New SAM Hardware

After following the developement of the Mayhem (Hoping to buy one later in the year,skint at the moment) i was wondering what next piece of hardware would the SAM community benefit from.

We have memory expansions, Sound processors, Hard drive and now the Mayhem which is great as it brings our beloved 8bit slightly more up to date but what would people like to see, i would like to see something done on the graphic output with some emphasis on scrolling and hardware sprites although this could be hard for backwards compatibility and possibly expensive but could be great.

I understand that with the Mayhem running at 20mhz scrolling would be fine but were still limited to 16 colours and also with the limitations of the Z80 only allowing us 64k at a time could make this difficult.

What do you think ?

I’m not quite sure what

I’m not quite sure what else would benefit the Sam after the Mayhem. It’s something I do think about a fair bit, but i’ve not decided on another hardware project yet for the Sam when the Mayhem is released.

There’s several reasons:

Firstly cost for new hardware. To really develop hardware it costs an arm and a leg, and the market just isn’t there to support it. I know all to well with the development costs i’ve racked up for the Mayhem Accelerator - which has gone way beyond what I intended, and really all from my own pocket. Hundreds and hundreds on parts, and not to mention expanding my collection of test equipment and development tools! But as i’ve a great passion for the Sam i’ve continued on with it.

There’s also the fact that ‘too much’ hardware would make the Sam become something that’s not Sam! Changing CPU for example, or a new graphic addon say, would break compatiblity and it would become compulsory to have the expansion for new software that uses it, instead of being optional like say a soundcard (ie a game would still run on a Sam but without extra funky sound!)

And that leads straight onto another key point: Software support. A lot of old hardware had next to no software support. Just look at all the past hardware that had none… a lot of people are left with an expensive paperweight! Picking a few bits at random: Blue Alpha Sampler had a few demos thats all, i’ve seen no software with support for the Voicebox, 1MB memory units - not much uses them except for MasterDOS RAMdisk functions, and the EDDAC had a MOD player and a WAV player and that’s about it.

I had to make sure that didn’t happen back with the Quazar Surround soundcard when I launched that in 1995, I had to make sure the software support was there and with Soundbyte continuing up to 2004 with a lot of original content, and support in other companies games I made sure it didn’t become yet another piece of hardware destined to site idle.

The Mayhem Accelerator should hopefully not fall into the ‘paperweight’ catagory, it retains full compatiblity and is useful straight away with all past software - giving games extra ooomph with the variable speed settings (very useful with a lot of the slower games, and the likes of GamesMaster / SCADs stuff) and already there’s a couple of enhanced pieces of software to make use of it (such as Simon Owen’s Pac-Man emulator which does full screen refresh each frame instead of over 4 frames) and there’s a few things in the pipeline.

Really, what is needed most just now I think is support for what there already is. Trying to get more people programming on the Sam is the key! I’m always happy to help out where I can with anything to do with the Sam and programming, and I am in touch with other people who are willing to do graphics and music etc to get more software out there!

I’m looking to feature more programming articles in Sam Revival, get more people onboard and the whole community aspect of things buzzing. The next issue is already filling up with news on quite a few new software developments and developer diaries. The magazine also has the coverdisk to showcase new software and the more original new content the better.

Quazar : Hardware, Software, Spares and Repairs for the Sam Coupe
1995-2007 - Celebrating 12 Years of developing for the Sam Coupe

My Three Penneth

Quazar know their own expense limits but would better graphics capability really break the Sam model or just provoke newer releases and renewed interest?

I think what I’d like to see come to fruition on the Sam, in this order is:

1. Mayhem ( games and utilities that take advantage of it - Flash might actually be fast! )

2. PC/Mac linkup ( or a network adapter ) that provides some sort of simplified TCP/IP style interface for retrieving and sending data over a network. Even something that just drives a serial cable.

3. An extra mode or two for graphics. Even a better stills mode would be welcome.

But really the downfall of the Sam was performance coupled with lack of programmers on the platform to cover the eclectic needs of those who bought one or would have bought them. This has now ( soon ) been solved by Mayhem and those that are interested in keeping it alive as a hobby might start to release freeware/shareware/cost software that takes advantage of it.

A better graphics mode would really be the icing on the cake, not vital, but could be fun. Even if it is an external adapter that is driven much like the USB graphics adapters you could get for laptops a while back - it would be useful to at least some of us.

Re: My Three Penneth

The standard comms interface does have RS232 Serial, not all the signals but enough for straightforward comms, it just needs software written at each end to do whatever you want! (e.g. on the Sam and PC). I did once use it at 38.4kbps with a modem to dial into a mate’s linux box to get to the shell console and experiment with things like Lynx and Telnet! I know a couple other people who are tinkering with Serial stuff, not quite sure what they are doing though!

There was someone working on linking a Sam to the PC via the MIDI sockets as well, not quite sure what happened to that project.

Quazar : Hardware, Software, Spares and Repairs for the Sam Coupe
1995-2007 - Celebrating 12 Years of developing for the Sam Coupe

New Hardware ideas.

I didn’t think it was possible for 8bit computers but I have seen 2 different types of interfaces for the ZX Spectrum with 2 USB ports!

How about an interface with 2 (or more) usb ports, 2 x joystick ports (with diodes to stop control clash) and another card reader to allow the backup of sd cards?

Just a thought…………

Actually, thinking about it,

Actually, thinking about it, USB ports opens up so many doors in terms of flexability. Keyboards, mouse, storage etc. We could just have a 2 or 4 port plug in USB hub. It would mean a lot of programming for someone but the possibilities with USB are virtually limitless.

Maybe one day ;)

Its all possible, however as far as im concerned, i want to get the uIP stuff working first:D

new hardware

Well, as I am comming from Speccy scene, I can say that new hardware can break the scene. Example is situation between exUSSR countries with their speedy clones of Spectrum and rest of the world with reall or very close compatible computers. None of us can run most of their software. The same situation can happen with Coupe, some people will start to produce software for new gfx chipset etc and rest of the people without the propper hw can’t use the software. Colin is doing a great job in a way that his hardware is well tested and he is trying to get as much software support as he can. That’s the way how his addons to original hw spread between people and in fact, become standard. Also, the soul of Coupe can be somewhere in his underpowered possibilities…

davi bleem
how dare you criticise us you imperialist! you only like speccy cause you smuggled them thru the border now you act as capitalist pigdog
eat lyra3 and mnemodemoII

9 views baubles come on guys im i stuffin these up here for fun or what this is hi deff for fricks sake takes a million times longer to transfer than sim coupe and the program! waste your internet conenctions time guaranteed not to use itu t v44 320kbps thats 50% faster than a £500 per month 50mbps connection!

long may you wait for the conversion even of the 128k version of digital integrations f-16 combat pilot!
whats the best clone?
atm turbo?
is it tru the 320x 200 is two pixels at a time?
how come this pentagon demo seems to be hierr colour?

just wait till i get hold of your lingo by the short and curlies…
whoops i typed arangeboom in the box!

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