ESE MSX System 2 - Status update

by Guillian on 22-06-2005, 17:41
Topic: Hardware
Languages:

Tsujikawa has updated his website with new information on the status of the ESE MSX System 2 project, which is closely related to the One Chip MSX project. A series of screenshots show the development board of the One Chip MSX running several MSX2 titles, mentioning improvements that have been made to the VHDL code, such as implementation of MSX-MUSIC and SCC+, handling of screensplits, SCREEN 7, MEGA-SCSI and the difficulties he has to correctly run products such as LYRA-2 (music runs too fast), Source of Power (now functions correctly) and Unknown Reality, which manages to lock the FPGA chip. All in all, quite some progress has been made in creating an MSX2-on-a-chip, yet quite some tweaks are still to be made in order to achieve full MSX2 compatibility.

Relevant link: ESE-MSX2 website

Comments (22)

By ARTRAG

Enlighted (6517)

ARTRAG's picture

22-06-2005, 19:30

NOW
I want One Chip MSX...

By spl

Paragon (1470)

spl's picture

22-06-2005, 19:40

MSX 2 in fpga is closer Big smile

By Maggoo

Paragon (1214)

Maggoo's picture

22-06-2005, 20:01

If it can run those demos AND Space Manbow, that's good enough for me Smile

By flyguille

Prophet (3028)

flyguille's picture

22-06-2005, 20:41

Me, too.

By djh1697

Paragon (1593)

djh1697's picture

22-06-2005, 22:46

Thank you to Robsy for the spare PX7 keyboards Smile

By spl

Paragon (1470)

spl's picture

22-06-2005, 22:48

PX7 Keyboard can be attached without any mod? Big smile

By cax

Prophet (3736)

cax's picture

22-06-2005, 22:55

How much will it cost to make a portable MSX with keyboard, screen and battery ?

By flyguille

Prophet (3028)

flyguille's picture

22-06-2005, 23:41

a lot!

By poke-1,170

Paragon (1763)

poke-1,170's picture

23-06-2005, 01:50

HB 201P...has a handgrip,battery operated...then buy an lcd screen...hey presto Wink

By BiFi

Enlighted (4348)

BiFi's picture

23-06-2005, 14:32

laptop, openmsx or bluemsx in full screen... presto Wink

By iamweasel2

Paladin (683)

iamweasel2's picture

23-06-2005, 16:39

It would be nice to know what's already implemented, what is missing, which improvements they will make to the standard, which license the source code will be released (if it is released) and if it will be sold by them, since it looks like OCM won't be sold by ASCII...

By Grauw

Ascended (10016)

Grauw's picture

24-06-2005, 15:23

since it looks like OCM won't be sold by ASCII...
You mean they won’t meet their minimal sales quantity?

Well, I would like to preorder, but Bazix says they’re going to distribute an English version, and I’m kind of waiting for that... Nevertheless, if ASCII won’t meet their minimal sales quantity, it’s simply a no-go (well, unless they decide to produce it after all).

Isn’t it about time Bazix started accepting pre-orders as well, and those were added to the total pre-sold units? Or at least gave some information on what is going to happen, and when?

~Grauw

By pitpan

Prophet (3140)

pitpan's picture

26-06-2005, 12:59

The problem, once again, is that it is a kind of "hardware-based emulator" instead of a real MSX. Therefore, full compatibility (I mean 100%) cannot be granted. Anyway, cool improvement and wonderful piece of hardware.

By Grauw

Ascended (10016)

Grauw's picture

26-06-2005, 17:02

No, the components are implemented in hardware, I don’t see how you could call this ‘hardware-emulation’ and different from regular hardware.

The only way it is different from a normal MSX is that all devices have been re-implemented based on specifications and reverse engineering. So, unlike the chips in real MSX computers (including e.g. engines with Z80 built-in), they have not been based on the original implementations. Those re-implementations are not perfect (yet?), which is why bugs occur.

However I do not think you can make a 1:1 comparison with software emulation here. Yes, bug are present in both, but no-one ever claimed hardware couldn’t have bugs. That doesn’t make them the same.

Anyways, uh, anyone from Bazix, what ’bout giving an answer to my previous reply? ^^

~Grauw

By iamweasel2

Paladin (683)

iamweasel2's picture

27-06-2005, 04:22

Yes, I believe they won't get 5000 buyers to OCM. And as I said before, it's their own fault. For a product that needs every MSX user to become reality, I never saw a seller that doesn't care for what his costumers want or doesn't give attention to them (well, maybe Ademir in Brazil, but that's another history). Simple things like an english page explaining the project and allowing pre-ordering, OCM being demonstrated in fairs around the world, talking with the users, etc could have made difference, even for a MSX1 OCM. It's really sad, because up to this point, it was our best chance to a new MSX. Let's hope someone else (ESE?) will make this dream come true.

