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jzintv improvement suggestions


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#1 Darkhog OFFLINE  

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Posted Tue Jul 10, 2018 6:36 PM

Mainly based on how NES emulator Nestopia does things that are unrelated to NES/Famicom itself, so if you have used it before, you can skip the thread to the next post that has other suggestions as this one basically "make it more like Nestopia"

 

- Menu bar for opening roms/setting configurations and so on

- Video config with stuff like ability to set a filter such as scanlines/simulating NTSC color bleed and scaler used from nearest neighbour to supereagle/hq2x and so on (I think you could safely skip bilinear as I don't think anyone would want their games blurry)

- Easy input config instead of aving to fuss with files like you currently have

- Extension config to set the paths for Intellivoice/GROM/ECS and so on bios files and enable/disable them as needed

- (not necessary, but...) a library where you could scan one or more folders for ROMs. It could then detect game name based on a hash of the rom file, going for the file name in case the game wasn't recognized.

- Rewind function so you can undo a few seconds if you made a mistake.



#2 Darkhog OFFLINE  

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Posted Tue Jul 10, 2018 6:42 PM

Not in Nestopia but I still find these suggestion to be useful.

 

- An ability to connect android device with an app using a special protocol to act as a wireless Inty controller. This is due to the fact that it's a nightmare to connect original Inty controllers to the PC if you don't know how to solder (and even then, conversion kits allowing to connect it via USB are hard to come by) and because of a keypad, it's hard to map an existing controller to the Intellivision without losing few buttons along the way - you'd still have to go for numpad and that misses the point of why somebody would want a controller. Therefore, such a virtual Inty controller would be next best thing.

- Easy way to record, play a sequence of inputs so we can do tool-assisted speedruns.



#3 intvsteve OFFLINE  

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Posted Tue Jul 10, 2018 7:02 PM

Some of the things you wish for are in various front-ends for jzintv, which is inherently a command line only emulator.

 

Arnauld Chevallier's jzintv front-end for Windows helps with many of these things, as does the LTO Flash! UI Software (LUI) -- which includes a front end for jzintv and a pretty recent version of it as well. The "beta" section has an even newer version. "LUI" has CRC-based ROM identification and helps manage many of the settings. LUI is available on Windows and Mac. There have been other front ends over the years that are also pretty nice, but I don't have links handy for them. (In the interests of full disclosure, I'm the author of the LUI desktop software, and it started off as a jzintv front end.)

 

The above only assist with managing ROMs and the existing settings. Other features like rewind, et. al. would all be changes directly in the emulator itself, of course.



#4 atari2600land OFFLINE  

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Posted Tue Jul 10, 2018 8:39 PM

Pressing Escape to exit would be good. I always press it and nothing happens.



#5 mr_me ONLINE  

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Posted Tue Jul 10, 2018 9:22 PM

Pressing Escape to exit would be good. I always press it and nothing happens.

And pressing F1 exits jzintv, I'm use to pressing F1 for help. These quirks can be worked around with key mappings. The default mappings are documented in jzintv.txt. It would be good if the command options were documented in a help file; you have to type jzntv --help for that.

Not in Nestopia but I still find these suggestion to be useful.
 
- An ability to connect android device with an app using a special protocol to act as a wireless Inty controller. This is due to the fact that it's a nightmare to connect original Inty controllers to the PC if you don't know how to solder (and even then, conversion kits allowing to connect it via USB are hard to come by) and because of a keypad, it's hard to map an existing controller to the Intellivision without losing few buttons along the way - you'd still have to go for numpad and that misses the point of why somebody would want a controller. Therefore, such a virtual Inty controller would be next best thing.
- Easy way to record, play a sequence of inputs so we can do tool-assisted speedruns.

A smartphone app controller is a nice idea but it might have too much latency to be useable.

There are several sources for usb adapters for intellivision controllers. You can even get an intellivision 9pin to de-9 adapter. I replaced the whole cable for one with a de-9 (no soldering). Easier if you have a flashback or sears controller.

You can map all 15 buttons to a modern gamepad. The side buttons goto shoulders or face buttons. Keypad 1-4,6-9 goes to the d-pad, the rest of the keypad goes to face buttons or shoulders. The disc goes to the thumbsticks.

--------
I understand the complaints for a simple UI. Front-ends work great but they can add more complexity. I just use Windows File Explorer as a front-end.

Edited by mr_me, Tue Jul 10, 2018 9:53 PM.


#6 mr_me ONLINE  

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Posted Wed Jul 11, 2018 6:48 AM

And although text files for settings (e.g. keyboard hackfile) aren't easy for new users. They are the quickest way to setup button mappings once you figure it out.

The other thing is jzinv has no configuration file for it's other settings. It's all command options. So you store them in startup script file (e.g. windows .bat file) or in a front-end program.

Edited by mr_me, Wed Jul 11, 2018 6:49 AM.


#7 artrag ONLINE  

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Posted Wed Jul 11, 2018 8:08 AM

Emulators with command line are the best choice for cross development, as they can be easily integrated into make files and other automated tasks.

Moreover leaving the gui outside in an external program allows an easy portability across platforms. This is why you have jzintv under multiple OS now.

