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FPGA Based Videogame System

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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2TiB is only the volume size limitation when using an MBR (Master Boot Record) partition scheme. Using GPT you can have a volume up to 16TiB. Needless to say, this is not an issue for any retro consoles without an optical drive. Here's some stats from the Redump sets from about a year ago:

 

Dreamcast: 0.614 TB (564 dumps, avg. 1.11 GB per disc)

GameCube: 2.318 TB (1746 dumps, avg. 1.36 GB per disc)

PS1: 3.605 TB (8204 dumps, avg. 0.45 GB per disc)

PS2: 16.046 TB (6844 dumps, avg. 2.40 GB per disc)

PS3: 14.889 TB (1618 dumps, avg. 9.42 GB per disc)

PSP: 1.325 TB (1586 dumps, avg. 0.86 GB per disc)

Saturn: 0.642 TB (1554 dumps, avg. 0.42 GB per disc)

Wii: 4.460 TB (1031 dumps, avg. 4.43 GB per disc)

Xbox: 11.274 TB (1585 dumps, avg. 7.28 GB per disc)

Xbox 360: 4.685 TB (658 dumps, avg. 7.29 GB per disc)

 

Any system using full sized DVDs as the game medium will run up agains the 4GB file size limit of FAT32.

Also important is that the current max sd card size is 2tb so as long as you can only fit 2tb in then formatting to 2tb is all you really need to worry about. And redump sets are nice for preservation but they are not the best for being playable. For example the xbox redump set is 11tb but the complete xbox collection with no repeats from different regions and patched to be playable and with extra stuff like xbox live connection files removed is only 1.5tb. (although I kinda wish the xbox live files were still included because of xlink kai making it possible to still play some games online)

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Also important is that the current max sd card size is 2tb so as long as you can only fit 2tb in then formatting to 2tb is all you really need to worry about. And redump sets are nice for preservation but they are not the best for being playable. For example the xbox redump set is 11tb but the complete xbox collection with no repeats from different regions and patched to be playable and with extra stuff like xbox live connection files removed is only 1.5tb. (although I kinda wish the xbox live files were still included because of xlink kai making it possible to still play some games online)

Yeah I'm much less likely to care about keeping a full set for any of these consoles except maybe Gamecube (which can all reasonably fit on a FAT32 HDD to be played on Wii with Nintendont), Dreamcast, Saturn, Sega CD, PCE-CD, solely because of their more reasonable sizes. I'm much less willing to keep multiple regions of some sports game around when each game is like 5GB.

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Yeah I'm much less likely to care about keeping a full set for any of these consoles except maybe Gamecube (which can all reasonably fit on a FAT32 HDD to be played on Wii with Nintendont), Dreamcast, Saturn, Sega CD, PCE-CD, solely because of their more reasonable sizes. I'm much less willing to keep multiple regions of some sports game around when each game is like 5GB.

yea, not to mention can you picture an xbox smokemonster set? 1.5tb in games but with each game file appearing 4-7 times sorted into different folders to make it easy to find? OUCH. Hopefully by then we will have some kind of feature that links to the game, like a little game file that takes up almost no space and simply has the command to start the game it is named after in its original location.

 

...I should look into if it is possible to automate a script for making something like that

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yea, not to mention can you picture an xbox smokemonster set? 1.5tb in games but with each game file appearing 4-7 times sorted into different folders to make it easy to find? OUCH. Hopefully by then we will have some kind of feature that links to the game, like a little game file that takes up almost no space and simply has the command to start the game it is named after in its original location.

 

...I should look into if it is possible to automate a script for making something like that

I think that issue is kind of moot because homebrew for most of those consoles is usually much more advanced than what is done on Everdrive menus. Professor Abrasive, the creator of the upcoming Saturn Satiator flashcart plans to open source the menu system for it, etc. For example, USB loaders on Wii can pull boxart from the internet, and there's no reason why functionality for "playlists" couldn't be included in HDD loaders. It's a bit more understandable to just have duplicate roms for Everdrives for 8 and 16-bit systems.

