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The ZX Spectrum Next - Kickstarter Now Live! : Now Funded!

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I honestly can't see how they can even hope to get it out for around £100. To make what they're suggesting, with the parts that need to be made, it just doesn't add up. Unless they plan on making a loss of course. They'll be better off not even mentioning that again and plan their costings for the £170-£200 ballpark.

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How are you working those prices out though? It might cost a fair bit more if you are pricing each part up individually but when a company builds a shedload there's always massive bulk discounts on prices.

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I'm pretty excited about this.  I've always loved Rick Dickinson's designs and would really liked to have seen what he would have done if he had the resources of an Apple rather than Sinclair.

 

 

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1 hour ago, Lorfarius said:

How are you working those prices out though? It might cost a fair bit more if you are pricing each part up individually but when a company builds a shedload there's always massive bulk discounts on prices.

 

Well, first hand from experience with game cart production, packaging costs, but mainly just experience and interest in the tech biz over the years. It's pretty obvious, there's loads of infromation out there. Just stuff like testing the damn thing and safety checks and proceedures can cost a ton. It's a huge colossal undertaking, especially regarding all the specifics they're talking about creating. The guy in that podcast is pretty open with it too, which is at odds with hinting there's any suggestion at all hitting £100.

 

The scaling costs you talk about (to make the really big savings) are when things hit the hundreds of thousands and even more in other cases. Let's be honest, this is about as niche a product as you can get. Initially they're going to be selling to an extremely small pool of retro nuts and enthusiasts. Also, and this is fairly crucial, they're not going to get any buyers from the states, the speccy had zero penetration there afaik and that is a huge gotcha in the retro/tech fundraising and media awareness game.

 

Anyway, hey I could be wrong, happy if I am. In my experience though it's far better to plan for high costings and major fuck ups along the way. I've learn't that the hard way btw.

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I don't see where they can make money apart from the machine itself, so they'll have to make enough profit to keep the business going too.

 

It'll be £199.

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As if anyone could make money with home-taping available.

 

(You've got to assume that most people will be buying it for things they've already got. Or at least "got")

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I dunno. There are still a fair few companies for instance releasing new Speccy games, with it being more powerful could get a lot more just for it as a system. They might even start some sort of store.

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Cassettes are making a mini comeback in the music industry because vinyl is like soooo mainstream now.

 

Reissued Spectrum games on the shelves of HMV? Build it and the hipsters will come. (For a few months.)

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A news article regarding the fabled Sinclair Loki (Sinclair's planned follow up to the 128k) was just posted to the Next's FB page. Sounded incredibly ambitious:

 

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It's not easy to read, but from what I can understand of it, the Loki would have been powered by a supped up Z80 chip known as the Z80H, which would have run at twice the speed of the old chip, at 7 MHz. It would also have had two custom chips, one to handle the video screen (Rasterop device) and another to handle sound synthesis and they would have both had direct memory access. The machine would have been equipped with two 64k banks, each made up of two 256K-bit chips... and somebody more technically minded will have to let me know how much memory that amounts to in real terms. :)

Tape support was planned, but of more interest was the proposed support for credit card sized cards called Softcards, which could hold up to 1Mbyte and they were cheap to manufacture and presumably resistant to easy copying too. The OS was also due to get a huge upgrade, in the form of a built in version of the CP/M OS, with disc drive and controller peripheral support added.

Graphical and audio output were said to be able to rival the - at the time - £1500 Amiga, Sinclair's price for the Loki? Two hundred of your British pounds.

Sinclair really were crazy innovative. Now you only have to look at the QL to see where their ambition exceeded their reach, but their ability to reduce the price tag of modern tech without hobbling the ability of it, was their gift. If the Loki had been released at £200 with those specs, they would have flat ended the 16bit war out the gate. The Amiga and Atari ST wouldn't have got a shot off if they had to compete with a system which was a sixth of the cost with ninety percent of the ability.

 

For those prepared to squint, there's a wealth of technical detail in the article, which talks about how the machine would have worked and how they achieved their remarkable cost to performance targets.

Anyhoo, in more Next related news, word is that the Kickstarter will go live in June, whilst orders are expected to be delivered... incredibly, in September.

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Not sure there's anything really tangible in that article on a technical level.   But Rare's "Razz" coin-op board used a Z80 compatible chip and achieved fairly spectacular performance.   Not that it was anything like a Speccy.

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I remember that article, it was published in Sinclair User and it was debunked afterwards as basically Sinclair engineers coming up with a wish list of components but with no design substance. 

 

which was a shame, because it sounded amazing! 

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1 hour ago, moora said:

I remember that article, it was published in Sinclair User and it was debunked afterwards as basically Sinclair engineers coming up with a wish list of components but with no design substance. 

 

which was a shame, because it sounded amazing! 

 

Well shit, hahaha. Oh well, one can dream I guess. 

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It's a shame there's no colour clash option in this new Spectrum.  I mean, sure, there's nothing to be done in existing games as data for any square in the Speccy's grid is only going to have information about two colours.  But for new stuff, allowing more than two per square, and thus resolving colour clash would have been nice to have as an option at least.  Maybe that's expecting too much of the new architecture.

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No I agree. The developer's argument is that colour clash is a quintessentiall Spec feature, and so if you remove it, what about the machine immediately identifies it as a Spectrum?  In truth there have been some developers who have all but got around the problem (check out Metal Man) but I agree, I wouldn't have minded seeing it as an option for games built for the new spec.

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The developers have mentioned that it could be possible to remove colour clash, but yes it would take away the original experience of spectrum games.

 

I guess it depends on what this is being promoted as - a modern day speccy with HDMI, SD loading etc or a Spectrum +4 - I.e a spectrum that would have succeeded the old design. A Loki... or a SAM Coupe? 

 

8-)

 

I'd rather have a modern speccy to be honest.

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I'll be greedy and want a modern Speccy that has all the benefits of modern technology, but can also boot into 'old mode' and let me run old games.

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I must have misread the original design specs, because this isn't actually using Z80 and AY chips, it's using an FPGA to essentially emulate them ( I think)

 

Which is good and bad. Good in that functionality can be upgraded with firmware releases, they could release a version that removes colour clash for example.

 

Bad, well it's not quite the original experience... But to be honest I think I do prefer the FPGA idea.

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