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kevtris

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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Yeah, I remember being able to see vertical lines much more than the big horizontal lines that the fake scanlines seem to emulate. Or maybe it was just because each pixel or whatever was really big with a lot of space around it.  I am sure it was a super low number of lines or "resolution"  (like how PVMs are really high at 600 or 800 lines).  I am not sure how low CRTs go but mine were probably the minimum number of lines they could use.  I used really cheap Sharp or RCA TVs though and have no idea what technology was used or anything,  I do remember the blooming being really bad on one of them...at least I think it was blooming.

Edited by Toth

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Hi everyone,

It looks like this is still a great place to ask for advice about the Nt Mini. As I have one on the way and contemplate whether it will become my main NES/Famicom machine, I am wondering if a couple of issues regarding audio that early reviews pointed out were resolved later or have workarounds.

 

First, regarding (low pass) filtering on audio from carts/RAM adapter. I have an RAM Adapter+FDSStick, which I would prefer to use instead of the internal emulated FDS sound, which is apparently very good but not identical to the real thing. I was always confused when it was reported that the Nt Mini lacks the resources to add a low pass filter for FDS games, but I'm not sure if that referred to FDS games loaded from SD card, from a RAM Adapter, or both. In any case, I gather that internal audio and external audio from the RAM adapter--and perhaps also from carts with expansion audio--will sound different as one will have filtering while the other does not. Is this correct? And if so, has there been an update or workaround to address it? I strongly prefer to rely on expansion audio from real hardware rather than the emulated chips, for 100% sound accuracy.

 

Second, I recall that expansion audio chips need to be enabled every time a cart is used, and that this setting cannot be saved permanently but is reset on each boot. Is this still the case?

 

Now that the Nt Mini is being re-released I'm wondering if kevtris will revisit the NES core. It sounded like there were a couple of sound issues fixed on the latest official firmware releases (https://support.analogue.co/hc/en-us/articles/115001947108-Nt-mini-Firmware-Update-v2-3), but details were not specified and those may just refer to changes also available in the last jailbreak firmware (2.3 official vs. 2.0 jailbreak, not sure if the numbering correlates).

 

Thanks for any info from anyone in the know!

 

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Regarding the visibility of scanlines on CRTs back in the day:

You can see them pretty clearly on the case insert for PC Engine Darius Alpha.

Ox2Yzpd.jpg

https://i.imgur.com/Ox2Yzpd.jpg

They were also visible on many arcade machines. For example, you can see them on Scarlet Sprite's latest video with his Sega Astro City monitor running Street Fighter II'

LGGK4Rg.jpg

https://i.imgur.com/LGGK4Rg.jpg

 

 

Yeah, scanlines were a thing.

 

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10 hours ago, CZroe said:

Regarding the visibility of scanlines on CRTs back in the day:

You can see them pretty clearly on the case insert for PC Engine Darius Alpha.

Ox2Yzpd.jpg

https://i.imgur.com/Ox2Yzpd.jpg

They were also visible on many arcade machines. For example, you can see them on Scarlet Sprite's latest video with his Sega Astro City monitor running Street Fighter II'

LGGK4Rg.jpg

https://i.imgur.com/LGGK4Rg.jpg

 

 

 

Yeah, scanlines were a thing.

 


Scanlines were a thing, and I still have two of my CRTs and every game console from the 1980s and 1990s, so I can compare emulated scanlines to the real thing to see how accurate emulated scanlines look. Both of my CRT TVs are consumer shadowmask CRTs, which is what was used in arcade machines and most households in the 1980s and 1990s.

 

That Darius picture has very little blooming, which means it was taken on a professional CRT and not a consumer CRT.  In other words, the scanlines are much more consistently thicker than the typical CRT in arcades and homes.
 

Here is my still functioning consumer CRT from 1997 playing Symphony of the Night on PS1 over composite video.  Scanlines are clearly visible, and more importantly, very intense blooming causing the dark scanlines to be thinner near brighter parts of the screen such as Alucard’s white hair. Scanlines combined with blooming gave CRTs a very distinctive look that rounded the edges of sharp pixel art.