 

Edit: Nintendont doesn't handle boxart, but other USB loaders do.

Edited by cfillak

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I think that issue is kind of moot because homebrew for most of those consoles is usually much more advanced than what is done on Everdrive menus. Professor Abrasive, the creator of the upcoming Saturn Satiator flashcart plans to open source the menu system for it, etc. For example, Nintendont on Wii can pull boxart from the internet, and there's no reason why functionality for "playlists" couldn't be included in HDD loaders. It's a bit more understandable to just have duplicate roms for Everdrives for 8 and 16-bit systems.

That is a good point. I wonder what the cutoff point for it would be. Certainly the wii, ps2, and xbox would work with that but the saturn, dreamcast, gamecube, and ps1 are all in that funny middle territory where they have large file sizes and poor internet/no internet connections and no internal hard drives. The dreamcast can have broadband (if you pay $400+ for the adapter) as can the gamecube and with optical drive emulator mods they can have sd cards so I wonder if that would be viewed as internal storage and you could have them operate similar to the wii, ps2, and xbox. Saturn and the ps1 seem like you'll just have to deal with having everything on the sd card though. Overall I don't think that would be too horrible as they are not huge file sizes but sorting the games could benefit from those smaller startup/shortcut files.

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That is a good point. I wonder what the cutoff point for it would be. Certainly the wii, ps2, and xbox would work with that but the saturn, dreamcast, gamecube, and ps1 are all in that funny middle territory where they have large file sizes and poor internet/no internet connections and no internal hard drives. The dreamcast can have broadband (if you pay $400+ for the adapter) as can the gamecube and with optical drive emulator mods they can have sd cards so I wonder if that would be viewed as internal storage and you could have them operate similar to the wii, ps2, and xbox. Saturn and the ps1 seem like you'll just have to deal with having everything on the sd card though. Overall I don't think that would be too horrible as they are not huge file sizes but sorting the games could benefit from those smaller startup/shortcut files.

The PS1 has PS-IO: http://ps-io.com/. The same company plans on putting out a Dreamcast optical drive emulator called DC-IO in the future as well. The PS-IO has support for loading boxart images, idk about sorting or playlists, but I doubt it. The nice thing about the Smokemonster sets going open source is that you can just amass a collection, and use the python tool to build the set, or make your own folder structure and use the tool to produce a DAT file that others can use, so you don't have to download some massive pack just to see how the set is structured.

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The PS1 has PS-IO: http://ps-io.com/. The same company plans on putting out a Dreamcast optical drive emulator called DC-IO in the future as well. The PS-IO has support for loading boxart images, idk about sorting or playlists, but I doubt it. The nice thing about the Smokemonster sets going open source is that you can just amass a collection, and use the python tool to build the set, or make your own folder structure and use the tool to produce a DAT file that others can use, so you don't have to download some massive pack just to see how the set is structured.

I'm aware of and own a psio, as well as a gdemu(dreamcast and I have the broadband adapter), wasp(gamecube), rhea (saturn), and thinking about picking up a super sd system 3(turbografx). My concern is simply getting the games for those systems sorted in a way that is user friendly and able to work on a sd card. Having playlists/favorites that would work for everything xbox, wii, ps2 & later would be perfect but as you said I'm unsure of if they would work on the turbografx, dreamcast, saturn, ps1, and gamecube. So those 5 systems are in this strange middle territory where it isn't practical to just copy the games a bunch of times and it also doesn't seem likely they'll get a playlist feature. (Also the sega cd if that ever gets an ode)

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This is a ridiculous discussion. Current FPGA technology can not come close to implement a functional fully framed rate PS2 or Xbox game. PS 1 or maybe Wii at best and it would not be cheap. We need quite a few more years of faster and much larger FPGAs.

