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What is the x86 specification? This is most important because that's where the emulators are running off of, right?

 

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So you're basically selling a Retron5 with built in Retrode device, basically a Retroblox without the CD drive and nonsense talk about digital stores and hybrid emulation?

 

Also as for 24-pin Atari cart connectors, don't some of the old floppy cables have them?

 

It is similar in some ways to the Retron 5 or other competitors, although we can detach the Core and use it in devices where Retron 5 or the others would be unusable, like on laptops and HTPC setups.

 

All while abiding by GPL, and providing official support for more systems (at proper voltages too). And adding to that, we're actively trying to connect to the retro gaming community, and providing easy to use software for less experienced customers.

 

And yes, no nonsense.

 

About the Atari, thanks for the insight. I'll take a look! We'd love to add support for that! Gotta love playing Warlords and Swordquest. :grin:

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What is the x86 specification? This is most important because that's where the emulators are running off of, right?

 

 

Our current development models use 8th-Generation Celeron-class CPUs, but the target is to run all our supported consoles at smooth framerates (60FPS), so we're considering a number of options. We wish to make the device affordable while providing a streamlined experience.

Edited by foxlet
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Kind of surprised using a celeron. Wouldn't a solid ARM chip or maybe (not up on it really) a higher quality intel Atom chip perhaps suit it better?

 

Hmm I could see if stardust is right, that this like retroblox without the CD drive mechanics in place, which in turn should mean a far better pricing model. It could be interesting. Sure it won't appeal to those wanting a stable modern old CD console reading device, but on the up side, less bs, less cost involved, and less likely to croak with less moving parts/motors involved.

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Kind of surprised using a celeron. Wouldn't a solid ARM chip or maybe (not up on it really) a higher quality intel Atom chip perhaps suit it better?

 

Hmm I could see if stardust is right, that this like retroblox without the CD drive mechanics in place, which in turn should mean a far better pricing model. It could be interesting. Sure it won't appeal to those wanting a stable modern old CD console reading device, but on the up side, less bs, less cost involved, and less likely to croak with less moving parts/motors involved.

 

 

The Retroblox Concept is Elegant, but introduces (IMO) needless points of failure. Rather than have an integrated slot-loading drive, they should offer a standard bay where someone could slap in any off-the-shelf DVD-ROM. This is similar to what the IndieGo did. Yes, this won't be as visually attractive as their current machine, but I'm pretty sure I can fix it when the drive inevitably wears out. And let's face it, the main reason people want such a device is because CD-based consoles are unreliable over the long haul.

 

If Lythium's product is as modular as they claim, then perhaps they could eventually incorporate CD functionality through a PC DVD drive. There's nothing saying they CAN'T do this.

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I've seen that in Asia, simple "flash carts", which don't have any SD technology, seem to be popular due to price. Which are pretty much a blank cart, for repro and some homebrew games. (The way we explain them in China is a "Single ROM flash cart")

Now you got my interest :D

While I like the idea of dumping my own carts, the idea of flashing my own is even better.

Yeah I know, if I have emulation, why botherign with those carts? Well I like having games on carts - I feel more involved in playing it - and also most people I know do'nt touch emulation so if I wanna share a game with them, I need a physical cart.

One question I have, too, is if it's possible to rewrite SRAM? The idea of dumping old saves from a real cart is nice, but it mean that the cart is useless after if you play on emulation. It is even possible to rewrite SRAM on carts, for maintenance purposes (replacing a battery)?

Edited by CatPix

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Kind of surprised using a celeron. Wouldn't a solid ARM chip or maybe (not up on it really) a higher quality intel Atom chip perhaps suit it better?

Atom and Celeron are pretty much the same thing -- cheaper versions of Intel chips for things like netbooks and embedded systems. It's plenty for retro gaming.

