CLC-92 Compu

Compu is a 16 bit computer that is only in the stage of analysis. Design and implementation will begin only once Compy is finished. There are some ideas floating around though.

(Heading image is a shot from Tiny Thor, one of the games that should inspire this generation)

The 16 bit generation of computers and consoles have quite powerful machines, but still they “lack” something. For example the poor sound and video capabilities of the Atari ST compared to the Amiga, or the limitations of the Amiga having only PCM channels. Don’t take me wrong, the 4 stereo PCM channels of the Amiga are great for music! But, do you agree that choosing between music and sound effects for gameplay is a tough choice to be made?

In the console area there is nothing much to improve, the Sega Genesis and the Super Nintendo have unmatched “videogames capability” for their generation.

What would a new machine add to this generation then? I think that this generation can take a step further from what Compy is. While Compy is a machine to learn how to program and create great remakes of existing games, Compu can be a machine to create new games with the 16-bit style of sound and graphics. A machine of this generation can easily mix C + assembler code, and to make a difference, I think it should support widescreen by design.

Widescreen may sound like “hey, it looks like an indie game for Playstation”, so to have an unique aesthetic some restrictions must be applied. The screen should look like a 16-bit era style of graphics only that the screen would be 16:9 instead of 4:3. That should be something like 480×270 with squared pixels (4×4 pixels in a 1920×1080 screen)

Hardware for the 16 bit computer

  • CPU Motorola 68040 at 40Mhz
  • Audio: Stereo OPL3 + 4 panneable DAC channels. This allows the best of both worlds, now there is no need to emulate synths with samples and viceversa.
  • Memory: 4MB
  • Video:
    • VGA / HDMI video output
    • 480×270 pixels
    • 256 colors from a 262.144 colors palette (24 bit palette)
    • Display lists
    • Bitmap mode
    • Text Mode: 60×32 chars, 16 colors, redefinable chars
    • BitBlt and Fill (no sprites)
    • Scaling and rotation
    • Video Ram: 512K
    • Scanline interrupt
    • Vertical Blank interrupt
    • Hardware scrolling
  • 2 Sega compatible Joystick ports
  • Analog controls (mouse, paddle)
  • SD card storage
  • SDK: C and Assembler

Following are some videos that inspire this computer: