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full size "the 64" coming

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Hopefully they put a lot more on this than what they are currently showing. I, in some way, understand the mini just having two USB inputs, but the bigger model needs to have 4 at least (in my opinion) and/or other input devices. If not, its going to be a pass for a lot of people I would imagine.

Just curious why 4 are needed? I think 3 would be fine.

1 for USB stick with d64 images

2 for joysticks

keyboard is functional so no need for USB keyboard

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4 USB or 3 USB with additional ports like what was on the original would/could provide more flexibility and ability to use previous software and/or peripherals. While 3 USB could/should be fine, 4 USB and/or 3 USB with other ports (SD none withstanding) would just be better.

Just curious why 4 are needed? I think 3 would be fine.

1 for USB stick with d64 images

2 for joysticks

keyboard is functional so no need for USB keyboard

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Without ports, it would be nice to have XU1541 compatibility. Would like that on the Mini, too.

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Frankly, I don't think they're doing any emulation-level programming at all. Whatever VICE does and whatever ARM boards interface with is what you'll end up with.

 

I don't think that was ever in question as it was very clear from early on they were using VICE. They just put together a nice finished product. Is it for everyone NO! Is it for hardcore C64 fan NO! Is it for my brother who would just like to play Impossible Mission and Summer Games on a modern console with HDMI ? YES!! If you don't like it .. don't buy it.

 

My wife is not into retro games but she just thinks it's cute, but she doesn't like a USB keyboard and joysticks hanging off it in the living room so my C64 mini is only allowed in the game room which is fine by me.

Edited by thetick1

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@thetick1

 

One more thing it glows at..

 

You can easily program any button on your controller to any key on the keyboard. This is one thing a real C64 cannot do.

 

Playing Contra, Gradius, and many many other games with an extra button or two makes the world of difference.

 

While I love my C64, this one feature has me really using the Mini way more.. and HDMI.. haha

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Time will tell how good and utilitarian this thing is. Definitely the mini got better as they kept on improving the firmware. It will be interesting to see what they included and/or don't include in the full size model. Definitely it will/should have a lot potential to be a big time retro product, but we will just have to see what exactly it offers and at what price point.

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If you wanted to teach a BASIC class for kids, something like this might fit the bill.
At least the modern hardware won't cause problems due to age.
But you could do the same thing with a Pi, or even a BASIC running on a PC.

If the C64 Joystick had just been a tiny box with connections for a keyboard, had a cart slot, and had a built in SD2IEC interface, I think it would have been a better solution than this.

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Given how Commodore BASIC often is referred to as being limited and cumbersome, I'm not sure that it would be a good platform to demonstrate the language as such. Obviously I beg to differ about the general opinion as I've grown up with VIC-20 and C64 and don't have any problems with loads of POKEs, complex disk operations, no ELSE statement and what else one might complain about.

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Given how Commodore BASIC often is referred to as being limited and cumbersome, I'm not sure that it would be a good platform to demonstrate the language as such. Obviously I beg to differ about the general opinion as I've grown up with VIC-20 and C64 and don't have any problems with loads of POKEs, complex disk operations, no ELSE statement and what else one might complain about.

Well, if you were going to get very advanced, I would definitely look at other options.

But for teaching loops, input, output, decision making, it would certainly work.

The Plus/4, CoCo Extended BASIC, and BASIC on the PC are all better choices IMHO.

Ultimately, the PC would win thanks to options like Dark BASIC.

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Well, if you were going to get very advanced, I would definitely look at other options.

But for teaching loops, input, output, decision making, it would certainly work.

The Plus/4, CoCo Extended BASIC, and BASIC on the PC are all better choices IMHO.

Ultimately, the PC would win thanks to options like Dark BASIC.

Maybe profits and sales numbers didn't pan out for the mini, so they are scaling back on the full-size THE64 to lower the price point. I see the C64 mini new on Amazon for $54 now. That's about half price...would that even make them a profit? If so, it's too bad.

 

Edit: Too bad they cannot make a go of it, that is, not "too bad if they make a profit at $54."

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Maybe profits and sales numbers didn't pan out for the mini, so they are scaling back on the full-size THE64 to lower the price point. I see the C64 mini new on Amazon for $54 now. That's about half price...would that even make them a profit? If so, it's too bad.

 

I ordered that $54 mini from amazon, it should be arriving today. I haven't used a C64 in probably 30+ years. I'm stoked! It might be a gateway drug for me eventually getting a breadbin or ultimate64. For now it saved me from spending a lot more money on an ultimate64 setup. So far I don't have any desire or see the point of me acquiring a full-size THE64 assuming it comes out.

