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Chocobro

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Everything posted by Chocobro

  1. Honestly this is probably the easiest solution, start a repo for all your projects(even if you don't share the code), and then we can post issues against them if we find bugs. On that note, @kevtris, how open is the system currently? In the way it's currently setup can I program my own cores and use the firmware upgrade process to flash them in safely just targeting the fpga chip(without risking the original functionality). I realized it'd be kinda fun to use it as a decent devboard with a lot of fun peripheral options(hdmi/analog, controllers, sound etc), the stuff that's normally tedious to program yourself in verilog/vhdl on random boards(or pay yuck license fees to access premade modules) but could be fun to piggyback off of on an existing design to make game-centric circuits that I could share with the community. I haven't looked at it seriously, but it'd be nice to know if sharing some of the info to facilitate that is feasible, or if I'd need to basically reverse engineer it to do what I'm thinking.
  2. Jira doesn't have a free version anymore, but there is a 10 users for $10(onetime) version(practically free). Bugzilla is free to use in that it's open source maintained by Mozilla, I've personally used it and set it up before, would recommend. Mantis is also a great free alternative here. If roaring chicken or anyone else doesn't want to jump on it first, I'd be more than happy to setup an instance of Bugzilla or Mantis on one of my servers for kevtris & the community to use. Thanks a lot Kevtris for this amazing custom firmware.
  3. It depends a bit on the exact specs, Cyclone V is a line of chips, not a particular chip, but even the lower end Cyclone V chips are almost as expensive as the RetroUSB AVS as a unit. As far as I can tell, the bill of materials for the Analogue NT mini is greater than the retail cost of the AVS(most because the FPGA chip Analogue is using is fairly expensive even in bulk). Doesn't mean it's a good value, but it's price *seems* in line with its BoM, and not a total ripoff. I'm getting both an AVS and I preordered an Analogue NT mini, so might do a comparison in the future.
  4. Yeah that's kinda how it feels. I think we're thankfully maybe a step beyond that already, but the games to justify the experience just aren't there, and playing other games in VR is just a worse experience overall once you get past the novelty of doing it a few times.
  5. I've been developing for the rift for awhile(I've worked on and continue to work on some AR/VR concepts for training and therapy), and honestly don't think it's worth it as a game platform. *at this moment in time* I feel that for the same amount of money, playing on a highend superwide monitor is a better experience(3440x1080 IPSs for example). My current biggest complaint is that even if you have the best rig you possibly can, the visual fidelity of the games is so poor even on the CV1, that it constantly breaks any sense of immersion and reminds you that you're playing in a low resolution game. Until we see some actual "killer games" that use VR technologies in a way that can only translate to VR and are worth playing, I'd rather play games on a nice monitor. This will get better over time, but that's how I feel about it now as someone who uses and does VR projects frequently,
  6. It depends on the type of "card" we're talking about. Cards like TG hu cards, etc are just carts in a vert thin form factor. "Cards" like the ones in Nintendo DS cards and newer are different in that they use flash memory as opposed to traditional EEPROMs and such. They could hypothetically support special chips like super FX if they can fit in the cards form factor, but in terms of storage, flash is a lot different because it degrades with use. So a cart can work 300yrs from now, but at some point all original DS games will be dead(possibly within our lifetime). That's really the only major difference, and older cards don't use flash.
  7. It isn't trivial, but it's not hard either. Keatah mentions a common solution. I've worked on digital signage in the past that runs off linux or XP and we had to deal with this all the time. There's also versions of OSs specifically designed for this problem, such as windows 10 IoT and various linux/android distributions targeting embedded platforms.
  8. Yeah I said before, like, it would be ridiculously easy to fake a prototype that we couldn't rip apart. He really thinks we're all THAT stupid, we're not even worth the effort to try and seriously deceive, that's what they think of the community.
  9. Judging by past evidence, no, they're not competent enough. I'm in the "random PCB/dev board" camp personally, I just wanted to clarify that even a picture of a custom PCB means nothing given their credibility if we don't see it actually doing something.
  10. Keep in mind, getting a one-off of a custom PCB is not terribly expensive(significantly more expensive than mass production, but "affordable"). They could spend a few hundred dollars on a "custom" PCB to fit the shell that still doesn't actually do anything. lol, Hannacek beat me to the punch by a few seconds. Though credit to them, they've least gotten better at the deception. If they had presented this at the toy fair, chances are we might be having a totally different conversation. But now everyone is too skeptical to fool as easily.
  11. They can take away our hope, our dreams, and our comments.... But they can't take away...our angry face emoji on facebook.
  12. Try hard as I can I can't tell what kind of board is actually in there, just too blurry/small. It does look like there's no cables coming out the back, but in fairness where they would be could be concealed by the edge of the TV, so that doesn't seem like a fair criticism. However, it's really hard to tell, but it doesn't look like that cart is plugged into anything, there's no edge connector there.
  13. Yeah I don't think it is an advantage for them at all, it might even be the primary reason it isn't happening today. If the Toy Fair prototype really is the only prototype, KS would probably pull the plug and that would look worse than delaying the launch.
  14. To answer questions about how KS works, since I've managed or consulted on several campaigns myself. The system is almost entirely automated, you create your campaign and once it's created you submit it for review. The review is automated where they basically check to see if your rewards tiers aren't bizarrely out of proportion, and you've filled out all the fields, and basically wrote enough words so it's not like 2 sentences. They check for certain keywords and phrases and if it passes some threshold the campaign gets flagged for manual review. If it's also a hardware project they randomly flag them in addition for manual review more often, but the majority are automated. Once it has passed automatic or manual review, you can click "launch" at any time and start the campaign. Kickstarter relies primarily on people reporting bad actors rather than trying very hard to pre-emptively filter them. Basically if your campaign breaks any rules and gets passed the filters, there's a strong possibility of it being canceled.
