The last MIST

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MasterOfGizmo
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The last MIST

Postby MasterOfGizmo » Sat Jan 20, 2018 9:38 pm

Hi,

i am sad to announce that we'll likely stop producing MISTs. Let me explain why this happens. This is not going to be a complaint but simply a description what happened.

Some of you likely noticed that there are several cheap clones now and there's also MISTer. As a consequence the last year many people complained to me about the price of the genuine MIST. There seemed to be so many cheaper options. Why should someone buy the more expensive part? After all this is all open source and we are all one big family. So competition is good and cheaper units are even better as they'll help spreading the MIST idea and even increase the number of cores, number of users, overall sales and make it a big success. Really? Hmmm ...

Why is the MIST more expensive than those clones or than the MISTer? Of course we initially had some costs. We built prototypes, re-designed them, built more prototypes. We never sold these. We gave a bunch of them fore free to a few developers. Some are still here on my desk collecting dust. We made sure the MIST would pass CE testing, we cared for ROHS and WEEE and all this other regulatory stuff one has to do to be able to legally sell something like this in Europe. At that time there was no core for the MIST. The Atari ST core was still being written and the Minimig core was being ported. So we e.g. gave units to people who's work we were building upon. E.g. the author of the TG68K got one of the first ones as a thank you for writing this CPU we all have now spent so many hours with when running the Atari ST or Amiga cores.

Then came the time where only the genuine MIST existed. Somewhat later people started to copy it. The first imho were some people from spain. They actually asked whether they could produce a few of them for their friends. No problem. Then those friends became more friends. And these friends needed help, asked for support, wanted new cores. Guess where they got their support? But that was ok. And sure these devices were cheaper. Why? The cloners didn't have to build prototypes. They didn't have to find and supply people supporting the core development. They didn't have to build a metal case to pass CE regulations. They didn't have to pay for WEEE or care for electronic waste laws. So yes, the result was much cheaper. And all these clones work that way. I haven't ever seen a clone myself nor have ever been offered one. We were just asked to support them, anyway. But that's ok. We knew from the beginning that this would happen someday. But we handled it differently ourselves when we started the MIST. That was part of the idea behind MIST. We wanted to be fair to those who's work we re-used and we wanted to make sure we obeyed the laws. But we simply cannot compete with the clones anymore.

What about projects like MISTer? That's a good question. The DE10nano, the powerful device it's built upon, is even cheaper than the MIST. Do you own one? Did you search it for CE markings? I did. I doesn't carry any. This device is illegal to sell to end-users in europe. But if you ignore that fact your can of course sell it without case for a pretty decent price. Really? Now comes the fun fact: Try to find the price for the FPGA on the DE10nano. It's significantly more expensive than the DE10nano itself. How is that possible? Someone with lots of money in his pockets subsidises these boards to get developers to support his FPGAs. Much like we did with our free MISTs for core developers. But once more: We cannot compete with that. And why don't we use the DE10nano as a basis for a new MIST? Because we cannot be sure that the board will still be available next week. I am actually sure if you contacted the distributors you got the board from and asked for CE and other regulatory requirements they'd immediately stop selling it. A board like that is fine for a few experiments but it isn't something to seriously build upon.

I know that there are still people discovering the MIST. Coincidentally, today I received a note from Joe Decuir, the designer of the Antic chip. He really enjoys his MIST. But many people like him are nowadays buying clones.

So what's the result? The MIST simply doesn't sell anymore. The investment to build large enough batches to get down to a reasonable price is too high and they are now selling too slow to justify keeping such quantities in stock.

We'll sell the current batch. But that's it. Maybe one of the clone makers starts writing new cores or starts to give away free boards to promising developers as an incentive. I don't know. Maybe the MIST idea will take off again. I don't know.

It definitely was a fun time. I have met many great people. I have learned a lot. I have spent the entire spare time of nearly two years of my life understanding and re-creating retro machines. It was definitely worth the effort. But this journey now comes to an end. At least for me ...

