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Our New Machine, Pandora


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Poll: Dr MewMew Says (155 member(s) have cast votes)

Should this thread die?

  1. Yes, kill it now! (61 votes [39.35%])

    Percentage of vote: 39.35%

  2. Maybe move it to off-topic? (16 votes [10.32%])

    Percentage of vote: 10.32%

  3. No, let it live until its natural death! (78 votes [50.32%])

    Percentage of vote: 50.32%

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#1 Clare

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Posted 13 August 2007 - 06:34 AM

Well there has been a lot of interest, speculation and requests regarding the new device and since the last thread was generating a lot of interesting posts, I thought it would be a good idea to open a thread along a similar path.

Discuss here your views, wants and opinions regarding our new super handheld. Baring in mind Craig has only given us a smidgen of information keeping us all drooling at what it could possibly be like.

All is welcomed here, including concept art! So tell us what you think about what could possibly be the most amazing handheld the world has yet to see.

I'm gonna start with a little question for Craig:

Okay we know it is Arm based, and that most software will convert over with the minimum of fuss, how about the commercial games such as Vektar and Payback. Am I right in thinking those of us who have already bought these games will have to buy the recompiled version for the new system, or will you have some sort of cheaper upgrade option available?

#2 Nickmon

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Posted 13 August 2007 - 07:13 AM

QUOTE(WarmFluffyUK @ Aug 13 2007, 07:34 AM) View Post

I'm gonna start with a little question for Craig:

Okay we know it is Arm based, and that most software will convert over with the minimum of fuss, how about the commercial games such as Vektar and Payback. Am I right in thinking those of us who have already bought these games will have to buy the recompiled version for the new system, or will you have some sort of cheaper upgrade option available?


I have Xbox1 and and Xbox 360 on both I have Dead or alive (OK v3 and v4), did I pay for the new copy, hell yes...why do you think this will be any different...?

#3 cowai

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Posted 13 August 2007 - 07:19 AM

Craig said he will be back in a month, don't expect him to answer anything yet.

#4 woogal

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Posted 13 August 2007 - 07:40 AM

Why close one thread just to open an identical one? blink.gif

#5 moz

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Posted 13 August 2007 - 10:06 AM

i have made room for the new machine

#6 lubidog

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Posted 13 August 2007 - 10:07 AM

QUOTE(woogal @ Aug 13 2007, 07:40 AM) View Post

Why close one thread just to open an identical one? blink.gif



Because a Mod started this one!

Yes, I am in revolutionary mood.

#7 KeyboardCowboy

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Posted 13 August 2007 - 11:53 AM

I'll restate my more important remarks due to the demise of the prior thread.
#1. A chipset from Samsung or TI's OMAP series, or Freescale's i.MX31 would be superior selections over the MagicEyes MMSP2+, providing dramatically better performance, easier utilization of secondary processors and graphics hardware, better documentation and lower power consumption for only a very small increase in price.

#2. If the MMSP2+ is used, it is critical each CPU Core and the 2D/3D accelerator blocks have their own discrete RAM and path to it. A memory bottleneck will cripple performance, potentially to the point of making any new machine perform just like a GP2X with higher clock speeds, and may negate all advantage of true graphical acceleration.

#3. The memory selected must also be MobileDDR rather than SDRAM, or performance will suffer dramatically, especially at high video resolution such as the proposed 800x480, due to the sheer amount of data traversing the bus every time the screen is redrawn (at the very least 60 times a second, potentially 100 or more). This will also require less voltage supplied to memory, and therefore reduced power consumption.

If criteria #2/3 are met the machine should be a very capable game platform with very impressive graphical capabilities in both 2D and 3D, effective for both intensive original games and emulators that require graphical acceleration to perform effectively (SNES, PSX, potentially more stressful platforms). There would be better solutions, but if a low price point is one of the more critical aspects of the machine's design, this would be a viable solution. The only major downside to the MMSP2+ selection would be that MagicEyes' documentation and support to programmers is often on the flaky side, and due to the 130nm process the chip is fabricated on, power consumption would be inordinately high, so special care would need to be taken in other aspects of the system to keep current draw down.

