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MiSTer: FPGA gaming


Dr_Dave
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I'm using the 'Stormtrooper' Case now, but prior to that I had some 3D printed effort. This case comes from the era before we had the nice cases we see today, namely laser cut acrylic, passive cooled aluminium, and 'Stormtrooper' PCB cases. I've included photos of the 3D printed one which is surplus to my requirements. It's not that great admittedly and I think it may have a little damage on the screw posts on the inside (and no screws to keep it together), but if anyone here can make use of it let me know, otherwise I'll probably dispose of it. I don't want anything for it (first come, first serve). If I'm remembering correctly it will take the DE-10 & the i/0 board but not the USB hub board. I'd rather it didn't go to waste so if someone is currently running with a naked DE10-nano and wants it let me know and this is yours!

 

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27 minutes ago, mmmonkey said:

Mine was from mouser, and an order I put in with them for some other stuff from the States on sunday is due to be delivered on Thursday just to give you some idea of delivery times.

 

Digikey delivery took 48h I think. 

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I think some of the sellers of boards cut corners and don’t always include all the necessary connectors on some of the boards.

 

Only going by what I’ve seen on discord, with people not able to use SNAC, or there’s questionable soldering with legs of chips joined together where they shouldn’t be.

 

Of course, some of the Ali stuff will be fine, I’ve had other non MiSTer boards from different sellers and had no trouble.

 

Here’s an interesting link too.  I guess it depends what features of the IO board you’re using, you might have a board that works fine for you now, but won’t work with features you aren’t currently using.

 

Edit - remembered that last year I made some RGB Scart leads and had spare cabling so made some to sell, but it was too much hassle in the end because not everyone’s IO Board had the required jumper pins soldered in place to enable 5v on the DE15 connector on the board - so even though I included a jumper because I knew not all sellers of boards put one on there, someone had no pins to put the jumper onto.

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Hmm, my document isn't much cop for general RGB scart cable making.  It's tailored towards a bunch of Kramer VGA cables I purchased that had 3.5mm audio plug coming out of the VGA connector also.  I didn't make a note of VGA pin numbers, but rather inner wire colours (because I had bunch identical cables it made my job easier).  I don't have a diagram, it's a table with wire colours and scart plug numbers!  Was easy for me to follow at the time with these Kramer cables and that's it.

 

There's some info here (I let Chrome translate it), but I didn't use that wiring diagram - I was using VGA pin 9 for 5v, wiring that to Scart Pin 8, and then going from pin 8 to 16 via an 180ohm resistor.  Maybe if I had of used the same pin as this diagram I wouldn't have had issues with some IO boards not having the jumper!

 

I did use the 470ohm resistor on the Sync signal from VGA pin 13 to Scart Pin 20 - there was quite a bit of debate on the atari-forums that was home to the MiSTer forums at the time, but was eventually accepted that it was necessary to bring the sync signal into spec for consumer CRTs.

 

I then remembered seeing some info about the MiSTer scart cable by retro-access which confirmed about using the 470ohm resister on the sync signal, I believe Mister Addons included it in his Scart cables when he used to make them.

 

One of my CRTs at the time was 4:3 but supported widescreen 16:9 in a letterboxed window.  MiSTer (like some consoles) can only put out 5V, which is generally fed to Scart pin 8 to force TVs to switch to the correct AV input.  But if a TV supports 16:9 mode, then 5v on scart pin 8 will force the TV into 16:9 mode.  I got around this by building a short Scart extension with a step-up voltage regulator - bumps 5v upto 12v which will force a TV into 4:3 mode.  Some people do it simpler, they just don't connect up pin 8 and manually switch their TV to the correct AV input (still leave pin 16 connected to enable RGB mode - in fact, that is what the diagram on the fpgamania link above is doing, that hasn't got pin 8 connected).

 

Sorry, a lot of waffle there!

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That’s all good. My main query you answered. 470ohm resister on sync is one I could never get a definitive answer for!

 

I hate it when cables use 5v on pin 8 and I always end up having to switch from 16:9 on my CRT! I ended up disconnecting it on the cable coming out of my scart switcher. 

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As amazing as they are, prices are out of control on PVMs. Having them in the US in particular is a bit of a retro status symbol and RGB Scart isn’t a thing over there. 
 

A Sony Trinitron will give you a clear, amazing picture. 
 

I’d still love one myself. Missed out on a 14” one recently because of travel restrictions in my country. 

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8 hours ago, Spoonman said:

I would love a PVM. Can't find one out here in Germany for the life of me.

 

I'd love a new(ish) one. I've had a couple of units and having to calibrate and maintain them gets old fast, especially for the sort of money you're likely to pay these days.

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I managed to pick up a 14inch Sony PVM for £120 from the lovely Stoofles on here. It makes me very happy. The 14inch Sony Trinitron I have is also great though, really sharp picture and great colour. I think, given the cost of most PVMs, they arent worth the extra £££ but that's an individual choice.