And if you want a genuine MIST, then consider helping Lotharek to get rid of his last stock.
MIST board, FPGA based Atari STE and more: https://github.com/mist-devel/mist-board/wiki

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Re: The last MIST

Postby Gehstock » Sat Jan 20, 2018 10:04 pm

:cry: discontinued, who can repair my mist. No jtag anymore.
Let us switch to the Mister and make it to the best fpga platform


MiSt Repo Deleted

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Re: The last MIST

Postby vebxenon » Sat Jan 20, 2018 10:39 pm

:shrug: :shrug: :shrug:
Gehstock wrote::cry: discontinued, who can repair my mist. No jtag anymore.
Let us switch to the Mister and make it to the best fpga platform


MiSt Repo Deleted


Why do you delete your repo if I use my original Lotharek made MiST everyday? We are still active users... And I wanted to download all your new arcade cores
Last edited by vebxenon on Sat Jan 20, 2018 10:41 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: The last MIST

Postby vebxenon » Sat Jan 20, 2018 10:40 pm

Till, I support you. Thanks for the best computing product I've ever bought. Thanks for all.
Just a computer and videogame lover :)

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Re: The last MIST

Postby Gehstock » Sat Jan 20, 2018 10:47 pm

Yes i do

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Re: The last MIST

Postby vebxenon » Sat Jan 20, 2018 10:51 pm

Gehstock wrote:Yes i do


I need your arcade cores. Please share them :(. We support your work.
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Re: The last MIST

Postby lotharek » Sat Jan 20, 2018 11:16 pm

Gehstock wrote::cry: discontinued, who can repair my mist. No jtag anymore.
Let us switch to the Mister and make it to the best fpga platform

MiSt Repo Deleted


Please, contatc me - stop producing new bacth does`nt mean i do not take responsibility or i will not help

also, i still have many units left...

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Re: The last MIST

Postby AdvancedFollower » Sat Jan 20, 2018 11:41 pm

vebxenon wrote::shrug: :shrug: :shrug:
Gehstock wrote::cry: discontinued, who can repair my mist. No jtag anymore.
Let us switch to the Mister and make it to the best fpga platform


MiSt Repo Deleted


Why do you delete your repo if I use my original Lotharek made MiST everyday? We are still active users... And I wanted to download all your new arcade cores


I agree, seems like a bit of an over reaction. There are lots of MiST users and they won't throw away the device just because it isn't being made any more. Openness and sharing is what has made the FPGA scene work in the first place.

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Re: The last MIST

Postby squid4 » Sat Jan 20, 2018 11:46 pm

Masterofgizmo,
You are an FPGA GOD! You’ve done more for bringing FPGA magic to the general public more than anyone I know. The MIST is still a great product and I’m sure it can still provide years of retro fun. Totally understand your decision, things move on. Sadly we don’t seem to have a MIST2 and the Mister isn’t there yet.

I’ve had a lot of pleasure programming the MIST even with the little I’ve done and learned so much from your code.

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Re: The last MIST

Postby Lane » Sat Jan 20, 2018 11:47 pm

Why would you delete the repo, gehstock?

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Re: The last MIST

Postby arf » Sat Jan 20, 2018 11:53 pm

MasterOfGizmo wrote:i am sad to announce that we'll likely stop producing MISTs. Let me explain why this happens. […]


Bummer. What a pity. Thanks a lot for the great machine that you started, complemented by work of many others. I still enjoy my original MiST.

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Re: The last MIST

Postby Gehstock » Sun Jan 21, 2018 12:33 am

AdvancedFollower wrote:I agree, seems like a bit of an over reaction. There are lots of MiST users and they won't throw away the device just because it isn't being made any more. Openness and sharing is what has made the FPGA scene work in the first place.


