MSXVR owners club

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By Manuel

Ascended (18151)

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11-03-2021, 21:15

A downside is that the emulation isn't open in the sense that you can put in your own emulation code or improve the existing. For me, MSX means be able to play with the thing on all levels. This makes it a no-go for me, personally. Although I do like the whole concept and the physical realization of the whole thing a lot. So that makes it even worse Sad

By htdreams

Champion (283)

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11-03-2021, 21:25

Hi!

I'm one of the spanish owners of MSXVR.

I agree it's a pain in the ass to have so many places with info, as not only there is one Guilded support group, but there is also a spanish telegram user groups (just some users, the only official support channel seems to be the Guilded group, which also has an english section)

I understand you all are asking why is it there is not so much info on MSXVR with more than 20% of machines in their homes, I guess it's a combination of the actual status of the project (this is my own view on the subject, so 100% personal opinion :-) ) and the fact that as it was already stated, is not so common for people on our age range to speak/write english fluently (I hope this is generational and things will change... at least that's what I'm trying to do with my daughter :-) )

So, regarding the machine itself, I didn't opened my unit, to avoid breaking the warranty seals, so I don't know about it's insides. It has a nice built quality for such a small number of units (only 500), and there are details that could be better, I'm not an expert on hardware creation, I'm sure anyone with experience in case building and plastics would see several flaws as there was some comments on quality procedures by some experienced users, but my unit looks and feels robust and pretty.

I'll talk about things I don't like, that i'm aware of, just from my experience, so if you want to know about any other details, feel free to ask.

Also, I don't use the machine to often (scarce free time for that), and I'm sure other MSXVR users use them a lot in comparision with me, so, again, this is from my experience :-)

My main complains are about:

- Not having rubber feets, lower case is 100% touching the table, so I've put there some spacers to allow ventilation and also not scratching the lower case

- Power brick makes some noise when powered on and msxvr is off (it's subtle, but for me it's anoying, so I disconnect power brick when I'm not using it) when the computer is on maybe the power brick hiss is on but I'm not aware of it... this could be something related to my power brick unit, I did'nt listen any other user complaining about this

- Right Power switch is useless, you even can switch it on/off while computer is powered on without any change (at least I didn't see anything happening, and to me it looks like was put there but finally not used at all)

- There is not a direct 3.5 jack sound output from Raspberry pi, OK, this is minor, because you can get sound from the HDMI plug, but if you want to use other distribution instead of the MSXVR one (I have also an Amiberry distribution which runs pretty nice in the MSXVR) you can't use it (RCA and 3,5 output connectors are on the IO board that is not used if you use other distributions, or at least I didn't managed to get audio output from them (just very very low levels)

- Space bar and right shift have two switches, so it makes double clicking sound when pressing them, again this is something minor, as keypresses work well in MSXVR distribution (and you can also use the computer as an USB keyboard with the computer powered off and using an USB A-B cable) but I don't like it, in other mechanical keyboards they use aditional springs on large keys so you can press it evenly in any place

- Software is in Beta stage: don't get me wrong, it works as an msx more or less as you would expect from an emulation point of view, but Turbo R emulation has some problems, and people are finding bugs that MSXVR team is resolving with each update (and update process works without a problem). This is expected to improve with time, and MSXVR Team is busy mostly building up the hardware machines and testing everything is ok (software can be updated but hardware no, obviously)

- Also, related to this, the VRSystem (it's windows interface) doesn't feels polished, and to me it looks like the entire system is made in VRScript and each time you open up any window there is a 1-2secs delay which is very anoying THIS IS MY PERSONAL IMPRESSSION, I DON'T KNOW HOW IT REALLY WORKS, but I have to say is a poor experience, and to me is not something expected, I have no problem with having only one application at the same time but clicking a tab button and having to wait to see how the new tab gets drawn is annoying. I hope this will get better in future updates.

So I'll give the team the time to improve software side of things, but for now, if you are planning to do things other than play msx-msx2-msx2plus games, it's all in Beta stage.

With the last update we had a decent scanline filter (previous one was too complex and was more focused on generating CRT artifacts than just scanlines), and also system feels a bit more responsive (but suboptimal in my opinion)

Cartidges that uses SD cards/CF cards are not working yet (this is expected to change in the future), and I also had trouble using my Wozblaster (moonblaster clone), although you can select the virtual MSX machine to have a virtual Moonsound (and also fm pack, V9990, double SCC... as you would expect from emulated VM). I've also tried SCC cartidges (salamander, f1 spirit) and they work nice (I'm not sure if they used the internal SCC or the emulated one, I've tried it once and didn't checked it

I haven't used emulated extensions aside from SCC or FM sound.

