Author Topic: Amstrad CPC "Mini"  (Read 12977 times)

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Offline Duke

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Re: Amstrad CPC "Mini"
« Reply #50 on: 21:59, 28 December 19 »
But... When the first games/demo using the CRTC registers to do hardware effects (scrolling I think), it was observed that some CPC not worked properly (more skilled peoples from the demo scene can explain that better than me). So, peoples started to open the CPC to discover that... And CRTC was classified using digits each time the advanced features and compatibility was not the same as expected. Really more informations here: http://www.cpcwiki.eu/index.php/CRTC
Initially the problems were discovered with demos using fullscreen. Adjusting the screen to the left (>50 on reg.2) would crash on a CPC with CRTC type 2. I remember solving many early demos by just sending out &bc00,3:out &bd00,5 before running them as they would go fullscreen (yeah I always had CRTC type 2 regardless of what CPC I bought back then, sucked !:P)
Later many other differences were discovered.
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Offline chinnyhill10

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Re: Amstrad CPC "Mini"
« Reply #51 on: 00:36, 29 December 19 »
Oh dear, and there was me hoping the CPC would be spared the pox of 'mini' consoles.


They are all horrible, and run on the lowest hardware spec possible.


I'm not worried though. It will never happen. The C64 only happened because C64 users were dumb enough to crowdfund it. That lot would pay for a dog turd with a C= logo on it (and some may say that's exactly what's happened).
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Offline SkulleateR

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Re: Amstrad CPC "Mini"
« Reply #52 on: 02:43, 29 December 19 »
I'm not worried though. It will never happen. The C64 only happened because C64 users were dumb enough to crowdfund it.
Not quite true ! First of all, this is an idea of the community, not a company that wants to make a lot of money ! Also you cannot put all the C64 "Mini" consoles in one bucket ... there was the C64DTV (which was great) and the C64 Mini and the C64 Max ....


I´m hoping this will come true to give people that want to get into the Amstrad "Scene" what they deserve : an easily accessible way to play those classic CPC games and "maybe" start producing software for it
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Offline TotO

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Re: Amstrad CPC "Mini"
« Reply #53 on: 14:25, 29 December 19 »
Initially the problems were discovered with demos using fullscreen. Adjusting the screen to the left (>50 on reg.2) would crash on a CPC with CRTC type 2. I remember solving many early demos by just sending out &bc00,3:out &bd00,5 before running them as they would go fullscreen (yeah I always had CRTC type 2 regardless of what CPC I bought back then, sucked !:P)
Later many other differences were discovered.
I was enough lucky to never meet CPC with CRTC type 2 in 80's.  ;D
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Offline SkulleateR

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Re: Amstrad CPC "Mini"
« Reply #54 on: 15:27, 30 December 19 »
Ok, just a small list to have an overview :
  • RaspPi4 1GB - 37,50€
  • PSU - 8,60€
  • 16GB SD Card - 4,95€
  • Micro HDMI Cable - 2,95€
So that´s 54€ overall ....
That is WITHOUT a case, because it has to be something special, something that should look (almost a bit) like an Amstrad CPC. We don´t have the emulator yet and we also have to decide if it should be an internal keyboard (which I would prefer, but that would be expensive I think) or external. We also have to be aware of the copyright thing.
Is anyone into the FPGA "Scene" ? Are there any cheap boards that could run FPGAmstrad, or is there another FPGA rebuild we could use (of course we have to ask if we are allowed to use it) ?
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Offline TotO

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Re: Amstrad CPC "Mini"
« Reply #55 on: 16:11, 30 December 19 »
Properly emulating the CPC probably do not require the Pi4 power.
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Offline SkulleateR

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Re: Amstrad CPC "Mini"
« Reply #56 on: 16:15, 30 December 19 »
Properly emulating the CPC probably do not require the Pi4 power.
No it doesn´t ... but the older models are not cheaper, or I just haven´t found them  :o :-\
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Online Gryzor

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Re: Amstrad CPC "Mini"
« Reply #57 on: 16:17, 30 December 19 »
A Zero would probably be enough, though no reason to use it other than space?
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Offline SkulleateR

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Re: Amstrad CPC "Mini"
« Reply #58 on: 16:24, 30 December 19 »
Yes, forgot about the Zero, that woud be 19,90€ ... but I dunno if Sugarbox (or another emu) would run on it ... but yes again, cost reduction is doable  8)
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Offline Amstradan

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Re: Amstrad CPC "Mini"
« Reply #59 on: 16:41, 30 December 19 »
Yes, forgot about the Zero, that woud be 19,90€ ... but I dunno if Sugarbox (or another emu) would run on it ... but yes again, cost reduction is doable  8)


That's so exciting! I think we need WiFi for many reasons so if its a zero it must be the Zero W.


