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How is the MCC-TV?


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All this talk of FPGAs in other forums has me wanting in on the ground floor. I've also been trying for a very long time to get into the commodore machines without success (affordability issues on amiga gear, usability issues for c64). The MCC-TV just may be my solution to both. On the face of it, it seems both affordable and easy to use. Is it?

Anybody got one of these? What do you think?

 

I'm not *at all* a fan of 'fiddling' with settings. Life's too short for that.

It's also why I like the on-screen keyboard, since I don't want to be stuck at a desk with this.

On amiga, do dreamweb and the elites work?

Are there any c64 problems with multi-disk games or fastload routines?

I want something to play the heavier c64 multi-disk games (space rogue, battletech, wasteland, etc)

 

And are there any other easy and affordable methods of getting into either c64 or amiga? (outside of software-based emulation)

 

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I have the MCC-216 (S-VIDEO version) from way back. Unless something has changed, I found getting and accessing games on there rather unintuitive. I even borked the SD card so badly that I had to have the developer send me a clean image. It's on my future to do list to eventually get back to it and try some of the newer cores, but it's nowhere near a priority for me after all of these years.

 

I wouldn't actively dissuade anyone from getting a version of this, but like all FPGA projects, this is nothing approaching plug and play in terms of simplicity. Once someone cracks that, then we'll have a product for the ages. In the mean-time, expect a lot of work to get something like this to work the way you'd like.

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Your best bet is to go with original hardware.

 

Had to save this for archival purposes! :lol:

 

While I haven't had any first hand experience with the MCC product(s), my gut on it is and has always been exactly what Bill mentioned. Reaperman, since you say you're not into "fiddling" around with settings and such (neither am I and life really *IS* too short), can't imagine this being a product you'd enjoy. On the Amiga side of things we have Amiga Forever, a software emulation package that works much better, but is still all funked up when it comes to tweaking and settings. Unintuitive is putting it kindly, but *once* you get it set up, you're good to go for a while until your USB, CF or SD mass storage device fails on you. And it will. They always do.

 

Then you have these other FPGA devices like the MiniMig and another one being worked on with an AGA core. Looking forward to that honestly and while the evolution (let alone availability) of stuff like this has been snail-ass slow, am hopeful they'll eventually become practical and reliable enough to consider as competent replacements for original hardware. As of today, right now - they are not IMO. All depends on your standards, disposable time and tolerance levels I guess! :lol:

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Well, I guess that pretty much completely puts this one to bed. It sounded too good to be true, and if it was really as good as it sounded, I'd probably have already known that without needing this thread.

 

Someday I'll drop big money on proper c64 and amiga setups, but whenever I get close, 'the juice never seems worth the squeeze' and the money goes somewhere else.

Edited by Reaperman
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I'd say the FPGA scene is something like 4-7 years behind software emulation overall. FPGA rigs may get some of the timings and final output near perfect in some cases, but their versatility is lacking. And updates and new features are slow in coming. They feel rather thin on options. Not good enough for me yet. I do not like it that development seems to slow down (or stop) once a core is finished. Where's the amenities? But with software emulation (currently) new features & improvements are constantly being added - and what sucks today has a good chance of being fixed tomorrow. Software emulation is a more active ecosphere.

 

TLDNR version:

For example, it is not enough to get an Amiga 500 FPGA core that supports 2 joysticks and a disk drive. There's that whole expansion bus. Chip ram upgrades. AGA, various processors and accelerators, FPU, serial/parallel ports, SCSI card roms, different BOIS'es, and keyboard mapping. Clocks, graphic boards, and sound cards. Memory expansions. Even different motherboards like A1000, A500, A2000, A3000, A4000, or a hypothetical ideal configuration that could only be had with re-engineering or a ton of money. Software emulation provides a lot of that.

 

When setting up an emulator for the 1st time it can be daunting. But then again with great effort comes great rewards. And once you're going and got the lay of the land it all kinda fades into the background. Soon enough you're just dragging and dropping disk images!

 

Emulation can't really replace the exact hardware because there's a lot of assumptions made. And undocumented instructions may get overlooked. And the same thing applies to FPGA rigs. They're only as good the research and details going into the core. They don't recreate the internal circuitry at all. Just the functionality.

