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Kaide

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About Kaide

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    Chopper Commander
  1. And VGS was shut down when Sony bought the tech from Connectix after Sony lost in court. AFAICT, the PS1 emulation used for the PSP, Vita and PS3/PS4 is based on VGS. Go figure. The evidence is somewhat circumstantial, but based on the fact that the PSP version of the emulator in particular turned out to have very similar compatibility bugs, and even having similar toggles (quirks modes) for improving compatibility on a game-by-game basis. Generally, the issues of copyright in this space aren't well covered in the courts. At least in the US, format shifting isn't really a right, and hasn't been defined as "fair use". Even your ability to make personal copies of a copyrighted work is a legal gray area, mostly carved out because companies aren't eager to do the work to get the legal precedent, and there's no legal framework for or against it in the US. So the risk is that you get to be the guinea pig on a particular legal case, with no real insight into what the law says you can do here. And yes, you are right that the resources Nintendo, Sony or Microsoft can spend are formidable. (EDIT: And in the case of Bleem and VGS, they play original copies of games. VGS in particular would check to see if the media was a CD-ROM or CD-R, and only accept the CD-ROM. VGS didn't support ISOs either.) That said, companies have been more willing to go after those doing distribution of copies. So ROM sites in the right legal jurisdiction, for example. And it makes sense since it's the best use of resources. The best bang for the buck, if your goal is to minimize piracy. This approach has worked well for the music industry, since it has let music evolve from CD to MP3 to Spotify. But that isn't to say every industry will play this way and sit back as people format shift content. Movies are still playing cat and mouse with their DRM schemes, along with eBooks and Video Games. When it comes to devices that can play ROMs, how do you get them? If you don't dump them yourself, that gray area of format shifting doesn't even apply, and you are receiving a copy that wasn't permitted/licensed to be made. Nintendo has gone after flash cart makers in the past, to varying degrees of success, and mostly focused on current systems. Honestly, it seems like these flash carts for older systems really only get left alone because companies like Nintendo don't see the point in going after flash carts for the NES, when they can go after the ROM sites they can, and leave it at that. So it boils down to how close to the line you want to play. Only you don't know exactly where the line is because there's no written copy of the rules, and you only find out when someone like Nintendo slaps you with a C&D. I don't blame Analogue for being cautious here.
  2. We can only hope. I missed the first batch of pre-orders, and was starting to forget that the Pocket was even a thing.
  3. Super NES was always more popular than the Genesis/MegaDrive. This is likely more that they keep selling through the Super NT batches as they get them, versus the Mega SG supply has already caught up to demand.
  4. Ugh, so I knew this would probably happen, but didn't bother to set an alarm, so I was busy messing with something else and getting started with work while they sold out. Oh well. I refuse to pay scalper pricing. I either get it at MSRP or I don't get it. 🤷🏻‍♀️ I got an e-mail a while back about pre-orders starting today at 8am. I think that was the "notification". A notification this morning would have been worthless for a lot of people.
  5. if it does use HDMI alt mode, you’d just need a passive USB-C to HDMI cable. But yes, since we don’t know how it is spitting out the signal, we should assume the dock is going to be the best way to do it.
  6. Depends on what USB-C mode is used between the Pocket and the dock. HDMI alt mode is one option. Pros: USB 2.0 support for a dock-side hub that only supports HID inputs is plenty, if the Pocket is 1080p through the dock, then the limit of HDMI 1.4b isn’t a big deal. Cons: Uses the PD pins, so charging will be limited to 5V/2.1A (12W), which may be fine. DisplayPort alt mode is another. Pros: USB 3, PD and 1080p are all supportable here at the same time. Cons: Dock needs to have a DisplayPort to HDMI adapter built into it. Anything else is probably overkill, to be honest. But the fact that it’s DAC-compatible makes me suspect HDMI alt mode is more likely here? But my understanding is that the smaller FPGA that isn’t available to devs is also the one responsible for output to the screen or dock, and receiving input, so I doubt that developers would be able to override how the USB-C port works. The Switch uses something called MyDP which is somewhat like DisplayPort alt mode, but pre-dates USB-C, making it incompatible with the newer alt modes. It requires a special chip in the dock to pull apart the DisplayPort, Audio and USB data signals that have been multiplexed over the USB cable. A little surprising, but perhaps support for it was already baked into the Tegra platform, and they just used it as-is. PD should still be supported in this setup as well (since it doesn’t need the PD pins).
