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kevtris

FPGA Based Videogame System

Interest in an FPGA Videogame System  

637 members have voted

  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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It would be cool to see a company like anologue make a high-end Genesis/32X/Sega-CD combo. Imagine a compact unit that plays all the 16/32 bit Sega stuff without having to use a system that, as the Angry Video Game Nerd once said, looks like it's on life support.

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It should look like an original Genesis, with a slot in the front for sliding in Sega CD games. If it output in 1080p as well as analog RGB I'd pay almost anything for it.

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I have a question relating to the Super NT Super FX games that I think only one person is currently in a position to answer. It's something I've been wondering about ever since I placed my order. I have a couple of Super FX games that have been overclocked to run at higher speeds. Kevtris, are these games likely to play fine on the Super NT or are we likely to see issues with these overclocked cartridges?

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A dedicated FPGA Genesis/32X/Sega CD just doesnt appeal to me. I would love to have a Genesis core for Super NT, but thats it. That said, I would be very interested in a dedicated FPGA Neo Geo.

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This is just conjecture, and I haven't read all previous posts, so I may be repeating a previously discussed issue. If that's the case, apologies in advance. Regarding the future path of hardware releases from Analogue and Kevtris: Looking at the Nt Mini, we can see that, with the jailbreak activated, the 8-bit spectrum of systems and their respective software has been respectfully en-codified, and preserved, in modern hardware. With that in mind, and within the limitations of the Cyclone V specs, perhaps the same generation-encompassing inclusion will be the case with the Super Nt as well. So that in the end, we have one system for all of 8-bit and earlier gaming, and another system for all of 16-bit era gaming. One way this could evolve would be by partnering with 8bitdo to release wireless bluetooth controllers modeled after the original system pads. Another way would be to release controller adapters for each specific system, so that original hardware controllers could be used on the Nt mini and Super Nt.

On the topic of speculation, if we take the concept even further, I can envision the development of one console which faithfully embodies the FPGA-based cores of all 8-bit and 16-bit systems housed within it. This system would physically resemble the Neo Geo because of it's large footprint, meaning lots of room inside the case for a large single or multiple FPGA boards. Additionally it would incorporate Neo Geo's cartridge connector- it being the largest and therefore (?) most adaptable to multi-system use. This multi-use would be in the form of cartridge pin adapters which could be used, for example, to plug an SNES game into the adapter which then plugs into the console via the Neo Geo cartridge pin-out. Adapters could be made for all 8 and 16-bit cartridge-based systems and sold separately from the console itself.

And since we're firmly in dreamland now, why not take it a step further? Using this 8/16-bit system, Analogue partners with the main game companies to re-issue, in physical format, their classic games. The pin-out arrangements would have to remain the OEM spec, so lengthwise the carts would be the same dimension as original releases, but with the advancement of technology, new-issue cartridges wouldn't even need to be the physical height that they once were. I imagine that in most cases, the cartridges would only need to be tall enough to physically insert and remove from the console. Thus, SNES carts could vertically be cut in half. The same with Genesis carts, while Neo Geo carts could conceivably be reduced to 1/4 their current height.

In my mind, something like this would be the ultimate goal in video game preservation: A super-console which represents all of 8 and 16-bit, with the ability to accept all original equipment controllers, and play original physical carts and re-issue carts as well as rom versions.

As far as cd-based systems go....any ideas?

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A dedicated FPGA Genesis/32X/Sega CD just doesnt appeal to me. I would love to have a Genesis core for Super NT, but thats it. That said, I would be very interested in a dedicated FPGA Neo Geo.

 

Are you a big fan of the Genesis/32X/Sega CD?

 

I'd love an FPGA Neo Geo. Would an FPGA N64 be possible, or is the architecture too complex?

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I'd think that anything beyond 16 bits consoles or computers might be too much for a single person to handle.

 

As for a multi system machine, look for posts on Zimba 3000 design.

Edited by Newsdee

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I have a question relating to the Super NT Super FX games that I think only one person is currently in a position to answer. It's something I've been wondering about ever since I placed my order. I have a couple of Super FX games that have been overclocked to run at higher speeds. Kevtris, are these games likely to play fine on the Super NT or are we likely to see issues with these overclocked cartridges?

