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kevtris

FPGA Based Videogame System

Interest in an FPGA Videogame System  

661 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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One guess who made that :-) I've made three SID players. The last one was a handheld stereo model with two SID chips.

Wow dual SID's - even more awesome! :) I wish I had your hardware skills. Please share a pic and details.

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Astrocade and Vectrex, that's like bonus material to me! Because I'm not entirely happy with the state of software emu for those two.

 

Someone was talking about VCS framerates. I understand that some tiny fraction of all the VCS out there render at 30FPS sometimes. While the console itself would continue running at 60FPS, the game would do its output every other screen - and use the black in-between frames for computation.

 

Don't know if that's relevant, don't know what games.

 

Virtual World BASIC for the VCS does exactly that - both of the game clips here use the blank in-between frames for computation when the entire screen is moving, and throttle back up to displaying every frame when the camera is stationary.

Edited by Mr SQL

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Why do we need the "dump and run the ROM" method if the system features a SD card reader?

 

This. :rolling:

 

However, a "dump to SD card" option would be useful built in for development, backing up rare games or protos, etc...

Edited by stardust4ever

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This. :rolling:

 

However, a "dump to SD card" option would be useful built in for development, backing up rare games or protos, etc...

That's probably easy to do: Just create a FPGA core that acts like a cart dumper. I assume you'd need a core for each cartridge type. :)

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I would pre order one of these for $200 based on the information I have already seen :) I think the combination of being able to play new games with infinite new cores plus all games up to snes... Is very exciting.

Edited by Grimboj

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I'd personally be happy with an 8-bit version and a 16-bit version sold separately if it brings the costs down. It would be great if it was sold with a certain amount of focus on appealing to homebrew developers.

 

Edit: I'd like to add a question. I know very little about the technical side of things, but could this be made with modes that allow increased sprites/less flicker, turbo (speed) modes and other (optional) hardware 'fixes'? Or is it a case of 'it works how it works' for accuracy?

Edited by sunteam

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It would be great if it was sold with a certain amount of focus on appealing to homebrew developers.

Having new indie/homebrew games on cart was the appeal of the rvgs. Without a proprietary cart I don't feel a need to buy a new retro system. Games for existing systems I'd rather play on original hardware. As long as this system ends up with it's own games to play I'd be a buyer, and the ability to play other carts would be an added bonus.

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I've tried emulation with Stella and I think that is pretty much it. I've have some other issues with emulation but the main one is that I don't like that it feels like playing console games like a PC gamer. What I mean is I don't like trying to figure out the best hardware set up, setting up and adjusting the settings for each emulator, finding and setting up a front end to run them all, my hardware being different than others' which may cause different bugs to report, different results, etc. In other words, for the same reason that some who prefer emulation prefer it because they don't want to go through all of the hassles of setting up and maintaining original hardware is similar to my reason to not wanting to go through the hassle of setting up and maintaining emulation software. I'm also extremely OCD which makes it even more a hassle because it wouldn't feel completely set up until it is set up to perfection. Therefore, if this thing is similar to emulation but plug and play as if it is a console of many consoles then I think I would like it because it would be console gaming in set up and while playing just like my other consoles but an all-in-one console. It would be console gaming from start to finish.

 

Therefore if it is like this I think I would buy it:

 

1. SD card. I want it as simple as just dropping the ROM's in their proper directories, all the cores and updates to anything about the console on the same SD card, a simple user interface for the console within the SD card without an overwhelming amount of settings, and whenever something needs updated all those ROM's and few setting are untouched. That seems like it would be very plug and play because it would just be dropping ROM's, adjusting a few settings to my liking with the rest already done for me, and then select a game to play.

