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MiSTer: FPGA gaming


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It's all good.

 

I tried out a MD+ Golden Axe pack (one made by Joe from Game Sack, it turns out) on real hardware with a MD-MSU-patched ROM and it worked great, mostly. I renamed the (fixed) .cue file the same as the patched ROM (I don't think this is required but I thought it couldn't hurt), burned it to a CD-R, loaded it into the Mega-CD, booted the ROM and voila: Golden Axe with an outrageously bombastic orchestral arrangement and some sampled arcade music too.

 

I enjoyed a full playthrough but It wasn't flawless as the tunes don't loop or even fade out before starting over (I took my time to find out), and the final credit sequence needs to call the ending music (its used in the previous scene but doesn't carry over until the end like it should).

 

I suspect the experience would be pretty similar on MiSTer with that particular MD+ music pack..

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On 13/07/2020 at 21:45, spanky debrest said:

I enjoyed a full playthrough but It wasn't flawless as the tunes don't loop or even fade out before starting over (I took my time to find out)

 

It's a known shortcoming of MD-MSU apparently. I think the expectation is that Krikzz may fix it, as audio can loop and fade on MD+.

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1 hour ago, DeciderVT said:

 

It's a known shortcoming of MD-MSU apparently. I think the expectation is that Krikzz may fix it, as audio can loop and fade on MD+.

 

I took a look at the MD-MSU details and it seems that there are looping / fading functions, so maybe it's a case of optimising the cue file? There isn't a technical reason I'm aware of why the CD player couldn't loop and fade tracks as instructed.

 

Terraonion were keen to stress the superiority of their solution but personally I'll always prefer a universal solution that isn't restricted to a single piece of premium hardware.

 

Anyway, the first true MD-MSU CD audio hack will be out soon - Toe Jam & Earl 2 by Dustin O'Dell - which should work as is for MiSTer and also with a Mega SD provided the ROM header has 'MEGASD' inserted into it. I'm expecting it to work flawlessly on everything.

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Really not sure at this point. Apparently the functions are there to do it in his code but it's not working. Hopefully it's easy enough for him to fix.

 

As for Terraonion, sure. Theirs works as intended but I suspect they're just irritated that there's already another standard intended to supersede theirs. I don't really care about any of the drama behind it but it's a shame they can't work to develop a common standard together.

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8 minutes ago, DeciderVT said:

As for Terraonion, sure. Theirs works as intended but I suspect they're just irritated that there's already another standard intended to supersede theirs. I don't really care about any of the drama behind it but it's a shame they can't work to develop a common standard together.

 

MD-MSU is that common standard though - and why it works on MiSTer / everything else in the first place.

 

I guess if there is an inherent limitation to how MD-MSU implements loops & fades it'll be revealed soon with Dustin O'Dell's work.. though I'll admit I don't really trust Terraonion's PR on this issue, especially when the only currently available audio packs were designed for their flashcart.

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28 minutes ago, spanky debrest said:

 

MD-MSU is that common standard though - and why it works on MiSTer / everything else in the first place.

 

I guess if there is an inherent limitation to how MD-MSU implements loops & fades it'll be revealed soon with Dustin O'Dell's work.. though I'll admit I don't really trust Terraonion's PR on this issue, especially when the only currently available audio packs were designed for their flashcart.

 

I suppose we'll see. People have been looking at MD-MSU code on Terraonion's Discord. Although I expect some bias there, it's a bit more balanced than the trash talk on Twitter.

 

I don't think MD-MSU can be considered the standard just yet, not until it has those fundamental audio issues fixed. The horse has probably bolted if non-EverDrive users are adopting it and waiting for updates though.

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  • 4 weeks later...

A heads up for anyone interested, the Gauntlet core has appeared. I don't think it's official yet & as such it may still be in need of a few tweaks. I haven't seen anyone talking about this yet. I'm playing now & it's pretty damn good! You'll need a USB keyboard plugged in at the moment as one of the keys doesn't appear to map on a joypad for some reason. Other than that, it's fully playable.

 

No updater script will pick this up yet so you'll have to set this up manually for the time being.