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If some folks are enjoying the c64 mini then it's fine I guess, but for me this project has stunk from the time they pulled that big switcheroo . Another pile of broken promises regarding the big un' is not helping either. I guess the curse of being on Vega+ team has stuck to them (or perhaps it's the very reason).

 

Anyway, I don't want to be the "just get the RPi" guy, but can't resist posting this one here, it's just TOO CUTE:

 

Commodore%20PET%20Mini%20Shooting%20Retr

 

 

https://commodorepetmini.com/

Edited by youxia

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Yeh, but that's something different. And it isn't trying to be something it isn't. There's a cute-factor about it. And everyone knows it's R-Pi and of all the advantages and disadvantages that come with it.

 

Questions about connectors aren't being asked. Questions about emulators aren't being asked. see?

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If you wanted to teach a BASIC class for kids, something like this might fit the bill.

At least the modern hardware won't cause problems due to age.

But you could do the same thing with a Pi, or even a BASIC running on a PC.

 

If the C64 Joystick had just been a tiny box with connections for a keyboard, had a cart slot, and had a built in SD2IEC interface, I think it would have been a better solution than this.

 

 

Let's be honest. BASIC for a kids class is just too dated. Kids should learn Scratch. My 9 year old has a raspberry pi robot he programs in Scratch and will even dable in python. He has zero interest in typing BASIC on a C64 though he does like to play Impossible Mission and Ghostbusters.

Edited by thetick1
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Scratch? You mean they don't teach kids Logo anymore? :(

 

Argh... I hated Logo as a kid as we HAD to use it at school on Apple IIs. I was a bit advanced even in middle school as I was typing in assembler from magazines for my Vic-20 and later my C64. Logo just seemed like it designed for toddlers.

Edited by thetick1

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Argh... I hated Logo as a kid as we HAD to use it at school on Apple IIs. I was a bit advanced even in middle school as I was typing in assembler from magazines for my Vic-20 and later my C64. Logo just seemed like it designed for toddlers.

 

Scratch is Visual Logo; imo a similar comparison compared to BASIC might be Zork vs a graphics adventure. The graphics adventure is immediately more entertaining but Zork is moreso long term.

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Scratch is Visual Logo; imo a similar comparison compared to BASIC might be Zork vs a graphics adventure. The graphics adventure is immediately more entertaining but Zork is moreso long term.

 

Huh? Having wrote in both I don't see the connection other than they are all procedural programming languages.

 

Visual is just a trendy marketing term used by big marketing giants to give credibility to their product:

 

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

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

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

 

I mean what is the other option besides Visual ? Blind Python kind of sounds like a cool name for a band.

Edited by thetick1

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Huh? Having wrote in both I don't see the connection other than they are all procedural programming languages.

 

Visual is just a trendy marketing term used by big marketing giants to give credibility to their product:

 

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

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

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

 

I mean what is the other option besides Visual ? Blind Python kind of sounds like a cool name for a band.

 

One intermediate option you and your son may enjoy is Microsoft's Small BASIC, it's designed to help you transition from Scratch to text based coding, geared for learning without being as complicated as visual BASIC.

 

Agree Visual is a trendy term but it means having support for visual design tools in addition to the text based coding.

 

I designed Atari Flashback BASIC to support both pure text based coding or using ASCII art as visual design tools to draw the game world and the sprites. Scroll through this program listing in C64 markup to see.

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One intermediate option you and your son may enjoy is Microsoft's Small BASIC, it's designed to help you transition from Scratch to text based coding, geared for learning without being as complicated as visual BASIC.

 

Agree Visual is a trendy term but it means having support for visual design tools in addition to the text based coding.

 

I designed Atari Flashback BASIC to support both pure text based coding or using ASCII art as visual design tools to draw the game world and the sprites. Scroll through this program listing in C64 markup to see.

 

I appreciate your suggestions , but I prefer the IDE I'm currently using with the raspberry pie. It is a dual panel so you create in Scratch and see the real time updates to the corresponding code in python. You can also modify pure python. This is basically because the scratch interface used is really just a graphical representation of the same python code which will be executed on the rasberry pie.

 

I have used and seen ASCII art since the '80. I worked decades at IBM when ASCII art was the "thing". Anyway I would prefer my son spend his time using a useful modern language like python.