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This is a ridiculous discussion. Current FPGA technology can not come close to implement a functional fully framed rate PS2 or Xbox game. PS 1 or maybe Wii at best and it would not be cheap. We need quite a few more years of faster and much larger FPGAs.

I don't feel it is that ridiculous. We just got reached the snes generation and with the next generation starts the rise of cd based systems like the neo geo cd, tg-cd, sega cd, saturn, and ps1. Even with the n64 (or msu audio patches for the snes) 64gb sd card limits becomes an issue.

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I don't feel it is that ridiculous. We just got reached the snes generation and with the next generation starts the rise of cd based systems like the neo geo cd, tg-cd, sega cd, saturn, and ps1. Even with the n64 (or msu audio patches for the snes) 64gb sd card limits becomes an issue.

It's farther off than you think. 5th gen systems were orders of magnitude more complex than their 4th gen brethren. Snes 3.59Mhz. N64 90-something Mhz. Think that'll be easy to program into next gen fpgaa? Dream on...

 

I always felt like there was a skipped gen between 16-bit and 3d era. Star Fox and Virtua Racing are glorified tech demos of what it might have looked like. People rip on N64 and PS1 polygons but they looked damn good in comparison.

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"they" eh. The problem is exfat is under heavy patent protection, and you have to pay a microsoft tax to use it. Not to mention, the spec isn't even available unless you pay MS a lot of money. So I don't think that is going to happen any time soon. This is why lots of things only support FAT32. My dashcam is a good example. It will format SD cards up to 64 gigs in size with FAT32 for use with the camera since windows was artificially restricted to format only a maximum of 32 gigs as FAT32 and anything larger must be exfat. This is an artificial limitation designed to make MS money via licensing fees. As far as I know, exfat hasn't been fully reverse engineered yet.

 

The patents for FAT32 and long file names ran out, so microsoft decided to create another patent encumbered format to keep the gravytrain rolling in.

 

 

The PS1 has PS-IO: http://ps-io.com/. The same company plans on putting out a Dreamcast optical drive emulator called DC-IO in the future as well. The PS-IO has support for loading boxart images, idk about sorting or playlists, but I doubt it. The nice thing about the Smokemonster sets going open source is that you can just amass a collection, and use the python tool to build the set, or make your own folder structure and use the tool to produce a DAT file that others can use, so you don't have to download some massive pack just to see how the set is structured.

 

The ps-io guys are trying to implement exfat support

 

http://ps-io.com/news/

 

http://www.cybdyn-systems.com.au/forum/viewtopic.php?p=12775#p12775

 

http://www.cybdyn-systems.com.au/forum/viewtopic.php?p=12861#p12861

 

Probably at risk (no paying fees)

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I think it is important to note that FPGAs are currently being used in fifth and sixth generation consoles not as system emulators but as optical drive emulators. Nonetheless, for PlayStation 2 and Xbox games, a maximum file size of 4GB is insufficient to contain a disk image.

 

One big advantage to FAT32 is that it is relatively simple as far as file systems go. Modest FPGAs can parse it without performance issues. Modern file systems like NTFS and HFS+ and ext4 used in Windows and OS X and Linux are much more complex and difficult to implement in an FPGA with relatively fewer computing resources. An FPGA functioning as a ROM or OD emulator does not need advanced features like Journaling, Encryption or Fragmentation Recovery. Another big advantage to FAT32 is that every modern computing device, whether it runs Windows, OS X, Linux or Android, can understand it.

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This is a ridiculous discussion. Current FPGA technology can not come close to implement a functional fully framed rate PS2 or Xbox game. PS 1 or maybe Wii at best and it would not be cheap. We need quite a few more years of faster and much larger FPGAs.

Yeah the discussion kind of veered off from full FPGA consoles/NT Mini/Super NT. I was talking about filesystems in general and their relation to everdrive-like solutions for other consoles.

