Forum dedicated to the V9990

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By wolf_

Ambassador_ (9747)

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17-02-2019, 09:22

I wonder how many people visit forum threads by merely clicking an active thread on the frontpage, like I do. Big smile

Because that would mean two things; 1) it doesn't matter whether there is no v9990 forum, and 2) it doesn't matter whether there is a v9990 forum.

Not sure about increased v9990 activity though. In theory, each MSX1 game (e.g. all the MSXdev entries) could've had a v9990 version with better gfx and no sprite flickering but without much additional code. None so far. In terms of scene support, it's become kind of a conscious faillure, which certainly didn't deserve that.

By Manel46

Champion (398)

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17-02-2019, 10:02

In MSXdev, if there is a V9990 entry, in freestyle category. The works presented for MSX1 are admirable.

wolf_ wrote:

In terms of scene support, it's become kind of a conscious faillure, which certainly didn't deserve that.

Let's try to change the trend.

By Trebmint2

Master (213)

Trebmint2's picture

17-02-2019, 10:24

I certainly hope to change that soon too. I think there will be an increase in interest as last year the v9990 became a hardware option for Amstrad CPC user. Just this month for Enterprise 64 & 128 users, and of course this is brought together by Symbos. I'm developing Quigs which is the RAD dev tool for Symbos. Obviously Symbos is a GUI based system and as such not a gaming platform, but since last week Quigs now has a full screen g9k mode. This will be a g9k only gaming eco-system, which integrates the Quigs language with integrated art/mapping tools on top of the Symbos OS. Means direct integration of large volume storage, mouse, network, etc etc along with v9990 only graphics. And of course will work without alteration across MSX, CPC, EP & Possibly PcW ranges that have the v9990 adaptor.

By wolf_

Ambassador_ (9747)

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17-02-2019, 11:20

I think a cause to be pointed out lies in the head of the current MSX-remainers. In the 80's we went from MSX1 to MSX2 to MSX2+, in the 90's we stepped up to turbo R, v9990 and OPL4. Apart from the improvement in mass storage in the 00's (CF, SD and networking), you could say that the ultimate MSX was about ready halfway the 90's.

And yet, many remaining developers are back at MSX1 specs! MSX2 at most. Anything more than that is ultra rare. With that mindset, I wouldn't expect any activity for v9990 and OPL4, let alone tR and mass storage. Now, one can of course have a contest for a bare MSX1, just like PC demo-parties have demo-contests in 4 kilobyte, even if it's running on a PC with 32 GB memory and 4 TB worth of storage. So you could say that, for the fun of it, an artificial limitation has its merits. In case of the MSX scene with its sparse amount of developers, however, this has the disadvantage that such MSX1 developments (which does have a sense of popularity, I give you that) leave little time (if any) for projects with higher specs. I'll tell you this: as long as the mindset of the scene is stuck with bare 16KB MSX1 games, there won't be content for MSX2/2+, let alone v9990.

Now, why was there no real v9990 development during the 90's then? Not sure, but there're things I could think of.

  • Lack of tools. It's so comfortable to be able to make a cross-development tool on a PC, not just for graphics, but also for mapping in multi-layers. I feel the PC's of halfway the 90's weren't there yet, because (in my opinion) in the ideal case such tools should be made by the artists, not the game coders. This usually reduces the language to BASIC or some other very high-level language.
  • Another reason could be that the exodus to PC's, leading up the silent years, was already set in motion by the time the v9990 hit the market.
  • Part of the problem was that the v9990 was announced as an expansion for turbo R, that already reduces its market-share a bit. Of course it perfectly works on an MSX1 even, and if you stick to - say - screen 5 specs, it'll be alright. But as soon as you start using multi-layers and all possible sprites (and sprite interaction), you could actually use some more juice from your CPU. Later on, the turbo R requirement was dropped, of course.
  • With a v9990 there's a fair chance that a development team isn't going to make 'Guess the Number' as their first v9990 game. Even a simple KV2-like platformer would be not worthy of the possibilities the v9990 offers. With such a chip it's not illogical to come up with large game concepts, such as multi layer shooters (think X-Tazy), and perhaps even traditional 8x8-tile RPGs bit with fancy graphics. Those are large concepts, and even with easy graphics code for the v9990, there simply weren't (and still aren't) many teams who could pull that off. Large games require dedication, a kind of director/leader, and most of all: extreme talent. I could certainly name a handful of truly talented people in the current scene, but with mixing and matching you'd have two complete teams at best. That's not enough to supply a steady line of impressive v9990 content that isn't frowned upon in a "bah humbug, that could've been done on MSX1 as well" way.

Now, what about the future? I think it boils down to two options. 1) We choose high-spec v9990, and it likely means we gotta drop our bare MSX1 or even bare MSX2 mindset. Or 2) we stick to uber-retro, and forget about the evolution that ended with the v9990, OPL4, mass-storage etc. I don't think there's much in between.

By Meits

Scribe (5387)

Meits's picture

17-02-2019, 12:14

wolf_ wrote:

Now, why was there no real v9990 development during the 90's then? Not sure, but there're things I could think of.

I bet I'm not the only one who foresaw a vicious circle with this v9990. The main audience/creators were teenagers who got their MSX off their parents because they lost interest/went on to pc. For a 16 year old a mighty expensive proof of concept with two situations:

  • Coders buy it and play with it but find out there's more market for v9938/58 games because there's just more of that.
  • Consumers don't buy it because heck it's expensive and will there ever be a game? And even if so, one game is not enough to justify the purchase of that expensive cartridge if you're not capable to write your own stuff for it.

In that aspect the OPL4 had less to fear. Products could support both conventional sound as a back-up (a few umax games proved that). I didn't gamble for the v9990. Money could - and still can - be spent only once.

By wolf_

Ambassador_ (9747)

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17-02-2019, 12:27

True. Audience and developers go hand-in-hand. And halfway in the 90's, both the developers and audiences were changing.

By Manel46

Champion (398)

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17-02-2019, 12:30

wolf_s
Great explanation, very reasoned on this subject, thank you.
I would like to mention the great work of Tean Bomba with its library, which undoubtedly makes our work easier.
Meits,
We are developing some things for V9990. I trust some music of yours. Smile

By Meits

Scribe (5387)

Meits's picture

17-02-2019, 12:52

Manel46 wrote:

Meits,
We are developing some things for V9990. I trust some music of yours. Smile

Oh dear

By hit9918

Prophet (2853)

hit9918's picture

17-02-2019, 16:57

wolf_ wrote:

I wonder how many people visit forum threads by merely clicking an active thread on the frontpage, like I do. Big smile

exactly. and it might be that you miss a great thing that happened just yesterday. because the table is too short.
there is a sidepanel that has 13 entries. it should have 30. if you dont want to change the look of the frontpage.
this has better effect than a 9990 forum. whose recent posting still would not be seen in the recent 10.

By Manel46

Champion (398)

Manel46's picture

18-02-2019, 17:32

I want to thank the Bitvision coder here, for everything he taught me, about the programming of this VDP.
Attached demonstration in P1 mode, with vertical scrolling of two layers, and with the 125 possible hardware sprites, moving with the cursors. The music is opl4.

https://drive.google.com/open?id=1zEQCxyZ8TCfP4luwXORpJjSR07...

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