Mist expansion (in theory)

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seastalker
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Mist expansion (in theory)

Postby seastalker » Wed Dec 20, 2017 8:25 pm

This question is only theoretical. Hopefully FPGA development won't get abandoned for the MISTer only. I thought about the Vampire cards for the Amiga 600. Lacking a card slot (obviously) on the MIST, what in theory could expand it's power and functionality? Could a hobbyist pcb with the right connector link to give a developer more room to work with? This would be perfect for the Genesis/MegaDrive core for one. A raspberry Pi zero has been turned into an accelerator card on other platforms, but can anyone theorize a daughterboard, piggyback chip or other option to connect to the MIst?

I would even sacrifice its outer case and fit into something bigger.

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Re: Mist expansion (in theory)

Postby ex68k » Wed Dec 20, 2017 11:11 pm

seastalker wrote:This question is only theoretical. Hopefully FPGA development won't get abandoned for the MISTer only. I thought about the Vampire cards for the Amiga 600. Lacking a card slot (obviously) on the MIST, what in theory could expand it's power and functionality? Could a hobbyist pcb with the right connector link to give a developer more room to work with? This would be perfect for the Genesis/MegaDrive core for one. A raspberry Pi zero has been turned into an accelerator card on other platforms, but can anyone theorize a daughterboard, piggyback chip or other option to connect to the MIst?

I would even sacrifice its outer case and fit into something bigger.

MIST is a wonderful little machine, for a lot of emulations. Where you don't care about the speed of loading a file, VGA screen, etc.

Making it "better", would make the old boards obsolete, and you get one more hardware platform to support :(

Obvious would be HDMI, 32bit SDRAM, newer FPGA. All of this drives also the price up, to an area where the MISTer sits already.

For me, a MISTer++ would be cool ;-)

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Re: Mist expansion (in theory)

Postby Newsdee » Thu Dec 21, 2017 3:05 am

New hardware won't make new cores appear :) the MiST can still benefit from core upgrades.

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Re: Mist expansion (in theory)

Postby AdvancedFollower » Thu Dec 21, 2017 8:26 am

Newsdee wrote:New hardware won't make new cores appear :) the MiST can still benefit from core upgrades.


Yep, having used the machine for a few months, I'd say the biggest limitation currently are the actual cores. I mean some of them are remarkably compatible, but compatibility and performance could always be improved. This doesn't need new hardware, just continued development in VHDL etc.

Of course MiST is not meant to be a new "Super Amiga" like the Vampire, AmigaOne etc., just a convenient way to recreate old systems like C64, Amiga, Atari ST... Hopefully any core developments on other boards benefit the MiST and vice versa, thanks to the open source nature of the projects.

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Re: Mist expansion (in theory)

Postby nightshadowpt » Thu Dec 21, 2017 9:46 am

Newsdee wrote:New hardware won't make new cores appear :) the MiST can still benefit from core upgrades.


And this says it all...

Even the MISTer, is for the most part only getting ports of existing cores.

Don't get me wrong, I still think its great and hugely appreciate Sorgelig's work, but unfortunately programming cores for FPGA's seems to be a lot of hard work for such a small recognition that few are willing to invest in it.

What puzzles me is how did we get so many cores for the MIST/MISTer? Where have all the developers go? And how many of those cores are still actively developed?

Anyway, I am looking at the MISTer as MIST's successor. It seems to be getting adequate traction and it may become my main platform in the future.

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Re: Mist expansion (in theory)

Postby seastalker » Thu Dec 21, 2017 12:54 pm

All good points. I was just using examples of expansions, but of course things like Vampire card projects are better suited for original hardware.

I suppose all could be summed up by questioning which cores stopped development or adding features (ex. floppy drive emulation) because of space issues instead of losing interest, personal lives get in the way, etc.

By the time I heard about the Mist, I saw core updates regularly on harbaum.org where as now it seems the scene whittled down to a sporadic Amstrad WIP. Again, great respect to all developers. I watch videos in my spare time in hopes to join your ranks some day. At least the C64 and Genesis ones still seem to be getting updates.

Maybe later, the reverse will happen where MISTer cores will get ported to the MIST, and there will be inspiration to shrink down the ones that would normally run out of room.

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Re: Mist expansion (in theory)

Postby Newsdee » Fri Dec 22, 2017 10:15 am

nightshadowpt wrote:What puzzles me is how did we get so many cores for the MIST/MISTer? Where have all the developers go? And how many of those cores are still actively developed?


Many cores were ports from older Terasic boards (e.g. DE1, DE2), or the FPGA Arcade Replay, oten with improvements along the way. Much less people have written entire cores from scratch and open sourced them, though.

The thing to keep in mind is that each core is really a project in itself. And to understand one requires both familiarity with the original hardware but also the particular way the core was written.

In any case things have improved a lot. Since I first got my MiST in early 2014 there has been a huge effort in cosolidation into a single board (MiST and now MiSTer) which makes it easy for end users to use them with minimum setup. There are still things that could be improved, but things are moving forward.


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