Sinclair ZX Spectrum Vega

Your link to the past. Talk about anything to do with games or consoles from years gone by.
Post Reply
barrybarryk
Posts: 1196
Joined: Mon Oct 20, 2014 6:38 pm

Sinclair ZX Spectrum Vega

Post by barrybarryk » Tue Dec 02, 2014 3:17 pm

So there's apparently going to be another ZX Spectrum clone. This is being developed by Speccy veteran Chris Smith, pretty much the daddy on all things Spectrum after his fantastic book "The ZX Spectrum ULA: How to design a microcomputer" (a great read if you're in anyway interested in reverse engineering, microcomputers or the Spectrum on a technical level) and his work designing the Harlequin clone (A sort of DIY Spectrum clone you can make yourself).

The ZX Vega is currently going through crowd funding on Indiegogo, trying to raise £100,000 for the first 1000 units and after seeing the device I had almost written it off entirely.
Image
Why does it not have a full keyboard? Why is it £100? Can I hook a keyboard up to it?

Rest assured, none of these questions are answered in the indiegogo pitch, but given Chris Smith's involvement this might be one to watch out for in the future.

The hardware itself is basically a small ARM SoC with some flash memory to store the built in games, though it'll also have an SD slot so you can run the free roms found on World of Spectrum etc.

Hopefully, it won't be pants.

User avatar
OrangeRakoon
Posts: 5889
Joined: Sat Oct 11, 2014 6:08 pm
NNID: OrangeRakoon
3DS Friend Code: 0705-5259-5082
PSN ID: OrangeRakoon
Steam ID: OrangeRakoon
Contact:

Re: Sinclair ZX Spectrum Vega

Post by OrangeRakoon » Tue Dec 02, 2014 3:37 pm

Why at all is it that expensive? The prototype design also looks terrible.

I can only think that it's because a) you're paying for development as well as the end product, and b) it is being made in such small numbers, but then you'd hope that it would drop in price a lot after the initial run.

barrybarryk
Posts: 1196
Joined: Mon Oct 20, 2014 6:38 pm

Re: Sinclair ZX Spectrum Vega

Post by barrybarryk » Tue Dec 02, 2014 3:46 pm

OrangeRakoon wrote:Why at all is it that expensive? The prototype design also looks terrible.

I can only think that it's because a) you're paying for development as well as the end product, and b) it is being made in such small numbers, but then you'd hope that it would drop in price a lot after the initial run.
Yeah I'm guessing the £100 is only for the initial backers to raise funds to make a lot more than just the 1000 units they're selling through indiegogo, it'll probably be £50 or so by the time it comes to market or "well below £100" as they put it. They've already said the product is pretty much developed, it's just getting the cash together to make it and agreeing software licenses etc. They've already got an agreement to use the original Spectrum rom image from Sky, who own it now, for um reasons, so it's just the games they need to round up. And with Chris Smith, David Levy and Clive Sinclair on board, that probably won't be that difficult for them.

I think it looks ok, I mean it looks like a small Spectrum, but I don't get why it has no keyboard and just a handful of buttons. That makes no sense to me.
Last edited by barrybarryk on Tue Dec 02, 2014 4:17 pm, edited 2 times in total.

User avatar
OrangeRakoon
Posts: 5889
Joined: Sat Oct 11, 2014 6:08 pm
NNID: OrangeRakoon
3DS Friend Code: 0705-5259-5082
PSN ID: OrangeRakoon
Steam ID: OrangeRakoon
Contact:

Re: Sinclair ZX Spectrum Vega

Post by OrangeRakoon » Tue Dec 02, 2014 3:59 pm

That seems to make a lot of sense.

I guess with the design they are going for the retro throwback appeal, but I am not a fan myself.

kerr9000
Posts: 2429
Joined: Mon Oct 20, 2014 6:55 pm

Re: Sinclair ZX Spectrum Vega

Post by kerr9000 » Tue Dec 02, 2014 4:29 pm

Sky own it because the whole sinclair spectrum brand was brought by Amstrad. Late spectrum units like the +2 and +3 actually mention amstrad as a copywright somewere on the main screen, Amstrad was brought by SKY and there main business activity now is making digital TV boxes for sky.