 

http://www.urtech.ca/2015/10/solved-demystifying-intels-2015-2016-processors-what-is-the-difference-between-an-atom-celeron-pentium-and-core-i-series-cpus/

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Now you got my interest :D

While I like the idea of dumping my own carts, the idea of flashing my own is even better.

Yeah I know, if I have emulation, why botherign with those carts? Well I like having games on carts - I feel more involved in playing it - and also most people I know do'nt touch emulation so if I wanna share a game with them, I need a physical cart.

One question I have, too, is if it's possible to rewrite SRAM? The idea of dumping old saves from a real cart is nice, but it mean that the cart is useless after if you play on emulation. It is even possible to rewrite SRAM on carts, for maintenance purposes (replacing a battery)?

Yes, we plan to have SRAM reading and writing functionality for carts.

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At least they are using x86 for running the software emulators. The best emulators always seem to start on x86, and then migrate to lesser processors and ecosystems.

 

I'm sure their choice revolves around cost, power dissipation, and overall performance.

Edited by Keatah

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The Retroblox Concept is Elegant, but introduces (IMO) needless points of failure. Rather than have an integrated slot-loading drive, they should offer a standard bay where someone could slap in any off-the-shelf DVD-ROM. This is similar to what the IndieGo did. Yes, this won't be as visually attractive as their current machine, but I'm pretty sure I can fix it when the drive inevitably wears out. And let's face it, the main reason people want such a device is because CD-based consoles are unreliable over the long haul.

 

If Lythium's product is as modular as they claim, then perhaps they could eventually incorporate CD functionality through a PC DVD drive. There's nothing saying they CAN'T do this.

This could easily be accomplished with almost no additional cost to the end user by adding an eSATA port. :thumbsup:

 

Also glad that you will be respecting the licenses of the emu developers. My rusty understanding of the GPL non-commercial software is you can provide an image for free (with source) for the end user to download and install themselves, but it can't come preinstalled on a commercial device?

 

There is a definite need in the community for a device that just works out of the box, but the licensing on the freeware makes it difficult, ie end user has to install it themselves rather than be provided a preinstalled image.

 

One forum member recently purchased a Lynx SD card and needed help figuring out how to download and unzip the ROM files, so anything that involves a PC as an intermediate step can be a hurdle to some less savvy users.

 

I am wondering if there is a way to provide the emulator cores preinstalled without violating end user license agreements the way Retron did. Basically they stuck a middle finger up at the development community by not providing credit or source code.

 

But I wonder if credit, source, and free download is enough to comply if you're also selling it preinstalled on the system? Sorry I am no lawyer.

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I'm not sure the problem of the Retron was preinstalled software, but rather the lack of source code of the derivative changes, and that the hardware was locked down preventing users from installing their own OS/software ("tivoization")?

 

I mean Apple and Nintendo both use GPL software and respect the licenses, e.g.:

http://www.nintendo.co.jp/support/oss/index.html

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I'm not sure the problem of the Retron was preinstalled software, but rather the lack of source code of the derivative changes, and that the hardware was locked down preventing users from installing their own OS/software ("tivoization")?

 

I mean Apple and Nintendo both use GPL software and respect the licenses, e.g.:

http://www.nintendo.co.jp/support/oss/index.html

That's correct. They explain their complaint rather exhaustively here: https://www.libretro.com/index.php/retroarch-license-violations/

 

TiVo-ization = using open source software in locked down hardware, giving nothing back to the community.

 

I understand how Apple respects the license, opening things up for development. I don't get how Nintendo is anything but a walled garden with its online browser. Is acknowledging use of Opera tech sufficient here?

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I don't get how Nintendo is anything but a walled garden with its online browser. Is acknowledging use of Opera tech sufficient here?

In that link above they provide their modified source code for download, so they are doing more than acknowledging use.

 

I have no idea how well that code follows GPL guidelines or integrates with propietary code, but seems better than what the Retron5 did.

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I seem to recall some browser games that were built for the Wii browser. I suppose source code could be used to do things like that, which certainly gives something back to the community.

