Graphically impressive z80 machine

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By PingPong

Prophet (3139)

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22-10-2018, 21:51

MSX (especially 2,2+) is one of the z80 based machines with most impressive graphics.
It include some advanced features, like pattern modes, hw support for sprites / scroll (latest versions) and even a blitter.

PC 88 had also good gfx but it is slow because of bitplaned vram arrangement
Anyone know of other z80 based machine with good graphics?

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By TomH

Master (242)

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22-10-2018, 22:48

The Master System does pretty well for graphics that move — raster racing aside, it's 16 colour sprites plus a 16-colour eight-way scrolling background, at the TMS resolution of 256x192. The title that most surprised me was probably the conversion of Road Rash.

The SAM Coupé has what amounts to the same frame buffer as the Atari ST (256x192, 4bpp) but non-planar and with no custom hardware whatsoever to help with manipulation. No hardware scroll, no hardware sprites, nothing. So games like Lemmings look like they should, but chug a little.

The Amstrad CPC is also really good for having a shared memory architecture and predating the MSX2; it tops out in 1bpp mode at DVD resolution and scales down to 4bpp though by then it's looking fairly chunky. The Plus range from the early '90s adds a little to the graphics, with hardware sprites and a better palette, but it probably has even less software than the SAM Coupe. Here's a slice of what homebrew coders would have done with Shadow of the Beast.

By keith56

Master (133)

keith56's picture

22-10-2018, 23:44

The Enterprise has graphics superior to the original CPC, as it can do the same screenmodes, but with a 256 color mode, and the ability to change screen colors every line in hardware (without interrupts)

It's worth noting the Sam Coupe has a 6mhz Z80 processor, which is why it's able to keep the speed up even though it's screen is 50% bigger than the CPC's ... the enterprise is 4mhz, whereas the CPC tends to clock around 3.5

By ghost_jp

Expert (123)

ghost_jp's picture

23-10-2018, 04:03

In Japan, SHARP X1 and MZ-2500 are well-known as powerful graphical machine with Z80. CPU directly access to VRAM by each unique way, differently from our MSX. X1 uses I/O ports. On the time of using in/out (c) Z80 commands, 16 bits of BC register are assigned to VRAM memory map. MZ-2500 uses MMU. We can easily imagine like this; if our MSX memory mapper were assigned to VRAM. Besides MZ-2500 had its own MSX-DOS, mainly to make use of CP/M resources.

They were very fascinating but I can't say they got success as business. Totally they were just half-baked gaming platform for ordinary people. On the other hand, their unique architectures became over-rich incubators for not a few engineers working on the front line today.

By keith56

Master (133)

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23-10-2018, 05:46

I'm always interested to hear about the Japan exclusive machines...
From the Z80 point of view, out of the X1,MZ asd PC98, which do you think was the 'best' machine design/performance wise (forgetting sales)

Also were there any 6502 computers that were popular in Japan, or did the MSX and these Z80 machines rule?

By AxelStone

Prophet (2640)

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23-10-2018, 08:49

If we talk about software, MSX2 was clearly the most impressive machine, it was pushed to the limits.

By ghost_jp

Expert (123)

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23-10-2018, 10:42

keith56 wrote:

From the Z80 point of view, out of the X1,MZ asd PC98, which do you think was the 'best' machine design/performance wise (forgetting sales)

In my opinion, MSX2 was the best. Of course PC8801;the same Z80 based hobby machine, manufactured by NEC was much more popular than our MSX in those days. But it was not caused by the advantage of its architecture.

Programmers for PC88 were required a lot of bad-know-how to educe its performance mainly for real-time gaming implementation. Just those struggles had produced so many able programmers into Japanese market. In the same time, most of them didn't value our MSX architecture, especially complete-separation between CPU and VRAM. Nobody can blame them even if they felt that quite wasted. Actually that was exactly waste for them, excellent specialist of PC88!! This difference was certainly the difference of paradigm. By a random chance, they got a market advantage earlier than MSX. MSX2 was born too late. The balance never turned over.

I loved not only MSX but PC88, X1, MZ...etc. Let me make a bored comment. Only MSX ; our international standard, gave me a way to connect with a lot of fellows all over the world. That's the most important point just for me.

By keith56

Master (133)

keith56's picture

23-10-2018, 15:22

ghost_jp wrote:

I loved not only MSX but PC88, X1, MZ...etc. Let me make a bored comment. Only MSX ; our international standard, gave me a way to connect with a lot of fellows all over the world. That's the most important point just for me.

I wonder, Can you point me in the direction of any assembly programming resources for the X1? I can find some documents on the PC88, but I'm struggling to find anything for the X1? I can read Japanese, and if I can find a few ASM prgramming manual PDF's, I could try to develop some software for it.

Update... Just found this one, looks promising!
https://archive.org/details/x1-shiken-ni-deruX1/page/n0

By ghost_jp

Expert (123)

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24-10-2018, 02:55

keith56 wrote:

Can you point me in the direction of any assembly programming resources for the X1? I can find some documents on the PC88, but I'm struggling to find anything for the X1? I can read Japanese, and if I can find a few ASM prgramming manual PDF's, I could try to develop some software for it.

Update... Just found this one, looks promising!
https://archive.org/details/x1-shiken-ni-deruX1/page/n0

A long days ago I had the book, but it has gone somewhere. Shiken-ni-deru-X1 is very famous as one and only best resource about X1 architecture. I don't know anyone else. I wonder whether you can visit a library around you and look for back numbers of Oh!X magazine published by Softbank Publishing in those days.

By jltursan

Prophet (2115)

jltursan's picture

24-10-2018, 19:54

http://www.x1center.org/ is a good resource of X1's infos; but keep in mind that X1 machines (and their TurboZ big brothers) are very PCG oriented machines while MSX2 and MSX2+ machines abandoned the patterns to rely on bitmapped screens.

By T.R.

Rookie (20)

T.R.'s picture

24-10-2018, 23:07

ghost_jp wrote:

Only MSX ; our international standard, gave me a way to connect with a lot of fellows all over the world.

That's a nice thought :-) Goes to show that the MSX standard is more than the sum of its parts in terms of hardware.

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