If it runs on a stock system, it should run on the super nt. overclocking the superfx doesn't change how the cartridge bus works, so I don't see an issue.

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If it runs on a stock system, it should run on the super nt. overclocking the superfx doesn't change how the cartridge bus works, so I don't see an issue.

Assuming a separate jb superfx core is provided. Otherwise you need an actual cart with an overclocked superfx chip??? :dunce:

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Assuming a separate jb superfx core is provided. Otherwise you need an actual cart with an overclocked superfx chip??? :dunce:

 

Yes, he was talking about the actual cart.

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vs. support is already in the nes core. you need nes 2.0 ROMs to make it work right, however, and there might be some other issues I can't think of at the moment that makes it not work (like coin inputs). I ran out of time to test it all. All of the RGB PPU palettes and stuff are in there

 

This is very intriguing!

 

I'm afraid that currently, Vs. System support is more complex than kevtris has indicated : http://nerdlypleasures.blogspot.com/2017/11/analogue-nt-mini-vs-system-support.html

 

I'm going to have to figure out how to set this up. Thanks for the link.

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Anyone have any insight as to whether the NT mini is going to be in stock again? I want to get one as well as a Super NT. Assuming the Super NT does get some kind of jailbreak, I'm guessing it won't include a NES core as long as there's still money to be made off the NT mini. But I'm just speculating, like everyone else.

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Anyone have any insight as to whether the NT mini is going to be in stock again? I want to get one as well as a Super NT. Assuming the Super NT does get some kind of jailbreak, I'm guessing it won't include a NES core as long as there's still money to be made off the NT mini. But I'm just speculating, like everyone else.

We've been speculating alot on this thread about Analogue's business plans but its just that, speculation. The only person that posts on this thread that would have any insight into any of this is Kevtris. Whether or not he comments on any of these things is between him and Analogue. My advice is to make the decision to buy these products based on SOLELY their advertised feature set, not speculation of future added functionality.

 

So if the NT Mini were still in stock, take the officially advertised features, plus the latest jailbreak firmware release/list of cores as the final feature set, and view anything added after that as gravy. For the Super NT, just view it as an HDMI SNES that can play original carts and flash carts. This is the only way to not be disappointed or feel burned by a purchase.

 

That said, I would personally be very surprised if loading ROMs from the SD card was never added to the Super NT in any capacity. We know some cartridge-less gameplay is possible because of the digital distribution of Super Turrican 2, but we don't know if those are just stored in some kind of internal storage on the Super NT, or if we get a download code and load the ROM on an SD. If ROM loading never materializes as a feature, the SD2SNES is still available, although expensive. If it does get added as a feature, I personally am not expecting it to cover any expansion chips the SD2SNES does not cover. If SA-1 and SuperFX get covered, that's fantastic! These 2 chips comprise 41/783 officially released SNES/SFC games according to Wikipedia. And ideally, we all want 100% ROM loading compatibility, but it's probably better to keep expectations conservative and be pleasantly surprised if/when they are exceeded.

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Yeah, my thinking exactly, keeping my expectations within the scope of what is actually being advertised but I'm still low-key hoping I can play SA-1 and Super FX rom hacks like SMW2+2 and Super Mario Central's Vanilla Level Design Contest 9. :grin:

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And another great article by Great Hierophant, Analogue Nt Mini: Audio Tweaking. Any comments Kevtris? Where do these differences in volume (between the Nt Mini and the original hardware) of the particular channels come from? Is there any way you can measure this audio volume stuff more accurately for your cores, Kevtris?

Edited by retro_fan

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Wondering when you guys are releasing the review units out. I am eager to see a review before my purchase.

Edited by Deltax5
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And another great article by Great Hierophant, Analogue Nt Mini: Audio Tweaking. Any comments Kevtris? Where do these differences in volume (between the Nt Mini and the original hardware) of the particular channels come from? Is there any way you can measure this audio volume stuff more accurately for your cores, Kevtris?

