A video. Again. Mostly about cases.

bubblebee

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All further experiments, especially with the case, will only result in one thing: a further delay in the production start and thus the Pyra delivery. It is completely incomprehensible to me how ED can even consider such a thing again. Have all forgotten the disaster, when ED suddenly committed to deliver the Pyra also with 4GB instead only with 2GB? Since it was initially assumed that a replacement of 2GB with 4GB actually should not be a problem. And what did it ultimately cost us in terms of time and money? Does nobody really learn anything from the past here? I sincerely hope that ED will not make the same mistake again and risk a new delay in production start by promising something again, which he can not keep up. ED himself said in his video that everything is now ready for production to start. For God's sake, start production and finally deliver the pyra. It is irresponsible to hold the community and preorders even longer and endanger the success of more than 1000 pre-orders.
 
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oskda

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Thanks ED for the video.

For me we need to paint the case...i don't really like discolorations.
For me it is not so much important, but I think for Pyra success and growth it is important.

If new people see Pyra for first time with those imperfections in case they can thing it is cheap/poor made and take away with that incorrect thinking.

I don't like painting, but I think it would be better fir Pyra, at least for 1st mass production, because theses Pyras will be on media, blogs, etc.

People got used to see good external aspects. Look to phones about Pyra price range: they are made near like jewels. Even cheaper machines like old Nintendo DS line were made with very good aspect.

Look at that GPD XD: it is painted, it is cheap and looks excelent.

I think bad case image would not help Pyra. It will not hurt us, people waiting for years and following Pyra news, but it will hurt Pyra because some new people will take, erroneously, a bad image like if wasn't well done or designed, and will take away without knowing they are wrong.

If a machine is good (and Pyra is good) it must look good, not for us (we know it is good) but for new people.
 

Pyramancer

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All further experiments, especially with the case, will only result in one thing: a further delay in the production start and thus the Pyra delivery. It is completely incomprehensible to me how ED can even consider such a thing again. Have all forgotten the disaster, when ED suddenly committed to deliver the Pyra also with 4GB instead only with 2GB? Since it was initially assumed that a replacement of 2GB with 4GB actually should not be a problem. And what did it ultimately cost us in terms of time and money? Does nobody really learn anything from the past here? I sincerely hope that ED will not make the same mistake again and risk a new delay in production start by promising something again, which he can not keep up. ED himself said in his video that everything is now ready for production to start. For God's sake, start production and finally deliver the pyra. It is irresponsible to hold the community and preorders even longer and endanger the success of more than 1000 pre-orders.
I'm not sure that I agree with this entirely. I think I maybe don't agree with it, quite. But it seems worthy of some serious contemplation.

I don't envy ED over having to make this decision. The dragon is surely in danger of being impaled on one of the horns of this dilemma.

[With regards to the 4GB "issue", I think that far too much blame (in terms of cost and time) is placed at 4GB's door. The problem turned out to be merely a typo in a configuration file. The extra round of prototype boards to "fix" the 4GB "problem" was needed in any case to fix other (real) hardware issues. And the roughly year-long delay between the arrival of those prototype boards and anything much happening with them was mostly due to no one having many hours available for working on the Pyra, along with some minor setbacks. The only way to really blame 4GB for this is to say that it stalled the project's momentum, but I think that would be a bit scapegoaty. (That's my perception of this little bit of history, and I will be happy to be corrected by anyone wielding contrary facts.)]
 
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oskda

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Almost everything on the market with flat surfaces is painted, to avoid the visual defects shown in the video. I see three main techniques to hidden them:
- painting
- stickers
- thin/thick lines on the outside where or around the internal pegs are, to move your eyes out of the affected area(s)
I defended a very textured surface in external plastic parts, for example like HP-48 calculators (really they were pocket computets).

In that way those optical flaws dissapear. And at the same time you have a no slippery device. I hate flat and like polished plastics as they are slippery and more prone to marks by using them.

 

Pyramancer

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I defended a very textured surface in external plastic parts, for example like HP-48 calculators (really they were pocket computets).

In that way those optical flaws dissapear.
Hmm... these calculators have very very thick plastic cases. I wonder if the textured plastic hides flaws or if the thick plastic prevents them. (Or minimises them, I should say, because both my 48SX and my 48GX have (barely noticable) flaws in the plastic. And in your lower photo isn't there a semicircular flaw spanning the middle of the back?)
 

oskda

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I don't mind the discoloration at all. I doubt t will be very noticeable and I don't care if it is. All my favourite machines (C64, Amiga, etc) have the same thing.

My first thought is that maybe you should offer painting as an optional extra - you pay maybe $5-10 extra if you want your pyra painted. That seems reasonable to me. It would also mean that production won't need to be held up for something that many people don't care about - you could ship unpainted units while still figuring out the paint.
My Commodores 64/128 have much more textured/rugous plastic on external parts, so flaws are hidden externaly. Yoy can see them if you disassemble the machine.