Suggestions for power conversation if the MMSP2+ is used:
- Adjustable WiFi transmitter power level (in software)
- Adjustable Backlight brightness level (software or hardware potentiometer/knob)
- Ability to utilize all available MMSP2+ native power saving features (in software)
- Clock control for both CPUs, and ideally, 2D/3D accelerator blocks (in software, should be inherently provided by registers on the MMSP2+.)

I won't make any bold assertions regarding other aspects of the machine, but I would prefer a digital control scheme in the vein of a proper D-Pad. After the GP32 and GP2X both featuring faulty abnormal sticks, it would be best not to take another gamble. While a proposed resolution of 800x480 is not a deal-breaker by any means, it is slightly abnormal, and I would wonder why it was selected unless LCDs with that resolution were a particularly good deal when bought in bulk over other aspect ratios. This would be beneficial for viewing web pages and potentially video, but its rationale in a gaming setting is curious. Statements that the unit would carry WiFi capability, a touchscreen, a proper custom Lithium Ion battery pack and a hardware volume knob are very positive steps in the right direction and I applaud them.

QUOTE
Because a Mod started this one!

Well, a mod closed the last one, too. (After deleting a lot of posts, which honestly rubs me the wrong way.) It would be a good idea if the OP had a recap of all currently known information like the last one did.

Edited by KeyboardCowboy, 13 August 2007 - 12:20 PM.


#8 quartercast

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Posted 13 August 2007 - 12:00 PM

@ KC: I hope you don't continue your repetitive drivel on this thread. I think you should spend more time listening and less time posting.


@ WarmFluffy: Does craig sell those 2 pieces of software? I didn't realise that

#9 Lurkio

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Posted 13 August 2007 - 12:06 PM

QUOTE(quartercast @ Aug 13 2007, 01:00 PM) View Post

@ WarmFluffy: Does craig sell those 2 pieces of software? I didn't realise that


The download versions are going for cheap at the moment as well.

gp2x.co.uk read the Aug 3rd news post for further details.

#10 KeyboardCowboy

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Posted 13 August 2007 - 12:08 PM

QUOTE(quartercast @ Aug 13 2007, 12:00 PM) View Post
@ KC: I hope you don't continue your repetitive drivel on this thread. I think you should spend more time listening and less time posting.

I'm not in the mood to argue with anyone, so don't provoke unnecessary hostility. I'm perfectly entitled to dismiss your every suggestion as 'drivel', however I do not. Your opinions are every bit as valid as mine, and everyone is entitled to express them. I recognize this and thus, I do not lash out at you just for stating them. Therefore I strongly suggest that you relax your tone before we end up with another locked thread.

#11 cappuchok

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Posted 13 August 2007 - 12:18 PM

So far I'm very excited about this device just based on what we've been told by the devs (but please, no mandatory startup sound this time around, OK?). I'd throw in some concept art too if it wasn't for the fact that several people have already done that to perfection (even with nifty renders) and I have nothing further to add to those designs.

It does seem, from what we've been told so far, that certain features will have to be implemented "outside" the SoC, such as TV-out, as the clues we've been given so far point to a more advanced TV-out than what is provided by current SoCs.

I'm hoping USB Host functions will also be implemented "off-SoC" because none of the SoCs we've theorized might be used support USB2.0 Host, and USB 1.1 is positively painful for some uses such as mass storage.

I'm looking forward to seeing more information from the dev team. This should be good. cool.gif

QUOTE(KeyboardCowboy)
While a proposed resolution of 800x480 is not a deal-breaker by any means, it is slightly abnormal, and I would wonder why it was selected

Craig told us why: they would have gone for 640x480 screens but weren't allowed to buy them because the big companies impose limits on their suppliers not to sell parts to manufacturers of "unknown devices". As an 800x480 screen will support 640x480 output without abnormal scaling, I'm happy with it.

QUOTE(KeyboardCowboy)
the machine should be a very capable game platform with very impressive graphical capabilities in both 2D and 3D, effective for both intensive original games and emulators that require graphical acceleration to perform effectively (SNES, PSX, potentially more stressful platforms).