  15. I'm not sure I agree that FPGAs are emulation, but not sure I disagree either(or very least it's a semantic argument not worth fighting about ). Basically I see it as FPGAs implementing blackbox reverse engineering are emulating the original hardware in hardware, but beyond that it gets murky. As efforts improve and we get closer and closer to the original hardware, there's a line crossed somewhere where it becomes a re-production or clone. Like if I create a piece of furniture, (woodworking being another hobby), and someone else takes my design, my cut-list, etc, uses the same wood, the end result is not an original but is also not just an emulated copy. It's potentially identical to the original. Once we get there it becomes more a philosophical debate about metaphysics and ideas. To re-iterate, I'm not disagreeing with you, I just personally am not willing to draw that line in the sand and refer to it as emulation. It's a paradigm shift away from what we've really known and doesn't compare well imho. Maybe long-term we should find a new word to describe it. Close, but I'd say ultimately not accurate. The big distinction is that a core doesn't tell an FPGA what to do, it re-arranges the FPGA's gates physically to do what it needs to do. This might be a bad analogy, so if I really miss the mark just discard it XD. Let's say you have a lego set that builds a castle. This is the original box from the Lego company itself. You have a computer with a program that allows you to use virtual bricks to build a castle in a virtual environment, and finally you have a computer that takes a bin of common lego parts, and given instructions, can assemble it into a physical castle like the original boxed set. My analogy would be that the original set is original hardware, computer the emulator, and the computer with physical lego parts is the FPGA. From that perspective, I think it'd be fair to argue that the third option is "more real" but still not original. That's the best I could think of to explain it, it's a difficult concept to explain because there really is nothing else like it to compare against. Even to computer scientists it feels like trying to explain CPUs to someone who has only ever known telephones.
  16. Yeah, FPGAs will perform very comparability to ASICs, FPGAs are what are typically used to make ASICs. You get a working design on an FPGA, and then you get the final version made into dedicated chips(ASIC) because it's much cheaper than the FPGA chip(the FPGA chip might be $100 each but the ASIC might be $1/each). Though this isn't always true, for example it's common to see FPGA chips in really expensive devices like oscilloscopes these days, where paying extra for the FPGA chip is cheaper than taping out an ASIC because they won't sell enough volume(you need to make a lot of chips to get costs down). But they perform the same, the big difference is cost and gate count/transistor count. FPGAs are much more expensive per gate, and this is the trade-off of their flexibility to reprogram them. That's what currently is the struggle with projects like RVGS and I imagine kevtris's board, in that getting an FPGA chip on the board that does everything we'd want can be prohibitively expensive, so you gotta cut features or limit platforms one way or another. 10yrs from now when the technology has advanced, $100 will probably buy you an FPGA that had the gate count to emulate 32/64era platforms well, where as right now $100~ is on the fence of being able to accommodate 16bit era platforms. Bigger ones are available, they just might run into the thousands of dollars and are really meant for companies doing ASIC design.
  17. I'm a hardware/FPGA programmer myself(it's what got me interested in the concept of the RVGS and led me eventually here). The biggest benefit of FPGA is accuracy, resources, and access to original hardware. Another post is correct that most FPGA reverse engineering is from a black box perspective, this method often can lead to 100% compatibility with enough time and effort, something software emulation can never realistically achieve. That said, given access to the information(like if we XRAY'd old chips and generated chip schemas from them), it's a possibility to actually re-create the original chip, gate for gate(with some caveats depending on the FPGA chip itself). This method is not easy, but is possible, the more complex the chip becomes the more tedious and impractical it is. This method would work fairly well on 4/8bit era chips but the 16bit era chips kinda straddle the line of having too many transistors to be feasible to do 1 for 1 copies, so blackbox reverse engineering is more practical here. The accuracy of the FPGA means a few other things. Compatibility with original hardware, i.e. carts/discs. Compatibility with original hardware accessories. A "compatible enough" FPGA chip should maintain compatibility with hardware like lightguns, game genies, etc. Hypothetically if you had a 100% compatible genesis core you could connect it to a SEGACD or a 32X. FPGAs could not only reach hypothetical 100% compatibility, but add new features to old machines that you'd have to mod into, or buy expensive aftermarket items for. IMHO FPGAs are relatively new to the retrogaming scene, and it may take a long time(like decades) for them to be worked on, checked, made 100% compatible, but once they are, they are absolutely the best way to play games, possibly even eclipsing original hardware. It's important to remember that FPGAs aren't emulation, it's a technology that allows you to programmably modify physical hardware, you are literally re-creating the original chips(or a variation there-of), with the prime benefit being that you can switch what the chip is, by changing its programming(swapping "cores"). All that said, software emulation is in most cases "good enough" for most games and most people. But in a long-term preservationist/purist sense, we should definitely be embracing FPGAs.
  18. What really bothered me about the toy fair isn't even the deception(that's bad, but truth be told this kinda stuff happens fairly often, so I'm not surprised...just very disappointed). It's that they did such a completely shoddy job covering it up. Like, I'm pretty sure with 1-2 days effort I could take a SNES JR, slice/trim the board, tap traces on the board to external ports, and make it LOOK like an entirely enclosed unit. They think the gaming community is so stupid that it's not even worth the effort to try and deceive us properly, that tells me a lot more about their attitude then the attempt at faking a prototype. Just disgusting how little effort it would have taken to fake properly, and they couldn't even be bothered with it. (just to re-iterate, not saying what they did was right, but if you're going to try and fake it... don't do it in a way that massively insults everyone's intelligence).
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