Just the signal, not the noise

Hello 8bit'ers,

It’s like magic, it’s Friday again.

Looking forward to the weekend? You should, because at least from our perspective there is a total of 8 different retro-style topics, you could spend some time with.

This week there is a first big bang for the MEGA65, more love for the Apple ][, an Opensource MIDI Synthesizer, and additional goodies. As always we hope, there is something in the box for you.

So let us unpack issue #19 in front of you. Enjoy!

Don't Miss

Another World Preview on MEGA65

Another World - MEGA65 Version
Source: https://files.mega65.org/

Way back in issue #07 there we saw light at the end of the tunnel for a C64 port of Another World. 🚶‍♂️

Eric Majikeyric posted a few screens of a version , that was seemingly implemented on a Commodore 64. To be fair, there is no news regarding that very port, but what Eric did in the meantime, is to implement the virtual machine underlying the game for the MEGA65.

The current version seems to be feature complete and even implements the 'lost level', but there is no sound yet.

However, if you own a MEGA65 or installed the emulator that we spoke about in issue #17, you should definitely check out the game on the MEGA65 Filehost.

Finally. What a joy.

Share the signal:

Audio for the Apple ][

Audio for the Apple ][
Source: https://unsplash.com/

It seems, we can not release any issue without the help of Nicole Branagan. We might have to send her some cookies at least. 🍪

This time, she is digging around in the innards of her Apple ][ plus, but for a good reason: The movement of air particles in rhythmic unison with a corresponding input signal to control them - sound. 🎧

The original system's capabilities in this regard leave a lot to be desired. But Nicole remedies this and not only installs a sound card called Mockingboard. As always she goes into all those details, that you would like to know in connection with this piece of hardware.

If you haven't bookmarked Nicole's blog yet ... seriously, it's about time.

Share the signal:

Macintosh History

Macintosh History
License: CC BY-NC-ND - Grant Hutchinson

Do you remember the MacUser magazine? It was published from 1985 to 2015 and if I am doing the math correctly, that means 30 years of success. 😲

Will Green - a self-confessed Mac user - took a look at the history of the Macintosh through the lens of the magazine. 

Will starts with issue 10 from October 1985 and gets into the details of the Macintosh here. He continues the journey with the November issue here and we seriously hope, there is more to come.

Macintosh owner or not, this is the start of an excellent series with facts and details that you probably did not know about yet. Definitely worth the read. 

Share the signal:

Ahead of the Wave

Homebrew MIDI Synthesizer

Dale Whinham is a Computer Science Ph.D student at the Newcastle University. That in itself is not special. But Dale’s latest project definitely is.

mt32-pi is a baremetal MIDI synthesizer for the Raspberry Pi 3 or above.

Roland sound equipment was considered high end and high quality at the end of the 80s. Roland sound cards for PCs were among the best in class and for a reason. The MT-32 - or Multi-Timbre Sound Module - was a MIDI synthesizer released in 1987. And despite its original purpose, the MT-32 became one of several de facto standards for PC computer game publishers.

Sierra On-Line secured a distribution deal to sell the MT-32 in the US and hired professional composers to write in-game music for example for Kings Quest IV from 1988. 👑

The mt32-pi is a perfect companion for a MiSTer FPGA setup and due to the fact, that it supports different sound fonts, you can enjoy a General MIDI, Roland-GS or even Yamaha XG soundscape.

Not only for audio nuts. Check it out.

Share the signal:

Opensource Chip Design

Opensource Chip Design
Source: https://unsplash.com/

Back in issue #13 we spoke about the Zeloof Z2 - a real IC produced on silicon in a garage. The incredible Sam Zeloof invested plenty of time and money into the project and we guess, the Z3 or one of its successors will be the first real home-brew general purpose CPU of the world.

However, believe it or not, you can do better. At home. Right now! 🧑‍🔧

Only a few days ago Oran Collins released an article regarding the Google Skywater PDK.

So what exactly is that? According to Wikipedia a process design kit (PDK) is a set of files used within the semiconductor industry to model a fabrication process for the design tools used to design an integrated circuit.

Skywater in cooperation with google released an Opensource PDK, which allows you to design your own ICs on the transistor level, layer by layer.

More close-to-the-metal development is not possible. Opensource chip design for academia, industry and makers. What. A. World.

So you built your own 8-bit CPU in Logisim or Digital? Go one step further and create real silicon out of it.

Share the signal:


Tandy CoCo vs. Dragon 64

Noel Llopis is an old acquaintance and this time he was looking for a contender for Septandy2021. He compares the Tandy Color Computer and the infamous Dragon 64.

The question that Noel wants to answer: Is the Dragon 64 a clone of the Tandy CoCo?

In a bit more than 25 minutes you will know. Enjoy the video.

Share the signal:

A SID Replacement?

A SID Replacement - ARMSID
Source: https://youtu.be/UBlfBxjZYDo

Adrian from Adrians Digital Basement is definitely also one of the recurring guests in our magazine. And for a good reason. His topics are relevant, and his videos high quality.

So it's rather less surprising that we just had to include one of his latest videos regarding a SID replacement in the current issue.

Yes, you heard right. Finally a SID replacement that is worth the money? The ARM based version, that Adrian is looking into today, might make you want one. Especially if your SID chip just died. 

Go and watch his latest video.

Share the signal:

Build your own Apple ][ Compatible

Build your own Apple ][ Compatible
Source: https://youtu.be/Rj5lK06d8ug

Dr. Matt Regan was completely unknown to us until today. And what a shame, because the videos he is pushing out for a few weeks now, are super interesting and super geeky.

We recommend to start with this one. It is the first video in a series of 7 and Matt goes through the build process of an Apple ][ compatible home-brew system.

His approach is super clean as are his videos. There is a second series, where he just started to build another 6502 based machine on a breadboard … but let’s not get ahead of ourselves.

If you enjoy Ben Eaters videos but would like to fill the gaps between Ben’s videos, give the series a try. We guess, you will like it.

Share the signal:

We get it, it's difficult to decide, which of the topics you really spend time on. Don’t worry, there will be more in 7 days from now. 👹

At least we split the signal from the noise, so you don’t have to. And as always, we hope, that we made a good job. If you think so, or you don’t, please do not hesitate to let us know. You can contact us both via email, reply to this very email directly or use the suggest feature on our site.

Should you be serious about supporting us, please take some time and consider whose life you can make brighter by sharing a link to 8bitnews.

We will be back in a week from now. In the meantime, create something. Speak or write about it. And let us know!

Take care

Jan & Bastian

This email was forwarded to you? You can sign up here to receive it directly.

View our privacy policy here.

Made with 🍉 in Berlin

More content like that - only for subscribers. Free of charge. Free of SPAM. Rich in retro.