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I'm aware of and own a psio, as well as a gdemu(dreamcast and I have the broadband adapter), wasp(gamecube), rhea (saturn), and thinking about picking up a super sd system 3(turbografx). My concern is simply getting the games for those systems sorted in a way that is user friendly and able to work on a sd card. Having playlists/favorites that would work for everything xbox, wii, ps2 & later would be perfect but as you said I'm unsure of if they would work on the turbografx, dreamcast, saturn, ps1, and gamecube. So those 5 systems are in this strange middle territory where it isn't practical to just copy the games a bunch of times and it also doesn't seem likely they'll get a playlist feature. (Also the sega cd if that ever gets an ode)

How's your experience with the PS-IO compatibility-wise? Is the switchboard installation too much for someone with no soldering experience? I picked up a PS1 w/ parallel port for 20$ when I heard about the PS-IO. It's good that they're figuring out their mass production situation so it'll be widely available. I'm hoping their Dreamcast DC-IO is similarly widely available when it's finished, as the current solutions are sparsely produced or are sold through archaic Russian websites.

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The likely hood of the special chip snes games to work with jailbreak firmware on a sd card is unlikely. Even the person who made the sdsnes cart is having trouble figuring it out but is working on it soppositely. Then again kevtris is a genius.

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"they" eh. The problem is exfat is under heavy patent protection, and you have to pay a microsoft tax to use it. Not to mention, the spec isn't even available unless you pay MS a lot of money. So I don't think that is going to happen any time soon. This is why lots of things only support FAT32. My dashcam is a good example. It will format SD cards up to 64 gigs in size with FAT32 for use with the camera since windows was artificially restricted to format only a maximum of 32 gigs as FAT32 and anything larger must be exfat. This is an artificial limitation designed to make MS money via licensing fees. As far as I know, exfat hasn't been fully reverse engineered yet.

 

The patents for FAT32 and long file names ran out, so microsoft decided to create another patent encumbered format to keep the gravytrain rolling in.

 

Maybe using Linux file systems instead of the FAT32 could give us the same benefits without the patent issues. Most Raspberry Pies use Ext4 format on the sdcard, which has a 1 EB maximum filesystem size and 16 TB maximum file size. Also the symlink capabilities allow us to sort collections into folders without duplicating the data.

Edited by Daschewie

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Maybe using Linux file systems instead of the FAT32 could give us the same benefits without the patent issues. Most Raspberry Pies use Ext4 format on the sdcard, which has a 1 EB maximum filesystem size and 16 TB maximum file size.

As long as there is a way to do it on windows. DOn't want to get another computer.

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As long as there is a way to do it on windows. DOn't want to get another computer.

 

These days, every game console, every phone, TV, tablet, and just about anything with an SD card is a computer. And many, if not most of those are linux, too. Free software is available to allow Windows to read and write ext4 (and many other perfectly functional file systems) as well.

 

The only real issue is all the flat-earthers out there who refuse to learn how, or just don't want to bother to patch up deficiencies in their Windows, plus of course, the continuing drama of dragging Microsoft kicking and screaming into the modern world of open source.

 

Now, implementing ext4 with the FPGA hardware we're talking about here may be a different story... I don't know.

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Drag and drop from a Windows computer to a file system that is not FAT, FAT32, ExFAT, or NTFS is a PITA. You'll need special utilities to read/write to it and it still won't work with windows explorer. You can't just add some mystery extension and get drag and drop support for any file system. Windows is not that open or transparent.

 

It's far better option to just force format to FAT32 on SDXC using a 3rd party utility to perform the format, also still possible via Windows command line even if the GUI utility refuses to do it. Nobody's using DVD-sized ISOs on FPGA consoles currently. Everything through 5th generation plus Game Cube / Dreamcast can be supported by FAT32 formatted SDHC/SDXC cards.

