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Anybody own the C64 Mini? Impressions?

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1 hour ago, carlsson said:

I'm not sure I follow. So the emulator in THEC64 Mini is configured for PAL emulation for these (and possibly more) games. The unit outputs HDMI at 720p in either 50 or 60 Hz, and this would cause the game to be jerky as digdugnate practically described it, that sometimes the input wouldn't register and sometimes the character would move?

 

If we compare to e.g. VICE emulation on a PC, the refresh rate on your video card most probably is independent on which video mode you're emulating. I don't know much about HDMI and its magic and frankly didn't even know that Hz was a factor with HDMI but as the official homepage mentions it, I suppose it plays a role. Also when downloading the game as a D64 image and playing it from there, does it imply you then would configure THEC64 Mini to emulate in NTSC and the output framerate now matches the emulation?

So there is a config file for every game that is on thec64 mini. A .tsg file. In that file for both jumpman games it is set to pal. I changed mine to ntsc. Why the games are set as pal on an ntsc c64 machine is beyond me. And no in the case of thec64 mini pal and ntsc settings are different. Hdmi is irrelevant to this issue. And even telling it the game is pal in a pal machine it doesnt run it at the correct speed. This is an error they will have fixed in the full size thec64 and hopefully will have an update for the mini to fix it as well. 

Edited by pimpmaul69

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Also carlsson, to answer your question, a pal mini plays the usb games as pal unless you have a config stating to run games as ntsc and vice versa with ntsc mini. Now even though on an ntsc mini i say the games are pal in a pal machine, even on the usb, they dont run at the correct speed. A pal game is too fast. Not as fast as playing a pal game with it set as ntsc but faster than it is supposed to in a pal machine. This is a problem with the vice software that is on the mini. and it is slower playing ntsc game on pal system even telling it the machine is ntsc. 

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prodding this thread along a little bit-

 

has anyone else had issues with the power button on their Mini?  Mine seems to be kind of surly when i go to power it on- sometimes i have to hold the button in, sometimes i have to try to power it on 2-3 times before it'll power on.  I have plenty of power available from the USB power brick for it.

 

I suspect this is a one-off type deal that i'll need to fix on mine. 

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On 12/10/2019 at 12:30 PM, digdugnate said:

prodding this thread along a little bit-

 

has anyone else had issues with the power button on their Mini?  Mine seems to be kind of surly when i go to power it on- sometimes i have to hold the button in, sometimes i have to try to power it on 2-3 times before it'll power on.  I have plenty of power available from the USB power brick for it.

 

I suspect this is a one-off type deal that i'll need to fix on mine. 

No issues there on mine. 

 

On a side note, I found this joystick mod I am going to do to mine. Hopefully this weekend. I often wondered what people did when they say they shelved the original joystick and use their own. How do they resolve the extra system buttons for saving and loading game states? anyway, this mod looks to be perfect for my needs. 
 

 

 

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Does not say in the release notes, but I am hoping this update addresses multi-disk changing.  Might have a chance to try it out tonight.

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2 hours ago, OLD CS1 said:

Does not say in the release notes, but I am hoping this update addresses multi-disk changing.  Might have a chance to try it out tonight.

I dont see a swap disk option. 

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I hope they update the firmware and add Vic-20 support to this. I will still hold my ground and say that this mini is a superb unit to own. So what you need to use a USB keyboard and a hub....I have tons of those. The "cuteness" factor of a tony C64 and the fact that it actually runs software decently enough is good enough for me. It's a mini C64...and its like $30 now. I say get one while you can!

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20 hours ago, eightbit said:

I hope they update the firmware and add Vic-20 support to this. I will still hold my ground and say that this mini is a superb unit to own. So what you need to use a USB keyboard and a hub....I have tons of those. The "cuteness" factor of a tony C64 and the fact that it actually runs software decently enough is good enough for me. It's a mini C64...and its like $30 now. I say get one while you can!

There is a january update if you didnt get it. Also a new game was added. Farming simulator. 

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I updated tonight with the latest from the website. It's not a January update according to the build date (12/20/19). But it does have Farming Simulator and things feel pretty snappy (to me at least).

 

Love my C64 Mini :)

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6 minutes ago, eightbit said:

I updated tonight with the latest from the website. It's not a January update according to the build date (12/20/19). But it does have Farming Simulator and things feel pretty snappy (to me at least).

 

Love my C64 Mini :)

Yes now you need to get the january update to fix a huge problem in the december update that messes up the usb rom names. 

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I kind of figured ;) But the build date when you check is 12/20/2019. I guess they built it pre-January.

 

Overall it is excellent. I too do not see an ability to select multiple disks, but that is really a non-issue for me as I have all of those C64 mini multi disk hacks anyway....and a few real C64's if I really need to run that stuff. But, for what this is, it is excellent. I haven't upgraded the firmware (or used this) since mid-2018. Again, I have real machines and barely used this beyond a few weeks after initial launch. But now I have a new 55 inch TV I received for Xmas and am setting up some of these mini consoles in the living room just for some quick entertainment.

 

The mini does not disappoint. This is now the quickest way that I know of to launch disk images. This is even quicker to navigate and launch than a real C64 and an Ultimate cart. And for my ears and sight, damn thing looks and sounds the same to me. I generally test my group demos as a test of the emulation quality (as I know them so well) and everything is running just like a real C64. I was able to flip between the 6 or 7 demos we released back then with ridiculous speed and they all play and sound spot on....even the sound samples we did. 

 

So crazy to be running my old stuff on a modern mini budget C64 over HDMI ;)

 

 

Now, if they would only add VIC-20 support to the mini's firmware. I know it can be done....but I guess it is a question of if they are going to keep that mode as an "exclusive" to the full size version. I don't see a reason to as the full size version's real sale value is the full working keyboard. I would just love to be able to launch VIC-20 stuff on the HDMI big screen...but I really have no need of investing in the new unit right now.