 

 

2C5EE27B-ACE7-426B-8C45-E2999D9202CD.jpeg

Edited by Jagasian
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1 hour ago, Fluxgra said:

With it appearing likely that 8bitdo is going to be releasing a Turbografx control pad:

 

https://www.retrorgb.com/8bitdo-p30-2-4g-wireless-gamepad-leaked.html

 

Is anyone like me thinking that Analogue may eventually complete the holy trinity of the 4th gen consoles?

Who can say? I personally doubt it because I feel like Analogue mostly markets to western audiences and the TG-16/PCE wasn’t anywhere near as big here as it was in Japan. Plus all the documentation so far has mentioned the Mini NEC consoles that Konami is releasing right about now, so chances are low. 

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With it appearing likely that 8bitdo is going to be releasing a Turbografx control pad:
 
https://www.retrorgb.com/8bitdo-p30-2-4g-wireless-gamepad-leaked.html
 
Is anyone like me thinking that Analogue may eventually complete the holy trinity of the 4th gen consoles?
It's pretty obvious to me that it's just a reshelled N30 v2. I highly doubt they'll be making anything specific to the original systems.

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55 minutes ago, CZroe said:
5 hours ago, Fluxgra said:
With it appearing likely that 8bitdo is going to be releasing a Turbografx control pad:
 
https://www.retrorgb.com/8bitdo-p30-2-4g-wireless-gamepad-leaked.html
 
Is anyone like me thinking that Analogue may eventually complete the holy trinity of the 4th gen consoles?

It's pretty obvious to me that it's just a reshelled N30 v2. I highly doubt they'll be making anything specific to the original systems.

Yes. It seems they might have moved the menu button, but it's just a reshell.

 

Anyway, an Analogue FPGA PC Engine, as much as I'd like it, won't happen because it's not financially viable. As far as I know, Analogue has no marketing at all in Japan, the only country where the PC Engine didn't fail terribly. It wasn't even released in some places in Europe from what I can tell. I doubt they would make much of a profit from it because nobody outside Japan wanted the thing 30 years ago and I imagine about the same amount of people want it now. Konami is welcome to change my mind by showing their sales reports for the PC Engine mini family by country. I imagine the TurboGrafx-16 mini will be rare and expensive in 20~30 years provided they still work. Of course, Analogue could just start marketing in Japan since few people outside Japan besides me, if I even count, would buy an FPGA PC Engine anyway. Yes, the MiSTer exists, but it's not a commercial product and can't play over half of the system's library right now.

 

Now if there was a combination system that included some other system(s) and PC Engine came as a bonus, they might make some cash from that, but probably not because of the PC Engine's inclusion. Most people would likely buy it for the other systems and completely ignore the PC Engine functionality. Again, as I said some time ago, that might be super ugly and against their design philosophy, but there is nothing saying it can't be done while not being extremely ugly.

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Anyway, an Analogue FPGA PC Engine, as much as I'd like it, won't happen ... Now if there was a combination system that included some other system(s) and PC Engine came as a bonus, they might make some cash from that, but probably not because of the PC Engine's inclusion. Most people would likely buy it for the other systems and completely ignore the PC Engine functionality. Again, as I said some time ago, that might be super ugly and against their design philosophy, but there is nothing saying it can't be done while not being extremely ugly.

I've been holding out hope that there will be a HuCard/TurboChip cartridge adapter for the Analogue Pocket with an NEC core that would make it equivalent to a PC Engine GT/TurboExpress. From there it would be relatively easy to add CD-ROM support with the dock or jailbreak to play CD-ROM²/Turbo-CD, Super CD-ROM²/Duo-CD, and Arcade CD-ROM². Give that Polymega a run for its money! atariage_icon_wink.gif

 

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15 minutes ago, CZroe said:


I've been holding out hope that there will be a HuCard/TurboChip cartridge adapter for the Analogue Pocket that would make it equivalent to a PC Engine GT/TurboExpress. From there it would be relatively easy to add CD-ROM support with the dock or jailbreak to play CD-ROM²/Turbo-CD, Super CD-ROM²/Duo-CD, and Arcade CD-ROM². Give that Polymega a run for its money! ;)

I am doing the same. I'd much rather use the Pocket than the fragile, rare, and expensive PC Engine GT. We already know that the Pocket is capable of running MD/Genesis/SFC/SNES cores, so perhaps PC Engine is possible, and if so, maybe there would be an adaptor for it.

