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FPGA Based Videogame System


kevtris
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Interest in an FPGA Videogame System  

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  1. 1. I would pay....

  2. 2. I Would Like Support for...

  3. 3. Games Should Run From...

    • SD Card / USB Memory Sticks
    • Original Cartridges
    • Hopes and Dreams
  4. 4. The Video Inteface Should be...



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Are PAL video signals as meticulously reproduced as NTSC ones coming from an Analogue NT Mini?

yes it is, at least for NES. PAL is a lot more hit or miss on my other cores, because I don't have any PAL systems to test/RE at the time. The 2600 core for example is NTSC only but it runs PAL games; I only have one oscillator and not enough PLLs so I can't output PAL 2600 video, but it does output 50fps NTSC (and I guess the RGB is PAL rate so you can use that). Frame buffer systems (gameboy, etc) will/can output PAL just fine and I will add it to GB since it's pretty easy, I just forgot before I released it.

 

Hi kevtris, given the XRGBMini is end of life, given the incredible experience you accumulated about HDMI for those old 8 bits, any chance you would try to make a XRGBMini replacement?

 

Wrt HDMI out freq It can do like the original:

mode 1 -> pass thru (if the signal is a little off it's up to the TV to sync on it, no delay/lag but it only works on some TVs and with some consoles)

mode 2 -> via framebuffer (no HDMI issue but stutter when a frame is dropped or duplicated as needed .... so be it)

 

You could probably whip one out in a couple of week-ends, if the case is NOT milled aluminium chances are you can even sell it for far cheaper than the actual XRGB Mini sold for.

Also it can just focus on RGB in, SVideo in, Composite in, and maybe Component, no useless HDMI pass-thru or any JP only cabling, and you could include the LM1881 sync stripper (a <1$ part) that greatly helps (I shoved one in in the XRGBMini Scart to JP21 adapter and solved tons of issues with NeoGeo, SMS, Genny etc...etc... wrt sync signals on those old geezers, no more CSYNC, boosted CSYNC, or any other nonsense to deal with).

 

But I digress.

I thought about it but I have too many irons in the fire to do a standalone upscaler at this time.

 

 

Personally I feel like his time is better spent on Nt Mini cores + Zimba 3k work. Unless... can we clone an accurate version of kevtris on an FPGA? :)

Yeah that's what I am going to do :-) the nt mini was the perfect outlet for my FPGA work, so everything is getting ported to it. After that I have a working set of FPGA cores that I can use on anything pretty much. At the time I thought about the flash cart, I didn't have an outlet for my FPGA cores and thought maybe a cart might be OK, but the problem with a cart is it's limited to one system and there's already no less than two NES flash carts. So the idea kinda went nowhere.

 

I'd rather make "flash systems" than flash carts, if you know what I mean. The lol is that there's literally a "flash cart" built into each system core that does all the rom bankswitching/mapping required for the system. In fact, I pulled the gameboy mappers out and dropped them straight into my cart emulator project and can run all the gameboy games thru my cart emulator. Hardly any effort required.

 

 

Thanks to everyone for the audio examples! I think I know what's going on. I have some problems with the sweeps. I believe the sweep selection bit is backwards, which is causing incorrect sweeps depending on if it's supposed to be slow or fast. I know this used to be right, so I will figure out what broke and rectify it for the next release.

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Sometimes ago I found an interesting primer site on FPGAs, couple of days ago it was down but now it's up again:

http://www.fpga4fun.com/FPGAinfo2.html

 

It's based on old-ish FPGAs but as a quick primer it's fine, the boards in the connected shop site use very old FPGAs (Altera Acex and Cyclone I and Xilinx Spartan II and III) so I would NOT suggest them.

 

Also a free book on FPGAs is available here:

http://www.xess.com/tutorials/

first link.

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I think you've got it wrong.

 

Kevtris has bigger ambitions than fixing competitor's hardware. He's got a vision and has been working on cores for all the systems he's reverse engineered. If he gives his best research away for free in the form of flashcart mappers and plugins, it would devalue his own stuff when he finally develops his all-in-one Zimba3000 solution.