  7. It isn’t in the dock. It’s in the Pocket.
  8. This is the linchpin of your argument, and honestly, I don't believe it holds. The hardware is not the secret sauce. Like Apple they want to sell you the whole widget, and also like Apple the hardware itself is well-designed commodity hardware. The most proprietary thing in Analogue's hardware is the custom cart connector if they use one. The firmware is the golden goose in this case. The work put into the cores are why folks here respect kevtris' work, and why the widget is valuable in the first place. They could still enable contributions under a license that protects themselves against cloning, sure, but that would likely discourage MiSTer contributors as it wouldn't truly be open in the same sense that MiSTer is. And cloners won't care what the license is. The Super NT / Mega SG in particular are built as complete systems. I suspect it's not well componentized to let them just open the emulation core, while leaving everything else closed. Note that what Apple open sourced is effectively the kernel and supporting bits. Along with the BSD environment they really should be providing source for because it's customized code from the OSS community. The OS as a whole is not open, and the license forbids running macOS on non-Apple hardware. Apple themselves know their golden goose is the OS and platform they provide. Not the nice, yet pricy, hardware. Really, the Pocket's approach is probably what Analogue's idea of an open FPGA platform from them looks like. They could probably open the cores up to the community that way without giving away the whole game, but who knows if they will.
  9. So, Sonic & Knuckles itself has no memory. The FeRAM in Sonic 3 is large enough that there's separate space in it for both Sonic 3 saves and S3&K saves. Having the S&K cart locked on I think modifies the memory offset used for the saves to make this work, rather than doing any sort of memory re-mapping tricks in the S&K cart. Might be possible to just dump the RAM of the Sonic 3 cart itself, and use it for both ROMs. Again, I'm curious, I'll have to play around a bit with my copy this evening.
  10. Now I'm curious if my Retrode can read the save memory on Sonic 3. That said, the save memory on the Sonic 3 cart doesn't use a battery. The save memory chip is FeRAM. It is non-volatile (to a point), but the chip can wear out, requiring a replacement. I had to replace the chip in my copy a while back, and it's not fun getting salvaged or new old stock of the original chip. Some folks have created adapters for using newer FeRAM chips still manufactured though.
  11. To put it bluntly, because of things like vertical integration and Amazon's volume getting them deals with carriers they work with, Analogue will never be able to offer shipping as cheap as Amazon. For Amazon, their game is really fungible goods. You don't care how you get your copy of Sakura Wars, since they are all equivalent, for the most part. You care that you get a copy of Sakura Wars. So it makes a lot of sense for Amazons to play games with margins and integrate vertically to cut costs, and then convert shipping into a hidden cost baked into the MSRP when possible. It lets Amazon reap extra profits from customers that are cheaper to ship to. Analogue isn't a retailer in the sense that Amazon is, doesn't deal with the volume, and doesn't own their own logistics chain. They could roll the logistics costs into the advertised price like Amazon, but I guess for some reason they like having the advertised price be lower. It is an old-school way of doing things. The Super NT and Mega SG are both "under 200$". Roll in the costs (at least for US customers), and they can't claim that anymore, but they would get fatter margins from folks that are cheaper to ship to in the US. I can't really say if they should or not, they are both trade-offs. Would their sales drop at "$219" instead of "$189"? No idea. But the fact that they tend to run lean on stock in general suggests that they probably aren't hurting too much for a boutique company doing it as they do. Another option is that they could use Amazon as the logistics company, but it looks like they'd have to bump the price up to around 230$ anyways just to cover the FBA fees (ignoring the costs of returns for a moment). So not really any better than using their existing logistics company.
