Bit of fun - One change only

on-topic Acorn-related news and discussions not covered by the other forums
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AndyF
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Bit of fun - One change only

Post by AndyF » Mon Dec 24, 2018 12:30 pm

I also posted this on another marque's forum (for their marques) to see. Its just a bit of fun really.

OK, if you could of made one change to an Acorn model what would it of been ? Do not factor in cost too much into this please, as said its a bit of fun nothing more. :) Its limited to one change per model though otherwise it would be silly with multiple changes!

You can pick as many models as you like as long as it is only one change per model.

I thought long and hard about this. I could of said "built in disc interface for the 'B" or "built in network interface" or perhaps more sensibly a built in potentiometer to adjust the volume level, externally mounted on the back or something. Thumb-wheel probably.

After more thought on what to suggest:

1. Model B: Memory should of been 64K in the B. That's my 'change' its only one change. How it would be configured (ideally not sideways) I'm not sure. If that had meant the A would of had 32K as standard, well that's not something to speculate about as it would in theory count as 'two changes' if I said that.

2. Electron: Although I've not used one much and that was 20+ years ago, I recall it was alarmingly easy to accidentally catch the break key. My suggestion is to space it out slightly from the other keys to prevent accidental depression.

So, picking a model or two and only allowing one 'essential change' , what would you of picked ? :)
Last edited by AndyF on Mon Dec 24, 2018 12:35 pm, edited 5 times in total.
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Re: Bit of fun - One change only

Post by Kazzie » Mon Dec 24, 2018 1:51 pm

My one change for the Model A/B (actually done on subsequent and export models) would be to move the ROM sockets
out from under the keyboard.
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Re: Bit of fun - One change only

Post by 1024MAK » Mon Dec 24, 2018 2:04 pm

There has in the past been many suggestions for the Beeb and the Elk. And as more memory has already been done for the Beeb, I will go for something very much easier and cheaper... an audio out jack socket with a integral switch to disconnect the internal loud speaker. Then if you wanted, you could route the sound via whatever audio system you wanted, and control the volume level.

For the Elk, I think it should have had just a single cartridge slot. Not exactly the same as the slots on the Plus 1. This slot would have only allowed access to one sideways ROM slot/bank. It also may not have had access to the multiple signals that make interfacing to input/output devices easier. It would just have had the CPU address, control and data lines, a single ‘chip select’ line [for ROM chip(s)] and +5V and 0V power. The objective being to keep the cost as low as possible.

The Master 128 etc should have had provision for a built in 3½” disk drive.

Mark
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Re: Bit of fun - One change only

Post by dv8 » Mon Dec 24, 2018 2:52 pm

For the Model B it would have to be extra memory. 64K as standard with 20K dedicated to shadow screen RAM and the extra 12K reserved for filing system workspace. Every program would then have access to &E00 thru &7FFF (28.5K) regardless of screen mode or disc upgrades. It could have allowed larger, more graphically complex games in modes 1 and 2.

For the Master I would have liked it to retain the TMS5220 speech chip socket.

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Re: Bit of fun - One change only

Post by AndyF » Mon Dec 24, 2018 3:03 pm

Some good thoughts here. Thanks so far.

In regard to the M128 sound that leads me to expand on one suggestion: The socket should of been a 3.5 or 6 mm jack with the contacts to disable the internal spaker (typo is deliberate) upon inserting said plug the same way a tape player disconnects its internal speaker when you plug in headphones/lead etc.

As I did not say anything for the Master I guess that's it for that one! Even though its not my suggestion as such it 's 1024MAK's
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Re: Bit of fun - One change only

Post by Lardo Boffin » Mon Dec 24, 2018 3:20 pm

Would the addition of a 6502 second processor as standard to the Model B (a Model B Turbo) be considered to be one change?
Imagine the games that could have been built if everyone in the target audience had a co-proc!
Atom, issue 5
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Re: Bit of fun - One change only

Post by tricky » Mon Dec 24, 2018 3:37 pm

A standard way to select which SWRAM to write to for the B.
Proper Master style shadow RAM for the B+.
Speech for the Master.
Proper (B style) joystick port for the Compact.

