meepowl wrote: ↑Thu Jan 19, 2023 10:52 pm
I'm new to the forum and my first reaction to reading this discussion was to think how refreshing it is to see something relatively controversial being discussed almost entirely without rancour. It's a pleasant change from some other retro communities out there.
There's clearly a bit of scepticism from some about this being raised by the multisystem team. I take the point but having bought one for one of my MiSTer setups I really don't think it's the sort of thing you'd get into selling if you weren't committed to MiSTer or were principally seeking to make money. I think the obvious way to short circuit this issue though would be to make it an article of faith that any new iteration of MiSTer was built around a commercially available development board (as was proposed). That way no entity can have undue influence on the project.
That said, I'd have thought the most serious, and at times controversial, downside of the MiSTer implementation is the limitation of attaching SDRAM via GPIO? Do we not run into the same issue with the proposed Trion board, or any other dev board?
The original post said that there's work to do to dive into the toolchain. I'd see that as as big a priority as finding a board with the right performance:price profile. I just spent two days solid getting Quartus 17 running on Ubuntu. It's not the worst thing I've ever used for development but it's also a world away from the sorts of tools I use at work or for other personal projects. It would be nice to see a lower barrier to getting involved in MiSTer development (the development work itself should be the hard bit). This is especially important if there ever were to be a push beyond fourth-gen: we'll need more people working in parallel.
Finally, purely personally, I like the idea of an offshoot of the project using simpler dev boards to implement one system at a time. At the other end of the spectrum, I also like the idea of something which would allow more hardware tinkering, whether that's cartridges or peripherals or any other sort of addon. Not because it's needed, just because it's fun.
Thanks so much for the feedback. It's always difficult to try reaching out to any community, I'll try to give a little more background just in case it makes a difference to how we may be perceived and what our intentions are.
We (Heber) are not a large company, we are a team of 16, but have a 39 year history of developing and manufacturing electronics for gaming markets worldwide, using FPGA based technology in many of our designs over the years. We also have a significant number of people in the company who like and enjoy gaming & retro technology. We (Heber) are part of the Multisystem team that includes support from Neil (RMCRetro) and The Retro Group.
We are always open with our plans, we initially developed the Multisystem I/O board and for the last 2 years have manufactured these to a high quality using branded components and ISO9001:2015 manufacturing methods directly in the UK. I personally designed the open-source 3D printed Multisystem enclosure and we print these here too. These products are never going to be the lowest possible cost, but we are proud of quality, support and all the team here and most importantly we all enjoy doing it. This year (2023) we will get to the point where the initial investment in the design, development, test tooling and set-up costs will just start to break-even. Last year we employed another engineer to work on further product developments, some of these are Multisystem and Retro Gaming. We are investing in people, ideas and Yes, we would very much like to design and manufacture products, electronics and retro gaming tech for an interested customer base/market, This is exactly what we do, it's no secret.
We are willing to invest what could be a further £150k or more in new projects/developments this year, it would be nice if we can continue to recover costs and breaking even at some years in the future. Not looking for any guarantee, it's always a risk doing any new development, we just don't want to go the opposite direction to the community, rather work together and end up with something really neat that people want.
We have also helped enable two museums to start and grow over the last 3 years, RMCRetro's classic computer and gaming history museum is now in the same building as us and we have all jointly enabled a classic Arcade museum (Arcade Archive) on the bottom floor of our building.
I/We will always be open and try to answer any questions, concerns or try to collaborate on ideas to the best of our abilities, both commercial and technical that anyone has. We are not asking for anything, just trying to slowly build some trust in a project we really enjoy being part of. That's it, that's the plan.