Topic: Review : MCC-216 - S Video Version ( includes Photos )  (Read 11672 times)

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Offline HeadingtonBard

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Review : MCC-216 - S Video Version ( includes Photos )
« on: October 16, 2010, 09:58:59 PM »
The Introduction ::

This is a review of my experiences and thoughts of the MCC-216 ( Multiple Classic Computer ).



What is an MCC-216 ?

The MCC-216 is a Multiple Classic Computer that Emulates, the Commodore 64 and soon, the Commodore Amiga and Atari 2600. It can potentially store up to eight systems. This neat little device uses Emulation, but through custom hardware, that it is able to run in real-time with similar behaviour to the original hardware. Each Classic Computer is run through a Core system that can run in both NTSC and PAL, in this instance, the Commodore 64.



You can reboot the system by simply, lightly pressing the Power Button ( select Core Image ) or via a Regular PS/2 Keyboard ... Ctrl-Alt-Del :

For the Commodore PS/2 Keyboard :

NTSC Mode -> Press: Commodore + Alt + Pi
PAL Mode -> Press: Commodore + Alt + Pound
switch discs -> Press: CTRL TAB key
F12 -> Display reading and CPU power
F11 -> Switch between Fast and Normal CPU mode

Hardware Specifications of the Device ::

 - Altera Cyclone 3 FPGA with 16k gates
 - 16 MByte SDRAM
 - 2 MByte Flash
 - Micro SD card interface
 - USB Host interface (USB 1.1) for future expansion
 - USB Device interface (USB 1.1)
 - Video Out (4 Pin S-Video or VGA out)
 - Stereo Audio Out (3.5 mm jack)
 - 2x joystick interfaces (DB-9 connector)
 - JTAG interface (internal for programming and development)
 - GPIO interface (internal addition I/Os for to be defined functionality)

The Front Panel supports:

 - 2x DB-9 Joystick Interfaces for classic retro joysticks
 - Micro SD card interface for FPGA cores, boot and system rom, games and application data
 - USB Host interface for future expansion of the MCC with external devices (e.g. USB keyboard and mouse, USB memory stick, etc.)

The Back Panel supports:

 - Mini USB interface for power supply
 - Stereo Audio Out (3.5mm aux jack)
 - S-Video Out (4-Pin connector) or VGA high quality video out
 - PS-2 interface for keyboard
 - PS-2 interface for mouse



The MCC-216 uses a Micro SD Card for storage of the system and ROM images. A 128 MB card is bundled in with the device, but I have used a 2GIG card for maximum storage. I believe it can read up to 8GIG cards.



Cloanto has a partnership with the developers of MCC, so to the reason why you get C64 Forever and a few Demos and Games to get you started. The Demos and Games are loaded through an Index System, that reads the selected Core ( C64 ) that is chosen. A nice selectable Index of Demos or Games appears and by a simple Press of the Fire Button on a Joystick ( supplied ) or via a PS/2 Keyboard ( C64 or PC - Sold seperately ) using the Cursor Keys and Enter / Space, you can load up the selected Demo or Game. The Index File can be edited via a Text Editor or through an Excel Spreadsheet designed by the MCC team ( available from the MMC website, which allows you to produce a list of images with their ; Folder Paths, D64 or T64 image types etc. However, the filenames must be only eight characters with a suffix e.g. :

[Application]
ID = 1.3.6.1.4.1.23153.1000.24.2.1
Type = game
Entity = "Mr. Chip"
Title = "Ad Infinitum"
Year = 1984
Genre = action-shooting
System = c-64
Port = 1, joystick
Tape = "APPS\ADINFI~1.CHI\ADINFI~1.T64", "APPS\Ad Infinitum (Mr. Chip, 1984, C64)\adinfinitum.T64", "1"

However, if you add you own images, it could look like this :

[Application]
ID = 0.0.0.0.0.0.16384.1000.2.1
Type = game
Entity = "Elite"
Title = "Commando"
Year = 1985
Genre = arcade
System = c-64
Port = 2, joystick
Floppy = "APPS\commando\commando.d64", "APPS\commando\commando.d64", "1"

You can also use the Cloanto Archive Manager to expand you ROM library. Although, I found this method slightly confusing and couldn't get to grips with the Excel Index Creator / Editor. So, I ended up creating and modifying the list manually.

