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DirtyHairy

Stella 6 on the R77: the eagle is landing

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Well, there's also the chance that Stella 6 will get a libretro port soon-ish. So hopefully RetroArch will have the latest Stella at some point too. Now, if this ever filters down to the Flashback is anyone's guess. Stella is really making some inroads in the past year or so.

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I have been running the device overnight on ARM-based games (which push the CPU to its limits) without crashes or excessive temperature, it is a good idea to make sure that the device can radiate the generated heat; don't bury it under a stack of books ;)

 

 

 

I've not kept up with 77 development, does this mean Draconian runs on it? If so I think I'll order one. And just to make sure, that would be this device.

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All ROMs that run on Stella 6 work here. Of course some of them will need a 2600-daptor for a proper controller (or a keyboard would work too). Draconian was one of the ARM games tested during development (as well as Mappy, etc).

 

To clarify: ROMS, not carts. ARM-based carts will never run on this device.

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As an aside, the ARM-based ROMs really push the limit on this device. We (and when I say 'we', I mostly mean DirtyHairy) had to do quite a bit of work. Performance tuning, refactoring, profiling, adding new multi-threading, heavily optimizing the ARM emulation, overclocking, release PGO builds, etc. Mappy and WoW were the 'worst' (meaning taking the most CPU time).

 

But we did it. The slowest ROMs now run at 100% speed while taking 90+% CPU. Or at least I think we've done it; that's what this testing phase is for.

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Posted (edited)

Actually, the worst ARM candidate is Spiceware's 128.bin 128 pixel ARM DPC+ demo. It is what we are using for the profiling builds, and it loads the core running the emulation thread around 95% :P Another fun fact: the final starfield in Kylearan's "Catharsis Theory" is almost as bad, even though it doesn't run ARM code --- just as 128.bin, it requires the profiling build for full speed, and the emulation thread runs at about 90% CPU.

Edited by DirtyHairy
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And from now on I'm calling it the "StellaBox" :-)

 

Thanks for the feedback. We've already joked about calling it the "Stellatron" ;)

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BTW: Has Hyperkin stopped selling the R77? E.g. I cannot find it at Amazon Germany anymore.

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Posted (edited)

Man this may make it the system to get over the flashback. Unless there's a chance of getting stella 6 on it.

 

 

A major obstacle may be speed. I don't know the hardware specifics of the FB 9, but the Retron 77 is rather beefy (1.2GHz quadcore ARM) and is literally just enough for running Stella 6. There are several games and demoes that scrape at the limits, though we managed to get them all (?) running at full speed, and all four cores are in action to achieve this.

Edited by DirtyHairy
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Do you think Stella on a Raspberry Pi would run better than Stella on the R77? Is there an advantage to using the R77?

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BTW: Has Hyperkin stopped selling the R77? E.g. I cannot find it at Amazon Germany anymore.

 

It's still available at the U.S. Amazon site, and the listing seems normal- no 'only 8 left' or similar.

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Posted (edited)

I don't know the hardware specifics of the FB 9...

This is the best info I found. And then this video: https://youtu.be/G9v0s3REUVs?t=1896

 

The CPU says "Monkey King 3.6" which seems to be a Rockchip RK3036 according to this Polish website. This is a dual core ARM Cortex-A7 at 1.2 GHz(?) with a Mali 400 GPU. Included are 256 MB RAM.

Edited by Thomas Jentzsch

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Posted (edited)

The CPU says "Monkey King 3.6" which seems to be a Rockchip RK3036 according to this Polish website. This is a dual core ARM Cortex-A7 at 1.2. GHz(?) with a Mali 400 GPU.

 

 

More like 1GHz according to Rockchip themselves. Either way, I guess this is too slow for Stella 6.

Edited by DirtyHairy

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BTW: Has Hyperkin stopped selling the R77? E.g. I cannot find it at Amazon Germany anymore.

 

 

It's still in Amazon's U.S. store, as well as their own website. And other stores.

 

I'm planning to order one, as soon as they write me back and let me know if the "Premium" joystick included with it, is the same one as their "Trooper" Premium joystick that fixed the fragility problem.

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The Retron 77 that I purchased back in January came with the 'Trooper.' I'm pretty sure that they all do now, so long as you don't manage to somehow end up with a returned unit from earlier.

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Actually, the worst ARM candidate is Spiceware's 128.bin 128 pixel ARM DPC+ demo.

 

Oops, forgot about that one.

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Real question here. Do you think that it's even remotely possible for the Retron 77 to read Homebrew Carts? I've heard it could possible be fixed with Firmware, but I know nothing about these kind of things. And Since I don't have ROMS of my homebrews, I was hoping there was even the smallest possibility.

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  • ARM-based carts (Draconian, Mappy, WoW, etc): no, will never be possible
  • carts with internal chips (Pitfall II): probably never
  • all others: depends on the scheme they use, but it's hit and miss

Note that these are dependent on the 'dumper' being used on this device, which is not really adequate for the task, and probably can't even be reprogrammed. Sorry for the bad news, but better to be clear up front.

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  • ARM-based carts (Draconian, Mappy, WoW, etc): no, will never be possible
  • carts with internal chips (Pitfall II): probably never

To expand upon this for captcapcom, the reason these are not possible is parts of the ROM cannot be accessed via the cartridge port.

 

Pitfall 2 is a 10K game, but only 8K can be accessed via the cartridge port as banks 0 and 1. Only the internal chip (DPC) can access the remaining 2K.

 

ARM games using the DPC+ driver are 32K in size, but only 24K can be accessed via the cartridge port (banks 0-5). The remaining 8K can only be accessed by the ARM processor inside the cartridge.

post-3056-0-48888700-1526752973.png

 

ARM games using the CDF driver are also 32K, though expose 28K via the cartridge port (banks 0-6). The remaining 4K is only accessible to the ARM.

post-3056-0-66802800-1526752554.png

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  • ARM-based carts (Draconian, Mappy, WoW, etc): no, will never be possible
  • carts with internal chips (Pitfall II): probably never
  • all others: depends on the scheme they use, but it's hit and miss

Note that these are dependent on the 'dumper' being used on this device, which is not really adequate for the task, and probably can't even be reprogrammed. Sorry for the bad news, but better to be clear up front.

 

I should have clarified. The last sentence that says "are dependent on" are for the "all other" carts. Maybe someone can get the dumper to work with those, someday. For the first two, though, as Spiceware says, it will never be possible. Nothing to do with the hardware or the software, but the fact that the port can't even see certain parts of the address space in those carts.

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It's definitely a bit of a bummer, but overall, I'm still happy with my 77 and the work you guys are doing for it!

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first, thanks for the work

so when you say we can use stelladaptor , it is through a mini usb hub?

will it be possible to use mouse, trackball and other through that device in the future?

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Posted (edited)

Well, there's also the chance that Stella 6 will get a libretro port soon-ish. So hopefully RetroArch will have the latest Stella at some point too. Now, if this ever filters down to the Flashback is anyone's guess. Stella is really making some inroads in the past year or so.

 

That would be great news, then I could play the latest homebrews on my NES Classic as well but isn't the retroarch version still stuck on 3.9.3 for a while now because of the way Retroarch is built or am I mistaken? IIRC they haven't even got 4+ working yet. I haven't looked into it for a few months so I could very well be wrong.

Edited by AtariLeaf

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Work is progressing on getting it working with the very latest Stella. This probably isn't the thread to go into this any further. When I have more concrete info I will start another thread.

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