 

Final note IBM Visual Age C/C++ had no graphical interface. It was just a C/C++ compiler so nothing Visual other than the name. In fact I used the original Fortran XL debugger as our IDE with C/C++ as it was simple yet powerful and allowed assembler preview and in-line modes. It was just generally called xldb (XL debugger) in the dev packages.

Edited by thetick1
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Visual Age sounds like pure marketing with no visual design components.

 

Python is a powerful language, but it can be difficult for beginners to understand and work with the python code generated from Scratch.

 

BASIC was designed to be easy for beginners to learn powerful programming concepts in text based coding - you've been programming for a long time, did you learn from typing in BASIC programs bitd?

 

Related question to ponder, if today's tools were available in the 70's and 80's would we be better programmers today or would they have been a limiting factor?

 

imo starting with a 4k machine instead of more memory was also an advantage in this respect.

 

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I can't believe they still haven't made playing multi-disc games more user-friendly, but already moving on to a "bigger better" version.

I'm loving my Mini, but...

(I must say I notice very few other people griping about this)
But!, to play disk-swapping games you have to power down the system, remove the USB and plug it into computer, rename two files (the disk your removing and the disk you inserting), put it back in the Mini, bootup the system and reload a save file that can now load the imaginary disk it's looking for.

Is this really necessary? If this can't be improved why bother improving the physical architecture?, I can't quote numbers now, but if you require a keyboard to play your game, I'll assume you're playing some big adventure games or similiar, a game that is going to be a biotch to load and mess around powercycling/renaming files mid-game.

In fact, can the Mini even write to the USB? I haven't seen a succesful game save file. I mean I can "save state", but It never really "saves a game", you know?

 

Right now as it stands to me, my experience as a user, it's great for playing the classic arcade ports and some unique titles (Go play Trolls and Tribulations NOW!), but if you want to get into the grander games you'll need a Keyboard (They did that!) and EASY DISK SWAPPING (No word yet... however as I stated earlier I feel like I'm the only one complaining about this so it DOES make sense that they're not fixing something IF no one REALLY is complaining it broken... just me!)

Oh King's Bounty and Carmen Sandiego... some day I will play you again proper!

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Visual Age sounds like pure marketing with no visual design components.

 

Python is a powerful language, but it can be difficult for beginners to understand and work with the python code generated from Scratch.

 

BASIC was designed to be easy for beginners to learn powerful programming concepts in text based coding - you've been programming for a long time, did you learn from typing in BASIC programs bitd?

 

Related question to ponder, if today's tools were available in the 70's and 80's would we be better programmers today or would they have been a limiting factor?

 

imo starting with a 4k machine instead of more memory was also an advantage in this respect.

 

 

I've been coding for many decades. I started with a Vic20 typing in BASIC and quickly realized assembler programs were much better. Once I got a C64 I spent many hours as a youngster typing in DATA statements from magazines. I learned with lots of trial and error how the assembler programs worked and would hack away tinkering making "cool" hacks. :)

 

Professionally I have coded in C/C++ , perl, TK, shell and about dozen assembly languages. I worked on hardware, software and firmware on IBM RISC designs and also in embedded controllers so I was exposed to many different architectures. I also built custom OSes (Linux, OS/2, BSD, VXWorks) many from scratch optimizing various C and assembler routines which was common in those days on custom embedded ASICs. Nowadays I support large ETL financial applications and mostly do shell, perl, python, YAML and Java.

 

Now with all that said you bring up a very good point. I would say in the 70/80/90s you had to know and understand hardware to deliver good quality software products. As software and IDEs have matured over the decades it became much less important to understand the hardware but more important to understand high level software concepts like objects, frameworks, REST APIs, messaging etc... In fact I'm a bit of performance subject matter expert for my team as everyone except me is a high level object oriented programmer with very little if any knowledge of the hardware or even how to look at a performance issue outside JavaBeans.

 

Anyway I guess it depends on your goal. If I'm developing a completely new application than my highest priority would be easy maintainability. I would use an open source container OS (likely Docker/Kubernetes) and python as they are the most common skills available in the job market. It would be easy to maintain with the current market of programmers and python's structured architecture. If it's old C/C++ , perl, shell then you need to target a smaller set of programmers with very specific skills.

 

For my son Scratch is a wonderful simple tool to lean how to think like a programmer and when he's comfortable with the concepts he can examine the corresponding python and hopefully hack away. I think the old Logo and Basic in general are a bit too simplistic and can deter learning more advanced concepts, but if thinking about the masses of people most of which will not be professional programmers then an old school Basic is better than no programming.

Edited by thetick1
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