Subliminal Extacy #03
01 апреля 2001
  Commodore 64  

Is C64 Better Than Speccy?

Is C64 Better Than Speccy?
                   Is C64 Better Than Speccy?

                           by Factorб

That's THE question. Just about every Speccy man says:"It isn't!
What crap! C64 suxx!"  Yes, C64 was made  in the same year  like
Speccy, in  1982 by  Commodore Business  Machines. Its "father" 
- like Speccy's Sir Clive is Sam Tramiel (who left CBM then  for
Atari).  CBM  had to  make  a concurrent  product  to Sinclair's
Spectrum. It was  a successful turn,  a C64 was  very popular as
much as Speccy  was.  Quite every  game which exists  on Speccy,
exists on C64.

Now, in 2000,  it's a PC era. Everybody has  next to their 8-bit
computer some  Pentium. Shit, but PC helps  a lot with Internet,
data storage,  gfx converting,  etc. There  is the  scene. Every
computer has  its  own  subscene. Speccy,   C64, ... Amiga,  PC.
Basically, C64  has  a  much bigger  scene than   Speccy. It's a
fact.  It's  the  most  widespread  8-bit  computer  in  Western
Europe. The  C64 scene  exists also  in the  U.S. and Australia.

What  about Speccy?  Poor scene  in England,  Middle Europe  and
quite big in Russia. Not outside of Europe. Do you know any  non
-European demo group? Me neither.

Why? The C64 is better?  Hmm, let's compare some technical data:

          C64                   Speccy                          
Processor 6510 @ 0.9MHz ;-)     Z80A @ 3.SMHz (wow!)            
RAM       64K                   128K (wow!)                     
Graphics  320x200 1бcolors,     256x192 8colors+bright,attibutes
          attributes            no gfx hardware :-/             
          160x200 1бcolors,                                     
          gfx hardware for                                      
          sprites, smooth                                       
          scroll, etc.                                          
          (gfx chip @ 17MHz)                                    
Sound     SID (Зchn, 8oct,      AY (Зchn, 8oct, one type of     
          instrument synth)     tone)                           
          (it rulez!) 
          C64                   Speccy                          
Speed     slow without using    faster than C64 without using   
          gfx hw                gfx wh ;-)                      
Disk      original Commodore    various - much faster than C64  
          vvverrry sllowww :/                                   
          IDEбЧ, max.8GB        HDD IDE, better specifications

So,  the  Spectrum  wins just  about in  every category.  C64 is
better in gfx, but when you  don't count a special gfx chip  for
hardware sprites,  scrolling and  so on,  the faster  machine is
Speccy.  As  an  example,  look  at  the  game  R-Type  on  both
computers. What a cool game on Speccy!  All the levels from  the
original  arcade  machine,  super  playability,  everything   is
moving. But the movement is ensured by attributes, because of an
attribute colour collision fault. On C64 it's crap. It's smooth,
fast, with music, but there is a lack of levels, it's in 160x200
(classic C64 "gaming" video mode). Some sprites don't move, some
monsters are so crappy.. You must laugh when you know the Speccy
version :-) In this way Spectrum won. Another game: Turrican II.
On Spectrum an attribute gfx, everything looks rather comic.  No
in-game music, the playability is low. On C64 it's a really good
game. Very  nice sprites  in 160x200  mode, everything  is fast,
smooth and  colourful. Ok,  the game  comparison is  about fifty
-fifty (There  are good  and bad  games and  conversions on both

Now, some applications.  Fore example, Art  Studio, which is  on
both computers. On  Speccy (the original)  it's nearly the  best
gfx editor. Cool, fast, nice user interface, easy to use. On the
C64  there are  two versions.  One is  identical to  the Speccy
version. It's in 320x200 and uses attribute gfx. The second (Art
Studio II) is  in 160x200,  you  can draw multicolour  pics. The
main thing you notice is  that both C64 versions are  sllooww as
hell.  It's caused  by the  main processor's  timing. 0.9MHz  is
really -not much- :-0 So the Spectrum wins.

Demos. On  Spectrum, often  used is  a monochrome  dithered gfx,
some  effects are  really in  real time.  For example  Extreme's
REFRESH. Nice  demo with  lots of  dithered realtime  3D objects
which are "in"  nowadays. The AY  sounds nicely playing  a weird
techno  tune.  C64  demos are  also  superb.  Colourful effects,
vectors, attribute plasmas... But many effects are precalculated
(because of that "speedy" processor). The SID sounds really cool
and it's one  of the better  things of the  C64. Take a  look at
Byterapers' demo Unsound Minds.  Many effects were firstly  done
on C64 and then used in demos on Speccy, e.g. attribute  plasmas
were on C64 somewhere in 1992. We can say, the Speccyers  "copy"
old C64 effects. It isn't 100% true, of course :-) So, let's say
C64 won in demos.

Storage. A special category I  need here. The Speccy hasn't  got
it's  own  disk system  as  the C64  has.  There are  +Ds,  Opus
Discoverys,  MBO2s, D40/80s,  Betadisks, but  none of  them are
standards (except Betadisk, but it's Russian :-) don't count  on
it now) A different system - different options. What can you  do
with one, you can't do the same thing with another disk  system.
So there is a big mess on the Spectrum's side. The C64 has  from
the beginning  had its  own disk  system -  The 1541 disk drive.
It's  5,25"  single  sided   !damn!  slow  system  with   crappy
filesystem. Loading of  fucking 5OKB takes  about 2 minutes  (!)
using system DOS. The demos use their own turbo loading routines
to break this handycap. You can use a turbo routine installed in
a ROM cartridge, so there's  not a problem. It can  do something
while loading, play music, use gfx chips. It's quite good.  It's
the  one and  only system,  everyone owns  it, so  some special
loading problems or other is unknown here.

There are also harddisks. On Speccy an IDE interface by PVL  and
Tritolsoft, which is very powerful in connection with an  MBO2+.
It's still in development, but it rocks! Tritol has connected  a
CD-ROM and a CDRW drive (!)  to it successfully. On 64 -  I know
about one interface called IDEбЧ.  As I read about it,  it's not
so fast,  has limited  FAT, limited  size (8GB)  of drive.  So I
think Speccy wins again!

Sound. AY vs  SID. The C64's  SID (Sound Interface  Device) is a
really lovely thing and there  are over 12,000 tunes for  it. AY
is a really good sound chip, but it doesn't reach the quality of
SID. There are lot of tunes available for it, but SID wins.

Scene. On Speccy there is  a big lack of demogroups.  Yes, there
are lots of  them in ex-ussr,  but in Europe?  Let's count: Raww
Arse, Hooy-Prg, KЗL (they do nothing), ESA (dead at this  time),
... insert the rest I forgot here. On the C64, there are lots of
groups,  really   lots.  Scandinavia,   Denmark,  Germany,   The
Netherlands,  France,  Poland...  They are  active  and  they do
demos, diskmags, musicdisks  and so on.  In this case,  C64 wins
and Speccy plays the role of an outsider. Please, don't slap  me
if I forgot  the diskmags written  in russian language.  I don't
count them because they are unreadable by most of people outside
of ex-ussr states. So C64 wins in this case.

So, the result  of our "non-official-quite-lame-comparison"  is:
C64 is as good as Spectrum  :-) In some cases Speccy is  better,
in others, C64 is better.

So, let's keep 8-bits alive (...'til they are, because the scene
is the  main thing  which keeps  them above  the water surface).
Don't say  "my type  of computer  is better  than yours",  don't
start the forgotten "cold war" between 8-bit users ;-)

c ya


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