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FPGA Based Videogame System

FPGA

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Poll: Interest in an FPGA Videogame System (483 member(s) have cast votes)

I would pay....

  1. > $100 (41 votes [8.49%] - View)

    Percentage of vote: 8.49%

  2. $100-149 (68 votes [14.08%] - View)

    Percentage of vote: 14.08%

  3. $150-199 (140 votes [28.99%] - View)

    Percentage of vote: 28.99%

  4. $200-299 (132 votes [27.33%] - View)

    Percentage of vote: 27.33%

  5. Sky's the Limit (102 votes [21.12%] - View)

    Percentage of vote: 21.12%

I Would Like Support for...

  1. 8 bit era games (405 votes [46.02%] - View)

    Percentage of vote: 46.02%

  2. 16 bit era games (404 votes [45.91%] - View)

    Percentage of vote: 45.91%

  3. Blip (71 votes [8.07%] - View)

    Percentage of vote: 8.07%

Games Should Run From...

  1. SD Card / USB Memory Sticks (421 votes [54.96%] - View)

    Percentage of vote: 54.96%

  2. Original Cartridges (303 votes [39.56%] - View)

    Percentage of vote: 39.56%

  3. Hopes and Dreams (42 votes [5.48%] - View)

    Percentage of vote: 5.48%

The Video Inteface Should be...

  1. RGB (187 votes [19.08%] - View)

    Percentage of vote: 19.08%

  2. Composite (156 votes [15.92%] - View)

    Percentage of vote: 15.92%

  3. S-video (89 votes [9.08%] - View)

    Percentage of vote: 9.08%

  4. Component (128 votes [13.06%] - View)

    Percentage of vote: 13.06%

  5. HDMI (420 votes [42.86%] - View)

    Percentage of vote: 42.86%

Vote Guests cannot vote

#4676 wingzrow OFFLINE  

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Posted Tue Dec 5, 2017 1:58 PM

Now THAT, is a response. I had assumed it was just as powerful as the gameboy color since they were in direct competition with each other. The GBC & NGPC actually use LCD screens from the same line of screens (or manufacturer), so they're similar in that respect at least. good to hear the sound is so similar. I heard kevtris ported the Game Gear for the sonic games, so maybe sonic's pocket adventure gets his interest.



#4677 Kosmic Stardust OFFLINE  

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Posted Tue Dec 5, 2017 3:14 PM

 

Personally, I suspect Analogue will have him move onto a Genesis core after the Super NT is out the door (assuming the launch goes smoothly). My prediction is that Analogue's next product after the Super NT will be an FPGA Genesis, the Analogue GN or some such name. It'll be funny to have one company selling products from both sides of the console wars.

Mega NT would be the logical name for the Analogue Genesis. The 9-pin controller ports would be great for Atari and other classic systems if it gets the jailbreak treatment.



#4678 Wolf_ OFFLINE  

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Posted Tue Dec 5, 2017 3:18 PM

Mega NT would be the logical name for the Analogue Genesis. The 9-pin controller ports would be great for Atari and other classic systems if it gets the jailbreak treatment.

yea, I was really hoping this generation would be the one to have a universal controller port so you could easily change what kind of female connectors the case had but it looks like we will have to wait for the next generation or the possible + model to have a shot at that.



#4679 Guspaz OFFLINE  

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Posted Tue Dec 5, 2017 3:52 PM

The "bitness" of a processor is kind of fuzzy anyhow. The Z80 (the GameBoy uses a Z80 near-clone) is considered to be an 8-bit processor, and it has an 8-bit data bus... but it has 16-bit addressing, does 16-bit math, and has 16-bit registers. Sega called the Genesis a 16-bit console because it used a Motorola 68000 processor. Apple put the same processor in the Macintosh and called it a 32-bit processor. Some people point to the address bus and call it a 24-bit processor. Atari called the Jaguar a 64-bit system despite it having a 32-bit processor.

 

The complexity of a processor is not directly tied to how many "bits" it has.



#4680 cfillak OFFLINE  

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Posted Tue Dec 5, 2017 4:04 PM

Mega NT would be the logical name for the Analogue Genesis. The 9-pin controller ports would be great for Atari and other classic systems if it gets the jailbreak treatment.

