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Forum Index : Microcontroller and PC projects : Let’s discuss Agon Light

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atmega8

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Joined: 19/11/2013
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Posted: 10:19am 26 May 2023
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Ohhhh, i think i touched a sensitive nerve with peter;-)
Al this Hhhbbhbhbhhhhbhbhbhbbhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhbhbhhbhhhhhbhhhhbhhbhbhhhhjhhhhhhhbhhhhjhhhhhhbhhbhbbbhhhbhbbbbhhhbhhbhhbvhbbhbbhjhbbbhbbhbhhjhbhhhhhhbbhhhbhhhbbhbbbhhbhbbhbbhbvbhhhbbbhhbhhhbbhbbhbbjbhbbbbhbbbbbbhbhhbhbbhbbvbvbbbbbbbbbbbbbbjvbbbbhbbbhbbbbbhhbbbvbbhbbbbvbbbbhbbbvhbhbbbbhbbbvvvvbhvbhbhvvvbbbvvvvhvbbbbvbvvbhbbvbbbbvhvbvbbvbhbbbvhbbbbvbvvvvvvhvvvbbvvbvbbbvbbbbvbvbvvvbhbvvhvhvvbvhvbvhbvhvvvhvbbbvvvvbvbvvvbvvvvvbvvvbvvvbvbhvvhbvbbbbbvvvvbvvbvvvvvvbvbvvvvhvvvvbvbvvvbvvvbvvvvvvvbvvvvvbbbbvvvvvvvvvvvvvvbbbvvvvvbvvvvvvvvvvvvbvbbvvvvvbvvvvvvbvvvvvbvvvvbvvvvbvbvvvvvvvvvvbvvvbvvvvvvvvbvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvbbvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvbvvvvvvvvvvvvvbvvvvvvvvvvbvvvvbvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvhvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvbvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvccvvvvvvvvvvvvvvcvvvvvvcvvvvvvvvcvvvvvvvvvccvvvvvvvvvvvvcvvvvvvvvcvvccvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvcvvcvvvvvcvvcvvvcvvcvvvvvvvvcvvvcvvvvcvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvcccvvcvvvcvvvcvvccvvcvvvvcvvvvvvvvvvvvcvvvvcvvvvvcvvcvvvvvvvvvcvccvvcvvccvvccvvvvcvvvvccvvvccvcvvvvvvvvccvvcvcvcvvcvvvccvccvvvcvvvvcvvvcvvvcvvcvvcvvvvcvvvvvvvcvcvcvcvvvcvvvvvvvccvvvvvvvvvccvvvcvvvvvvvvvcvcvcvvvvvvvvvvcvvccccccvvvvvvvvcvvccvvcvvvvcvvvvvcvccvcvvvv

and no 0D 0A, HAHAHA

I think Geoff sees it that way too. There was this "open source" dispute with olimex, which prompted geoff to create a new license version years ago??


50€ Olimex, vs some € for PICO and some parts......

Olimex should link this thread;-)
 
Geoffg

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Joined: 06/06/2011
Location: Australia
Posts: 3144
Posted: 10:26am 26 May 2023
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I'm not sure what Peter's comments mean but their webpage contains so much empty hyperbole that I would not trust anything from them.  

I gave up reading when I found this:

  Quote  Agon light is the world's sole standalone, instant-on, BASIC-programmed microcontroller that dispenses with a host PC and sketch compilation.

These people are idiots.

Geoff
Edited 2023-05-26 20:27 by Geoffg
Geoff Graham - http://geoffg.net
 
matherp
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Joined: 11/12/2012
Location: United Kingdom
Posts: 8344
Posted: 10:35am 26 May 2023
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I didn't deliberately post anything. Looked at the post and then chucked my phone in my backpack. I assume the backpack wasn't impressed  
 
Mixtel90

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Joined: 05/10/2019
Location: United Kingdom
Posts: 5515
Posted: 12:03pm 26 May 2023
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TBH I've seen worse ideas for a hardware system. It seems to have been quite neatly done. However, the web site is pretty bad, even if you discount any blatant lies.
Mick

Zilog Inside! nascom.info for Nascom & Gemini
Preliminary MMBasic docs & my PCB designs
 
JohnS
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Joined: 18/11/2011
Location: United Kingdom
Posts: 3614
Posted: 01:34pm 26 May 2023
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I suppose it suits some people.

It's got some advantages over a PicoMiteVGA, e.g. more colours, but I'm happy with the PicoMites (with or without VGA).

I don't really _get_ why some want _8-bit_ computing... Just a personal preference I suppose.

