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

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20 minutes ago, Camel said:

I'm confused as to who you were aiming your example at in that case.

 

It's just to show that you don't necessarily loose the charm of the Spectrum when taking away the colour clash.

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10 minutes ago, Camel said:

So is this thing going to have an 'original Spectrum, no enhancements' mode?

 

Yeah, you can even choose what model that you want it to act as.

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On 12/08/2016 at 19:03, Camel said:

Then I don't understand ulala's complaints on the previous page.

 

I am a huge spectrum fan, and this does peak my interest. But it was not until i started thinking about it that got me wondering what exactly the new device is, and who it is going to appeal to.

 

The first question is, is it emulation? The answer is yes, the hardware is being emulated very cleverly by the use of a FPGA, an expensive solution to emulate the logic processor of the spectrum. It will hopefully make it compatible with all our spectrum games.

 

What will people play on it? As much as we all love spectrums, mostly we do not want to wait 6 minutes to load a casette tape - so a device to load roms instantly would be in order on the new device. So its emulating hardware, and playing roms. Suddenly its not as desirable as i was initially thinking.

 

There are 4 retro solutions available to us.

 

1) Original hardware & original software

2) Original hardware and emulated "rom" software as in the use on an "everdrive" type device

3) Emulated hardware and original software, the retron 5 is the perfect example of this

4) Emulated hardware and emulated software.

 

The new spectrum device option 4, it is like using a retron 5, with an everdrive plugged in. Nothing is original. Its like running a rom on a pc emulator.

 

Now there is nothing wrong with option 4, you can buy a raspberry pi zero and emulate the spectrum in hdmi for under £10. Why would anyone want to buy this in a smarter box for £160?

 

This is put into stark contrast as you can buy an original spectrum, get RGB out and use your "everdrive" or real tapes on it for easily less than half the price. A modern, practical solution on actual vintage hardware that satisfies the retro itch perfectly.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Well seeing as I plugged my iPhone into my Spectrum +2 to load games as audio you can pretty much use anything capable of playing the audio. Those tapes and hardware aren't going to last forever so it won't be long before emulation is all we have left. As for who it appeals to you already have a lot of old skool programmers who seem to be getting quite excited about it (Jim Bagley probably the most prominant) and there's always going to be Speccy communties to bolster the thing... so who knows? If it's not for you fair enough but some people like the sound of it. 

 

You could argue similar points for the NES mini, that's just emulation and nothing to do the original hardware yet... it's selling like hot cakes. People want this stuff. You don't so move on.

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5 hours ago, ulala said:

 

I am a huge spectrum fan, and this does peak my interest. But it was not until i started thinking about it that got me wondering what exactly the new device is, and who it is going to appeal to.

 

The first question is, is it emulation? The answer is yes, the hardware is being emulated very cleverly by the use of a FPGA, an expensive solution to emulate the logic processor of the spectrum. It will hopefully make it compatible with all our spectrum games.

 

What will people play on it? As much as we all love spectrums, mostly we do not want to wait 6 minutes to load a casette tape - so a device to load roms instantly would be in order on the new device. So its emulating hardware, and playing roms. Suddenly its not as desirable as i was initially thinking.

 

There are 4 retro solutions available to us.

 

1) Original hardware & original software

2) Original hardware and emulated "rom" software as in the use on an "everdrive" type device

3) Emulated hardware and original software, the retron 5 is the perfect example of this

4) Emulated hardware and emulated software.

 

The new spectrum device option 4, it is like using a retron 5, with an everdrive plugged in. Nothing is original. Its like running a rom on a pc emulator.

 

Now there is nothing wrong with option 4, you can buy a raspberry pi zero and emulate the spectrum in hdmi for under £10. Why would anyone want to buy this in a smarter box for £160?

 

This is put into stark contrast as you can buy an original spectrum, get RGB out and use your "everdrive" or real tapes on it for easily less than half the price. A modern, practical solution on actual vintage hardware that satisfies the retro itch perfectly.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Isn't it both 3 and 4?  I thought it was going to have audio in for loading tapes?  Also your original complaint was about the enhanced modes which can be switched off.  Now your complaint seems to be 'the hardware isn't an actual Spectrum', in which case buy an actual Spectrum.

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A question for those equation FPGA recreation with PC emulation - what defines a Z80, for example? Which of the following would you consider "a Z80"?

  1. A vintage Z80 CPU made by Zilog.
  2. A Z80 clone from another manufacturer, with identical pinout and behaviour.
  3. A larger custom IC which integrates Z80 functionality, along with other components.
  4. As #2, but using an FPGA instead of fixed silicon.
  5. As #3, but using an FPGA instead of fixed silicon.

All of the above would behave exactly as the Z80 in the ZX Spectrum according to all the official definitions.

 

Bonus question - if I took the Z80 out of a real 48k spectrum and replaced it with an FPGA implementation, leaving all other hardware as it was, would you consider it to be a real spectrum, or emulation?

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Does it really matter? If it's an original Spectrum then it's an original Spectrum, if not then it's a thing in a box that acts like one.

 

The main issue for most people now is how well it recreates the authentic experience without being too much of a pain in the arse (e.g. SD cards over requiring cassettes or Windows joypad support vs Kempston interface).