I always thought "NT" was Analogue's way of evoking NinTendo without violating trademarks.

Analogue NinTendo

Analogue NinTendo Mini

Analogue Super NinTendo

 

Maybe they'll go with Analogue GN or MD, but i could be completely wrong. I agree about the 9-pin controller ports though. I might have to hunt down one of those detachable Fairchild Channel F controllers!

 

yea, I was really hoping this generation would be the one to have a universal controller port so you could easily change what kind of female connectors the case had but it looks like we will have to wait for the next generation or the possible + model to have a shot at that.

Sadly, I doubt we'll see this come to pass anytime soon, at least not from Analogue. I think what the Super NT turned out to be shows that they're trying to move away from the extremely high end enthusiast market to the mass market. They secured a "never before released" SNES game (just like Star Fox 2), cut the price by more than half from the NT Mini and can now reasonably market the Super NT as a competitor to the SNES Classic Mini (the Super NT price is about what the SNES Classic Mini is going for on eBay right now). Part of getting the price down was definitely reducing the number of parts (only 2 controller ports, no analog out, etc.) If you go on retrogaming subreddits, most people don't know what an FPGA is or why its significant for retro games other than a vague notion that its better than emulation. You're not going to be able to pitch a console to the mass market saying,

"ok guys, this thing can play your SNES carts and you can use your SNES controllers, but the default SNES female controller ports come off. Why? So you can use an Atari female port to plug in an Atari controller to play Atari games. But you can't play Atari cartridges, you have to download ROMs off the internet and also download a jailbreak software that transforms your console from a SNES into an Atari."

 

It's just a marketing mess. I think we'll still get jailbreak firmware and extra cores on the future Analogue systems but I think hopes for some jack of all trades box with generic ports and all different kinds of adapters for controllers and cartridges will be disappointed. I think the template going forward is that each system is going to be sold as a "reference quality" version of a specific console platform with capability to play that consoles real cartridges and use real accessories, with HDMI out. Any extra compatibility or cores added through jailbreaks should be seen as gravy imo



#4681 Newsdee OFFLINE  

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Posted Tue Dec 5, 2017 5:05 PM

I wonder how difficult it would be to make a small adapter to plug Atari joysticks into SNES controller ports. You could even plug Neogeo style controllers with a similar circuit.

#4682 Tusecsy OFFLINE  

Tusecsy

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Posted Tue Dec 5, 2017 5:18 PM

Thank god for Raphnet adapters.



#4683 Guspaz OFFLINE  

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Posted Tue Dec 5, 2017 5:22 PM

Raphnet only makes an adapter in the opposite direction, to use a SNES controller on an Atari console. I'm not sure why you'd want to do the opposite: Atari joysticks are pretty terrible, and my understanding is that most people who play 2600 games today use Genesis controllers.

 

Really a USB port is already a universal controller port. There are adapters available to get pretty much every controller ever made on a standard USB HID joystick, which is supported by pretty much every platform running Windows/OSX/Linux, including embedded ARM systems like the Pi.

 

USB HID is a freely available specification too, and has been available for nearly two decades:

http://www.usb.org/d...age/HID1_11.pdf

 

Unfortunately, it's not clear if the Super NT has any spare USB ports aside from the power port.


Edited by Guspaz, Tue Dec 5, 2017 5:30 PM.


#4684 Wolf_ OFFLINE  

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Posted Tue Dec 5, 2017 5:38 PM

Sadly, I doubt we'll see this come to pass anytime soon, at least not from Analogue. I think what the Super NT turned out to be shows that they're trying to move away from the extremely high end enthusiast market to the mass market. They secured a "never before released" SNES game (just like Star Fox 2), cut the price by more than half from the NT Mini and can now reasonably market the Super NT as a competitor to the SNES Classic Mini (the Super NT price is about what the SNES Classic Mini is going for on eBay right now). Part of getting the price down was definitely reducing the number of parts (only 2 controller ports, no analog out, etc.) If you go on retrogaming subreddits, most people don't know what an FPGA is or why its significant for retro games other than a vague notion that its better than emulation. You're not going to be able to pitch a console to the mass market saying,

"ok guys, this thing can play your SNES carts and you can use your SNES controllers, but the default SNES female controller ports come off. Why? So you can use an Atari female port to plug in an Atari controller to play Atari games. But you can't play Atari cartridges, you have to download ROMs off the internet and also download a jailbreak software that transforms your console from a SNES into an Atari."