Calling the underlying chips 8-bit is just weird (well, wrong), though.

John
 
robert.rozee
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Joined: 31/12/2012
Location: New Zealand
Posts: 2246
Posted: 05:10pm 26 May 2023
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from their site:
"Agon light™ is a fully open-source 8-bit microcomputer and microcontroller
in one small, low-cost"...
...and there we go, the wheels just fell off!

$50 is not cheap. an MX170 is cheap. a RPi pico is cheap. an "Agon" is NOT.


cheers,
rob   :-)
 
matherp
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Joined: 11/12/2012
Location: United Kingdom
Posts: 8344
Posted: 05:47pm 26 May 2023
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8-bit computer that uses a 32-bit computer to do all the hard stuff
 
Mixtel90

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Posted: 06:16pm 26 May 2023
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I suppose they are right in a way... the user program runs on an 8-bit processor (with several longer-bit enhancements and triple pipeline architecture so it's not like the old 8-bit micros at all).
Mick

Zilog Inside! nascom.info for Nascom & Gemini
Preliminary MMBasic docs & my PCB designs
 
stanleyella

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Joined: 25/06/2022
Location: United Kingdom
Posts: 1472
Posted: 06:21pm 26 May 2023
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"8-bit computer that uses a 32-bit computer to do all the hard stuff"
If the 8bit was a lgt328p and gcb compiler it could be interesting... so can lots of hardware. It's the programmer interface software ,basic,python,c.
 
stanleyella

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Joined: 25/06/2022
Location: United Kingdom
Posts: 1472
Posted: 06:25pm 26 May 2023
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Reminds me of Nextion displays with 328p ie 8bit controls 32bit.
 
al18
Senior Member

Joined: 06/07/2019
Location: United States
Posts: 173
Posted: 04:22pm 27 May 2023
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I’ve followed the project, but haven’t bought the Agon Light.

The only advantage the Agon Light has is a better VGA video system compared to the PicoMite VGA.

Lots of disadvantages compared to the MicroMite/PicoMite including a primitive Basic ripped from the 80’s.

MicroMite/PicoMite Basic is much, much, much, much, much better version of Basic and documentation and support on this forum is great.

I’m still a newbie PicoMite Basic programmer compared to everyone else on this forum, but can’t imagine why I would ever want to go backwards to use the ancient Basic on the Agon Light.
 
Mixtel90

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Posted: 04:36pm 27 May 2023
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I'm not sure that its VGA system is any better. It has to be driven over a serial link with hardware handshaking. The PicoMite's VGA is closer in speed to a memory-mapped system. Yes, the Agon Light has more colours and can go up to 800x600 but it comes at a cost - including needing a 32-bit second processor to run it!.
Mick

Zilog Inside! nascom.info for Nascom & Gemini
Preliminary MMBasic docs & my PCB designs
 
thwill

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Joined: 16/09/2019
Location: United Kingdom
Posts: 3773
Posted: 09:13pm 27 May 2023
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I don't think we can begrudge these projects their second processors (isn't the PicoMite using the second core for VGA) and FPGAs, it's a darn sight cheaper than building a time-machine to take you back to the 80s and getting Ferranti to make you a ULA.

Best wishes,

Tom
Game*Mite, CMM2 Welcome Tape, Creaky old text adventures
 
thwill

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Joined: 16/09/2019
Location: United Kingdom
Posts: 3773
Posted: 09:17pm 27 May 2023
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Ultimately I think the success of these projects has less to do with engineering and more to do with the emotional attachment of potential customers to the devices being "imitated" and the social media reach of those pushing the projects.

My money is (not literally) on The 8-Bit Guy's Commander X16 being the winner in this niche ... if there is such a thing as a winner in a pissing competition between minnows .

Best wishes,

Tom
Edited 2023-05-28 07:30 by thwill
Game*Mite, CMM2 Welcome Tape, Creaky old text adventures
 
al18
Senior Member

Joined: 06/07/2019
Location: United States
Posts: 173
Posted: 04:02am 28 May 2023
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I know I’m drifting off topic, but in response to thwill’s  post:
One of the few winners in retro computing has been Fujinet https://fujinet.online
In the past 3 years, 5000 Fujinets have been sold for Atari 8 bit computers, and the group now includes 14 developers to move Fujinet to many other 8 bit systems including the Apple II, Coleco Adam and the C64. It’s rare to see this kind of cooperation among competing platforms.
 