 

For me, the biggest problem with all of these Spectrum clones/reboots/emulators/whatever is that they all seem to be happy to market their products based on the massive software library that is available, knowing full well that the people who wrote the original games won't see a penny.

 

I don't have an issue with emulation at all, I love MAME and use it a lot.

Emulation as a scene is full of enthusiasts who are doing it for the love of archiving things that would otherwise be unavailable or even disappear. When businesses jump in feet first and cash in on all this goodwill and hard work it just seems wrong.

 

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Jim Bagley has been demoing his first project for the Next. It's a remake of Donkey Kong:

 

 

As to the project itself, the final hardware is currently being tested after the initial feedback lead to some upgrades of the spec. The last update had the following info:

 

Quote

Hey folks, sorry for the lack of updates.

 

After 3 months of hard work on the board, just finished the final version.

 

The current specs are:

 

HARDWARE
- Xilinx FPGA 
- Up to 2.5 Mb of RAM
- Internal GPIO with all free FPGA pins
Optionals
- RTC
- ESP8266 module
- Internal sound 
- Second SD card slot

 

FIRMWARE


- Video Modes: Radastan, Timex Hi-color, Timex hi-resolution, all implemented and working fine. Still to do: Spectra modes.
- Audio: new "Turbo Sound Next", a 9 channels PSG + FM Sound interface. Compatible with regular Turbo Sound and internal AY.
- Selectable Joystick Modes: Kempston, Sinclair, Cursor

 

OLD, BUT GOLD


- PS/2 port: Support for both keyboard and mouse (need a Y cable to use both at same time)
- Tape interface (with O.T.L.A. support!)
- ULAplus
- Romantic Robot Multiface (One, 128 and 3)
- External bus port
- Accelerator Board

 

We are currently ordering 10 prototypes from SMS Electronics for this final design for testing purposes.

 

After all tested and retested the Kickstarter campaign will finally go live.

 

It's taking longer than planned, but they seem to be going about it the right way, making sure the hardware is rock solid before starting the campaign, you can tell they want to get it right. Although yes, as they've said, Brexit has pushed the price up. 

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9 minutes ago, Mentazm said:

Haven't people learnt their lesson?

 

Why? This is a very well put together campaign.It's like saying "fraud happens online, lets ban the internet to stop it happening again." Eesh. None of the Vega people have anything to do with this so why try to drag them down with it?

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2 hours ago, Mentazm said:

Haven't people learnt their lesson?

 

A significant difference between this project and the Vega +, is that the Next is in itself a finished product. The software is written, the board has been put together and if the Kickstarter fails, the Spectrum Next will still be made available to hobbyists, and they'll probably try to shoe horn the board into a 48k Spectrum shell. This Kickstarter is to fund the injection mould needed for the case. Obviously backers will be hoping to get the full package, the computer in the spangly new case, but this isn't somebody flying a kite, the guts of the hardware are finished and have been in the hands of developers for a few months now, this is essentially about releasing a consumer model, but the Next exists right now.

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 Yeah, even though I have had a go at the Retro Computers/Vega+ campaign, the Spectrum Next campaign is much more professional. They've already got past the proof of concept stage and have demo hardware boards made (which I think has frustrated some people, because it seems to be taking longer - but they're doing it right). Plus they've been pretty communicative to the community - again completely different to the Vega+ campaign (give us your money, then we'll come up with a POC...oh and we won't bother giving you any real updates). 

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Oh, and I don't know if I mentioned this, but I had a brief exchange with Jim Bagley on Facebook, and he said he's having a go at licensing a proper Midnight Resistance 2 sequel for the Next, but if that fails, he'll probably go ahead and create a spiritual successor.

 

It was a public chat so I don't think I'm sharing this inappropriately, but wow, can you even imagine how awesome it would be to have an original (and exclusive) Midnight Resistance 2 for the Speccy. Minds would be blown, the first was already a stunning achievement for the machine.

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1 hour ago, moora said:

 Yeah, even though I have had a go at the Retro Computers/Vega+ campaign, the Spectrum Next campaign is much more professional. They've already got past the proof of concept stage and have demo hardware boards made (which I think has frustrated some people, because it seems to be taking longer - but they're doing it right). Plus they've been pretty communicative to the community - again completely different to the Vega+ campaign (give us your money, then we'll come up with a POC...oh and we won't bother giving you any real updates). 

 

They also have a number of old Spectrum devs working on the hardware. The guy who wrote the amazing Rex is working on a Next version, for example, and Jim Bagley (Midnight Resistance) is very heavily involved.

 

It feels like a great little project to be involved with.

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3 hours ago, Dr_Dave said:

 

They also have a number of old Spectrum devs working on the hardware. The guy who wrote the amazing Rex is working on a Next version, for example, and Jim Bagley (Midnight Resistance) is very heavily involved.

 

It feels like a great little project to be involved with.

 

I hope he makes Rex a bit easier this time.

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Edit: Goose has just beaten me to it as I was typing.

 

Looks like there's a small delay with the launch.

 

Kickstarter want the team to replace renders of the cases with photos of the physical item.

 

They've just uploaded them to Facebook, and are resubmitting the Kickstarter application.

 

 

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Yeah, Jim Bagley mentioned the other day that they were aiming for the 23rd April for the Kickstarter go live. I think they've been going through the admin bit with KS, but hopefully it goes live tomorrow.

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