- Here we are tinkering with the future of the C64 -
The story behind the Tube64 (Article)
Originally planned for the upcoming Universum64, but because of its attractive round shape it was soon presented as another new C64 model, the "Tube64".
During the conception of the Unversum64 world, which is still waiting for all of us, I was looking for a simple and catchy shape, whereby the "round shape" became established in my mind. Comparisons to the Apple MacPro, which also has a round shape, came up immediately, but I didn't even think of that when I designed the Tube64.
One stumbling block in the development was the interface board with user, tape and game ports and the midi interface board with its protruding midi sockets. Why? Because the external connections could not be rounded off. This can result in an optical design break, which can look very unattractive. That's why I had to distribute and integrate everything as far as possible without impairing the attractive round shape too much and at the same time not compromising the functionality. A tightrope act In the end, I think I succeeded well.
In contrast to the other forms, the development was considerably easier, although it has to be said that the plug-in system is quite extensive and sophisticated, especially on the lower floors, and there are quite a few things to consider. Because there, the many connections had to be distributed over several plug-in connections. In addition, there are two buttons for the blind disc change and an LED for the optional internal Pi1541 Zero drive. In order to be able to implement the blind disc change with the two buttons on the outside of the Tube64, I had to adapt the Pi1541 firmware in the end, because this option was not provided for there.
The SID LightShow
What makes the Tube64 so special, however, is not only its round shape, but above all the automatic SID lightshow that can be marvelled at when the SID generates music. Because then the 14 RGB LEDs are automatically set in scene by the notes played, which whiz across the address and data bus, through a sophisticated play of colours.
But the 3 SID sockets as well as the midi interface and the possibility to plug in an internal Pi1541 Zero, and even to install an internal HDMI output, are also big plus points of the Tube64.
In the meantime, this slim Tube64 has become the ideal mobile companion for me when I need to take a complete C64 with floppy 1541 to visit others, as this C64 also takes up virtually no space on the table, and is ready for immediate use with just a few movements.