robert.rozee
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Joined: 31/12/2012
Location: New Zealand
Posts: 2246
Posted: 04:59am 28 May 2023
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based upon the last few posts above, i pose the question:

what advantage does the Agon have over two PICOs connected together - one running the video side of things, the other running MMbasic?

bear in mind that it is theoretically possible to create a high-speed link between two PICOs by connecting the SWD port of one to a couple of regular I/O pins on the other. not easy, but possible. this allows MMbasic to make use of all of its onboard I/O pins and peripherals. you could even do this with a PICO and a RPi zero. again, not easy, but possible.


cheers,
rob   :-)
 
Mixtel90

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Joined: 05/10/2019
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Posts: 5515
Posted: 07:28am 28 May 2023
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You can have four bi-directional very high speed ports on a PicoMite using the PIOs. This has already been done to make them emulate transputers. :)

You could use SPI to link two Pico boards. It's fast enough for most purposes, especially if your display Pico is semi-intelligent and is emulating a LCD TFT panel.

The problem with this approach is the lack of RAM on the display Pico. You can get a bigger frame buffer, but whether it's big enough to be useful by the time you have the SPI stuff in there as well is something else. To get 640x480 at 64 colours you need 225Kb of RAM (if I've done my sums right!) and the RP2040 only has 246Kb. That looks a little tight to me.
Mick

Zilog Inside! nascom.info for Nascom & Gemini
Preliminary MMBasic docs & my PCB designs
 
robert.rozee
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Joined: 31/12/2012
Location: New Zealand
Posts: 2246
Posted: 08:30am 28 May 2023
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  Mixtel90 said  You can have four bi-directional very high speed ports on a PicoMite
using the PIOs. [ ... ]
You could use SPI to link two Pico boards. It's fast enough for most purposes,
especially if your display Pico is semi-intelligent and is emulating a LCD TFT
panel.


the point i was getting at is that the connection between the two PICOs can be achieved
without consuming any of the MMbasic pins - something important for some users.
likewise, no PIO (or any other) configuration on this PICO would be needed.

communications between the two PICOs would simply be via a couple of ring buffers (Rx
and Tx) located within the MMbasic PICO. data would be pulled out or pushed in by the
'video' PICO over the SWD port.

emulating an LCD panel seems a tad excessive. one could communicate in text modes
using VT100 escape sequences, which the editor already supports. for graphics, invent a
simple graphics descriptor language.

as i said, not easy, but possible.


cheers,
rob   :-)

addendum: i feel 640x480 4-bit will always be the resolution limit. 800x450 4-bit in the
unlikely event of someone figuring out how.
Edited 2023-05-28 18:48 by robert.rozee
 
Mixtel90

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Posted: 10:03am 28 May 2023
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I know nothing of the SWD port other than that it has connections. :) Whether it could ever be of any use other than for low level programming and debugging access I've no idea.

I can't see the point in using an external video display chip to act as a VT100 graphics display. Pointless for graphic gaming. Ok if you want bus station sign boards, I suppose. :) You may as well stick with the current display capabilities of the PicoMite.
Mick

Zilog Inside! nascom.info for Nascom & Gemini
Preliminary MMBasic docs & my PCB designs
 
robert.rozee
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Joined: 31/12/2012
Location: New Zealand
Posts: 2246
Posted: 10:57am 28 May 2023
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  Mixtel90 said  I know nothing of the SWD port other than that it has connections. :)
Whether it could ever be of any use other than for low level programming and debugging
access I've no idea.


the SWD port can be used to read and write areas of RAM in a way that is transparent to
the CPU cores. so yes, it "has connections". all relatively well documented.

  Mixtel90 said  I can't see the point in using an external video display chip to act as
a VT100 graphics display. Pointless for graphic gaming. Ok if you want bus station sign
boards, I suppose. :) You may as well stick with the current display capabilities of the
PicoMite.


VT100 is fine for passing text data back and forth. in graphics mode (games), you can
use whatever protocol works for you... the SWD port is fast enough that it would not be
significantly different talking to any modern graphics card with onboard GPUs. people
seem to use sprites quite a fair bit with the likes of the VGA PICO running MMbasic. in
that case, you'd be sending the sprite bitmaps over to the video PICO once at the start
of your game, then telling it where and how to move those sprites as the game
progressed. different demarcation line, but essentially much the same.

just as an MMbasic program contains simple commands to perform graphic functions, so a
dual PICO arrangement would see the MMbasic interpreter sending simple commands over to
the video PICO.


cheers,
rob   :-)
Edited 2023-05-28 20:59 by robert.rozee
 
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