On other things, cartidges play nice, you can insert your game, startup the machine, and after the msxvr boot process (it takes more time than in real MSX, you are aware this is other type of machine) you are directly in an msx virtual machine with the game working (you can setup default virtual machine to startup if there is a cartidge detected)

Joysticks works also nice, regular MSX ones and USB pads (I've used XBox360 pads without problem)
You can insert USB pendrives are they are mounted quickly
It's very easy to connect to ftp/samba network shared drives
You can send bug reports or suggestions from the VRSystem
It has a Help app with all the manual info (but it doesn't have an index, you must type what you are searching for, until some one told me about this I just assumed it wasn't working)
It doesn't have a web browser (at least for now, don't know if it's something planned)
I have tried to make something with the current Gamesaurus version (it's something like a GameMaker for VRScript), but in it's current state it has several bugs (it's beta software, and logically not a priority until all machines are built and bugs hunted down)
You can create VRScript and VRBasic programs easily, but the editor is far from perfect, and has also usability flaws

In general, I'm happy with the machine, surely it's pricey, but in this small scale with so few people involved, it's amazing what they managed to pull out, and it's not over yet... I expect this will get better with time, but also in it's current state this is not up to all the things we were told this could do... in this regard people who will get their hands on later units will see very different machine than those who received them before

As i've said, these are my impressions, and I didn't tested it as much as other users, so if any one have a request, I can test it and we all learn from it :-)

Regards!

Yes, there are some photos for you :-D














By tfh

Prophet (2975)

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11-03-2021, 21:25

Manuel wrote:

A downside is that the emulation isn't open in the sense that you can put in your own emulation code or improve the existing. For me, MSX means be able to play with the thing on all levels. This makes it a no-go for me, personally. Although I do like the whole concept and the physical realization of the whole thing a lot. So that makes it even worse Sad

Well, I don't remember the original MSX standard being "open" in that way either. I do expect manufacturers also had to pay license fees to be allowed to produce MSX machines.
I can understand why they made the MSXVR a closed project, just like I understand why OpenMSX is the oposite.

I've considered buying a machine myself as well, but I'm afraid it's going to end up in the closet, besides my Zemmix Neo. Still tempted though.

By Robby

Master (206)

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11-03-2021, 23:13

@htdreams: thank you for your extensive report/findings!

By jepmsx

Expert (67)

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12-03-2021, 10:54

Thanks a lot htdreams for sharing your thoughts and pictures.
I like a lot your picture with the solution for increasing ventilation. First mod for the MSXVR!

By lintweaker

Champion (415)

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12-03-2021, 11:06

@htdreams, thanks for the extensive comments! Do you also have some pictures of the internals?

By JamesBurton

Expert (73)

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12-03-2021, 13:03

htdreams wrote:

- Right Power switch is useless, you even can switch it on/off while computer is powered on without any change (at least I didn't see anything happening, and to me it looks like was put there but finally not used at all)

As far as I've been able to test in my MSXVR, looks like that switch is an interlock switch so it will cause no effect if the machine is on. But if you shut the machine down and press the switch to set it off, and then you try to turn the machine on again, it won't turn on because the switch is blocking the current flow.

By efraimsangil

Rookie (17)

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12-03-2021, 17:18

@htdreams: Amazing report and personal experiences. Thanks to share.

By htdreams

Champion (283)

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17-03-2021, 09:54

Thanks for all the comments :-) if you have any other question or anything you want to test, and I can do it, we'll check it.

@lintweaker: I haven't opened my unit, so I don't have any internal photos to share...

By gdx

Enlighted (4695)

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17-03-2021, 11:13

tfh wrote:

Well, I don't remember the original MSX standard being "open" in that way either. I do expect manufacturers also had to pay license fees to be allowed to produce MSX machines.
I can understand why they made the MSXVR a closed project, just like I understand why OpenMSX is the oposite.

MSX hardware being "open" since the start but it doesn't mean that everything was free and that we could do anything. For example, we couldn't sell DOS with our own software. Surely there also had to have a license to use the MSX brand or to sell software.

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