Edited by artrag, Wed Jul 11, 2018 8:09 AM.


#8 Darkhog OFFLINE  

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Posted Wed Jul 11, 2018 12:56 PM

So? Use a cross-platform UI library, like wxWidgets, Qt or GTK+



#9 artrag ONLINE  

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Posted Wed Jul 11, 2018 1:45 PM

As former QT developer, I have experimented on my bones that portability is largely theoretical.
Anyway, there is no need to reinvent the wheel. Use the gui already available or if you have any requirement address to the gui developers your requests.

Now you can choose among many of them continuing to exploit the accuracy and the reliability of jzintv

#10 intvsteve OFFLINE  

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Posted Wed Jul 11, 2018 2:12 PM

I've used all of those (and others!) at various points. Ultimately you feel disappointed and frustrated with the compromises you have to make. With "LUI" I'm using WPF in Windows (...and, it seems Microsoft may be ditching that - yay!), Xamarin.Mac for Mac (native bindings to Cocoa and Objective-C APIs), and have an experimental version in development for Linux using GTKSharp. In $DAY_JOB I've worked quite a lot in the multi-platform development arena, often in GUI-related infrastructure. The promises always have a lot of allure, but once you move past a checkbox, a button, and a list of text items the shine wears off pretty quickly.



#11 Lathe26 ONLINE  

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Posted Wed Jul 11, 2018 10:14 PM

... The promises always have a lot of allure, but once you move past a checkbox, a button, and a list of text items the shine wears off pretty quickly.

 

As a developer, this has been my experience as well.



#12 mr_me ONLINE  

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Posted Thu Jul 12, 2018 2:22 AM

If it opened a black graphics window on error (e.g. missing rom files) so users can read error message in the text box, it might help some users.  Most people don't run it from a command prompt and a real Intellivision shows a black screen with no cartridge.   Add a cross platform file>open menu for game rom; and a help menu that opens the help and license files in the system default text editor.  In my opinion, having a separate front-end program just pushes people to use Nostalgia or Bliss.  A swap left/right controller feature would be good.  Support combo joystick button event input.  Default to 640x480 resolution with border. 



#13 DZ-Jay OFFLINE  

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Posted Thu Jul 12, 2018 4:58 AM

If it opened a black graphics window on error (e.g. missing rom files) so users can read error message in the text box, it might help some users.  Most people don't run it from a command prompt and a real Intellivision shows a black screen with no cartridge.   Add a cross platform file>open menu for game rom; and a help menu that opens the help and license files in the system default text editor.  In my opinion, having a separate front-end program just pushes people to use Nostalgia or Bliss.  A swap left/right controller feature would be good.  Support combo joystick button event input.  Default to 640x480 resolution with border. 

 

Obviously not to speak for him, but I believe intvnut has stated before that he has no interest in a GUI for jzIntv, that it is mostly intended as a development tool.  That said, he's also stated that he's gone out of his way to offer interfaces and hooks to allow others to build GUIs and other tools that interact with it.  And of course, the source code is available to anyone who wishes to tinker with it.

 

Although a GUI front-end for jzIntv would be useful for Intellivision game players, I wonder if a more integrated tool-chain could be built around IntyBASIC for programmers.  This is what the IntyBASIC SDK tries to accomplish, albeit in a rudimentary way.

 

Unfortunately, I am not very good at keeping the SDK current and I don't have the time nor the inclination to build an IDE myself.

 

I think that mr_me's suggestions sound like a sensible initial step to improve the usability of jzIntv for the non-programmer.  Although, honestly, I rather see intvnut spend his limited resources on enhancing the debugging capabilities and improving the accuracy of the emulation, instead. ;)

 

   -dZ.


Edited by DZ-Jay, Thu Jul 12, 2018 4:59 AM.


#14 mr_me ONLINE  

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Posted Thu Jul 12, 2018 7:59 AM

And he doesn't read these forums anyway.

#15 Noah98 ONLINE  

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Posted Mon Jul 16, 2018 4:06 PM

I just started messing with jzintv since I want to play Christmas Carol and DZ-Jay won't rerelease the game despite my whining ;)

 

Anyway, I got the emulator installed and the rom to run, but it won't recognize any of my controllers.  I saw something about key binding hacks, but I'm at a loss even after extensive Googling.  Anyone able to help me out with this?  I'd love to use my ibuffalo snes USB controller if possible.  I'd even settle for an xbox one controller if need be.  Just can't seem to figure anything out beyond the keyboard, and I hate playing retro games on a keyboard!



#16 DZ-Jay OFFLINE  

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Posted Mon Jul 16, 2018 4:27 PM

I just started messing with jzintv since I want to play Christmas Carol and DZ-Jay won't rerelease the game despite my whining ;)


That's it! Quit yer whining or I'm telling Santa! :grin:

#17 LidLikesIntellivision OFFLINE  

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Posted Mon Jul 16, 2018 4:47 PM

I just started messing with jzintv since I want to play Christmas Carol and DZ-Jay won't rerelease the game despite my whining ;)
 
Anyway, I got the emulator installed and the rom to run, but it won't recognize any of my controllers.  I saw something about key binding hacks, but I'm at a loss even after extensive Googling.  Anyone able to help me out with this?  I'd love to use my ibuffalo snes USB controller if possible.  I'd even settle for an xbox one controller if need be.  Just can't seem to figure anything out beyond the keyboard, and I hate playing retro games on a keyboard!