 

It's just a marketing mess. I think we'll still get jailbreak firmware and extra cores on the future Analogue systems but I think hopes for some jack of all trades box with generic ports and all different kinds of adapters for controllers and cartridges will be disappointed. I think the template going forward is that each system is going to be sold as a "reference quality" version of a specific console platform with capability to play that consoles real cartridges and use real accessories, with HDMI out. Any extra compatibility or cores added through jailbreaks should be seen as gravy imo

Well it wouldn't have to add that much extra cost. 4 controller ports instead of 2, and then a snes adapter bar that had 4 snes controller ports on it to plug your controllers into. If anyone wanted extras like nes, db9, or anything else you would just need to buy that controller port bar to plug in.


Edited by Wolf_, Tue Dec 5, 2017 5:38 PM.


#4685 Newsdee OFFLINE  

Newsdee

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Posted Tue Dec 5, 2017 6:03 PM

Answering my own question, Here is a diagram which Kevtris also helped put together :)
https://www.gamesx.c...ata/nessnes.htm

In general yes, USB HID is great but it needs a microcontroller (CPU) to run a host. And if you have an adapter, the most pricey part would be that part to handle the conversion into USB.

A discrete circuit like the one above should be much cheaper to make and then you could have multiple devices using a single adapter (SNES to USB for instance).

#4686 wingzrow OFFLINE  

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Posted Tue Dec 5, 2017 6:56 PM

Is there a way to make the audio slightly less harsh on NES games? I compared it to a stock nintendo & the highs are really "sharp". That's the only way I can put it. and no, I'm not talking about games with expansion audio or FDS games. I was comparing Mega Man 6 & Ninja Gaiden II & really notice a difference. Is 1;1 audio just not possible when you're going from an analogue audio chip to a digital one.?



#4687 Wolf_ OFFLINE  

Wolf_

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Posted Tue Dec 5, 2017 8:33 PM

Is there a way to make the audio slightly less harsh on NES games? I compared it to a stock nintendo & the highs are really "sharp". That's the only way I can put it. and no, I'm not talking about games with expansion audio or FDS games. I was comparing Mega Man 6 & Ninja Gaiden II & really notice a difference. Is 1;1 audio just not possible when you're going from an analogue audio chip to a digital one.?

If you got into the settings and select audio there is a whole crap ton of options for you to select. I'm betting you're probably just hearing the difference between analogue and digital sound, also it is possible your nes might have a bad cap that could make the audio sound a bit softer.



#4688 wingzrow OFFLINE  

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Posted Tue Dec 5, 2017 9:34 PM

If you got into the settings and select audio there is a whole crap ton of options for you to select. I'm betting you're probably just hearing the difference between analogue and digital sound, also it is possible your nes might have a bad cap that could make the audio sound a bit softer.

 

There's no way to pass regular nes roms through the FDS RAM Adapter by any chance it there? Doesn't the FDS Ram Adapter output it's own audio when plugged in, or does it combine it's own audio with the NES & combine the two? Sorry if that's a confusing question.

 

As far as audio options I just took a look & a question hit me. Why are some of the audio channels set to 1/4 volume by default? Shouldn't Square 1,2,triangle, etc, bet set to 80 like the other channels so they're equal?



#4689 Kosmic Stardust OFFLINE  

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Posted Tue Dec 5, 2017 9:35 PM

I wonder how difficult it would be to make a small adapter to plug Atari joysticks into SNES controller ports. You could even plug Neogeo style controllers with a similar circuit.

It won't work. SNES/NES have 7 pins, GND, VCC, two output pins (clock, reset), and three input pins (D0, D3, D4). Only pin D0 is used for standard controllers.

 

Atari have 9 pins, GND, VCC, 5 digital inputs (4 of which can be switched to output mode for multiplexed controllers such as AtariVox or keypad), and two analog paddle inputs.

 

A 9-pin port from FPGA, assuming bidirectional communication is allowed on all but VCC/GND, could easily be adapted to controller standards with fewer pins which pretty much includes everything else, even USB potentially. The console could use heuristics to determine controller type and configure the inputs accordingly. So users could craft cheap adapters out of controller extension cables to suit any 9-pin standard.

