Discovering the X68000 | MiSTer FPGA | Requests Welcome

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It’s not a system I know, so it should be fun testing it out together. A gig shout out to @phillai for the help with the set up and game recommendations. I don’t have a massive amount of games, but there should be enough for Rock & Roll. It’s great the amount of cores we have for the MiSTer FPGA DE10 NANO.

From Wikipedia 👇
The X68000 (Japanese: エックス ろくまんはっせん, Hepburn: Ekkusu Rokuman Hassen) is a home computer created by Sharp Corporation. It was first released in 1987 and sold only in Japan.

The initial model has a 10 MHz Motorola 68000 CPU, 1 MB of RAM, and lacks a hard drive. The final model was released in 1993 with a 25 MHz Motorola 68030 CPU, 4 MB of RAM, and optional 80 MB SCSI hard drive. RAM in these systems is expandable to 12 MB, though most games and applications do not require more than 2 MB.

The X68000 has graphics hardware similar to arcade video games of the late-1980s, with custom coprocessors supporting scrolling, tiled backgrounds, and large numbers of sprites. Sound is supplied through multiple sound chips supporting 8 channels of FM synthesis and one channel of adaptive differential pulse-code modulation audio, which are mixed down to 2 analogue stereo channels via a DAC chip. As such, video gaming was a major use of the X68000.

Operating system
The X68k runs an operating system called Human68k which was developed for Sharp by Hudson Soft. An MS-DOS-workalike, Human68k features English-based commands very similar to those in MS-DOS; executable files have the extension .X. Versions of the OS prior to 2.0 have command line output only for common utilities like “format” and “switch”, while later versions included forms-based versions of these utilities. At least three major versions of the OS were released, with several updates in between.

Early models have a GUI called “VS” or “Visual Shell”; later ones were originally packaged with SX-WINDOW. A third GUI called Ko-Window exists with an interface similar to Motif. These GUI shells can be booted from floppy disk or the system’s hard drive. Most games also boot and run from floppy disk; some are hard disk installable and others require hard disk installation.

Since the system’s release, software such as Human68k itself, console, SX-Window C compiler suites, and BIOS ROMs have been released as public domain software and are freely available for download.[1] Other operating systems available include OS-9 and NetBSD for X68030.

Case design
The X68000 features two soft-eject 5.25-inch floppy drives, or in the compact models, two 3.5-inch floppy drives, and a very distinctive case design of two connected towers, divided by a retractable carrying handle. This system was also one of the first to feature a software-controlled power switch; pressing the switch would signal the system’s software to save and shutdown, similar to the ATX design of modern PCs. The screen would fade to black and sound would fade to silence before the system turned off.

The system’s keyboard has a mouse port built into either side. The front of the computer has a headphone jack, volume control, joystick, keyboard and mouse ports. The top has a retractable carrying handle only on non-Compact models, a reset button, and a non-maskable interrupt (NMI) button. The rear has a variety of ports, including stereoscopic output for 3D goggles, FDD and HDD expansion ports, and I/O board expansion slots.

The monitor supports horizontal scanning rates of 15, 24, and 31 kHz and functions as a cable-ready television (NTSC-J standard) with composite video input. It was a high quality monitor for playing JAMMA-compatible arcade boards due to its analogue RGB input and support for all three horizontal scanning rates used with arcade games.

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