Get the core & the MRA from here.   You'll have to supply your own rom.

 

Put the .rbf file into /_Arcade/Cores

Put the .mra file into /_Arcade  (if you have any subfolders in here it could go into any folder)

Put the rom into /games/mame.

 

Here's the "read me" in case anyone wants it, & here's a screengrab from the MiSTer (pre-scaler). Enjoy!

 

** EDIT 2 - Despite being playable I would consider this a beta release so don't expect it to be perfect.

** EDIT 3 - An updated .rbf core file is here. This revised core is a little more "controller friendly"

20200812_222200-screen.png

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It's really hard to say what the upper limits are for what the MiSTer could handle. Despite my own reservations about the PS1 being possible a lot of people are confident it will happen. Based off their confidence Namco System 11 should be technically possible as well. I'd say that would be the upper reaches of what the MiSTer could handle.

Systems like Sega's System 24 & prior should be managable, with MiSTer-X  having recently started work on the Sega System 16 board (although I think development has halted recently due to undergoing major surgery and what I understood to be potentially life threatening). Jose Tejada (Jotego) has recently started work on CPS2, given how similar it is to CPS1 I don't think that will cause too many problems. Although he hasn't looked into CPS3 in great detail he has expressed reservations about CPS3 on the MiSTer. He also recently acquired an Outrun board so he may look into that specifically at some point, as well as expressing an interest in wanting to look into Mortal Kombat. Josh Bassett has recently picked up the seemingly abandoned Dodonpachi project from another FPGA board and is porting it to MiSTer (he's now calling it the "Cave Core"). He said he's going to release a beta of this core in the very near future. That should take care of the games that ran on the Cave 68000 hardware ... will we be "prosecuted to the full extent of the jam" for running these on FPGA?! :lol:Ace has a few projects ongoing which includes some Sega System X games. And there's Alan Steremberg who admittedly seems to be concentrating on older arcade hardware. I'm sure there are developers I've missed who have projects on the go, but these are currently the big players in terms of what's happening on the arcade front on MiSTer at the moment.

 

Overall, I'd say most arcade hardware up until about '93 should be technically possible. What we won't see are things like the ST-V, Model 1, or anything that was extremely powerful for the time. Even something like the Taito F3 board I would be a little skeptical of appearing on MiSTer. However, with people like Furrtek (Neo Geo fame) going on a chip decap spree at the moment I'd say the future of arcade reproductions on MiSTer is looking good.

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I've been neglecting updates to my MiSTer recently... I think the last time I did it, I reorganised my arcade roms into the "new" format.

 

So what's the current best method for updating? Still the update script? Does that get all the various different sources of arcade cores? Does it get the roms as well?

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1 hour ago, Dr_Dave said:

I've been neglecting updates to my MiSTer recently... I think the last time I did it, I reorganised my arcade roms into the "new" format.

 

So what's the current best method for updating? Still the update script? Does that get all the various different sources of arcade cores? Does it get the roms as well?

 

I still think the best way to update is via the Retrodriven scripts. There was a recent "Retrodriven Updater Suite" that combines the arcade with the official updater. Simply run the "essential scripts" option. If you've not updated in a while there is one major change to the arcade stuff you need to know. The roms now live in "/games/mame" & "/games/hbmame instead of the _Arcade folder. So, move your mame & hbmame folders to the new location otherwise it causes problems. Make sure you don't have duplicate folders of "mame" and "hbmame" in any other location except for the games folder. You might want to make a backup of your exisitng arcade folder ..... just in case!

 

The "official updater" part of the script won't get the roms, but will update official arcade cores. The "retrodriven mame" part of the script will get unofficial cores, unofficial .mra files, and roms for both official & unofficial cores. The Retrodriven Suite takes care of everything you'll need to update.

 

I've attached my scripts & ini files here as the ini files are already set. Or you get it directly from Retrodriven with fresh ini files here. (If you get mine, unzip the files)  pop the scripts & ini into your scripts folder, run "Update Retrodriven Suite" and then "run essential scripts".