 

I would likely buy the Mega NT for this reason, even if the jailbreak software for Genesis/Atari exists on the Super NT.

 

I'm still wondering if the Kevtris cartridge adapters will ever materialize. Super NT may not have enough I/O pins on the SNES bus to support NES/Famicom carts, though the AVS serves this purpose well enough as a more budget friendly alternative to the NT Mini. I think most other 8/16 bit systems should work, including Genesis. The Genesis is certainly less sophisticated than the SNES so the Super NT should support it if a core gets written (though a dedicated Meta NT unit would be ideal).

 

Homebrew Atari games utilizing melody boards aren't possible through any FPGA core implementation since the ARM inside the melody cart is too sophisticated. So homebrew game carts, or ROMs compatible with Harmony, will still need a cart port to interface the FPGA console. A cartridge adapter for Genesis <-> 2600 would be simple enough to construct for the Mega NT. A bonus 2600 cart port adapter would be ideal, and obviously SMS would work out of the box using a standard adapter. The Mega NT core could detect the presence of SMS cart and optionally enable FM sound via system menu option.



#4690 Great Hierophant OFFLINE  

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Posted Tue Dec 5, 2017 11:02 PM

 

There's no way to pass regular nes roms through the FDS RAM Adapter by any chance it there? Doesn't the FDS Ram Adapter output it's own audio when plugged in, or does it combine it's own audio with the NES & combine the two? Sorry if that's a confusing question.

 

As far as audio options I just took a look & a question hit me. Why are some of the audio channels set to 1/4 volume by default? Shouldn't Square 1,2,triangle, etc, bet set to 80 like the other channels so they're equal?

 

An original Famicom's audio path works like this 

 

CPU Audio outputs -> Mixer, Low Pass Filter & Amplifier -> Cartridge Port.

 

Now, if a game does not support external audio, the audio going into the cartridge port on pin 45 is connected to pin 46, which is the audio from the cartridge to the RF Modulator (Famicom) or a second level amplifier and the Multi-Out (AV Famicom).  

 

However, if a game does support external audio, then the audio going into the cartridge port on pin 45 is mixed with the cartridge based audio, then the combined audio is output on pin 46.  But that cart has control over how the internal audio is mixed in with the external audio and how the combined audio is filtered before it leaves the console. Each cart may mix and filter differently.

 

In the Analogue Nt Mini or a NES modded to accept expansion audio, there is no audio input to the cartridge.  The cartridge's audio is generated and send to the console.  The console does the mixing and filtering, so the volume levels may not sound quite right compared to the real cart running on a Famicom.  This is one reason why there are individual mixers for each of the expansion audio chips.  



#4691 SnoopKatt OFFLINE  

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Posted Wed Dec 6, 2017 12:40 AM

I had a SNES go bad on me a couple years ago. Started doing some weird stuff that I recorded:





Ended up switching the board out with a SFC one, and called it a day. I wanted to play around with it a bit more but never got around to it.

#4692 Tusecsy OFFLINE  

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Posted Wed Dec 6, 2017 1:43 PM

Raphnet only makes an adapter in the opposite direction, to use a SNES controller on an Atari console. I'm not sure why you'd want to do the opposite: Atari joysticks are pretty terrible, and my understanding is that most people who play 2600 games today use Genesis controllers.

 

Really a USB port is already a universal controller port. There are adapters available to get pretty much every controller ever made on a standard USB HID joystick, which is supported by pretty much every platform running Windows/OSX/Linux, including embedded ARM systems like the Pi.

 

USB HID is a freely available specification too, and has been available for nearly two decades:

http://www.usb.org/d...age/HID1_11.pdf

 

Unfortunately, it's not clear if the Super NT has any spare USB ports aside from the power port.

Doesn't USB introduce lag though?

 

I think theres a NES to SNES adapter raph makes and once the Super NT comes out he'll probably be making a Genesis to SNES as well. 


Edited by Tusecsy, Wed Dec 6, 2017 1:44 PM.


#4693 Guspaz OFFLINE  

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Posted Wed Dec 6, 2017 2:03 PM

USB only introduces as much lag as the implementation does. You can do a very low latency implementation with USB... Besides that, pretty much every console in the past decade uses USB for wired controllers (except Nintendo before the Switch), so that's definitely the way moving forward... although I don't think they necessarily use the basic USB HID standard.

