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DirtyHairy

Stella 6 on the R77: the eagle is landing

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Kind of curious what audio settings will crash the R77. Is it just the low amount of RAM that causes the issue? And is it affecting the authenticity of the emulation?

 

 

Changing audio settings is the "impact negatively" part. If you lower the sample rate to 44100, you will find that the actual timing is slightly off (either a kernel or hardware glitch), which will manifest as regular buffer overruns that are audible as popping noises. If you increase the sample rate or mess with the queue settings, chances are that you will push the R77 over the edge performance-wise, and you will get underruns and audio artifacts as a result. The audio settings have been carefully chosen to work on the R77, and you should not mess with them ;)

 

The "crash" part applies to the time machine: if you mess with those settings, you can easily run into a configuration where the memory consumption grows (as the time machine backlog grows) until RAM is exhausted and Stella crashes.

 

Turning off threading (which applies to the image postprocessing) will lead to performance issues.

 

Apart from those, you can render the device unusable via joystick and console buttons by messing with the mappings. And, of course, just as with "ordinary" Stella, messing with the developer settings can cause ROMs to crash and misbehave.

 

Long story told short: Stella is built and configured to work well out of the box. Change settings sparingly, and stick to the "basic" settings dialog unless you really know what you are doing. There are many ROMs for which the R77 is barely fast enough, and even getting to this point required serious optimizations. Any attempt to improve on this by changing the settings is likely to have the opposite result.

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I don't think the audio settings will crash R77, just sound very bad (as Thomas said). Now, fooling around with the Time Machine settings or snapshot frequency definitely can cause a crash, since the system will run out of memory. Remember that there is only 128MB on this system, and that has to include the OS running in the background too. In its base configuration, Stella uses perhaps 50-64MB, but with the Time Machine, it is constantly saving state snapshots every interval directly to RAM. If you increase the interval too much, RAM will be exhausted very quickly. We've tuned the TM settings to take the amount of RAM into account.

 

Eventually, we'll lock certain settings completely, so they can't be changed at all on the R77. TM stuff is definitely one such case, but there are others. We'll also probably lock the audio stuff, since while it won't cause a crash, there's absolutely no reason to have to tinker with it (once fully adjusted, it will sound as good as it ever will, and there will be no need to tinker any further).

 

EDIT: Ninja'ed by DirtyHairy :)

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Here's a mostly pictorial argument for a smaller main menu and game window option:

 

post-47453-0-11679300-1557701669.jpg

My LCD TV has a "pixel to pixel" option, but this is what it always defaults to in "game mode."

 

 

post-47453-0-32829500-1557701723.jpg

Sorry for the blur, but this does fairly accurately represent what I see on this CRT TV

 

 

post-47453-0-56817600-1557701725.jpgpost-47453-0-22714800-1557701724.jpg

On the left is Combat on the CRT using the R77 '16x9' FS, stretched. On the right, Combat on a typical CRT with a real 2600. Note that part of the playfield is actually occluded on the R77. The non-stretched option is 'too small,' while the 4x3 setting has the wrong aspect.

 

 

post-47453-0-79369400-1557701721.jpg

Missile Command on the CRT via the R77. Note that all of the left missile battery is missing, and part of the right battery.

 

This is actually a problem when playing Aardvark for example, on the CRT. Some of the dots which must be consumed are actually off-screen.

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My TV has an overscan mode too, then pixels are missing. But I have a "Game" setting for the inputs which removes all overscan too. I don't think a using a CRT makes much sense for R77. And using "streched" in general too.

 

But what do you mean with 4:3 is too small? This must work because that's the relevant setting.

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No, as I said- 4x3 is not too small, but we're talking composite NTSC video output from an HDMI converter that has no settings. IOW, to get a full screen image on a 4x3 TV, your HDMI input source cannot be pillar-boxed(only,) as that will lead to an image that has been excessively compressed horizontally. In this case, you actually *want* a source that was originally stretched horizontally(as real non pillar-boxed 4x3 HD is rare,) so that it can be compressed back to the proper aspect by the TV. Is that clearer for you?

 

Whether it makes sense to use it on a CRT- all I can say is that other than the extra overscan, it works really well and the converter was $6 on sale. =D

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It's probably possible to add an 'overscan compensation' option, whereby the outer 5% (or variable amount) of the image is removed. Or IOW, if you open a window of size 1280x720, maybe the image is only 1240x700 and centered in that area. I suspect this would take care of such a problem.