@Lone - what do you think? You have SugarPi on a Pi3 I think?


I reckon the production of cases with integrated USB keyboard will be expensive at low volumes (even more so if it requires some provider to tool up) but the CPC design so critical to what we're trying to achieve!


A mid-fidelity design prototype (does anyone know of a 3D print model for a CPC464?!) for demonstration purposes is probably a good investment to showcase the vision and help get those license holders interested.


The question is: how should it look? To lower the plastic use, I had envisaged pretty much copying the CPC464 design of white text, black keys with the correct coloured ones in place, the arrow keys and keypad to the right, but then "chopping off" the tape drive and stopping the unit there. What does everyone think? What would you want the CPC Mini to physically look like?
« Last Edit: 16:49, 30 December 19 by Amstradan »
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Offline SkulleateR

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Re: Amstrad CPC "Mini"
« Reply #60 on: 16:46, 30 December 19 »
I think to make it as cheap "as possible" it should be a case without keyboard, so everone can use what he prefers.
How about a kind of little version of the CTM640/644, little bit painted with blue on the front, USB Ports should be heading where the Monitor and PSU cables came out on the original to plug in the keyboard ? Just my 2cent  ;D
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Online Gryzor

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Re: Amstrad CPC "Mini"
« Reply #61 on: 16:50, 30 December 19 »
That's probably the wisest choice, for people who would be interested in one. The tape drive area could be used as storage (SD cards, what have you) but it'd add quite a bit. Still it'd be weird without it...
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Offline Amstradan

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Re: Amstrad CPC "Mini"
« Reply #62 on: 16:55, 30 December 19 »
I think to make it as cheap "as possible" it should be a case without keyboard, so everone can use what he prefers.
How about a kind of little version of the CTM640/644, little bit painted with blue on the front, USB Ports should be heading where the Monitor and PSU cables came out on the original to plug in the keyboard ? Just my 2cent  ;D


Ha! So the reverse of the CPC, the computer is in the "screen" instead of the keyboard? That has a certain ironic logic to it!


One of the main complaints of the C64 Mini was the lack of keyboard, but they did start without one for a reason, probably cost!


If we are going the "no integrated keyboard" route we could look at a custom Pi case that looks like a CPC, which would be relatively cheap and perhaps be spiritually closer to the original?
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Offline Amstradan

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Re: Amstrad CPC "Mini"
« Reply #63 on: 17:07, 30 December 19 »
That's probably the wisest choice, for people who would be interested in one. The tape drive area could be used as storage (SD cards, what have you) but it'd add quite a bit. Still it'd be weird without it...


Yes I know what you mean. The tape drive is about 1/4 of the width of the computer so it'd be quite a different "feel" to the thing. I like the idea of using it for ports though, perhaps more like the CPC6128 with a flat non-functional "top" and the USB ports where the 3" disks would have gone in?
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Online Gryzor

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Re: Amstrad CPC "Mini"
« Reply #64 on: 17:26, 30 December 19 »
Good idea, though I think the 464 is more iconic? Or is it just my idea?
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Online GUNHED

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Re: Amstrad CPC "Mini"
« Reply #65 on: 18:29, 30 December 19 »
We should got for a CPC74160. The 7 marks the improvement compared to the 6. And the 4160 marks the 4160 KB instead of 128 KB RAM. The 7 series provides more ROM (= Flash! At least 1024 KB). And some integrated expansions (f.e. PlayCity, MultiPlay, X-MASS, LS3 etc.).  :)
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Offline Lone

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Re: Amstrad CPC "Mini"
« Reply #66 on: 23:03, 30 December 19 »
I first aimed to produce something that can be as simple as a "mini Gx4000". Mainly because it's simple to have something complete and usable : A single pad is easy to use, and can also be bundled on a complete "mini something" if needed.
Also, any modern pad can be used.