 

That said, the Krikzz Everdrives are amazing pieces of tech as I have many systems, but Krikzz weakness is the expansion audio chips. FME-7 and VRC-6 have been vastly improved since release through third party mappers, but why would Kevtris release his perfect implementation for free when his sound mappers are currently a HiDef NES / NT / NT Mini exclusive?

I expressed myself poorly. I meant to say that since Krikzz implementations have not been upgraded in a while and carry a number of known issues, kevtris making a flashcart would be a good thing on 2 front. For one kevtris has better mappers so buying his solution would achieve greater compat, also it would force Krikzz to fix his stuff so even if you had an Everdrive finally you'll get some measure of deeper fixes.

 

But as kev said, he prefers to build the whole 9-yards and the "flashcart" aspect is just embedded.

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yes it is, at least for NES. PAL is a lot more hit or miss on my other cores, because I don't have any PAL systems to test/RE at the time. The 2600 core for example is NTSC only but it runs PAL games; I only have one oscillator and not enough PLLs so I can't output PAL 2600 video, but it does output 50fps NTSC (and I guess the RGB is PAL rate so you can use that). Frame buffer systems (gameboy, etc) will/can output PAL just fine and I will add it to GB since it's pretty easy, I just forgot before I released it.

 

I thought about it but I have too many irons in the fire to do a standalone upscaler at this time.

 

Yeah that's what I am going to do :-) the nt mini was the perfect outlet for my FPGA work, so everything is getting ported to it. After that I have a working set of FPGA cores that I can use on anything pretty much. At the time I thought about the flash cart, I didn't have an outlet for my FPGA cores and thought maybe a cart might be OK, but the problem with a cart is it's limited to one system and there's already no less than two NES flash carts. So the idea kinda went nowhere.

 

I'd rather make "flash systems" than flash carts, if you know what I mean. The lol is that there's literally a "flash cart" built into each system core that does all the rom bankswitching/mapping required for the system. In fact, I pulled the gameboy mappers out and dropped them straight into my cart emulator project and can run all the gameboy games thru my cart emulator. Hardly any effort required.

Here's a thought. Can the design of the Nt mini accomodate the 49K LE FPGA?

Meaning can you just use the 49K LE as a drop in replacement?

If so, how easy would it be to replace also the controller ports ...... with ...... hear me hear me VGA connectors (DB25 really)?

 

Why VGA connectors? .... this is where it gets batshit crazy given MK-RVGS-CC-SNEZinaJag-CaptureCard shitshow ..... I was saying VGA (DB25) connectors because you could bypass the whole "weird" CV/INTV controller issue and allow Jag controllers to be used .... I know it's a tad crazy but they do come with 3 buttons and a keypad already, they are cheap (around 15/20US$ NOS) and they are mildly comfortable (compared to CV and INTV at least).

After-all the Jag controller ports were supposed to be enhanced joystick ports in the STE/Falcon line and each (via splitter) was able to support a dual DB9 setup .... see where I am going? (obviously the splitter has to be "embedded or shipped with the unit)

Granted the Jagpad is not ideal for the INTV "disc" (8 directions vs 16) but it would be better than a kick in the groin, right?

I'm pretty sure it would be very usable for the CV. And with an actual dual DB9 splitter one could use original stuff ..... I'm saying this so that maybe the Z3K is really an Nt Mini++ (with a PCI connector instead of the dual NES/Famicom setup so those cart adapters could be built).

 

Anyway end of the "batshit crazy" suggestion.

 

I know even just mentioning using Jag parts here feels like a bad omen and that's the last thing I want for the Z3K ... but hey, kevtris you dealt with MK and survived and actually delivered the goods (nt Mini, now JB firmware and the core-store).

 

Peace out.

 

Edit: VGA = HD15 not DB25, sorry for the confusion, the rest stays the same.

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As I don't own a NT Mini (yet) are the cores part of the firmware? I don't see any mention of this on the Analogue website. Is This something Kevtris is doing on his own?

 

Do all these cores show up in a menu?

 

Game roms loaded by SD card?