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12 hours ago, shiffy said:

 

I still think the best way to update is via the Retrodriven scripts. There was a recent "Retrodriven Updater Suite" that combines the arcade with the official updater. Simply run the "essential scripts" option. If you've not updated in a while there is one major change to the arcade stuff you need to know. The roms now live in "/games/mame" & "/games/hbmame instead of the _Arcade folder. So, move your mame & hbmame folders to the new location otherwise it causes problems. Make sure you don't have duplicate folders of "mame" and "hbmame" in any other location except for the games folder. You might want to make a backup of your exisitng arcade folder ..... just in case!

 

The "official updater" part of the script won't get the roms, but will update official arcade cores. The "retrodriven mame" part of the script will get unofficial cores, unofficial .mra files, and roms for both official & unofficial cores. The Retrodriven Suite takes care of everything you'll need to update.

 

I've attached my scripts & ini files here as the ini files are already set. Or you get it directly from Retrodriven with fresh ini files here. (If you get mine, unzip the files)  pop the scripts & ini into your scripts folder, run "Update Retrodriven Suite" and then "run essential scripts".

 

Thanks! That ran fine.

 

Wow, there's a lot of arcade cores now, eh?

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8 hours ago, Dr_Dave said:

 

Thanks! That ran fine.

 

Wow, there's a lot of arcade cores now, eh?

Glad to hear that worked out fine!

 

The arcade side of things has exploded over the last 8 months or so, and is the area where we're going to be seeing the most gains going forward. I think that in terms of console & computer cores we've seen everything that we're going to get, although there's the DS, PS1, Jag, X68000, & PC88 cores in various states of development .... or abandonment in the case of the Jag core, plus the much improved ao486 core that's on the cusp on being released. All of the low hanging fruit has been taken care of, with only improvements and refinements to come from this point. I think any developers still working on console & computer cores will turn their attention to arcade cores sooner rather than later.

 

EDIT - New ao486 core has been released to the public. Run your updater script to get it. Sim City, here I come!

 

EDIT 2 - Jotego's Bubble Bobble core has been released to the public, that also includes the ability to play Tokio. If you happen to be a Patreon of his (I'm not) then the CPS0 core for Side Arms has been released in it's beta form. One of fave shooters in the mid 80's!

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Another heads up for those who happen to be Patreons of Josh Bassett (nullobject), he has released his beta version of the Cave core and Dodonpachi. For those who are Patreons, enjoy!

 

 

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34 minutes ago, Protocol Penguin said:

So, about the MiSTer: I'm a bit unclear about what they are. Are they essentially a DIY multipurpose emulator boxes – like the Raspberry Pi can be made into – but using PC parts rather than a Pi?


they are fpga units, think more hardware emulation compared to software emulation like you would use on a pc or PI

 

 

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3 hours ago, Protocol Penguin said:

So, about the MiSTer: I'm a bit unclear about what they are. Are they essentially a DIY multipurpose emulator boxes – like the Raspberry Pi can be made into – but using PC parts rather than a Pi?

 

It might help to think of it like an actual Commodore 64 motherboard (with all the chips and circuitry) that at the press of a button, summons a wizard to cast a magic spell on it thus turning it into a Spectrum motherboard.  Another button press and the MiSTer wizard re-appears and turns it into a Bubble Bobble arcade machine motherboard.

 

Each time it magically changes, all of the connected devices (keyboard, joystick/joypad and screen) can still connect to the motherboard (again by two types of magic called USB and HDMI).

The idea is that each core (or magic spell) makes a 100% (or perhaps 99.999%) compatible motherboard rather than software emulation where it can never really be 100%.

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  • 5 weeks later...

I'm not really sure if posting this "call for help" is worthwhile here, but it certainly can't hurt! The lead programmer of the Playstation core is wanting Verilog or VHDL programmers to assist in helping bring the PSX core to fruition. I know that in the past a couple of MiSTer users here have expressed an interest in the FPGA programming side of things. This could be the perfect opportunity to get involved!  It's certain that "Laxer3A" would be looking for someone who is very familiar with both languages.

 

 

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  • 3 weeks later...

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