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2 hours ago, Colonel Panic said:

As amazing as they are, prices are out of control on PVMs. Having them in the US in particular is a bit of a retro status symbol and RGB Scart isn’t a thing over there. 
 

A Sony Trinitron will give you a clear, amazing picture. 
 

I’d still love one myself. Missed out on a 14” one recently because of travel restrictions in my country. 

 

I own a PVM, and it is amazing. But this post is totally on the money. You really don't need one, and a good Sony Trinitron TV with SCART input and 480i/60hz compatibility will give you that CRT experience. I also have my 20" Toshiba CRT (that I bought new in 2002) and it's also totally excellent. The TV line (vertical resolution) count is lower but more "correct" and the geometry is far harder to calibrate. 

 

Don't get me wrong, the PVM experience is the best in class for CRT's but an RGB Trinitron TV in the UK, or one in the US with s-video will get you that retro experience. 

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I think things are being developed so it can be moved onto more capable FPGAs.  But at the moment the de10 nano is heavily subsidised by Intel for educational use I believe and that’s likely one of the reasons that it was targeted by the MiSTer project.

 

Who knows where it could go, a month ago people would have written off the possibility of a Saturn core, now we find out that’s it’s in development and targeting the de10 nano.  People always said it would take a crack team of devs and years of work targeting something with a higher spec than the de10 nano, but the genius behind the SNES core is suddenly taking it on, no-one believed it at first and his Twitter was flagged as a fake account!


No idea if that means n64 is possible or not mind.

 

I guess with a lot of tech, you could be forever stuck not wanting to purchase because of being worried about what’s around the corner?

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Mind you, if N64 is the only system you’re interested in, then absolutely no reason to purchase a MiSTer now.

 

Could instead go down the flash cart route and soonish to be released new hdmi solution.

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Personally, I think that the DE10-Nano is going to be the platform of choice for the forseeable future. The main reason for this, as mmmonkey points out, is the cost of the DE10 in comparison to similar powered FPGA boards. However, the way that everything is being programmed on the DE10 is being done in a way so that it can be easily migrated to another board in the future.

 

There is some early work being carried out on an FPGA implementation of the N64 on a Nexsys 4 board. If you want to see some of the early progress have a look at these videos on Youtube from Mazamars312. It's quite early in the development stage,  but the creator admits that development has slowed down in recent months. I have to wonder if we'll ever see a functional N64 FPGA core though. My reasoning for this is down to the recent Nintendo leaks that included the Verilog source code for the N64 hardware. Most of the important MiSTer players have already shied away from anything relating to the N64. Any functional N64 core could & would bring unwanted attention to the scene from Nintendo, even if it is programmed in a clean room environment. Nintendo will have there eyes all over the open source code that will be released alongside the core looking for any hint that their own leaked code has been copied and implemented in the core.

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13 hours ago, mmmonkey said:

Mind you, if N64 is the only system you’re interested in, then absolutely no reason to purchase a MiSTer now.

 

Could instead go down the flash cart route and soonish to be released new hdmi solution.

 

Its not the only thing, but I own pretty much all original retro hardware that I want to play on, so am only really interested in something like this for an "all-in-one" solution that gives me every platform, including PS1, N64, Saturn, and perhaps even Dreamcast and GameCube etc.

 

The current appeal is that it does arcade and neo geo with decent accuracy, but it would grow considerably if I knew in the future these other platforms are going to be added....

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Personally for me, I stopped using most of my original hardware once I setup the MiSTer and the cores appeared/matured.

 

I do like to use original controllers though, so built some USB adapters for those - DaemonBite - there’s a GitHub for DIYers and the creator sells readymade ones too.

 

Yet to try SNAC properly, I’ve built a set of those too but then remembered you can’t use it to control the menu.  DaemonBites are regarded as among the fastest USB controllers though so I imagine I’ll stick with these and hope the creator does PS1 when that core is done (there’s already a Saturn one, not sure if it supports the 3D pad yet though?)

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7 hours ago, Count Buffalos said:

I’d have to say that it’s probably not the right platform for you then, at least not for several years.

Must...resist...reverse...phycology

 

5 hours ago, mmmonkey said:

Personally for me, I stopped using most of my original hardware once I setup the MiSTer and the cores appeared/matured.

 

I do like to use original controllers though, so built some USB adapters for those - DaemonBite - there’s a GitHub for DIYers and the creator sells readymade ones too.

 

Yet to try SNAC properly, I’ve built a set of those too but then remembered you can’t use it to control the menu.  DaemonBites are regarded as among the fastest USB controllers though so I imagine I’ll stick with these and hope the creator does PS1 when that core is done (there’s already a Saturn one, not sure if it supports the 3D pad yet though?)

 

I have 10 saturn pads in various states of (dis)repair. Lets build an adapter than can handle TWO saturn multitaps for hi-ten bomberman!

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