Jump to content

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


Robo_1
 Share

Next Poll  

66 members have voted

You do not have permission to vote in this poll, or see the poll results. Please sign in or register to vote in this poll.

Recommended Posts

https://www.specnext.com/forum/viewtopic.php?f=6&t=1556

 

Some familiar-sounding grumbling in that thread which has elicited this promising reply for anyone dissatisfied with the current HMDI support:

 

Quote

It IS possible to have a Spectrum-only alternative core plus a scanbuffer, with all the advanced Next features removed. This has been prototyped and tested, and will give accurate timings and future proofing for all the legacy Spectrum games, essentially meeting that campaign goal.

The team are still working on the multicore framework to make it straightforward for end-users to switch between alternative cores, so the scanbuffer core hasn’t been widely publicised yet. But once everything is ready, It will be available in a system update.

 

Meanwhile I'm currently in full on ZX nostalgia mode and having a great time, mostly playing Turmoil, West Bank and Old Tower. I've dug out a load of my old tapes even though I don't really need them.

 

spec.thumb.jpg.e6ceb4c3305a8fe8567c41752cc0c62c.jpg

Link to comment
Share on other sites

13 hours ago, Swainy said:

The Plus models shipped late last week. Mine arrived last Saturday. Are you sure that you didn’t back an Accelerated model?

Double checked and you are right. Must be honest I had forgotten that there were plus and accelerated versions. Thanks for reminding me.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

16 hours ago, Camel said:

https://www.specnext.com/forum/viewtopic.php?f=6&t=1556

 

Some familiar-sounding grumbling in that thread which has elicited this promising reply for anyone dissatisfied with the current HMDI support:

 

 

 

I'm glad I'm not the only one suffering from the HDMI issue! It sounds good they're working on a solution, but it does sound messy as it looks like it needs a specific core to have full HDMI support as they're going to have to remove some of the Next features in order to implement it, plus it means reflashing the core flash memory every time you want to use it. However, with them looking at easier multicore support, that will remove some of the pain (and hopefully making it easier to load the Next to other cores like the QL, Atari XL, MSX etc. )

 

And yes, there's nothing like taking out old tapes, reading the instructions and then loading the TAP file and on the Next it does have the brilliant feature of freezing the loading screen for a few seconds, so you get just enough of the feeling of loading a game from tape, but without having to make a cup of tea while it loads!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

11 hours ago, gone fishin' said:

 

it does sound messy as it looks like it needs a specific core to have full HDMI support as they're going to have to remove some of the Next features in order to implement it, plus it means reflashing the core flash memory every time you want to use it

 

You don't need to reflash the core every time you want to use it. Once you've flashed it as your extra core, you can just launch it from basic or NextBasic.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Thanks, yes I didn’t realise the Next supports 1 additional core (well, technically it supports three but one is an “anti brick core” that can’t be removed and the other is the Next core which can be removed, but Im not sure why you’d do that!)
 

There’s also been an update released, which supposedly gives improved TAP support, but I’ve not noticed any improvement but that might be down to the TAP files that haven’t worked for me so far have been homebrew or 128k enhanced games, so they may be particularly tough files to support.

 

Having some the update, the closest thing to the Next I can think of is going back to the Amiga, in particular anything to do with hard disks on the Amiga! You just get used to things installing or just working on modern computers (even Windows!) but going back to the Amiga, you realise just how time consuming it is doing anything. It’s a lot of try and fail and try again until it works,  with the documentation often not being easy to find - or understand! Eventually you get it working, only to come back to it months later and think “how the hell did I do that again??!?”. 
 

The Next feels very much like that, the documentation isn’t that easy to use and I suppose the community isn’t big enough yet to actually help people out. I’m sure it will get better as more people have it in their hands. 
 

Something else is that while I bought just the basic Next, I planned on upgrading it with a Pi Zero myself. Big mistake. The Pi Zero seems to have massive shortages at the moment. The guy who was selling the ones modified for the Next got back to me and said there was serious supply issues from China, he’s expecting to get around 50 soon but that’s all he can get. Another eBay seller had an expected delivery date of the end of April, even though it was “Buy It Now”. I don’t think the Coronavirus has helped matters, but I believe the Pi Zero has been in short supply for some time. The problem with the Next is that it looks like there are issues with which version of the Pi Zero it supports - the 1.3 revision is the one used in the Accelerated model but apparently the Pi Zero W model has issues and may not be supported in future revisions of the OS. Likewise the 1.2 Pi Zero also has some potential problems. So it has to be the 1.3 which is unavailable everywhere. It’s almost like the toilet paper shortage!!

 

While that means for folks like me that want to get a £5 piece of kit to get more functionality (like TZX support) are having to wait, I don’t know how much that supply issue is going to affect any future Kickstarter Campaigns. To be honest, I’d recommend getting the Accelerated model just because theres functionality being added in that requires the Pi Zero (like the TZX support) but I don’t know how easily the Next team would get 2000+ Pi Zeros (and there’s the rumour the Pi Zero is going to be updated soon, which is why there’s such limited supply, let’s hope if there is a new one that the Next supports it).