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It's farther off than you think. 5th gen systems were orders of magnitude more complex than their 4th gen brethren. Snes 3.59Mhz. N64 90-something Mhz. Think that'll be easy to program into next gen fpgaa? Dream on...

 

I always felt like there was a skipped gen between 16-bit and 3d era. Star Fox and Virtua Racing are glorified tech demos of what it might have looked like. People rip on N64 and PS1 polygons but they looked damn good in comparison.

 

I think you're underestimating the rate that technology progresses at. I give it a few years until the hardware exists.

 

How's your experience with the PS-IO compatibility-wise? Is the switchboard installation too much for someone with no soldering experience? I picked up a PS1 w/ parallel port for 20$ when I heard about the PS-IO. It's good that they're figuring out their mass production situation so it'll be widely available. I'm hoping their Dreamcast DC-IO is similarly widely available when it's finished, as the current solutions are sparsely produced or are sold through archaic Russian websites.

The psio is about a fairly simple install but considering what a pain in the ass they are to get ahold of I wouldn't risk it. Ideally I wouldn't learn to solder on anything you want to work later. It's a skill with a fast learning curve but you jump the wrong pin, bridge something on accident, or cut the wrong trace and you could fry everything. I'd suggest learning by putting like a $5 region free chip in a $20 gamecube or something for practice. Also if you look past Voultar's personality and strangeness he has a lot of great soldering advice on his youtube channel.

 

(this is advice for a PsOne but much of the advice is universally good practices to follow when modding)

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I think you're underestimating the rate that technology progresses at. I give it a few years until the hardware exists.

 

The psio is about a fairly simple install but considering what a pain in the ass they are to get ahold of I wouldn't risk it. Ideally I wouldn't learn to solder on anything you want to work later. It's a skill with a fast learning curve but you jump the wrong pin, bridge something on accident, or cut the wrong trace and you could fry everything. I'd suggest learning by putting like a $5 region free chip in a $20 gamecube or something for practice. Also if you look past Voultar's personality and strangeness he has a lot of great soldering advice on his youtube channel.

 

(this is advice for a PsOne but much of the advice is universally good practices to follow when modding)

Thanks for the tips! I was thinking about doing a Gameboy pocket backlight as my first project. I may just try to find a local modder to do the switchboard eventually, I'd rather not ship stuff to Australia.

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I'm not sitting through all 48 minutes of that. Summary please...

Basically instead of distributing roms Smoke is switching to a 100% legal program that simply renames and organizes roms how he would set them up. It does this by recognizing hashes (think little built in id numbers every file has) so as long as the id says the contents of the file match what he is looking for it will make sure the file gets named and moved properly regardless of what name it has, and even if it has the same name as something in his packs if the hash (once again think id number) doesn't match it won't move that file incorrectly, which makes it obvious if you have the wrong file.

 

For the vast majority of a pack just downloading the "goodroms" or "no intro" version would set things up as you would want but the issue is that (imo and probably many others as well) one of the most amazing appeals of the packs is that it includes a very detailed database of pre-patched, pre-translated, hacked, and homebrew games (as well as tools like the 240p test suite and the everdrive/analogue system files) which would require anyone wanting to build the list from scratch to track down and do all of that themselves. Luckily however this means that his lists will never be taken down and vanish from the internet, or that he would get in potentially life ruining trouble for just being a genuinely awesome guy and as long as the lists are around if any single fan of them feels up to it they can make the complete packs available to everyone and if anyone gets a take down notice they can just pass the baton.

 

Right now for example someone has already uploaded them on an archiving site which I won't name in this thread (but has been named in Smoke's thread on epforums).

 

tl;dr: I really hope everyone can see how amazing it is that the Smokemonster packs are now preserved forever in a completely legal way and if anyone wants to download them the only thing that has ultimately changed is where they are located. Please don't be distasteful and insist that the man that has given literal hundreds of hours to researching and archiving these lists should host them himself and put himself at risk when he has already done so much for everyone.

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