CPC graphics cards

Started by zhulien, 18:39, 17 May 22

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zhulien

I have been following the commander x16 project for some time a d was wondering what the effort would be to make vera m4 cards for cpc?

https://www.commanderx16.com/forum/index.php?/topic/2502-vera-design-is-now-public/

GUNHED

What would it add to the CPC world?
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TotO

#2
Quote from: GUNHED on 20:25, 17 May 22What would it add to the CPC world?
Nothing really "CPC", but it looks to be an interresting VDP displaying tiles and bitmap mode with 320 and 640 (4, 16 and 256 colours) screen resolutions that can scroll two planes and display 16 sprites. Something really useless is the embeded fake C64 palette. Probably a nice alternative to the V9990 for SymbOS users.
"You make one mistake in your life and the internet will never let you live it down" (Keith Goodyer)

GUNHED

Yes, I was driving at the already existing VDP9990. But why only for SymbOS users? It can be used by everybody.
http://futureos.de --> Get the revolutionary FutureOS (Update: 2022.03.09)
http://futureos.cpc-live.com/files/LambdaSpeak_RSX_by_TFM.zip --> Get the RSX-ROM for LambdaSpeak :-) (Updated: 2021.12.26)

TotO

#4
Quote from: GUNHED on 20:45, 17 May 22Yes, I was driving at the already existing VDP9990. But why only for SymbOS users?
You said "only for" ... The bitmap mode is interresting for an OS to display faster and with more colours.

EDIT: I have took a look to the GitHub and it is a full computer project based around the W65C02 CPU.
"You make one mistake in your life and the internet will never let you live it down" (Keith Goodyer)

eto

#5
Quote from: TotO on 21:07, 17 May 22EDIT: I have took a look to the GitHub and it is a full computer project based around the W65C02 CPU.
No, the Commander X16 is the full project.

The Vera is the graphics chip they have built in a sub-project, as they didn't find a suitable chips at an acceptable price (and with acceptable long-term availability at the quantities required). The Vera sub-project has been released under the MIT license and can be used in other projects too. It also contains a SID like sound generator.

Quote"VERA" module specifications
Video generator featuring:
Multiple output formats (VGA, NTSC Composite, NTSC S-Video, RGB video) at a fixed resolution of 640x480@60Hz
Support for 2 layers, both supporting:
1/2/4/8 bpp tile and bitmap modes
Support for up to 128 sprites (with inter-sprite collision detection).
Embedded video RAM of 128 KB.
Palette with 256 colors selected from a total range of 4096 colors.
16-channel stereo Programmable Sound Generator with multiple waveforms (Pulse, Sawtooth, Triangle, Noise)
High quality PCM audio playback from an 4 KB FIFO buffer featuring up to 48kHz 16-bit stereo sound.
SecureDigital storage.


If the X16 will ever get released, the Vera might be a good candidate for a cheap solution that is easily available and well supported by a big community.

TotO

#6
Quote from: eto on 10:21, 18 May 22No, the Commander X16 is the full project.
Please, don't say NO without checking... The Vera module include the graphic, video, audio, and spi part to build a full console or computer around the W65C02 CPU. Just take a look into the "source" folder! :-*

In fact, you said it is the graphics chip, and next you said that it include the audio SID like generator too. :-\

Anyway, it is interresting to create a new retro-system like the Texas Instruments VDP was used into the 80's to make the ColecoVision, SG-1000, MSX, ... Not really to upgrade a CPC.

The "Commander X16" is his own computer project based around the Vera chip.
"You make one mistake in your life and the internet will never let you live it down" (Keith Goodyer)

eto

I checked ;-) I might be mistaken, as I didn't dive deep into it, but maybe I am not. Or we have different definitions, of core vs. add-on/extension. 

I am following the X16 project since it started as an idea. First it was the X16, then came the Vera. Originally as a graphics chip solution only. Then they have put in more stuff. Agreed, a lot of. But I would not say, that the number of features makes an add-on a full computer project. 

From a technical point I did not see anything that would make this more than an add-on. Indeed a very powerful one, more powerful than the system around it. But that's the case for most of the extensions we have today. 

You still need a full computer around it with Software/ROM, RAM,I/O,CPU - if I am not mistaken, Vera can't access any of that directly and is like the ASIC in a Plus or (a combination of) other add-ons we already use. Just much more powerful. 

I really don't see a difference between attaching several add-ons like VDP + sound + M4/Usifac compared to a (hypothetical) single Vera based board. 

Except for the convenience of data exchange, I personally don't see a point to add anything to my CPC that enhances it in a way that goes beyond what would have been possible in the 80s. But obviously there are different opinions about this. Otherwise we would not see add-ons like the LamdaSpeak or the VDP. And based on that, I would love to see a solution, that could become a standard - just because it has the community, is good enough and not too expensive.


TotO

#8
The Vera is something that can be compared to the Mega Drive VDP. The system use it to display, to play some sound and to communicate through the serial interface. Around that, you only need a CPU and some memory to make it working.  ;)

It is not because the guy started to said "I will do my own computer" and next the Vera born because it is required to not use a lot of standard parts, that is changing something to the finality. Well, you don't see the difference, but that will be no more a CPC to only use the Z80 and its keyboard, as any Z80 systems can do the same. But that is the "standard" you are speaking... It is why I spoke about SymbOS to have a common based solution for all those computers and keep them with their own specificiies, making interresting to use.

I agree that is not interresting to connect anything to the CPC that was not really possible at the time... But in this case what you want is not possible, except to use the MSX or building an Aleste 520 module. :)
"You make one mistake in your life and the internet will never let you live it down" (Keith Goodyer)

zhulien

I'm a software guy, and to me all hardware can be useful to the one software, that is the point of drivers and UniDOS is a perfect example of this - having said that, without the luxury of cleanroom design - but still managed to make a very good solution for storage solutions.

With graphics and sounds, of course a driver standard would make them interchangeable - not everyone will want to code with drivers, but if they do and we have a standard graphics and sound driver for CPC too, then we start to gain some cool flexibility.  Not always with massive tradeoffs either! Usually a driver system tradeoffs are memory related, CPCs are getting more and more with lots of ROM and/or RAM expansions.

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