Commander X16 Developer Board introduction

Miraculously, I was able to get one of the X16 Developer Boards! I’m putting a few other projects on hold, to learn and develop on the X16 a bit more. If you’re not familiar with the project, here is a brief “kickoff” video. The next batch of these should be available by the end of the year.

voidstar’s Commander X16 Developer Board celebration kickoff 2023 (warning: spoilers) - YouTube

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Nice one. Here’s the link to your blog from the video description:

Lazy question: why did you swap to a CRT at one point?

Second lazy question: one of the platform games has an anti-pillarboxing widescreen infill - is that some kind of automatic feature for a 4:3 game or is that something the game had to do?

Edit: there’s a link to an in-browser emulator on the project home page

And the machine specs can be found at the FAQ - are these up to date?

Swapped for a moment just since I was testing Composite vs VGA video output, to make sure it worked OK. CRTs emit a high pitch noise that my daughter can year (15khz? I think), after a few minutes it gives her a headache. So, I don’t use the CRTs very often anymore.

Hmm, did you mean Montezuma, at around 12min? It has “darkened edges” (on left and right sides), I noticed that - but don’t have an explanation yet (on if it was intentional or an “accidental effect” on being on a widescreen).

Thanks for the extra info for context about their project!

EDIT: Yes, I believe those specs are current.

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An NTSC compatible CRT TV or monitor can have a very annoying 15KHz whine that I can still hear even though I am over 60. A VGA CRT monitor doubles the horizontal frequency to 31KHz and so is ok.

About the Commander X16, the claim that there are no good video chips they could have used is a little odd. They looked at the TI 9918 and weren’t happy with its limitations but its successor, the 9938 used in MSX2 machines, is pretty close to what they ended up doing in FPGA. I will agree that their Vera is a little better, however.

I think this was one of those times when they had to choose between two competing design goals. On the one hand, no powerful modern programmable logic / microcontrollers. On the other hand, only components in current production.