 

2. HDMI. I would want the games displayed in a way that I couldn't tell the difference between this and if I was playing the game through original hardware with an HDMI modification. For an example, I would want games in 4:3 filling up to the top of the screen with black bars on the side and only stretch to widescreen if I choose to. I think I would want some CRT effects too. I would want the images pixel perfect with the colors identical to them perfectly adjusted on original hardware. For systems that were never on TV like Game Boy, Game Gear, etc. I would want them the same way by not being with black borders on every side with the image small in the middle and with no fake borders that make it look like a Game Boy or Game Gear. The only type of exceptions would be something like if I'm playing a Game Boy game in a Super Game Boy core. Or maybe something universal to all systems for the black side borders with something creative like maybe the ability to turn on a system menu while the game is still on screen as a sort of extra pause menu on the sides.

 

3. Original controllers. I would want to hook up original controllers with either USB adapters or USB controllers that are clones of originals. I would want them to automatically map correctly but with the option for custom mapping. I would also like to use the wrong controller when it makes sense. For an example, I would be fine with a Super NES controller for Super NES games, NES games, and Game Boy games. I would want to use a keyboard for console controls like the switches on the VCS or extra buttons on controllers like keypads. Paddle controllers are a must.

 

I think that is about it for the kind of plug and play console experience I would be interested in. I just want to play without thinking about it. I would be okay with extras like a head phone jack, ability to dump carts, cartridge adapters, save states, Game Genie codes, box art/manuals, etc. but as long as I can't tell that in between my original controller and the actual game on the screen isn't original hardware unless I look and when I do look using it is as easy as a console then I would be satisfied. Especially if it is so plug and play that I could have it all set up in one day for every console with the hard part being finding the right USB controllers. More than satisfied would be if after owning it I look at my huge console collection and struggle justifying reasons to keep it all because I can't think of a function that they have that this new console is lacking. Basically I'm interested in an "Everything Flashback".

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Having new indie/homebrew games on cart was the appeal of the rvgs. Without a proprietary cart I don't feel a need to buy a new retro system. Games for existing systems I'd rather play on original hardware. As long as this system ends up with it's own games to play I'd be a buyer, and the ability to play other carts would be an added bonus.

If I wanted to make a homebrew game playable on this proposed FPGA console, I wouldn't want to limit myself to just that console. I would make it for an original platform (say ColecoVision or NES in my case) and then my game would be playable on the "real" original hardware, possibly on clones like the Retron 5 (if I make sure to follow certain guidelines for compatibility) and also on kevtris' FPGA system. Then my game could be played by a much larger potential pool of retrogamers, including you who would rather play my homebrew game on original hardware than on a clone system. Making homebrew games is hard work (even on the earliest consoles) and I would want to maximize the number of owners/players if I went through the trouble of releasing my game on actual cartridges. :)

 

I think the whole point of kevtris' proposed system is to have a one-stop modern console (that won't break from old age) for playing all our legacy games on modern TVs (preferably via HDMI). Assuming the system will have cartridge adaptors, you could put all the original consoles away and have just this console plugged on the TV in your living room, bedroom or game room. It would be a tremendous space-saver. Also consider the people out there who played Atari/Coleco/NES/SMS/Super-NES/Genesis/etc. games when they were kids/teenagers but don't own any of those consoles today. Give them a one-stop console like kevtris' system and they just might return to the hobby, if only to play all those old games via SD cards if they don't want to dish out the $$$ to collect real carts.

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I would want to maximize the number of owners/players if I went through the trouble of releasing my game on actual cartridges. :)

I think something like this would increase the audience for a homebrew game because if it is an all-in-one retro console then people could play homebrews on it for consoles they may not have bought it for.

 

Are SD cards the same size as NDS cards? If so it seems like people could make homebrews with labels on SD cards, use NDS game cases, and make a manual to fit. That would be kind of cool because you could collect homebrews for many systems but make it look like one collection for one system. They could also be patched online but still count as cartridges. ;)

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3D printed cart cases could be used perhaps. We used a 3D printed CD case for Atlantean on the PCE/TG16 so extending that to small carts that hold an SD card could work, depending on how much space there is when inserted.

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I was wondering, could this system be powerful enough to 'emulate' a PS1 or Sega Saturn?