By snout

Ascended (15184)

snout's picture

27-06-2005, 11:13

iamweasel: I suggest you get your facts straight. First of all, this -IS- ESE co-operating with MSX Association making the dream come true. Second, the first prototype of the One Chip MSX1 was demonstrated in Tilburg 2001, The Netherlands, at the day Nishi gave his Tilburg 2001 lecture. The day after, a group of active MSX users were formed in order to form a 'think tank' for the MSX revival in general, and ideas on the One Chip MSX in particularl. Several MSX-FPGA developers from all over the world were contacted and asked for their opinion and as far as I know there was little to no response from their side. Many people never believed the MSX revival would get this far and for that reason often didn't even bother to think along, respond or tried to contact the MSX Association. In other words: I think MSX Association have done a great deal to get and keep in touch with MSX users outside Japan, despite the language barriers. And even though there are little replies to the comments at the MRC, most of the comments related to the MSX Revival do not go unseen in Japan either. We can at least safely say that we had (the chance to) say a lot more about the One Chip MSX then we ever had about the MSX1, MSX2, MSX2+ or turboR.

But even if the above wasn't the case, MSX Association has still given 'power to the community' by choosing for FPGA. The One Chip MSX is not a static device (and do I really need to repeat that it's not 'just' an MSX1 either?). Within certain limitations, the end-user can alter its functionality to his (or her) own likings or implement changes developed by others. The release of an official MSX2 upgrade is already quite close to completion and I'm confident a couple of interesting tweaks and add-ons will be released by enthusiasts as well.

Indeed, selling 5,000 One Chip MSX computers will still prove to be quite a challenge, just like selling lots of copies of 3 MSX Magazines, MSXPLAYer, games embedded in emulators and GameReaders weren't quite easy either. It goes without saying that introducing a new computer is even a bigger challenge. I'm not saying that ASCII are definitely going to make it, but the GameReader suffered from low amounts of pre-orders for a long time as well. With a bit less than 2 months of pre-ordering left to go, there are still many things that can happen.

Grauw: As much as Bazix would like to start pre-ordering and disclose information this instant, we're still not quite there yet. And yup, we do know the clock is ticking...

By iamweasel2

Paladin (683)

iamweasel2's picture

27-06-2005, 16:06

> iamweasel: I suggest you get your facts straight.

Snout, I suggest you to read my message again, I believe you didn’t get my point. I’ll explain below.

> First of all, this -IS- ESE co-operating with MSX Association making the dream come true.

I am aware of that fact, I only said that if OCM doesn’t make it, I hope someone else (ESE is one of them) is still able to produce a new MSX for us. I hope they didn’t sign anything with MSX Association that will forbid then to sell it, in case MSX Association give up selling OCM.

> Second, the first prototype of the One Chip MSX1 was demonstrated in Tilburg 2001, The Netherlands, at the day Nishi
> gave his Tilburg 2001 lecture.

That’s ONE fair. Read my message again. I was speaking about ‘fairs around the world’. What about other places besides Europe ? What about Brazil ?

> The day after, a group of active MSX users were formed in order to form a 'think tank' for the MSX revival in general, and > ideas on the One Chip MSX in particularl. Several > MSX-FPGA developers from all over the world were contacted and
> asked for their opinion and as far as I know there was little to no response from their side.

Well, MSX-FPGA developers aren’t the only people who should be contacted. I don’t have numbers, but I believe that the number of MSX users that ‘speaks’ VHDL language is really small. Those who buys MSX machines and softwares doesn’t know how to build FPGA hardware, but they know what MSX (they) needs. You don’t think MSX Association should listen to them as well?

> Many people never believed the MSX revival would get this far and for that reason often didn't even bother to think
> along, respond or tried to contact the MSX Association.

I agree that many never believed, and I was one of them. I even said that I regret for my skepticism before. But I’m still waiting for an english page, and more information coming directly from them in a language that we can read. I'm tired of using Babelfish or any translation mecanism only to see if I can understand what is happening. I am happy that you are here to explain things for us, it would be really worse without you. :-)

> In other words: I think MSX Association have done a great deal to get and keep in touch with MSX users outside Japan, > despite the language barriers.