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Re: Bit of fun - One change only

Post by sydney » Mon Dec 24, 2018 4:43 pm

It's hard to pick just one but I'd probably go for something like RobC's videonula across the range. In addition to this extra ram in the B and a 65816 in the master.

In the elk I'd either have a cartridge socket or extra ram.
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Re: Bit of fun - One change only

Post by VectorEyes » Mon Dec 24, 2018 5:02 pm

Aye. I was just about to post "a palette with a wider range of colours" as my one change. 27 colours would do (a la Amstrad CPC) but 4096 would be ideal.

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Re: Bit of fun - One change only

Post by AndyF » Mon Dec 24, 2018 5:07 pm

sydney wrote:
Mon Dec 24, 2018 4:43 pm
It's hard to pick just one
I know! I had several ideas but had to just grab one really otherwise it would probably be too much of a silly topic if we were say putting two or three bits/changes into a model. :) :) I like your suggestions too.

For what little its worth I was half split on the Elk choice of that 'move the key a bit' vs 'inbuilt mode 7' or 'inbuilt disc interface' , ah choices choices!
Lardo Boffin wrote:
Mon Dec 24, 2018 3:20 pm
Would the addition of a 6502 second processor as standard to the Model B (a Model B Turbo) be considered to be one change?
Yes I do not see why not as it is one change as such. :) Its quite a good suggestion also!
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Re: Bit of fun - One change only

Post by jgharston » Tue Dec 25, 2018 12:59 am

dv8 wrote:
Mon Dec 24, 2018 2:52 pm
For the Model B it would have to be extra memory. 64K as standard with 20K dedicated to shadow screen RAM and the extra 12K reserved for filing system workspace. Every program would then have access to &E00 thru &7FFF (28.5K) regardless of screen mode or disc upgrades. It could have allowed larger, more graphically complex games in modes 1 and 2.
That's called a BBC Master.

My changes would be:
BBC: 'bright' bit instead of 'flash' bit in the palette. Flashing can still be done in software in the same way it's done now, just changing palette entries instead of toggling the 'flash' bit.
Electron: MODE 7. Oh, can I have two? NOT MOVE THE FRIGGING ROM TABLE!
Master: there's enough space in the MOS for OSWORD 14 to return years after 1999 correctly, just needs four bytes.
Compact: OSWORD 14 should return an invalid date when no clock is present, not the valid date 31-DEC-1999, so programs can tell that there is no clock present and subsitute something else.
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Re: Bit of fun - One change only

Post by flibble » Tue Dec 25, 2018 2:25 am

Risc PC, put the reset button on the front of the machine not the back

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Re: Bit of fun - One change only

Post by Andrew_Waite » Tue Dec 25, 2018 4:24 am

Using my degree in hindsight, here are my changes :

BBC Model B : Sixteen colour palette using 'bright' instead of flashing colours, as per the ZX Spectrum.

B+ 64k and 128k models : Bring forward launch from 1985 to 1982 when 1x64kbit DRAM chips were available.

MASTER : Faster 4MHz host processor.

6502 variants of BBC Basic : Multiline IF..THEN..ELSE statements.
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Re: Bit of fun - One change only

Post by AndyF » Tue Dec 25, 2018 11:02 am

Excellent suggestions so far generally. Thanks all, still love to hear more! :)

I'm pleased to see at least two have said replacing flash with bright (aka Speccy style or similar) which would of been quite a good idea.


One more from me: A single inbuilt 3.5 floppy on the M128, side-mounted (CBM Amiga type of thing) , that way if you wanted dual drives you could either add one via the usual method or perhaps two which would 'disable' the internal one, for example if you wanted 2x 5.25's externally***

And one more quick one (oo-eh!) Someone 'forgot' to put a DFS 2.2x ROM into the Master Compact as standard! Simple change.