  12. It’s more a comparison that just because a rejigger of a circuit design is being done by the same folks that designed the thing originally, or have access to the original documentation and/or circuit designs, doesn’t mean it’s going to be functionally identical. The key difference between an “official clone” and a “3rd party” clone is mostly how much reverse engineering you have to do, and thus the risk of introducing bugs to the circuit because of that work. Yeah, this is where I (as an engineer) tend to clash with folks in marketing. From an engineering perspective, kevtris is cloning hardware. But on the marketing side, I’d agree that it’s hard to market something like the Super NT as a “clone” because of bootleggers and emulation boxes like the Hyperkin stuff. Really the difference is that Analogue is selling a boutique product rather than trying to produce it for the cheapest price possible, and has kevtris doing the engineering work which helps a lot.
  13. I notice that you ignore the rest of my post here. But to put it bluntly, an FPGA is no more a simulation of a electronic circuit because the circuit links are re-routable than an EV is a simulation of a car because it uses batteries as the power plant.
  14. What makes a Z80 real? Is it because it has Z80 stamped on the package? Is it because it uses Zilog’s circuit design? Is it because it is an ASIC? Is it because it is a circuit that implements the Z80 architecture as defined by some dead tree document that specifies how the Z80 works? Would custom Z80 designs like Nintendo’s variations used in the Gameboy line count as a real Z80 or not? Is it real if I can drop it into an existing circuit without the rest of the circuit knowing that it’s been swapped out? For a more philosophical question: What’s the difference between someone who got the HDL for a Zilog Z80 and put it on an FPGA versus someone who reverse engineered the Zilog Z80 into HDL and then had an ASIC made at a factory? What’s the difference between using that Zilog Z80 HDL to make an ASIC vs putting it on an FPGA? How far do we want to take this particular Ship of Theseus? But it’s not like an FPGA is running a software program though. The programming is just the configuration of signal routing, and is effectively fixed once programmed, until you program it again. It’s more akin to EEPROM (FPGA) vs ROM (ASIC). So once you’ve loaded in the configuration that recreates a circuit diagram, it’s going to have a recreation of that circuit until told to reconfigure. I will point out that compatibility issues aren’t a great argument towards calling something an emulator or not. AMD CPUs are not considered x86 emulators, despite running into the occasional compatibility issues with software. Intel CPUs are not considered x64 emulators, despite the spec being made by AMD. Sony shoved PS1 hardware in the PS2 and yet couldn’t maintain perfect compatibility with PS1 games. Nintendo had compatibility issues with the 1-Chip SNES. Just tweaking circuits using existing designs can introduce compatibility issues, so a reverse engineered circuit is going to be at least as prone to issues. As for the CRAM dots, I’m like other folks who’ve commented that I don’t really go looking for them, or care to have them enabled.
  15. Agree, virtual machines don’t really make sense in an FPGA perspective, really. Although there is some code running on the ARM SoC, IIRC. But I’m not really sure VMs make sense there either for these products, to be honest. That said, I’m going to do something dumb and wade into the emulator vs clone debate. If we think a clone is an attempt to recreate the hardware, and that emulation is the act of creating something that imitates the original hardware on some other hardware, FPGAs are in a weird grey area. I can understand the debate, honestly. On one hand, what kevtris does is the same thing that someone cloning the hardware would do: reverse engineer the original by analyzing it and creating a new description using HDL or circuit diagram. Someone writing an emulator is not seeking to create the HDL, but rather software that can run on some foreign CPU. But the FPGA is effectively “other hardware” that runs the clone, so what makes the Super NT different than BSNES? For my part, I think the distinction doesn’t really matter that closely as much of the quality of the final result, but the distinction should probably be what the output of the process is. You could take kevtris’ cores and with tweaks, produce ASICs from them and produce clone hardware that’s similar to the Super NT. You cannot do that with BSNES.
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