Snout, you know (I hope you do) that I consider you a reasonable man, that is always a pleasure to talk with you and that I’m grateful that you are here to speak with us. So far, you are the closest person to MSX Association (that I am aware of) that brings news and answer to our questions. Forgive me, but I won’t buy that language barrier excuse. I don’t speak a single word in Japanese, but I know people that does, and if I want to put a japanese web page I can get help to put it online. I can’t believe that people smart enough to build hardware in FPGA, that makes business around the world can’t find a way to put an english page online. Let’s face it. Carl Sagan said before that, if a question has many possible answers, the simplest one is probably the right one. They didn’t do it because they don’t think they should. You can see by MRC. Many people here doesn't have english as his born language. Most of them have a really bad english (I am one of them, in case you didn't notice it :-) ). But they do their best, and MRC is here, allowing people of all parts of the world to talk about MSX. When you want something, you find a way to make it work. If we can make it, why can't they do the same?

> And even though there are little replies to the comments at the MRC, most of the comments related to the MSX Revival
> do not go unseen in Japan either. We can at least safely say that we had (the chance to) say a lot more about the One > Chip MSX then we ever had about the MSX1, MSX2, MSX2+ or turboR.

That’s the problem. You know they read, I never knew that. Forgive me if I’m wrong, but I never saw a single reply. How can I know what they think about our suggestions if they don’t say anything ?

> But even if the above wasn't the case, MSX Association has still given 'power to the community' by choosing for FPGA.
> The One Chip MSX is not a static device (and do I really need to repeat that it's not 'just' an MSX1 either?). Within certain > limitations, the end-user can alter its functionality to his (or her) own likings or implement changes developed by others. > The release of an official MSX2 upgrade is already quite close to completion and I'm confident a couple of interesting
> tweaks and add-ons will be released by enthusiasts as well.

Well, as I read somewhere, changing the device will ask for a certain cable that is not standard, and it will cost around 70 euros. I still don’t know what conditions will apply for those that want to change the code. What is the license of that code ? If the MSX2 upgrade is already close to completion, it only shows that they could have waited and offered us a MSX2 from beginning. But let’s not comeback to this MSX2 point, please. ;-)

> Indeed, selling 5,000 One Chip MSX computers will still prove to be quite a challenge, just like selling lots of copies of 3
> MSX Magazines, MSXPLAYer, games embedded in emulators and GameReaders weren't quite easy either. It goes
> without saying that introducing a new computer is even a bigger challenge. I'm not saying that ASCII are definitely going > to make it, but the GameReader suffered from low amounts of pre-orders for a long time as well. With a bit less than 2
> months of pre-ordering left to go, there are still many things that can happen.

Well, I really hope you’re right. I am not against OCM, even because up to this point, I have no other choice. I don’t see anyone building a new FPGA MSX that meets any of the requirements I spoke in this message. We can only wait and see, but I really hope you are right and I am wrong about this.

By snout

Ascended (15184)

snout's picture

27-06-2005, 19:57

Heya Iamweasel, thanks for your reply, please allow me to respond Wink

I am aware of that fact, I only said that if OCM doesn’t make it, I hope someone else (ESE is one of them) is still able to produce a new MSX for us. I hope they didn’t sign anything with MSX Association that will forbid then to sell it, in case MSX Association give up selling OCM.I don't expect MSX Association to give up that easily, if they don't make it to the 5,000 pre-order-limit. In the unlikely case they let the One Chip MSX plans go, I don't expect them to obsctruct Tsujikawa's project either. But for now I have enough reasons not to think about those 'worst case scenarios' yet.

> Second, the first prototype of the One Chip MSX1 was demonstrated in Tilburg 2001, The Netherlands, at the day Nishi
> gave his Tilburg 2001 lecture.

That’s ONE fair. Read my message again. I was speaking about ‘fairs around the world’. What about other places besides Europe ? What about Brazil ?Tilburg 2001 is the only fair I'm sure of, but afaik Yokoi also visited other MSX fairs in Europe (Spain?). Yokoi is, as you might know, one of the thriving forces behind the MSX Revival/in MSX Association. Unfortunately an MSXA-trip to an MSX meeting in Brazil was canceled last year, I do hope they will visit the country some day. Of course MSXA also visits many Japanese fairs and meetings a year.