 

If you get into MAME with a front-end that manages configurations, you're in for a world of hurt if you like to do things manually and understand what is where. All the stuff is obfuscated. And you have several .ini files; game specific, driver specific, and global. Some of these setting take priority over one another depending on what is enabled and disabled. And with MAME/MESS' software list. I swear to god it is devil incarnate! And working through a command-line isn't much better. I don't know who came up with that idea but they need to be fed through the wringer a few times. Then hauled out with the trash. Like a wet diaper - all they did was stink up the place.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Wow, I'm surprised this is still on the market. Like Bill, I also have the MCC-216 and its one of those purchases I really regretted. I didn't have any issue with the SD card, but the power button stopped working but I did get it replaced quickly, as I recall.

 

My issue isn't really with the durability of the hardware but the software cores were VERY lacking. None of them work great. The C64 was probably the best but it still was very flaky, some software didn't load or had strange glitches. In the end, I found emulators do the job much better. I think Keatah is spot on that the FPGA scene has several years to go. I equate the MCC-216 to some of the early emulators we had back in the 90's. It has promise, but its gonna take awhile.

 

I guess I'm glad to see this product is still being sold and maybe still being worked on? Maybe someone will buy mine if I throw it on eBay.

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  • 2 weeks later...

I own a MiST and a TC64 which I both believe to be better than the MCC. The MiST is extremely simple to setup for some cores, but as Keatah mentioned compatibility is still behind. Happy to answer any questions or show you videos of games running on the MiST (I uploaded a few as a hobby project), just let me know what you'd like me to try.

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The MiST's Amiga AGA core is actively being worked on right now and works quite well. It's an open source project based on the original Minimig, so support doesn't have to stop if the original author walks away.

 

For C64 the TC64 has much better support and options, including a better SID implementation (both versions). That latest revision of the core is not open source though; but an earlier version was ported to the MiST (with d64 support added later). Of course an added bonus of the TC64 is that you can use it to run SD cards with original hardware.

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  • 1 month later...

If you are into Atari 800 and ZX Spectrum, the MCC-216 and probably MCC-TV would be good. AtariAge user TOFT is actively developing Atari 800 core for the MCC found here: http://atariage.com/forums/topic/213827-potential-new-hardware/?hl=+mcc#8208216=&page=29

 

Also, the ZX Spectrum works really nice on MCC.

 

I agree, that Amiga, C64 and Atari 2600 are lacking on MCC, completely not worth it (C64 barely)

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The thing is that the cores from foft are also on the MIST, and it also has a timing-accurate ZX Spectrum core that supports the DivMMC interface (=what you'd use for SD cards on real hardware).

 

Looking on Dragonbox the MIST is only $30 more than the MCC-216. I'd say that difference is worth it for all the other cores.

 

The MIST C64 core supports disk images but not sure it handles multi disks. I can check a game for you if you have something in mind. What it doesn't support is writing back to disks, but I think that's the same for the MCC.

Edited by Newsdee
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Thanks for this thread, it's been useful. I've had my eye on the MCC for a while now. Couldn't really justify it, but it was still something I wanted to check out since I old my Amiga collection and my c64 is not in the best of shape. Nice to hear some feedback on the MCC. Sounds like MIST is a better solution all around.

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I was into the MCC 216 and even wrote a guide for building the menus (excel macro hell). It worked ok for C64 stuff, but using it without an actual keyboard would be absolute torture. I eventually traded it for some other classic gaming equipment and bought a working C64 with a U1541 II.

 

The thing that really turned me off was when the "unofficial" message boards were deleted and the small community interested in the device was disconnected. AFAIK there is no way to even find out if anyone is working on improvements (aside from the AtariAge user mentioned in this thread).

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  • 1 year later...
  • 3 years later...

Time to briefly bring this thread back from the grave. 

 

The short of it is that I did find a 'too good to pass up' deal on an MCC-TV, back in 2017 ($25!), and booted it up for the first time yesterday.  Yes, in 2021. It was a day worth of fun to fiddle with, but I probably won't be going back (since it was my MiSTer order last week that reminded me that I even own this thing). It was certainly not a user-friendly experience and If I were to put in the time to run it with higher levels of success, that would probably have to become its own hobby.

 

Slightly curious if there are cores newer than 2015, since that's what I've got on mine.

 

I did a video thing with it, and in short, you guys were pretty well correct about how 'worth it' it was. My C64 core is all brown for whatever reason (PAL/NTSC issue?), but A8 worked pretty well for me.  I was surprised that it had more advanced features like stereo pokey.

 

Anyway, if you'd like a look at what I think is the least expensive FPGA system ever, here you go. If anybody's googling from the future, there's a walkthrough of the A8's UI in there and how to get it going, since instructions for this thing are scarce these days.