 

If you think this would be useful, create an issue for it on Stella Github. We'll see about getting it done for a future release.

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You guys are really making me want to get a Retron 77 but with the Collectorvision Phoenix coming in a few months, I think I'm still going to hold off until I see how well it handles 2600 games, paddles and the (hopefully) adapter to play real carts. I may still get a 77 anyway but I'm going to wait a bit more but I'm very happy with what you Stella masters have been able to do in the last few months.

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Stella correctly picked up that I'd swapped the joystick for paddles for Medieval Mayhem, but the control lagged way to much to be playable.

Installed beta 2 and tried Kaboom! - paddles felt a little laggy, but a huge improvement over before to the extent that the game was playable. :thumbsup:
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Installed beta 2 and tried Kaboom! - paddles felt a little laggy, but a huge improvement over before to the extent that the game was playable. :thumbsup:

 

 

The paddle filter is essentially a low pass that filters out the high frequency fluctuations. The price for this improvement is a slight amount of lag.

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I'm going to try out the new update this evening, and I'm very much looking forward to what the menu's offer.

 

Quick question: what does these 'Button 3' to 'Button 9' mean? Is this a special kind of joystick that needs to be attached using the usb port?

 

post-63708-0-45590800-1557762832.jpg

 

 

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You guys are really making me want to get a Retron 77 but with the Collectorvision Phoenix coming in a few months, I think I'm still going to hold off until I see how well it handles 2600 games, paddles and the (hopefully) adapter to play real carts.

I ordered a RetroN 77 last night. With some credit I had leftover on Amazon, it was $45, shipped.

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I'm going to try out the new update this evening, and I'm very much looking forward to what the menu's offer.

 

Quick question: what does these 'Button 3' to 'Button 9' mean? Is this a special kind of joystick that needs to be attached using the usb port?

 

attachicon.gifScreenshot_1.jpg

 

 

 

Those refer to the buttons on the console.

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Quick question: what does these 'Button 3' to 'Button 9' mean? Is this a special kind of joystick that needs to be attached using the usb port?

 

attachicon.gifScreenshot_1.jpg

 

 

Yes exactly. That's why I made the text gray, normal joystick do not have these buttons.

 

I did the button mapping based on my SNES like gamepad which offers 8 button in total.

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It's probably possible to add an 'overscan compensation' option, whereby the outer 5% (or variable amount) of the image is removed. Or IOW, if you open a window of size 1280x720, maybe the image is only 1240x700 and centered in that area. I suspect this would take care of such a problem.

 

If you think this would be useful, create an issue for it on Stella Github. We'll see about getting it done for a future release.

It looks like the overscan happens only horizontally. I don't think this is normal, is it?

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Installed beta 2 and tried Kaboom! - paddles felt a little laggy, but a huge improvement over before to the extent that the game was playable. icon_thumbsup.gif

In Advanced settings/Input/Devices&Ports you find the dejitter option. You can experiment there, maybe you can find some better parameters for you.

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It looks like the overscan happens only horizontally. I don't think this is normal, is it?

 

It's happening in both dimensions, but horizontally is worse. I don't think this will consistent among different devices; some will have different levels than others. That's why I suggested that if we add such a feature, it must be adjustable (maybe 5% for one device, but another needs 10%??).

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Regarding Overscan I notice the same ob my Blaupunkt TV. I will add two screenshots with the same settings. One is from my FB9, the other R77. Isnt hard to see what device is what screenshot if you have a look to 'Activision'. The TV does not have an overscan option, but you can choose point to point, which gives a really small picture with nothing cut-off. But who wants to play this way?

 

The launcher menu I had to resize to 1240x700(or 680, dont know atm) to see the whole left and right parts of the screen to see the whole rom text, means even the first letter and the borders and some lines more at the top and bottom. You can find it after selecting advanced options, display in stella if I remember correctly.

 

Anyway, thanks for this update. I really like it. And I like to choose scanline effects, as much as display effects. Thanks!

post-67385-0-90869100-1557779705_thumb.jpeg

post-67385-0-15260700-1557779718_thumb.jpeg

Edited by Lohe
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It's happening in both dimensions, but horizontally is worse. I don't think this will consistent among different devices; some will have different levels than others. That's why I suggested that if we add such a feature, it must be adjustable (maybe 5% for one device, but another needs 10%??).

 

Yeah. The main reason that I provided the image of the file menu on my Toshiba LCD, is to illustrate how similar in magnitude the vertical overscan is on that verses the Sharp CRT. I thought it was interesting, considering the fact that the Toshiba's overscan is just a 'simulation.'

