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Discussion about what to call a TI-99/4A with F18A


Asmusr
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This is indeed very impressive! What a lot of potential there is inside the F18A. :)

 

Obviously the graphical capabilities were the most significant feature of the home computer platforms. They define what is possible and what not. Well, you also need a good CPU behind, but it seems as if the F18A takes all the heavy lifting, and the rest of the TI console may organise the rest of the application.

 

With that in mind, there could not have been a better confirmation of my view than this demonstration: This is another evolutionary step of the TI-99/4A ... to something new. Programs for the F18A-enhanced console will not work on the original console, with no other expansion whatsoever. If you write games or applications for the F18A, they will be completely different from a programming point of view.

 

Hence, I again suggest to think about this a new member of the TI family, given another name like "TI-99/18A" or "TI-99/4F", to make the difference clear. Just saying this is a "TI-99/4A with F18A" really does not hit the point, it is so much different from "TI-99/4A with floppy controller" or "with RS232" or "with speech", even "with 80col card". If it were only for the VGA output, then yes, but we see that there a lot of demand for exploiting its new capabilities.

 

Don't misunderstand me - I'm clearly not against the F18A, it's just that if you say "now finally we can get SMB on the TI-99/4A" this is not really appropriate - in particular with respect to all past and hopefully future endeavors to squeeze out all that unused potential of the (original) TI-99/4A.

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The F18A is definitely much more than a video enhancement, that is for sure. I'm not sure I would agree that F18A-enhanced programs require anything but the console, Michael--as the F18A's internal 9900-based co-processor is doing a lot of graphics heavy lifting, you could still write a bank switched cartridge that uses it to its fullest while using no other TI resources beyond the cartridge ROM and the scratchpad RAM. That is really no different than other programs that require specific hardware enhancements (80-column cards, disks, RS-232, etc.). It still might not be a bad idea to designate machines with an installed F18A as TI-99/4F machines though. I somehow like that. . .and this is a configuration that can't be simulated when switching to a Geneve either, as the Geneve doesn't have that neat 9900 co-processor in the video chip. . .

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I'm not using the F18A GPU in SMB at all - it is used purely as a VDP enhancement, like you could with a 9938 if it had the graphic capabilities. It might even be possible to make a 9918A version of SMB with 8 pixel scrolling and limited sprite colors using the same code base.

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I tend to agree with Michael on this one from a purist's standpoint. Regardless of whether one is using the F18A GPU or just the enhanced color palette, these programs are targeting an evolutionary upgrade to the historical TI 99/4A and so the target enhanced console should be labeled as such. TI 99/18A is as good a denomination as any :)

That said, this demo is truly amazing and I can't wait to see the full game, although I would be super curious as to what it would look like without the F18A enhancements.

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I like the TI-99/4F :)

 

sound so familiar

 

Probably because of << THIS >> article...

 

Oh, and while this article is cool and would easily facilitate Tursi's PS/2 keyboard connector and the F18A's video connector... I personally cannot bring myself to go this route. I'm not a purist, but there is just something about the original P-Box and console that 'does it' for me. So while I'm like a retro-mod car guy, I'll put in a new transmission, disk brakes, stereo or whatever... BUT I'M KEEPING THE BODY ORIGINAL! :)

Edited by --- Ω ---
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I see this from a different perspective. When I got into PC's, I upgraded from CGA to EGA and then to VGA shortly after that. To me a PC is a PC, the video card does not seem to change that in my mind. I guess that's why the video does not seem to change things to me on the TI.

 

I really respect the way Matthew made this card 100% compatible with all existing software, while at the same time giving us all some exciting new capabilities to keep things fresh and exciting.

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To me a PC is a PC, the video card does not seem to change that in my mind. I guess that's why the video does not seem to change things to me on the TI.

Yes, on the PC the difference is more in the detail quality, so the video card does not have such a big impact. But we're talking about a home computer. The F18A can boost the console's capabilities so far that completely new applications or games become available. What is a demonstration of outstanding programming skills on the (plain) TI-99/4A may become an everyday job for the F18A. As you see, I'm arguing more from the view of a programmer than of a user.

 

Take, for example, the C64 with its poor CPU but very versatile graphic chip with raster line interrupts. I think we can agree that the C64 had some games that cannot be ported to the TI, at least with an acceptable quality. And this is mainly due to architectural decisions long ago. This proves to me that the graphics are much more important in the home computer area, especially when you're near the minimum of what you require for a proper operation.

 

There is nothing to say against modernizing the TI platform, but I think it deserves to be adequately named, and "TI-99/4A // F18A-enhanced" is not enough in that respect, as I think. This merely sounds like "speech-enhanced".

 

Some more ideas:

 

TI-99/4E (enhanced)

TI-99/4F (FPGA)

TI-99/4G (Graphics-enhanced)

TI-99/4H (Hi-quality graphics)

TI-99/4I (ehm, I guess I'll come up with something)

 

No need to decide anything in this thread now ... just thinking about it.

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I understand where you are coming from and I agree from the standpoint that it's more than just a speech enhancement because of all the non-compatible extra features in provides the user. I'm not sure if renaming the console could be confusing to a newbie or not, because most of us that have been here for a while and take a lot of this stuff as common knowledge .

 

The consumer electronics industry uses standardized logos so the consumer does not get confused with compatibility issues. If it has the matching logo, you are GOOD TO GO.

 

Logo%20DTS%20Dig%20Surround.jpgVHSlogo128.pngwifi_logo.png5.png14997-Comedian-BluRayDisclogoHD.pngkbtobexclient.png

 

The reason I made the little icons was because it' appears to be a tried and true method for ensuring compatibility without confusion from the consumers perspective. Maybe if I changed the logos coloring? Like RED for required and BLUE for enhanced, no logo at all would of couese mean it's not even an issue.

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