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I don't know that Analogue would release a PC Engine or not, but I don't see any reason it wouldn't sell. It's not like Analogues market is the kinda people buying these mini consoles. It's retro enthusiasts, many of whom have only recently discovered PC Engine, and many who have probably held back given the high barrier to entry. Unless they think they can do something like PS1 or N64 after the Pocket, PC Engine is no worse a choice than anything else IMO.

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3 hours ago, CZroe said:

I've been holding out hope that there will be a HuCard/TurboChip cartridge adapter for the Analogue Pocket with an NEC core that would make it equivalent to a PC Engine GT/TurboExpress. From there it would be relatively easy to add CD-ROM support with the dock or jailbreak to play CD-ROM²/Turbo-CD, Super CD-ROM²/Duo-CD, and Arcade CD-ROM². Give that Polymega a run for its money! atariage_icon_wink.gif

 

The PCE/TG16 core on MiSTer is already pretty solid, and getting closer to virtually complete accuracy. They even decapped and scanned the CPU recently for it. And with all of that, it doesn't seem trivial to add CD-ROM support at this time. It's only a matter of time though, and if Analogue were interested in a fully featured PCE FPGA clone with CD library support they would definitely take a look at the open source code at least. But as others have said, Analogue will think twice about such a product given that the popularity in the West of the PCE (especially the CD library which is mostly obscure and in Japanese) is limited beyond a couple of luminaire games like Rondo of Blood.

 

And the Polymega is just a good software emulation machine with a great UI and PnP capabilities. It's not really in the same category as any FPGA-based gaming device.

 

 

Edited by Peredonov

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The PCE/TG16 core on MiSTer is already pretty solid, and getting closer to virtually complete accuracy. They even decapped and scanned the CPU recently for it. And with all of that, it doesn't seem trivial to add CD-ROM support at this time.

Yes, I'm aware. ElectronAsh got Rondo booting relatively easily,lband it didn't stall because of any real difficulties. Unlike Sega CD or other CD expansions, PCE/TG CD hardware does not require reverse-engineering and replicating any new custom chips. It's mostly just RAM and a HuCard/TurboChip ROM. Making a legal BIOS ROM would be an issue if the theoretical cartridge adapter didn't let you use a real System Card. ;) Of course, that's something MiSTer doesn't need to concern itself with since it isn't expected to be able to legally run the games without extra setup from the user.

The CD-ROM interface itself is almost bog-standard SCSI, which means most games should work fine without even having to intricately replicate the original drive. Biggest issue is stuff like games reading too fast or having zero seek time. An FPGA with embedded SoC should be able to interface a USB drive relatively easily. It is my understanding that the Analogue Pocket dock does have USB for controllers and such (IIRC).

It's only a matter of time though, and if Analogue were interested in a fully featured PCE FPGA clone with CD library support they would definitely take a look at the open source code at least. But as others have said, Analogue will think twice about such a product given that the popularity in the West of the PCE (especially the CD library which is mostly obscure and in Japanese) is limited beyond a couple of luminaire games like Rondo of Blood.

Yes, but CD-ROM² would be trivially easy to implement once the host system (PCE/TG16) is already replicated when compared to the difficulty of somethingfull of custom hardware like Sega CD or 32X. This is why the dream all depends on whether or not they plan a PCE/TG16 FPGA core for the Pocket.

Considering that there enthusiast audience is a lot more interested in PCE/TG16 than your average gamer, I don't think it's entirely fair to look at Western popularity as a whole. There is a lot more crossover interest with the kind of Western retro gamers who want premium hardware than there is with the guy who just wants to load up a Pi Zero shoved into an NES cartridge shell. I mean, PCE/TG16 has demonstrably more interest among prospective Pocket users than, say, Game King and Lynx. Didn't stop Analogue from announcing that it would support Lynx games. ;)

And the Polymega is just a good software emulation machine with a great UI and PnP capabilities. It's not really in the same category as any FPGA-based gaming device.

Exactly... and a lot of the people interested in Polymega for the CD systems really wanted FPGA and got really mad when they found out it was emulation. That's why Analogue Pocket with CD-ROM² would appeal to some of the people who were interested.

