Vintage & Modern Tech Blog

Loading Screech Update August 2015

August 9, 2015

Loading Screech Update 09/08/2015


Hello visitor to my website, and thankyou for your interest, and now it's time for an update from me. On Friday 8th August 2015, Retro Computers Ltd announced the first batch of limited edition ZX Spectrum Vegas were being sent out to those people who had crowdfunded the campaign from November 2014 onwards.


The very next day - Saturday - comments began to show up on Facebook and Twitter from people whose Vegas had arrived. The ZX Vega has also shown up for preorder on Funstock at a price of £99.99 with free delivery. A tweet indicates that these will be batch three standard retail models.


Retro Computers Ltd have stated they will release a full games list on Monday 10th or Tuesday 11th August 2015, along with their other Public Relations, although a number of 'unboxing/first impressions' videos emerged on You Tube within hours of the first deliveries of the retro gaming console.


A couple of months ago, I announced that I was remaking my ZX Spectrum platform game Cap'n Rescue, which - incidentally - is one of the games built into the Vega.


This remake is going well, and I am currently expanding the game, as - once mastered (Deep voice from nowhere: but only once mastered mwah ha ha haa!) - the ZX Spectrum version can be completed in about 10 minutes, which is not unusual for a Spectrum game but, I believe is not really long enough for a PC game release.


My other project is a Z80-based homebrew computer, which is an advanced version of the ZAP computer from the book 'Build Your Own Z80 Computer'. I've switched from soldering to wire wrapping for my prototype, and I have to say I am now a wire-wrap convert. I can be set up in five minutes, whereas soldering takes me about an hour to set up, and mistakes are so much easier to correct.


My Enhanced ZAP is nearing the foetal point where I can make some LED's connected to a parallel port blink, after which I can begin adding a display and keyboard. At one point I was tempted  to have a very-retro LED's and switches panel but, the price
 of toggle switches is suprisingly high.


One change I am making is the operating system - I am probably going to port the 'copyleft' (copyright free) Tiny BASIC rather than write my own operating system at this stage. 


Writing a detailed and useful OS is a far from short task, and I'm still learning the ins and outs of Z80 assembly language.


My homebrew is turning into a bit of a monster - even after reducing the number of RAM chips to a single 32k chip, there are 62 chips overall. Compare that to a reported 3 in the Vega!


One last point to make - I have all the video for the third part of the When Alex Didn't Do It walkthrough, part three just needs editing.

I'll also try and find the time to do a typed-up walkthrough, for those who don't want to hear me droning on for over two hours in the videos.


That's all for now - thanks for reading!




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