 

 

Edited by Reaperman
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Ease of access to software and disk images is something that just came of age in past 8 or so years for software emulators

 

Several dedicated emulators like Vice, Stella, and Altirra have multiple ways of instantly finding cart & disk images on hard disks or other storage media. Especially in conjunction with Windows File Explorer's drag'n'drop and search functionality - which I see as necessary companion accessories to all emulators and their libraries.

 

It's a matter of seconds to play Dig-Dug and Boulder Dash on Apple II, switch to Star Raiders on Atari 800. Do a compo in Gyruss on the C64. And segue into VCS Space Invaders, Miniature Golf, Demon Attack and Phoenix. And wrap the evening with Doom via ZDoom, or original Doom through DosBox.

 

It's how I've been retrogaming for a long time now and have become quite spoiled. Furthermore it's zero trouble toggling NTSC/PAL and/or the pixel aspect ratio in-game in software emulation to get the output just right. Same for artifacting and other vintage distortions and color compensation. If needed or desired.

 

I don't believe MiSTer or any other FPGA set is as easy, fast, and convenient to use. Just. Yet. But we're getting there. I think FPGA rigs will gain such utility when future hardware more prominently advertises that a conventional hardware CPU is available. AND when the developers take extra time to refine the interface with more functionality. Till that happens (and it will eventually) we're going to be stuck with populating folders on a PC/SD card. And scrolling while selecting.

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With Yoomp! on Altirra there were a couple of ways to get the right speed and pixel aspect ratio. On any size/shape of screen. Prior to starting, or in-game.

 

In Altirra's arsenal it is as simple as picking the PAL or NTSC machine and using the PAL or NTSC disk image. Or letting the game (which can detect what machine it's running on) make the choice. You can also select a square-pixel shape. Or brute-force it through a manual window resize. In-game or prior to start.

 

This is something I want to see become more prevalent in FPGA.

 

When all is said and done. I think you'll still be over the moon with MiSTer.

Edited by Keatah
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1 hour ago, Keatah said:

It's a matter of seconds to play Dig-Dug and Boulder Dash on Apple II, switch to Star Raiders on Atari 800. Do a compo in Gyruss on the C64. And segue into VCS Space Invaders, Miniature Golf, Demon Attack and Phoenix. And wrap the evening with Doom via ZDoom, or original Doom through DosBox.

To me this (and most of the other stuff) actually sounds like you're describing MiSTer - not emulation. I have been using emulation for decades as well, and even in 2021 the experience is not as seamless as you describe. The likes of Altirra are anything but easy to handle, and another thing is that on MiSTer you don't need to "pick the right speed", and do other stuff that you usually need to in emus, because they are already baked in. In 9/10 of cases you just run the image, without having to fiddle with endless options. And the snappines of booting and moving between different platforms is way better than on any other solution.

 

That's not to say this experience is overall bad on emulation, since we're in the #firstworldproblems territory here and are discussing minuscule differences.

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  • 1 month later...
On 7/25/2021 at 1:20 PM, Reaperman said:

Time to briefly bring this thread back from the grave. 

 

The short of it is that I did find a 'too good to pass up' deal on an MCC-TV, back in 2017 ($25!), and booted it up for the first time yesterday.  Yes, in 2021. It was a day worth of fun to fiddle with, but I probably won't be going back (since it was my MiSTer order last week that reminded me that I even own this thing). It was certainly not a user-friendly experience and If I were to put in the time to run it with higher levels of success, that would probably have to become its own hobby.

 

Slightly curious if there are cores newer than 2015, since that's what I've got on mine.

 

I did a video thing with it, and in short, you guys were pretty well correct about how 'worth it' it was. My C64 core is all brown for whatever reason (PAL/NTSC issue?), but A8 worked pretty well for me.  I was surprised that it had more advanced features like stereo pokey.

 

Anyway, if you'd like a look at what I think is the least expensive FPGA system ever, here you go. If anybody's googling from the future, there's a walkthrough of the A8's UI in there and how to get it going, since instructions for this thing are scarce these days.

 

 

Here you can find newest Atari 800 core for MCC-216, I think it should work with MCC-TV. http://www.64kib.com/autobuild/20210206_mist_mcc216/

There is a documentation, got some useful info.

You can also use keyboard with Atari 800 core, I made a keyboard overlay for that core sometime ago. I need to find it.

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