 

(www.dragonbox.de and www.everdrive.de are my shops, as I'm not sure how much I'm known here ;))

 

You make the Pyra? I love your work! This surely will be my handheld dream-machine.

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Considering the fact that I bought an Analogue NT and plan on buying Bunnyboy's HDMI nes, I think it's a given that I would have to own this too. 😜

 

It's funny because I was so hyped for the Retro VGS and then they did everything in their power to turn me away!

Edited by Noah98

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Not a feature request, just a random thought.

It would be interesting to have cores that model old discrete logic games. I assume that if the FPGA is stout enough to implement an entire CPU based system, it'd be able to run Pong, Computer Space (or games that I have like Bombs Away and Super Space Stranger) and the like if someone were interested enough to model it.

 

Maybe I missed it somewhere, but would there be anything preventing the user from writing and loading their own code. I mean, if I could justify to myself and others that I was buying a development board to further my professional skill set, I might be able to get away with buying one of these. :)

Edited by BigO

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I'd personally be happy with an 8-bit version and a 16-bit version sold separately if it brings the costs down. It would be great if it was sold with a certain amount of focus on appealing to homebrew developers.

 

Good idea, imagine an 8-bit version could be released sooner as well maybe? Keen to buy one.

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Good idea, imagine an 8-bit version could be released sooner as well maybe? Keen to buy one.

Um, you guys realize we're talking about a FPGA-based system, right? A FPGA is totally programmable, and I mean totally. Kevtris could tweak his prototype into a commercial product and include the cores he has right now, and he could deliver the cores for the 16-bit systems at a later date. You wouldn't have to wait for the 16-bit cores to buy the system, the ability to run any core (including 16-bit cores that will come later) is built into the system by design.

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Came here to read about the RVGS, registered when I saw what kevtris was up to!

My interest is mainly SNES games and I'm not rich, but a price around $200-250 definitely seems worth it. If I could make a feature request then it would be bluetooth-support so I could use my SNES30 controller (from 8bitdo). But it works via USB too. :) Would be interesting to develop games for something like this as well. But I mainly use Unity, so that won't work afaik.

 

Oh, I don't have any HDMI devices (except my computer monitor), so my vote goes to analog outputs! My CRT TV is waiting!

 

EDIT: I'd really love to see some MSU-1 support for the SNES core too. That would be soooo sweeet!

Edited by Phaax
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Maybe I missed it somewhere, but would there be anything preventing the user from writing and loading their own code. I mean, if I could justify to myself and others that I was buying a development board to further my professional skill set, I might be able to get away with buying one of these. :)

Assuming a SD card reader is included in the system, you could load any core you want into the FPGA.

 

But this makes me think that Kevtris should make sure that there is no possible way to brick the system by loading a "pirate" core. If the system boots with a read-only system BIOS, that shouldn't be a problem. :)

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3. Original controllers. I would want to hook up original controllers with either USB adapters or USB controllers that are clones of originals. I would want them to automatically map correctly but with the option for custom mapping. I would also like to use the wrong controller when it makes sense. For an example, I would be fine with a Super NES controller for Super NES games, NES games, and Game Boy games. I would want to use a keyboard for console controls like the switches on the VCS or extra buttons on controllers like keypads. Paddle controllers are a must.

 

 

 

It seems like partnering with someone like 4-Play would be the best way to achieve this without having to do rework on the design as it is an external unit that is HID compatible.

Now personally I would like to see a professional looking injection moulded case with the 4-Play integrated but that's not likely realistic with the lower production numbers we're talking about here.

 

Still, If this project can achieve a $200-300 price point and support all of the listed consoles (plus TG16 and NeoGeo) with HDMI output and SDCard Loading and have a decent looking case I'm all for it.

Edited by R5-D4

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This all sounds awesome, and for the sky's the limit as to cost. Especially if there's Astrocade, Arcadia, Channel F, Studio II, Neo Geo, etc support and the ability to use original cartridges, multicarts, and controllers.