Also, an Accelerated Next apparently sold for over £2000 on eBay the other day.... 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

It was just a Plus that went for over £2000. People are now just starting to get the email telling them their Accelerated Next is on its way and due.

 

Edit: a couple of lucky people have received their Accelerated Next’s today!

 

8CC14B71-8EA8-4C59-8B8C-745404A805EC.jpeg

Link to comment
Share on other sites

8 hours ago, gone fishin' said:

Thanks, yes I didn’t realise the Next supports 1 additional core (well, technically it supports three but one is an “anti brick core” that can’t be removed and the other is the Next core which can be removed, but Im not sure why you’d do that!)
 

There’s also been an update released, which supposedly gives improved TAP support, but I’ve not noticed any improvement but that might be down to the TAP files that haven’t worked for me so far have been homebrew or 128k enhanced games, so they may be particularly tough files to support.

 

Having some the update, the closest thing to the Next I can think of is going back to the Amiga, in particular anything to do with hard disks on the Amiga! You just get used to things installing or just working on modern computers (even Windows!) but going back to the Amiga, you realise just how time consuming it is doing anything. It’s a lot of try and fail and try again until it works,  with the documentation often not being easy to find - or understand! Eventually you get it working, only to come back to it months later and think “how the hell did I do that again??!?”. 
 

The Next feels very much like that, the documentation isn’t that easy to use and I suppose the community isn’t big enough yet to actually help people out. I’m sure it will get better as more people have it in their hands. 
 

Something else is that while I bought just the basic Next, I planned on upgrading it with a Pi Zero myself. Big mistake. The Pi Zero seems to have massive shortages at the moment. The guy who was selling the ones modified for the Next got back to me and said there was serious supply issues from China, he’s expecting to get around 50 soon but that’s all he can get. Another eBay seller had an expected delivery date of the end of April, even though it was “Buy It Now”. I don’t think the Coronavirus has helped matters, but I believe the Pi Zero has been in short supply for some time. The problem with the Next is that it looks like there are issues with which version of the Pi Zero it supports - the 1.3 revision is the one used in the Accelerated model but apparently the Pi Zero W model has issues and may not be supported in future revisions of the OS. Likewise the 1.2 Pi Zero also has some potential problems. So it has to be the 1.3 which is unavailable everywhere. It’s almost like the toilet paper shortage!!

 

While that means for folks like me that want to get a £5 piece of kit to get more functionality (like TZX support) are having to wait, I don’t know how much that supply issue is going to affect any future Kickstarter Campaigns. To be honest, I’d recommend getting the Accelerated model just because theres functionality being added in that requires the Pi Zero (like the TZX support) but I don’t know how easily the Next team would get 2000+ Pi Zeros (and there’s the rumour the Pi Zero is going to be updated soon, which is why there’s such limited supply, let’s hope if there is a new one that the Next supports it).


Also, an Accelerated Next apparently sold for over £2000 on eBay the other day.... 

 

Surprised that you waited so long to order a pi zero. I bought all of my extras over the 3 year wait.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

1 hour ago, Swainy said:

 

Surprised that you waited so long to order a pi zero. I bought all of my extras over the 3 year wait.

 

I ordered mine a couple of weeks ago from Activ Consult and got it delivered today. Fitted it without a problem, spent 15 minutes waiting for Where Time Stood Still to load, then realised I probably wouldn't do that too much more :)

Link to comment
Share on other sites

41 minutes ago, Dudley said:

The Pi Zero is in short supply but they managed to deliver my freebie for subscribing to MagiPi pretty damn quick.

Better check, but I think it’s a Pi Zero W you get with the subscription, which I think isn’t in such short supply and may have future compatibility issues with the Next...


 

Quote

Pi Zero W: In a recent post to the Next Facebook Group Philip Stevens said the W may be compatible at the moment, but revisions to the Next firmware/NextZXOS might render this model incompatible as the hardware actually differs a lot between 1.3 and W. For example, Linux currently abstracts away some differences in the default UART, future bare metal development may affect compatibility.

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

2 hours ago, Dudley said:

Huh.

 

Every day is a school day.

 

To be fair, you would have had no idea until the information was released a week or so ago!

 

That's why I wanted to wait to get my Pi Zero, but I waited just a bit too long I guess and now they're as rare as Hen's Teeth.

 

@Dr_Dave you should be able to boost the speed of the TZX loading, I think it's an option when you choose to load the game itself (like the Wait for Screen Shot option, 128k mode etc). It can go to 28MHz, which should in theory reduce the loading time by (( think) 8 times over the standard 3.5 MHz.

 

Quote

Whilst some people enjoy going to make a cup of tea whilst waiting for a game to load, what if the kettle was already hot and the milk and tea bag already in place? We’d need to load the TZX file more quickly, of course.

By increasing the frequency of the WAV file generated on the Pi, and switching the Next to a higher clock speed, TZX files can now be loaded in a fraction of the original time. Instead of playing the audio at 44.1KHz, we play it back at 88.2KHz whilst running the Next at 7MHz. If you feel the need for speed, playing the audio back at 325.8Khz whilst the Next is running at 28Mhz gives us Manic Miner loading in 30 seconds! 

