The ZX Spectrum is getting a new start.
Be a part of it!
Fall in love again
Relive the experience of opening a box and getting a brand new Spectrum that feels as revolutionary as the original back in its heyday. Plug it in and start enjoying your beautifully designed new computer.
The Spectrum Next is a reimplementation of the original at hardware level, ensuring it runs all the software out there -- old and new. And it's also compatible with most expansions made for the ZX Spectrum.
Built for tomorrow
Faster, more memory, new video modes, SD storage, HDMI output... It takes the Speccy to a whole new level. And it's totally open source, so the community can expand, improve and take it into the future.
The Crowdfunding Is LIVE!
Check it out at KickStarter
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An industrial designer of unparalleled talent, Rick’s seminal works include the ZX80, Z81, ZX Spectrum, Plus and QL. Over the decades his creations have stood out of the crowd and survived the test of time, remaining icons of design to this day. If you think the Spectrum Next looks gorgeous, it’s all his doing.
One of the most gifted retro hackers on the planet, Victor is responsible for an endless string of open source hardware aimed at keeping our beloved oldies alive. Perhaps his mostly recognised project is the multisystem cartridge emulator, enabling many consoles to use a single device to load games from SD cards.
Recognised as a key figure in the MSX hardware scene in Brazil, Fabio is a computer scientist with a not-so-hidden passion for the Speccy (the MSX vs Speccy in Brazil was analogous to the C64 vs Speccy in the UK). He’s the co-creator of the TBBlue Spectrum board, the starting point of the Next hardware.
One of the most celebrated ZX Spectrum developers, Jim is the coder behind classics such as Cabal and Midnight Resistance among many others. He also holds a Guinness World Record for cramming Dragons Lair into a ZX81. Jim is responsible for several functions of the Next (such as new video modes and sprites), and drives the development requirements for the platform.
A game designer and the co-founder of Bossa Studios, makers of Surgeon Simulator, I Am Bread and Worlds Adrift, Henrique is a retro gamer whose very first title was created in a ZX Spectrum clone (TK-90X). His passion for games and demoscene powers the developer relations of the Next project.
Evolving As You Read It.
The Spectrum Next is fully implemented with FPGA technology, ensuring it can be upgraded and enhanced while remaining truly compatible with the original hardware by using special memory chips and clever design. Here’s what under the hood of the machine:
AKA: The Ever-Expanding FAQ.
Q. Is the Spectrum Next an emulator?
No, the Spectrum Next is implemented with FPGA technology, no emulation was involved in this beautiful machine.
Q. Is the Spectrum Next compatible with all Spectrum games?
The Spectrum Next should work with all games created for the original computers. We tested the most transcendental games out there (we’re looking at you, Arkanoid and Aquaplane) and demos to ensure they work fine, including with the HDMI output.
Q. Is the Spectrum Next compatible with all original hardware?
Almost. Interfaces that use only the digital signals will work perfectly. The pins for -5V and analogic video signals Y, U and V are not connected, so hardware that use these pins may not work.
Q. Do I need a special SD card or something complicated?
No, it’s a regular SD card with a typical FAT filesystem. You can use a computer to transfer or backup your files to the card with no trouble.
Q. Can I load homebrew games on the Spectrum Next?
Yes, you can load all your games with the SD Card or the tape interface, including new gems like Castlevania and Knightmare 2.
Q. Does it support software for 48k and 128k modes?
Yes, all Spectrum modes are supported (and also ZX81 software -- we forgot to mention that!)
Q. Can I connect the Spectrum Next to my network?
Yes, it features a port for a ESP8266 Wi-Fi module you can add.
Q. Can I save my work while using the Spectrum Next?
Yes, you can save using the SD Card or the tape interface, old-style!
Q. Can I use my normal VGA monitor (31khz)?
Yes, the Spectrum Next does support a standard VGA monitor (CRT or LCD). It uses a ‘scandoubler’ feature to output a signal these monitors understand.
Q. Is there audio on the HDMI connector?
Yes, full audio and video, without needing any fancy stuff. Just plug the connector on TV or monitor and you are ready to go.
Q. Does it have a SCART output connector?
No, but you can use a HD15 to SCART cable (not included) easily found on eBay.