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About the Atari, thanks for the insight. I'll take a look! We'd love to add support for that! Gotta love playing Warlords and Swordquest. :grin:

Nobody likes Swordquest.

 

How do I put this carefully and gently? Did I detect a minuscule amount of an unknowledegable marketing type playing into his audience? Because Swordquest is almost as bad as E.T.. When I was a kid I remember plugging in SwordQuest just to look at the pretty title page and that was it. 10 seconds later I was back on duty with Missile Command or Dragster.

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How do I put this carefully and gently? Did I detect a minuscule amount of an unknowledegable marketing type playing into his audience? Because Swordquest is almost as bad as E.T.. When I was a kid I remember plugging in SwordQuest just to look at the pretty title page and that was it. 10 seconds later I was back on duty with Missile Command or Dragster.

Maybe he meant Adventure. Either way, it's pandering. This is one of the pickiest market segments in the universe and we are not to be f$cked with or we will scream "COLECO CHAMELEON 2" all over YouTube so fast he'll need to change the name of his product just to get away from the stench.

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How do I put this carefully and gently? Did I detect a minuscule amount of an unknowledegable marketing type playing into his audience? Because Swordquest is almost as bad as E.T.. When I was a kid I remember plugging in SwordQuest just to look at the pretty title page and that was it. 10 seconds later I was back on duty with Missile Command or Dragster.

 

Don't hate me for this, but I actually have fond memories of Swordquest Fireworld. It was one of the first games that I played on the 2600, so it has a bit of a special place in my heart.

 

Okay, you can hate me a little for that.

 

We're now looking into Atari 2600 support. As long as we can find a supplier for the connectors, then we'll be good to go on that forefront.

Edited by Lyth
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I was an early VCS'er. By the time FireWorld came out I was more and more into the computing scene. But I still played Atari from time to time. I never got too much into the traditional RPG games, on any platform.

 

How much support is planned? Emulator Stella is pretty good it covers all the major bankswitching schemes, runs all the games, and supports DPC/DPC+ & Supercharger. And it has all the amenities one would expect of a first-class emulator. It has something like 20+ years of refinements behind it.

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I was an early VCS'er. By the time FireWorld came out I was more and more into the computing scene. But I still played Atari from time to time. I never got too much into the traditional RPG games, on any platform.

 

How much support is planned? Emulator Stella is pretty good it covers all the major bankswitching schemes, runs all the games, and supports DPC/DPC+ & Supercharger. And it has all the amenities one would expect of a first-class emulator. It has something like 20+ years of refinements behind it.

 

I'm not sure if I'm understanding your question correctly, apologies.

 

In terms of general support, we will be supporting the consoles on the list in first post, as well as aiming for at least Atari 2600. However, we would love to support consoles that the community can suggest. In terms of scope, we can try supporting most cart based consoles (and should be successful), as long as we can find a supplier for the slot, and as long as there is an emulator for it.

Edited by Lyth

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If you support the VCS, will it be 100%? Will it run everything? Including DPC+ games and supercharger games?

 

I'll have to get back to you on this. Bare with me, as we need to make some headway into Atari support.

 

Our general aim is "as long as it can be dumped, and there's an emulator for it; it can be played". Obviously, there's more to it than that, but that's our goal in a nutshell.

 

We'll strive to continuously add support for more features, systems, games, and such, as much as we can technologically do. After our console launches and grows, continuous support will be added to improve the future set.

Additionally, we'll allow for third party & fan-made adapters to function with our console, as we want to inspire people to use our console as they see fit.

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Also glad that you will be respecting the licenses of the emu developers. My rusty understanding of the GPL non-commercial software is you can provide an image for free (with source) for the end user to download and install themselves, but it can't come preinstalled on a commercial device?

 

There is a definite need in the community for a device that just works out of the box, but the licensing on the freeware makes it difficult, ie end user has to install it themselves rather than be provided a preinstalled image.