 

How did he implement the colecovision keypad?

 

They are part of the jailborken FW that kevtris supports on his own. The cores show up at load time, it's all via SD card, you choose one wait 20sec for it to load and enjoy loading your ROMZ.

 

Wrt CV here is the complete readme from the jailbroken firmware:

 

Colecovision Core Release Notes
-------------------------------


The Coleco core is complete as far as I know.  It runs all the games I threw at it,
and even demos and test ROMs I have made.

Make sure "colbios.bin" is sitting in the /BIOS directory.  You can have up to 3 BIOses
for the Coleco core.  These have the following names:

COLBIOS.BIN
COLBIOS2.BIN
COLBIOS3.BIN

This lets you select alternate BIOSes if you wish (i.e. the bit corp ROM, a stock ROM, or
a "skip delay" ROM).

The desired BIOS can be set in the core settings menu.

The multicart mapper / cart I designed back in 1996 is supported.  It is detected by having
a file size of 3Mbytes.  No other detections are done, and ROMs are loaded flat into memory.

This could change in the future.  


*Button mapping*
----------------

Because the controller that comes with the system only has 12 buttons, some... sacrifices
had to be made.  I tried to map the most-used starting buttons to A, X, select and start.

I am sorry about this but until the controller adapters are done this is how it works:

Start - mapped to 1 (so this lets you start most games on easy)
Select - mapped to 3 (lets you start a harder game)

X - mapped to #  (some games use this to start)
A - mapped to *  (some games use this to start instead)

The other numbers are gotten by using the left and right triggers in various combinations with
directionals:

Ltrig + up = 0
Ltrig + right = 1
Ltrig + down = 2
Ltrig + left = 3

Rtrig + up = 4
Rtrig + right = 5
Rtrig + down = 6
Rtrig + left = 7

Ltrig + Rtrig + up = 8
Ltrig + Rtrig + right = 9


I also have the buttons properly mapped for the NTT Data Super Famicom controller.  If you make an
adapter to convert SNES controllers to NES, you can use this controller.  It has the proper 0-9 and
* and # buttons on it, and is currently how I play Coleco on here.



*bugs, unimplemented things, etc*
---------------------------------

* It's possible there is a sprite issue, but it only shows up on 1 game (Defender) at the top.  This
could be normal, I can't remember.


*changelog*
-----------

021017
------

* first release
 
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Okay so the current cores are:
NES
Sega Master System
SG-1000
Game Gear
Gameboy
Gameboy Color (beta)
Colecovision

And what are the cores this system can support in the future?
I figure I
ntellivision, Atari 2600, 5200, 7800, and TG16 can probably be done with NeoGeo, NeoGeo Pocket (and color), Snes, and Genesis being maybes.

And on the subject of how the Colecovision numberpad is implemented how would the Atari reset, select, and difficulty switches be implemented? Some games (like Adventure) won't run without them and they are located on the console itself. Also if the snes turns out it can be supported would the cartridge side chips be done via fpga as well or would we require an everdrive? (If the chips are done via the console then would it be able to support the ones that have not been reproduced via everdrive? I know it won't play some snes games)

Edited by Wolf_
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Here's a thought. Can the design of the Nt mini accomodate the 49K LE FPGA?

Meaning can you just use the 49K LE as a drop in replacement?

If so, how easy would it be to replace also the controller ports ...... with ...... hear me hear me VGA connectors (DB25 really)?

 

Why VGA connectors? .... this is where it gets batshit crazy given MK-RVGS-CC-SNEZinaJag-CaptureCard shitshow ..... I was saying VGA (DB25) connectors because you could bypass the whole "weird" CV/INTV controller issue and allow Jag controllers to be used .... I know it's a tad crazy but they do come with 3 buttons and a keypad already, they are cheap (around 15/20US$ NOS) and they are mildly comfortable (compared to CV and INTV at least).

After-all the Jag controller ports were supposed to be enhanced joystick ports in the STE/Falcon line and each (via splitter) was able to support a dual DB9 setup .... see where I am going? (obviously the splitter has to be "embedded or shipped with the unit)

Granted the Jagpad is not ideal for the INTV "disc" (8 directions vs 16) but it would be better than a kick in the groin, right?