I have about 2000 spectrum games at a guess along with a 48k spectrum 2 128k +2 models and a +3 as well as a ZX81.

This all kind of intrests me, the look of the machine and the rubber keys all harks back to the zx80, zx81 and the early rubber keyed 48k models, why there is only a few keys and not a keyboard no idea, also I cant understand why there is a dpad, Spectrums were all about either the big kempston interface style joysticks or the little nobbly arcade a like competition pro style things you could pick up, never seen a Dpad for one before.

I wouldnt buy it unless it drops a lot cheaper. I have my original machines and feel quiet happy emulating the games on a pc If I cant be botherd to set up my original hardware and find the tape I want.

Still the announcment of it kind of warms my heart and makes me smile. I just hope it runs everything perfectly and is not like those megadrive consoles which hash everything up.

barrybarryk
Posts: 1196
Joined: Mon Oct 20, 2014 6:38 pm

Re: Sinclair ZX Spectrum Vega

Post by barrybarryk » Wed Dec 03, 2014 1:40 am

Well it looks like it'll reach it's funding target. After (almost) one day it's at £74k. Kinda feel like I should have made my own much better Spectrum (read: with a keyboard and joystick port!) and stuck it on indiegogo :cry:

Edit: ...and fully funded.

kerr9000
Posts: 2429
Joined: Mon Oct 20, 2014 6:55 pm

Re: Sinclair ZX Spectrum Vega

Post by kerr9000 » Fri Jul 31, 2015 8:29 pm

This thing was on the news a week or two ago. I think its out the middle of next month.

barrybarryk
Posts: 1196
Joined: Mon Oct 20, 2014 6:38 pm

Re: Sinclair ZX Spectrum Vega

Post by barrybarryk » Sat Aug 01, 2015 6:07 pm

Yeah it's had some delays along the road, nothing major a week here and there, but it should be shipping out to backers in about two weeks with retail units coming a couple of weeks after.

Still not an awful lot of info on the device itself despite a press launch event a couple of weeks ago and even a tour of the assembly at SMS Electronics got recorded.
With a bit of luck they'll start landing in peoples hands soon, then we'll get a better idea of what's possible with it. There's a rumour you can connect peripherals like a keyboard to it via a SDIO interface (very much the long way round and kind of a pain in the ass) but it's still just a rumour.

User avatar
danbish
Posts: 1167
Joined: Tue Oct 21, 2014 5:10 pm
NNID: TheFatPlumber
3DS Friend Code: 0920-1615-5762
Xbox Gamertag: Emerald Eagle
Steam ID: TheFatPlumber

Re: Sinclair ZX Spectrum Vega

Post by danbish » Sun Aug 02, 2015 10:35 am

I've been watching this for quite a while and I'm very intrigued since I grew up playing Speccy games. I'm also thinking about buying one too.

kerr9000
Posts: 2429
Joined: Mon Oct 20, 2014 6:55 pm

Re: Sinclair ZX Spectrum Vega

Post by kerr9000 » Thu Jan 07, 2016 4:32 pm

Seeing as both this and the recreated spectrum (the one made to connect to phones and such) are out did anyone take a punt or know anyone who did ?

barrybarryk
Posts: 1196
Joined: Mon Oct 20, 2014 6:38 pm

Re: Sinclair ZX Spectrum Vega

Post by barrybarryk » Thu Jan 07, 2016 5:19 pm

I have a Vega but wasn't too impressed with it. The emulation is spot on from what I can tell but it has pretty serious usability problems thanks to having neither a keyboard or an old atari type joystick interface. Apparently some expandability is supposed to come in a future update but as far as I know it hasn't happened yet. Composite video output is a bit pants too.