Well, MSX-FPGA developers aren’t the only people who should be contacted. I don’t have numbers, but I believe that the number of MSX users that ‘speaks’ VHDL language is really small. Those who buys MSX machines and softwares doesn’t know how to build FPGA hardware, but they know what MSX (they) needs. You don’t think MSX Association should listen to them as well?Of course I do think their wishes should be listened to as well, but I think they did exactly that. Ok, they did not contact every member of the MSX community personally, but they did not do completely nothing either. Besides, the contact between the MSX community and MSXA goes both ways. How many people have actually contacted MSXA? Or Bazix, for that matter? Smile

But I’m still waiting for an english page, and more information coming directly from them in a language that we can read. I'm tired of using Babelfish or any translation mecanism only to see if I can understand what is happening. I am happy that you are here to explain things for us, it would be really worse without you. :-)That's where Bazix comes in. I know there still is a lot of work to do, but please keep in mind that the 3 people at Bazix are working almost around the clock to catch up with about 6 years of Japanese MSX revival. The launch of WOOMB.net is getting closer and closer and I sincerely hope the first info on the European release of the One Chip MSX can be disclosed soon as well. I can understand the impatience of many visitors, as I personally can't wait for it either Wink.

Snout, you know (I hope you do) that I consider you a reasonable man, that is always a pleasure to talk with you and that I’m grateful that you are here to speak with us.^_^ Thanks bro. the feeling's completely mutual ;P

So far, you are the closest person to MSX Association (that I am aware of) that brings news and answer to our questions. Forgive me, but I won’t buy that language barrier excuse. I don’t speak a single word in Japanese, but I know people that does, and if I want to put a japanese web page I can get help to put it online. I can’t believe that people smart enough to build hardware in FPGA, that makes business around the world can’t find a way to put an english page online. Let’s face it. Carl Sagan said before that, if a question has many possible answers, the simplest one is probably the right one. They didn’t do it because they don’t think they should. You can see by MRC. Many people here doesn't have english as his born language. Most of them have a really bad english (I am one of them, in case you didn't notice it :-) ). But they do their best, and MRC is here, allowing people of all parts of the world to talk about MSX. When you want something, you find a way to make it work. If we can make it, why can't they do the same?Two reasons: first of all, MSX Association is there for the Japanese market, Bazix for the non-Japanese. As stated above: there still is a lot of work to do, but English information on the MSX revival and sale of MSX-Revival-products outside Japan can be expected to be performed by Bazix and their partners.

Second: the language barrier really is a lot bigger than you think. I've been in Japan twice and can assure you that even the most basic skills of speaking, reading or writing English are often not to be found in Japan. Can you imagine any other country where you can find the text "Use this toilet seat or die" in a luxurious bathroom? ^_^. Even the more important people in the MSX Revival, or Japanese computer/gaming industry are very often not very skilled in English. Mr. Nishi and Ms. Kase (ASCII) are the only exceptions I know of. Wink

That’s the problem. You know they read, I never knew that. Forgive me if I’m wrong, but I never saw a single reply. How can I know what they think about our suggestions if they don’t say anything ?That's true. Well, goripon replied a couple of times to several newsposts, using Babelfish. He is involved in the development of MSXPLAYer these days.

Well, as I read somewhere, changing the device will ask for a certain cable that is not standard, and it will cost around 70 euros. I still don’t know what conditions will apply for those that want to change the code. What is the license of that code ? If the MSX2 upgrade is already close to completion, it only shows that they could have waited and offered us a MSX2 from beginning. But let’s not comeback to this MSX2 point, please. ;-)Well, I think that I personally would have preferred releasing the MSX2-One Chip MSX as well. Releasing the upgrade does however show the capabilities of the FPGA very directly to the end-users, and I think it might still take quite a while before an MSX2-compatible VHDL source can be offered. I'm not sure under which license MSXA plan to release this VHDL but will certainly reporting about it as soon as I do. About the cable: as I stated in the forums, its high price has not been confirmed and there's still a possibilty of using homemade cables, or sharing cables. I prefer to stick to the facts unstead of wild guesses so here goes once again: as soon as there's info on the cable needed, its wiring and/or pricing, I'll get back to you Wink

Well, I really hope you’re right. I am not against OCM, even because up to this point, I have no other choice. I don’t see anyone building a new FPGA MSX that meets any of the requirements I spoke in this message. We can only wait and see, but I really hope you are right and I am wrong about this.Nice final words. Lets hope for the best, eh? Smile MSX Forever!