I'm pretty sure it would be very usable for the CV. And with an actual dual DB9 splitter one could use original stuff ..... I'm saying this so that maybe the Z3K is really an Nt Mini++ (with a PCI connector instead of the dual NES/Famicom setup so those cart adapters could be built).

 

Anyway end of the "batshit crazy" suggestion.

 

I know even just mentioning using Jag parts here feels like a bad omen and that's the last thing I want for the Z3K ... but hey, kevtris you dealt with MK and survived and actually delivered the goods (nt Mini, now JB firmware and the core-store).

 

Peace out.

 

Using the VGA (not DB25 (which is the serial or parallel port)) connector is what I suggested two pages back http://atariage.com/forums/topic/242970-fpga-based-videogame-system/?p=3699492

 

The main concern when using a cheap and available connector for a non-standard purpose is that there will be an inevitable person who tries to plug the wrong thing into it. That's the same reservation I have with using the HDMI connectors that the Blissbox uses. If someone plugs in the wrong thing (you can't key-pin a HDMI connector) then you either burn the PCB in the controller, or you burn the PCB in the Z3K if it shorts or supplies power on one of those pins. Fortunately the VGA connector only expects power on pin 9 for DDC on a newer monitor, so you could either plug this pin (thus only OLD VGA monitors that do not expect power could accidentally be plugged in, pin 4-8 are all ground or n/c on these, as well as 11, 12 and 15 for indicating superVGA) or use this as +5V for all devices connected to it.

 

Likewise with the PCIe connectors, but this is a much easier thing to prevent connecting PCIe cards since the Z3K has the "card edge" connectors and there is no way you are plugging a Z3K into a i7 motherboard. However just the same in case someone is really trying hard, you'd still want to key voltage pins to the same pins and n/c anything that would burn the PCB if over voltage is returned on it.

 

The VGA connectors on digikey are 75 cents to 1.50/ea, the DB15 (gameport) style are 2.50/ea. Buy them in large quantities and the price goes down pretty quick

Female version http://www.digikey.com/product-detail/en/amphenol-fci/ICD15S13E4GX00LF/609-5181-ND/1536501

Male version http://www.digikey.com/product-detail/en/assmann-wsw-components/AHDS15A-KG-TAXB/AE11036-ND/1241909

Edited by Kismet
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Here's a thought. Can the design of the Nt mini accomodate the 49K LE FPGA?

Meaning can you just use the 49K LE as a drop in replacement?

If so, how easy would it be to replace also the controller ports ...... with ...... hear me hear me VGA connectors (DB25 really)?

 

Why VGA connectors? .... this is where it gets batshit crazy given MK-RVGS-CC-SNEZinaJag-CaptureCard shitshow ..... I was saying VGA (DB25) connectors because you could bypass the whole "weird" CV/INTV controller issue and allow Jag controllers to be used .... I know it's a tad crazy but they do come with 3 buttons and a keypad already, they are cheap (around 15/20US$ NOS) and they are mildly comfortable (compared to CV and INTV at least).

After-all the Jag controller ports were supposed to be enhanced joystick ports in the STE/Falcon line and each (via splitter) was able to support a dual DB9 setup .... see where I am going? (obviously the splitter has to be "embedded or shipped with the unit)

Granted the Jagpad is not ideal for the INTV "disc" (8 directions vs 16) but it would be better than a kick in the groin, right?

I'm pretty sure it would be very usable for the CV. And with an actual dual DB9 splitter one could use original stuff ..... I'm saying this so that maybe the Z3K is really an Nt Mini++ (with a PCI connector instead of the dual NES/Famicom setup so those cart adapters could be built).

 

Anyway end of the "batshit crazy" suggestion.

 

I know even just mentioning using Jag parts here feels like a bad omen and that's the last thing I want for the Z3K ... but hey, kevtris you dealt with MK and survived and actually delivered the goods (nt Mini, now JB firmware and the core-store).

 

Peace out.

