MEGA65 FORUM

Awesome Project!

append delete Mark Spezzano

Hi,

I think that this is an awesome project. I've just made a donation. I'll definitely be buying a Mega 65 when it is released. (I'll probably end up buying two!).

I used to be part of the c64 demoscene and to have just one of these advanced retro/nostalgia machines would make my day.

I hope that there will be extensive documentation for the computer.

Thanks for the regular updates and keep up the good work.

Regards

Mark Spezzano

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append delete #1. gardners

Hello,

Thank you for the kind words and the donation!

Documentation is beginning to form at https://github.com/mega65/mega65-users-guide

More volunteers to help write the documentation are welcome!

Paul.

append delete #2. Mark S.

Hi Paul,

Thanks for the reply.

Besides professional software development in a variety of languages, I also have I.T industry experience with being a technical writer for about 5+ years.

I'm free at present to help out in a voluntary capacity with any documentation, provided, of course, that I'm given some direction of what needs to be accomplished. I know quite a bit of Latex if that helps.

My C64 knowledge is rusty (I haven't programmed in BASIC or 6502 assembly for two decades), but I think that my experience might be helpful.

How can I get an idea of what's required? Do you have a "things to do" list for the documentation and person who's in charge of the documentation aspect of the project?

Cheers,

Mark

append delete #3. gardners

We have a small group who are working on the documentation. The main thing is to hop over to the github repository, look for any open-issues, and then otherwise look at things that you think should be in there, and file an issue for something that you think should be done, and we can then get input on it.

Rusty experience is actually perfect, because you won't make too many assumptions about what people already know. One area that no one is really working on right now is simple example programs that exercise particular hardware features, e.g., "how do I display a 16 colour sprite". We'd love to have a collection of those in the appendices that cover the various custom chips.

Paul.

append delete #4. Mark S.

Hi Paul,

Would it be necessary/advantageous to have the same hardware setup as you? I can buy the Nexys FPGA, power supply and microSDHC if i need to. I've read/browsed the existing documentation and the part at the back about the Nexys4DDR setup instructions seems straightforward.

I understand that there is an emulator (I haven't tried it), but if I'm to write documentation, I think I should be testing the code on real hardware so that my information to the end user is actually correct. :)

Thanks,

Mark

append delete #5. gardners

Yes, having hardware would help you a lot. It's up to you which hardware path you want to go down. The Nexys4DDR boards are super easy to setup and use a (non-hubbed) USB keyboard on. But also soon there will be an option around the TE0725-T100 from Trenz, which is a bit cheaper, but lacks keyboard input at present. It will in principle be possible to attach a keyboard to it, just not yet. So up to you as to how adventurous you want to be.

Paul.

append delete #6. LGB

Mark, you should definitely use the "real thing" for that purpose, not my emulator. The reason: the emulator lacks many of the features of the Mega65, including the difficulty of following the ever developing nature of the project. Sooner or later :) things will more settle down, and the emulation can be more up-to-date and complete, but that's not the current situation, unfortunately.

append delete #7. Mark S.

Hi all,
Thanks for the advice.

I've ordered the necessary hardware, so it should arrive in a week or so, and then I'll start playing around with the Mega65 prototype.

In the meantime I've been looking at the documentation.

A good start has been made, but I can already see many suggested improvements.

I'll post a longer wish-list of things I'd like to see in the documentation later on.

Question: Is there a maximum page count limit for the Mega65 user manual? For a computer of this nature I would estimate that it would take about 350+ pages to document fully, or at least so that it gives a decent overview of most features. (Compare this to the C64 user manual 2nd edition which was 200 pages. Commodore did a great job with this, but I think that we can do better.)

Question: I know it's still early days yet, but would it be possible to have the final printed book spiral bound so that it will open flat on a table? It would be more convenient for users to enter the type-and-run programs.

Question: Where is the best place to ask these questions? Here or via email?

Thanks,

Mark

append delete #8. gardners

Hello,

Add all wish-list requests as issues on the user guide repository.

As for length, I suspect we will start by growing it to include all we think should be in there, and then perhaps making a shortened edition for print.

We fully intend for it to be spiral bound so that it sits flat.

Paul.

append delete #9. LGB

Personally, I think, documentation can be never "too large" :) As Paul stated, there should/must be a "shortened" version or even a "quick start guide" chapter, but it's really nice to have as much information as possible otherwise (maybe not in the printed version). Since for most people even C65 is a new thing, not even mentioning the M65-specific things, there can be a large hunger for information, in contrast for a "new C64-clone only" situation where there is quite known what people may expect from a C64.

Also, it should be nice to have a well formatted, easily searchable and easy to navigate on-line version at the end, I think, where the size problem is not a problem at all (though truly, the printed version may have some limitation on the size ...).

append delete #10. Mark S.

Hi all,

Happy days. My Nexys4DDR arrived today which I ordered from RS Components, along with the power supply and the microSDHC card.

After about an hour or so of following the instructions in the user guide's appendix, I finally got it to work! Up came the Mega65 prototype's screen, which is pretty cool.

I'll spend the next week or two to try to recall as much as I can about C64/C128 programming before I start looking at the docs in depth. I just need to do some experimenting with the physical system first so I know what questions to ask etc, and to find out how much I've forgotten. (I used to be in a demogroup and coded Kult by Lithium (the one with the lemmings) and Blackadder's Blackboard, and also a very simple 2 player game called Naval Assault. All done in assembly.)

I plan on spending about 15-20 hours a week on documentation for this project. I've already got some ideas floating around for some example programs that we might want to include in the user guide.

Mark

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