Q. What is the new graphical modes does it support?
They are "Radastan", "Layer 2" and sprites. Radastan is a 128 x 96 with 16 colours per pixel from an enhanced palette. We don't know about any new games using it yet, but there are some SDKs with the support, maybe we will see some software using it in the future. "Layer2" is a Next exclusive mode that suport a "layer screen", a 256 x 192 with 256 colours per pixel. This layer can be OVER the standard screen (using 100% magenta as tranparency colour) or UNDER the standard, using any ZX Spectrum colour as transparency. Sprites are exclusive to the Next too and can be used over the other modes. A "sprite" is a 16x16 image with 256 colours per pixel that can be drawn anywhere on screen, including the border area. Sprites can be moved incredibly fast over the screen, because the job is done by hardware, not software.
Q. Does these new video modes support give existing games more colours?
The games from that era will look exact the same, but some of them are completely recolored games you can directly load from SD Card, like Cybernoid II, Commando, Terra Cresta and many others. New games, however, will be able to take full advantage of Next's new video modes, including the turbo speed.
Q. Is the keyboard of the Spectrum Next the same as the ZX Spectrum Plus and QL?
No, they just look the same. Underneath its looks one finds a modern butterfly system that aims to provide comfort and high bandwidth input for the keyboard, similar of what one would expect from a modern laptop.
Q. Is it possible to change the Spectrum Next settings such as speed, video settings etc at runtime?
Yes, all the settings available at the setup menu are also accessible through OUT/IN commands, making it possible for instance to change the Z80 CPU speed or enable/disable any particular interface such as the DivMMC via code, thus enabling programs to make use of all the features (or not) with no hassle for the end user.
Q. Is there a straightforward way of pushing code and data from a PC to the Spectrum Next?
The simplest way that’s best suited to most is to just copy files via the SD card. For developers who want to push data in real time for testing, we’re leaning towards a RS232 connection or even by an ESP8266 Wi-Fi network module.
Q. Is there a development environment (IDE) for the Spectrum Next available yet?
Not at this time, but we’re already working on putting together a suite of tools, documentations and code examples to fast track development for the platform. These will be shipped with every Spectrum Next (as in the good old days of schematics packed in the manual!) and will be available for download shortly, way before the machine is in production, so developers who have access to dev kits can start coding in preparation for the launch.
Q. What OS the Spectrum Next uses?
Next is a "esxDOS ready" that uses the system designed by Miguel Guerreiro, and it’s one of the most powerful OS available at this time, including support for the .TRD format widely used in Russia and required for some of the most advanced programs currently available for the Spectrum.
Q. Will it support FAT32 longnames?
We hope so, and are already discussing this feature with Guerreiro that will make a specific version of esxDOS for Next with FAT long file names.
Q. Can we get rid of the colour clash?
Yes, with the new video modes and sprites is possible to make a full colour game without any colour clash.
Q. Can the Spectrum Next support Scorpion, Pentagon, others? SPECTRA interface video modes will be supported?
From a very early evaluation, yes, the Next could support these, but they are not tested yet. We’ll look at supporting more models.
Q. Will it be possible to update the FPGA programming by the user himself or must it send back to service for updating?
Yes, you need only a special update file on SD Card. It´s a totally safe and fast procedure.
Q. Can the Next board support more cores on FPGA, like C64/Apple II/BBC/whatever?
Extras cores are not the main focus of the Next, but the board is FPGA based, so you can upload anything you want. There are many cores with similar specifications of the Next and would be easily adapted to run on board.
Q. How much will the ZX Spectrum Next cost?
We’ve preliminary closed the budget of the project, and we started with the goal of launching the computer at the same price the original ZX Spectrum was made available in the 80s: £175. We achieved this goal, and are now working to make it cheaper, but the final price will depend on the total volume of orders, the more units the cheaper the individual cost; and also on sourced partners. We’re doing our best to make the Spectrum Next as affordable as possible without compromising features, quality or adding risks to the crowdfunding.
Q. Will the firmware and other pieces of code be Open Source?
Yes, the Spectrum Next team is committed to opening the entirety of the project to the community in order to secure the project's constant evolution and its future with the collaboration of every fan willing to help.