Yes the 49K part would drop right on the board. The problem with this though is that for i.e. SNES, while the logic element count would be OK, the amount of RAM bandwidth wouldn't. The 49K part MIGHT be big enough to hold both the 64K of VRAM and 64K of sound RAM, but I am not sure about the WRAM. I believe you can DMA direct from cart to WRAM so this would be an issue and require a second RAM chip. I don't think there's enough bandwidth on a single RAM to do this. That's the main problem I am seeing with newer (16 bit) stuff- the amount of RAM bandwidth required is fairly high. Most things people have done so far have been on dev boards which usually have a very large FPGA, and lots of RAM so they don't really count so much IMO. The dev boards are usually heavily subsidized, and the FPGA alone costs more than the entire dev board. Not that I'm complaining, but this is just a problem with the industry.

 

The connectors on the jag controllers are a high density DB15 (well I think technically it's a DE15). I have modified jag controllers in the past for Atari 5200 (god, soooo much better!), and Intellivision (that took lots of diodes). The jag controller is pretty nice, and it works great for those systems that need a number pad. Using this on the 5200 I could finally beat Montezuma's Revenge, well get to level 9 and keep playing it as long as I like, wrapping the score and life counters pretty much. I got pretty close to beating Bounty Bob Strikes Back, but some of those last levels are extremely difficult.

 

I mainly don't like the idea of designing in something like the jag controller on a new product because the supply of them is unknown, and if I did the cost of them on i.e. ebay would probably skyrocket. It's 15-20 bucks now but it could easily reach 50+ if there was any kind of demand. Maybe Mike has the molds for those squirreled away somewhere? lol.

 

I have been thinking a lot about the controller adapter situation and I have come to a crossroads and am not 100% sure how to proceed. I could go down one path- making an adapter that plugs into the famicom expansion port and provides two DB9's that would accept most controllers (2600, intv, coleco, sms, etc). But it wouldn't be able to run things like the 2600 peripherals that use it for direct access, such as atarivox, compumate, etc. Granted, I do have Atarivox built in (the speech part) but no one will be able to use it unless they can somehow get the ROM for the micro on it so it doesn't really count.

 

The other option is a cartridge that plugs into the famicom port and provides "direct" hardware access to the pins, just like a "real" system has, and would be able to use every peripheral directly. I can't really do this on the expansion port because I only have 2 outputs and a plethora of inputs, and I can't clock it fast enough (around 20-30MHz) I don't think to get "real time" outputs on the port.

 

Decisions, decisions. The other option was to put controller ports on the cart adapters- this way it can be tailored for each system, but then you need the cart adapters to use the controller ports and can't just run games off SD card. Tons of options, and none of them is really a "great" option IMO.

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Okay so the current cores are:

NES

Sega Master System

SG-1000

Game Gear

Gameboy

Gameboy Color (beta)

Colecovision

 

And what are the cores this system can support in the future?

I figure Intellivision, Atari 2600, 5200, 7800, and TG16 can probably be done with NeoGeo, NeoGeo Pocket (and color), Snes, and Genesis being maybes.

 

And on the subject of how the Colecovision numberpad is implemented how would the Atari reset, select, and difficulty switches be implemented? Some games (like Adventure) won't run without them and they are located on the console itself. Also if the snes turns out it can be supported would the cartridge side chips be done via fpga as well or would we require an everdrive? (If the chips are done via the console then would it be able to support the ones that have not been reproduced via everdrive? I know it won't play some snes games)

I already have support for a lot of those. 2600, 7800, intellivision, and more are finished but need porting to the system, which I am in the process of doing.

 

TG16 probably won't be done on here, neither will neogeo or snes and genesis because of the RAM bandwidth issue (and lack of LE's). The Z3K of course is going to remedy those situations.

 

Neogeo pocket is an x86 based machine which looks scary, so I dunno if I will tackle it.

