poll:MSX weakness

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By PingPong

Prophet (3417)

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14-07-2019, 18:15

Well, we are a little OT. I've asked about Tech questions and we're getting philosophical ,
psychological, and even marketing reasons.
The only reply that made sense is from gdx.

Again: we are not debating of reasons of commercial failure of msx, instead of it's evolution and its ability to keep ahead of time during the years

By sd_snatcher

Prophet (3031)

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14-07-2019, 18:41

IMHO, a tech analysis that ignores marketing and economical reasons would be shallow and biased.

It would lead to conclude that the MSX should have been release with a 32-bit CPU, 4MB of RAM, a VDP better than the Neo-Geo, a 32 channel PCM soundchip and an HDD of 360MB. Oh yes: and instead of maskROMs/EPROMs, they should have used Flash... Running Naked in a Field of Flowers

By wolf_

Ambassador_ (9765)

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14-07-2019, 19:46

I think two things get mixed up here: identity and flaw.

You could complain about the amount of colours, but 16 for MSX1 (and most MSX2/+/R games) it is. That is the identity. Yet, these are all 4-colour games, and they look quite good within these boundaries. The strength of this Gameboy is that the colours are monochromatic, so it's easy to have good gradients. MSX1 has 16 colours, but very few convincing gradients can be made with the default palette, and dark shades are out anyway. So, who wins here? The flaw here, imho, is that the colour selection for the TMS palette probably was a rush job, rather than well thought out.

Tiles/characters to build the screen are fine. That's identity, and was not uncommon during those days. But two colours per 8 pixels could be considered a bit of a flaw. But it's one we could live with. However...

...being a home computer, you can expect people to play games with their MSX. Four Sprites on a row max? With a single colour? And you pick that videochip for a computer that is mainly going to be used for games? That is again a flaw within the concept of the computer. Especially as there's not much of an alternative with tiles, if you want smooth movement of a player over a colourful background.

MSX MUSIC. This is an identity, and a good one I'd say. The flaw is the fact that the PSG-balance is off with several MSX models. The flaw is that games usually use the VDP as a clock, and that differs between PAL and NTCS.

SCC (though not part of any standard, I'll use it to illustrate identity vs flaw). Fine chip, and certainly a strong identity for at least the Konami games. But the two flaws are the SCC-bug (that was later on fixed with the SCC-I) and the volume scale. The latter is different from the volume scale used by the PSG. This is very annoying for interchangeability of musical information between PSG and SCC.

Diskdrive, good. Amidst a time when other systems had these old 5.25 inch disks, this 3.5 inch format was certainly good news. But why on earth did the whole MSX had to grind to a halt during disk access? Even a C64 doesn't have this problem, while it does have those stupid 5.25 inch disks. A good identity (3.5 inch) comes with a flaw once again.

I could go on and on. The point is that things like the amount of colours, the amount of music channels, the amount of RAM, the speed of the Z80 etc. etc. are all identities. I don't think we should be too hard on those, for most people these are actually not much of a problem. But for all of these identities there are also serious and annoying flaws, and we should be entitled to mention them.

By ToriHino

Champion (348)

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14-07-2019, 20:59

wolf_ wrote:

But why on earth did the whole MSX had to grind to a halt during disk access? Even a C64 doesn't have this problem, while it does have those stupid 5.25 inch disks. A good identity (3.5 inch) comes with a flaw once again.

You have to remember that the diskdrive of the C64 came with a complete separate CPU just to handle the drive. And the data came over a veeeery slow serial line (be it that later speed-up expansions gave it a bit more bearable, yet still slow speed). I think especially the drive and file system were a good thing on the MSX.

Also the cassette tape had a pretty well speed on the MSX without the need of 'speed loaders'.

By wolf_

Ambassador_ (9765)

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14-07-2019, 21:04

What kind of speeds are we talking?

By ToriHino

Champion (348)

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14-07-2019, 21:53

For MSX:
Tape speed either 1200 or 2400 baud (or bits per second)
Disk speed on average about 10KB/s (varies per brand / disk rom)

For C-64:
Tape speed 300 baud
Disk speed 512 bytes per second(!), and with fast loader extensions to ~ 4KB/s).

By wolf_

Ambassador_ (9765)

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14-07-2019, 22:07

Well, 512 bytes per second may actually be enough to load new images while you're watching another image for a while. For a C64 this would mean an image of 8x4 tiles per second.

This is actually a dilemma; non-stop slow-load vs. interrupted fast-load.

By ToriHino

Champion (348)

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14-07-2019, 22:16

And don't forget the standard disk basic available on the MSX. On the C64 even something simple as getting a directory means loading it as a basic listing oO

By Sandy Brand

Master (150)

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14-07-2019, 22:36

(Off topic: 'baud' is technically not the same as bits per second; it is equivalent to 'symbols per second', so depending on the amount of start and stop 'bits', the actual bit rate is even lower)

By PingPong

Prophet (3417)

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14-07-2019, 22:58

It does appear as ability to play music when disk is loading is somewhat a show stopper.
on msx we can reach about 10Kb / sec with disk drive. I assume an average of 128k of data . this means 12-15 seconds of wait. Can't we wait 15 seconds without listening music.
for me it is more important that the msx2 did not get for example a sound upgrade...

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