My overal experience :::

YouTube Video of MCC in action : [ http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nF8imGPOyPs ]

Video Output ::

Now, over the last week, I have had a bit of a challenge trying to get one thing to work on the MCC-216. That is the Video Output ! I was initially offered a VGA Output MCC, but went for the S-Video version. Unfortunately, it wasn't as simple as I thought it would be. In order for a four-pin S-Video connection to fully work, you need a direct connection to a TV and not through a Scart Adaptor. If you do, do this, the Video Output will be Black and White or Commodore 64 does Classic Nintendo GameBoy style. You can use an S-Video end convertor to Composite Video, but you will loose picture clarity and quality. I even tried using an NTSC / PAL Video convertor, but alas, no such luck, just colour, then black and white pulses. Strange ! Yep ! It sure was ! Finally though, after replacing my LG 19" TV / Monitor for a Hitachi 19 " TV / Monitor with a direct S-Video connection, was I able to experience full colour on the MCC-216. So, if you choose the right MCC with the right Video Output for you. The VGA Output model would seem more compatible than S-Video and would provide a cleaner, crisper image quality.

Sound Output ::

No real quibbles, apart from the MCC is Emulating the 8580 SID which produces, in some case differences in SID playback and is quite hellish for sampled sounds, as in, they are too quiet. I am sure the 6581 SID would provide more compatibility for playback. A fine example is any sampled sounds in Demos or Games, try Bionic Commando by Capcom ( Tim Follin Music ). For more information about the differences with C64 SID's : [ http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/MOS_Technology_SID ]

Demos and Games - 1541 Drive Emulation ::

I am not sure why, but some Demos and Games don't seem to load correctly or even crash. You either get garbled text or run ... ready. The one that really puzzled me was, Commando by Elite. I have tried several different trainer versions and each one loads perfectly. However, when it comes to pressing the fire button, the game just won't run. Jigging around to the synthetic melodies of Rob Hubbard is good enough, but I want play the game as well. Sometimes successful loading is totally random, quite puzzling really.



Screen Positioning ::

Some Demos and Games use routines to take advantage of the screen borders, mainly for scrolling text or score bars. In this instance, Delta by Thalamus is a fine example. Roughly half of the score bar is missing, probably due to the screen positioning. Changing the screen modes on the TV doesn't make any difference, even from 4:3 ( full screen ) to 16:9 ( widescreen ).

Improvements ::

Loading Images :

If the ROM images stored on the Micro SD cards could be read in as a folder, then read in as a disk or tape image, it would rule out the need for the Menu System and would simplfy the loading process.

Sound :

A choice of SID Chips would cater for lovers of both 8580 and 6581, perhaps it could be chosen on the Core selection or other menus ?

Price ::

The MCC-216 Standard is currently priced @ 199.99 USD

The MCC-216 Colour Lightning is currently priced @ 219.99 USD

Please visit the MCC website for prices and other accessories :

http://s318412817.e-shop.info/shop/catalog/browse?shop_param=

Conclusion ::

The MCC-216 is a real box of tricks with real pontential and if the developers tweak and improve the environments on the C64 and future systems, I am sure it will be a winner.

For more detailed information on the Multiple Classic Computer, head over to : http://mcc-home.com/index.html
« Last Edit: June 21, 2011, 12:58:06 PM by HeadingtonBard »
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1200xl

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Re: MCC-216 : S-Video Version - Review ...
« Reply #1 on: October 16, 2010, 10:21:14 PM »
or get a PC/Laptop/the real hardware

Offline HeadingtonBard

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Re: MCC-216 : S-Video Version - Review ...
« Reply #2 on: October 16, 2010, 11:10:13 PM »
or get a PC/Laptop/the real hardware

I agree ! :) Nice if you have the room, I know I would !  ;D
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Offline AndyRCM

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Re: MCC-216 : S-Video Version - Review ...
« Reply #3 on: October 17, 2010, 10:11:39 AM »
Nice review Alex. Very impressive - I think I will await a future revision though and see how they get on with the Amiga and Atari sides next . . . Keep us informed if you hear anything please mate?

Andy
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Offline HeadingtonBard

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Re: MCC-216 : S-Video Version - Review ...
« Reply #4 on: October 17, 2010, 10:21:05 AM »
Nice review Alex. Very impressive - I think I will await a future revision though and see how they get on with the Amiga and Atari sides next . . . Keep us informed if you hear anything please mate?