By POISONIC

Paladin (1012)

POISONIC's picture

25-07-2005, 03:33

Can you also post in this news that ese artists uses a diverent PCB than the ALTERA CYCLONE please.......

its unfair to post this news without the trhu specs of the hardware they have used to build their fakemsx2 as they call it......

this are the specs for the 1chipmsx2 (fakemsx2)

PLD XC2S300E-5PQ208C 30 ten thousandgatesuitable FPGA of Xilinx corporation.The largest device which can be usedwith the free development tool.
????? ROM XC18V02VQ44C PLD (30 ten thousand gates) it adjusted, flash ROM of 2Mbits capacity.
SRAM HM628511 512k byte (4Mbits) SRAM. Access speed 12ns.
PLD core power source 1.8V regulator 5V -> The linear regulator of 1.8V.
PLD I/O power source 3.3V regulator 5V -> The linear regulator of 3.3V.

this r the specs for their 1chip msx:

PLD FLEX10K100A (ALTERA make) you use. Functionally, the MSX system (the slot, keyboard, joystick and BIOS, the memory mapper), VDP (9918+ α, PSG (AY-3-8910), the false SCC disk (512kB), the false RAM disk (128kB) it is mounted.
ISP-ROM (EPC2 and ALTERA make) being similar, it does コンフィグレーション of PLD.
CPU LH0080 (SHARP make Z80) you use. This time you are not inserting in PLD.
RAM HM628512 (Hitachi make, 55ns) two uses (total 1024kB). The coin electric battery (CR2032) with it backs up.
BIOS (128kB), VRAM (128kB), the false RAM disk (128kB), the false SCC disk (512kB), the memory mapper (128kB) with you use breakdown. It is total 1024kB.
I/F Video (RGB/S terminal/composite), sound (L/R), joystick (2 ports), keyboard and MSX slot, JTAG (for PLD data entry)

if you want more data please visit.. www.hat.hi-ho.ne.jp/tujikawa/esepld/index.html

well it could be a bit confusing..... using babelfish

By erikmaas

Resident (63)

erikmaas's picture

25-07-2005, 13:36

It is no big deal that you see Altera and Xilinx devices on different boards. I think it is very good that ESE compares those devices on a real PCB with their actual designs to be able to make a right decision. Please remind yourself that the boards you see at the different sites are probably prototype boards, and as the Spartan II devices are rather old at this time, I think they indeed have re-used an old development board.

If you come to think about it, by porting their VHDL on different board they really prove the flexibility of their design!

The SpartanII-300 has about 6000 logic elements. If you assume that one Xilinx logic element is about the same size as a Altera logic element. Then you can say that the 12000 logic elements from the (more modern) Altera Cyclone give the 1cm twice the space that the 1cm2 (!?).
So, the size of the 1cm is not a problem at all!

But I have to admit that in case of the 1cm, they could put more effort in providing techical details like:
* Amount of flash memory on the board, if there is any at all. (I guess they do not put this in the configuration device of the FPGA, as large configuration devices are kind of expensive)
* What kind of controller is used for USB? (I think there must at least be some electrical interface circuitry)
* How did they connect a 5V bus to a not 5V tollerant FPGA without any visible bidirectional buffer as a level shifter? (it looks like their PCB only had series resistors)
* What is the current device filling and timing. With that numbers you can see if the device is on its limit or not.
* Etc...

But those question did not withold me to order a 1cm... For me it would be nice enough to just use it as a nice VHDL development board...

By erikmaas

Resident (63)

erikmaas's picture

25-07-2005, 13:57

I looked into the specs and have to correct a part of the story above:

SpartanIIE-300:
One logic element contains two 4-to-1 lookup tables and two flipflops.
There are 6912 logic elements.

Altera Cyclone EP1C12:
One logic element contains four 2-to-1 lookup tables and one flipflop.
There are 12060 logic elements.

I dare to assume that one Xilinx logic element can be compared to two Altera logic elements.
So then they must be almost equal in size.

Btw, I did not compare speed and the type and amount of block ram. They are important as well.

By POISONIC

Paladin (1012)

POISONIC's picture

26-07-2005, 22:28

sorry for my stupid post then ............
theres so much not told....... a good thing was an actual translation of the news in japan..........
sorry for my bitching agains the 1chipmsx......
man if you see a SOLIDSNAKE running on a 1chipmsx = world news Smile why didnd make this info more clear its confussing............ here by it would be a good thing next time if msx'ers that go to actual JAPAN msx fair...... please bring out a clear report in english take a portable recording device and record all japanese Speach and translate it afterwards in english............ not every one watches pictures you now.......not every one can speak japanese.........