 

The 2600 core uses the buttons on the controller for those functions. Right now, the mapping works like this:

 

start/select -> reset/select

Y - fire button

B - second fire button (booster grip for i.e. omega race)

X - TV type set to colour

A - TV type set to B&W

left trigger - easy difficulty

right trigger - hard difficulty

A+X = "press play on tape" for the supercharger

 

I have some reservations about my Odyssey^2 core though - specifically how to handle the keyboard. The core is 100% done including speech, but there's no way to type on the keyboard using the nt. Right now I have it hooked into the PC and I can send key presses over to it from there. I guess many games don't use it, so I can just cheat and map the usual keys that games use to start.

 

The intv has another problem, and that is the ROM situation is... ugly. The ROMs need to be in a format I came up with to allow them to map properly. There's a couple ways kicking around to do this, but they weren't very applicable to an FPGA, so I had to do it a bit different. All the games do work on it, and I even have the speech and extra AY38910 audio in there though.

 

Both of these are problems that can be solved but I am not sure what the best way to do them. Kind of a backwards problem: I have the thing *done* but it's hung up on the stupid crap like controllers. lol.

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I already have support for a lot of those. 2600, 7800, intellivision, and more are finished but need porting to the system, which I am in the process of doing.

 

TG16 probably won't be done on here, neither will neogeo or snes and genesis because of the RAM bandwidth issue (and lack of LE's). The Z3K of course is going to remedy those situations.

 

Neogeo pocket is an x86 based machine which looks scary, so I dunno if I will tackle it.

 

The 2600 core uses the buttons on the controller for those functions. Right now, the mapping works like this:

 

start/select -> reset/select

Y - fire button

B - second fire button (booster grip for i.e. omega race)

X - TV type set to colour

A - TV type set to B&W

left trigger - easy difficulty

right trigger - hard difficulty

A+X = "press play on tape" for the supercharger

 

I have some reservations about my Odyssey^2 core though - specifically how to handle the keyboard. The core is 100% done including speech, but there's no way to type on the keyboard using the nt. Right now I have it hooked into the PC and I can send key presses over to it from there. I guess many games don't use it, so I can just cheat and map the usual keys that games use to start.

 

The intv has another problem, and that is the ROM situation is... ugly. The ROMs need to be in a format I came up with to allow them to map properly. There's a couple ways kicking around to do this, but they weren't very applicable to an FPGA, so I had to do it a bit different. All the games do work on it, and I even have the speech and extra AY38910 audio in there though.

 

Both of these are problems that can be solved but I am not sure what the best way to do them. Kind of a backwards problem: I have the thing *done* but it's hung up on the stupid crap like controllers. lol.

Thanks very much for the in depth response! Sounds to me like most of the problem is controller hardware which will hopefully be something you plan for in the next gen =p or maybe an updated model (assuming of course you can't find a workaround, but in the z3k wider controller support would be essential)

 

My 2 cents on the ngp core would be to put it off if it looks like a hassle. The important thing is you don't burn yourself out and stay sane. Maybe do a bit, work on something not satanic, then revisit it when you feel like it so you won't have to tackle it all at once. Besides in the case of the ngp most of the games are from the NeoGeo library anyways.

 

If you have a general idea of the hardware in your head for the Z3k would you mind letting me know what the systems you're aiming to support in that model?

Edited by Wolf_
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....

If you have a general idea of the hardware in your head for the Z3k would you mind letting me know what the systems you're aiming to support in that model?

I thought he did.

 

I already have support for a lot of those. 2600, 7800, intellivision, and more are finished but need porting to the system, which I am in the process of doing.

 

TG16 probably won't be done on here, neither will neogeo or snes and genesis because of the RAM bandwidth issue (and lack of LE's). The Z3K of course is going to remedy those situations.

...

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Yes, he mentioned 4 systems (well 5 if you count ngp), but I was wondering what the full list of supported systems would be. For example could it do the 32x or sega cd, cdx, gba, n64, tgcd, lynx, jaguar, ect

I thought the limit was somewhat the 16bits, if he can pull off SNES/MD/NEOGEO it's gonna be epic already.

 

The purpose of the Z3K was all 8bits and 16bits that he can make to work.

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Doh!

Dunno how I forgot Colecovision!

 

Think I actually play that one the most!