The idea of iptional painting for some extra money is great. I think that Pyras showed to press/media and sent to blogs/youtubers would need to be painted models so they were shown in perfect external aspect. That would be good for Pyra as more new people could be attracted.
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If it works. Painted with high quality paint is a good idea. I agree with eight bit in that reviewers might savage it. Cost permitting its a possibility. However for consistency's sake and to convey a professional and uniform appearance I would suggest paint them all or paint none. Otherwise reviews might vary too much with some units receiving positivity and unpainted ones not.
It may be a solution to paint all initial (high quality paint of course), and no-painted cases would be an optional accessory, something you can buy later. In this way all reviews would be painted cases, but people wanting no painted cases would have it.
 

Singpolyma

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I wouldn't mind paint, but I really don't think I mind the discolouration either. It looks fine to me, and even if paint could make it look "better" I think I would worry too much about that adding more delay with another company in the mix -- and more work for you!

Thanks so much for everything you do and for not giving up!
 

Djoga'Ro

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I don’t have anything plastic that is roughened or scratched. Do you have any examples? What always fail are paints and rubber coatings.
It depends on the kind of plastic material. No particular piece comes to mind, but haven't you seen surfaces look like sanded glass? That's what I mean by roughened. It's most obviuos in transparent parts. Where I was getting is, that there are plastics which wear gracefully and those that wear ugly, and - as Pyramancer said - this is also true for paints. There are paints, that don't feel flimsy, that aren't flakey, that rather get deformed in concert with the underneath material than they would chip, that maybe even add to scratch resistance. If one can find a paint, that behaves mechanically like the plastic used in the product, maybe adds to sturdiness, wears thin rather than break, and looks rather much like the naked plastic, it would enhance the product.

All further experiments, especially with the case, will only result in one thing: a further delay in the production start and thus the Pyra delivery. It is completely incomprehensible to me how ED can even consider such a thing again. Have all forgotten the disaster, when ED suddenly committed to deliver the Pyra also with 4GB instead only with 2GB? Since it was initially assumed that a replacement of 2GB with 4GB actually should not be a problem. And what did it ultimately cost us in terms of time and money? Does nobody really learn anything from the past here? I sincerely hope that ED will not make the same mistake again and risk a new delay in production start by promising something again, which he can not keep up. ED himself said in his video that everything is now ready for production to start. For God's sake, start production and finally deliver the pyra. It is irresponsible to hold the community and preorders even longer and endanger the success of more than 1000 pre-orders.
The 4GB problem was a good thing IMHO. It brought a misconfiguration to light. And as Pyramancer said. Handling that problem happened in parallel with other things.
When looking for potential painters, ED could "We produce product made of plastic XYZ. Could you please send samples of paint on such material. Samples with hard and round edges and corners and flat surfaces would be most helpfull." This way testing paints wouldn't have to wait for anything from the project, and could be done in parallel. The Pyra is still not ready for mass production, yet. So why not ask for some samples and see.
 

netlinker

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In my opinion, discolorisations are not that bad at all.
I'm rather afraid that the color of the paint won't match the plastic.
If I'm looking at a dyson vacuum, most of the parts suffer from heavy discolorisation. Only the cyclone is painted, as most probably its some kind of fiberglass material to withstand abrasion.
Nevertheless you can spot a color difference between the two parts.
Therefore I would like to avoid the color.
If color has to be, please paint the whole case, not just one part. The paint will age differently from the plastic resulting in a (maybe huge) color difference over time.
 

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rSl

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would be great if @azouls could make an offwhite colored test-case to check if these visual imperfections get substantially less with a really light color.
if it is way better, we would have one option more to get unpainted cases quickly.
only problem is likely, not all want an offwhite case like me and 8bit. ;)
but hey, if it solves this problem for now and later on one could get other, maybe painted, cases...

edit:
maybe the case can get a rougher finish from the moulds too, this would hide the bugs even more.
@azouls, is it possible to make the finish look more rough without a lot of added work?
 

netlinker

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I would be in on an off white case. It would really be retro and very unique in the current handheld landscape. Maybe a color resembling the original Gameboy?
Anyway, the case can be easily changed at a later point and shouldn't be very expensive. Therefore I support rSI and his opinion.
If it makes it easier for the first batch to make the case off white, it would seem a plausible option to me.
Maybe Ed could provide different cases to the people that are not ok with this solution at a later point in time at a discount, maybe when the molds are properly redone or something.
If more than one color exist in the first batch, they might as well choose between discolorizations or off-white.
 
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EvilDragon

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Whooot, didn't expect that much drama!

