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MiSTer: FPGA gaming


Dr_Dave
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"One important point is that the emulator is not optimized for speed. It runs games at 30-40% of the speed and rebuilds the hardware without any tricks."

 

What does that mean, exactly? Does that mean it will never run full speed, or that its just that he hasn't optimised it yet?

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As Robert's first language isn't English I'm thinking he's not explaining himself too well. What I would take this to mean  is that he's coding this emulator in such a way so that it's easy to code for the MiSTer (port the emulator) further down the line. As the emulator in it's current form will never be used by the public he's creating the emulator without taking into account the softwate layer on the PC and is instead optimising it at this point for MiSter hardware.

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Ah, I've just discovered the Zed Blade sound issue (the title screen music playing at random during the stages) actually persists on that 'unstable' build. Bummer! Hopefully that one will be picked up at some point. I'm not even sure if it's currently a known issue - haven't seen anyone mention it online...

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Well, that's the great thing about open source projects and github. You can submit a bug, if you can't see it already there, which helps the community and the core get better. Worst case scenario is that they will close it as a "duplicate issue" if someone has already submitted it.

 

There seems to be a fair few sound issues on the issue page already. Check through those and see if they mention your issue.

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DE10 nano, 32mb sdram card, usb otg adapter/hub and a joypad is enough to get started. 

 

You don't need a bigger sdram unless you are really wanting neogeo and cps2 games but the snes and megadrive cores definitely need at least the 32MB. The DE10 comes with a small uSD card which you could use (though most people have several knocking about). 

 

This will have hdmi output which I use. Some say that a heatsink/fan is needed but many run without. I got a heatsink and fan unit from misterfpga.co.uk (use code PGMA6F3 for 5% off at checkout). 

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On 05/07/2021 at 12:50, Ninja Doctor said:

So here is my mister build. I think it’s finally finished and ready for pride of place under the lounge telly. 
 

the case I’ve used is a Silverstone mini-STX case. It’s a little smaller than a mini-itx but still has plenty of space inside. This one also has a couple of front leds and a push button. The exact mode number is: silverstone VT01 (black). 
 

first up, the case has a handy port on the front for a usb socket. I went through a few options before realising I was a wazzock and picking up a usb A female breakout board from eBay for £2 and a usb cable stripped from an old otg hub was wired in. Adding a couple of 16mm M3 brass standoffs raised the port to the right height to marry with the case hole. 
39EA60B0-740C-4C89-98AC-0841CEFCEB15.jpeg.99079969059896921b6bf82a19d30332.jpeg
Next job was to fit the brass standoffs for the De10 nano. The plastic cover from the board was used as a template for the holes. 
401A0077-45E1-430C-83A9-19AF3B28DFD9.jpeg.6b5235466245a39207e9cdc746d1b60b.jpeg

Now we fit the de10 which has already had a heat sink and fan from misterfpga.co.uk added. 
3C3ED0F0-7728-48DC-9155-19304DB38065.jpeg.d039adba646a33eac74343a36a16a9ae.jpeg

Great. Almost there. I said earlier the case has a couple of front LEDs and push button so let’s make them do something useful. Most folk wire up to an IO board. I have no use for that so wired straight to the gpio using jumper cables:

30 GND

29 VCC (3.3V for LED)

13 OSD button

3BE3179D-04D1-49A3-91A3-0C1B99E9D79F.jpeg.7b4dd793c17aec18a3350cb6cecd335b.jpeg
Excellent. Time to close up and give it whirl:

3C31739F-951F-481D-A945-16D4D53D07BF.jpeg.8980237bbef5d566a3f6f28d98037d3a.jpeg

So a few other things. 
 

The 16mm standoffs for the usb I might swap for female-female as I have a bit of thread sticking out the bottom. No biggie. 
 

I also have longer standoffs coming so I can refit the plastic plate above the de10 for bonus protections. It’s removed at the moment to ensure airflow for the fan. The stock standoffs are too short. 
 

The second case LED is not being used for anything as it stands. 
 

Power switch is an inline external one I found on eBay for £2. It was listed as a led lighting inline switch. As long as it has the right power jacks (5.5/2.1 male to female) you’re golden. 
 

Last job will be to make some sort of back plate but for now out of sight out of mind. 

@Protocol Penguin Here is my build. 

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I've pulled out of my one and only attempt at Patreon, which was nullobject's. It doesn't look like there'll be much or any progress over the next months on the CAVE cores, which is a huge shame.

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On 18/08/2021 at 17:16, Colonel Panic said:

He has a weird approach to FPGA cores. He will tend to write a software emulator first, then do an FPGA implementation. 
 

I think he is talking about the former. 


isnt this kind of cheating?

 

Are there any mister cores that are actually recreating software emulation rather than the chips at transistor level ?

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Software emulation just means emulating in software without using features of the host to accelerate the process. So this could be emulation right down to the metal, but will likely be slow.

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17 minutes ago, Protocol Penguin said:

Can a basic setup like that be acquired prebuilt? I’m not going to have the technical skills to assemble that. I assumed it was much more simple than that.

 

It usually is, if you go for a non-custom case. Putting mine together with the acrylic case from MisterFPGA was painless and took me about twenty minutes. I've encountered more challenging Lego sets.

 

Edit: this is the build video I watched beforehand.

 

 

 

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18 minutes ago, Protocol Penguin said:

Can a basic setup like that be acquired prebuilt? I’m not going to have the technical skills to assemble that. I assumed it was much more simple than that to put together a working device.

 

There are always some on ebay for between £300 and £500 depending on spec.

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De10 board was about £140 from digikey. My ram I was gifted but about £20 for a 32MB card. Otg hub for a fiver and that is enough. You don’t need to do a whole mini pc build like I did but I have small children who haven’t studied esd sensitivity of pcbs yet. 

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@Protocol PenguinI would always recommend the 128MB sdram module now. However, if you're really on a budget I have an old 32MB module here that is surplus to my requirements that you're welcome to if you decide to order a DE10 (no charge). If you decide to take the plunge let me know.

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2 hours ago, Protocol Penguin said:

Can a basic setup like that be acquired prebuilt? I’m not going to have the technical skills to assemble that. I assumed it was much more simple than that to put together a working device.

 

You don't need to put it in a case like that.

 

Here's my build, right after my three year-old finished it (he only needed help with sandwiching the boards until snug):

 

IMG-20210317-121738.jpg

 

Everything there other than the DE-10 came from misterfpga.co.uk

 

I could genuinely build one blind-folded. It's so simple.

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