FPGA Sega Saturn, FPGA PlayStation, etc is a bit much to ask, seeing as each would be a major achievement on its own with loads of custom chips that would need to be replicated. Even Sega CD took years of work for Terra Onion and Krikzz. Thanks to Furrtek, Neo Geo CD could conceivably happen with a commercial FPGA console now that they have a BIOS that's legal for commercial use.

I wouldn't expect Kevtris/Analogue to license a Sega CD FPGA core or do it themselves if they didn't bother for the Mega Sg (market too limited). If they ever make an FPGA Neo Geo it might make sense to licence the new BIOS and include a CD drive, since that would likely be cheaper and more accessible than MVS/AES slots. Maybe a design much like Polymega where you add an MVS or AES module on a Neo Geo base that has a CD slot.

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SuperGrafx + PC Engine CD support is what I most want out of the Pocket. I have a GBA SP already and no real interest in Game Gear or Lynx support, but it would be great to see a portable FPGA SuperGrafx that can run CD games, especially since the PC Engine GT is fragile and there is currently no way to play CD games on it and SuperGrafx isn't possible on the GT since it's not a SuperGrafx. Yes, SuperGrafx only adds an extra 5 games, but why wouldn't you want that option if it's available? 1941 Counter Attack is awesome and the other SuperGrafx games are mostly pretty good except for Battle Ace, which is just a poorly done and boring first-person After Burner clone.

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SuperGrafx + PC Engine CD support is what I most want out of the Pocket. I have a GBA SP already and no real interest in Game Gear or Lynx support, but it would be great to see a portable FPGA SuperGrafx that can run CD games, especially since the PC Engine GT is fragile and there is currently no way to play CD games on it and SuperGrafx isn't possible on the GT since it's not a SuperGrafx. Yes, SuperGrafx only adds an extra 5 games, but why wouldn't you want that option if it's available? 1941 Counter Attack is awesome and the other SuperGrafx games are mostly pretty good except for Battle Ace, which is just a poorly done and boring first-person After Burner clone.
Exactly. I think it would be the most compelling part if they do it and the fact that they may not be able to justify a stand-alone console for it is even more reason to add it to the Pocket.

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9 minutes ago, CZroe said:
8 hours ago, Steven Pendleton said:
SuperGrafx + PC Engine CD support is what I most want out of the Pocket. I have a GBA SP already and no real interest in Game Gear or Lynx support, but it would be great to see a portable FPGA SuperGrafx that can run CD games, especially since the PC Engine GT is fragile and there is currently no way to play CD games on it and SuperGrafx isn't possible on the GT since it's not a SuperGrafx. Yes, SuperGrafx only adds an extra 5 games, but why wouldn't you want that option if it's available? 1941 Counter Attack is awesome and the other SuperGrafx games are mostly pretty good except for Battle Ace, which is just a poorly done and boring first-person After Burner clone.

Exactly. I think it would be the most compelling part if they do it and the fact that they may not be able to justify a stand-alone console for it is even more reason to add it to the Pocket.

Even if Analogue doesn't add PC Engine support (preferably SuperGrafx support for the few people out there who actually have SuperGrafx games), I don't see why it wouldn't be possible for someone else to add it. Analogue opening up the system to outside developers and allowing them to build cores for it (most likely in response to the MiSTer, I'm guessing), combined with the fact that the SNES and Genesis cores will run on it, gives me hope that it's powerful enough for someone to make a SuperGrafx core for it even if Analogue doesn't.

 

Hell, I'd send Analogue my SuperGrafx for them to use in developing the core for it if they needed it! I'll just not play 1941 Counter Attack for a while since I can use my regular PC Engine instead until I get the SuperGrafx back.

Edited by Steven Pendleton
punctuation
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Even if Analogue doesn't add PC Engine support (preferably SuperGrafx support for the few people out there who actually have SuperGrafx games), I don't see why it wouldn't be possible for someone else to add it. Analogue opening up the system to outside developers and allowing them to build cores for it (most likely in response to the MiSTer, I'm guessing), combined with the fact that the SNES and Genesis cores will run on it, gives me hope that it's powerful enough for someone to make a SuperGrafx core for it even if Analogue doesn't.
 