We already know from Squidge, SNES is running fullspeed with sound, in an unoptimized emulator on an unoptimized Linux port which isn't using the hardware very much (just enough to work). And zodttd has already indicated PSX is also running fullspeed with sound as well. If that is so, I can only imagine what will be possible when Linux is properly ported and emulators are optimized for the new platform. smile.gif

Edited by cappuchok, 13 August 2007 - 12:32 PM.


#12 KeyboardCowboy

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Posted 13 August 2007 - 12:27 PM

Thank you for reminding me- I would like to note that it would be important to to consider power consumption of auxiliary chips added to the design outside of the SoC. In the GP2X design* the video output encoder IC was a very power-hungry unit and resulted in a heavy hit to battery life when utilized. Any additional ICs should be carefully selected for use in a mobile setting.

* Disclaimer: Remarks intended as suggestion for development of a superior product based on knowledge of imperfect design choices in past product. Do not interpret as 'bias' against the GP2X but rather room for rational improvement.

QUOTE(cappuchok @ Aug 13 2007, 12:18 PM) View Post

QUOTE(KeyboardCowboy)
While a proposed resolution of 800x480 is not a deal-breaker by any means, it is slightly abnormal, and I would wonder why it was selected

Craig told us why: they would have gone for 640x480 screens but weren't allowed to buy them because the big companies impose limits on their suppliers not to sell parts to manufacturers of "unknown devices". As an 800x480 screen will support 640x480 output without abnormal scaling, I'm happy with it.

Reasonable enough. For those with a great interest in 4:3 based apps it should be simple to pixel-double to 640x480 from 320x240, or use a nice filter with the aid of the 2D acceleration hardware (such as, Bilinear Filtering) or a vector based software filter running on the 2nd CPU (assuming it has its own RAM and is therefore freed for concurrent use with the main CPU without concern for bus contention.) Only 160px of horizontal screen real estate would be lost, which is certainly forgivable. There are devices with much smaller screens than the afforded 640x480 area.

Edited by KeyboardCowboy, 13 August 2007 - 12:28 PM.


#13 kevcal

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Posted 13 August 2007 - 12:39 PM

The chosen screen resolution seems to me an ideal choice considering the new unit.
I hope the keyboard has a minimal impact on the size/design of the unit - a basic layout would do I would guess as I would think it's main use would be for emulation et al. We won't (all) be up typing literary works on this thing..
From the last thread I preferred the ones posted by davec as a good start - although I would miss a joystick..
I find myslef warming to this new device and probably would consider moving on by end of summer next year (I'm not an early adopter of many things).

Edited by kevcal, 13 August 2007 - 12:40 PM.


#14 cappuchok

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Posted 13 August 2007 - 12:40 PM

QUOTE(KeyboardCowboy @ Aug 13 2007, 02:27 PM) View Post
Only 160px of horizontal screen real estate would be lost, which is certainly forgivable.

If the GUI of emulators are designed with this device in mind, the additional 160px could be well used for giving quick access to certain functions of the emulator (savestates and the like), or just a nice bezel-type graphic.

#15 quartercast

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Posted 13 August 2007 - 12:47 PM

QUOTE(KeyboardCowboy @ Aug 13 2007, 10:08 PM) View Post

QUOTE(quartercast @ Aug 13 2007, 12:00 PM) View Post
@ KC: I hope you don't continue your repetitive drivel on this thread. I think you should spend more time listening and less time posting.

I'm not in the mood to argue with anyone, so don't provoke unnecessary hostility. I'm perfectly entitled to dismiss your every suggestion as 'drivel', however I do not. Your opinions are every bit as valid as mine, and everyone is entitled to express them. I recognize this and thus, I do not lash out at you just for stating them. Therefore I strongly suggest that you relax your tone before we end up with another locked thread.


I don't pretend to be anywhere near as articulate or knowledgeable as you. However, I do know that there comes a point where too much debate, particularly when no new information is presented, can be stifling and extremely monotonous for others. That is what happened in the last thread, and I believe that is why many (including the developers) simply switched off. I hope this does not happen in this thread, and I look forward to reading refreshingly detailed discussions from you. wink.gif