 

NES to SNES adapters (and vice versa) are just passive adapters, the two controllers are protocol compatible if you just connect the wires together. There are already a ton of them out there. I've made my own by soldering together NES/SNES extension cables.



#4694 cfillak OFFLINE  

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Posted Wed Dec 6, 2017 2:25 PM

Doesn't USB introduce lag though?

 

I think theres a NES to SNES adapter raph makes and once the Super NT comes out he'll probably be making a Genesis to SNES as well. 

Raphnet has a SNES controller to NES adapter which i bought 2 of to use with my NTT Data controllers on the NT Mini. They're just passive wire adapters. I don't think Raphnet sells an NES controller to SNES adapter though.



#4695 leods OFFLINE  

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Posted Thu Dec 7, 2017 4:48 AM

I'd like to first thank all involved in the thread for the great information. Obviously thank Kevin and the guys at Analogue for doing good retro gaming products that actually enhance our gaming experience, as opposed to most companies out there slapping garbage products together and pretending they're giving us something new.

 

That said, I have a concern. I don't think this is the best place to talk about it, but I don't know of another Forum to do so.

 

Lon.TV has a review of the new 8bitdo controllers, and it's showing a frame of extra input lag as compared to the old ones. I am not sure wether these are going to be the same controllers that are linked to as lag free on the Analogue website. Just to avoid problems later, I'd ask you Kevin, or anyone who has a direct line to analogue or even 8bitdo, to just poke them about this. Maybe the guys at Analogue don't even know about this at all. I mean, who would think a product that was already out there working as intended would get worse with a revision?

 

Again. I don't even know there is necessarily an issue here. Maybe these controllers being made for the NES and SNES mini are different to the ones that are going to be made for the NT. I still ask Analogue to just take a look at this and make sure everything is allright. It would be very disappointing if people got their hands on their brand new controllers, and found out they're not the same quality as the previous models. And since Analogue does have them as lag free on their own webpage this should be worth taking a look at.

 

Thanks again. And do keep the good work Kevin. I pre oerdered the Analogue NT as soon as I heard about it and know Kevtris was behind this. This is my first pre-order ever. I do think this team has the credentials to earn my trust.

 

Best Regards.



#4696 F34R OFFLINE  

F34R

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Posted Thu Dec 7, 2017 7:44 AM

I'm skeptical for the controller, even though I did pre-order it lol.  I might just cancel it and stick with the tried and true wired controller.



#4697 Tusecsy OFFLINE  

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Posted Thu Dec 7, 2017 10:02 AM

8bitdo controllers have always been garbage, sadly.  They don't even replicate the original PCB so the inputs are always off.



#4698 cacophony OFFLINE  

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Posted Thu Dec 7, 2017 12:05 PM

For lag measurements, Lon uses an iPhone to record video of the screen + controller, and then tries to guess exactly when the button was activated based on the footage. There's no external led hooked up, so it probably won't be all that precise.

That said, the NES 8bitdo controller was essentially worthless to me because of issues with the dpad. Not sure about the SNES version, but the original controllers are great (and readily available), so I'd suggest just using those.

Edited by cacophony, Thu Dec 7, 2017 12:06 PM.


#4699 F34R OFFLINE  

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Posted Thu Dec 7, 2017 5:37 PM

8bitdo controllers have always been garbage, sadly.  They don't even replicate the original PCB so the inputs are always off.

 

 

For lag measurements, Lon uses an iPhone to record video of the screen + controller, and then tries to guess exactly when the button was activated based on the footage. There's no external led hooked up, so it probably won't be all that precise.

That said, the NES 8bitdo controller was essentially worthless to me because of issues with the dpad. Not sure about the SNES version, but the original controllers are great (and readily available), so I'd suggest just using those.

I have the NES one and it's worked 100% flawlessly for me since having it.   I use it solely with my NT Mini.



#4700 Tusecsy OFFLINE  

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Posted Thu Dec 7, 2017 5:46 PM

 

 

I have the NES one and it's worked 100% flawlessly for me since having it.   I use it solely with my NT Mini.

Anecdotal.  The PCB's are all wrong, period.







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