 

One forum member recently purchased a Lynx SD card and needed help figuring out how to download and unzip the ROM files, so anything that involves a PC as an intermediate step can be a hurdle to some less savvy users.

 

I am wondering if there is a way to provide the emulator cores preinstalled without violating end user license agreements the way Retron did. Basically they stuck a middle finger up at the development community by not providing credit or source code.

 

But I wonder if credit, source, and free download is enough to comply if you're also selling it preinstalled on the system? Sorry I am no lawyer.

 

That's correct. They explain their complaint rather exhaustively here: https://www.libretro.com/index.php/retroarch-license-violations/

 

TiVo-ization = using open source software in locked down hardware, giving nothing back to the community.

 

I understand how Apple respects the license, opening things up for development. I don't get how Nintendo is anything but a walled garden with its online browser. Is acknowledging use of Opera tech sufficient here?

 

In that link above they provide their modified source code for download, so they are doing more than acknowledging use.

 

I have no idea how well that code follows GPL guidelines or integrates with propietary code, but seems better than what the Retron5 did.

We will be providing the full source for our desktop software for the Lythium Core as well as the full source of the software on Lythium Standalone. We won't be locking down the Lythium Standalone, there will be ways to compile and install your own software on it (i.e. it will not be TIVO-ized), however, custom software may not be supported.

 

To get a bit more technical, we will only add LibRetro cores that are GPL-compatible (most are). There will also be the ability to point the software to external emulators you install yourself.

Edited by habbasi
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I'll have to get back to you on this. Bare with me, as we need to make some headway into Atari support.

 

Our general aim is "as long as it can be dumped, and there's an emulator for it; it can be played". Obviously, there's more to it than that, but that's our goal in a nutshell.

 

We'll strive to continuously add support for more features, systems, games, and such, as much as we can technologically do. After our console launches and grows, continuous support will be added to improve the future set.

Additionally, we'll allow for third party & fan-made adapters to function with our console, as we want to inspire people to use our console as they see fit.

The DPC+ games run on specialized Melody boards which contain a 70MHz ARM CPU which offloads resources to the coprocessor, and emulating them is no slouch. Kevtris created an FPGA core for Atari and said while the core would run carts natively, ROM support was limited to non-ARM homebrew. Stella (PC/LINUX/MAC x86 builds) supports DPC+, but none of the embedded emulators running on devices like Pi, Android, Ouya, Xbox, Wii, PSP, etc support the ARM coprocessor though they run about everything else.

 

Retroblox claims to support stuff like homebrew mappers, flash carts, Super Game Boy, Game Boy Camera, and other stuff that accesses the cart bus in non-standard ways. Some of the code in DPC+ games is compiled for the ARM, and the ARM CPU basically builds a custom display kernel in ROM for each frame and in some cases every scanline, which is executed by the Atari CPU, and nearly all the computational data is offloaded to the ARM during Vblank and overscan periods. The fact the ARM can dynamically change the ROM space which is visible to the CPU, I have no idea if these games will dump the same way as a vanilla bankswitch.

 

On the NES side, RetroUSB's UOROM flash mapper, Memblers' GT-ROM flash mapper (which doesn't currently work on any NOAC or dumper clones), and INL's custom boards are documented on NESDev, and have custom builds of FCEU which support them for homebrew development use. Dumping said games and running them in an EMU should be straightforward, however writing the ROM changes to the flash mappers back to the cart (for games that support flash saves) would be non-trivial, and rewriting any banks of the cart ROM used for actual game code rather than save data would be risky. It would be wise to treat flash mapper NES games as read only to prevent accidental corruption.

 

And then with 16-bit era, you have the SNES expansion chips to deal with, as well as Sega's Virtua processor, used in exactly one game.

 

And I can't stress this enough, no matter how nice or low latency the emulation is, if you can't guarantee custom homebrew stuffs will work, then it's essentially just another HD Retron clone with limited support for bitd releases.

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