There's a few things in play here. First, I do not have the "Exact" mixing a real system does, because it isn't possible to have true stereo if you do. This was a tradeoff I made to allow stereo. The DPCM level (i.e. 4011 write, where the DAC ends up after a DPCM sample) affects triangle/noise volume a little bit. I had this in there originally, but took it out to make the channels stereo. If I kept it in, then there would've been channel crosstalk between all the channels and it would've sounded pretty terrible.

 

As for expansion volume relative to the main channels, it can vary from revision to revision of the famicom, and things like N163 have different value resistors to control volume, so that's why there are sliders. Also, some people tend to like some channels louder or softer than others, as well.

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I pre-ordered a Super NT the first day Analogue started accepting pre-orders for the Super NT. They stated it would be released February 2018. Any idea if that is early February or late February? If I like my first Super NT, then I plan on buying a second to keep mint in box.

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I can live without additional system cores added to the Super NT, but I will be extremely disappointed if we dont at least have the ability to load roms via SD card. I wont be spending additional money on a SD2SNES when Analogue could simply add that capability to begin with, or through a jailbreak. If not, Ill happily go back to a SNES mini until another FPGA SNES option arises.

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There's a few things in play here. First, I do not have the "Exact" mixing a real system does, because it isn't possible to have true stereo if you do. This was a tradeoff I made to allow stereo. The DPCM level (i.e. 4011 write, where the DAC ends up after a DPCM sample) affects triangle/noise volume a little bit. I had this in there originally, but took it out to make the channels stereo. If I kept it in, then there would've been channel crosstalk between all the channels and it would've sounded pretty terrible.

 

As for expansion volume relative to the main channels, it can vary from revision to revision of the famicom, and things like N163 have different value resistors to control volume, so that's why there are sliders. Also, some people tend to like some channels louder or softer than others, as well.

 

What about adding a separate "mono" mode with this "exact real system mixing"? Then allow the user to choose between "mono" (turn off complex sound customization options here, if this would be necessary) and "stereo". This might be a nice idea, unless you would have to completely rebuild the core to implement such a functionality...

 

And when it comes to the expansion volume relative to the main channels, maybe create a few volume presets (for the most popular revisions, think of it as of "pallets" but for sound), it's awesome that full customisation is possible, but a few out of the box volume settings might be nice to have as well.

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I pre-ordered a Super NT the first day Analogue started accepting pre-orders for the Super NT. They stated it would be released February 2018. Any idea if that is early February or late February? If I like my first Super NT, then I plan on buying a second to keep mint in box.

It sounds like they're currently on track for early Feb:

https://twitter.com/analogue_co/status/949492928988135429

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There's a few things in play here. First, I do not have the "Exact" mixing a real system does, because it isn't possible to have true stereo if you do. This was a tradeoff I made to allow stereo. The DPCM level (i.e. 4011 write, where the DAC ends up after a DPCM sample) affects triangle/noise volume a little bit. I had this in there originally, but took it out to make the channels stereo. If I kept it in, then there would've been channel crosstalk between all the channels and it would've sounded pretty terrible.

 

As for expansion volume relative to the main channels, it can vary from revision to revision of the famicom, and things like N163 have different value resistors to control volume, so that's why there are sliders. Also, some people tend to like some channels louder or softer than others, as well.

It's subjective, but imo the best way to split nes into stereo is to boost the rectangle by +3db and pan pulse0 hard left and pulse1 hard right. Reason for the +3 db boost is because this is equal to the apparent loss of loudness when played through one speaker instead of two. This is obviously impossible on real hardware because both pulses comes out of a different pin from triangle/noise/pcm. The console mod method of putting the pulse on one channel and everything else on the other, sounds disjointed and wierd. Many NES soundtracks/chiptunes play double stops on the rectangles, which yields a pleasant and balanced effect when split in emulation. I burned a custom stereo mix audio CD with Brad Smith's MOON8 on it, and blasted it in my car stereo. It's bad ass.

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Would it be possible for the NT Mini to someday output NES games in 4k? That's actually been one of the things holding me back from getting a 4k TV.

I'm not sure if it has the resources to do that, but I'm pretty sure that the hdmi port is not 2.0 so I'd bet on no. But the difference between 240p upscaled to 1080p vs upscaled to 4k is probably nonexistent.

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