*** I'm vaguely aware of something in the tech manual about it being possible to have more than two floppy drives but that's off topic here really.
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Re: Bit of fun - One change only

Post by roganjosh » Tue Dec 25, 2018 9:14 pm

I'd have used them a lot more out-of-the-box for experimental data capture and analysis if they'd had a 16 bit ADC as standard.

When I saw the subject line I thought it was going to be an I'm Sorry I Haven't A Clue one letter changing round, half expecting to see the BBC Yodel B, BBC Easter and Acorn Erectron.

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Re: Bit of fun - One change only

Post by jgharston » Wed Dec 26, 2018 4:45 am

roganjosh wrote:
Tue Dec 25, 2018 9:14 pm
When I saw the subject line I thought it was going to be an I'm Sorry I Haven't A Clue one letter changing round, half expecting to see the BBC Yodel B, BBC Easter and Acorn Erectron.
Now showing at the Acorn Enthusiasts Film Club.

National Lampoon's Shift-Break
Curse of Chuckie Egg
The Great Magic Smoke Escape
Be Kind, Rewind Tape

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Re: Bit of fun - One change only

Post by FourthStone » Wed Dec 26, 2018 9:17 am

My bit of fun would be the same as others have suggested which is to have an intensity toggle instead of flashing colours.

I think this one change would of made the beeb much more versatile for not only games but also education in terms of being able to display richer content.

My 2c (or 2p for the English folk here :wink: )

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Re: Bit of fun - One change only

Post by tricky » Wed Dec 26, 2018 10:58 am

BITD, I used to turn the brightness/contrast down/up per game, of course it was a knob at arms length, not a mammoth menu traversal exercise (at least on my main TV).
This didn't give a game the range its creator probably would have liked, but it meant that most games were a little more palatable :)

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Re: Bit of fun - One change only

Post by AndyF » Wed Dec 26, 2018 11:17 am

The brightness control was suggested before and I concur its probably a good idea. For the (probably not that many) of those here who are not aware of how this is done on the ZX platform as that was indicated as a good example of it, here is a small pic:
br_br.png
As you can see from this there's a single row of normal then bright , a gap in black then two rows of normal followed by two rows of bright. There's obviously a bright black but you can't really tell the difference!

Each 'colour block' is four characters in length.
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Re: Bit of fun - One change only

Post by Kazzie » Wed Dec 26, 2018 3:06 pm

jgharston wrote:
Wed Dec 26, 2018 4:45 am
roganjosh wrote:
Tue Dec 25, 2018 9:14 pm
When I saw the subject line I thought it was going to be an I'm Sorry I Haven't A Clue one letter changing round, half expecting to see the BBC Yodel B, BBC Easter and Acorn Erectron.
Now showing at the Acorn Enthusiasts Film Club.

National Lampoon's Shift-Break
Curse of Chuckie Egg
The Great Magic Smoke Escape
Be Kind, Rewind Tape
Not forgetting:

Das !BOOT
Twelve Angry Men (Trying to Debug a RAM Fault)
*CAT on a Hot Tin Roof
and the slightly obscure "Three The Hard Way", starring Jim (Brown). Fred (Williamson) and Sheila (Frazier)
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Re: Bit of fun - One change only

Post by 1024MAK » Wed Dec 26, 2018 5:12 pm

Where’s the smiley for boo, hiss...!

Mark

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Re: Bit of fun - One change only

Post by Kazzie » Wed Dec 26, 2018 5:50 pm

1024MAK wrote:
Wed Dec 26, 2018 5:12 pm
Where’s the smiley for boo, hiss...!

Mark
It's behind you! :P
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Re: Bit of fun - One change only

Post by sweh » Wed Dec 26, 2018 6:19 pm

Kazzie wrote:
Wed Dec 26, 2018 5:50 pm
1024MAK wrote:
Wed Dec 26, 2018 5:12 pm
Where’s the smiley for boo, hiss...!