There are some exceptions to this ultra-high 28MHz setting though as some loaders have frequencies that are too high to begin with. Multiplying them to such an extent makes them inaudible to the Next. 14Mhz still gives four times the loading speed in these cases though! Once the game has loaded, you can switch the Next back to 3.5Mhz and play to your heart's content.

 

In saying that, I'd forgotten that some 128k games take 10 minutes to load, so even then that would be 1-2 minutes of loading, looks like Where time Stood Still took 10 minutes from this video. However, it does say that some game loaders will not support the 28 MHz, I'd imagine the Alkatraz loaders would be the difficult ones to support. Should still be 4 times faster, but yeah, 2 minutes waiting for a game to load is still quite long!

 

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

On 08/03/2020 at 19:38, gone fishin' said:

 

To be fair, you would have had no idea until the information was released a week or so ago!

 

That's why I wanted to wait to get my Pi Zero, but I waited just a bit too long I guess and now they're as rare as Hen's Teeth.

 

@Dr_Dave you should be able to boost the speed of the TZX loading, I think it's an option when you choose to load the game itself (like the Wait for Screen Shot option, 128k mode etc). It can go to 28MHz, which should in theory reduce the loading time by (( think) 8 times over the standard 3.5 MHz.

 

 

In saying that, I'd forgotten that some 128k games take 10 minutes to load, so even then that would be 1-2 minutes of loading, looks like Where time Stood Still took 10 minutes from this video. However, it does say that some game loaders will not support the 28 MHz, I'd imagine the Alkatraz loaders would be the difficult ones to support. Should still be 4 times faster, but yeah, 2 minutes waiting for a game to load is still quite long!

 

 

Reminds me of spending ages waiting for a game to load getting to the start screen and then the game crashing. Still multi loads were even worse.

I remember one of my neighbours had an interface where he could snapshot games in memory. I don’t recall exactly how it worked but I think he could essentially reload from the snapshot which back then was great.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

1 hour ago, crocked said:

Reminds me of spending ages waiting for a game to load getting to the start screen and then the game crashing. Still multi loads were even worse.

I remember one of my neighbours had an interface where he could snapshot games in memory. I don’t recall exactly how it worked but I think he could essentially reload from the snapshot which back then was great.


yes, that was probably a Multiface which really was great, especially the later versions which allowed you to save a snapshot right after the copy protection (typically involving a novella!) and there was the option to save at high speed, which did need the multiface to load it, but it must have somehow stripped some of the data (or compressed it) meaning a 128k game could load in a few minutes.

 

The multiface functionality is actually in the Next, well the DivMMC, so you can still save snapshots. I am running into the occasional TAP file not loading into the Next and the corresponding SNA or Z80 not working with thy rr (they’re notorious for being iffy on real hardware) and I guess it means if you have a Pi Zero, you could always load one of those games in, snapshot it and then know you have a working version.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

1 hour ago, Swainy said:

I loaded up Narc last night and ran it at 7MHz, I always felt that it played a bit too slow originally but the extra boost makes it very playable.

 

 

I want to try this with match day 2. Hopefully faster but still playable

Link to comment
Share on other sites

46 minutes ago, crocked said:

I want to try this with match day 2. Hopefully faster but still playable

I did test Match Day 2, it seems to be one of the few games that is programmed to run at its original speed. I couldn’t see any difference.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

From memory International Match Day worked with the Turbo mode, I need to try that underrated gem Emlyn Hughes’ International Soccer on 7 MHz and see if it’s as good as the C64 version.

 

Heres the man himself playing there Amiga version on GamesMaster (jump to 9 minutes)

 

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

On 15/03/2020 at 14:51, DeciderVT said:

 

Just in time for self-isolation! Wait, I opted to have it delivered to work... :doh:

I guess you could ask to change the delivery address? It may be too late but it’s worth a try.
 

In the bigger picture though I could imagine the last next deliveries could be delayed due to everything going on at the moment.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

That is totally not the way to play Emlyn Hughes. It was all about the long crossfield diagonals, the crosses from the wing and I still remember my euphoria at scoring with a stooping header. Great game with a really good league structure. Spent hours and hours on that (on the C64).

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Tried out the BBC core last night. I don't really know what I'm doing with a BBC (turning on and off processors, owl ROMs etc?) but with the Beeb SD image it's simple enough bringing up a menu of games and getting them running, impressive stuff even at this early stage. Now I just need to find a decent game :D

 

Edit: scrub that, there's a really nice port of Fire Track. What I don't get is how Fire Track can be done on a Beeb with smooth scrolling, decent music, and then there's Commando :D

 

Giving the Intellivision core a bash shortly now that RGB has been fixed.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
 Share

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    • No registered users viewing this page.
×
×
  • Create New...

Important Information

We have placed cookies on your device to help make this website better. You can adjust your cookie settings, otherwise we'll assume you're okay to continue. Use of this website is subject to our Privacy Policy, Terms of Use, and Guidelines.