Edited by eightbit

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35 minutes ago, eightbit said:

I kind of figured ;) But the build date when you check is 12/20/2019. I guess they built it pre-January.

 

Overall it is excellent. I too do not see an ability to select multiple disks, but that is really a non-issue for me as I have all of those C64 mini multi disk hacks anyway....and a few real C64's if I really need to run that stuff. But, for what this is, it is excellent. I haven't upgraded the firmware (or used this) since mid-2018. Again, I have real machines and barely used this beyond a few weeks after initial launch. But now I have a new 55 inch TV I received for Xmas and am setting up some of these mini consoles in the living room just for some quick entertainment.

 

The mini does not disappoint. This is now the quickest way that I know of to launch disk images. This is even quicker to navigate and launch than a real C64 and an Ultimate cart. And for my ears and sight, damn thing looks and sounds the same to me. I generally test my group demos as a test of the emulation quality (as I know them so well) and everything is running just like a real C64. I was able to flip between the 6 or 7 demos we released back then with ridiculous speed and they all play and sound spot on....even the sound samples we did. 

 

So crazy to be running my old stuff on a modern mini budget C64 over HDMI ;)

 

 

Now, if they would only add VIC-20 support to the mini's firmware. I know it can be done....but I guess it is a question of if they are going to keep that mode as an "exclusive" to the full size version. I don't see a reason to as the full size version's real sale value is the full working keyboard. I would just love to be able to launch VIC-20 stuff on the HDMI big screen...but I really have no need of investing in the new unit right now.

Im guessing after a while after the us finally gets a release they might add the disk swapping and vic20 to it. But i like the mini. Its great. 

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7 minutes ago, pimpmaul69 said:

Im guessing after a while after the us finally gets a release they might add the disk swapping and vic20 to it. But i like the mini. Its great. 

 

Agreed. I did order (pre-order) one of the microswitch controllers though. I really have no issue with the controller that was packaged in with it (I have read complaints...but I guess I am used to tight/tough controllers from my past) but I really would love some "clickyness" :)

 

The other non-issue I hear is the complaining of only two USB ports. I have an old Targus three port USB hub (non-powered) that I think I got for a buck at a yard sale. Works fine to run the joystick, a USB stick and a usb keyboard...and all of it works just fine.

Edited by eightbit

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My guess is they may leave the vic20 mode to the full size baby but I really think the other enhancements (disk swapping, audio enhancements) are coming to the mini.  They have stated clearly that there are more updates coming in 2020 for the mini.

 

my guess is around the North American launch is When we will see the mini update that brings it more in line with the full size in features.

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Yeah, I am thinking the Vic mode will stay with the full sized model as well. That's OK. I am going to buy it anyway. It will be the easiest way to get a PAL VIC connected to a large modern TV!

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2 hours ago, eightbit said:

Yeah, I am thinking the Vic mode will stay with the full sized model as well. That's OK. I am going to buy it anyway. It will be the easiest way to get a PAL VIC connected to a large modern TV!

You can switch between pal and ntsc on the system to accomodate whatever game you are playing since hdmi doesnt care about ntsc and pal so no issues outputting either one. 

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I believe eightbit meant that as someone living in the USA with mainly access to TV's with NTSC input, using a real PAL VIC-20 (or real PAL C64 for that matter) is difficult and thus by emulating it your life becomes easier. As noted before, the opposite usually is not so much of a deal as even newer TV's as long as they have the appropriate inputs (e.g. composite, SCART) tend to accept e.g. NTSC composite input in full color (intentional American spelling).

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6 hours ago, carlsson said:

I believe eightbit meant that as someone living in the USA with mainly access to TV's with NTSC input, using a real PAL VIC-20 (or real PAL C64 for that matter) is difficult and thus by emulating it your life becomes easier. As noted before, the opposite usually is not so much of a deal as even newer TV's as long as they have the appropriate inputs (e.g. composite, SCART) tend to accept e.g. NTSC composite input in full color (intentional American spelling).

 

 

Exactly, thank you :) There are many games (and especially demos) that I would like to experience for the Vic-20 but they do not work correctly on my NTSC unit. I could hunt down a PAL unit, import it, pray it will work properly and then deal with getting it to display properly here in the USA or I can just get The C64 full sized unit. I think the latter is the better idea.

 

I have a real PAL C64 that I can get to display through a RetroTink2X, but the picture is not so great. I am sure using a real C64 monitor would solve this problem entirely, but I do not have one anymore. Therefore I am limited to modern displays.

 

Edited by eightbit

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Demos I understand, but I'll admit I haven't followed the VIC-20 homebrew scene very closely in the last few years so I don't know which of the new games are PAL optimized or not working on a NTSC machine. When it comes to the old school library, the opposite usually is the case - the majority of cartridges are hardcoded to NTSC screen positioning (*) and a few even use the raster timing so they don't play on PAL systems which is one of a couple of reasons why I got myself a NTSC VIC-20 a number of years ago.

 

(*) Still unclear why the NTSC and PAL chips have different value ranges for screen positioning, and as most games anyway use the default 22x23 screen they could read screen positioning parameters from Kernel ROM instead of assume their own settings. Depending on how the game is initialized, the Kernel routines might set up the screen automatically anyway which would eliminate that the game itself does the same setup.

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Oh, cool. As mentioned in some of the first comments, it is really tracing the raster beam which is why the timing will be off on NTSC and it may not be trivial to adapt it.

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Dumb question: has anyone updated the Mini using the Max software?  I'm wondering how different the hardware actually is.  I'm not gonna try it, I only have one of them... anyone not using theirs now that they got the bigger brother and want to tinker? 

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