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Yeah. The main reason that I provided the image of the file menu on my Toshiba LCD, is to illustrate how similar in magnitude the vertical overscan is on that verses the Sharp CRT. I thought it was interesting, considering the fact that the Toshiba's overscan is just a 'simulation.'

 

You can use the hint given above for the launcher, and set it to a smaller amount in the 'Advanced Settings'. Doing the same for the TIA image isn't currently possible, but it wouldn't be too hard to add.

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Yes exactly. That's why I made the text gray, normal joystick do not have these buttons.

 

I did the button mapping based on my SNES like gamepad which offers 8 button in total.

 

Thanks for the info! I've ordered an USB OTG splitter right away.

 

Question: looking at the numbering of the buttons, was 'Button 7' left out on purpose? Or does your gamepad has indeed 9 buttons?

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On beta 2, I was able to successfully hot swap between this:

 

post-47453-0-85558600-1557895280.jpg

 

...and this:

post-47453-0-37358200-1557895294.jpg

 

On the #1 Wii U Pro controller, the R77 currently defaults to Y - fire button 0, B - Genesis(I guess) fire button, X - menu, A - Reset, L1 - return to launcher.

 

 

There seems to be an issue with the game code controller auto detection that ironically most greatly affects Thrust +, of the games I've tested so far. With Thrust, it detects genesis(left,) and joystick(right.) But the game seems to think that a 'thrust' control is being continuously held down regardless of what I have plugged into the system. The game starts immediately without any button having been pressed. This happens both with a cold boot to the cartridge, or from the launcher to the v1.27 rom.

 

Scramble also detects genesis, but the controls actually work with my Wii U Pro controller, with Y as fire, and B as bomb. This does bring up a potential issue though, if Stella on the R77 is aiming primarily at the base R77 hardware by default, someone who was attempting to use Scramble with a "Trooper" joystick would only have fire by default, with no bombs available without turning off "Automatic."

 

 

Should per game control choices be saved? They don't seem to be here. I've changed Thrust's left controller from Automatic to Joystick, exited the game and powered down the system at least three times, with it always resetting itself to Automatic upon powering back up. The change does fix the mentioned issue until I reboot.

 

Remapping of buttons is being saved properly.

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The issue with Thrust is, that it supports the BoosterGrip controller where the 2nd button works exactly opposite to the Genesis. So when a Genesis is detected, the 2nd button is pressed continuously.

 

But the controller settings should be saved too. So that would be a bug. And the 1.27 ROM's controllers should be known to Stella too.

 

The Scramble issue happens due to an auto detection clash. Scramble contains Genesis code, so Stella detects this code and enables Genesis support, which then leads Scramble to enable the Genesis controller. This should also be (permanently) fixable with the per game controller settings.

Edited by Thomas Jentzsch
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Question: looking at the numbering of the buttons, was 'Button 7' left out on purpose? Or does your gamepad has indeed 9 buttons?

There simply is no button 7. :)

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I got my RetroN 77 today and got the newest Stella running on it. Terrific work! As a point of comparison, I checked it out in its default state before updating, and what a mess that was. Thank you all! So far, it's played everything I've thrown at it.

 

One downside... just in case someone else bumps into this... my (now 12-year-old) Sony Bravia HDTV doesn't let me turn off overscan for 720p signals. So everything is cropped. :(

 

This ROM:

240lines.bin

 

Should show this:

post-2641-0-69410700-1557912856_thumb.png

 

Rather than this:

post-2641-0-98335200-1557912734_thumb.jpg

 

The interface gets cut-off, too:

post-2641-0-26423900-1557912737_thumb.jpg

 

My TV is of no help, "full pixel" mode isn't available for 720p. The other modes only zoom in further, making it worse:

post-2641-0-76781900-1557912739_thumb.jpg

 

With 1080 signals though, my Sony is perfectly happy:

post-2641-0-21256100-1557912742_thumb.jpg

 

At the other end of the spectrum, my cheap $99 LG Best Buy HDTV that I have in my kitchen, of course works just fine. :roll: So, I guess I can set this up in the kitchen, and play Draconian while I'm making tacos.

 

At any rate, this isn't meant as a criticism - just anecdotal information. I'm really impressed with the Re-retron'd 77, and plan to buy a couple and load 'em up to give to a couple of friends of mine. The joystick's not bad either, although it needs shortening.

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