Andreas Gustafsson's Blog

Monday, May 07, 2007

The C64DTV - a new "oldschool" demoscene platform?

The C64DTV and Hummer are cheap connect-to-TV-and-play toys. The cool thing is that the hardware implements a good approximation of the classic C64 and also extends it with new features like 256-color mode, 2Mb RAM and a blitter.
For democoders wanting to continue with oldschool productions but looking for new challenges, it is an interesting choice.
I have a background in C64 coding (haven't released anything since early nineties though) and I am excited by it!
Yesterday I released my first little DTV-demo "Hello DTV World".

The demo is very basic, the only DTV-specific things exploited is the 8bpp mode for the intro pic and the 256-color character mode used for the plasma,
but I still got a feel for the platform and what the possibilites are.
Compared to the C64 scene which is very mature and almost all technical tricks have been discovered, the DTV is still uncharted territory (however C64 legend Crossbow/Crest have been doing some DTV stuff, so perhaps he will shock the scene and release a demo exploiting every DTV-trick possible soon... :))

Anyway, I think that sceners that are looking for a new platform should give the DTV a thought.

+ New platform (but with oldschool flavor!) with lots of technical tricks to be discovered.
+ Familiar coding environment for those with C64 experience.
+ Good development tools available.
+ Cheap.

- Needs hardware modding.
- Production of new units has (to my knowledge) halted.
- Still depends on C64 peripherals (C64 diskdrivers are rather slow and low capacity, aswell as hard to aquire nowadays)
- No established scene yet.
- Uncompatible hardware versions (v1 NTSC lacks almost all the new features, v2 PAL has some blitter bug)

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