MEGA65 FORUM

Any News?

append delete EvilDave

Haven't seen any updates since May. What's going on?

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append delete #1. gardners

Life is busy, and lots of things going on in the background, as we try to get a bunch of architectural details definitively settled. On the upside, this might mean increased chipram from 128K to 256K or possibly even 384K. Also, there has been a lot of work on the PCB refinement and keyboard design.

Paul.

append delete #2. LoveMega65

When you said increase in chipRAM is that the same CHIP RAM concept as the one in the Amiga? The CHIP RAM is responsible for the graphics, audio, meda i/o, etc?

if that is the case...I don't mind keeping it as 128 kB hehe or even 256 KB seems good enough for me!

append delete #3. gardners

Yes, much the same idea. On the MEGA65 all normal RAM is "chip RAM", only the colour RAM and the "ROM" (which is also really a RAM) were not "chip", and thus couldn't be used to hold graphics. (Sound is by the SID chips, which have never cared about what RAM you feed them from, since the CPU does that).

The change we are looking at is to merge the RAM and the "ROM" into a single larger memory. Since it was 128K + 128K, 256K is the obvious amount to end up with. However, the way that the RAM was accessed before, meant we had to have two copies. That requirement has been removed, which means we have 128K spare, that provided the FPGA timing tolerates it, means we can potentially have 128K + 128K + 128K = 384K RAM.

append delete #4. Travis b moore

Wouldn't the micro we card work as sex and ram or extra cashe for audio and video like a is memory boost in windows? And combining memory might be done in bias setup on booting to do memory management maybe?

:: @Travis b moore added on 19 Aug ’18 · 18:21

Sorry my tablet spell check is messed up. But do you have a bios chip to do start up memory management. And any SD chips be incorporated for ram, was video and sound in start up?

append delete #5. gardners

Hello,
The SD card storage has much, much higher latency than any RAM -- potentially one second or more in the worst case. Thus it doesn't really make sense to try to make it memory mapped. Also, the SD cards will be much bigger than the address space of the MEGA65. That said, the interface to access the SD card is quite easy, and can load and store in the background, leaving the CPU free to do other stuff while fetching/storing data.

append delete #6. Travis B Moore

What about memory float points? Floating point memory might be like a program cashe or ticked slowly on the memory as it runs using fewer computer cycles for dedication as it run background stuff. Think of it like a painting that slowly changes as needed?

append delete #7. gardners

I am not really sure what you mean by floating point memory.

append delete #8. zeha

That new website...

I was a bit shocked. There are some renderings that look pretty subpar compared to the excellent photos we have seen so far. And some of the keycaps even contain spelling mistakes. Also what about all those handheld devices and stuff?!

I'm sorry for the harsh words but this felt a bit like an April Fools joke...

append delete #9. deft

thank you for being honest. we personally love the new page but I see the point. We will improve the renderings and replace them by real photos once we got own cases for our own keyboards and the mainboards in place. regarding the handheld devices they are far from being a joke, also does the headline says concept art. these photos -a bit unluckily- preceed some big announcements that are to be made. thus the new page has not been officially announced yet. please consider this a polished marketing site since we of course need to draw as much attention as possible. without supporters we cant manage to finish this crazyness ;)

cheers
deft

append delete #10. Bruce

This is looking great! However, please please consider fixing that keyboard layout to make it more modern like a PC. There are many things about the Commodore key layouts that were not that great, the C128 arrows keys, symbols in odd places, etc... Changing the keys does not change the spirit of this machine.

Fixing the key layout so it's more useful and familiar to new generations will make or break this machine. You know, ESC in upper left, function keys in a straight row 4 by 4. We don't really need more than 12 function keys and the arcane F1/F2 pairings do we? This will make it easier on future developers and learners of BASIC. Also consider putting all the symbols in their now standard locations (things like the * and @) has to be done.

You have already changed and updated this computer with modern i/o for convenience (HMDI, SD cards) so please also make the users keyboard experience modern and convenient as well. This should not be a big problem to solve for your team.

You can't expect kids to learn typing or BASIC on this arcane layout any more than you would require them to use only a CRT and floppy for this computer. Remember, this system was designed before keyboard layouts were standardized and never became a commercial product, so please make this system relevant not only to hobbyists, but to also to a new generation of kids and coders by fixing the keyboard. Think bigger.

I say this because I am excited about this machine and think this system has potential to be something very useful, especially for younger kids, but you need to get the design right for that to happen. You've been doing an incredible job so far, but please update the keyboard layout to modern standards. As it stands, kids can't learn proper typing on this system! That is a deal breaker for me. Think of the next generation of typers and coders, and make it easy for them to adopt this machine and move from this to modern PC's (or vice versa). Hobbyists alone will not make this a successful system, but kids can! If you need any help with an updated key layout design, just let me know.

Best of luck,
Bruce

bruce(AT)stirringdragon(DOT)games

append delete #11. Solei

The exterior design of the mega65 is supposed to be as close as possible to the original machine - including the physical keyboard layout and the placement of symbols. I would personally be very disappointed if the keyboard was made to look like something from a pc.

As far as i know, the team behind the Spectrum Next did also keep the old keyboard design on their machine.

#12. weirdocollector

This post was deleted by its owner

append delete #13. weirdocollector

Isn't it possible to plug a regular USB keyboard ad use that instead of the one built in ?

That will cover both worlds without the need of any modifications to the current layout (that I like).

append delete #14. Gurce

I also find the current keyboard layout adorable, cute, quirky, unique and distinct.

append delete #15. gardners

Changing the keyboard layout would introduce a lot of significant compatibility problems. Remember, most software on the C64 scans the keyboard directly, and so if you change the layout, it will just break things.

In terms of learning typing, I don't think this is really a big deal. The letters and numbers are where they should be, and yes, the Commodore-style layout is a bit weird, but the C65 is not as bad as the C128 on this front, in my view. Cursor keys are, for example, sensible on the C65. I find the variation between laptop keyboards to be at least as significant as the differences on the C65 to US or UK keyboard layout. And don't get me started on the differences with German and French keyboards (both of which I use on a regular basis). Compared with those, the C65 layout is still rather sane. Also, just like with SMS that had the most horrible interface on feature phones, people learn surprisingly quickly to work with what they have.

But, as with everything on the M65, it is open-source. If someone wants to make a French layout or whatever other layout version, they will be free to do so, but we will be sticking with a C65-faithful version in the first instance.

Now, for USB keyboards, this is only possible on the Nexys series FPGA boards. The final PCB does not (at this stage) have a USB port for keyboards or mouses. USB mouses can be used with an Amiga/USB mouse adapter, as the M65 provides transparent 1351 emulation when you plug in an Amiga mouse. This is partly keeping with our goal that the M65 has only 8-bit processors, so no hidden USB stack will be there to harbour a 32-bit processor. Also, we ran out of space on the back for connectors.

Paul.

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