Mark
It's behind you! :P
Oh no it isn't!
Rgds
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Re: Bit of fun - One change only

Post by 1024MAK » Wed Dec 26, 2018 9:17 pm

:lol:

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Re: Bit of fun - One change only

Post by AndyF » Wed Dec 26, 2018 9:31 pm

bah humbug etc :lol: . Have a nice 'seasonal' smile instead:
biggrin.gif
biggrin.gif (1.24 KiB) Viewed 923 times
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Re: Bit of fun - One change only

Post by Andrew_Waite » Thu Dec 27, 2018 2:29 am

AndyF wrote:
Wed Dec 26, 2018 11:17 am
There's obviously a bright black but you can't really tell the difference!
Spectrum 'bright black' is the same colour as black, so the Spectrum has 16 logical colours but only 15 physical colours.
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Re: Bit of fun - One change only

Post by jgharston » Thu Dec 27, 2018 8:15 am

Andrew_Waite wrote:
Thu Dec 27, 2018 2:29 am
AndyF wrote:
Wed Dec 26, 2018 11:17 am
There's obviously a bright black but you can't really tell the difference!
Spectrum 'bright black' is the same colour as black, so the Spectrum has 16 logical colours but only 15 physical colours.
On some systems 'bright black' is grey:
Image

It depends on if the video hardware multiplies the unbright values by an offset to get the bright values, or adds an offset to the unbright values to get the bright values. For instance, if bright(R,G,B) is normal(R,G,B)*2 you get red=(0.5,0,0), brightred=(1,0,0) and black=(0,0,0), brightblack=(0,0,0); but if bright(R,G,B) is normal(R,G,B)+0.5 then you get red=(0.5,0,0), brightred=(1,0,0) and black=(0,0,0), brightblack=(0.5,0.5,0.5).

(That's not quite right, but something like that. It was clear in my head when I worked it out some years ago.)

I do remember that on the Spectrum if you had a row of alternating black and brightblack, it would all 'appear' black, but you would get display artifacts between each 'black' character cell.

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Re: Bit of fun - One change only

Post by AndyF » Thu Dec 27, 2018 10:48 am

Andrew_Waite wrote:
Thu Dec 27, 2018 2:29 am
Spectrum 'bright black' is the same colour as black, so the Spectrum has 16 logical colours but only 15 physical colours.
Yes. :) Although I phrased it slightly badly I suspect. :) All I meant was it was quite possible to have the same 'ink/pen' and 'paper' colour (both black) and also have the 'bright' attribute set or not. You can actually read the value of that location of the screen out and see the difference too that way, I know you know this though! :)

Without bright set its 0 and with bright set its 64 (decimal)
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Re: Bit of fun - One change only

Post by 1024MAK » Thu Dec 27, 2018 12:14 pm

As the displayed image on analogue CRT display very much depends on the user settings of the brightness, contrast and colour controls, with the appropriate settings, it is possible to see a difference between non-bright black and bright black. How much also depends on the ZX Spectrum model, the board revision and the connection method (UHF RF/composite/RGB).

However with the typical settings that most users use, the displayed difference is not great enough to make it worthwhile treating it as a separate colour, as in a complex image, most users will not notice the difference.

Of course LCD displays work differently to CRT, so this also affects what image a user sees...

Ironically on the World of Spectrum forum version of this topic, one of the suggestions was to replace the flash attribute with another colour bit or second bright control to further increase the number of colours. From a hardware perspective, the easiest change would to have had a bright bit for the ink colour and a separate bright bit for the paper colour. But there are other possibilities.

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Re: Bit of fun - One change only

Post by AndyF » Thu Dec 27, 2018 12:19 pm

Its probably possible just to see the difference in the two black levels on a CRT I guess, less likely if possible at all on a LCD monitor. I've not tried! I don't think my eyesight is good enough and I don't have a suitable CRT monitor now to try it.

It was me (obviously!) who did the topic there as well as here, I want to mention I was interested to see if there were any commonalities (as such) between the platforms in to what people wanted to suggest, despite their difference. It is interesting to note though that the 'bright' option from the ZX was suggested here. :)
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