When is a ST not a ST anymore ?

General discussions or ideas about hardware.
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exxos
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When is a ST not a ST anymore ?

Post by exxos » Thu Apr 05, 2018 10:28 pm

In light of moving to FPGA to replace the custom chips..

For example "early suska" https://www.experiment-s.de/de/gallery/

IC's get replaced with FPGA.. is that still a ST ?

My goal is FPGA blitter, MMU.. likely replace and update the GLUE also... and create a super shifter... mostly I see it as simply "Replacing silicon" and updating.. Though how far is to far that we end up with a suska or mist ? Where IMHO isn't a "proper ST" anymore..

Similar with the CPU, if we replace the motorola 68000 with a FPGA 68000... it likely be faster.. but does it rob the ST of its key "identity" if that was done ?

What does everything think ?
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troed
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Re: When is a ST not a ST anymore ?

Post by troed » Thu Apr 05, 2018 10:45 pm

exxos wrote:
Thu Apr 05, 2018 10:28 pm
What does everything think ?
I drew the line at the CosmosEx, but I'm fine hanging a USB host on the ACSI. Also, if something it's 100% compatible then I don't consider it "real", so while the Suska might be (I don't know) the MiST isn't.

I would be all for replacing _some_ of the custom chips with a compatible, and expanded, FPGA.

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DrF
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Re: When is a ST not a ST anymore ?

Post by DrF » Thu Apr 05, 2018 11:11 pm

I would say it's still a ST because you just replaced broken dead bits with working bits because you cant get the orig. parts.
(or all the parts are buried in a shed of a certain someone :lol: )

I think it's when you start doing wild things and it turns into nothing more than a PSU and keyboard for some super accelerator or something then it's not a ST in that case you might as well just have the board without the ST or a PC with a emulator or something.

I guess you could say the same thing with a none STE that you add a blitter to would it still be a STFM? you just moved 1 step up from its orig. being?

Like are you still human if you have a pacemaker?

Are clouds real?

Do cows sleep upright?

Do plants have feelings?

Now i'm thinking :D

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Icky
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Re: When is a ST not a ST anymore ?

Post by Icky » Thu Apr 05, 2018 11:23 pm

DrF wrote:
Thu Apr 05, 2018 11:11 pm
I guess you could say the same thing with a none STE that you add a blitter to would it still be a STFM? you just moved 1 step up from its orig. being?
An interesting dilemma.

Is an Atari Mega STE 2 steps up from an STFM, is an Atari TT 3 steps, Falcon, Hades, Milan etc.

In my mind I see all of these as incarnations trying to keep true to the original but with improvements. I think as mentioned when you get to a Firebee or MiST then things have gone awry.

I think keeping it true but providing plug-ins as alternatives is a good goal. The aim I guess is to keep these things alive and when the chips get scarce we have an alternative to pop in. Also in the case of the some of the newer boards that you can plug in like the Storm and Thunder. They use the existing bus and is no different than what manufactures did in the day to give you more out of your TT or ST. The fact you are using new tech as the system intended to be expanded shouldn't matter.

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DrF
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Re: When is a ST not a ST anymore ?

Post by DrF » Thu Apr 05, 2018 11:31 pm

Icky wrote:
Thu Apr 05, 2018 11:23 pm
An interesting dilemma.

Is an Atari Mega STE 2 steps up from an STFM, is an Atari TT 3 steps, Falcon, Hades, Milan etc.
What I mean to say I think :lol: is that if those machines are left alone as Atari intended then there still orig. STs
Adding the blitter to the STFM is not how it came out the factory, so is it now a STE or a upgraded STFM?


Do fish swim or sink moving about in water?

Does air have a taste?

Too much thinking, confused, head hurts :lol:

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Icky
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Re: When is a ST not a ST anymore ?

Post by Icky » Thu Apr 05, 2018 11:36 pm

It is confusing
DrF wrote:
Thu Apr 05, 2018 11:31 pm
Does air have a taste?
Depends where you are. I know of a few locations where the air has some nasty aftertaste :)

Petari
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Re: When is a ST not a ST anymore ?

Post by Petari » Fri Apr 06, 2018 8:11 am

This is just a matter of how you look on things. Simple case: is STE a ST ? The right answer can be: is, and not. Little better is looking it from compatibility side, and than you may see that STE is very-very compatible. But not 100% . And if you look that even more deep, will see that incompatibility is actually in SW - TOS and few SW with coding mistakes.
Probably best answer is that STE is expanded, enhanced ST. So, it is and it is not it :D
Situation with clones is mostly about compatibility. I will not go now in it. Just simple thing: does changing video output to such, what is compatible (usable directly on) modern monitors, TVs means that it is not ST anymore ? Surely not.
I would say that key factor should be in ability to run original SW as it runs on original.
There is 2 kind of people: one thinking about moving to Mars after here becomes too bad, the others thinking about how to keep this planet habitable.

Gargoyle
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Re: When is a ST not a ST anymore ?

Post by Gargoyle » Fri Apr 06, 2018 9:27 am

I agree with Petari about compatibility.

I do like the idea of producing a hybrid, to open up the gateway for exploring new possibilities and to ensure that you can futureproof the availability of parts. New resolutions sounds great, a decent speed boost sounds good for games that could do with it, also graphics and music software, etc. Keeping the 68000 (or an absolutely 100% cycle accurate FPGA), the YM2149 chip (you are going to keep the real YM2149 chip I presume) to help keep it running as authentically as possible would be important to me. Keeping the MIDI output rock solid, what the ST was (and is for those who remember) so well known for.

If you did go the FPGA CPU route, I wouldn't want to see something else in the background rearing it's ugly head and breaking any sense of immersion. Immersion, compatibility, authenticity is important for me personally. Emulators for example sometimes have an awful tendency to break that sense of immersion, even after trying your best to get everything running well. Choppy mouse movement annoys me the most when drawing sprites :)

When I turn on my ST to play a game, it's a real ST. You can't fool me any other way. I trust it, if you see what I mean? The music, the sounds behave the way they should, scrolling, sprites, and movement feels the way it should and it doesn't crash (at least not in the same way). It behaves the way it should because it's an ST. When it does that, it takes me back. That's the kind of thing I would want to see with your board, but also the possibility to explore new things and take me forwards. Rock solid behaviour, a convincing, smooth running, compatible ST system and not a knock-off. I would hope that your board did that - just my thoughts at least, hopefully this helps somehow!

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DrF
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Re: When is a ST not a ST anymore ?

Post by DrF » Fri Apr 06, 2018 10:32 am

Petari wrote:
Fri Apr 06, 2018 8:11 am
Situation with clones is mostly about compatibility. I will not go now in it. Just simple thing: does changing video output to such, what is compatible (usable directly on) modern monitors, TVs means that it is not ST anymore ? Surely not.
I would say that key factor should be in ability to run original SW as it runs on original.
The TV thing, i'm not sure if the ST used tricks with old CRTs like some other systems did to cover up graphics or make visual effects, if it did sadly that would be lost :( not much we can do about that :(

I would go with orig. back in the day software running on it with back in the day issues thats a ST :lol:

This is really complex and i've woken up with a headache im blaming Atari.

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Smonson
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Re: When is a ST not a ST anymore ?

Post by Smonson » Fri Apr 06, 2018 10:56 am

I'm a lot more comfortable with real silicon parts, including FPGAs, than I am with "software solutions" running on some secondary computer device.

That said, I've got a thing translating the mouse protocol that is more powerful than the ST CPU, so my moral code is on very shaky ground.

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