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Um, you guys realize we're talking about a FPGA-based system, right? A FPGA is totally programmable, and I mean totally. Kevtris could tweak his prototype into a commercial product and include the cores he has right now, and he could deliver the cores for the 16-bit systems at a later date. You wouldn't have to wait for the 16-bit cores to buy the system, the ability to run any core (including 16-bit cores that will come later) is built into the system by design.

Yes, I know how it works. Kevin has already been working on this for a long time, strikes me as somewhat of a completionist, with his main interest in developing the cores themselves rather than selling stuff. If he just finished the hardware as it is and sold it I'd be happy getting the cores later but I am not sure if Kevin would?

Edited by Radfoo

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Yes, I know how it works. Kevin has already been working on this for a long time, strikes me as somewhat of a completionist, with his main interest in developing the cores themselves rather than selling stuff. If he just finished the hardware as it is and sold it I'd be happy getting the cores later but I am not sure if Kevin would?

See post #179: http://atariage.com/forums/topic/242970-fpga-based-videogame-system/?p=3330115

 

:)

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Hello everyone. This is my first post on Atari Age, a forum I never knew existed... and I am a hardcore retro gamer. Guess I just hadn't heard of this forum until hearing about Kevtris and his work. (Then again, I am less of an Atari person and more of the 8-bit to 16-bit era kind of guy.) Kevtris's work sounds super interesting.

 

I had really been looking forward to the Retro VGS, but had my hopes dashed when I saw the Indiegogo campaign. No specific information, no working prototype... Plus, I thought they were primarily focusing on being able to play old retro games on the system rather than new carts with 'retro style games' which would have been better as a sort of bonus.

 

I would definitely throw $300+ (I voted sky's the limit) at anyone who could give me a system that could run the plethora of systems that Kevtris has said he could get (and has gotten) running. I love the FPGA system as it would be very authentic, unlike the modern day emulators which always seem to have incompatibility issues and (very important to me as I am a sound designer composer for video games...) AUDIO and MUSIC! I seriously get bugged playing emulated games because the sound is just ... so... off. Listening to that Castlevania 3 demo was just... wonderful. Good work there, Kevtris!

 

Part of the reason I would throw money into the direction of someone doing something along the lines of what Kevtris is doing is because I already own a ton of carts, but some carts are just getting too pricey and I would love to play them as they were meant to be played. Also, a couple of capacitors have leaked onto my SNES and Genesis board. I replaced them, and they work... but will that always be the case? I want a concole that could last a much longer time. As someone who repairs old consoles, I have noticed more breaking down this last year. Are these things finally getting old enough to bite the dust? The FPGA system would be that awesome solution to my worries. It would also preserve video game history in a sense. So Kevtris would be doing more for the community than just coming out with a system... he'd be preserving an entire era of video gaming culture... one that is slowly slipping away.

 

Anyhow, the idea of an SD card slot that automatically loads the system core is just... so cool. I mean, damn amazing. Plus playing your carts? That's like... a dream come true. I swear if you came out with this, it would be very popular. I know there are many like myself who just want to clear up a little space in the living room, use HDMI, and have an authentic experience... without tampering around. Seriously, the SD card idea is just brilliant. USB connection for controllers? Superb. I cannot think of a better idea.

 

So yeah, I wanted to add to the horde saying that:

 

1) Yes, I'd pay $300 no problemo.

2) I'd hope to have HDMI and component

3) I would looove support for SNES, Genesis, NES. (If you could ever get Sega Saturn working, you're a superstar.) But even with the cores you've currently developed, you're just an amazing person.

 

So yeah. I think you should someday think about launching your own Kickstarter. You'd get my money without even a hint of a thought. I think a lot of peeps here were dissapointed with the Retro VGS launch... we were also dissapointed with cheaply made poor man's consoles like the Retron 5 (ughhh) maybe you could be the person who makes us all happy :)

Edited by brento
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