Andy

No problem ! :) It will be interesting to see how this bit of kit progresses.
« Last Edit: October 17, 2010, 06:15:43 PM by HeadingtonBard »
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Re: Review : MCC-216 - S Video Version ( includes Photos )
« Reply #5 on: July 05, 2011, 02:16:45 PM »
i am looking into buying one these as it looks like a good standalone device just wondered have you tested out the amiga yet with it ?
does it load more than 1 disk like games with disk changes as play dune 2 alot.
also does it save to memstick?

i asking due to seeing nothing saying about amiga core and hows it getting on..

thanks in advance mark


Offline Phu

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Re: MCC-216 : S-Video Version - Review ...
« Reply #6 on: July 05, 2011, 03:00:40 PM »
or get a PC/Laptop/the real hardware

I agree ! :) Nice if you have the room, I know I would !  ;D

Once I get the PS/2 translators and my 8-input video switcher built, I'll post a video on my 12 systems into one setup ;)

-- Richard
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1200xl

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Re: Review : MCC-216 - S Video Version ( includes Photos )
« Reply #7 on: July 05, 2011, 03:18:11 PM »
a moded xbox is cheaper  ;D

Offline HeadingtonBard

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Re: Review : MCC-216 - S Video Version ( includes Photos )
« Reply #8 on: July 05, 2011, 06:05:41 PM »
i am looking into buying one these as it looks like a good standalone device just wondered have you tested out the amiga yet with it ?
does it load more than 1 disk like games with disk changes as play dune 2 alot.
also does it save to memstick?

i asking due to seeing nothing saying about amiga core and hows it getting on..

thanks in advance mark



Time has flown by and simply forgot to update the status in the review about the Amiga Core, which is currently available in Beta mode. I did take a video and review it back in May !  :o

Here is the Video : [ http://youtu.be/fVJoM0CM_N4 ]

I haven't fully tried disk swapping on it, but it does support this feature, just like the C64 Core.

There is a current working version of an Apple II Core and in the near future, a ZX Spectrum Core ( pending ).

All of the Disk Images are stored on an SD Card and the Amiga Core currently only supports .ADF and note .DMS or compressed Image files at the moment.

Here is the page for the Amiga Core at Arcade Retro Gaming : [ http://mcc-home.com/3.html ]
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Re: Review : MCC-216 - S Video Version ( includes Photos )
« Reply #9 on: July 05, 2011, 09:20:02 PM »
Thanks for showing me that very interesting well i look forward to seeing speccy on that and hopefully a amstrad version.
 Would be cool a all in one box for retro would be nice :)

The person who said mod a xbox its better dosent really understand what 8 bit games were like.

using a proper joystick and keyboard was the real experience not a xbox controller :)

thanks again for answering my  question

mark

1200xl

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Re: Review : MCC-216 - S Video Version ( includes Photos )
« Reply #10 on: July 05, 2011, 09:56:44 PM »
Thanks for showing me that very interesting well i look forward to seeing speccy on that and hopefully a amstrad version.
 Would be cool a all in one box for retro would be nice :)

The person who said mod a xbox its better dosent really understand what 8 bit games were like.

using a proper joystick and keyboard was the real experience not a xbox controller :)

thanks again for answering my  question

mark

Really?
Don't tell me what I do and dont know.
FYI my xbox also has a keyboard, mouse, moded Atari and sega joysticks
You have really pissed me off with your uneducated and miss guided comment. 
Maybe you should check out my collection of 8bit computers and consoles before you decide on my knowlege of retro goodies.

Maybe whilst you are correcting my knowlege of retro gaming you could tell me what more this box of tricks can do than an xbox or pc

Thanks

ggizmotigger

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Re: Review : MCC-216 - S Video Version ( includes Photos )
« Reply #11 on: July 06, 2011, 12:09:54 AM »
what more can i say you are very clever guy you can mod a xbox but we not all as clever as you by sounds of it..

Also should take things personally as this is a mis undestanding of how you modded your console not everyone can do this.

As i have been in scene many years and seen many conversions, but  i missed out on a conversion of a normal joystick working on a xbox which i have not seen.

Also like to see how you managed to do this conversion ?

Also having a collection of 8 bit computers dosent make anyone a genious? or does it?

The last answer to your question is i dont know what more the little box can do as i was asking HEADINGTONBARD for some info on the latest core updates on how it was working.....

Also i think it cant run xbox games or pc games either unless i am wrong but i guess you will tell me that :)

I hope i answered all your questions...   


« Last Edit: July 06, 2011, 12:14:09 AM by ggizmotigger »

Offline Phu

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Re: Review : MCC-216 - S Video Version ( includes Photos )
« Reply #12 on: July 06, 2011, 09:23:57 AM »
Ok guys.. calm it down now. If you want to argue, please do it off forum.

Meanwhile, please return this thread back to the MCC-126 review.

Thanks.

-- Richard
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Offline Amiga Man

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Re: Review : MCC-216 - S Video Version ( includes Photos )
« Reply #13 on: July 17, 2011, 04:12:10 PM »
Interesting Review but I need rethink about buying them  :-\

ggizmotigger

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Re: Review : MCC-216 - S Video Version ( includes Photos )
« Reply #14 on: July 17, 2011, 11:09:05 PM »
nice answer amiga man well if you have a c64 the ultimate u2 is a must if you dont get cameleon if you just want a play around then the mcc216 is for you :)