Around 17 years ago, I used to play a lot of games on Windows. At that time, I remember I could use a program called joytokey in order to map any controller to match any key. Isn't there any program like this old joytokey for modern windows?

#18 Noah98 ONLINE  

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Posted Mon Jul 16, 2018 5:14 PM

That's it! Quit yer whining or I'm telling Santa! :grin:


Saaaaaaaaantaaaaaaaaaa!

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#19 mr_me ONLINE  

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Posted Mon Jul 16, 2018 6:15 PM

I just started messing with jzintv since I want to play Christmas Carol and DZ-Jay won't rerelease the game despite my whining ;)
 
Anyway, I got the emulator installed and the rom to run, but it won't recognize any of my controllers.  I saw something about key binding hacks, but I'm at a loss even after extensive Googling.  Anyone able to help me out with this?  I'd love to use my ibuffalo snes USB controller if possible.  I'd even settle for an xbox one controller if need be.  Just can't seem to figure anything out beyond the keyboard, and I hate playing retro games on a keyboard!

Jzintv automatically configures the first two system game controllers. You only need a "hackfile" to add keypad mappings and other changes. How many game controllers do you have plugged in and does the operating system recognize them. What is the operating system. You can test your game controllers here.
http://html5gamepad.com/

Edit:
Jzintv defaults to mapping most of the keypad to the dpad if your controller has both a dpad and analog stick.

Edited by mr_me, Mon Jul 16, 2018 6:40 PM.


#20 Gemintronic OFFLINE  

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Posted Mon Jul 16, 2018 6:19 PM

 

Obviously not to speak for him, but I believe intvnut has stated before that he has no interest in a GUI for jzIntv, that it is mostly intended as a development tool.  That said, he's also stated that he's gone out of his way to offer interfaces and hooks to allow others to build GUIs and other tools that interact with it.  And of course, the source code is available to anyone who wishes to tinker with it.

 

Although a GUI front-end for jzIntv would be useful for Intellivision game players, I wonder if a more integrated tool-chain could be built around IntyBASIC for programmers.  This is what the IntyBASIC SDK tries to accomplish, albeit in a rudimentary way.

 

Unfortunately, I am not very good at keeping the SDK current and I don't have the time nor the inclination to build an IDE myself.

 

I think that mr_me's suggestions sound like a sensible initial step to improve the usability of jzIntv for the non-programmer.  Although, honestly, I rather see intvnut spend his limited resources on enhancing the debugging capabilities and improving the accuracy of the emulation, instead. ;)

 

   -dZ.

 

Since IntyBASIC came out I think the potential user base has expanded to newbie developers.  They really, REALLY need a basic (ha!) GUI to effectively use this wonderful emulator.  Especially to configure joysticks and load ROMs. 

 

Right now the 3rd party frontend options haven't been very effective.  Some are even optimized for older versions and don't work so well.  My opinion.



#21 digress OFFLINE  

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Posted Mon Jul 16, 2018 6:56 PM

i would like a drag & drop launch for roms. That might be convenient.



#22 mr_me ONLINE  

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Posted Mon Jul 16, 2018 8:44 PM

i would like a drag & drop launch for roms. That might be convenient.

In Windows, you can drag and drop rom files onto a jzintv.exe shortcut icon.



#23 Noah98 ONLINE  

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Posted Mon Jul 16, 2018 9:00 PM

Jzintv automatically configures the first two system game controllers. You only need a "hackfile" to add keypad mappings and other changes. How many game controllers do you have plugged in and does the operating system recognize them. What is the operating system. You can test your game controllers here.
http://html5gamepad.com/

Edit:
Jzintv defaults to mapping most of the keypad to the dpad if your controller has both a dpad and analog stick.


I have just one connected by usb, and Windows 10 recognizes it.

#24 mr_me ONLINE  

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Posted Mon Jul 16, 2018 9:44 PM

I have just one connected by usb, and Windows 10 recognizes it.

I just tested with Win10 64bit and current jzintv.  USB gamepad works out of the box.

Where did you get jzintv and how are you starting it?

The first controller will be the left controller; in case the rom is expecting the right controller.



#25 Noah98 ONLINE  

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Posted Tue Jul 17, 2018 11:31 AM

I just tested with Win10 64bit and current jzintv.  USB gamepad works out of the box.
Where did you get jzintv and how are you starting it?
The first controller will be the left controller; in case the rom is expecting the right controller.


Ok, so I downloaded the latest version but realized their was no GUI, so I used the GUI from an older version and it worked. Christmas Carol finally recognized my controller. So, I tried to run Burgertime, using the same process, and it didn't recognize the controller.

I'm glad I can at least play Christmas Carol, but it would be nice if I could play other Intellivision games as well. This emulator runs the games really well, but it is super unintuitive!




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