No, that's not an overreaction. That burns me since the beginning under the nails. Everybody wants Open Source only nobody makes a profit, except for the people who want to enrich themselves on the basis of the work of others. You want to write support in the cores? then do it. We all have a job and a family and we do it because we want it or because we do not have any of the cores.
It is not really hard to develop or adapt anything on an FPGA
only one must have the will to do so

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Re: The last MIST

Postby vebxenon » Sun Jan 21, 2018 1:04 am

We only just want to enjoy and use your cores, Gehstock. We suppport you. We promote your work, we are active MiST users, so why you don't let me now download your last updates? :? :? :?
Just a computer and videogame lover :)

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Re: The last MIST

Postby kolla » Sun Jan 21, 2018 2:06 am

There is something called "market saturation", there is a limit for how many are interested in such a system, and I would not be surprised if that limit has been reached. And then there are always the crowd who never can afford whatever is current and who are always waiting for the "next big thing". For me the MiST is awesome, I use it with the Minimig AGA core pretty much every day.
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Re: The last MIST

Postby kolla » Sun Jan 21, 2018 2:12 am

Gehstock wrote:
AdvancedFollower wrote:Everybody wants Open Source only nobody makes a profit, except for the people who want to enrich themselves on the basis of the work of others.


Sounds like open source projects are not for you. I don't know what license you have released your cores under, but it would be funny if you have chosen one that enforce you to release sources to anyone who at some point downloaded a core from you.
-- kolla

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Re: The last MIST

Postby Gehstock » Sun Jan 21, 2018 2:21 am

Clone Suppliers will do the Job out now

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Re: The last MIST

Postby Wayne123 » Sun Jan 21, 2018 2:23 am

Thanks for making the MiST, I really like mine. I don't regret my purchase at all and I think the price was great for what I got, nice case, MIDI ports and an Atari ST Core.
1040 STF, MiST, FPGA Arcade, plus Amigas, NeXT and some PPC Macs.

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Re: The last MIST

Postby Newsdee » Sun Jan 21, 2018 2:24 am

Thanks for taking the time to let us know, Till. It's good to hear from you.

This is very sad but not unexpected news. I suspect adoption of it will reduce significantly after the official source disappears. It is undeniable the MiST had a fantastic run since it was introduced in 2013 and became a unifying force in FPGA retro gaming. But (almost) five years is a long time and many things have changed since then.

It's not just the clones I think; there are also other FPGA projects that take a different philosophy such as the Spanish ZX-Uno, which from the start aimed at being a fully open hardware initiative (CC license on schematic and BOMs), and the Arcade Replay 2 (announced) which already offers a better FPGA than the MiST. I'd imagine that designing a MiST2 is too much work as things would unfold similarly (limited exclusivity then clones) especially if the hardware is supposed to be kept exclusive.

Another thing is that FPGAs are now more in people's consciousness from the Analogue NES and SNES clones that have been sold. Their latest offering is cheaper than the MiST so expectations of core quality might be higher. I can see that it's probably too much hassle to support an official MiST commercially.

I can relate to the feeling of putting enormous work in something that in the end is taken by others with minimal effort, but in the end what was created here is something far bigger than hardware: a community of enthusiasts using and supporting the project. I know it doesn't pay the bills, but the legacy of what you've built is well alive in other projects such as MiSTer and beyond.

The MiST still has a niche. It's the only powerful hardware (so far) that could be soldered by one person at a reasonable price. If you stop production completely, what would be the status regarding schematics? Would you be willing to share them or let one of the cloners to publish schematics of their version? That would truly IMHO make the project completely open. I understand you might be reluctant to do so though for liability reasons, however this openness and "DIY at your own risk" was a philosophy I always respected in the project.

In any case, I wish you and Lotharek the best in future endeavors. I'd hope to see you guys with a new piece of FPGA gaming one day.

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Re: The last MIST

Postby Paradroyd » Sun Jan 21, 2018 3:00 am

Thanks Till, for making one of the best products I own (and I own a lot). I don't blame you at all for getting out of it. I got more out of this than I ever expected.

