FPGAArcade Replay

By boomlinde

Resident (54)

boomlinde's picture

04-03-2010, 13:54

Just wanted to notify you guys about this board which has been under development for a while and the hardware is being produced right now. It might be interesting to you since, yes, among other things it is able to run an MSX core (along with AGA Amiga, Atari ST, VIC-20, C64 etc.), it fits a Mini ITX case, and price is expected to be less than €200. Might become _THE_ FPGA gaming platform!

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By OeiOeiVogeltje

Paragon (1361)

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04-03-2010, 16:10

ehmmm

this all looks very nice
but a simpleton like me doesnt understand much of it

this replaces roms in an original acrade game?

the FAQ is rather short and doesnt explain much about the hardware

a page about what it is ,what is actually does and what stuff is needed would be handy i think

By boomlinde

Resident (54)

boomlinde's picture

05-03-2010, 00:41

You can think of it as a universal computer, where the hardware is like an empty paper in that it can be almost anything you want. You can mimic old hardware like the MSX or Amiga, just like the One chip MSX or Minimig. The computer has inputs for keyboard, mouse and joysticks, and it outputs stereo sound and a TV or VGA signal so you can use it with almost whatever monitor you want.

The page is a mess, but if you read the news closely you might get an idea. I think he is making a new page soon, anyway.

By RetroTechie

Paragon (1563)

RetroTechie's picture

05-03-2010, 13:14

It's a shame that most projects like this never leave the 'yes! we have a board, and it works!' stage. See another example here. Often because developers lose interest at that point, or because development took so look that real-life events demand their attention (job, kids, etc). And with just 1 or a few people working on it, the project dies when lead developer goes away.

If you produce ready built boards, add a nice case, good documentation, decent base of ready-to-use software (optimal = delivered together with hardware), various items that a newbie might need, and make it easy to buy at good price, there could be so much more potential users for systems like this (see eg. the numbers on C64-in-a-joystick project). Which would drive prices down & software library / potential uses up. But if users have to put everything together themselves, you're automatically confined to a small group of 'hardcore' users. And regardless of wonderful things it might do, there's no point if you can't buy it (or only at insane prices).

My interest in projects like this grows as it moves from development to 'polish' stage, and more importantly, keeps moving & growing from there. There's just too many of 'close, but not-quite-there-yet' projects around. Yes, I know for every successful project (=produced in large numbers), there's hundreds of failed/unfinished ones... ;(

By legacy

Hero (570)

legacy's picture

05-03-2010, 17:42

It's a shame that most projects like this never leave the 'yes! we have a board, and it works!' stage. See another example here.(

Well, it surpise me that you name a fully working project, with a very active but small community of developers,
I have that V6Z80P thingy, and there are regular updates, apps and improvements.
Maybe one day, I will demonstrate this thing on a MVM meeting.

By boomlinde

Resident (54)

boomlinde's picture

05-03-2010, 18:45

Yes, both these projects have left the "we have a board" stage, and with the number of platforms already supported on the Replay, there is already a software library (including tens of thousands of games). Sure, it's not for everyone, but making the board Mini ITX compatible is a step further down the user friendliness line than any similar project before that I know of.

Not every project is meant to result in a consumer product. I don't think success should be measured in number of units produced, either. Maybe that works in an economic sense, but in my opinion a good product is one that satisfies the needs of its target market and where sincere interest is is the main force behind the development. As it is now, this project already targets a niche market of computer enthusiasts of which 90% probably already know how to deal with a bare motherboard and are eager to help the other 10%, and I'm sure the user base is big enough to pay for the effort he put into doing something he actually likes doing.

If we take the example of the C64-in-a-joystick again, it's a great way to show how something like this is not really mainstream marketable unless you dumb it down and put it into a joystick with 15 games. It's like music. If you want it to be popular you need to get rid of most of the interesting aspects of it, slap on some lady gaga vocals and run it through a beefy compressor. The same with movies; pick a familiar and predictable script, get some Hollywood stars on the case, have lots of explosions, earn your billions. None of this automatically results in a good film or a good song (though it happens) but economically speaking, it's the safest bet you can make.

By Tanni

Hero (556)

Tanni's picture

05-03-2010, 18:50

If you produce ready built boards, add a nice case, good documentation, decent base of ready-to-use software (optimal = delivered together with hardware), various items that a newbie might need, and make it easy to buy at good price, there could be so much more potential users for systems like this ... Which would drive prices down & software library / potential uses up. But if users have to put everything together themselves, you're automatically confined to a small group of 'hardcore' users. And regardless of wonderful things it might do, there's no point if you can't buy it (or only at insane prices).

RetroTechie, I had thoughts like this long ago, especially concerning the ''add a nice case, good documentation'' etc. thingy. But obviously, it's very hard to pass over a certain step in trying to realize such kind of systems. It would be interesting to discuss the reasons.

By OeiOeiVogeltje

Paragon (1361)

OeiOeiVogeltje's picture

05-03-2010, 20:53

well
im intersted in such a device

maybe Legacy should come and demonstrate at MVM indeed

but
being a simpleton at such stuff i need more (and clear) information (example devices /youtube movie?)

By legacy

Hero (570)

legacy's picture

05-03-2010, 22:54

Curious about that V6Z80P device?? Have a look at www.retroleum.co.uk/
It can't emulate a MSX yet, but there is a ZX Spectrum emulator.
And here you can see A movie of some capabilities

By RetroTechie

Paragon (1563)

RetroTechie's picture

06-03-2010, 09:53

Maybe one day, I will demonstrate this thing on a MVM meeting.
Yes please - that would be nice!

FWIW, I think I'd prefer that FPGA-Arcade board, because it's more targeted at a variety of uses. And has larger, more varied user community. That V6Z80P might be a more affordable choice if you want to use it for 'emulation' of Z80-based systems only. But for eg. for MSX use, it doesn't have enough RAM on the board. 3 separate RAM blocks is nice, but 512K biggest block(s) is too small. If you target MSX, you should at least be able to max out an MSX memory mapper (4 MB or more). Also that FPGA-Arcade board has nicer form factor I think. Don't know about how large the respective FPGA's are though.

If you don't mind adding a few connectors yourself, a generic FPGA development board (like Spartan 3E kit) might be a better choice. More options, more bang/buck. Big smile