First of all, some things I need to make clear:

  • We need a good impression. If I only sell 1000 units, I'm done for. To get the manufacturing costs in, we're looking at at least 3000 to 4000 units. The Pandora sold 7500 units - and demand was still there, but we couldn't get the Wifi chip anymore, so it's possible
  • Scratch resistant coating is ALSO part of painting the device!
  • A proper paint CANNOT peel off - as it's not really a layer but tons of small particles that are applied to the surface. Basically, it's not called "painting" but "coating", I think.
Did you expect we hire someone who paints the devices manually?

I'm looking into companies like these ones:
https://www.stovatec.com/en/
https://www.pf-lack.de/oberflächentechnik.html
http://www.dicoma-coating.de/leistungsspektrum.php

There are a lot more, these are just some examples.

All further experiments, especially with the case, will only result in one thing: a further delay in the production start and thus the Pyra delivery. It is completely incomprehensible to me how ED can even consider such a thing again. Have all forgotten the disaster, when ED suddenly committed to deliver the Pyra also with 4GB instead only with 2GB? Since it was initially assumed that a replacement of 2GB with 4GB actually should not be a problem. And what did it ultimately cost us in terms of time and money? Does nobody really learn anything from the past here? I sincerely hope that ED will not make the same mistake again and risk a new delay in production start by promising something again, which he can not keep up. ED himself said in his video that everything is now ready for production to start. For God's sake, start production and finally deliver the pyra. It is irresponsible to hold the community and preorders even longer and endanger the success of more than 1000 pre-orders.
Except that it's nothing like the 4GB RAM issue. 4GB RAM needed a lot of software and hardware work to fix.
It was not a trivial thing to do (I thought it was, but accessing the RAM was totally different, I didn't have the knowledge back then).

A coating which is usually 0.1mm thick does not need any firmware or hardware redesign stuff and is indeed pretty trivial to do.

Appreciate clarity on this point soon.
If it’s going to be painted and there won’t be an option for an unpainted version, I want to know what my refund options are for my preorder. It’s entirely what I don’t want, and functionally pointless. As though you would ever show the Pyra to anyone at an event or in person and they would develop intent to purchase based on how the finish is.
Well, as said - we also need to take into account that we need to sell it to more users in the future.
It won't be helpful if 50% of new customers send it back because they think it doesn't look like a 600 EUR device.
And honestly, if I had to choose between refunding you or thousands of customers, the choice should be pretty obvious... not much I can do here.

That's why I'm taking my time THINKING about it, testing out the different options, weighing out the positive and negative aspects.

It’s a niche enthusiast device. Why does everyone want this thing to look like Nintendo made it. That’s the whole point.
If you can ensure I'll get thousands of more happy customers if it looks like this, then I'm happy.
The issue is: A LOT of users (even niche enthusiast users) care a lot about the looks.
 

pmprog

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A coating which is usually 0.1mm thick does not need any firmware or hardware redesign stuff and is indeed pretty trivial to do.
I don't think bubblebee was referring to it being complicated, but rather the time you'll spend getting samples, testing them, checking they look okay.

I think it's right to look into trying to make a professional finish for the case, but at the same time, you have a bunch of users who probably aren't going to be publicly visible with their Pyras saying they are happy for the slight discolouration of the raw plastic.

Starting to ship some units to those willing to take them, whilst investigating the painting certainly doesn't seem like a bad idea to me. You're started to get revenue back in, and it's reaching users, and potentially developers of non-system software.
By the time the painting is then decided, you should hopefully have a handful out there, and possibly some additional software, and maybe some OS rough edges smoothed.

Edit: In addition, you could always offer a "case upgrade" service. Those who willingly take the non-painted discoloured version can later get a new case at a price. You can either have them send the units back for swapping, or a cheaper option where they just buy the new case and do it themselves
 

theredbaron

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Again no mention of an off-white case... I feel ignored! :'(
You want that old school look? :)

The problem is, its not exactly a common want. Thus for an initial launch, it might be missing. However, you will be able to get one after launch though. Even if ED doesn't sell them himself, they case designs are open, so you can always get one made easy.

Though it does suck that it would be an extra fee and extra work, but at least it is doable.
 
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Djoga'Ro

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Again no mention of an off-white case... I feel ignored! :'(
I don't understand. You guys mention it all the time. ;)

The problem is, its not exactly a common want. Thus for an initial launch, it might be missing. However, you will be able to get one after launch though. Even if ED doesn't sell them himself, they case designs are open, so you can always get one made easy.
Is a 3d-printed case anywhere near as tough as a molded one? A titanium case might be nice, though - and expensive.
 

TrashyMG

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Is a 3d-printed case anywhere near as tough as a molded one? A titanium case might be nice, though - and expensive.
Typical consumer level 3D Printing, generally not, due to the nature of being made in layers. However some of those titanium metal 3D printers used in aerospace industry like applications, now that would be fairly durable... but yeah expensive
 
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