Commodore: Fresh corpse walking?

I’ve not heard anything solid about “Commodore Gaming”, and the wishy-washy stuff I have heard doesn’t put a single ounce of spittle in my abandoned reservoir of confidence.

Building PCs is OK, but if you were really resurrecting the Commodore brand surely what you should really be doing is bringing some piece of technology to the table. And given the brand, surely one particular technology, above all, begs attention.

The Amiga was a distributed processing system; unlike its contemporaries, the Amiga had specific chips for graphics related stuff so that the CPU was free to do … CPU work.

Today’s PC duplicates out of mere necessity what was designed for the Amiga, and this is perhaps the one area that a real Commodore Gaming brand (as opposed to just some brand-name knockoff) could really bring something to market.

Build us a PC designed for distributed processing of 3D data, and more importantly, which takes some of the load off the CPU in distributing that data.

We have 3D cards that handle rendering of 3D world data, and have even begun to provide services back to the CPU such as collision detection etc. We have sound cards which translate 3D data into an audio environment but don’t – as yet – use the same data the video card uses. And we’re slowly seeing the creeping arrival of the physics card.

Multi-threaded programming can be hard, its something that still instills fear into a lot of game developers because its self-evident that with the growth in multi-core systems its going to become essential.

But its only, really, Windows developers who haven’t gotten their heads around it. This is one of those areas where Microsoft really deserve every bit of hating. I can’t describe the threading/fiber/forest models in Windows as more than adequate because:
a) they’ve taken so ridiculously long to reach their present levels of maturity (even given that their product is based on the single-tasking/user Windows application)
b) its complexity and alien jargon scares off more developers than any other API,
c) they reek of ‘afterthought’,
d) due to the requirements of Microsoft’s proprietary development, they reek of ‘must develop here at all costs’ syndrome; at various times in their development, MS has clearly prioritized reinvention over common sense.

Programmers who’ve had exposure to distributed systems – like the Amiga, like some of the consoles – get threaded programming. It’s really not that hard, unless you don’t get it. Its the same difficulty that people have going from working solo to working as part of a team: some will just never get it.

For now, though, my hunch is this is some group of suits who want to enter the Alien/Dell market and have convinced themselves that the Commodore label, unknown to and forgotten by most of today’s core gaming market, will somehow endear gamers to a variation on the theme.

Unless they have something to really distinguish them from the products of the incumbent giants, this will just be another Commodore zombie-resurrection…

7 Comments

Totally agree {not that it matters :-) }. This smells like another corpse, but I could be wrong.

PS: Anyone know a good book on coding for threaded systems? I have not yet had the opportunity.

LOL, of course some people would want to reserect the Commodore brand. The thought of Atari still existing (even if it is only as a software publishing house), and Commodore not is obviously too much for some people, thus time to dig up the corpse!

And Oli, you are totaly correct, without the name being attached to some actual hardware it is total meaningless to use the Commodore name. Us older people KNOW Commodore & Atari made computers, not just published software.

Looks at large wardrobe filled floor to roof with Atari & Commodore harware & software and thinks it time for a little nostalga! Maybe a little Dungeon Master on the ST, or Wings on the Amiga. Or a little classic Space Invaders on the 2600. :-)

It won’t make it.

That was another era. Only the game Elders know of the Commodore, which has some meaning to them. On a side note, it would have to be able to upgrade if it even has a chance. Personally I am comfortable with upgrading my PC and it would be hard to switch.

Fridge:
If it’s thread programming in general you want to read on this is a good starting point:

http://birrell.org/andrew/papers/035-Threads.pdf

Two very interesting links, to Amiga/Commodore nostalge:

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Edge-Spectacular-Rise-Fall-Commodore/dp/0973864907/ref=sr_1_2/203-6668415-3486322?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1173344811&sr=1-2

(it used to exist 1 month ago a web http://www.commodorebook.com but it dot exist today). This book is a must. Seriously, a must.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Minimig

Amiga on a card. Awesome what a lonely guy can do on his spare time. I will buy one.

can they bring anything to the table that hasn’t been done yet though?

seems nvidia/ati are barreling down the path to streaming processors. amd/intel have sold their soul for more core! Amd’s ‘Torrenza’ may just allow for a physics processor to exist on the mobo in an upgradeable socket.

.. i just don’t see how a dormant brand can rise like the phoenix and challenge anyone in the PC market.

for the record, i had a c64 when i was 7, 22 years ago. i used to program in basic and that system started my love affair with all things computer gaming. never got a c128 or an amiga though, we were to poor :).

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