I don't know anyone with the bluetooth keyboard (Recreated ZX Spectrum from Elite) yet but by the look of it it'd be perfect for emulators (the spectrum keyboard is a particular pain in the ass because of it's unique layout and ridiculous number of functions per key) but it could have done with a DB9 joystick port too and is considerably overpriced at the minute at around £90 for me

If they just mushed both projects together they'd be onto a winner but for the time being neither beats something as simple as a raspberry pi setup to run a speccy emulator at boot.

kerr9000
Posts: 2429
Joined: Mon Oct 20, 2014 6:55 pm

Re: Sinclair ZX Spectrum Vega

Post by kerr9000 » Thu Jan 07, 2016 6:01 pm

yeah im put off by the fact I already own a real speccy (well a few) and lots of games, that and the fact a pc can emulate it all, or heck even a phone.

barrybarryk
Posts: 1196
Joined: Mon Oct 20, 2014 6:38 pm

Re: Sinclair ZX Spectrum Vega

Post by barrybarryk » Thu Jan 07, 2016 6:16 pm

I love the idea of the devices. Emulators are great and all but running the software is only a part of it. If it's too complicated to setup properly or interact with it just doesn't do it justice. No one wants to breakout a keyboard mapper to setup their controls for every single bit of software to try get it to play right.

I wound up spending weeks making a USB adapter that I fitted in an old empty 48k case that lets me connect a spectrum keyboard and joystick to a PC for emulators because the speccy keyboard is awkward to "emulate" with a modern one and an old microswitched joystick is the only to enjoy a lot of the games on there.

User avatar
danbish
Posts: 1167
Joined: Tue Oct 21, 2014 5:10 pm
NNID: TheFatPlumber
3DS Friend Code: 0920-1615-5762
Xbox Gamertag: Emerald Eagle
Steam ID: TheFatPlumber

Re: Sinclair ZX Spectrum Vega

Post by danbish » Thu Jan 07, 2016 6:37 pm

I did end up buying one of these a few months after it was released but I have to say I haven't used it half as much as I thought I would. I love the fact that as well as its pre-installed games you can download more off the internet to play (and they're adding more file types all the time that were previously unsupported) but what really hurts it, and probably the main cause for me not playing it as much as I should/would is its controls. Its awful to use thanks to the lack of the keyboard.

Their workaround is ok at best with the on-screen keyboard version but its far too fiddly to be able to play and enjoy anything on it. A few games I own and enjoyed immensely are near unplayable thanks to 'pressing the button to move, pausing and opening the on-screen keyboard to change the buttons to fire, closing, shooting, open up again to move' etc. It just doesn't work and to top it off, you have to near constantly pause the game to be able to do this. With only four face buttons to use you're constantly reminded of old mobile phone texting where you had to press 3 three times for an F, 4 twice for a H etc, that's after you've scrolled through the 'pages' and through the alphabet, numbers and symbols in the space about three inches high at the lower of the screen.

Whose idea was it to not have a keyboard? Its a necessity. Such a good idea, so very badly screwed up.

User avatar
D.J
Posts: 5159
Joined: Mon Oct 20, 2014 6:27 pm
PSN ID: SpacedDJ
Contact:

Re: Sinclair ZX Spectrum Vega

Post by D.J » Fri Feb 05, 2016 2:40 pm

Seeing this thread reminds me, i've had this old speccy theme tune in my head now for weeks even though i haven't even played the game for 25 years, it really is one of the catchiest gaming songs of all time.

