted Wed Mar 13, 2019 8:58 AM

TempleOS is...._exactly_ what you'd expect from an insane paranoid schizophrenic.

 

-Thom


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#19 Hwlngmad OFFLINE  

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Posted Wed Mar 13, 2019 10:15 AM

I'm familiar with the project, and I was stating my opinion. 

A computer is only as good as the software on it, so if this isn't backwards compatible, it's not attractive to me at all.
If it's just a fast C64 with some added features, that could already be done with MIST.
At this point, I'm not sure we know exactly what Bill's level of involvement either.
*edit*
And I don't give two shnizzles how popular someone is on youtube.

I agree with your points.  It would be good that he doing something that is compatible with something that is already, pre-existing, like a proper Plus 4 machine the way Jack Tramiel would have (more than likely) had it do.  Still, he is early in the process and we will just have to see what he, and Bill Herd, can come up with.



#20 polyex OFFLINE  

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Posted Fri Mar 15, 2019 1:44 PM

TempleOS is...._exactly_ what you'd expect from an insane paranoid schizophrenic.

 

-Thom

 

I would not be so dismissive of Mr. Davis and his creation. There are not too many insane paranoid schizophrenics writing functioning compilers , languages, graphics libraries,  etc. let alone an operating system that all of it runs within. Terry was extraordinarily intelligent. IMHO his work could even be an inspiration for those who suffer mental problems, especially ones less debilitating than the ones Terry soldiered through. His mental illness is something that he dealt with daily and yet he worked at a more advanced level than most sane engineers I have met. Working through his programming examples on TempleOs was a very enjoyable experience for me, and I totally got the retro computing feel while running on modern hardware idea he had.


Edited by polyex, Fri Mar 15, 2019 1:52 PM.


#21 tschak909 OFFLINE  

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Posted Fri Mar 15, 2019 2:22 PM

Oh I am not dismissing him. I've used what he wrote.

 

It works, and is complete. it's an accomplishment.

 

I meant what I said, quite literally.

 

-Thom






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