 

I will one day defeat Montizumas Revenge

Does the colecovision core automatically assign inputs to the 8bitdo? Specifically, I'm wondering if in the smurf game for colecovision you would be able to set the jump command to an actual button instead of up on the dpad. On the real colecovision controller jump was mapped to pushing the control stick up while also holding it to the right to walk and it was always a pain. Being able to map that to a button would be great.

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Yes the 49K part would drop right on the board. The problem with this though is that for i.e. SNES, while the logic element count would be OK, the amount of RAM bandwidth wouldn't. The 49K part MIGHT be big enough to hold both the 64K of VRAM and 64K of sound RAM, but I am not sure about the WRAM. I believe you can DMA direct from cart to WRAM so this would be an issue and require a second RAM chip. I don't think there's enough bandwidth on a single RAM to do this. That's the main problem I am seeing with newer (16 bit) stuff- the amount of RAM bandwidth required is fairly high. Most things people have done so far have been on dev boards which usually have a very large FPGA, and lots of RAM so they don't really count so much IMO. The dev boards are usually heavily subsidized, and the FPGA alone costs more than the entire dev board. Not that I'm complaining, but this is just a problem with the industry.

 

The connectors on the jag controllers are a high density DB15 (well I think technically it's a DE15). I have modified jag controllers in the past for Atari 5200 (god, soooo much better!), and Intellivision (that took lots of diodes). The jag controller is pretty nice, and it works great for those systems that need a number pad. Using this on the 5200 I could finally beat Montezuma's Revenge, well get to level 9 and keep playing it as long as I like, wrapping the score and life counters pretty much. I got pretty close to beating Bounty Bob Strikes Back, but some of those last levels are extremely difficult.

 

I mainly don't like the idea of designing in something like the jag controller on a new product because the supply of them is unknown, and if I did the cost of them on i.e. ebay would probably skyrocket. It's 15-20 bucks now but it could easily reach 50+ if there was any kind of demand. Maybe Mike has the molds for those squirreled away somewhere? lol.

 

I have been thinking a lot about the controller adapter situation and I have come to a crossroads and am not 100% sure how to proceed. I could go down one path- making an adapter that plugs into the famicom expansion port and provides two DB9's that would accept most controllers (2600, intv, coleco, sms, etc). But it wouldn't be able to run things like the 2600 peripherals that use it for direct access, such as atarivox, compumate, etc. Granted, I do have Atarivox built in (the speech part) but no one will be able to use it unless they can somehow get the ROM for the micro on it so it doesn't really count.

 

The other option is a cartridge that plugs into the famicom port and provides "direct" hardware access to the pins, just like a "real" system has, and would be able to use every peripheral directly. I can't really do this on the expansion port because I only have 2 outputs and a plethora of inputs, and I can't clock it fast enough (around 20-30MHz) I don't think to get "real time" outputs on the port.

 

Decisions, decisions. The other option was to put controller ports on the cart adapters- this way it can be tailored for each system, but then you need the cart adapters to use the controller ports and can't just run games off SD card. Tons of options, and none of them is really a "great" option IMO.

I know Bob mentioned this to you when you were on his podcast, and maybe you'd rather not go into it, but have you looked at the blissbox or spoken to the guy who made it? Granted, it's obscenely expensive but I don't know if that cost is coming from the unit itself or the fact that currently he only sells it in a package with (literally) 18 different console connectors.

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Sometimes ago I found an interesting primer site on FPGAs, couple of days ago it was down but now it's up again:

http://www.fpga4fun.com/FPGAinfo2.html

I found this guy explained quite well the benefits of an FPGA for emulation/cloning. It's focused on the MiST but most of what he says applies to other FPGA systems (like the NT mini). FPGA explanation starts at around 1:40:

 

Edited by Newsdee
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Did you notice this thread is actually a poll in which kevtris was asking what kind of multi-console we would like to see wrt cores, output, price-range, you can vote in the first post.

yea, that was 55 pages ago. I figured he maybe had a more firm idea now what he was going to run with. In any case I was asking him so I'm not sure why you felt the need to respond at all...

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