More than that, all games can be on cartridge (CPR) format. It's simple to run (insert & reboot), no need to keep somewhere a "run" command.

The emulation run on a Raspberry pi 3 (no os). I think with maybe a little work, it should also run on a PI2 (I don't have any pi2 to test at the moment).
On the contrary, I'm not optimist to run it on a pi zero board (I can run at about 150-200% of the real speed on a pi3).

Unfortunately, running it on a pi2, pi3 or pi4 doesn't change the cost (almost same cost for all of these boards). The true cost change should be running it on a pi zero, which should be quite challenging (Sugarbox is aimed to be very precise : each z80 M and T cycles are emulated, for example).

Beside that, I have a single Amstrad emulation core, that is used for various project (Sugarbox, some tools for disk or tape conversion, this SugarPi project, a new Sugarbox version designed to be cross platform, and a libretro core). That means that I will be able to switch from this Gx4000 to a complete Amstrad 6128+ emulation (or other) easily later. Also, a fix in the core (or a better handling of any CRTC, to be more specific) should be dispatched on this project quite easily.

Problems I have, are currently realted to synchronisation : I can ask the display to be 50hz and sync with it, but I still have some glitches (due to sound not being fed correctly, as the CPC can be a little different than this 50hz I have on my TV). I also tried to sync with sound, but I still have problems with it by now and it's not really good.

To be complete with the project, it's designed to be open source : The main core is available on github, and so is the libretro core (although it's quite experimental, and it's not running really well for some reasons (not related to emulation) ). I'll plan to release the SugarPi repository as soon as it will be more stable, and as soon as I'll have made some continus integration with crosscompilation (the build is pretty painfull to set up by now).



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Offline scruss

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Re: Amstrad CPC "Mini"
« Reply #67 on: 05:30, 31 December 19 »
Hi - was invited here from Amstradan's reddit thread.
I rather like TheC64 Mini as a consumer product, as it appeals to the 99% of C64 users who:
  • no longer have their machine;
  • just played games on it.
I'd suggest that adding all the extra RAM and cartridge options would add too much to the cost and appeal to only a few hundred potential users.

The C64 Mini's apparently based on a customized open-source OLinuXino board - https://www.olimex.com/Products/OLinuXino/open-source-hardware
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Offline TotO

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Re: Amstrad CPC "Mini"
« Reply #68 on: 09:41, 31 December 19 »
Something like "Mini" (17x17 cm), but more for native CPC developers.  ;)

« Last Edit: 09:50, 31 December 19 by TotO »
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Offline Arnaud

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Re: Amstrad CPC "Mini"
« Reply #69 on: 10:14, 31 December 19 »
Something like "Mini" (17x17 cm), but more for native CPC developers.  ;)

What is this ? A new CPC motherboard ?
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Offline TotO

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Re: Amstrad CPC "Mini"
« Reply #70 on: 10:16, 31 December 19 »
A mini-ITX form factor of my X-CPC, yes. (can be extended to Mini-DTX to provide eight expansion slots)
Here, intended to fit into a little PC case and provide multi-CRTC switch for demomakers or other developers.
« Last Edit: 10:19, 31 December 19 by TotO »
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Offline robcfg

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Re: Amstrad CPC "Mini"
« Reply #71 on: 10:46, 31 December 19 »
Are those ISA or PCI sockets?
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Offline TotO

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Re: Amstrad CPC "Mini"
« Reply #72 on: 10:52, 31 December 19 »
Are those ISA or PCI sockets?
Standard CPC edge slots. On DTX-CPC there is some extra pins to output tape/parallel/RGB signals to the backplate if required.
« Last Edit: 13:41, 31 December 19 by TotO »
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Offline Audronic

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Re: Amstrad CPC "Mini"
« Reply #73 on: 00:22, 01 January 20 »
@TotO


X-CPC ?


Ray
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Offline scruss

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Re: Amstrad CPC "Mini"
« Reply #74 on: 16:16, 01 January 20 »
Something like "Mini" (17x17 cm), but more for native CPC developers.  ;)
Nice — extremely nice, in fact — but too expensive for a mass-market device. Single-core ARM SBCs wholesale for about the same price as a through-hole Z80.
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