Hell, I'd send Analogue my SuperGrafx for them to use in developing the core for it if they needed it! I'll just not play 1941 Counter Attack for a while since I can use my regular PC Engine instead until I get the SuperGrafx back.
You're probably right. I just hope we get it with a HuCard adapter either way. :)

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4 minutes ago, CZroe said:

You're probably right. I just hope we get it with a HuCard adapter either way. :)

That would be best, as I prefer carts (or HuCARDs, in this case) over ROMs. I've been hoping for a HuCARD adaptor for the Pocket since they announced it. I hope it happens, but since they didn't announce it in the initial announcement like the adaptors that we know it has, I doubt it will happen. Maybe I'm wrong, though. I doubt there would be much demand for such an adaptor, but they did release the SG-1000 + Mark III adaptor for the Mega Sg, so perhaps it could come later.

 

I don't know if the pins in the PC Engine and TurboGrafx HuCARDs are the same, though.

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That would be best, as I prefer carts (or HuCARDs, in this case) over ROMs. I've been hoping for a HuCARD adaptor for the Pocket since they announced it. I hope it happens, but since they didn't announce it in the initial announcement like the adaptors that we know it has, I doubt it will happen. Maybe I'm wrong, though. I doubt there would be much demand for such an adaptor, but they did release the SG-1000 + Mark III adaptor for the Mega Sg, so perhaps it could come later.
 
I don't know if the pins in the PC Engine and TurboGrafx HuCARDs are the same, though.
Same pinout with the data bus reversed so the bits come out backwards. Very easy to support HuCard and TurboChip with the same adapter. The Pocket literally just has to reverse the bits. It would even be easy for it to auto-detect, since every American game has the same region-check routine and it could do a quick read.

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1 hour ago, CZroe said:
1 hour ago, Steven Pendleton said:
That would be best, as I prefer carts (or HuCARDs, in this case) over ROMs. I've been hoping for a HuCARD adaptor for the Pocket since they announced it. I hope it happens, but since they didn't announce it in the initial announcement like the adaptors that we know it has, I doubt it will happen. Maybe I'm wrong, though. I doubt there would be much demand for such an adaptor, but they did release the SG-1000 + Mark III adaptor for the Mega Sg, so perhaps it could come later.
 
I don't know if the pins in the PC Engine and TurboGrafx HuCARDs are the same, though.

Same pinout with the data bus reversed so the bits come out backwards. Very easy to support HuCard and TurboChip with the same adapter. The Pocket literally just has to reverse the bits. It would even be easy for it to auto-detect, since every American game has the same region-check routine and it could do a quick read.

Okay, good. It's possible, then, and you wouldn't even need a separate PC Engine converter and TurboGrafx converter.

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Does anyone have Tales of Phantasia for the SFC? I mean the actual real cart, not the ROM. It's crashing on the Super Nt in the sound test for me, but I do not have the cart and apparently the only ROMs that I can find have invalid checksums. I haven't done much serious searching for the ROM, though. I was planning on getting the cart anyway eventually, but maybe someone else has encountered this using the real cart. I think there is a copy at the Book Off down the street for a decent price, but I'm feeling kind of lazy and don't want to walk for 20 minutes there and 20 minutes back just to check, especially if it's not in great condition.

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Terraonion announced MODE - dreamcast + saturn ODE in one. TBH I feel like combining both functionalities just makes it more expensive for people who just need one or the other

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Terraonion products are never cheap -- but they are excellent.  I find my Sega CD/Genesis/32X cart a level above everything else I own.  I'll definitely be getting two of these, regardless of cost.  I think I'll throw one into my Japanese Saturn and Dreamcast.

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There's really no point to supporting both consoles with one device if they aren't going to make it a quick-change module removable through the lid with specific adapters that you install in each console. That way they would have had the potential to update the FW to add, say, Neo Geo CD or other consoles where you'd only need to buy a cheap adapters for each one.

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I am not so sure if the two functionalities would add considerable cost if you think of some benefits to producing one (more) mass produced unit.  I think yes, there is additional cost, but how much?  Would the same FPGA have been used?  How much extra R&D was done if they were going to do both anyways?  Is mass producing this unit twice as much basically going to make manufacturing cheaper?

 

It's hard to say... I don't think we have enough info to go on to make that conclusion.

 

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