Thanks for taking us along for the ride!
:cheers:
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Re: The last MIST

Postby duhproject » Sun Jan 21, 2018 3:24 am

Paradroyd wrote:Thanks Till, for making one of the best products I own (and I own a lot). I don't blame you at all for getting out of it. I got more out of this than I ever expected.

Thanks for taking us along for the ride!
:cheers:


Exactly what Paradroyd said. I use my MiST all the time and have enjoyed it immensely. Thank you, Till. It was/is an amazing device worth every penny.

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Re: The last MIST

Postby DrOG » Sun Jan 21, 2018 4:22 am

I'm sad to hear discontinuing production of MiSTs, but I understand the reasons.

This is my FAVOURITE retro device I own, and I'm not planning to throw it away in the future...

I wish luck to everyone who participated in this project, and a big THANK YOU for all the hardware and core developers!

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Re: The last MIST

Postby nathan1974au » Sun Jan 21, 2018 4:28 am

:D
Last edited by nathan1974au on Fri Apr 13, 2018 1:20 pm, edited 1 time in total.
be cool game on!!!

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Re: The last MIST

Postby ericgus » Sun Jan 21, 2018 4:35 am

Gehstock wrote::cry: discontinued, who can repair my mist. No jtag anymore.
Let us switch to the Mister and make it to the best fpga platform


MiSt Repo Deleted


Dear god WHY?

Not everyone has plans to switch to MISTer .. I certainly dont.. not for a long while.. (unless someone is going to send me a free one, I don't see it happening anytime soon) ..

very sad, please reconsider your action, there are a lot of MiST users still out there.

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Re: The last MIST

Postby DrOG » Sun Jan 21, 2018 4:45 am

I agree, Your work is very important to us!!!

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Re: The last MIST

Postby Sorgelig » Sun Jan 21, 2018 5:00 am

Gehstock wrote::cry: discontinued, who can repair my mist. No jtag anymore.
Let us switch to the Mister and make it to the best fpga platform


MiSt Repo Deleted

Oh, common! Why you do this? Still many people are using MiST. Let others to pick your sources and improve them.

-----

I don't get this whole drama. Time is passing and products are getting outdated. Phones today getting outdated within one year or even sooner. MiST exists 5 years already. This is huge period in modern electronic. I know it's hard to plan a product for long future, but MiST has some crucial lacks. For example, requirement of very specific monitors. You cannot simply connect it to generic modern TV or projector. So MiST cannot sit on living room but doomed to be buried in dev desk of tinker guy where he clean his table from garbage to show how it works. Many cores hit limit in either LE or BRAM amount. These 2 problems were forcing me to think about alternative. That's how MiSTer born. Actually i've started to make MiSTer on other older dev board with Arduino Teensy as an MCU. So, i've planned to make MiSTer from existing devices from the start. And was hard to ignore DE10-nano when it was released.

FPGA cost for dev board isn't subsidized by some 3rd party people. It's subsidized directly by Altera before and by Intel now. And since it lasts many years and didn't change with Intel when it acquired Altera, this case will continue. They need to promote FPGA. Additionally they have university program - so you can by many dev boards even cheaper. Why don't "exploit" this possibility?

It's not true about illegal sales of the boards in CE because they don't have specific certifications. It's just matter of targeting the product. It's targeted as testing platform for developing and thus don't require many certifications. You buy chips from Mouser or Digikey and you don't pay any certifications or patent fees they require. You only pay it when you sell an end-user device. Same for dev boards which are selling decades already.

Will Terasic stop to manufacture DE10nano? Sure, someday will. But look at other their boards like DE1 which i believe started to be selling before MiST and still on sales while MiST stopped to produce. Since it's targeted as example of design, they don't need to change it while the heart of the board FPGA is in manufacturing. They may slightly change the design if some components are EOL, but it won't be so big. I believe MiSTer will be able to accommodate such slight changes.
But everything is getting outdated and nothing lasts forever. Cores will be ported to a new HW if they worth. Open source here helps a lot. Terasic still sells Cyclone II boards while Quartus has dropped this FPGA 5 years ago.


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