ImageImage
922734726186094920342258

toffeeman30
Posts: 703
Joined: Tue Oct 21, 2014 7:11 am

Re: Sinclair ZX Spectrum Vega

Post by toffeeman30 » Thu Feb 18, 2016 1:13 pm

D.J wrote:Seeing this thread reminds me, i've had this old speccy theme tune in my head now for weeks even though i haven't even played the game for 25 years, it really is one of the catchiest gaming songs of all time.



one of the best games for it, but the vega hasnt got this installed

User avatar
danbish
Posts: 1167
Joined: Tue Oct 21, 2014 5:10 pm
NNID: TheFatPlumber
3DS Friend Code: 0920-1615-5762
Xbox Gamertag: Emerald Eagle
Steam ID: TheFatPlumber

Re: Sinclair ZX Spectrum Vega

Post by danbish » Fri Feb 19, 2016 11:30 am

You can download other non pre-installed games onto the Vega via SD card, Dizzy included.

barrybarryk
Posts: 1196
Joined: Mon Oct 20, 2014 6:38 pm

Re: Sinclair ZX Spectrum Vega

Post by barrybarryk » Fri Feb 19, 2016 4:42 pm

They've also announced a new model as a handheld
Image
It's on Indiegogo now and has already sailed past it's £100,000 goal, offering the unit for £100

Still no word on using a keyboard or joystick on either version outside of "we're reviewing our expansion options" though

User avatar
danbish
Posts: 1167
Joined: Tue Oct 21, 2014 5:10 pm
NNID: TheFatPlumber
3DS Friend Code: 0920-1615-5762
Xbox Gamertag: Emerald Eagle
Steam ID: TheFatPlumber

Re: Sinclair ZX Spectrum Vega

Post by danbish » Sat Feb 20, 2016 12:14 pm

I saw this a few days ago and while it does look nice its going to have the same problems it's bigger brother.

toffeeman30
Posts: 703
Joined: Tue Oct 21, 2014 7:11 am

Re: Sinclair ZX Spectrum Vega

Post by toffeeman30 » Sat Feb 20, 2016 1:45 pm

To be fair though the majority of the games are pretty rubbish. They look just as bad too

barrybarryk
Posts: 1196
Joined: Mon Oct 20, 2014 6:38 pm

Re: Sinclair ZX Spectrum Vega

Post by barrybarryk » Tue May 03, 2016 5:05 pm

Nearly 400 grand raised for the ZX Spectrum Vega Plus handheld via donations and presales, without so much as a prototype. I'm in the wrong line of work.

User avatar
danbish
Posts: 1167
Joined: Tue Oct 21, 2014 5:10 pm
NNID: TheFatPlumber
3DS Friend Code: 0920-1615-5762
Xbox Gamertag: Emerald Eagle
Steam ID: TheFatPlumber

Re: Sinclair ZX Spectrum Vega

Post by danbish » Tue May 03, 2016 6:17 pm

There's a new verison been announced by another company now and this one looks very promising, also looks very lovely too;

Image

Details here.

barrybarryk
Posts: 1196
Joined: Mon Oct 20, 2014 6:38 pm

Re: Sinclair ZX Spectrum Vega

Post by barrybarryk » Tue May 03, 2016 6:37 pm

Yeah, that one looks interesting. I was going to do a thread for it when some hard details turn up, likely with the crowdfunding campaign. It certainly looks the part though.

User avatar
danbish
Posts: 1167
Joined: Tue Oct 21, 2014 5:10 pm
NNID: TheFatPlumber
3DS Friend Code: 0920-1615-5762
Xbox Gamertag: Emerald Eagle
Steam ID: TheFatPlumber

Re: Sinclair ZX Spectrum Vega

Post by danbish » Tue May 03, 2016 7:04 pm

The fact that there's a keyboard built into it (as there should have been from the start with Vega) is really selling it to me. Plus all the extras are nice as well, one to keep a close eye on...

barrybarryk
Posts: 1196
Joined: Mon Oct 20, 2014 6:38 pm

Re: Sinclair ZX Spectrum Vega

Post by barrybarryk » Tue May 03, 2016 7:08 pm

Yeah, the form factor is ideal but being FPGA based and that complicated to produce is probably going to lead to a kind of cost lots of people won't like. Around £180/£200 and up.

There's another similar machine called The 64 crowdfunding now, based on the C64 design.

Post Reply

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 1 guest